Another year full of new tunes, excellent reissues, curious sounds, and lots more at your local record store.
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This year was also an amazing year for local talent here in Mississippi, as we saw some great new albums from Bass Drum of Death, Andrew Bryant, Hartle Road, Charlie Mars, BARK, Tyler Keith, a live album from Kudzu Kings, and a beautiful reissue of Colour Revolt’s Plunder, Beg and Curse.
Here are some of our favorite new releases of 2023 in no particular order:
–Water From Your Eyes Everyone’s Crushed (Matador Records)
The latest full-length release from Brooklyn-based experimental pop duo Water From Your Eyes is its first on the Matador Records label.
–Prison Upstate (Drag City)
Straight outta Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York City, Prison is a state of mind, an experience, a loose collective, a band, a jam band and a bunch of psychedelic dudes who aren’t your average bunch of jambanders.
–Yussef Dayes Black Classical Music (Brownswood Recordings)
An expansive, soulful set that embraces modern West Coast fusion, Hancock-style funk, psychedelic soul-jazz and more.
–Hayden Pedigo The Happiest Time I Ever Ignored (Mexican Summer)
With The Happiest Times I Ever Ignored, Texas guitarist Hayden “Kid Candidate” Pedigo wordlessly shares stories of fate and sustaining hope. A meticulous and detailed player, he’s spent the last decade refining and shaping his sound, pushing for ultimate clarity of expression.
–Anohni & The Johnsons My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross (Secretly Canadian)
“Riveting. The lucidity behind every message on My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross is arresting, as it is drawing from a well of pure emotion that can be comprehended in full.” -The Wire
–Samia Honey (Grand Jury)
“Playful, painful and loaded with hooks that worm their way to the surface, Honey feels ripe for bleak midwinter wallowing.” -The Guardian
–Wednesday Rat Saw God (Dead Oceans)
“Remarkably, the world they create together never curdles into sentimentality. … Wednesday turn that stabbing pain into triumphant rock’n’roll.” -Uncut
–Robert Finley Black Bayou (Easy Eye Sound)
Another rollicking, rolling set of the 69-year-old Finley’s Louisiana-based soul, blues, and gospel-laced intensity.
–Joanna Sternberg I’ve Got Me (Fat Possum)
“The magic of I’ve Got Me comes in the way that brutal sentiment comes dancing in on skittery melody and how coruscating lines conform so neatly to classic song structure. Joanna Sternberg makes tales of betrayal and non-conformity sound like tunes from 1930s black and white musicals, and that’s an accomplishment.” -Dusted Magazine
–Yo La Tengo This Stupid World (Matador Records)
“Nearly 40 years into their career as a band, with “This Stupid World,” Yo La Tengo have reached another peak. Without overstating the case, that’s something not many artists who aren’t named Neil or Bob can say.” -Variety
–Cut Worms self-titled (Jagjaguar)
“Clarke’s songs are founded in seductive pop melodies with a rootsy undertow, and he, his studio band, and his production team have crafted an album that comes from the heart and emotionally connects with rare skill, in both music and lyrics. Having a down day? Cut Worms may be just what you need.” -AllMusic
–Andre 3000 New Blue Sun (vinyl drops in late January 2024 and we’ll have plenty of copies)
The first full-length solo release from OutKast’s André 3000 in 17 years is an instrumental album featuring a variety of flutes…seriously.
–Bob Dylan Shadow Kingdom (Columbia)
“As an album, Shadow Kingdom is an alternate universe that reflects another side of Bob Dylan’s craft and creative muses. It’s not a funhouse mirror reflection per se, but it’s definitely really fun the more you look at it.” -Exclaim
–Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert (Domino)
The live recording of Cat Power’s November 2022 concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall where she recreated Bob Dylan’s May 1966 live set at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.
–Killer Mike Michael (Loma Vista)
This is the first full-length solo studio release from rapper Killer Mike since 2012’s R.A.P. Music.
–William Eggleston 512 (Secretly Canadian)
“I’ve never heard anything like it,” Eggleston said, grinning. “It’s very modern.”
–Youth Lagoon Heaven is a Junkyard (Fat Possum)
This is the first new release from Trevor Powers’ music project Youth Lagoon since 2015’s Savage Hills Ballroom.
–Our pals at Chicago-based label International Anthem continued their streak of great records in the jazz, ambient, and avant-garde world including Jamie Branch’s Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die (world war) and Alabaster DePlume’s Come With Fierce Grace.
