Time flies. We already have six months of 2023 behind us.
Six months of listening every day to music, bad/good, very good and 24 Carat Gold.
It was hard to make a selection of the 25 most impressive pieces. But we did it.
Turn Up The Volume’s 25 Best Tracks Of 2023… So Far
Right here, right now.
TRACK BY TRACK
1. ‘Lads Lads Lads’ by LAMBRINI GIRLS (UK)
These Brighton punk feminists are MENTAL and AWESOME.
They released Turn Up The Volume‘s best EP of 2023 (so far), named You’re Welcome
a couple of weeks ago. And one of the 6 Molotov cocktails on it is this in your-macho-face sucker-punch. The Lambrini girls race faster than a Ferrari bolide. Best band in the world!
2. ‘This Just Ain’t My Year’ by 32 TENS
A vigorous young trio from the UK. On this turbulent ripsnorter, it’s full tilt ahead
from the get-go. No brakes, no breaks, no mistakes. A whirlwind of scorching guitars,
pounding drumming, a revolving bass line somewhere in the middle, go-getting vocals
and a dynamite refrain. This is gonna be the year for 32 TENS.
3. ‘Gorilla Guerilla’ by MANTRA OF THE COSMOS (UK)
This brand-new supergroup features Shaun Ryder & Bez (Happy Mondays/Black Grape), Andy Bell (Ride/Oasis) and drummer Zak Starkey, yes Ringo’s son, who played with Oasis and The Who among others and who actually came up with this project’s idea and describes it as “a fantastic psychedelic groove from a band of misfits, outsiders and innovators.”
Whatever, this first single is a Booming Blast!
4. ‘Right Wing Beast’ by SLEAFORD MODS (UK)
Hip-shaking-hop highlight from the waterfall-punk-rap duo’s 12th LP UK GRIM.
5. ‘Freedom’ by CHIC CHOC (NYC)
It’s an incredible shame that women still have to fight for so many fundamental rights.
It’s bloody 2023 and so much female injustice is still a reality. So, it’s great that female artists get up, stand up and fight for their right to tackle this human disease.
Chic Choc do it right away on their fantastic debut single. An electronic-booming EBM knockout to fill dance floors with. Boosting beats, catching chorus, sensuous vocals and
a protesting choir, lead to a sassy stunner. Bang-on. Le freak, c’est chic choc.
Freedom for every woman on the planet. NOW!
6.’Beefcake Doctrine’ by CHUM (London, UK)
This 4-piece post-punk from London launched their
kick-ass debut LP Metaphysical earlier this year.
Beefcake Doctrine is driven by repetitive Krautrock dynamics.
Its trance-inducing beats create a hypnotic and puzzling razzmatazz
you can’t and you won’t escape from.
7. ‘Riverstone’ by DITZ (Brighton, UK)
After scoring the best debut LP – to TUTV’s ears – of 2023
The Great Regression, followed by a live album, they just
dropped this brain-frying hammer blow.
An electric chair experience.
8. ‘Lose My Mind’ by THE MANIC BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB (Canada)
It’s a liberating, drum-backed anthem that allows the band to break free from any stress
or obligations in pursuit of a good night. Good times or bad times, it’s always (in)sane to lose your marbles while diving into a hot let’s have a ball night, now and then. And ‘Lose Your Mind‘ is the matching master blaster to double your adrenalin production.
9. ‘Bullet Man’ by PARIS TEXAS (Los Angeles)
On this slam hip-hop dunk the duo condemn the US’s mass shootings of late in a cynical loud-and-clear way The rip-roaring rappers pretend to be murderous shooters firing at everyone and everything. Bulletman is a devastating drill, a boiling burst that cuts like a first-class Swiss knife.
10. ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ by ULTRA SUNN (Brussels, Belgium)
Once again this cold/darkwave duo – Sam Huge and Gaelle Souflet – shine in the darkness. The rapturous chorus hits you from the first spin. Resounding beats, entranced synths, and echoing vocals combine for another triumph.
Shake your booty.
11. ‘Your Death Is My Glory’ by CAMLANN (Indonesia)
A human-caring dark-disco duo Ony Godfrey and Fauzan Pratama from Indonesia.
Their newest single is a catchy-as-hell injection that accelerates your bloodstream.
An irresistible stomper to jump up and down like crazy while giving the middle
finger to all power-greedy politicians.
12. ‘Lipstick’ by GHOST FETISH (Seattle)
What a way to debut! Expect a glorious nightclub gem with a synth-tantalizing vibe reminiscent of the starry-eyed sparks of British electro-pop heroes New Order. Lipstick
is both a sensuous and affectional tune with gripping vocals up front and melancholic
ones in the back.
