Best of New Music Monday 2023
by Kristine England
Another year is drawing to a close, and it's time for the Best of New Music Monday. What began as a partnership with playMYmusic.FM in 2002, we showcase new indie releases each week. Our picks from New Music Monday spotlight an array of artists and genres and have allowed us to discover new personal favorites. As always, it was a challenge to pick just 10 favorites, but here they are anyway.
Gorgeous, lush, inviting, captivating. All such descriptors fail to capture the delight of hearing the well-crafted and well-executed songs Jury's third album, a collection of tunes conceived in the best singer/songwriter traditions of American, country-infused pop.
FEATURED TRACK: "Peace of Mind"
Yannick Ilunga a.k.a. Petite Noir's latest record, Mother Father, showcases both his vocal range and his myriad influences (traditional African music to jazz to post-punk and electronics) and creativity to shine through.
FEATURED TRACK: "Blurry" featuring Sampa The Great
After a ten-year hiatus, TRIBES has reunited. Critics are hailing the “triumphant comeback” and noting the anthemic quality of the tracks, with Clash summing up, “a bold and assured collection of songs that guaranteed to catapult TRIBES back to their rightful place...” This track is highly replayable!
FEATURED TRACK: "Hard Pill"
First Last Time
Ghost Hounds blends blues, Americana, and country with a heavy, guitar-laden sound that is timeless yet modern. First Last Time is their first for the Gibson label and fourth overall. The single, “Last Train To Nowhere“ would be perfectly placed in a classic Western. It’s damn good.
FEATURED TRACK: “Last Train To Nowhere“
On his fourth album, Roger Sellers, aka Bayonne, examines the depths of depression and grief after his father’s cancer diagnosis in 2019. Somehow, in working through these difficult emotions, he has created a dreamy and uplifting album. “...each listen reveals new layers of sound...” Glide Magazine
FEATURED TRACK: "Right Thing"
Chaos for the Fly
Fontaines DC frontman Grian Chatten strikes out on his own with a solo album, Chaos for the Fly. Requiring a different outlet for this set of intimate songs, created work that is being compared to Leonard Cohen and Elliott Smith, a record that “feels alluringly timeless” (Pitchfork)
FEATURED TRACK: “All Of The People”
Singer/guitarist Rogê's latest album of Tropicalia and Samba-infused Modern Brazilian Pop is irresistible! The music is infectious with The Guardian noting the “sun-dappled, strings-laden debut [channels] the rhythmic spirit of tropicalismo…the album soars thanks to Arthur Verocai’s orchestral arrangements.” É muito bom!
FEATURED TRACK: "Existe uma Voz"
Thunder Above You
The husband/wife duo consisting of Chris Turpin (guitar) and Stephanie Jean Ward (keyboards and vocals) is based in Nashville and London. The record was created in a week, with most of the sessions recorded live and committed to tape. The percussion gives the music a jaunty vibrancy. You’ll also hear some searing guitar work from Turpin and guest Marcus King.
FEATURED TRACK: "My Whispers Are Wildfire"
Soul & Science
DJ/Producer Nickodemus was back this year with infectious summer grooves. Known for his travels around the globe, both physically and musically, the DJ/producer has made a career of artfully combining myriad influences of Latin, African, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean traditions with hip-hop, funk, and disco to create a glorious brew.
FEATURED TRACK: “Soul & Science” (feat. The Real Live Show & Indigo Prodigy)
American singer-songwriter Meg Baird’s first solo album in eight years is a beguiling psychedelic folk record that you just know is going to sink its hooks in you and never let go. It’s easy to be swept away by her airy vocals drifting over moody steel guitars. Her voice isn’t her only instrument; she’s a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, piano, drums and a Mountain dulcimer (with origins in Appalachia).
FEATURED TRACK: "Will You Follow Me Home?"