The 20 Best Albums of 2023… so far

With 2023 just past its half way point, we’re taking a look at look at some of our favourite albums released over the past six months. 2023 has started off with plenty quality releases that are sure to remain on repeat as we head into the second half of the year.

With the year already off to a red hot start, suffice to say it has been a very difficult list to put together – for every record we included, handfuls we loved didn’t make the cut. But nonetheless, our list has arrived. Read through to see what our editorial team and contributors have been vibing on so far this year.

20. Jayne Denham – Renegade

Renegade is a high energy album full of badass tunes to perfectly suit Jayne’s powerful vocals. A bit modern, a bit traditional, rocky and rough; Renegade presents a distinct style, making that wild-west-cowboy-thing cool again. – Anna Blaby

19. Susanne Sundfør – Blómi

Blómi is the sixth studio album from Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør, and her first in six years. Conceived as a ‘love letter’ to her daughter, the album is full of joy, optimism and warmth. With its use of found and organic sounds, there’s a wonderful etherealness to the whole thing with just enough weirdness to make it all the more interesting.Simon Clark

18. Voiid – Watering Dead Flowers

Feminist punk never sounded so good. VOIID have always been great at pairing introspective, personal lyrics with fierce rock riffs, and their debut album only further cements this. – Sarah Robbins

17. Brad Cox – Acres

Acres achieves that modern Nashville sound we all strive for in the current country scene. Full of catchy, relatable lyrics calling for a sing along, the 17 track album has a love song for every occasion. – Anna Blaby

16. Shame – Food For Worms

The third album from the South London post-punk lords, Food For Worms is for the most part more melodic and accessible than their previous two albums. A band known for their rollicking live set, the tone of the album will undoubtedly translate well to the stage, with the varied sounds of “Fingers of Steel”, “Six Pack”, “Adderall (End of the Line)” and “All The People” likely live highlights. – Dylan Marshall

15. The National – First Two Pages of Frankenstein

The best album from the band since 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, 20 years in and The National are still finding ways to change up what they’re delivering for their fans. While generally at their peak when down-in-the dumps (“Once Upon A Poolside”), it’s the surprising relatively upbeat moments (“Tropic Morning News” and “Grease In Your Hair”) that stand out on the album. With multiple big name guests spots on the album, including Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift, First Two Pages of Frankenstein is The National returning to form. – Dylan Marshall

14. The Golden Dregs – On Grace and Dignity

On Grace and Dignity is the third full length release from The Golden Dregs – the ongoing project of Cornish singer-songwriter Benjamin Woods. The album was born out of the COVID-19 lockdown when Woods was forced to move back to his childhood home, and is inspired by the realities of his home county, Cornwall. Tinged with melancholy, On Grace and Dignity is an affecting and assured release, full of engaging songwriting and a stunning soulful vocal. – Simon Clark

13. The Wolfe Brothers – Livin’ The Dream

Livin’ The Dream offers a very rich experience with no two songs sounding the same. Combining heartfelt ballads and upbeat rhythms, the country boys from Tassie never fail to deliver great songwriting that celebrates all the simple things in life. – Anna Blaby

12. Cyan Kicks – I Never Said 4ever

Filled with sing alongs that fill your heart. The pop riffs that are catchy as hell and have my pop punk heart. – Victoria Lewis

11. Young Lions – Make a Rainbow and Put it in the Sky 

With half the album drip-fed as singles over the past few years, this anticipated album saved some of the best for last. Complete with touching verses, big hooks and delicate moments, the band dig deep to offer a record well worth the wait. – Dylan Oxley

10. CVC – Get Real 

Get Real is the polished and assured debut album from Welsh rockers CVC. Released back in January, the album showcases the band’s love for the rock and pop of the 1970s and 80s. It may not always be the most innovative – the band wear their influences proudly – Get Real is full of charm, energy and the joy of making music. –  Simon Clark

9. Jack River – Endless Summer

It’s a super refreshing summer album, with a really ethereal sound. Jack River’s sound is heavily inspired by late 90s/early 2000s pop which adds such an interesting and fun element to the album. – Sarah Duggan

8. Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

The Scottish band are back with Heavy Heavy, an incredibly well-weighted ten tracks filled with passion and anthemic moments of reflection and discovery. Influenced by African culture and sounds, Heavy Heavy is a little more than 30 minutes of joy and pure bliss. Highlights come in the form of the opener “Rice”, the pulsating “Drum”, floating “Ululation” and the gospel-influenced “Holy Moly”. – Dylan Marshall

7. Trophy Eyes – Suicide and Sunshine

For what was nearly their final album, the beloved alt-rockers laid their souls bare on this poignant project. The detailed narratives and intricate arrangements compliment each other in the band’s most realised work yet. – Dylan Oxley

John Floreani is one of my favourite songwriters and vocalists, and this album showcases this perfectly. Each track is incredibly deep and introspective, but with catchy tunes and fun gang vocals. Their twitter bio sums it up perfectly- “sad songs disguised as happy ones”.

I think it’s especially impactful when you know that this was supposed to be their last album, but during the recording process they rediscovered their love of playing together as a band and decided to continue. You can really hear their passion on this album. – Sarah Duggan

6. DZ Deathrays – R.I.F.F

Staying true to its namesake, R.I.F.F is loads of fun. The album has all the classic DZ party starting energy of their roots melded with a strong command of the band they’ve matured into. – Sarah Robbins

There’s no stopping this album; it’s go,go,go all the way. Dance punk fun that shows DZ Deathrays are stronger than ever. – Victoria Lewis

5. Lewis Capaldi – Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent 

While he may be one of the biggest pop artists in the world right now, the hilarious Scot has a beautiful way of making his pain so relatable. From the funky opener to the moving closer, he definitely conquered the sophomore slump. – Dylan Oxley

Lewis’ vocals are out of this world, and the musical arrangements are pretty stunning. It’s an album about love and loss, and dealing with grief through a unique perspective. Each song is a beautiful ballad, with a few upbeat tunes scattered throughout. It’s a really beautiful piece of work. – Sarah Duggan

4. Hot Mulligan – Why Would I Watch 

That distinct melodic yelling is somewhat comforting when paired with moody punk lashings from these Michigan emos. Not to mention that their song titles are some of the funniest around! – Dylan Oxley

This is a great alternative/pop-punk album. Hot Mulligan have a really diverse sound and the album is super cheeky and fun, just an all-round good time! – Sarah Duggan

3. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation

A return to thrash-metal, King Gizz prove once again there’s no genre they can’t traverse. Brimming with their signature wonderful weirdness, every minute is a thrill. – Sarah Robbins

What can’t they do? It’s another trash metal that is experimental but the story behind it pulls you in. The whole gets bigger and bold as you move through. – Victoria Lewis

2. Alt. – Abeyance 

The debut full-length from one of the country’s most promising heavy acts hits in all the right spots. Versatile vocals, punchy rhythms and synth breakdowns make this fresh and unique record a standout in the local scene. – Dylan Oxley

A fiery debut album that has everything you want from a metalcore album. Heavy and dark elements that are intertwined with brutal drums and emotional lyrics. – Victoria Lewis

1. Boygenius – the record

Five years after the acclaimed EP, the supergroup of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers are back with some of the best sad bangers you’ll ever hear. Bringing all the strengths of their solo material to the record, there’s no doubt the stranglehold this album has and will have on the music community for the rest of the year. – Dylan Marshall

I always wanna be in the middle of those set-closing hugs between Phoebe, Julien and Lucy. Listening to the record feels like the closest thing. – Sarah Robbins

Some supergroups are damaged by competing egos, but this is not the case with Boygenius. The love, affection and intimacy, as well as fighting spirit unified by these three colossal talents, is mesmerising. – Bruce Baker

Baker, Dacus and Bridgers can, quite frankly, do no wrong. the record is pretty much an instant classic, but then what do you expect when you bring together three of the finest songwriters working right now.  – Simon Clark