It's never too early to pick favorites! Put these recommended 2023 (so far) must-listens on your playlist.
Need some curated music advice? IPR's Mark Simmet recommends his five noteworthy new albums from the first quarter of 2023.
2023 is off to a fine start musically, and a best-of-the-year-so-far list could be a lot longer, but here are five picks I've chosen to cover whatever your musical interests might be. And, of course, we're playing them all on our Studio One shows, so listen anytime to the stream!
Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World
Released Feb. 10, 2023
The most veteran band by far on my list, Yo La Tengo formed in 1984 in Hoboken, New Jersey. They're longtime critical favorites with a dedicated cult following, and have continued to release a new album every 2 - 3 years. Also - did you know that frontman Ira Kaplan was a music critic?
This Stupid World finds the band in fine form, delivering the catharsis one would hope for from a record with that title. Smart indie rock from a band that helped to invent the genre.
Sunny War - Anarchist Gospel
Released Feb. 3, 2023
Sunny War has typically been described as a "folk-punk" singer-songwriter. The punk part of Sunny War comes through in her no-nonsense DIY attitude. Now signed to the respected Americana label New West, her fourth album is more stylistically varied and also rocks harder than her previous records.
Anarchist Gospel is about persevering through difficult times.
U.S. Girls - Bless This Mess
Released Feb. 24, 2023
Born in Chicago, but based for many years in Toronto, Meg Remy releases her music under the name U.S. Girls. This is the eighth album from the musician and songwriter, who is also a visual artist and author. U.S. Girls started out as a much more experimental project, but has grown more accessible with each new release.
Remy and the musicians who join her on this record explore themes of motherhood and life, with dance and funk influences.
Margo Price - Strays
Released Jan. 13, 2023
Exciting music is being made in "indie country," and Margo Price's new album is a prime example of the genre. Like Price's 2022 memoir Maybe We'll Make It, her fourth album is a record born of introspection.
On Strays, Margo Price sings about personal trauma and struggles in an assured, soulful voice, with great players backing her up.
Yves Tumor - Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Released March 17, 2023
This is unabashedly provocative art-rock, in the great tradition of David Bowie's groundbreaking work from the 1970s. Here's another fun trivia fact for you too - through some stroke of serendipity, Yves Tumor's birth name is actually Sean Bowie.
On their fifth album, Yves Tumor draws on everything from R&B to glam for this potent creative stew. The record is a great listen - I expect to see it on Best of the Year lists at the end of 2023!