The best albums of 2023

Here are our picks for the best albums of 2023.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 13th Dec 2023

And just like that, 2023 is coming to a close. As usual, there has been an incomprehensible amount of new music released and now is the perfect time to take a look back at any that might have slipped through the net. Skiddle staff have picked their favourites from 2023, and crowned one worthy winner with that coveted album of the year title.

Different members from different departments have stepped in to share their thoughts on their favourite records, ranging fro Hip-Hop to pop, indie and even Japanese metalcore. There's bound to be something you love in here, in what is indisputably the only end-of-year list you should consider. The best albums OF 2023 are as follows.


50. Hanabie - Reborn Superstar!

'Reborn Superstar!' Is the second studio album from Hanabie, a Japanese metalcore band from Tokyo. It's the first album released after  Sony Records signed the band to their subsidiary Epic Records. The album was recognised internationally, across many EU and US media outlets for its unique take on the metalcore genre. This helped the Band to gain recognition outside of their native Japan and resulted in many festival appearances and later an EU and US 2023 tour. 

The album was primarily written by the band's vocalist Yukina and the Guitarist Matsuri. The album is a good fun, fast-paced and rhythmic journey of the unique Hanabie experience. The primary vocals are a mix of screams and cleans done by Yukina with some clean vocals from Matsuri. The songs are a great mix of different genres J-Pop, Metalcore and Electronicore, with songs following the usual structure of repeating verses and choruses but some are a non-traditional and non-linear structure that move through the aforementioned genres. Listening to this album is something I can recommend for those who enjoy heavy and fast paced music. (Scott Crossan, Full Stack Developer)




49. RAYE - MY 21st Century Blues

The story around RAYE is one of endurance. After being stifled by her major label, she was finally able to sever ties and release her debut album. What we get is a trip through pop, dancehall and slick R&B as we hear a singer firmly in touch with her voice and self. (Skiddle staff)




48. Chappell Roan - The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess

Chappell Roan's debut album was a long time coming. After being dropped by her label, it was a blessing in disguise as she was finally able to fully find her sense of direction. What we get is a romantic and theatrical album which is brimming full of personality. (Skiddle staff)




47. Samia - Honey 

With this album being a January release, it may have easily slipped under your radar, but you'd be missing out on a richly rewarding listen. Samia makes indie pop that is full of feeling, her poetic lyrics detailing intimate relationships and difficult moments without going overly specific.

It means that people can often see a part of themselves in these lyrics, and instantly connect with Samia. There's great catharsis to be found here, which is testament to Samia's lyrical talent. (Skiddle staff)




46. Sparks - The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte

A monumental 26 albums into their career, Sparks still manage to ignite the imagination, with a sense of endless creativity. The title track of this album, featuring a dancing Cate Blanchett, is a clear highlight. The duo remind us here that they can craft pop songs that stay in your head for an eternity. (Skiddle staff)  




45. Slayyyter - Starfucker

Slayyyter once again has cemented herself as one of this generations pop icons. The intro to the album 'I Love Hollywood' sets the precedent for the album. Pop that is about having FUN from start to finish. A project full of electronic sounds to set queer dancefloors all over the world alight with deburachious lyrics to match.

It’s a refreshing album that gets you to let loose and let go and take a break from the seriousness of life for 44 minutes and 22 seconds. Even though we say this album is about not taking things too seriously, the talent of Slayyyter, the producers and songwriters are not to be overlooked. Overall this album makes us want to drink vodka cokes and dance in sweaty opulent underground clubs and get slutty. (Dan Brown, Account Manager)




44. KwolleM - Melo

As grime enters its 23rd year, its presence on the underground is as healthy as ever. In the mainstream, it's a different story. The popularity grime saw from 2014-2017 has been ceded to newer sounds, with young people more likely to stream their favourite drill rapper rather than lock into a late-night radio set. But there's still life in this old genre yet.

