It’s that time of year again, another annual review of the music that stood out. There have been some outstanding releases, but not as over-flowing as in recent years. There are thoughts and reasons, but let’s not talk about them. Instead, let us celebrate the superb winners that reflected my love for independent and unsigned music with my Music Review 2023. 

As always, this is a Top 5 list of albums and EPs that have ticked all the right boxes for me (click the links in their titles to learn more). Like any art, it’s how they have made me feel or a quality that makes me come back for another listen. Let’s not waste any more time and this Music Review 2023. At Number 5 is …………..

Title Holder / What Better Time 

What Better Time is a collection of songs that will make you smile. Title Holder knows how to bring the feel-good factor and party vibe with the music they create. If that is not enough, their infectious hooks will have you singing along. Even their softer tracks still have that contagious energy. If you are looking for a musical good time, this is the album for you!

Standout songs: “Animal”, “It Doesn’t Matter”, and “Bring Back”.

Hannah Mazey / Bitter EP 

Coming in at number 4 is an EP about the end of a relationship. Bitter EP may not be something new, but the way Hannah Mazey shares her words and emotions makes it refreshing. Her honest lyrics make it easy for listeners to relate to her. As well as her outstanding way with words, each song is wrapped up in a mesmerising lo-fi soundtrack. It helps to give her music its authentic feel. The EP features one of my favourite songs of the year, “Pieces”. It has a subtle beat that feels so good. 

Standout Songs: “Comfort Blanket” and “Pieces”.

Smoove and Turrell / Red Ellen

Regular readers will know I am a big fan of Smoove and Turrell, so seeing them on this list will be no surprise. They know how to deliver a feel-good factor with their funky tunes and soulful moments. However, this collection of songs feels a little different with its electronic elements. It’s not a huge change, but it’s clear for fans to notice. It shows these guys continue to push their boundaries and escape their comfort zone. Lyrically, it hits home with some truths but not too much to spoil the party. Red Ellen is yet another essential listen from Smoove and Turrell.

Standout Songs: “Joy”, “Geno’s Discotheque”, and “IGOTCHA”.

HOLY WARS / Cult Classic EP

HOLY WARS are a band that cannot (and should not) be tamed or put in a box. Their music is unapologetic, as they tell it as it is, with a soundtrack that does not hold back. At times, it’s like a slap to the face, but this is all done in the best possible way. Their style of rock blends electronic and industrial elements and is guaranteed to grab the listener’s attention. Their new EP Cult Classic offers this and more as it perfectly follows up their flawless album Eat It Up, Spit It Out. I could say more, but press play on this EP and let the music of HOLY WARS do the talking. 

Standout Songs: “VenoM” and “Deus Ex Machina”

Shaun Panda Nicolson / Songs From the Pink Room

When I first heard Songs From the Pink Room by Shaun Panda Nicolson , I knew this would be my number one. It’s everything that makes me love what the world of independent/unsigned music has to offer. It is a collection of songs free to be whatever it wants. Free from the usual song structure, it moves and evolves in its own way. Nicolson and his guitar combine to share his captivating stories that have space to breathe when needed. From start to finish, it is a beautiful listening experience that everyone needs to hear.

Standout Songs: “To Sea”, “More than a Memory”, and “Broken Knees”

Well, that’s Music Review 2023. I hope you find something new that you like or you agree with my choices. As for the upcoming year, there are already a few albums/EPs that I’m excited to hear. These include releases by VOLK and Brother Dege, as I am a HUGE FAN of both. Also, after another two outstanding singles this year, ROOM11 is preparing to set free a new EP. I can’t wait to rock out to that one. Let me know what albums or EPs have stood out the most for you and what 2024 releases you are excited to hear. 

Until next time, keep supporting independent and unsigned music! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.