Been meaning to do this for a while now, but of course had to wait for the real end of the year otherwise it’s just not right. I guess. Not that I believe that this year thing is something that exists IRL, I mean Nature. But then I do remember that 75 was the worst year ever for me and then whammo 76 was the best! So 23, good to remember what happened, another dismal year for sales, labels shutting down, record stores crumbling. Not speaking about the state of the World or even France becoming a fascist country in effect. Damn.
But I do remember a few records that I loved instantly, who cares about waiting a few years for it to make sense or click (as they say), after all how many years are there left anyway ?! how many days ? how many minutes ?
When I put on The Smashing Times last lp it was immediate love and I put it on again and again, I thought it would be something else, I thought it would be what I’d read about it. It was not, but I still could recognize a few things… it was so much more, and is. So I told them too and they told me they had liked the Zusammen Clark lp. Well, that was surprising.
Mmm, let me see, from the Siltbreeze label I thought the best release was the Cuticles lp, yes, it was also immediateness with it! First I love the name Cuticles cause it reminds me of a great 12″ by Househunters, here it is (the video makes it look like it’s a Jowe Head record but it’s not, he only produced it, like Cate le Bon with the Devendra lp which is not featured in this hereby list or maybe as the most expensive record I bought, sheesh)
Maybe Househunters is an influence on Cuticles ? should have asked Matt Plunkett with which I sometimes converse also… oh, is that in any way a string that makes a record get into my head and then list ? One chooses his circles carefully, with age. Reminds me that I was delighted to finally meet Tom (of Siltbreeze, not of Finland, that’s the only two Toms I know) at that killer Deac C show at les Instants Chavirés.
Tied in my mind is Joe P’s label, Minimum table stacks, he whom I still was not able to meet this year and so still don’t know what that label name bloody means. But I did discuss several London restaurant options with Joe, so definitely a trend there, this whole list is bogus and what we call here entre-soi nothing more. Enough! if you’re still following, my favorite release on MTS was the Seymour Glass lp! yeah, you did not see that coming and i have to mention that I did not even get the fridge magnet with it, so this is totally un biased. i immediately loved this record because it is full of the human voice, my favorite instrument with the clarinet (or oboe) (or bassoon) and those human voices tell you so many stories at once, and the tweaking of them, oh that tweaking, and those stories you can just sit thru, doing nothing else, which is a unique quality that I seek in music.
Anyway, oh, ah, i found two 2023 records I instantly loved and whose band members i have never talked to or even met (I so wish I could see them play though) both are australian: The Native Cats who I have loved since the beginning and came back here with their mindblowingly great concoction that has absolutely nothing to do with (pet hate) Sleaford Mods (that’s listed in their PR stuff, I did not make up the comparison) and Exek who delivered even more of what they do and, I think, made it available on their own label; I truly believe that this is the best way for a band to be able to make their music available. I was going to cite Scritti Politti (one of my favorite bands ever, read all about them here) as an example of that but, as you well know, they released their 1st single themselves and then went on to bigger (rough trade) and even bigger (virgin) labels, so you can write to me if you have more pertinent examples to put forward. Native cats are on Chapter Music which I would call a major label. well in my tiny self preserving world they are and they release great music, often.
Damn, this is exhausting! There is still more and equally great stuff and here they are, with more friends i could have name checked or bands whose instagram stories I may have had a reaction to once…
RYAN DAVIS, WITNESS K, LEWSBERG, SISTER IODINE, ADULKT LIFE, YOURI KUN and HUH, GEINS’T NAIT, AKSAK MABOUL, PAVEL VIRY+FUSILLER, RETAIL SIMPS, CS KREME or was it REZZETT, KITO MIZUKUMI ROUBER, INSTITUTE, LEDA okay, some of them I also distributed (in small quantities) LEIGHTON CRAIG, EMILY ROBB, TETUZI AKIYAMA, ANIMAL PISS, BLUES AMBUSH all are in this best of 2023 and so are the records released here
taking a nap now;