AnalogPlanet’s Top LPs of 2023

Looks like another year has gone by with a seemingly endless release-cycle parade consisting of scores of brand-new LPs from both known artists and untested newcomers alike, along with a myriad of archival vinyl reissues and overstuffed box sets galore — a good number of them presented in the much-preferred AAA form to boot. With the calendar set to turn over to 2024 any day now, that means it’s high time to assess the best of what we’ve heard on wax during the past 12 months. Between the two of us — i.e., 1) yours truly, Mike Mettler, your intrepid AP editor, and 2) our chief LP reviewer, Mark Smotroff — we have listened to well more than three-digits’ worth of LPs in 2023 apiece (not to mention also having respectively obtained a number of LPs we haven’t had the chance to even crack the seals on as of yet — but I digress).

Though it’s not been easy to whittle this compilation of our 2023-released favorites down to the selection that appears below in our annual year-ending best-of listing, we think we’ve covered the gamut of the toppermost new and reissued LPs we’ve heard this year. Note that the majority of (though not all) the albums listed here were reviewed on AP proper in 2023, and those reviews can be found via the Album Reviews, AAA Vinyl, and Review Explosion pull-down headers that appear underneath the main Music menu header, and/or by typing the artist/album names into the search bar. (And, hey, if you think we’ve left something out of our 2023 finest vinyl mix, by all means, feel free to chime in with your own favorites in the Comments section below, which follows after the final “2023 Postscript” segment.)

Last year, we split our Top LPs lists into three separate installments — but this year, we decided to do ’em all in one shot. I’ll go first with my choices, then Mark will follow with his. Let’s get on with my top archival spins, shall we?



180g 5LP (Warner Records)

When it comes to feting an album like The Flaming Lips’ cosmically cool tenth studio effort, July 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, putting together a180g 5LP baby-pink vinyl box set that includes the remastered core album, demos, non-album tracks, live radio sessions, and a score of additional live tracks is the exact right call. Longtime Lips production stalwart David Fridmann did all the Yoshimi remastering, while Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering did the lacquer-cutting, and the LPs themselves were pressed at Precision in Ontario. Some of the LPs in the Yoshimi box set have since been released individually throughout the year, but I prefer having them all under one roof, so to speak.

Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has a distinctive warbly factor in his voice that’s well in evidence on Yoshimi, and the way some of the effects going on behind him in certain mixes here made me think of how records were in the early days of transitioning to higher-fidelity recordings. You can hear the evolution of some of those creative choices on the demos found on, naturally, the Demos+ LP (LP2, Sides 3 and 4). For one thing, the version of “Do You Realize??” that’s at the outset of the second side of said Demos+ LP — wherein we hear a false start and then Coyne just keeps on going — continues to remind me of John Lennon, whenever he would just be working through what he had in front of him until he found that mythical it factor.

“It’s a great-sounding record, with all the little details. And we spent a lot — a lot — of time punishing it, to a certain extent, to get it like that,” Coyne told me earlier this year about how the full Yoshimi project came together. After all that gritty production elbow grease, the 5LP box set edition of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots clearly reaps and realizes many a great listening reward.



2LP/1 7-inch 45/3CD/1DVD multidisc box set (Madfish)

Certain albums serve as defining statements of a band’s career trajectory — and when it comes to the British melodic progressive rock band Wishbone Ash, 1972’s Argus is the shining example. To celebrate the golden anniversary of this milestone melodically progressive album, Wishbone Ash released the Argus 50th Anniversary Edition 1972-2022 multidisc box set via Madfish back in the spring in a special edition run of 5,000 copies. The mastering for Argus 50 was done by Pete Reynolds at Reynolds Mastering — and, yes, it’s likely not been done AAA, but guitarist/vocalist and Wishbone Ash co-founder Andy Powell told me directly why the new Argus LP sounds just right to these ears — and his. “My only requisite was, ‘don’t remix it — just remaster it,’” he explains. “To me, Argus is perfect as it is.”