13. ‘Prophecy Of The Dragon’ by THE VOIDZ (NYC)
Their new single is a flabbergasting metallic corker. It goes forth and back, left and
right, slow and fast as if Casablancas and his misfits put several snippets of several
songs together and puzzled them into one stupendous stroke of a track.
14. ‘What If?’ by QUIZ SHOW (Montclair, NJ)
This noizzzz jackhammer from their self-titled debut LP rocks and rolls with panache. Expect ablaze guitars buzzing in a slow/fast mode and turning up the volume, especially
on the yell-along refrain. Legends Hüsker Dü come to mind. Say no more.
15. ‘Heart On‘ by 2LIBRAS (Seattle)
It’s the second single off of the upcoming debut album World’s End of this cyber-synth duo.
Heart On is an arousing mid-tempo groover. Both spicy and funky, shadowy and seductive, lustful and provocative with hypnotizing vocals. Its slow-mo synth-bass beat crawls under your skin from the kick-off and progresses steadily towards your restlessly pounding heart.
16. ‘Night Time’ by BROKEN RECORDS (Scotland)
The first single from their new, 5th full-length,
named The Dreamless Sleep Of The 1990s.
Night Time is an ecstatic, awe-inspiring, and anthemic thrill. It has that engrossing and
afire rock swagger of Bruce Springsteen‘s melancholic Americana exploits, it’s infused with
The Edge-like guitar sparks and frontman Sutherland‘s ardent signing is a perfect match for this soul-stirring pearl.
17. ‘Spellbinding’ by THE SMASHING PUMPKINS (US)
Billy Corgan and his combo released a rock
opera opus titled Atum: In Three Acts.
A total of 33 tracks which I reduced to a great 12-song album.
One of those 12 cuts is this flaming synth-induced haymaker.
18. ‘Cars’ by Artists: LUNAR TWIN (Hawai/Salt Lake City)
This electro-pop duo scored an excellent album with Aurora last April.
A 30-minute sonic trip, an ambient fantasy with trancy vibrations, ataractic
effects, and near-whispering vocals.
Cars is my favorite piece. Electrifying dream pop
at its mesmerizing best with sparkling guitar play.
This colorful collective criticize the disastrous state of health care, with the government ignoring the life-risking problems, in England with a sickly sticky riot grrrl pop tune that activates your limbs instantly.
Think Debbie Harry and Blondie playing around on their debut LP. Vibey and briskly. Frolicsome 60s organ touches, lively guitars here and there, and avid vocals.
20. ‘From The Start’ by LOST IN JAPAN (Canada)
The band’s new punchy stroke jumps up and down in your head and elevates your mood from the start. It’s a contagious foot-stamper with a poppy chorus vibe inviting you to play air guitar and sing along with all the force your lungs can come up with.
21. ‘Los Angeles: City Of Death’ by SWANS (NYC)
Capricious mastermind Michael Gira and his combo around for
a long time now, actually since 1982. But they still deliver impressive
New LP The Beggar is a mind-fucking feat.
And this grand jam is an ongoing, repetitive psych drone, with
saw-edged guitars Gira‘s poignant vocals adding a creepy
22. ‘Sinatra Drive Breakdown’ by YO LA TENGO (Hoboken, NJ)
A notable psychedelic trip by the lauded indie veterans who released
one of their best longplayers (17 in total) with This Stupid World.
23. ‘Dead And Over’ by DOWN THE LEES (Canada)
The first new music in three years from the post-punk-rock project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Laura Lee Schultz. The composition captures the raw emotions of sadness, frustration, and anxiety that permeated throughout the years since the pandemic began.
The track’s ominous mid-tempo progression and swelling structure advancing over
an ongoing hypnotic guitar riff send shivers down your spine. Second by second, like
a nervously ticking clock, the sonic poignancy and heartfelt fervidness grow with exuberance and magnitude until Schutlz’s monumental vocals go through the roof.
24. ‘Why Did You Go?’ by CHVRLI BLVCK (London)
This is an emotive post-break-up pearl. Heartfelt reflections embedded in
a goosebump musing that resonates like a bittersweet symphony. This British
singer-songwriter’s highly passionate vox reminds me of Antony Hegarty‘s sensitive ardency. The whole-souled tristesse and mixed emotions at play here make you
25. ‘A Little Bit’ by MILES FROM NOWHERE (Hamilton, Ontario)
This is the artistic moniker of Canadian songsmith Miles Evans-Branagh. He signed for
one of this year’s best albums, so far, with Slow Down. Eight musings. Eight engrossing compositions with one and the same message: get high on life with love. Craftily written, subtly arranged, and graciously orchestrated with intimate, soulful charm and stylish elegance that moves and touches.
Opener A Little Bit is one of those 8 affecting reveries.