Every year, we look forward to the conversations we have in the shop about albums that we love. As 2023 came to a close, we did just that. Although there were fewer releases this year that really grabbed onto us, we still felt there were some incredible albums that we loved spending time with. We created this list below—three albums from each of us here at AudioConcepts—to share some of those records with you. We hope you find something you enjoy as well.

Please note: we are not the music critics at Pitchfork, and thus this list is not some definitive list of the best music released in 2023… just a short list of music we loved.

Lana Del Rey – Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd

Lana is at her best here, with great melodies and solid production; folks that didn’t connect with her previous work should give this one a listen.  -MA

Peter Gabriel – I/O

Gabriel’s first album in 20 years is presented in two ‘sides’, a bright and a dark, each containing the same songs but with slightly different mixes and vibes.  Both are musically and lyrically fantastic and feature solid backing musicians including Manu Katche on drums. -MA

Ryuichi Sakamoto – 12

‘12’ is Sakamoto’s 15th and final album, released two months before his death from cancer. This set of 12 minimalist piano and synthesizer arrangements don’t make for great background music but really reward active listening, much like many of Keith Jarrett’s improvisational works.  -MA

Field Medic – the light is gone 2

What happens when a bedroom singer-songwriter with a history of mental health issues gets inspired by hip-hop and trap music? The result is this truly unique record featuring heavy, yet beautiful productions partnered with unusually honest lyrics.  -LS

Boygenius – The Record

The indie rock supergroup of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus cement their group songwriting abilities on this stellar debut LP. Truly great songs from truly great friends.  -LS

Sampha – Lahai

Sampha is better known for his collaborations with popular artists like Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Jessie Ware, Kanye West, and others. This sophomore record, his first in six years, shows why he should be making more music under his own name. Captivating production and heartfelt vocal performances.  -LS

Julie Byrne – The Greater Wings

What can I say? I’m a sucker for Joni Mitchell-esque vocals that aren’t sung by Joni Mitchell. Dreamy synth, folksy guitar, and a rich voice make this album captivating and an easy listen.  -JW

Lankum – False Lankum

Sometimes you want to listen to rock. Sometimes you want to listen to classical. And sometimes you want to listen to 19th century-inspired gothic industrial Irish folk tunes. Enter False Lankum.  -JW

Queens Of The Stone Age – Times New Roman

Josh Homme is back at it with his unique tritone-infused riffs, psychedelic tones, and surprising groove for a “stoner rock” band.  -JW

Nat Myers – Yellow Peril

Nat Myers is a Korean-American artist and poet currently living in Kentucky. After Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys fame) noticed one of his videos online, Dan signed Nat to his record label and co-wrote his debut album. Nat’s ability to capture southern folk-style blues while sharing his unique perspective is supernatural in every aspect.  -JP

Killer Mike – Michael

Michael is Killer Mike’s first project in 11 years to not feature production from frequent collaborator and Run The Jewels band mate, EL-P. Michael was nominated for three Grammy awards this year, and Killer Mike backed those accolades with a very successful tour.  -JP

Soul Jazz Records Presents: Miami Sound

The UK-based label Soul Jazz has a knack for putting together obscurities that can catch the ear of those who appreciate the art of “digging.” For those who aren’t familiar, “digging” was when DJs would find unique cuts of music that would separate their set from the rest of the DJs, to make their mark. Soul Jazz has this talent in spades, allowing listeners to enjoy the many beloved man hours it took to pull together what is a very rewarding, very danceable compilation album.  -JP