Top 10 Albums of 2023 – The Groove Thief’s Picks

On the whole, 2023 saw a seemingly endless series of top-notch releases. This list reflects a small part, from a singular lens: sorting and reflecting at this moment in time. I think a different list would have emerged on a different day, there’s that much great music to choose from.

Jantra’s album is hypnotic and transcendental, though I feel I have not sufficiently championed it on air this year; this top ranking is the least I can do to showcase such an embodiment of unique dance music. Fusing 60s R&B with 70s reggae, Ladders finds The Loving Paupers in fine form: don’t overlook this gem. Baalti’s first vinyl release brings a delightful and fresh subcontinental air, while Micah Shemaiah proves that roots reggae is thriving. Will he receive a Grammy nod? He should.

Analog Africa journeys to Ecuador for a stellar retrospective release of the work of Polibio Mayorga. Khalia, Alo Wala, and TriXstar all put out EPs full of poignant lyrics atop potent beats. “Dutty Hot” off of Tough Gains is an anthem, nuff said. Altin Gün’s latest features ingenious grooves aplenty, and their more recent double a-side remix release furthers the vibes. And, given that I’ve never released a record before, I hope you’ll understand the self-indulgence with my final selection!

1 Jantra Synthesized Sudan: Astro-Nubian Electronic Jaglara Dance Sounds from the Fashaga Underground
Ostinato Records
2 The Loving Paupers Ladders
Easy Star Records
3 Baalti Better Together EP All My Thoughts
4 Micah Shemaiah Jamaica Jamaica Evidence Music
5 Various Artists Ecuatoriana – El Universo Paralelo de Polibio Mayorga 1969-1981 Analog Africa
6 Khalia Stay True EP
Ineffable Records
7 Alo Wala Tough Gains EP
X-Ray Production
8 TriXstar Azadi EP
Boomrush Production
9 Altin Gün Aşk ATO Records
10 Pomegranate Sounds (ft. Vixen Sound) Riots EP
Pomegranate Sounds
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