Missed Connections: 5 Fantastic 2023 Albums I Didn’t See On The First Go Around

As excited as I am for new music in the new year, the completionist part of me always checks back over the previous year to see what gems I missed. 2023 had a lot of great music, and no matter how hard I try, there will always be artists and projects that fly under my radar until it’s too late to make the end-of-year lists. The following 5 albums that I missed last year are absolute treasures.

Open City-Hands in the Honey Jar

It’s been a big year for Dan Yemin, as he put out a great album with classic hardcore outfit Paint it Black as well as a completely different take on the genre with Open City. Open City is a mix of old-school hard core and post-hardcore ala Fugazi. The guitars are biting and angular. Rachel Rubino has a commanding presence on the mic. It feels like a long-lost classic and fresh at the same time. Open City seems like they would absolutely kill a club show. People will talk about Open City in 30 years like people talk about Minor Threat now and say “I saw them live and it was incredible.”

Racetraitor-Creation and the Timeless Order of Things

This album ended up on a lot of year end metal lists, and for good reason. It’s crushingly heavy. And that has as much to do with the atmosphere that permeates throughout the record as it does the actual music itself. The guitars are punishing, and the drums feel like they are directing a war march. The music feels like a window into an abyss. The band is clear by their name alone that they are here to dismantle and destroy conservative ideology in all its forms. It’s not a comfortable listen, but that’s the point.

Nourished By Time-Erotic Probiotic 2

It’s neo-soul through the lens of moody, synth and drum machine that pays as much homage to 80’s post-punk as it does 90’s R&B. I would never have guessed from either the artist’s name or the album title that this is what the final product would be. But I’m glad I found it. Erotic Probiotic 2 is charismatic, interesting, engaging, and definitely positioned to garner serious attention. This will definitely fill the hole left by the absence of music from Frank Ocean and D’Angelo.

Omnigone-Against the Rest

Released in the spring, Against the Rest is ska-punk, with a heavy emphasis on the punk. This album grabs my favorite parts of the new tone movement. It’s fast, it’s catchy, the horns and keys are on point, and it doesn’t feel cheesy at all. I probably needed the messages on “Flip the Magnet” (stay positive!) and “No More Looking Back” (bury all the hate in the past, no more looking back) last year, but honestly, 2024 isn’t going to be any easier than 2023. And especially as we enter the season in Ohio best described as “grey,” having some positive music is more than welcome.

Parannoul-After the Magic

I have no good reason that I didn’t give time to this except busyness. The anonymous South Korean bedroom shoegaze artist Parannoul always produces stellar work. I was captivated by 2021’s To See the Next Part of the Dream. And After the Magic loses no steps as a worthy follow-up. I don’t always want to listen to shoegaze, and with so many new (and good) bands popping up in the genre it’s at times hard to keep track. But Parannoul never disappoints.

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