It's been a wild year for new music already and we're only half way through! We've gotten anticipated releases from artists on many year hiatus', back to back album series, surprise drops and more from some of our favorite Indie artists! With all the music out there we know it's a lot to sort through. So our staff have done the work of picking their top three singles from the year so far! Scroll to check out all the selects, the end features a streamable Spotify playlist!
- Young Fathers / I Saw
- boygenius / $20
- Yo La Tengo / Fallout
Scottish trio Young Fathers' latest offering, The Heavy Heavy, continues to build on what they do best--- infectious and driving beats, back and forth unhinged, yet controlled vocals sometimes paired with an optimistic gospel choir like you'll hear on this track. While they may be coined a supergroup, the trio of Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker having the title of musical superheroes instead seems more on brand. Joining forces together five years ago they have had time to use their extraordinary powers as musicians (and real life friends) to write an album, called THE RECORD, that showcases their abilities as songwriters and performers as shown in this chaotic and beautiful song. To know me, is to know Yo La Tengo is one of my most adored bands--- one that since discovering in middle school, I have never strayed from. This year they released their 16th full length record, This Stupid World, and my one word review of it is CONSISTENT. The band has been consistent --releasing beautiful records, on their terms, with an earnest point of view about the changing times. ON THIS TRACK, the trio highlights their signature contributions to what makes the band special to me--- Ira Kaplan's hushed vocals, Georgia Hubley's soft drums and James McNew's fuzzy bass.
- 100 gecs / Hollywood Baby
- BAILEN / Call It Like It Is
- Blur / The Narcissist
I doubt anyone here was surprised that 100 gecs is one of my picks. They’re the biggest hyperpop band on the planet, their sound has been compared to that of another favorite band of mine — Sleigh Bells — and one of their biggest influences is our hometown electropop band Breathe Carolina. “Hollywood Baby” has a fierce riff and a catchy hook — and, oh yeah, I’m thrilled to support a fellow trans woman like frontwoman Laura Les. BAILEN has been around for a few years and are already on their second album, but listening to how good they sound on “Call It Like It Is”, I’m shocked they haven’t been on my radar until now. I have a confession to make about the new one from Blur. When I heard that we had a new song from them, my expectations weren’t as high as they should have been. I figured Damon Albarn was far more invested emotionally in Gorillaz, and that anything new from Blur would seem lackluster in comparison. Contrary to my expectations, “The Narcissist” is already one of my favorite songs they’ve ever made, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the new album, The Ballad of Darren.
- Kali Uchis / I Wish You Roses
- Caroline Polachek / Welcome to My Island
- Kelela / On the Run
This year has been such a fun one for queer musicians! Lots of exciting releases from up and coming artists and icons. I chose these three songs because of the unique vocalists, the smooth production and the vibey goodness. Kali Uchis is such a sultry songstress and her latest album Red Moon in Venus is a love letter to her sweetheart Don Toliver, which I think is so adorable. Caroline Polachek is a pop princess diva, known for her experimentation whether it’s with her bird-like vocals or her artful production–she keeps her music fresh and exciting. She’s also absolutely wonderful to see live if you haven’t by now, get on it! Back after nearly 6 years is R&B goddess Kelea with her new album Raven. To say I was hype for this album is an understatement. If you wanna cry in the club, this project is for you.
- King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard / Gila Monster
- Roosevelt / Ordinary Love
- Lana Del Rey / A&W
A lot of people will say that King Gizzard is one of the best live bands around right now, and as many of us know already, they're also one of the most prolific. They released five albums in 2022, but only one so far in 2023... I say "so far" because there's still a lot of time left in 2023. The release from this year (PetroDragonic Apocalypse) happens to be one of their heaviest, which puts a big ol' smile on my face. If you enjoy heavy, here ya go. Roosevelt is a German artist whose music I've adored for years now. If you have a soft spot in your heart for names like Cut Copy, Washed Out, and Tycho, then you'll probably find Roosevelt's music to your liking as well. I saw him play last year at the Gothic Theater and the entire place was moving throughout the entire set. I believe that was his first time headlining in CO and I guess he enjoyed the experience so much that he's coming back for THREE shows in October, playing the Gothic Theater, also doing shows in Boulder and Fort Collins. CHECK HIM OUT! Lana Del Rey has given us yet ANOTHER outstanding album here in 2023 (Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.), and while she has a couple of festival dates lined up here in the U.S. in 2023, we would LOVE to see her on a proper tour in the near future. While we wait for a Colorado visit we can spend time with an epic, sprawling track by the name of A&W, one of my picks for best tracks of the year so far.
