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Alt Revue Top 15 Albums of 2023

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

1.) boyenius - the album - Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus achieved crossover success with their supergroup's follow-up to their self-titled EP with the fantastically made and simply titled, the album. 2023 was the year of boygenius.

2.) The National - Laughtrack - A surprise follow-up to their first release this year, The First Two-Pages of Frankenstein, this one brought a brighter side to The National's often brooding melodies. The results were fantastic as the under-hyped album nearly took Album of the Year honors for us!

3.) Lana Del Rey - Did you Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd - The immensesly talented singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey showed why she's not only one of the best vocalists in the game but arguably one of the best lyricists as well with this album. She made impeccable choices on her collaborations on this one including having Jon Batiste, Father John Misty, and SYML serve on the record as well.

4.) Hello June - Artifacts - The follow-up to Sarah Rudy and Co.'s self-titled release has been a long time coming but it was worth every bit of the wait. Artifacts rivets the listener with songs of loss and love throughout and theirs not a single skippable track on this one. The West Virginian indie outfit continue to amaze with their original sound.

5.) Portugal. The Man - Chris Black Changed My Life - A touching tribute to their longtime friend Chris Black. Portugal. The Man continued to change the game in 2023 bringing in a diverse pallet of sonic textures and collaborators for this one. One of our highlights of the year was catching their set at Austin City Limits.

6.) Wilco - Cousin - Wilco returned to their alternative ways with the release of Cousin. The album very much reminds of their work on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Sky Blue Sky. The album really resonated with us this year as the band once again shows they haven't lost a step.

7.) K. Flay - MONO - K. Flay poured her soul into this record. It dealth with death, loss, sobriety, and the sudden loss of hearing in her ear. K. Flay channeled all of this emotion and trauma into a record that rips from start to finish. We absolutely loved it.

8.) Mitski - The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We - Mitski continued her strong string of albums with this one. She once again demonstrated why she's such a talent in the genre. Her vibratos are so fluid, natural, and not forced. That's not even mentioning her texturing of multiple instruments including guitar and violin.

9.) Blondshell - Blondshell - Blondshell burst onto the scene with her self-titled release that has all the angst of a 90's alt album. But don't get it twisted, that's not saying it sounds dated. It just evokes a lot of sounds including fantastic guitar solos that attack like a hornet. Just listen to "Veronica Mars" and you'll get it.

10.) Bully - Lucky for You - Bully released her follow-up to the critically acclaimed SUGAREGG from 2020. On this one she continues to bring her signature tenacity and "punch you in the mouth" energy. Honestly, we're all for it. Channeling throwback alt vibes and punk stylings, Bully continues to prove she's got a sound all her own.

11.) The National - The First Two Pages of Frankenstein - The National struggled with continuing as a band before the release of this one and almost elected to call it quits. We have to be honest, if that had happened we'd be heartbroken. However, the band was able to channel all of the challenges they were facing into a moody and brooding release that features some fantastically selected guest spots including Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, and Sufjan Stevens.

12.) Paramore - This is Why - Paramore roared back with This is Why essentially shouting from the rooftops "We hope you haven't forgotten about us!". The title track killed it on the charts this year and was seemingly inescapable (in a good way!). We are certainly glad Paramore are back with as much confidence as ever.

13.) King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - The Silver Cord  - On their second release of the year the band completely shifted gears genre-wise yet again and made a (mostly) electronic album. And in that effort, they succeeded. Are they going to quit their day jobs and become the next Daft Punk? We seriously doubt that. But it was a fantastic effort and well worth your time.

14.) King Gizzard & the Wizard Lizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation - King Gizz are never ones to shy away from a challenge and boy did they hit the mark with this one. On PetroDragonic Apocalypse the Australian band asked themselves if they could truly write and create a metal album. Boy did they ever. This one absolutely kicks your teeth in with a nice blend of metal and thrash that is not for the faint of heart, just ask some of the mainstream websites out there...

15.) Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Weathervanes - Jason Isbell and Co. continue to prove that they deserve to be at the forefront of the "yallternative" movement. Isbell just has a knack for such brutally honest and emotional songwriting that it's easy to see why he's drawn up such a passionate following over his career. Weathervanes included some great tracks like "Death Wish" and "King of Oklahoma". This one was a "must-include" for this list.

Honorable Mentions:

Leon III - Something Is Trying to Change My Mind - Dropping right around ACL season and culminating with the band's triumphant Weekend 2 set, Leon III had a hell of a year. Their new record saw the band insert even more psych stylings into their already traditionally psych tinged style and it simply worked. We were especially pumped about the sitar inclusion on the album as it was used in a way we haven't seen since "Paint It Black" and we're not kidding.

The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds - I know what you're thinking...This is supposed to be an alt site, why are you including The Stones on here?!?!? Listen, it's not withstanding the immense influence they've had on music, this is just such a great album. The harmonies between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are epic, the guitar work is great, and the hooks are impeccable. This was one that deserves recognition...even on an alt site.

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