10 indie albums you might have missed in 2023

10 indie albums you might have missed in 2023

“All of This Will End” – Indigo De Souza (11 songs, 32:40)

After rising significantly in fame after her first two heavily death-themed albums, Indigo De Souza seems to be coming to terms with an idea that’s followed her career so far with the aptly named “All of This Will End.” The Brazilian-American indie-rocker has had a gift for creating records jam-packed with emotion, and her 2023 release is no different. On this project we see De Souza explore more with instrumentation like the horn section on “The Water” or use of synthesizers and heavier production on her vocals on the first track, “Time Back.” Often times, artists front load their albums to maximize traction. On “All of This Will End,” De Souza does the opposite with what I felt was the project’s emotional climax arriving during the final track, “Young & Dumber.” The feeling of this album replicates what Phoebe Bridgers was able to create multiple times on “Punisher,” with seemingly stripped down portions of songs building to an often loud and captivating apex. The North Carolina native has yet to release a bad album and seems to have found her stride in creating relatable, passionate records that keep fans coming back for more.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Parking Lot” – 2:25
  • “Smog” – 3:14
  • “Younger & Dumber” – 4:39

 

“Let’s Start Here” – Lil Yachty (14 songs, 57:16)

Every once in a while, an artist arrives oozing with so much creativity and fearlessness when it comes to their musical expression, that their career isn’t limited to striving to excel in any one particular genre. Greats like Pharrell Williams, Childish Gambino, Tyler, the Creator, and Toro y Moi now pass the torch to Yachty who seems to be exploring musically without a care in the world. Lil Yachty has developed into what I like to describe as a genre-bender.

The 2023 release “Let’s Start Here” was Yachty’s somewhat polarizing entrance into creating music that falls into more of an indie or psych-rock genre. Yachty built his brand on being the fun, carefree alternative to what was typically associated with a mainstream rapper, so although this project is starkly different than his previous work, it feels like a return to Yachty’s soul. The colorful artist is once again searching for fun and fulfillment regardless of preconceived notions. This project incorporates far more features than other albums on this list, most likely due to Yachty’s status. Appearances from similarly out-there newcomer Teezo Touchdown on “the ride-,” incredible melodic hooks from Diana Gordon on “drive ME crazy!,” and Daniel Caesar’s typical enveloping vocals on the record’s concluding track “REACH THE SUNSHINE” help to create an unforgettable listen.

Throughout Yachty’s discography there has been one constant that has never been replicated and keeps listeners engaged with everything the Atlanta native puts out – his voice. “Let’s Start Here” debuts an entirely new way to showcase Yachty’s vocal talent, while still adhering to his use of heavy production and repeatedly used effects like the intense vibrato most notably used on 2023 single “Strike (Holster).” If Yachty’s 2023 release somehow slipped under your radar, it’s most definitely worth the 57-minute listen to experience the new creative direction of an artist we’ve been able to grow up with since his arrival in 2015.

Recommended Tracks

  • “the BLACK seminole.” – 6:51
  • “drive ME crazy!” – 3:49
  • “REACH THE SUNSHINE” – 5:58

 

“Girl With Fish” – Feeble Little Horse (11 songs, 26:06)

In what began as a garage rock band, the group of four from Pittsburgh has been on a rapid incline to stardom in the indie rock or shoegaze boom of late. Their most recent album “Girl With Fish” is a quick listen in its entirety at only 11 songs and 26 minutes, but the pace of the album and lack of a bad track help to make it worth diving into over and over again. The whole project feels emotionally engaging and provides the perfect mix of hammering guitar-heavy sections to leaning into melody and the soft vocal tone that singer and bassist Lydia Slocum brings to the group. Feeble Little Horse as they seems to experiment without fear and have begun to fully establish their sound since their 2021 debut album “Hayday.” Currently signed to Saddle Creek, the group is surrounded by great artists like Adrienne Lenker and her group Big Thief, as well as fellow member of this list, Indigo de Souza. With such a talented entourage and new yet nostalgic sound, expect big things to come from Pennsylvania’s noise pop prodigies.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Freak” – 1:47
  • “Tin Man” – 2:11
  • “Sweet” – 2:35

 

Frog: Grog Album Review | Pitchfork“Grog” – Frog (11 songs, 36:05)

Hailing from Queens, New York, Frog is back in a big way following the release of their most recent project “Grog.” Originally a duo, the group took a hiatus from 2019 to 2022 due to drummer Thomas White relocating to England and other extenuating circumstances. For “Grog,” the other founding member, guitarist Daniel Bateman, stuck his brother on the drums before White triumphantly returned to the group on bass, completing the now trio and teeing the group up for a strong return to the indie-rock scene.

