Top 7 Albums of 2023 So Far

  1. Home
  2. UK
  3. Music
  4. Top 7 Albums of 2023 So Far
Photography: Walter W. Brady

With the year at its halfway mark, we thought we'd look back at some of our favourite records from 2023 so far. Here are Culture Calling's Top 7 albums of the year (so far).

Kelela - Raven

Fresh off the racks RnB, mixed with the best elements of UK dance, and a gorgeous tenor to boot. Somewhere between FKA twigs and Jamie xx, Raven is one of America's greatest exports to the UK this year.

Another piece of evidence to suggest the future of pop is in the drums of garage, and that American popular music is more and more shifting back over to this side of the atlantic.

Best track: it’s between ‘Contact’ and ‘Bruises’

Spotify | Apple Music

Overmono - Good Lies

Rising to the top of UK dance, Overmono have proved themselves as the undergrounds ambassador. Like an alternate reality Burial who took his SSRI’s, Overmono excel at the art of chirpy vocal sampling perfectly programmed drums, except Good Lies is about as radio-friendly as hard garage can get.

Best track: ‘So U Know’

Spotify | Apple Music

Lana Del Rey - Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd

To keep your music fresh, exciting, and alive after a decade is a challenge few can rise to. But for Lana Del Rey, even the slightest amount of reinvention keeps her as relevant as ever.

Mellow, acoustic, ambient, contemplative, and with some gorgeous instrumental passages, Did you know keeps Lana in the spotlight, a still-needed voice for todays dejected (female) youth.

Best track: ‘Paris, Texas (feat. SYML)’

Spotify | Apple Music

Kahn & Neek - Lupus et Ursus

Their second record as a duo, Lupus et Ursus is equal parts dark, deranged, and hyper. One of the strongest releases in 140 in recent years, Kahn and Neek's hard, industrial, sub-bass-heavy production sets a standard for dubstep this decade.

Smartly produced as well as relentlessly filthy, this Bristol duo are back on the map causing havoc. 

Best track: Rally

Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Alfa Mist – Variables

The London jazz heavyweight pedals through genres like he was born to them, taking his hand to hip-hop, Latin jazz, Afrobeat, jazz-funk, RnB, avant-garde, he doesn’t care.

Edgy, funny, dancey, dark, moody, energetic, Alfa Mist cycles through his own variables in sound and colour, creating another classic record for London jazz heads.

Best track: ‘Aged Eyes’

Spotify | Apple Music

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily - Love in Exile

One of the year’s best releases, Love in Exile is gorgeously chill, melodically addictive, and perfectly spacious.

Aftab’s hypnotic, meditative voice carries the ambient jazz styles of Vijay Iyer on piano and Shahzad Ismaily (of Secret Chiefs 3) on guitar, all striking a harmonious stability.

Avant-garde without being wanky and ambient without being nothingy. A near perfect record.

Best track: ‘Sajni’

Spotify | Apple Music

Liv.e - Girl in the Half Pearl

A long-awaited sophomore record from one of the most exciting voices in neo-soul, Liv.e (pronounced ‘Liv’) is back after three years with her best work yet.

The closest thing we’ve had to Erykah Badu since Erykah Badu, Liv.e’s singy-rapping soulful style over grainy, unpolished, industrial yet jazzy beats (from hip-hop to drum-n-bass) and often-humorous, often-heart-wrenching, begrudging lyrics make her a shining standout in neo-soul.

But it’s not neo-soul, she’s in a completely different world of her own. And we’re just visiting.

Best track(s): ‘Ghost’, ‘Wild Animals’, and ‘Gardetto.’

Spotify | Apple Music