2023 saw my continuing drift toward esoteric sounds validated by no less than André 3000, who released his album of flute-based ambient soundtracks only six years after my own band had been plundering that sound. Also of musical significance: this is the year my sprawling album and CD collection became my 14-yo son’s collection too. (Yay, I get to add more record shelves!)

Black Belt Eagle Scout – The Land, The Water, The Sky
My “indie” album of the year, deep and resonant.

L’Rain – I Killed Your Dog
Taja Cheek continues her streak of exciting experimental R&B and gave my favorite concert of the year.

Jonathan Wilson – Eat The Worm
Analog producer extraordinaire records a magnum opus of fantastic arrangements and old-man diatribes.

PJ Harvey – I Inside The Old Year Dying
Ever the model of multidisciplinary ambition, now directed toward obscure horizons befitting someone our age.

Protomartyr – Formal Growth In The Desert
Consistent quality remains their thing, but the Detroit group added a pedal steel player to designate formal growth.

Bella White – Among Other Things
This Canadian bluegrass artist recorded my favorite Jonathan Wilson-produced album, duking it out with his other 2023 recordings for Angel Olsen and Sam Burton.

Billy Nomates – Cacti
I won’t overthink the charms of this record, except to propose that Nomates crosses Sheryl Crow and PJ Harvey with remarkable inspiration. (See, I overthought it.)

Irreversible Entanglements – Protect Your Sun
Big move up (to Impulse Records) for the spiritual jazz/spoken word ensemble.

Vasilis Dokakis – Lotus
Thanks to marrying into the Greeks, my radar spotted this Athens-based artist and his beautiful, delicate album.

Tanith – Voyage
Middle-aged classic metal revivalists jam econo. Sounds like a life goal!

Kalia Vandever – We Fell In Turn
This had me at “ambient trombone”.

Decisive Pink – Ticket To Fame
Kooky krautrock for post-pandemic times.

Margo Price – Strays
My favorite of the “hardly country music anymore” artists, although I see you Jelly Roll.

bar italia – Tracey Denim
How do they do so much with so little?

Most Serene Congress – June 4, 2023, Kingston, NY
Gotta say: for this multiple-camera filmed improvisation (opening for our noise-duo pals Satan’s Black Acid), my avant-dad trio killed it — with flute-based ambient soundtracks.