Tracks on this album carry so much variety that the album carries endless replay value. From the walking baselines on the album’s most popular track “Black on Black on Black,” to the stripped-down, piano-heavy build on “So Twisted Fate,” no two songs on the record feel repetitive or unoriginal. “Grog” also continues this list’s theme of relatability, but not for the typical emotional reasons. Featuring references to Captain Crunch, Taco Bell, and a banjo-filled tribute to the brothers’ hometown in “New Ro,” the group was able to communicate their brotherly comfortability with each other and subsequent ability to create a cohesive and balanced project that anyone can enjoy.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Black on Black on Black” – 3:39
  • “Maybelline” – 2:59
  • “So Twisted Fate” – 3:03

 

Greg Mendez | Greg Mendez“Greg Mendez” – Greg Mendez (9 songs, 23:08)

Greg Mendez arrives on his self-titled album with a sound that fits somewhere between stripped down guitar mastermind Alex G and the late great songwriter Elliot Smith. Mendez shares not only his sound with Smith, but his songwriting’s storytelling ability, showcased throughout his third album release. Through songs like “Shark’s Mouth” or “Goodbye / Trouble,” Mendez tells stories of problematic relationships with his father and a partner respectively. With effortless melancholy delivery, the solo project doesn’t leave you wanting more throughout the album. The tracks are perfectly simplistic as Mendez uses his isolated vocals to paint a picture over nothing more than a guitar or two, keys, and the occasional drums. The self-titled 2023 release is a must-listen introduction into the Philly native’s complete discography, even garnering an impressive 7.8/10 rating from popular music review platform Pitchfork.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Maria” – 1:58
  • “Goodbye / Trouble” – 3:12
  • “Hoping You’re Doing Okay” – 2:47

 

Letters | @“Mind Palace Music” – @ (11 songs, 29:01)

The duo called @ is made up of Philadelphia native Victoria Rose and local Baltimore resident Stone Filipczak. Despite the distance and reliance on iMessages to make their magic happen, there is no lack of vocal chemistry throughout their most recent project, “Mind Palace Music.” The pair showcases their incredible ability to produce thick harmonies and diverse soundscapes similar to indie folk predecessors like what Fleet Foxes accomplished on their 2008 self-titled debut album. Although Rose and Filipczak have the talent and production to create perfect recordings, the vocals often carry a perfect amount of imperfection and dissonance that helps to build the group’s aura of introversion and introspection. Tracks like “Where’d You Put Me” showcase a repeated guitar riff and layered female vocals that replicate the feeling of listening to Fleetwood Mac again for the first time. Upon re-listen, “Mind Palace Music” is able to recreate the same euphoric feeling time and time again.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Star Game” – 2:02
  • “Letters” – 2:26
  • “First Journal” – 1:24

 

Mac DeMarco: One Wayne G Album Review | Pitchfork“One Wayne G” – Mac Demarco (199 songs, ~09:30:00)

Mac Demarco’s most recent album release is one of the longest in recent memory, containing over nine hours of mostly instrumental tracks ranging in length from 30 seconds to more than 22 minutes. The Canadian guitarist and songwriter has said that the album was a form of release that he feels will help him progress with new music. Although most song titles are nothing more than the numerical dated file name, the project is worth a listen as the tracks help to capture moments in Demarco’s creative process spread out over the last five years. If nothing else, the project fits great as a background to homework or a long car ride, as it can be enjoyed without much deep consideration into each specific track.

Of the 199 tracks on the release, 19 include a full title and vocals, in addition to the numerical title which help to provide a somewhat hidden album within an album. Of the 19, the first group of four contains melancholic love songs like “I Like Her” and “Fooled by Love” which capture Demarco’s serious side. The next group of six contains tracks titled in classic goofy Mac fashion, with names like “She Want The Sandwich” and “Cowboy Shit.” In this group, expect Mac’s scatterbrained freestyles and whistling over instrumentals or more odes to inanimate objects like “Proud True Toyota” that just, for whatever reason, work. A common theme throughout the album’s complete tracks is the sentiment of missing a lover either after the relationship ends or thoughts that arrive during time apart. The next group of seven titled tracks continues to blur the line between the serious and comedically metaphorical nature of his work with songs like “Goodnight Baby” situated right by “China” in the tracklist. The final named song is No. 177 on the album, titled “The Truth.” The track creates a similar atmosphere to Gotye’s hit track “Somebody That I Used To Know,” in terms of a repeated staccato guitar melody and droning vocals about what used to be. All in all, the project contains everything you could want from a Mac Demarco release: deep song lyrics, glimpses of his quirky personality, and a signature guitar composition style that never disappoints.