Time away from the mainstream allows for experimentation and reimagination, which is what London-based producer KwolleM delivered this year with his latest album, 'Melo'. Here, KwolleM chops up trademark grime sounds, tunes and lyric snippets, reanimating them into soulful, sweet-sounding instrumentals for Joe James and a number of rappers to spit bars about the pride of fatherhood, childhood, love, loss and everything in between. (Ryan Moss, B2B Copywriter)




43. Mick Jenkins - The Patience

As a lyrical rapper, most could listen to Mick Jenkins over and over and find a new hidden gem or two on each listen. But even if lyrics aren’t your thing, the tracks on this one range from pretty hard bangers perfect for angry listening to ethereal jazz rap cuts that make you transcend. Despite its range, 'The Patience' remains cohesive. 

The motif of patience is found throughout the album, as well as in visualisers and music videos, which allows you to focus on the project and its recurring themes. Despite the title, it’s clear at a fair few points that he is, in fact, totally out of patience. He sounds hungry, rapping through a frown on '2004' and 'Pasta', while 'Mop' and 'Smoke Break-Dance' with JID are sonically much calmer. Incredible album. (Holly Quinn, Content Team Leader)




42. The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery

Post-punk band The Murder Capital released their second album at the start of the year and it was a clear evolution for their monochrome beginnings. 'Gigi's Recovery' is a meditative experienced, centred around the aftermath of trauma and the healing process as a whole.

Their guitars turn into swirling storms of sound which completely surround you and draw you into their world. This is one of the most immersive albums of the year. (Skiddle staff)




41. Model/Actriz - Dogsbody

Feral. Groovy. Hedonistic; 'Dogsbody', the debut from New York’s Dance Punk outfit Model/Actriz, is one of the year's most intense and original releases. Garnering a fervent word-of-mouth buzz courtesy of their electric live shows, these lads are the real deal and must be seen live at any opportunity.

The record itself is rhythmic and driving, almost mechanical in its bass-driven groove, with songs that bleed into each other, and Cole Haden’s visceral delivery, crafted from a language of pain, shame and desire, is as enchanting as it is worrying. It’s a record on the brink of madness, that’ll have you dancing and head-banging in equally excessive measure; one of the strongest debuts of the year. (Tom Hirst, SEO Content Writer)




40. Militarie Gun - Life Under The Gun

A standout band within the hardcore punk scene, Militarie Gun have stolen hearts with their abrasive, yet melodic songs. Fans of Turnstile will likely enjoy these songs that thrive with a directness, with an underlying and unifying message. (Skiddle staff)




39. CMAT - Crazymad, For Me

We might as well crown CMAT as the queen of current Irish pop music. Her album 'Crazymad, For Me' cements her an an incredibly eccentric character, one who brings out all of the melodrama of her self-mythology in a colourful and creative aesthetic. (Skiddle staff)




38. Water From Your Eyes - Everyone's Crushed

Matador Record signees Water From Your Eyes have been working meticulously in the background for years now, but 'Everyone's Crushed' feels like their most fully-realised project to date. This is art-pop at its finest, constantly throwing curveballs at you in an endlessly enjoyable project. (Skiddle staff)




37. Swans - The Beggar

This year, I was lucky enough to see Swans twice on two consecutive Saturdays. I say I was lucky; I was in the sense that I was there, but I was just as equally unlucky as live music performed by literally anybody else doesn't sound as good anymore. As I overheard someone say at the second of the two gigs; "well, they've just completed music, what's next?" 'The Beggar' is an incredibly interesting record in the Swans canon. While Michael Gira and his cohorts generally spend years developing songs in a live setting before committing them to record, the pandemic put up an unavoidable roadblock to any such creative endeavours.

Instead, what we get is the most personal and introspective record Gira has ever released, written and developed while the rest of us questioned the reopening of the World. Across the 2 hours of music presented here, Gira ponders his own mortality in the wake of a global crisis and the unending forward march of time. The music is as expansive, glorious and all-consuming as ever before, with breath-taking passages of repetition and drone aplenty.