Very much agreed, as Argus 50 sounds quite akin to its 1972 counterpart, just as it should. The acoustic reflection of the first couple of minutes of the opening track “Time Was” is sublime and free flowing, soon enough followed by a brief pause before the whole band kicks in to move into a different level of overdrive. It’s no small feat for the LP to remain as quiet as it needs to be in that moment. If some listeners are unfamiliar with “Time Was,” they may feel like another song is getting ready to commence at that point — but then “Time Was” comes right back to slam into the overall full dynamic range of the material with full force. From there, the blended harmonics on “Blowin’ Free” (Side 1, Track 3) meet the moment, and the organ played by guest keyboardist John Tout (on loan from Renaissance) that comes in during the second half of “Throw Down the Sword” (Side 2, Track 4) adds a texture that could have been overused elsewhere on the album writ large, but instead fits only when and where it needs to. Argus 50 unfolds like a rock warrior unbowed by the seasoning of its half-century of existence.



180g 3LP (Intervention Records)

Now, this is how you do an AAA box set right. Peter Frampton’s truly excellent Frampton@50: In the Studio 1972-1975 180g 3LP box set from Intervention Records is comprised of three of the man’s earliest A&M solo outings — July 1972’s Wind of Change, May 1973’s Frampton’s Camel, and March 1975’s Frampton. Each LP was “100 percent” analog mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the “best-sounding” analog tape sources available (i.e., via the ½-inch safety copies of UK production masters), plated at RTI, and pressed at Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, Ohio.

The AAA joys here are many, and mighty. On Wind of Change, the opening cut, “Fig Tree Bay,” is a buoyant song that contains some critical sequences featuring strings arranged by Del Newman that lesser pressings have failed to represent accurately. Plus, Mike Kellie’s cymbal taps are clear and the strings buttress, rather than intrude, on Frampton’s first guitar solo. On Frampton’s Camel, the Side Two closer, “Do You Feel Like We Do,” is a stone-cold marvel — a perfect album-ender wherein the soundstage is nice and wide, wholly allowing Frampton’s gnarly lead guitar lines some air to snarl all about, with a fine bed of Mick Gallagher’s Wurlitzer electric piano rightly underneath as support. Finally, on Frampton, “Show Me the Way” (Side One, Track 2) marries Frampton’s instantly recognizable acoustic strum with that signature talkbox effect in an almost demo-like way, given how the song has opened up considerably in the live arena in these subsequent decades — but I also like how the talkbox is used as support in various spots on the verses and choruses in addition to its featured solo spots.

The bottom line here is clear — Intervention Records has achieved a new plateau with the full-on AAA excellence of Frampton@50: In the Studio 1972-1975. This is one of those box sets that continues to hold up upon repeated listens, and it’s also one that will be revisited across the years. Get yours now directly from Intervention Records here, before this limited edition of 2,500 copies is gone, gone, gone.



180g 45rpm 2LP (Zappa Records/UMe)

The new 180g 45rpm 2LP 50th anniversary version of Frank Zappa’s September 1973 commercial triumph, Over-Nite Sensation, is a true aural delight — especially for a Zappa fan like me who has listened to this album more than almost any other LP in my entire life. (A 3LP splatter vinyl version of ONS was briefly available direct from with bonus studio outtakes and live tracks culled from the bigger, companion 4CD/1BD box set, but, alas, it’s now sold out.)

FZ Vaultmeister Joe Travers confirmed that this new vinyl edition of ONS was cut from the original analog tape with engineer Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering “maintaining an all-analog chain for the complete audiophile experience.” The LPs themselves were pressed at Optimal in Germany.

Me, I just can’t get enough of how Ralph Humphrey’s kick drum on both “I’m the Slime” (LP1, Side One, Track 2) and “Dirty Love” (LP1, Side Two, Track 1) has more in-your-chest impact, and I also got more note-fingering nuance from Jean-Luc Ponty’s violin solo section on “Fifty-Fifty” (LP1, Side Two, Track 2) — not to mention George Duke’s overall keyboard support and Ruth Underwood’s vibes-playing that supplements the female-vocal-led section in the back half of “Montana” (LP2, Side Two, Track 1). Said female vocalists, by the way, are none other than Tina Turner and The Ikettes (a story unto itself that you can learn more about in the liner notes).

In addition to the cavalcade of his well-chosen and well-in-sync collaborators, Zappa’s guitar prowess, sleek vocal-tone choices, and overall production verve all helped make Over-Nite Sensation as sensational as it originally was, and the 2LP 45rpm edition is a double-LP set I’ll be spinning again and again with much regularity — with a reety-awrighty cup of cawfee by my side being semi-optional.



