AOTY 2023
Evil Blizzard - Rotting In The Belly Of The Whale
This album slipped out unnoticed by me a month ago but I’m glad I found out about it before the close of 2023 - this is classic Evil Blizzard 😈 🥶

The 57 second long ‘Tiny People’ is rip roaring and funny, ‘Professional Driver’ is snarky with punk attitude, ‘Clouds Like Ghosts’ is some excellent Cure worship, and the doomy ‘All You Bad, Bad People’ is one of their best riff fests.

A refinement album, they’re not reinventing the ... read more

Christian Kjellvander - Hold Your Love Still
Somewhere between the appeal of recent Nick Cave and Honey Harper lands this unlikely epic from Swedish americana veteran Christian Kjellvander.

His hair may be in retreat but his writing certainly isn't.

Art Feynman - Be Good The Crazy Boys
Feynman has been searching for the right formula for a while now - you know he wanted to move away from his previous indie folk work and go all in with this 'playful art pop thing with a funky backbone' but the previous two albums missed their mark.

This one shows he's on the right path and could even drop a minor cult classic next time perhaps? David Byrne would approve.

Harp - Albion
I have to admit (confess?) to the fact I (gosh) don’t read reviews all that much these days. The benefit of this is I go into new releases without many if any preconceived notions beyond potentially my existing knowledge of the artist and maybe looking at the ‘much beautiful’ image they’ve selected to represent their art on the cover. The downside to this approach is obvious…sometimes I still like to write reviews and then all too quickly I can come across like an ... read more
Guided by Voices - Nowhere to Go But Up
Guided By Voices benefitting from a quiet release schedule and so this is the first of their recent albums I gave six early listens to...and the final judgement is 'Nowhere to Go But Up' contains nothing revelatory.

I think it might mainly be Pollard's 'none more indie' voice but I was most reminded of the made up band from the film 'Frank' (The Soronprfbs) when listening to this - and I think that says everything.


Kurt Vile - Back to Moon Beach
Reassuringly great ‘minor’ (it’s still an hour long) EP from KV - if you’re expecting brevity this is still only a little more tight than his usual sprawling releases.

Leisurely is the word, these are tunes to kick back to and let wash over you, but the impressive thing here is the quality is as high as usual and the songs flow very nicely thank you very much.

Some usual Vile chucklesome turns of phrase in the lyrics too, almost a recognised trademark in their own ... read more

André 3000 - New Blue Sun
Bad case of fluteulance? 🪈 💨


Madness - Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C’est La Vie
Hackney Diamonds vs Camden Crumbs

If you weren't impressed with the Stones this year bringing it in their eighties then listen to these prize plums failing miserably in their sixties.

Theatre of the Absurd? Theatre of the Ripe Turd.

Danny Brown - Quaranta
Danny with an expression like he’s fallen out of love with the smell of his own farts.

The album actually sounds like that realisation put to music too, NR

Chris Stapleton - Higher
It seemed unlikely Stapleton would be able to better his last release, the genre classic ‘Starting Over’, and so it proves. ‘Higher’ marks a retreat to a more easygoing approach to the song writing where often the song title is enough for a listener to anticipate the upcoming approach - standard names like ‘It Takes a Woman’, ‘Think I’m In Love With You’ and ‘Loving You On My Mind’ leave little to the imagination.

Still, ... read more

Beirut - Hadsel
"Wake me up before you go-go
And give it up for an 'indie schmindie' bro-bro
His most boring yet, and that's an almighty no-no
Time for this band to go extinct like the flightless dodo"
Chase & Status - 2 Ruff, Vol.1
Guilty pleasure klaxon 🚨

Finally they realised you can relegate those soppy big vocal over emoting tunes and just replace them all with wall to wall bangers (ok, there’s still one big vocal track here but it’s a more than passable one)

Definitely the most consistent thing they've released - it was all too much for The Guardian though 🤦‍♂️

Empty Country - Empty Country II
I fear this type of earnest and intense emo informed indie rock is a bit ‘out of step’ in 2023 and might struggle to reach an audience; if ‘Empty Country II’ had been released in 2005 following Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ it might have been ‘semi massive’.

The most divisive element here are surely the vocals - they’re certainly ‘Cedric Bixler-Zavala level’ strange enough to scare some listeners away, but counting myself a ... read more

There Will Be Fireworks - Summer Moon
This sounds like ‘Boxer’ era The National strained through a Mumford filter and endorsed by the Scottish tourist board, and don’t get me wrong that’s not ALL a bad thing.


Glen Hansard - All That Was East Is West Of Me Now
This is Hansard's most consistent album, but consistent in a way that's very mature and traditional in the classic singer/songwriter fashion.

For me it scores lower than the preceding 'This Wild Willing' because it isn't as adventurous and the highs aren't as high - the lows also aren't anywhere near as low but I generally listen to music for the highs (who doesn't?) so that's my reasoning there.