Recommended Tracks

  • “20190724” – 1:10
  • “20191009 I Like Her” – 2:16
  • “20200819 She Get The Gold Star” – 2:41

 

Geese: 3D Country Album Review | Pitchfork“3D Country” – Geese (11 songs, 43:34)

With wild instrumentation, carefree vocals, and a perfect amount of organized portions mixed with chaotic jam sections, this album was one of the most enjoyable and unpredictable of the past few years. Geese, the once high school basement jam band from New York City, has surpassed any and all expectations with their second official album release “3D Country.” Now touring with modern rock band Greta Van Fleet, the group has found success with their versatile 2023 release.

Song to song, Geese experiments with instrumentation, vocals, and time signatures, creating entirely different sounds without loosing cohesion. The boundless nature of the project compares to the diverse releases from Australian collective King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. “3D Country” sounds like the group was creating music without anyone’s taste in mind, simply having fun trying any idea that came to mind, whether it’s triangle solos on “I See Myself” or a harp outro on the title track (which of course chronicles a fictional cowboy’s journey during a psychedelic trip). The eighth track, “Mysterious Love,” kicks off with a groove that feels like peak Red Hot Chili Peppers jamming over a repeated bassline from Flea. This is an album that may require more than one listen to get into, but once you do, the unadulterated, psychedelic-inspired, stream of consciousness record is nothing short of a thrill to listen to every time.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Cowboy Nudes” – 2:50
  • “I See Myself” – 3:00
  • “Mysterious Love” – 3:15

 

Hotline TNT: Cartwheel Album Review | Pitchfork“Cartwheel” – Hotline TNT (12 songs, 33:06)

Led by experienced frontman Will Anderson, the NYC group has burst on the scene with their shoegaze-adjacent 2023 release “Cartwheel.” The album received rave reviews, receiving a whopping 8.4/10 review on Pitchfork and a nod for their Best New Music list. In typical shoegaze fashion, tracks typically feature blended instrumentation that creates a wall of melody, giving a roadmap for Anderson’s layered vocals to follow. The songs also all follow a linear format with very few repeated sections, making listening to the entire album all the way through sound like one continuous experience.

Critics and fans alike were thrilled by Anderson’s return to music after taking time off to pursue a master’s degree in education. Writing was in itch that the gifted artist just had to scratch, and it’s a good thing he did, providing exactly what listeners want in the modern new wave of indie-rock. Songs like “History Channel” and “I Know You” capture the album’s hopelessly reminiscent nature with lyrics talking about times in the past and what could have been. A hidden gem comes in the eighth track “Maxine,” confirming that many of the best songs have names for track titles. The shortest song on the album provides a snapshot of longing that relies on Anderson’s emotional delivery and a strong guitar riff that create a perfectly simplistic track.

Recommended Tracks

  • “I Thought You’d Change” – 2:51
  • “History Channel” – 2:43
  • “Spot Me 100” – 3:06

 

dope girl chronicles | Field Medic“dope girl chronicles” – Field Medic (9 songs, 28:10)

Kevin Patrick Sullivan has been creating great music under the name Field Medic for nearly a decade, but his emotional 2023 album “dope girl chronicles” went widely under the radar. The San Francisco native’s second release of the year showcases what’s possible with nothing more than stellar songwriting and a computer to mix on. Sullivan creates tracks that capture the feeling of almost being in love, while still carrying a somewhat depressingly carefree attitude about the nature of his situation. The track “do a little dope” shows Sullivan’s folk influences under he shares his sarcastically nonchalant attitude saying “if all that’s left to be done is die, might as well do me a little dope. On the second track “silver girl,” Sullivan perfectly captures the feeling of longing for someone but just not being able to voice it for whatever the reason may be. In totality, “dope girl chronicles” balances woeful indie-rock tracks with folk-inspired instrumentation, without Sullivan ever overcomplicating a track or loosing sight of the album’s sentiment.

Recommended Tracks

  • “silver girl” – 3:25
  • “love don’t come” – 3:14
  • “cement” – 4:03
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About the Contributor
Micah Ernest, Editor in Chief
Micah is a senior from Bel Air, Maryland, and he'll be serving as the Villager's editor in chief for 2023-24. He is a business communication major with minors in entrepreneurship/small business development and management/organizational leadership. He worked as a reporter for the Villager in Spring 2023. Micah is also a member of both Stevenson men's beach and indoor volleyball teams. After college, Micah hopes to one day pursue a career in journalism in the music beat or as an investigative reporter in politics or world news. After a late introduction to journalism as a junior in college, he has rapidly grown passionate about telling people's stories and providing the public with crucial information. Micah is also interested in entrepreneurship and pursuing a career in music-related industries.
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    adviserApr 1, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    I missed all of these. Thanks, Micah.

    Reply