200g 45rpm 2LP (Geffen/Analogue Productions)

The Holy Grail has truly been delivered unto us with the Analogue Productions UHQR 200g 45rpm 2LP edition of Steely Dan’s September 1977 masterpiece, Aja. While I have loved and admired the previous three SD releases in the UHQR series to varying degrees, without question, the UHQR Aja tops them all — and it truly deserves our highest Sound rating of 11.

How come? Well, I should also note that Aja is an 11 in the Music rating department as well — and always has been. Soundwise, the 11-achieving UHQR Aja never fails to engage me, spin after spin after spin. In direct comparison to the UHQR, the original September 1977 ABC AA-1006 Aja LP is a 9, the 2007 Cisco CLP-1006 is an 8, the 1980 Mobile Fidelity MFSL 1-033 is a 7.5 (mainly due to its pesky bass content issue), and the recent, digital-derived 180g Geffen/UMe version is a 7.

Here are but a few specific Aja UHQR-dominant examples. On the Side A album-opening track, “Black Cow,” Joe Sample’s clavinet has a presence that’s more dimensional than it is on the other pressings, and the four femmes background vocal blend (courtesy Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta Fields, and Rebecca Louis) is upfront, precise, and clear on lines like “I can’t cry anymore / While you run around / (While you run around)” — ditto how they consistently complement Fagen’s leads. Track 2, “Aja,” continues the UHQR excellence. Steve Gadd’s cymbal work, the right-channel guitar counters, and Sample’s left-channel Fender Rhodes at the outset, in addition to Victor Feldman’s percussion on the choruses, are all highlights — as is\ the interplay between tenor saxman Wayne Shorter and drummer Gadd during their solo sequence in the title song’s back half, wherein the two of them come across even bolder and on equal par on the UHQR, by far.

“Deacon Blues,” the only track on Side B, again comes through with the Donald Fagen/three femmes (King, Matthews, Fields) vocal blend — something that has been admittedly less so on other pressings. Finally, “Josie” takes it all home to end the album on Side D — so good! The opening chimes wash clean across the soundstage, Fagen’s emphatic “No!” — his in-the-moment sneer/response kicker to the previous line, “She’ll never say no”— exhibits the volume punch and coy swagger it requires, and then the full stop after the first guitar solo has exactly the right impact as intended.

The bottom line is this: If you want to consistently experience the best of what this particular 200g 45rpm 2LP Steely Dan series has to offer, then the Analogue Productions Aja fits the bill for being the pride of the UHQR neighborhood, hands down — and, in my listening book, it’s also the best archival release of 2023.

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Yep, I very much adored a number of new albums this past year as well, so here are some slightly abbreviated takes on those five faves, again presented here in reverse order.


5. Rufus Wainwright: Folkocracy. 2LP. BMG. Acclaimed eclectic Canadian-American songsmith returns to his other true roots with a 2LP set dubbed Folkocracy, produced and directed by Mitchell Froom. The 60-minute song cycle breathes deep and clean on all four sides, running the gamut of a modern-yet-vintage blend of traditional folk (“Down in the Willow Garden,” “Shenandoah”) and more contemporary fare (Neil Young’s “Harvest,” Wainwright’s own “Going to a Town”) alike — plus a heaping helping of storied guests (including Susanna Hoffs, David Byrne, and Van Dyke Parks) to share the load.

4. Peter Gabriel: i/o. 180g 2LP. Real World. It may have taken Peter Gabriel well over a decade to produce a full outing of new music, but i/o was well worth the wait. Gabriel doled out each of the album’s tracks digitally month-to-month — in addition to performing most of them live during his outstanding two-set 2023 tour, which I saw back on September 22 — before committing them to wax in December. Never one to plow through song arrangements at a breakneck pace, most i/o tracks unfurl like tightly wound blankets of layered sound, rich in instrumentation and vocal layering (the orchestral age treatise “So Much,” the piano-and-synth-driven “Playing for Time”) that would only get bogged down in a single LP setting. The aural rewards of i/o unfold even further upon repeat spins, once again bolstering Gabriel’s rightfully taken place in the pantheon of rock-era pioneers.


