For everything else that 2023 may have been, or not been, there’s been a lot of excellent music. Here we are at the end of the year. Grab your headphones, hide from the world outside. Here are my favourite records of the year.

Shit and Shine - 2222 and Airport

S&S produces a lot of music, and a lot of it has never really connected with me. But this one does. By turns full of good beats, funny stories and weird noises. Excellent stuff.

Squid - O Monolith

I don’t love this quite as much as their first, but its still great. Spiky, post-punk loveliness.

Memorials - Women Against the Bomb

I was surprised by how much this stuck in my head. It’s the soundtrack to a film about the Greenham Common protests and isn’t subtle at all, but I keep finding myself singing little bits of it.

Lankum - False Lankum

This is my kind of folk music. Macabre, dark stories, told over shuddering bass and weird noises. Fabulous.

Hey Colossus - In Blood

Short and sweet, walls of fuzzy guitar noise.

Meatraffle - Superstructure

Cracking post-punk tunes with some wickedly funny lines. As you’d expect from a band called Meatraffle.

The Loving Paupers - Ladders

Gorgeous NY reggae. Their first album is equally good. Get to know.

The Mountain Goats - Jenny From Thebes

It’s the Mountain Goats. It’s a polished one, with horns and all. I love it.

Overmono - Good Lies

This is an absolute gem. Sits alongside Bicep’s Atlas in my mind, and that’s high praise.

Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan - The Nation’s Most Central Location

Understated electronica. This one pulses and bubbles and fizzes. For fans of Pye Corner Audio, Demdike Stare and the like. I love this sort of thing.

Mungo’s Hi-FI - Past and Present

Mungo’s are a reliable source of bangers, but this one is wall to wall greatness. Absolute stomping tunes.

Reverend Kristine - SAVED

OK, this won’t be for everyone. It’s deeply weird and not an easy listen but its fascinating and very memorable. I love it. Very hard to describe. Give ‘All of my friends are going to hell’ a listen.

Belbury Poly - The Path

Sleeper hit for me. It’s very understated. All gentles tunes with a little folksy storytelling. Worth giving some time to. I love all this hauntology business.

Jellyskin - In Brine

Leeds Leeds Leeds. Bringer of Brine was my most listened track of the year, and ‘I was the first Tetrapod’ can’t have been far behind. Stomping techno-tinged wonky pop tunes.

James Ellis Ford - The Hum

I know nothing about this. Don’t know anything about the artist. Can’t remember how I found it. But it’s great.

Goat - Medicine

Everything these folk make is excellent and this one goes hard. Psych-folk? Alt-fusion? Chant-rock? The internet has no idea how to classify them. It doesn’t matter. This is ace.