Here are our favorite reissues of the year:
–Neil Young Archives continues to give Neil-heads what they want. This year saw the release of Chrome Dreams, live Odeon/Budokan LP, Somewhere Under the Rainbow 1973, and Time Fades Away 50th anniversary among others.
–Sonic Youth Live in Brooklyn 2011 (Silver Current)
The live recording of the final New York concert from Sonic Youth at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Waterfront on August 12, 2011 was originally released digitally on Bandcamp but is remastered and remixed for its physical release.
–Arthur Russell Picture of Bunny Rabbit (Audika)
Recorded at the same time as 1986’s masterpiece World of Echo, this posthumous collection offers an essential glimpse into Arthur Russell’s haunted, luminous sound.
–Acetone catalog and box set (New West)
“Acetone made music with a deep affection for all that preceded it. Hui Ohana, Kris Kristofferson, The Wailers (both sets), John Prine, Gram Parsons, The Velvet Underground, Brian Wilson… full of frailty, love, pain, satisfaction, and disquiet.” – J Spaceman (Spiritualized)
–The Replacements TIM: Let it Bleed Edition (Rhino)
This deluxe reissue is the holy grail that fans of Tim have dreamt of: a new mix that instantly becomes the best and most definitive album in the Replacements’ catalog.
–Julee Crusie Floating Into The Night (Sacred Bones)
Julee Cruise’s 1989 album Floating Into the Night is a hauntingly beautiful, critically ac-claimed work that showcases her unique vocal style and the atmospheric, dreamlike music of composer Angelo Badalamenti. The album was produced by Badalamenti and David Lynch, who had previously worked together on the soundtrack for Lynch’s film Blue Velvet. Today in the wake of both Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti’s passing its important to honor their musical legacy and contribution to both the sonic and cinematic landscapes.
–John Coltrane Evenings at the Village Gate: Cotlrane with Eric Dolphy (Impulse!)
In August of 1961, the John Coltrane Quintet played an engagement at the legendary Village Gate in Greenwich Village, New York. Eighty minutes of never-before-heard music from this group were recently discovered at the New York Public Library. In addition to some well-known Coltrane material (“Impressions”), there is a breathtaking feature for Dolphy’s bass clarinet on “When Lights Are Low” and the only known non-studio recording of Coltrane’s composition “Africa”, from the Africa/Brass album.
–Laraaji Segue into Infinity (Numero Group)
The definitive collection of Laraaji’s earliest works, Segue To Infinity compiles his 1978 debut Celestial Vibration and six additional side-long studio sessions from previously unknown acetates from the same period. A lengthy essay by Living Colour’s Vernon Reid chronicles the origins of Edward “Flash” Gordon, illustrated with dozens of previously unpublished photographs that capture this beautiful and elusive young artist. Full of discovery and wonderment, Segue To Infinity is a miraculous chronicle of new age’s most fabled artist.
–Bob Dylan Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 (Columbia)
Like all of the stories surrounding the creation of Bob Dylan albums, this one bears traces of myth and marketing. Typically, his Bootleg Series either subverts received knowledge (Trouble No More, Another Self Portrait) or magnifies legends (More Blood, More Tracks, The Cutting Edge). Fragments might be the first release that manages both. The series can feel overwhelming by design or aimed only at the highest-security-clearance Dylanologists, but Fragments presents us with a clear chronology: Disc One gives us the final studio album, remixed and scrubbed fresh so we can avail ourselves once more of its glorious shadows and submerge ourselves in its delicious mood. The remaining four discs—two of unreleased outtakes, one previously available, and a live set—repositions Time Out of Mind as a rebirth rather than a farewell.
–Various Artists Written In Their Souls: The Stax Songwriter Demos (STAX/Craft Recordings)
Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos brings together 146 demos from the legendary Stax Records. Including 140 recordings that are previously unreleased, this collection combines both songwriter demos of some of music’s biggest songs with full blown arrangements of never released tracks. Compiled by multi-GRAMMY award winning producer Cheryl Pawelski.
-Various Artists Playing for the Man at the Door (Smithsonian Folkways)
The music, recorded in living rooms and juke joints and even on sidewalks, is primarily blues but also includes gospel and tinges of country. The artists range from recognized figures of the ’60s blues revival (Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb) to such relative unknowns as James Tisdom and Blues Wallace.