The highlight of 'All That Was East...' is the knotty ballad 'Sure As the Rain' that's remained a ... read more

King Creosote - I Des
"One day U2 will be dust" - say it ain't so Bono
Witchman - Explorimenting Beats
A side project from a member of The Orb apparently, this is drum n bass with more of a trip hop aesthetic...and sometimes the other way around too - it really works anyhow.
Storm & Stress - Storm & Stress
I've always said, if 'free jazz' uses a palette of sounds I warm to then half the battle is won already...if it uses a variety of shrill parps that make me want to curl up in the recovery position and sob, then not so much.

This 'post rock' (maybe 'math rock') palette is perfect to my ears, so we're onto a winner.

"Mmmmmm, improv!"

Who said that?

Prong - X (No Absolutes)
“Unholy passion…I feel the ass roll through my face”

Did I hear that right? Hot dang 🥵


Luke Slater - Freek Funk
Banger...after banger...after banger?
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Recent Review Comments
On Harp - Albion
"Whynot - I read quite a few of the write ups here but they're generally short and sometimes hot takes but professional reviews is now less than a hundred a year when back in the day I probably read ten or so a week on average. Wearbear - ah ok, I'll change that to 'split with'. I too think the album is a close to perfect start to finish listen :)"
On Harp - Albion
"As much as I’m having a bit of a laugh at Midlake here I do quite enjoy what I’ve heard from them…I’ll definitely be revisiting and filling in the gaps for them over the rest of the month. I guess my impressions of this went - listen 1: 73%, listen 2: 80%, listen 3: 86%, listen 4: 94% So far after a further two listens it’s staying up there!"
On jrustuster's review of André 3000 - New Blue Sun
"Fluent in flute 🪈"
On Danny Brown - Quaranta
"He does genuinely sound a bit 'out of love with being Danny Brown' here - seems an attempted reinvention sorta."
On Danny Brown - Quaranta
"I really don't like 'Tantor' and then some other songs I find just 'mid' I guess ('Celibate' definitely). A lot of the rest is decent, but then also I'm not 100% getting what I'd really want from a Danny Brown album, though I respect what he's going for (intimate, mature). a 'NR' from me means 'somewhere between average and good but not too notable' and that's where I'm at, I don't not like it, but still a little disappointing."
On Beirut - Hadsel
"GC as ever my neg ‘reviews’ are me amusing myself, I’m very confident Beirut won’t call it a day based on this :) I think this is the first time here I’ve ever used the B word but if this album isn’t direct provocation to break that unsaid rule I don’t know what is."
On Host's review of death's dynamic shroud - 失われた時REGRET
"Great review, my favourite parts are the sections are those before the track analysis - but the track analysis is still good 🫡"
On Empty Country - Empty Country II
"thanks Doomedat, more people need to give this one a few goes"
On Sgt_PuRpLe's review of Incubus - Morning View
"I meant for my rating to read 80% you must forgive me"
On Luke Slater - Freek Funk
"Good choice"
On Wild Nothing - Hold
"Ah no, everything gets rated on RYM - this got a 2/5"
On Wild Nothing - Hold
"I only allow myself 20 negative ratings for a given year so wasn't feeling it, it would have knocked off a more interesting negative 2023 rating"
On Esoteric - The Pernicious Enigma
"some users here might require sedation to give this a full listen agreed 👍"
On The Bathers - Sirenesque
"Thanks Lucman, this is slightly behind Kelvingrove for me but it has the same magic - and that means everything. Favourite album of the decade so far? Quite possibly."
On The Bathers - Sirenesque
"Go for it, I hope some people end up discovering this band here"
On Lucmun's review of The Bathers - Sirenesque
"Amazing review, unbelievable rating!"
On Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - SAVED!
"The last two songs are quite good too, and honestly 'I Will Be With You Always' might make a top 200 songs of the year or something like that, maybe my favourite track she's released? I don't totally dislike the aesthetic she's presented here but it's definitely overdone for me across the album as a whole, the really hymnal/gospel songs or the short more sparse uptempo folk tunes don't make the best impression."
On Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - SAVED!
"'I Will Be With You Always' is genuinely very very good so I'm taking that - a whole album of such quality and style I'd rate a lot higher."
On CMAT - Crazymad, For Me
"the song is also very bad"
On Oneohtrix Point Never - Again
"pleased to hear it, I mean I'd still recommend other albums as a starting place for him, but for sure this will appeal to those with an ear for it and the patience to let it unfold"
On CMAT - Crazymad, For Me
"I allow myself twenty 'red ratings' for each year, I dunno, I thought this album was even less enjoyable than the one before and it irked me. The 'negative ratings' on my account sometimes get switched, this might be around for the long haul or disappear in a month I don't know what to tell you. I take the negative ratings a lot less seriously and I encourage everyone to interpret them that way. You like this album?"
On FattyMcNeill's review of Snot - Get Some
"nice one, congrats 👏"
On Armand Hammer - We Buy Diabetic Test Strips
"I prefer this one by a little bit but also I get that"

November Playlist