Of course, I'm biased, Swans can do no wrong in my eyes. But I remain confident and adamant that they continue to be one of the most forward thinking "rock" bands of all time, even in their 5th decade of being a band. (Jonny, Account Support Team Leader)




36. Grian Chatten - Chaos For The Fly

In Fontaines D.C., Grian Chatten is front and centre of one of the best contemporary bands, with a fiercely-devoted fanbase. In his debut solo album, the singer is still looking inward but this time he is stripped-back and projecting an incredibly authentic sense of self. There is nowhere to hide in this space for Chatten and it makes for an enthralling listen. (Skiddle staff)




35. Slowdive - Everything Is Alive

The shoegaze legends themselves returned this year. Slowdive are an essential band to listen to in the genre and 'Everything Is Alive' was a welcome return to form. The real satisfaction here comes from the way in which their riffs and drones seem to pull you into their world. (Skiddle staff)  




34. Joesef - Permanent Damage

The debut album from Joesef ruminates largely on heartbreak, which makes for an impactful emotional experience. The album is laid-back throughout, leaving pauses for reflection and letting you peek inside the mind of someone with a few emotional scars. (Skiddle staff)




33. Avalon Emerson - &the Charm

Avalon Emerson...with a band? That's right. For 2023, the renowned DJ and producer took to the guitar, swapping the intricate electronic music she's made her name with for an album of gripping dream pop. Whirling guitars, earworm rhythms and surging strings are the launchpad for '& The Charm', and when combined with Avalon's misty vocal and lyrics recalling her youth, create a delicate soundscape that flows effortlessly. 

Easy listening is often derided, reserved for aimless new age compilations and high street changing room music. But if there was an album to change that assumption, it would be '& The Charm'. The loose guitar riffs and wandering rhythms feel warm, enveloping the body like a trusted hand on the shoulder from a lifelong friend. (Ryan Moss, B2B Copywriter)




32. Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Mitski is yet to release a bad album and thanks to TikTok, has been enjoying a much wider audience over the past few years. Her latest album is much more contemplative than her previous record 'Laurel Hell'. It's in these moments that you appreciate her usage of language even more than usual. (Skiddle staff)




31. Yaeji - With A Hammer

The best artists take challenging concepts and rework them into something palatable. Think how The Wachowski's brought high-brow philosophy to a tentpole action film with The Matrix, for example. It's something that Yaeji does, too. On her debut album, 'With a Hammer', she blends jazz riffs, wonky bass lines and discordant guitars to create a slick pop record. 

'With A Hammer' finely balances the weird and wispy. Yaeji never prioritises one over the other, which, along with her writing and vocals, is what makes the album so good. There is enough edge in the music to keep your ears pricked up, which is then supplemented with a pop sensibility. Overall, 'With a Hammer' is a striking debut release, and we can't wait to see what Yaeji delivers next. (Ryan Moss, B2B Content Writer)




30. Kettama - Fallen Angel

After a series of successful EPs over the last few years, this summer Kettama finally dropped his debut album 'Fallen Angel' with a bang. The number of times I’ve heard 'Fly Away XTC' at festivals and raves this year is frankly quite silly, this shows how much this Aussie style of techno is influencing music here in the UK. Hearing DJ Heartstring play this anthem at a packed-out Concourse stage at the sold-out XXL Warehouse Project epitomised this.

For what this album lacks in length, it makes up in heavenly synths inspired by 90s trance combined with hard-hitting drum kicks. 1997 blends these two aspects together beautifully accompanied with delicate vocals throughout. This single reinforces the euphoria associated with the G-Town Records star man and reminds me of the hot summer days of listening to this album on repeat.

Since the release of 'Fallen Angel', Kettama has been teasing an exciting new project with world-renowned veteran DJs Underworld. This highlights the raw producing talent that Kettama has, and how 'Fallen Angel' has made ripples within the dance music community. With the backing of Steel City Dance Discs, Kettama is definitely one to watch for 2024. (Alex Hendrick, Customer Support Representative) 




29. Lil Yachty - Let's Start Here

If you’ve heard his earlier tracks like 'Poland' and 'Broccoli' with DRAM, know 'Let’s Start Here' sounds nothing like them. Changing his style entirely, Yachty dropped an album packed with psych-rock and soul tracks, and it’s a sound that fits him all too well. With this one, it seems like Yachty had a trip or two and spun a bunch of Pink Floyd (who he actually samples on opener the BLACK seminole.) before landing on this sound which features very otherworldly and pleasing soundscapes.

