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The Top 50 Albums of 2023

Well we have once again made it through another year. As such, the time for reflection and list making is upon us. Did you listen to a lot of new music this year? If you did, congratulations because 2023 happened to be a pretty great one overall in terms of pure artistry and quality recordings. Some years it’s a struggle to name 50 records that both held my attention and truly impressed. This one both came together with relative ease, and left me a little sad not everything I loved in 2023 could be included. 50 is a manageable number, plus another 10 honorable mentions because I can’t help myself. Even still, everyone from Jessy Lanza to PJ Harvey to The Armed to Lydia Loveless to Bar Italia all couldn’t quite survive the inevitable cuts and it breaks my heart.

The ultimate point of this list, and any list really, is to try and let you know both what amazing records you might have missed, but also to hopefully see if you agree or disagree with my take on things. Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s what makes it so great. So here are 50 (+10) records that meant a lot to me this year. And while I understand the spirit of the zeitgeist in including a record or two from December 2022 on some year-end lists, this isn’t one of them.

All the records listed here came out in 2023, and if you saw my year-end list from 2022 then you’d know SZA was on that. I sincerely hope you enjoy this list, and ideally make some great new discoveries along the way. Check out some albums you might not have done otherwise. Take this moment to reflect, then rest assured we’ll be right back at it again come January. Here we go, Faronheit’s Top 50 Albums of 2023.

Honorable Mention

Gia Margaret – Romantic Piano

Jane Remover – Census Designated

Jess Williamson – Time Ain’t Accidental

Margaret Glaspy – Echo the Diamond

Marnie Stern – The Comeback Kid

McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?

Overmono – Good Lies

Sampha – Lahai

Slow Pulp – Yard

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World

The Top 100 Songs of 2023

One thing that fascinates me about year-end lists is how little true consensus there tends to be between them. It makes the moments when everyone actually IS in agreement so much more powerful, and a testament to the quality of something. Call it the Paddington 2 effect, or I suppose the Dolly Parton effect, because nobody actually dislikes either of those two things. My favorite song of 2023 falls into that “broad consensus” category. So many people and publications ranked it as their top track of the year that seeing another list fall in line like this one might induce another eye roll and a “here we go again”. But I can’t deny something that’s objectively true, as much as I’d like to be a contrarian. You’re of course more than welcome to disagree with me, along with the hundreds of other music writers who listed this as the #1 song of 2023. What’s wilder, in my mind, is how this 7+ minute track received no commercial or terrestrial radio placement, as far as I’m aware. Instead it just got a lot of organic, fully chosen plays across a variety of formats. If you know your music and have been paying close attention to year-end lists, hopefully my favorite song of 2023 won’t come as a surprise.

But for those who still aren’t sure what I’m talking about, there’s a list of 100 great songs here just waiting for your ears, stretched across a wide variety of genres and styles. A little something for everyone. The rules are relatively simple – so long as the song was released at some point in 2023, it was eligible for inclusion on this list. But also, to spread the love as much as possible, every artist and album only gets to be represented by a single track on this list. Featured guest spots do not count towards this total, which is how JPEGMAFIA, Danny Brown, and Lil Yachty all managed to show up more than once. Alternatively, even a Various Artists record like the Barbie soundtrack only gets one song to represent it. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with management. Otherwise, kick back and soak in the 6.5 hours of music that represent the finest tracks of 2023. The list is below, along with clickable links to hear every song on YouTube. There’s also an embedded Spotify playlist near the bottom if that’s your preference. Listen, explore, and enjoy! Cheers to the end of the year, and wishing you a great 2024 ahead!

Show Review: Jessy Lanza at Sleeping Village [10-12-23]


The actions and behavior of a crowd often dictate how well a particular performance goes. Inattentive, unenthusiastic, or just plain rude concertgoers can have an effect on the entire show experience both on stage and off. Last year for example, I saw The Smile perform at The Riviera Theatre and a self-professed “massive fan” of the band standing behind me proceeded to add running commentary through the entire set before someone eventually got security involved. It turned what should have been a transcendent show into a bit of a nightmare.

Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. Great enthusiasm and energy inspires others to match it, and possesses the ability to push a strong performance to an even higher, more transcendent level. The great concertgoing experiences far outnumber the poor ones. At Sleeping Village on Thursday night, I was lucky enough to catch another great one courtesy of Jessy Lanza.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Sunday Preview Guide

What a weird, wild Sunday it will be at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Seriously, this is a perfect day for artistic outsiders who craft vital, world-bending music. You get the heavily experimental leanings of artists like Ariel Zetina, Rachika Nayar, Lucrecia Dalt, and Jockstrap to get things started. Then comes the heavy-hitters of noise and aggression as Soul Glo and JPEGMAFIA battle to see who will be louder and have the bigger mosh pit. Killer Mike will most assuredly slay too, because he always does. Then we get some fun pop-rock sort of acts courtesy of illuminati hotties and Hurray for the Riff Raff before things begin to cool down with Kelela and what should be a divine yet meditative set from Bon Iver. Of course Mdou Moctar is also in that mix to show off the incredible things that can be done with a guitar. I’m incredibly excited to see how it will all play out, and hope you are too! Let’s dive into the guide, shall we?

Previously:

A Pitchfork Music Festival Playlist

Friday Preview Guide

Saturday Preview Guide

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Saturday Preview Guide

Saturday at Pitchfork this year has the benefit of being one of the most balanced lineups I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s just heavy hitter after heavy hitter stretched across an entire day. There’s an unfortunate lack of hip hop (with the exception of 700 Bliss), but otherwise a solid amount of guitar-focused music rendered in interesting ways. Those who like a little experimentation in their rock can catch one of the final performances from the Philly band Palm, plus the unclassifiable Vagabon and the deeply moody melodies of King Krule. Black Belt Eagle Scout and MJ Lenderman do a ramshackle folk-adjacent thing, with a little more surging power later from Snail Mail and Julia Jacklin. You can also dance a bit thanks to Panda Bear & Sonic Boom as well as Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul. Then to cap off the night with Big Thief? Chef’s kiss. It’s a bit tough to single out some recommendations out of all these great sets, but somebody’s gotta do it. Read on, and try your best to plan out your day.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Friday Preview Guide

One of the best things about the Friday lineup for the 2023 Pitchfork Music Festival is its unclassifiable nature. A lot of the artists on Friday don’t stick to a single genre or sound, and it’s exciting to have that unpredictability where you’re not entirely sure what you’ll be hearing from one moment to the next. A dose of R&B, rap, jazz-pop fusion, standard pop music, electronica, and lo-fi folk are all in the mix, and that’s just the first half of the day! If you need a little help navigating all of the various artists and time slot conflicts, read on. While I do have recommendations for every hour of the festival, please know the goal is to make picks that will hopefully result in the best overall experience throughout the day. You technically can’t go wrong checking out every artist on this lineup, but certain ones are better suited for an outdoor festival than others. If that’s how you think going into this weekend, you’ll end up in great shape. So without further ado, here’s the Friday preview guide.

In case you missed it: A Pitchfork Music Festival Playlist

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: The Playlist

Welcome to what’s become an annual tradition here at Faronheit – a week’s worth of coverage surrounding Pitchfork Music Festival! For the uninitiated, Pitchfork Music Festival is a three-day music and culture extravaganza that takes place at Chicago’s Union Park. It’s a smaller festival focused on up-and-coming acts with a few legends thrown in for good measure. You show up because of the names you recognize, but you stick around because you’re just as likely to discover something new and great you’ve never heard before. It’s a whole lot of fun, and the crowds are really cool too. If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend you check it out. This year’s Pitchfork Music Festival takes place from July 21-23 aka this upcoming weekend.

For those planning to attend this year’s festival, or maybe even those who can’t make it but still want to learn a bit more about the lineup, I’m thrilled to help you prepare with a series of preview guides. The week of coverage always begins with a playlist. Reasonably speaking, that’s the best way to familiarize yourself with the lineup. Listen to a song or two from every artist set to perform, so you can gain a sense of what they sound like and the kind of energy they might bring to a festival stage.