3. Gord Downie & Bob Rock: Lustre Parfait. 180g 2LP. Arts & Crafts. The late, great Tragically Hip frontman and the noted, appropriately named rock producer combine forces to share their own aural buddy movie, a 60-minute double-album that draws on their respective individual strengths to produce music that unabashedly embraces the core-vibe intentions of the initial rock era when dropping the needle on an album and settling into its groove was pretty much all you really cared about. A late-emerging sax solo, rollicking piano, and female background vocals sprinkle, well, all the right lustre onto the title track in the middle of Side A, while the slow-drifting Side B opener, “The Moment Is a Wild Place,” highlights Downie’s songwriting strengths, wordsmithery command, and how he chose to enunciate it all — as well as Rock’s own production intuition to follow the muse, rather than lead it. Parfait magnifique.

2. The Secret Machines: The Moth, The Lizard, and The Secret Machines. 180g 2LP. TSM Recordings. One of the best, most underrated post-rock collectives of the early-aughts — see the 2LP white-vinyl import edition of their June 2004 debut Now Here Is Nowhere and its constantly detonating leadoff track, “First Wave Intact,” for starters — Secret Machines return anew after a three-year break with a 2LP attack that guarantees you won’t be able to sit still while taking in all of its four-sided drama. The brooding instrumental Side B middle cut, “Last One Out,” builds to an absolutely explosive cymbals-and-synths soundstage wash before clawing its way back into the off-kilter mix like a spent tide receding from the shore, while Side C’s “Crucifixion Time” marries chucka-guitar crunch, determined layered vocals, whipcrack drumming, and a synth-bleating, volume-level-challenging back half. Lastly, Side D’s closing track, “The Finalizer,” does just that with low-end sneer and SM mastermind Brandon Curtis’ sustained earworm riffology. Though the staccato Side A opening cut is titled “There’s No Starting Over,” The Moth proves exactly the opposite is true for Secret Machines.


1. Steven Wilson: The Harmony Codex. 2LP. Virgin Music Group. Though Wilson is the undisputed king of surround-sound mixing, he also knows how to deliver his music in two channels — and his seventh solo studio outing, The Harmony Codex, wisely distributes its quite dense 64 minutes across 2LPs. Naturally, as an SW completist, I bought all the multiple color vinyl editions of THC, but, aesthetically speaking, I prefer the coke bottle clear version the best. As for the sound, the unbridled raucousness of the Side B opener “Impossible Tightrope” will test the limits of your volume knob, while the almost-ten-minute synthfest title track that ends Side C deftly blends Mike Oldfield sensibilities with the tenets of Gil Mellé’s still-unsettling electro-theme to Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. The final, loop-laden track on Side D, “Staircase,” unravels in a slow-but-steady climb across its nine minutes that breathes and dreams right into the runout groove. It’s a track that couldn’t really start a side nor be nestled between other Codex songs, in turn showing that Wilson also understands how to sequence LP sides as much as he knows how to challenge the width of a soundstage. Truly Harmonious.

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And now, let me hand the Best LPs of 2023 baton over to Mark, who will now unveil the listings for both his archival and favorite new LPs of the year. Over to you, brother Mark!


Thanks, Mike! So much music. So little time, so little space. Inevitably, we’ve missed some things, as Mike alluded to in his intro, and there are indeed some titles we haven’t fully reviewed yet but hope to get around to in 2024. At any rate, here is my first list compiling many a favorite 2023 archival LP and box set from a year jammed with many musical highs, presented in no particular order.


Frank Zappa: Waka/Jawaka. 180g 1LP. Zappa Records/UMe.
Frank Zappa: The Grand Wazoo. 180g 1LP. Zappa Records/UMe.
Two fantastic 1972 jazz-fusion-oriented Zappa releases in the vein of 1969’s acclaimed Hot Rats are lovingly remastered — and both are sounding better than ever.

Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band: I’m Going to Do What I Wanna Do (Live at My Father’s Place 1978). 2LP. Rhino.
This legendary radio broadcast — which was officially issued on CD some years back — finally gets a proper vinyl release made off the original 2-track stereo master tapes with great success.


Solomon Burke: Don’t Give Up on Me. 180g 2LP. Anti-.
My favorite album of 2002 finally receives a proper 20th anniversary reissue with a bonus track that, for some reason, was inexplicably only available on the hard-to-find and expensive European pressings. I consider this album essential listening, and it includes original compositions by Dan Penn, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and many others.

David Byrne: The Complete Score From the Broadway Production of “The Catherine Wheel.” 2LP. Sire/Rhino.
The classic complete score is released on vinyl for the first time in its entirety, a long overdue edition finally allowing fans to put their old CD and cassette editions to rest.

Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane: Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane. 180g 1LP. Craft Recordings.
A classic, highly sought after jazz release gets an authentic reissue, with exemplary results. It’s one of the inaugural releases in the new reboot of the Original Jazz Classics (OJC) branded reissue series — and it’s a surefire winner to boot.

Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby. 180 1LP. Riverside/Craft Recordings.
Bill Evans Trio: Sunday at the Village Vanguard. 180g 1LP. Riverside/Craft Recordings.
Two legendary and eagerly hunted-for albums in their original pressings receive high-quality yet affordably priced reissues, also as part of the aforementioned OJC series.


Mal Waldron Sextet: Mal/2. 180g 1LP. Prestige/Craft Recordings.
Mal/2 is one of my favorites this year — not only because it sounds so good, but because the music is so revelatory. It is one of those albums delivering that undefinable magic special something which screams “classic album.” An OJC series reissue, Mal/2 is essential listening.

Naná Vasconcelos: Saudades. 180g 1LP. ECM Luminessence Series.
In a word: Beautiful.

Kenny Wheeler: Gnu High. 180g 1LP. ECM Luminessence Series.
I do get some kicks from modern jazz, if I might twist a phrase from Chuck Berry. Gnu High, Kenny Wheeler’s 1975 debut for ECM, is a gem I’d never heard before this reissue, and it keeps giving with each repeat listen.

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense. 2LP. Sire/Rhino.
The classic concert soundtrack from 1984 is finally issued in its entirety on vinyl, and with great result. (Mike loves it too, and he tells me it just missed making his archival Top 5 of 2023 cut by only one or two spots.)

The Who: Who’s Next. 180g 1LP. Polydor/Track/UMC.
A legendary classic rock album gets the Plangent Processes treatment, correcting/restoring off-pitch and out-of-tempo portions of this 1971 masterpiece — and more. Coupled with half-speed mastering by longtime Who producer/engineer Jon Astley at Abbey Road Studios, the result is a fine, if not a must-have, vinyl reissue.


Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach: The Songs of Bacharach & Costello. 2LP. UMe.
Amazing music created by two of the finest composers of our times, now sounding better than ever and spread across three sides of a 2LP set.

The Birth of Bop. 5LP. Savoy/Craft Recordings.
A vintage rare box set of 10-inch jazz releases circa 1952-53 receives a loving archival reissue in their original form factor.

Frank Zappa: Over-Nite Sensation. 180g 45rpm 2LP. Zappa Records/UMe.
Also appearing near the top of Mike’s best-archival LPs list, ONS, Zappa’s commercial breakthrough and career-changing 1973 hit album, is remastered from the original tapes in the full analog process, is pressed on 2LPs that spin at 45rpm, and it sounds better than ever too!


Los Lobos: Kiko. 3LP. Slash/Warner Records.
Groundbreaking, career-defining 1992 album from the burgeoning CD era as crafted by one of America’s greatest bands, East L.A.’s Los Lobos, finally receives its multidisc vinyl due. Spread across 2LPs and enhanced by a third disc of demos and studio jams, this is a crucial release for fans of the band and the album itself, which is arguably one of the best original music releases of that decade.

The Story of Cadet Records. 180g 8LP. VMP Anthology.
A fabulous cross-sectional box set study exploring eight — count ’em, eight! — soul- and soul-jazz-oriented albums released by the Cadet label in the late-’60s and early-’70s by no less than Harold Land, Dorothy Ashby, Etta James, Ramsey Lewis, and others. A great deep dive, now all in one place.

Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners. 180g 1LP. Riverside/Craft Recordings.
At an SRP of $109 for just a single LP, this limited run in Craft Recordings’ acclaimed Small Batch series is an investment-grade purchase, no doubt. But for such a beloved, highly regarded album by one of America’s most important musicians/composers, this super-duper deluxe edition seems utterly warranted.


Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah. 2LP. Luaka Bop/Impulse!.
This mad-rare, in-demand, collectible late-’70s indie release by this saxophone legend receives a loving reissue crafted from a surprising source. It sounds — frankly — quite fantastic and lovely. Revelatory.

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And now, it’s time for my top new LPs of 2023, again presented in no particular order per se, other than they’re my favorites of this year.


