Tom Brennan's Top 10 of 2023
- Genesis Owusu - Struggle
- Gorillaz - Cracker Island
- The Gaslight Anthem - History Books
- Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We
- Wilco - Cousin
- Spoon - Memory Dust EP
- The New Pornographers - Continue As A Guest
- Black Pumas - Chronicles Of A Diamond
- The National - First Two Pages Of Frankenstein
- Cut Worms - Cut Worms
Genesis Owusu - Struggle
I first heard Genesis Owusu on the station and immediately got hooked on “Get Inspired”. For some reason his voice along with the tempo of most of his songs struck me. So I heard he was releasing a new I was really excited. Then…”Leaving The Light” was released and it was exactly what I expected. That along with the second single from the album, “Tied Up!” automatically made me think the album was making it to my top 10 of the year. And here we are 4 months later and it’s my favorite album we played on the station. Here’s the video to the title track of the album
Gorillaz - Cracker Island
I really think Gorillaz can do no wrong. Even making a virtual band back in 1998 couldn’t stop them. And, here we are 25 years late celebrating their 8th album. Over the years they’ve brought on musicians to play on their album. Cracker Island has a murderers’ row on the album. With the likes of Stevie Nicks, Thundercat, Tame Impala, and Beck. Then they pressed a deluxe edition with legendary hip-hop band De La Soul and Del The Funky Homosapien from Deltron 3030.
So yeah, it’s a great album. ‘Nuff said.
The Gaslight Anthem - History Books
Maybe someone else on staff knew The Gaslight Anthem was back together and about to drop a new album on our lap but, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the first new album from them in 9 years. They said that they wanted to get back to playing together when it felt right. Well, I’ll tell you that doesn’t sound right, it sounds amazing. As legend has it, Brian Fallon was talking to Bruce Springsteen about getting the band back together and Springsteen encouraged him to reach out to the other members of TGA. Perhaps it was Bruce’s contribution to the titular track that help tip the scales. However it happened, I for one am glad they got back together.
Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We
Much like Genesis Owusu Mitski moved all over the world as a child. Perhaps that helped influence her music making. There’s something that strikes me about her ability to switch gears across this album. The choral work on “Bug Like an Angel” is haunting. Then “My Love of Mine” her vocals are so personal and introspective. I know that this type of music isn’t for everyone but, it’s certainly for me.
Wilco - Cousin
I’ve been a fan of Wilco for years but “Cousin”, their thirteenth studio album has made me a true fan. “Evicted” really pulled me with Jeff Tweedy’s ability to make the tragedy of someone not loving you anymore so fun to hear. It’s no wonder that this album has made it to many Top Album of the Year lists.
Spoon - Memory Dust EP
The only reason why this release isn’t higher on my list this year is because there are only three songs on it. Those three tracks were essentially left-overs from when they made Lucifer on the Sofa. But, “Sugar Babies” and “Silver Girl” are as good as anything Spoon has done in years or, perhaps decades.
The New Pornographers - Continue As A Guest
You wouldn’t know that The New Pornographers made Continue As A Guest during pandemic lockdowns. The ability for this band to create such a cohesive sound in such dark times is a testament to their talent. And, frankly I can listen to “Really Really Light” all day long. It’s one of my favorite new songs of the year.
Black Pumas - Chronicles Of A Diamond
One of the only reasons why Chronicles Of A Diamond is where it is on my list is because I’ve only had two months to listen to it. Released in late October this album is dense with layer upon layer of music. If you want to get an idea of what the band sounds like, try the lead track off the album, “More Than A Love Song”
The National - First Two Pages Of Frankenstein
Here is another album jam packed with talent and, I’m not just talking about the band. Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift all make appearances on The National’s First Two Pages of Frankenstein. I’m a huge fan of Matt Beringer’s voice which for some reason sounds more like Matt Beringer than ever before.
Cut Worms - Cut Worms
I recently read that Max Clarke (the person behind Cut Worms) was heavily influenced by Brian Wilson’s songwriting and harmonies of The Beach Boys. And boy, that really shows itself in the self-titled album. Somehow songs like “Ballad of the Texas King” (which was a Song of Week BTW) sounds both contemporary and retro at the same time. Perhaps that’s where Brian Wilson’s influence’s really shows.