Top 10 Albums of 2023 – Uncle Jeff’s Picks

It’s that time of year again. Here’s Uncle Jeff’s picks for what did it for him this year. There is a theme of unreleased old stuff, but get over it! When stuff comes out that is this fresh, it merits your hipster over-the-top esoteric little attention…

  1. Joni Mitchell – Court & Spark Demos RSD LP (Reprise)
    The third installment of Joni’s Archive Series came as a 5 cd box set, but this one 12 minute ‘Piano Suite’ mergin songs that would become the slick LA Express-laden LP is a masterpiece of nuance and emotional rendering. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED INSTEAD. Oh the wonders of modern times where the gifts hidden in the vaults are revealed.
  2. Sufjan Stevens – 5 song Bonus EP for Javelin (Asthmatic Kitty Rough Trade exclusive)How ‘The Old Man of the Lake’ and these other wonderful melodic treats were left off ‘Javelin’ is a mystery. The very hard to find exclusive bonus tracks are better than the LP.
  3. Slowdive – Everything Is Alive (Dead Oceans)
    I love it when old and well respected bands have a creative resurgence and come out with late-career masterpieces. This is one. Gauzy, melodic & timeless.
  4. Follakzoid – V (Sacred Bones 2LP)
    A new genre of propellant drone-techno-shaman-hypno produced by Atom Heart makes this the best Follakzoid yet. A locked groove on side one played for 30 min before I realized the side was over!
  5. Amanaz – Africa (New Again 2LP w/Reverb Mix)
    A tripped out African garage psyche groove lost to time got re-issued with the original reverb laden mix and a second LP with a dry remastered version. Still cant decide which is best. It depends on the weather…
  6. Mac DeMarco – 5 Easy Hot Dogs (Mac’s Record Label)
    Yummy to say the least. Super melodic adult contemporary instrumentals that sound better than his recent releases. The twist is that these songs are all ear-worms of high caliber lounge music that are a bit demented as you would expect from Mac.
  7. King Crimson – Fillmore West Dec 13/14, 1969 2LP (Verne)
    OOH la-la! One of the most amazing and revelatory soundboards ever bootlegged, why Robert Fripp has not legitimately released this set is a mystery! The magic is in the pure improv that would mutate into later songs, both recognized, and abandoned. The Fillmore West set was superbly recorded by Bill Graham. The Fillmore East set s a bit rougher, but you get to hear Holtz’s ‘Mars’ as interpreted by the finest Crimson lineup, Thanking the Tape Gods for being able to hear this gem of a set in my lifetime! A must.
  8. Lingua Lustra – Holo (Carpe Sonum 2CD)
    A masterpiece of advanced melodic ambient techno with long and brilliant tracks that both hypnotize and enlighten any listening environment. Lingua Lustra splits this set into a trip inducing ambient disc, and a beat oriented one. The third track ‘Synchronicity’ is the most psychedelic and brain-locking ten minutes I’ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended!
  9. Wilco- Cousin (Wilco’s record Label)
    Yes, dad-rock again. And no apologies! The fact that Wilco keeps coming up with releases that merit attention is due to Jeff Tweedy’s ever-insistent sense of melody and re-invention. The art damaged production of what are essentially pop songs are enhanced greatly by the static and distorted drum and other effects. Unexpected.
  10. Acetone – 1992-2001 (2 LP Light In the Attic)
    Last but not least, this counts because Milkman Dan found me a copy in a Seattle record store. LITA reissued this essential comp due to extreme discogs scalping and demand. Mine’s on swrly metalic aqua sea blue vinyl. The band Acetone blends surf and slowcore pop melodies in a spacious trio mix that can be soft to crushing in the same song. There are a slew of unreleased tracks and demos that make this both an over-view for the neophyte and a treasure for the well-versed fan. Count me in!
Artist Album Label
1 Joni Mitchell Court & Spark Demos RSD LP Reprise
2 Sufjan Stevens 5 song Bonus EP for Javelin
Asthmatic Kitty/Rough Trade
3 Slowdive Everything Is Alive Dead Oceans
4 Follakzoid V Sacred Bones
5 Amanaz Africa
Zambia Music Parlour
6 Mac DeMarco 5 Easy Hot Dogs
Mac’s Record Label
7 King Crimson Fillmore West Dec 13/14, 1969 2LP Verne
8 Lingua Lustra Holo Carpe Sonum
9 Wilco Cousin
Wilco’s Record Label
10 Acetone 1992-2001 Light In The Attic
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