Depeche Mode: Memento Mori. 180g 2LP. Columbia.
A fine return to form for DM, with some memorable tunes and solid production — and it’s also an instance where the vinyl clearly outshines its hi-res streaming options.

Thomas Walsh: The Rest Is History. 1LP. Curation Records.
Lush, melodic rocking original music with DNA steeped in the British rock of the ’60s and ’70s. Guest artists include Michael Penn, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, and Neil Hannon of Divine Comedy.


Larkin Poe: Blood Harmony. 1LP. Tricki-Woo.
These bluesy, ballsy, fierce guitar-slinging blues sisters bring the rock again on their own label, with many excellent results for an indie release.

Frank Zappa: Funky Nothingness. 180g 2LP. Zappa Records/UMe.
A missing-link release culled from the boundless Zappa archives, replete with brilliant performances and great sound. Recorded between 1969’s Hot Rats and 1970’s Chunga’s Revenge, there are many revelatory moments on this fine FZ collection, including an original track that later appeared in dramatically altered form on his 1974 Top 10 hit release, Apostrophe(‘).

Beirut: Hadsel. 1LP. Pompeii.
A wonderful full-length return from Zach Condon’s ongoing music project that is melodic, introspective, uplifting, cinemascopic, ambient, and ultimately fun. Lovely stuff.

Dungen: En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog. 1LP. Mexican Summer.
That complex-looking Swedish album title translates roughly to “One Is Too Much and a Thousand Is Never Enough,” and it represents a fine return from Sweden’s proud champions of independently made progressive/psychedelic rock & roll known as Dungen (pronounced Doon-yen). If you like Sigur Rós and Cocteau Twins, you are a candidate for becoming a Dungen fan — trust me.


Chet Baker: Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland. 180g 2LP. Jazz Detective.
Surprising and terrific-sounding late-period studio recordings from the late, great jazz trumpet legend finds Baker in fine form, supported by sympathetic musicians elevating the moment of this original radio broadcast to near-classic status.

A new Eno album is always welcome — especially when he is singing on it. Musically beautiful and lyrically heavy, this is the thinking person’s ambient music that makes a strong statement about the environment — right down to how the album was manufactured!


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And that’s a wrap on 2023! Both Mike and Mark would like to wish you, the Analog Planet faithful, a hearty, hale, and healthy Happy New Year, one that’s sure to be filled with many a great archival and new LP release we can all endeavor to listen to, learn more about, and discuss together. Until then — happy spinning!

Author bios: Mike Mettler is the editor of Analog Planet in addition to being the music editor of our sister site Sound & Vision, and he’s also a contributing music editor to one of our other sister sites, Stereophile.

Mark Smotroff is an avid vinyl collector who has also worked in marketing communications for decades. He has reviewed music for, among others, and you can see more of his impressive C.V. at LinkedIn.


Anton D's picture

I snoozed on the Stop Making Sense and missed out.

I think I better hunt, it’s bugging me.

All the best to you all!

Glotz's picture

And I re-bought Remain in Light and Speaking In Tongues... They sound great vs. the originals.

SagarAyadi88's picture

Happy New Year to all

Glotz's picture

I have more than a few on this list and the rest have my eyes and ears perked up again. Thanks. I need the Pharoah, Captain Beefheart and Chet as well as Zappa's Funky and perhaps Who's Next. I'd like to take the plunge into all of the Steely Dan, but no thanks, I'd be completeist about it and I can't afford ALL of that.

I most grateful for still being able to snatch up all of the Steven Wilson- King Crimson remixes that smoke the originals (purchased in 23).

The Grand Wazoo is fantastic and sounds awesome.

Gabriel's two versions of i/o are very appreciated as well.

Mike Mettler's picture
Appreciate the kind words, Glotz! Any other faves of yours from 2023 we didn't have on our list(s)? I'm all ears...
Anton D's picture

"Let's Start Here" has a load of DSOM hidden inside and is a real 'aura changer' for him.

Cool thing, it can only be had via download or vinyl. I can't find any on CD!

I could have sworn the Yeah Yeah yeahs' latest was 2023, but "Cool It Down" was 2022! Dang, how time meshes.

Janelle Monáe's "The Age of Pleasure" seems to be holding up for me, too.

Then, boom! Everything But The Girl pops up with a new album. Tracy Thorn's voice is just superb. (The new album could have been just as easily been an Alison Moyet or Erasure album!)