Using screaming guitar solos, melodic vocals, funky basslines, acoustic drums, and spacey synths, we’ve got a totally different exciting sound that has us eager to see what Lil Yachty does next. (Holly Quinn, Content Team Lead)




28. Squid - O Monolith

When Squid first came on the scene with their high-octane brass-fuelled brand of genre-spanning guitar music, it was clear to see that their creative ideas were always going to surpass it. 'Bright Green Field' was a step in such a direction, but  'O Monolith' sees the Brighton rockers truly jump out into a space of their own.

In just 8 tracks and 42 minutes, Squid cover a surprising amount of sonic territory. From British Folk to Electronica to Psych to Ambient, it is all here and melted in a pot of impressive artistic development. But it’s not only in sound but in concept where O Monolith shines. From its central folkloric themes to its dadaistic tendencies to its more surrealist moments (being reincarnated as a bedside cabinet); it’s a record only Squid could make, and a record that rewards each listen. 

If you like your music to challenge you and be a bit out there, this is the record for you to listen to this year. (Tom Hirst, SEO Content Writer)




27. Blondshell - Blondshell

If you love the sound of 90s grunge and indie rock then you're going to love this debut album from Blondshell. Her songs tell tales of terrible sex from awful men, relationships that fall apart but also startling, authentic love. Highs and lows are here in abundance. 

A deftly clever writer, Blondshell inserts humour at all the right times and is at her best during the most descriptive moments. Anthemic hooks deliver killer blows to make the emotional moments truly hit home. (Skiddle staff)




26. Ryuichi Sakamoto - 12

To the uninitiated, Ryuichi Sakamoto was a Japanese musician of the highest acclaim, having been a founding member of the iconic and hugely-inspirational Yellow Magic Orchestra. Ryuichi has run the gamut of releases in his lifetime from experimental soundscapes, to electronic art pop as well as writing some of the most gut-wrenching film scores I've ever heard.

Early in 2023, we were left with a parting gift from Ryuichi in the form of '12', an album that presents the pianist in his final moments of creative explorations. Sadly, Ryuichi passed away not long after the release of the record following an ongoing battle with cancer. What he left us is a record that demonstrates his endless passion and creativity; a record that encapsulates an artist's life within its glimpses and peeks into his prolific yet dwindling days. It's a simple record, one which is composed of minimal piano pieces. Throughout the record, you can hear Ryuichi's heavy breathing picked up on the microphone. Whilst he knowingly didn't have long left, he lovingly breathes life into these compositions in a way that renders them timeless. They will always remain as a constant and final reminder of a true artists unending journey. (Jonny, Account Support Team Leader)




25. Danny Brown - Quantra

Opening with the lyric, “This rap sh*t done saved my life, and f*cked it up at the same time,” 'Quaranta' is an alternative hip-hop album which immediately showcases its gloomy aura. 

Eccentricism is probably what Danny’s music is best known for, which isn’t as prominent here compared to his other projects. Instead, he switches that out for introspection and reflection, working through tough feelings following his battle with substance abuse. For some, that’ll be a turn-off but we’ve got a darker, more personal project that draws you in from that first lyric. A deep, long stare into a mirror, 'Quaranta' is eerie and puts you on edge but still has plenty of bangers. (Holly Quinn, Content Team Leader)




24. Paramore - This Is Why

This year, Paramore found a brilliant balance between pop and punk on 'This Is Why'. From the paranoid energy of 'The News' to the relentless rhythm of 'C'est Comme Ca', this album sees the band influenced by our increasingly polarised world.

Albums such as this showcase why Hayley Williams has become a key figure in influencing a generation of artists including Olivia Rodrigo and Boygenius. Her lyrics are uncompromising whilst also picking up on everyday, relatable themes, all tied together with brilliant hooks. (Skiddle staff) 




23. Troye Sivan - Something To Give Each other

It is fair to say that Troye Sivan has turned things around. It looked as though his career was at danger of stagnanting, with plenty od nearly moments but 'Something To Give Each Other' feels like his entry to mainstream success. The first single 'Rush' was an adrenaline rush that he hasn't looked back from since.