- Joy Oladokun / We’re All Gonna Die
- Caroline Rose / Miami
- Black Belt Eagle Scout / My Blood Runs Through This Land
Maybe I’m the only one still counting backwards from 2020, but 3 years later I haven’t gotten my feet firmly on the ground. I feel like I’m constantly looking from side to side, asking, “Did all that really just happen? Is this real life?” so it’s no surprise that the songs that hit me hardest are a jumble of desperation, vicious nostalgia and defiant assertions of connection and belonging. I needed every one of these songs to let me know I’m not alone and that I have a right to be here, I belong. The number of times I have screamed the words to We’re All Gonna Die this year cannot be counted. Bless Joy Oladokun for this honest 2023 anthem. I found a friend in Caroline Rose’s sexy, defeated and bold Miami from the glorious March release The Art of Forgetting. And with Black Belt Eagle Scout’s My Blood Runs Through This Land I drew strength. I’ve been singing the words, “We’re all gonna die trying to figure it out,” and “you’ve gotta get through this life somehow,” but I’m walking into the second half of the year holding the last lines of BBES’s song close — ” Waking up is so violent. Wanna see the peaceful light.”
- Jenny Lewis / Psychos
- Bully / Lose You ft. Soccer Mommy
- Queens of the Stone Age / Emotion Sickness
I knew 2023 would be bringing me change and for the good. I was right! I know I’m the “newbie” here on Indie 102.3 but I feel like I should’ve been here years ago. I’m surrounded by incredible, passionate music fans who are beyond professional. Maybe that’s why these three songs stand out to me so much. They defined my first couple of months with Indie 102.3 and CPR. “Psychos” by Jenny Lewis delivers a storyline of a small town weirdo trying to find his place in rock n roll. Bully’s “Lose You” ft. Soccer Mommy, according to Alicia Bognanno, “is a way to work through the pain and reality of impermanence”. Queens of the Stone Age “Emotion Sickness” is just a glimpse into the heaviness and darkness extreme change in life can bring on. Ultimately, change can always be good even if you don’t perceive it that way at first. I hope to keep making more playlists for my heart and soul with Indie 102.3 and I hope it does the same for you reading this.
- Iggy Pop / Strung Out Johnny
- Depeche Mode / Ghosts Again
- The Linda Lindas / Too Many Things
Hard to believe we’re already in summer and Indie is 4 years old. We’ve had great music so far this year and I have a few ear worms that have stuck with me. Released in January from James Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop this could very well be autobiographical just swapping out Jimmy for Johnny in this track about being strung out on the streets of NYC, something Iggy knows all too well. He has been clean and sober for many years but still reflects back to the dark times of his life from the album Every Loser, Strung Out Johnny. Another long time iconic band, they are synth pop pioneers who continue to be relevant after 43 years. They’ve reached a new generation thanks to being featured in the HBO series The Last Of Us. The album Memento Mori, which is Latin for remember you must die, reflects heavily on the loss of their friend and founding member Andy Fletcher. Proving that life goes on, and music makes you immortal, the new album and tour keep Depeche Mode in our hearts and minds and squarely on our radar. The track is Ghosts Again. And lastly, Too Many Things is from a young, all girl group out of LA The Linda Lindas. Ranging in age from 12 to 18, this power pop punk outfit is made up of two sisters, a cousin and a close friend who broke out with a viral video calling out racists and sexists from a performance at the public library. They are in disbelief of their own quick rise and becoming the new voices on the feminist front.
- MudHoney / Little Dogs
- Thundercat & Tame Impala / No More Lies
- Tianna Esperanza / Buy You a New Attitude
Been a solid year so far for new, local and independent music and for floaties, ponchos and umbrellas *insert WaterWorld reference here* Besides the crazy amount of moisture we’ve been experiencing in Colorado it’s also, thanks to support from you, OUR FOURTH BIRTHDAY. Crazy right? So far this year though, I already have a few favorite songs. The Foursome, (you see what I did there) from Seattle, Mudhoney loosely celebrate their 35th year making music for us and their latest single “Little Dogs” couldn’t be closer to my heart. Light hearted, fun and it's about dogs,so kind of a win win for me. Thundercat and Tame Impala’s newbie “No More Lies” had me excited months before release thanks to their “Bless the beasts and the children-like” trailer and Tianna Esperanza’s single “Buy You a New Attitude” gave me the same WTF feeling I had when I first heard Squirrel Nut Zippers or TMBG’s, an old soul giving us great new music so far this year.
Stream our picks in the Spotify playlist below. Follow our Spotify account for more curated playlists.
You made it!
You love learning about new music and the Denver music scene. We have a weekly newsletter for you -- Inside Track. Sign up here to stay in the know about the hottest Colorado concerts and how you can score tickets!