I'm sure more will pop into my mind later....same as it ever was.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

Mazzy on YT recommended Folkocracy, I've listened to it several times recently, it has staying power, where most of his other suggestions did not. I look forward to listening to: Steven Wilson, Secret Machines & Beirut (The Rip Tide was a masterpiece). Cheers!

michaelengelbrecht's picture

That was a fine ending. Two albums close at one another that have a lot of common with certain meanings of blue. Chet Baker‘s Blue Room, and Brian Eno‘s masterpiece with song. Eno‘s album is full of blue moods and certainly „another blue world“.

In my earlier life I was never so keen on Frank Zappa, and had only one real personal favourite, strangely enough not a usual suspect: Zoot Allures. But probably due to Mark‘s never ending love for Mr. Zappa, i finally joined the club:)

I met Wayne Coyne a few times for interviews in Germany, always an inspiration. My favourite album has always been Yoshimi, and, now, reading again about that magic Yoshimi boxset of vinyls, i wil look out for it. The last big buy of a year overflowing with treasure boxes,

Last thought coming to mind: don‘t miss the March reissue of LUMINESSENCE, by Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek. A string section, a saxophone, no piano. And a masterpiece. Musicwise. Soundwise.

Mike Mettler's picture
Glad you enjoyed the list, Michael. I know you'll dig that Yoshimi box when you get it in hand too. I first got into The Flaming Lips circa Oh My Gawd!!! in 1987, and am continually amazed with what they come up with from year to year, and how they continue to evolve as artists. Some albums of theirs take longer to get into more than others do -- but that's what repeat spins are for, no?

Also, thanks for the tip re the upcoming K. Jarrett and Jan G Luminessence releases, Michael. We might just have to review those when the time comes...

michaelengelbrecht's picture

Yes, Mike, nearly all the Flaming Lips albums that came after their YBTPR were growers. The second of three times I saw them, had been at Hammersmith Odeon at the turn of the century, roundabout, and Wayne told me later that they have never played before a bigger audience (up to that point in time)…The Yoshimi boxset is on its way to me, and i am happy to re-live another England gig of the Lips from those older days. Mark had reviewed it some time ago, and after your song of praise I couldn‘t resist.

By the way, the running gag of our three talks was that though living in Oklahoma City he had never experienced a tornado, not even from far. And he really wanted to see one at last in his lifetime. I don‘t know if he has succeeded meanwhile, it‘s a mixed pleasure anyway…:)

In regards to the Luminessence series of ECM, i grew up with all those milestones and great works from their golden years (the first decade) and keep returning to many of those albums. This analogue vinyl series only reflects a tiny quantum of their fabulous works from pioneering years. It was a joy for meet a lot of these ECM artists later for long radio portraits. Timeless stuff, anyway!

Mike Mettler's picture
Those are some great Coyne-interactivity memories, Michael. I always have good, philosophical talks with Wayne whenever we get to connect. Haven't had a chance to see The Lips live all that recently, so I will have to rectify that as soon as I can. Also gotta pick me up some of the recent live/of-era supplemental LPs that aren't in the Yoshimi box as well, come to think of it.

A good balance of my ECM collection is on CD, so I also look forward to getting whichever Luminessence series LPs and other ECM vinyl reissues that I can.

michaelengelbrecht's picture

AMERICAN HEAD is another of my top 5 releases, and knowing that Mr. Coyne is diving there through a lot of autobiographical turmoil makes it an even deeper experience to look out for the documentary on the „Fearless Freaks“. A band that has really been crossing heaven and hell - survival artists all of them.

One more time returning to the ECM history and all those treasures from the LUMINESSENCE series, it is important to realize how essential many of their modern day releases still are. Just think of Steve Tibbetts‘ LIFE OF, Mette Henriette‘s DRIFTING or Nik Bärtsch‘s ENTENDRE to name a few. Or that wonderful bass solo album from Marc Johnson, OVERPASS in my ears a true career highlight… it still waits on a vinyl release, but it has a fantastic cover living up to ECM‘s long story of awsome cover art. For more details, here:

carinamon's picture

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stomachwriggle's picture

The sheer quantity of vinyl some of you guys have purchased astounds me. Limited demand, limited return geometry dash lite. Even with returned records, it occurred. There are now two out of every three records that are undesirable and go into the reject pile. Before, I might have received one record out of ten that was in terrible shape.

Avajos's picture

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