Albums (Music) of 2023

As always, I’ve listened to a lot of music this year. Some old. Some new.

Bang Camaro dropped a new single (and then an album) this year. Bang Camaro dropped a new single in 2023? Bang Camaro? I heard about them back in 2007/08 when Alex or Bryn did an interview on a gaming podcast called Massively Online Gamer (MOG Army forever). I acquired their first album (Bang Camaro) right away and when Bang Camaro II came out I imported the CDs from America. It’s difficult to express how much their music dominated my adolescence.

I went back to some of the albums that Enjoy An Album covered when they were doing the Rolling Stone Top 500 Album. The highlight was The Indestructible Beat of Soweto. In an exchange about this with Liam on Twitter he recommended Mokoomba’s Tusona: Tracings in the Sand. Mokoomba have produced an album where midway through each track you think “This is the best one on the album”. Wall to wall bangers. If I had to pick a favourite track it’d be Nzara Hapana.

I revisited Yellowcard’s giga-hit Ocean Avenue. The second track Breathing has been a mainstay for me since it featured on Burnout 3: Takedown’s soundtrack. I’ve not sat and listened to the entire album since about 2005. It’s great.

Some more nostalgia, while awaiting Steve Wilson’s Harmony Codex I listened to a lot of Porcupine Tree. Deadwing I think getting the most play time. The titular track made it into my Desert Island Discs.

Once The Harmony Codex came out later in the year it shot to my most played album. I’d love to go to one of his mega Dolby Atmos listening events for it.

Back in April I had a week of going deep into solo bass. Listened to a lot of Brain Bromberg, Marcus Miller, Alain Caron, Victor Wooton, etc but the album that that got me was A Dark Light by Aram Bedrosian. I think the track A Dark Light went (semi?)viral back in 2017 and I’d heard it. It’s half an hour of amazing solo bass. My favourite track being The Mists.

I listened to all of U2’s albums to try to get a better grasp on why they had such a grip on culture when I was growing up. My parents had a bunch of their albums but they barely got played. Anyway for me they drop off a cliff after The Joshua Tree and the bangers have been overplayed. Some absolutely icon album covers though.

Covet return with a full album and it’s bloody brilliant. catharsis is just brilliant. Complex, heavy, and heartfelt. Yvette Young is my guitarist of last decade by a country mile (her Acoustics - EP is 10 years old next year, ouch.). Firebird was released as a single and it really built the hype because it is fantastic. Tappy, mathy, and intricate while still having a driving groove and riffs you can hum along to.

I saw Joe Satriani after a 3 year wait. Really really good. Old hits, new bangers. Not an unbeatable setlist (my dream list would be a play through of Strange Beautiful Music) but I didn’t want it to end. Crowd Chant live was magical and everything I thought it could and would be.

I couldn’t make it to The Chats unfortunately, their setlist looked fantastic.

The end of the year has seen me go big on prog. Listening to a lot of Dream Theater, Haken, TOOL, The Pineapple Thief, and Opeth. On the subject of Opeth in the last week I’ve become addicted to their 2017 live recording from Red Rocks. I’m in the mood for long songs and full album listens.