In 2023, the indie music scene has shown a refreshing burst of creativity. Amidst returning favorites like The National’s acclaimed “First Two Pages of Frankenstein” and Gorillaz’s hit-packed “Cracker Island,” emerging talents such as Wednesday and Blondshell have also made a significant impact.
The indie genre thrives on experimentation, from their astonishing vinyl covers to unbelievably beautiful cosmic melodies. And this year has been no exception. Notable releases from artists like Yaeji have provided an eclectic mix of sounds and experiences. So whether you’re seeking an escape into a different realm of new rhythms, indie music has you covered. And here is the list of seven great indie vinyl records to own in 2023.
Gorillaz — “Cracker Island”
Gorillaz, known for their adeptness at collaboration, continue to shine on their latest album, “Cracker Island.” Spanning 10 tracks and arriving as their first release since 2020’s “Song Machine,” the album features a captivating array of songs that demonstrate their innovation even after two decades as a band. Collaborations with artists like Bad Bunny (“Tormenta”) and Tame Impala (“New Gold”), along with a Stevie Nicks feature, highlight the band’s prowess when working with other talents. As Damon Albarn suggests the end may be near for this iteration of Gorillaz, “Cracker Island” stands as a testament to their boundary-pushing approach to indie music.
Hot Mulligan — “Why Would I Watch”
Hot Mulligan’s latest album, “Why Would I Watch,” showcases the band’s evolution with standout tracks “Shhhh! Golf Is On” and “Gans Media Retro Games.” Bursting with pop-punk energy, these earworms combine dynamic riffs and impassioned vocals, evoking the feel of radio hits. The influence of Blink-182 is palpable, particularly on the catchy yet melancholic “It’s A Family Movie She Hates Her Dad.” The lyrics cut deep, as the band examines themes of family and self-identity.
Blondshell — “Blondshell”
Emerging from Los Angeles, singer-songwriter Blondshell has quickly made a name for herself in 2023. Her self-titled debut provides an authentic glimpse into the challenges of navigating one’s early 20s, complete with relationship struggles and bouts of self-doubt. The album opens with “Veronica Mars,” a nod to the early 2000s TV show, and echoes of that era can be found throughout the record.
The National — “First Two Pages Of Frankenstein”
The National’s sound is at its most quintessential on “First Two Pages of Frankenstein.” While notable guest appearances abound, including Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, and Sufjan Stevens, the album truly shines when the band channels their core essence. In these moments, lifelong friends and bandmates come together to create an authentic and cohesive sonic experience that is undeniably powerful.
Indigo De Souza — “All Of This Will End”
Indigo De Souza has mastered the art of infusing melancholic tunes with a contagious sense of hope. The opening track, “Time Back,” from her album “All Of This Will End,” captures loss while radiating with lively synthesizers and a hopeful note. This balance is evident throughout the album, from the confessional yet jubilant “Smog” to the anxious “Parking Lot.” De Souza’s ability to transform pain into revelatory experiences underscores the significance of embracing emotions.
Yaeji — “With A Hammer”
“With A Hammer,” released in April, is the album that maintains Yaeji’s signature experimental spirit and irresistible charm. Tracks like “For Granted” and “Passed Me By” showcase her adventurous approach while retaining a magnetic allure. Yaeji’s captivating project is undeniably one of the most intriguing releases of the year.
Wednesday — “Rat Saw God”
Wednesday’s previous release, “Twin Plagues,” featured evocative story-driven tracks set in a unique blend of reality and fantasy. On “Rat Saw God,” singer-songwriter Karly Hartzman delves even deeper, crafting songs with vivid details that transport listeners to specific moments and places. The album’s opening track, “Hot Rotten Grass Smell,” epitomizes this attention to detail, capturing the essence of a humid late July day.
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