The other singles have featured truly iconic imagery and have proved that he can write hits. The surprise sample in 'Got Me Started' turned a meme song into a banger, this is a special album. (Skiddle staff)




22. The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling

The Chemical Brothers further cemented their legacy this year by releasing 'For That Beautiful Feeling' which featured contributions from vocalists such as Halo Maud. This album is pure techno pleasure, an album that will light up your day and stick around in your head for a long while to come. (Skiddle staff)




21. Paris Texas -Midair

Whilst many among you may think that Rap-Rock should be left in the capable hands of Rage Against The Machine; we reckon that Paris Texas couldn't care less about your opinion, and will swagger onto the mic, cause a riot, a bit of mischief, and then leave, all without letting you get a word in edgeways.

'Midair', The LA duo's debut this year, encapsulates all you need to know about them. Played fast and loose across its 16 tracks, the record is acerbic and propulsive; fun and creative. Branding its alt-rock-kid heart on its sleeve, but packing witty and introspective trap lyricism and some of the cleanest production we’ve heard on a Rap-Rock record; 'Midair' is an absolute joy to listen to, and even better heard live. Just be prepared for the pit! (Tom Hirst, SEO Content Writer)




20. Kelela - Raven

Kelela kept us waiting. It's been six years since the release of 'Take Me Apart', with the teaser video for last year's 'Washed Away' playing on the anticipation by gathering tweets from fans appealing for new music. 'Raven' arrived in February 2023, and fans weren't disappointed. While it would've been easy for Kelela to smooth out the edges, put both eyes on the mainstream and aim for headline festival slots, she travelled further into her influences.

Breakbeats, 2 step drum patterns and aqueous synths are Raven's backdrop; dancefloor romance, devotion in love and strength in adversity are its subject matter. Here, the all-encompassing feeling of electronic music is captured through the rhythm and the ambient influences, some tracks hitting you with immediacy and others building up to dramatic peaks. All in all? It's another knockout album from one of music's true precedent-setters. (Ryan Moss, B2B Content Writer)




19. Tirzah - trip9love...???

November saw London-based singer-songwriter Tirzah drop 'trip9love...?', a record produced alongside long-term collaborator and friend Mica Levi. The production here is striking. Crashing drums, open space and reverb are the calling cards, but instead of changing from song to song, the instrumental from the opening track repeats throughout the album. 

Meanwhile, Tirzah's vocal contorts over the continuous loop. The result? A dreamy, otherworldly soundscape that is perfect for getting lost inside. (Ryan Moss, B2B Content Writer)




18. SZA - SOS

Now yes, this album may have come out right at the end of 2022, but it was way too late to consider it for AOTY lists then, so it's definitely getting a mention now. It seems as though SZA only deals in perfection, with 'SOS' surely going to be considered a modern R&B classic just like 2017's 'Ctrl'.

Each feature is amazing, but there can be no doubt that SZA is very much the main character of this story, with some of the most impeccable voices around at the moment. (Skiddle staff)




17. Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

It was devastating to learn that Sufjan Stevens was dedicating the release of 'Javelin' to his late husband Evans Richardson. It makes the passion, love and intimacy feel even more poignant. This is the master songwriter back truly in his element, wearing his heart on his sleeve and absolutely mesmerising us whilst he's at it. (Skiddle staff)




16. Olivia Rodrigo - Guts

A pop star was born when Olivia Rodrigo released 'Sour' back in 2021. Here on 'Guts', Rodrigo continues to perfectly summarise the trials and tribulations of young female adulthood. There are chorus' here that we;re going to remember for a long time from 'bad idea right?' to 'Vampire'.

Rodrigo now stands tall as an inspiration for young women to truly accept themselves and any of the messiness that surrounds them. With a pop-punk edge that hints to her forbearers in Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams, she's making sure that guitars stay in pop. (Skiddle staff)




15. JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown - Scaring The Hoes

A collaboration that seemed absolutely ideal when it was announced, it proved to be the case as these two huge personalities collided to create the most unflinching album of the year. Relentless vocals meet the absurd production from JPEGMAFIA, to make you feel as if you've entered their own cinematic universe. (Skiddle staff)




14. PJ Harvey - I Inside The Old Year Dying

Veteran musician, PJ Harvey, returned with her tenth album by revisiting her poem Orlam, written in the Dorset vernacular. The lyrics are definitely the focal point of the album, sung over many chilling, minimalist instrumentals, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some stunning tracks here. One of the most appealing qualities of the project is almost certainly how immersive it is. 