This 84-song playlist takes a little over five hours to listen from start to finish, and includes two tracks from every artist on the lineup. The order has been determined by the festival schedule, meaning the playlist begins with Nourished By Time who kick things off on Friday afternoon and it ends with Bon Iver who wrap things up on Sunday evening. Of course if you’d prefer to mix things up and let the chips fall where they may, shuffle is always an option. Also, apologies if you prefer to use a non-Spotify platform to stream your music. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to redo this playlist for additional streaming services.

All that said, please enjoy the playlist! I hope it inspires you to check out some performances you might have otherwise skipped. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a preview guide that digs a little further into all of the artists on the schedule for Friday, with recommendations on who you should see each hour of the day. Join me, won’t you?

Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Sunday Preview Guide

Pitchfork has essentially established a tradition by having a majority of black artists on the lineup perform on Sundays. It’s not so much a purposeful segregation as it is trying to book similar artists across a day to satisfy fans of particular genres or styles of music. That’s how you get rappers Pink Siifu, Injury Reserve, Noname, Earl Sweatshirt, and The Roots together and make it worth buying a ticket to see all of them. But also don’t sleep on the pop/R&B material KAINA, Erika de Casier, and Tirzah will be bringing to the festivities. The experimental folks can have a little treat with sets from L’Rain, Xenia Rubinos, and Cate Le Bon, and the alt-jazz fanatics can get their fix thanks to BADBADNOTGOOD. Not much in the way of straight up rock music on Sunday, but there’s more than enough on Friday and Saturday for those who want it.

Mostly Sunday at Pitchfork should be all about good, occasionally sexy vibes you can coast on to close out the weekend. It will satisfy in that respect. So join me once more after the jump, and I’ll break down all the artists and set times for the day so you can figure out who to see and when to see them. Then join me all weekend on Twitter and Instagram for some highlights and recaps direct from the grounds of Union Park. Hope to see you out there. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated!

Previously…
The Pitchfork Music Festival 2022 Playlist
Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Friday Preview Guide
Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Saturday Preview Guide

Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Saturday Preview Guide

Saturday at Pitchfork is going to be a very fun day. It’s also going to be a very weird day. If you like fun and weird, you’re in for a real treat. There’s a taste of jazz thanks to Jeff Parker & The New Breed, as well as a reunited Karate. Strange pop music will come from Hyd, yeule, and (to a degree) Magdalena Bay. In the mood for some absolutely filthy rap? Chicago’s own CupcakKe has you covered. Toss in some strong, energetic rock from The Linda Lindas and The Armed to get people moving. Dry Cleaning and Low take more angular and oddball approaches to rock music, which is its own reward. Then the singer-songwriter contingent gets the back-to-back-to-back combo of Lucy Dacus, Japanese Breakfast, and Mitski. Who could ask for more?

After the jump you’ll find the Saturday Preview Guide, featuring an hour-by-hour breakdown of the day, along with a bit more information about every artist to help you manage those conflicts and learn more about the names you haven’t heard before. I hope this is helpful as you prepare for a weekend of fun at the 2022 Pitchfork Music Festival!

Previously…
The Pitchfork Music Festival 2022 Playlist
Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Friday Preview Guide

Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: Friday Preview Guide


One of the absolute best things about any Pitchfork Music Festival lineup is the eclecticism. There are only 14 artists each day and no more than two stages operating at the same time, allowing you to get exposed to all sorts of music you might not listen to otherwise. Sure, not everything will be to your tastes, but there’s also joy in discovery and the chance to broaden your horizons just a bit.

There are a whole lot of great artists packed into Friday at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, and plenty of rewards for those willing to show up early and ready to explore. Below you’ll find an hour-by-hour guide for the day, complete with a little information about each artist as well as recommendations on which ones you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Let’s dig in!

Previously…
The Pitchfork Music Festival 2022 Playlist

Pitchfork Music Festival 2022: The Playlist

Welcome to the beginning of Faronheit’s annual Pitchfork Music Festival coverage! Every year, we’re proud to bring you a full week’s worth of posts dedicated exclusively to Pitchfork Music Festival. This year’s fest kicks off on Friday, July 15th, and in the days leading up to that there will be a few posts detailing the lineup, schedule, and amenities to help you get the most from your 3-day weekend.

