The 10 Best Albums of January 2023 (2023)

When it comes to new music releases, there's always a lull early in the year, but once mid-January hits, the trickle turns into a fire hose of new albums. January 2023 got off to a great start, first with a surprise album from Belle and Sebastian and a long-awaited release from Margo Price, and then almost too many to keep up. We've narrowed the stacks down to our 10 favorite releases of the month. Here are the top 10 albums of January 2023, in alphabetical order:

Bella and Sebastian:late developers

Dear Scottish Indie (and exTakeMagazine cover stars) Belle and Sebastian surprised us this week with their 12th studio album, quickly following in the footsteps of last year.a bit from above. Reminiscent of mid-'60s psyche-pop, the melancholy opening track "Juliet Naked" evokes the timeless theme of desperate love: "Fickle love / Nothing like the heavens above / They don't add up," frontman Stuart Murdoch sings. . Things get a lot more upbeat from there when Sarah Martin sings about the "best of days" on "Give a Little Time." There is a lot of the charm of the nurses of Belle and Sebastian in itlate developersThis will look familiar to longtime fans, but there are also places where the group is venturing into new territory. The album's lead single, "I Don't Know What You See in Me," is an '80s pop song co-written by Pete "Wuh Oh" Ferguson that showcases a band not content with breaking up resting their laurels, but which is still alive more than a quarter of a century after its electronic debut. —Jose Jackson


Complete mountain almanac:complete mountain almanac

New music collective Complete Mountain Almanac is a collaboration between Swedish musician Rebekka Karijord and siblings Jessica, Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Their self-titled debut album will be released in late January and features the quartet in a 12-song suite reflecting on climate change. Every trace in therecomplete mountain almanacis titled after a month of the year, and last fall the group teased the upcoming album with "May," a beautiful song about giving back to Mother Earth. Earlier this year, listeners were treated to "February," the solemn, poetic tune about a body disarming itself to save it. The band's name comes from a book of poetry Jessica wrote after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the imagery of mortality deeply and often overlaps with the album's environmental themes. —Kumpel Mitchell

H.C. McGesamt:every morning

When Durham, N.C. native H.C. McEntire began his solo career after fronting acclaimed indie rock band Mount Moriah. He began exploring an authentic American chant that demonstrated his exemplary ability to connect almost unspeakable emotions to nature. but inevery morning, McEntire reveals the ground we're standing on may not be as solid as it seems. In the album's liner notes, McEntire acknowledges thisevery morningIt was written and recorded in the traditional territory of the Eno, Lumbee, Occaneechi, Shakori, Saponi, Tuscarora, Catawba, Sissipahaw, Tutelo, Adshusheer, and Cheraw peoples. In the throbbing, haunted duet with S.G. In Goodman's Shadows, McEntire considers this situation, balancing Southern traditions against the steps that would be taken to "make room" for a new way of life. His poetic lyricism inspires a new perspective that moves away from your limited vision to understand the places we occupy in a grand existential sense. With minimal arrangements, McEntire and his small circle of musicians, which include guitarist Luke Norton, bassist Casey Toll and drummer Daniel Faust, never rush into complexity. Instead, the warm and often tremolo-tinged guitars of McEntrie and Norton hum and chatter with the laid-back Southern swing of Toll and Faust.every morningit is a deep listening that reveals more wisdom the more one surrenders to it. McEntire uncovered painful truths in the process, and didn't let himself or our story off the hook. —royal bed


John Calle:Merced

InMerced, John Cale has reopened to collaborating with younger independent artists, this time with members of Animal Collective, Weyes Blood and Laurel Halo. His efforts only make "Noise of You" stand out more, as the song is mostly Cale, alone, revealing his feelings for an unnamed lover. The babbling psych-synth backdrop feels like the fog that surrounds Cale's memories as he tries to reach for solid details or moments to hold on to. What he finds is just as fleeting and difficult to capture: the sounds that person made as they walked across the floor or doing mundane things across the house, or the timbre of their voice as they said goodbye. — On the other hand, "Story of Blood" is slow and spooky, using electronic drum beats and shudders to maintain a sense of slow menace. The track never stops moving and presentsSangre Weyes(aka Natalie Mering) on ​​accompanying harmonies. The synths create an awkward atmosphere and it's difficult to keep the hairs on the back of your neck from standing on end. The lyrics act as a cryptic instruction sheet as Cale keeps asking the listener to “Swing your soul”. It's clear that from his Velvet Underground days to the present day, Cale has never stopped looking for new spaces to explore, experiment and grow.—Roberto HamjRosa Sofia Kaminski


June Habel:sizes

It's tempting to describe Juni Habel's quiet, folksy new album as "pastoral," but that's not entirely accurate. While the eight songs insizesThey are rooted in the natural world, less idyllic than exploring wilder and more intricate landscapes. Althoughsizesshares the sonic palette with Habel's previous album 2020's.all earsDisturbing whispers lurk at the edges of the Norwegian singer-songwriter's latest work. It sure has something to do with itsizesfinds Habel grieving the death of a younger sister in a car accident. The album doesn't overtly focus on that loss, but its weight gives the songs a melancholy feel, buoyed by a sense of impermanence that's both melancholy and practical. The music here is strong, built around Habel's handpicked acoustic guitar parts, but no less compelling with sparse arrangements. Habel's voice is reserved, with a tone that ranges from light and airy to slightly smoky. It arrives with an intimacy that almost feels like you're sitting in the same room together. Together with the fascinating musical arrangements, what makessizesWhat is compelling is the balance Habel strikes between recognizing the fleeting span of life and his determination to find meaning in the fleeting. In this sense,sizesit is both a praise and a celebration. —Eric R. Danton