Thanks to the Dorset vernacular being used throughout and the similar vibe in many of the instrumentals, it’s the kind of album you can put on, lie back, and close your eyes to, escaping into a detailed other universe until the album ends. And, if you like, you can go around again. (Holly Quinn, Content Team Leader)




13. Kylie Minogue - Tension

Legends never die and Kylie Minogue proved this year that she can still provide the hits. 'Tension' feels like a love letter to her LQBTQ+ fans, making nods to the clubbing spaces in which queer culture thrives. 'Padam Padam', no one knows what that means but nbody cares when it absolutely bops.

The title track is another clear highlight. It is astounding, but maybe not a surprise that the current pop of pop stars, apart from a select few, could hope to hold a candle to Minogue in the future. (Skiddle staff)




12. Jim Legxacy - HNPM

The internet has compressed consumption. Through the years, music fans might've belonged to factions: goths, ravers, new romantics and so on. Now, people are comfortable using aesthetics from multiple cultural phenomena to create their own style. Take a look at how the trappings of emo and goth have crossed over into rap music over the past few years, for example. 

One such example of this hybrid approach is Lewisham's Jim Legxacy. Back in April, the young artist unveiled 'HNPM', a debut album where grime and drill samples stand next to bubblegum pop of the 00s, jersey club rhythms and a vocal style reminiscent of midwest emo from the 90s.

A delicate mix, then. Buzzwords are impressive, but Jim's storytelling ability kept this album on repeat. Over the album's 12 tracks, he brings to life tales of love, loss, the reality of his area and more. The results are breathtaking. Overall, 'HNPM' is a collection of unique pop songs that mix numerous styles with the ease of a veteran quilter creating something new. (Ryan Moss, B2B Content Writer)




11. Jessie Ware - That! Feels Good!

Listening to That! Feels Good! Feels like you're stepping into a neon-lit basement with Jessie Ware, ready to dance away the night and completely lose yourself. It's all about following your instinct and chasing whatever you consider your high.

Her music takes from the very best parts of clubbing culture and makes you feel liberated. It's a very horny listen too. (Skiddle staff)




10. Blur - The Ballad of Darren

Whether or not we'll get a new Blur album ever again is a problem for another time, but The Ballad of Darren wouldn't be the worst note to end things on. This isn't Blur at their playful best, this is them picking up the pieces during the turmoil of a relationship falling apart.

Yet, they still know how to hook you, with short guitar riffs that manage to live long in the memory and arguably the most impactful lyrics of their career. (Skiddle staff)




9. Overmono - Good Lies

Having first gained prominence on the garage and techno scene through their singles and EPs, the worry with the brotherly duo Overmono - who take their unique name from the Monmouth suburb they hail from - is that their debut album 'Good Lies' would merely end up as a collection of hit singles padded out with forgettable filler. Thankfully, it’s more than lived up to the hype and is an eclectic, genre-bending and atmospheric debut for the Welsh duo. 

Throughout its 13 tracks, Overmono skillfully juggles genres like techno, garage, rave and R&B. Thanks to the help of choppy samples and pulsating production, Overmono’s genre-hopping doesn’t ever feel jarring or inconsistent. Miraa May’s chopped-up vocals dominate the opener ‘Feelings Plain’, Tirzah makes an appearance on 2-step standout ‘Is U’ and ‘Walk Thru Water’ sounds like it’s been torn from the pages of a Frank Ocean deep cut. The album is packed with atmospheric anthems, with the title track set to become an instant house classic. 

Instead of crumbling from the pressure imposed from their acclaimed 'Cash Romantic' and 'Everything U Need' EPs, Overmono’s Tom and Ed Russell have upped their game and leave the industry eagerly awaiting their next move. (Gabriel Arnold, SEO Content Writer)




8. Wednesday - Rat Saw God

Prepare to feel the full force of the guitar, as Wednesday know how to wield the instrument to its full potential. The North Carolina band take you on a whirlwind tour of their version of America, with singer/lyricist Karly Hartzmann picking up on the minute, yet unforgettable details of the characters that surround you.