First thing’s first though: Pitchfork has 40+ artists on the lineup every year, and given that it’s a smaller boutique music festival, there’s a good chance you won’t be familiar with every single name you see. It can be a challenge keeping up with the indie music scene! In my mind, the best way to discover and find out more about an artist or band is simply to listen to their music. Sample a couple of songs and decide if it’s for you. Maybe you’ve heard of an artist or even have listened to a track or an album in the past but don’t have an entirely clear picture of what they’re all about or how they may have evolved in recent years. Have no fear! That’s what your favorite streaming service is here for.

Rather than force you to dig around, check the lineup, do a search, and pick a song or two to listen to, much of that hard work has already been done for you with Faronheit’s Pitchfork 2022 Playlist! You’ll find a couple of tracks from every single artist on the lineup, ordered by day and scheduled time slot. So this year’s playlist begins with Arooj Aftab (Friday, 1pm) and ends with The Roots (Sunday, 8:30pm) with a whole lot of greatness in between.

One of the best things about Pitchfork is that they don’t really book any bad artists. Sure, there will almost inevitably be some artists you don’t like, but that’s more a matter of personal taste than it is generally accepted poor quality. If you’re not enjoying one artist, there’s almost always another artist playing on another stage that you might like more. If all else fails you can grab some food, check out the vendors/record fair, or simply relax in the shade for a bit.

The 2022 Pitchfork Music Festival Playlist can be found below. Please enjoy and educate yourself before this weekend’s festivities begin in Union Park!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2021: Sunday in Photos

Oh baby, Sunday (9/12) was a fun one at Pitchfork Music Festival 2021. Here’s a bunch of photos from the day, organized in alphabetical order by artist: Andy Shauf, Caroline Polachek, Cat Power, Danny Brown, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Keiyaa, Mariah the Scientist, oso oso, Thundercat, The Weather Station, and Yves Tumor. Check them out below!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2021: Saturday in Photos

Please enjoy this collection of photos taken on Saturday (9/11) of Pitchfork Music Festival 2021. It includes the following artists, in alphabetical order: Amaarae, Angel Olsen, Bartees Strange, Divino Nino, Faye Webster, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Horsegirl, Jamila Woods, Kim Gordon, Maxo Kream, RP Boo, St. Vincent, Ty Segall, and Waxahatchee. You can find them all below!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2021: Friday in Photos

Here’s a collection of photos taken on Friday (9/10) of Pitchfork Music Festival 2021. It includes the following artists, in alphabetical order: Animal Collective, Big Thief, black midi, DEHD, Dogleg, Ela Minus, The Fiery Furnaces, Hop Along, Kelly Lee Owens, Phoebe Bridgers, The Soft Pink Truth, and Yaeji. Continue past the jump to see them all!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2021: Sunday Recap

After two long days of live music, I needed a little extra rest in order to make it through Sunday at Pitchfork intact. Unfortunately, that meant missing an act like Special Interest, who I was excited to see but also had one of the first sets of the day. I’m sure Tomberlin would have been wonderful too, but it just wasn’t quite meant to be this time. Here’s a recap of all the artists I did end up seeing on Sunday, which basically amounts to everyone else on the lineup.

I arrived at Union Park a little bit into KeiyaA‘s set, which was going strong on the Green stage. Upon wandering over and listening to a handful of songs, it was generally quite lovely. She had a three-piece band with her, which I think helped flesh out the R&B songs from her album Forever, Ya Girl a bit more than the recorded versions. While that generally meant a more energized delivery, and KeiyaA’s voice was operating at full power, I’m still not sure it was enough to really grab my attention and snap me out of an early Sunday afternoon haze. The sun was out, a breeze was blowing through, and I just wanted to sit down somewhere and relax to her music.

Meanwhile oso oso looked a little crowded together on the Blue stage. They’re not a large band by any stretch of the imagination, but their multi-guitar attack paired with a singer just looked like there wasn’t much room to move around. They tried though, which is more than I can say for the crowd watching them. oso oso songs are fun pop-punk throwbacks, and should have inspired some jumping around. Maybe a mosh pit or crowd surfing too. Instead, everyone just kind of stood there and listened as the band tried to liven things up a bit. Maybe it was successful early on in the set (which I missed), but the last few songs were met with a lot of crossed arms and shrugs.

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