Soundclash's Top 10 Albums of the Year 2023

Welcome to the vibrant world of Soundclash Records, nestled on St Benedict’s Street—a cherished haven for music enthusiasts and one of the UK’s enduring independent record stores. We sat down with owner Paul Mills, who generously shared his top 10 vinyl LPs of 2023 amidst his busy schedule. Take a glimpse into the sonic highlights that caught his ear this year.

Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

Young Fathers’ album “Heavy Heavy” is a standout in 2023’s music scene. The Scottish trio showcases their genre-blending prowess with a mix of hip-hop and electronic influences. The album’s beats and thoughtful lyrics create a compelling listening experience, capturing a balance between experimentation and relatability. With “Heavy Heavy,” Young Fathers reaffirm their position as innovators, offering a solid addition to the diverse musical landscape of the year.

Public Service Broadcasting – This New Noise

Public Service Broadcasting’s album “This New Noise” brings a fresh perspective to the music landscape in 2023. Renowned for their use of historical audio clips, the band effortlessly merges electronic and rock elements in their latest release. The title track, in particular, shines with its blend of archival recordings, rhythmic beats, and atmospheric sounds. “This New Noise” is a compelling choice for those seeking an inventive and immersive musical experience, highlighting Public Service Broadcasting’s skill in crafting narratives through their distinct soundscapes.

Sza – Sos

SZA’s track “SOS” is a standout in her repertoire, showcasing the artist’s ability to blend soulful vocals with contemporary R&B vibes. The song effortlessly weaves through themes of love and self-discovery, capturing the listener with its emotive lyrics and SZA’s trademark vocal delivery. “SOS” is a testament to the artist’s versatility, as she effortlessly navigates the sonic landscape, infusing the track with a mix of vulnerability and confidence. With its infectious beats and captivating melodies, “SOS” solidifies SZA’s position as a leading force in the realm of modern R&B, making it a must-listen for fans and newcomers alike.

Boy Genius – The Record

Boy Genius’s album “The Record” is a compelling journey through indie rock and alternative sounds, showcasing the collaborative brilliance of its members, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. The record unfolds with a perfect balance of introspective lyrics and emotive instrumentals, capturing the essence of each artist’s individual style while harmonizing seamlessly as a collective. “The Record” is marked by its raw honesty, exploring themes of heartache, resilience, and self-discovery. The intertwining vocals of Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus create a captivating dynamic, offering listeners a profound and resonant listening experience. With its evocative storytelling and well-crafted musicality, “The Record” cements Boy Genius as a force to be reckoned with in the indie music scene.

Grian Chatten – Chaos for the Fly

Grian Chatten, the vocalist of the critically acclaimed Fontaines D.C., ventures into solo territory with “Chaos for the Fly” on Partisan Records. This album not only showcases Chatten’s distinctive vocal style and insightful lyrics but also serves as a testament to his versatility as an artist. Influenced by post-punk and alternative rock, the record brings a fresh, energetic sound to indie music. “Chaos for the Fly” delves into raw emotions and introspective themes, providing an authentic and compelling listening experience. As the frontman of Fontaines D.C., Chatten’s solo work adds another layer to his artistic repertoire, making this release a noteworthy contribution to the indie and alternative music scene, courtesy of Partisan Records.

Sarabeth Tucek – Joan of all

Sarabeth Tucek’s “Joan of All,” released under Ocean Omen Records, is a captivating journey through folk-infused melodies and poetic storytelling. The album showcases Tucek’s soulful voice and acoustic-driven sound, creating a timeless quality. Songs like the titular track embody a sincere and heartfelt approach to songcraft, making “Joan of All” a poignant and immersive listening experience for fans of contemporary folk music.

Sofia Kourtesis – Madres

Sofia Kourtesis’s “Madres” is a mesmerising sonic journey that showcases the artist’s prowess in electronic music. Released under Ninja Tune, the album demonstrates Kourtesis’s ability to craft a unique and immersive soundscape. With a blend of intricate beats, ethereal melodies, and innovative production techniques, “Madres” explores the intersection of electronic, ambient, and world music influences. Kourtesis’s musical craftsmanship is evident in every track, offering a dynamic and engaging experience for listeners.

Pidgeon – Backslider

Pigeon, the dynamic 5-piece band, follows up their acclaimed debut EP, “Yagana,” with the new release, “Backslider.” The band, including Guinean singer Falle Nioke, offers a unique blend of Afro-disco, jazz, no-wave, electro, rock, and synth-pop. Despite incorporating sequencers and drum machines, their DIY spirit remains intact. Each member, engaged in diverse pursuits, contributes a distinct creative perspective. The single “Backslider” features an 80s funk-rock vibe, with Falle Nioke delivering bilingual vocals expressing contempt for dishonesty. The track “Ikanabore” showcases Pigeon’s versatility with fast-paced Afro-disco and catchy choruses. Having received support from notable figures like Gilles Peterson and Elton John, Pigeon’s EP is anticipated to further showcase their genre-defying, innovative sound.

Alpha Mist – Variables

Alfa Mist’s “Variables” is a genre-defying journey through contemporary jazz. Released under Anti, the album showcases Alfa Mist’s prowess as a pianist, producer, and composer. Seamlessly blending jazz, hip-hop, and electronic elements, “Variables” offers a dynamic and immersive sonic experience. Each track unfolds like a chapter, highlighting Alfa Mist’s ability to convey emotion and narrative through his music. With rich textures, intricate arrangements, and thought-provoking melodies, the album stands as a testament to Mist’s mastery in pushing the boundaries of modern jazz.

PJ Harvey – Inside the New Year Dying

PJ Harvey’s latest release, the tenth studio album titled ‘Inside the Old Year Dying,’ stands as her first musical endeavor in seven years, following the success of her UK #1 album, ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project.’ Collaborating once again with her longtime creative partners John Parish and Flood, Harvey crafts a sonic universe that navigates the realms between life’s dichotomies, seamlessly blending recent history with ancient echoes. Woven with biblical imagery and nods to Shakespeare, the distinctions within the album ultimately dissolve, giving way to a profoundly uplifting and redemptive musical journey.

You can find Soundclash at 28 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, NR2 4AQ