Margo Price: Stray
Margo Price earned the generic title of "American singer" some time ago, but she's always been pure rock 'n' roll. On Price's new LPstray, the Nashville troublemaker borrows fully from the rock 'n' roll dreams that may have been chasing her. Current monitoring 2020This is how rumors start,straypays homage to Price's beginnings in American roots music while painting a psych rock backdrop for his tales of redemption, survival and rebirth. Price worked with her husband Jeremy Ivey, who joined her at an Airbnb in South Carolina to pick mushrooms, listen to a stack of classic rock albums, and work on what would eventually becomestray, and then recorded the album at Jonathan Wilson's (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty) studio in California. The result is familiar, certainly a Margo Price record, but a little hotter. —Ellen Johnson


Nicole Dollanganger:Married in Mount Airy

When you listen to Nicole Dollanganger, multidisciplinary artist Nicole Bell's project, you will be immersed in a universe of alluring yet crushing beauty. Since her rise in the Tumblr and Myspace era, the Canadian singer-songwriter has shared haunting alternative-pop with a sadcore twist that resonates strongly with the soft-spoken grunge teens who've now grown up listening to her music. InMarried in Mount Airy, their seventh self-released album, released last Friday, Dollanganger teamed up with longtime collaborator Matthew Tomasi to deliver stunning lyrics, chilling visuals and references to bygone eras that make their ballads seem like family secrets.Married in Mount Airyit is as compelling as it is devastating. The standout album Bad Man works on the conflicting emotions of avoiding the company of an abusive figure and coming back to life: "I wish I didn't have to die/but I was a bad man/what do I make tears with it that I cried / for that wicked man? Harrowing emotion, imagery and sound feature in Dollanganger's compelling lyrics, as on Moonlite: "He said, 'I pray to God you know / I keep a part of you locked up in my heart / With memories I can take any form bend over / and I'll lay you on the bed or I'll rip you in half / sometimes you're my girl and sometimes, bitch, you're dead.'” —Devonian on foot


Nuria Graham:cyclamen

listen throughcyclamen, a dazzling collection of piano-led folk music adorned with lush trumpets and strings, imagine how her debut album's Núria Graham would feel if she was pictured on the cover, looking off into the distance, with a bright red guitar hanging between her Fingers dangling when she knows she is he would one day almost completely give up the instrument. On the four albums in betweenfirst cluesand her most recent work, the Catalan-Irish songwriter, has carved out a legacy for herself as a dependable rocker, reeling in a six-string trance through nostalgic tales of friends and lovers. At Last/Ready to Fool You feels like a proving ground for Núria Graham's convincing reinvention of the album as a cinematic folk ballad, but it's surprising how cohesive her early vision of album length holds together in this format. Thanks to the remarkable chemistry between Graham and songwriter Helena Cánovas Parés, the album moves quickly while maintaining a vague sense of wonder. They certainly aren't afraid to add texture at the right moment: the sax arpeggios and plucked harp chords of "Yes, It's Me the Goldfish!" It may well be their finest hour, with the string quartet's perfectly timed sigh on "Gloria" a close second, but their approach is largely one of tasteful restraint, without the tone of the narrative getting in the way.cyclamenis a bold reintroduction by Núria Graham, a sure demonstration that experience, pushed into the sunlight, can always blossom into beautiful new forms. —Philipp Roberts


A ring:War poems / We rest

Indie rock duo R. Ring, a collaboration of Ohio legends Kelley Deal (The Breeders, Protomartyr) and Mike Montgomery (Amline), play with clever twists in the well-known alternative rock pits on their highly-anticipated second LP .War poems / We rest. On tracks like "Hug" and "Cartoon Heart/Build Me a Question," the duo up the tempo and deliver muddled riffs that veer into power-pop territory. "Cartoon Heart/Build Me a Question" features particularly seductive lyrics: "What's your favorite song called/What's wrong with your sprained leg?" More subtle but impactful tracks like "Lighter Than a Berry" show a vulnerable Montgomery sinking into solitude , with lyrics that get sadder and sadder: "Shouldn't you reach for me when you're feeling empty?" Deal and Montgomery take turns leading the band, each doing their best and bringing their own personal spin to their favorite brand of alternative rock. They have sat on these songs for years while working on other projects, meanwhile collecting poems from friends like Hanif Abdurraqib, Sadie Dupuis, Sara Jaffe and many others to bring a literary component to this intellectual project. —Devonian on foot


white mower:ask for a ride

White Reaper knows his strengths. After three slick garage rock albums, the quintet is backask for a ride, another album full of invigorating guitar riffs, wailing vocals and solid, mechanical percussion. The record could also be White Reaper's most intriguing yet, torn between their heaviest songs yet and the band's secret weapon of strong pop instincts. The opening melodies "Asking For a Ride" and "Bozo" are based on gripping 80's hard rock chord progressions and explosive percussionask for a rideIt really kicks in with the wonderfully cheesy, melodic choruses of “Fog Machine” and “Crawlspace”. Singer Tony Esposito puts his heart into "When my phone rings, I can't wait to listen what you say" in the first part, turning a throwaway line into one of the band's greatest hooks. Butask for a rideis full of further surprises: "Heaven or Not" tests Def Leppardske ballade with turned down operatic kitsch and lends genuine pathos to Ryan Hater's synthesizers and Esposito's harmonies. Beginning as a ballad and building into a Distortion Ten classic, "Pages," the album's close, makes a case for not taking White Reaper for granted. We may not always get polished, steady rock music from Kentuckians indebted to Cheap Trick and The Cars, but at least we have itask for a rideat present. —Ethan Beck


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