With MJ Lenderman on the guitar, they have propelled themselves into being one of the loudest rock bands around and all you can do is revel in the glorious noise that they create. (Skiddle staff)




7. Sampha - Lahai

Six years after the release of his Mercury prize-winning 'Process', Sampha Sisay’s second outing, 'Lahai', is an anxiety-ridden transcendence of electronic spirituality, that floats you through its 41-minute run time. Yet, where his production was previously reserved, on 'Lahai' it’s lush, layered, and gorgeously arranged with Sampha's breathy, penetrating falsetto proving yet again that vocally, he is as unique as it comes. 

It’s a record that is thematically heavy but feels light as a feather, a feather that (with all of the references to flying throughout) has come from the skies in which Sampha now finds himself, and the songbirds he so easily converses with. A must-listen record from 2023. (Tom Hirst, SEO Content Writer)




6. Lankum -False Lankum

I have been endlessly infatuated with this record this year. I was new to Lankum with this release and in a way, I'm glad. I had absolutely no preconceptions of what would lie ahead. As it turns out, this record would take me on a sonic journey through ruinously dark corridors, weaving cold and unsettling tales, shrouded in astonishingly beautiful and expertly crafted musical soundscapes that bring traditional Irish folk instruments to the forefront of a modern yet melancholic approach to repetition and ambience often reserved for the overlords of drone. There is not a wasted element in their aural tapestries.

All of that hyperbole can be summarised quite succinctly: this album is an absolute triumph. (Jonny, Account Support Team Leader)




5. Sofia Kourtesis - Madres

Likely the best dance music debut of the year, Sofia Kourtesis' club rhythms feel completely healing. She uses House music as a vessel for transcendence, with field recordings that make the mix feel that more alive. There is such vibrancy and authenticity to her sound.

Within this album full of soul, there is also protest as the songs reach much deeper than a surface level. (Skiddle staff)




4. Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

When it comes to creativity, Caroline Polachek seems to be pulling from a world of her own. 'Desire, I Want To Turn Into You', is all about diving deep into longing. A suitably seductive album, you can't help but become completely enveloped in the abstract worlds she has created.

There's no point trying to categorise this type of music, it is completely fluid and ever-shifting, with each song containing a different vibe. Polachek is carving her own path in music, each individual element from her soaring angelic vocals to the subtle yet detailed textures that dominate the background of each song, make this one of 2023's most singular efforts. (Skiddle staff)




3. Boygenius - The Record

After their first EP back in 2018, it was unclear as to whether Boygenius would return. Comprised of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, three of modern indie's most devastating songwriters, it was a seamless melding of three unique minds.

'The Record' is friendship personified, the trio bouncing off each other, taking turn to lead on different songs and sharing the burden equally on others. These three aren't afraid to get to the heart of issues, their vivid descriptions are totally heartbreaking. Yet, they can also up the tempo too on songs such as 'Not Strong Enough', one of their most propulsive and anthemic tracks. It's easy to imagine you've become a secret fourth member, such is the intimacy surrounding this album. (Skiddle staff)




2. Romy - Mid Air

Romy, of XX fame, brilliantly carved a path of her own this year with the release of 'Mid Air'. Here, we get quiet intimacy on the dancefloor, where your connection with another person is the only thing that matters in a crowded room. The production here takes you straight to the dancefloor.

Tracks such as 'Enjoy Your Life' and 'Loveher' are pure catharsis in an album that flies with the sparks of intimacy. (Skiddle staff)




1. Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy

A Mercury Prize-nominated album this year, Young Fathers' 'Heavy Heavy' is their best effort to date. An album that seems to have a unique sense of spirit to it, you will find yourself gripped, breathing heavily without even realising. Songs such as 'I Saw' channel a feral intensity, where you will be chanting along with them by the end of it.

A key word you could associate with 'Heavy Heavy' is liberation. It offers freedom in mind, body and soul as they swap between hip-hop beats to unchained indie rock, where riffs lash and crack repeatedly. The creative process encouraged them to make mistakes and it resulted in an album where blemishes are celebrated. Songs such as 'Uluation' solidify what is ultimately an experience of wild celebration. (Skiddle staff)




Want to check out some of the best artists around? The head to our gigs page here. A lot of these artists will be dominating 2024 too, you can check out what festivals they're appearing at here.



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.