Top 10 Albums of 2023 – Matthew Hamilton’s Picks

We were gifted some really great music this year. While I like to let the music speak for itself, even while DJing, I will share a few thoughts on my picks. These are in no particular order, and to keep things egalitarian, so to speak, each album will get a sentence:

Goat “Medicine”- Abruptly fading into the long Swedish night almost as quickly as they appeared a few years ago, Goat returned last year with Oh Death followed by this year’s Medicine, arguably two of their most fully realized albums in their catalog.

Maya Ongaku “Approach to Anima”- After Kikagaku Moyo left us ecstatic and empty with their final tour last year, members Go and Tomo, founders of label Guruguru Brain, eased our aching hearts with the soothing debut album from Fujisawa’s, Maya Ongaku.

Night Beats “Rajan”- Last year, Danny Lee Blackwell let us know he’s traveling on a higher inter-dimensional plane with his collaboration with ex-Los Bitchos, Carolina Faruolo, called Abraxas, and this year’s album, “Rajan,” by Blackwell’s Night Beats, is further evidence.

Thee Oh Sees “Intercepted Message”- Returning to In the Red Records after a long tangent on Castle Face Records, along with a handful of other small labels, John Dwyer pulled off a solid amalgamation of his synthy Damaged Bug project with some of the shrediest Oh Sees sound, just the right alchemy of bleep-bloopy hooks and dystopian rocket fueled fear.

Dommengang “Wished Eye”- Possibly the least likely to be recognized on the list, Dommengang makes really solid rock and roll, with this year’s “Wished Eye” adding a wonderful psychedelic flavor to their already timeless sound.

The Men “Fuzz Club Session”- After spending most of their career on Sacred Bones Records, last year the Men regrouped on Fuzz Club with the scorching “New York City” followed by a new installment of Fuzz Club’s live sessions, showcasing the Men’s incredible ability to conjure relentless rock n roll energy a la The Stooges, without sounding recycled.

GAS “Vol. 1″- GAS regaled us with a mind-bending debut LP after appearing out of nowhere with a Swedish released 7” a few years ago, and while GAS keeps secretive about who exactly plays in this Swedish psych super group, I am quite confident members of Hills, Goat, and possibly Flowers Must Die are involved.

Big Brave “Nature Morte”- Making their debut on Thrill Jockey Records (other than their collab with The Body a few years ago), Montreal’s Big Brave continued their legacy of making a big noise with one of my most anticipated albums starting the year in 2023, as well as obliterating our souls and cochleas headlining the inaugural Ghost Canyon Festival in Denver this year.

Acid King “Beyond Vision”- Returning with their first new album in 8 years, Acid King has pulled off the seemingly impossible by escorting us further into the black hole of sludge they exist so comfortably in by gracing us with a collection of sounds that just feel so right when spinning them in the downtown Denver studio in the witching hour during Sleepless Nights.

Various Artists “Ecuatoriana”- The great Analog Africa label has dipped into Central and South America a couple times, and some may wonder what a label focused on African funk is doing showing up in the Americas; but, just like American music like Rock n roll, jazz, and the blues, Latin music lacked polyrhythm prior to the arrival of the West African slave trade, so with that in mind, it makes perfect sense, and the Analog Africa releases focusing on Central and South African Latino music are among my favorites of their releases.

Artist Album Label
1 Goat Medicine
Rocket Recordings
2 Maya Ongaku Approach to Anima Guru Guru Brain
3 The Night Beats Rajan Suicide Squeeze
4 Thee Oh Sees Intercepted Message
In the Red Records
5 Dommengang Wished Eye Thrill Jockey
6 The Men Fuzz Club Session Fuzz Club
7 GÅS Vol 1
Svensk Psych Aften
8 Big Brave Nature Morte Thrill Jockey
9 Acid King Beyond Vision Blues Funeral
10 Various Artists Ecuatoriana Analog Africa
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