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50 Punk, Hardcore, Metal, And Indie Albums We Listened To In 2023 That We Legally Can’t Call A ‘Year-End List’

2023 is coming to an end. Another remarkable year that proves true the old adage: ‘yes, things actually can and will get worse, and boy howdy with gusto even!’ While you might be thinking that there are way more important things going on in the world than reading about what a comedy writing staff listened to this year, we – and perhaps mostly in our own self-interest – wholeheartedly would beg to differ.

Without music, we would have to suffer the onslaught of devastating news in total silence and without publications to tell us what music was objectively cool, we would all look like dweebs while avoiding said news. That’s where we come in.

Seeing as we’re trusted and notable experts in the field of hip new sounds, we’ve compiled some albums that have really stuck with us through these awful last twelve months. Maybe listening to them can help you pretend to feel something as well.

In no particular order – and please remember we said that before you comment – here are 50 Punk, Hardcore, Metal, and Indie albums that our lawyers have said under no circumstance can be referred to as our ‘year-end list.’

Speedy Ortiz “Rabbit Rabbit”

You know that whole sequence in “Inception” where gravity is all fucked up and Joseph Gordon Levitt keeps floating around and bouncing off the walls and shit? That’s what listening to “Rabbit Rabbit” feels like. You never really get your footing, courtesy of the strange syncopations, rolling guitars, and overall math-y compositions. This is by no means a bad thing–the quartet are venturing out from their indie rock/grunge pop roots into something a little less palatable, but way more exciting. “Cry Cry Cry” in particular is a standout, but the whole thing should be consumed from start to finish, ideally while smoking a fat J and sinking into the couch. – Colleen Nerney – Managing Editor

Jeff Rosenstock “HELLMODE”

DIY-Punk Veteran Jeff Rosenstock has always flirted with the grandiosity that smothers his latest effort, but he’s never quite pulled the trigger in such an obvious way until now. Armed with a much larger recording budget than usual and arguably the most notoriety he’s amassed thus far in his storied career, Rosenstock delivered an absolute masterpiece with “HELLMODE.” The sparkling production only serves to enhance the gritty power-pop fans like me have come to expect, and the lyrical themes of impending apocalypse, self-discovery, and the never-ending search for hope make this record one of Rosenstock’s most vulnerable and endearing efforts in years. – Corey Montgomery – Contributor

Upchuck “Bite The Hand That Feeds”

Atlanta’s Upchuck gained quite a reputation for their chaotic live shows and unforgivingly visceral sound. Perhaps the most shocking of all of the band’s abilities is their ability to slow things down at just the right moments to tap into lead singer KT’s innate pop sensibilities. Their latest Ty Segall produced LP, ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ – is full of these moments. Blending minimalist production with indie-pop hooks large enough to land a whale shark, the band possesses the ability to lull you into a dream state just before throwing you right back into a fucking wall. If they keep it up, punk and hardcore kids across the nation might actually learn to dance for a change. -CM

Snõõper “Super Snõõper”

What would Devo sound like if they were given the Alvin & The Chipmunks treatment and left to simmer in a vat of LSD? The answer: Snõõper. Nashville’s breakout act left me thoroughly stunned with their debut album ‘Super Snõõper.’ It’s a wild ride that packs 14 bite-sized anthems into a crisp 22 minutes, rarely stopping to give anyone in the band a chance to take a breath. There is hardly a song over 40 seconds long throughout the runtime and they still manage to fit a bitchin’ guitar solo in almost every track. 10 out of 10 Hard Times Boots or whatever. – CM

Acacia Strain “Failure Will Follow”

The Acacia Strain has long been legendary in the deathcore scene seeing as they kind of invented it. They are so influential that some bands have built entire careers out of imitating their sound and replacing nihilistic lyrics with very stupid ones. But here’s what we all know: no matter what genre you may specialize in, every cool band listens to doom metal in the van. We’ve seen traces of this phenomenon in their tracks before, but never throughout an entire release. So, of course, I was beyond excited when I learned of this seemingly bonus record. Ever wondered what it would be like if Dopesmoker were actually good? Give this a shot. – Matt McInerney – Contributor

feeble little horse “Girl With Fish”

You’d be forgiven for labeling feeble little horse under the “slacker indie” moniker. But a deeper listen reveals some stunningly perfect songwriting and earworm melodies that belie the music’s apparent effortlessness. Not only does this album hook you from front to back with choice cuts like “Paces” and “Pocket,” it makes the members of feeble little horse seem like a fun hang. And the older I get, the more of a compliment that becomes. – John Danek – Contributor

Home Front “Games of Power”

It can be easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of all the sub-sub-sub-sub-sub genres of music these days. Every once in a while, though, you stumble upon a gem. This gaggle of energetic Canucks known as Home Front are just one of those gems. Their sound combines elements of electro-pop with finger-pointing singalongs and wildly even a dash of goth-y deathrock. Sure, there are some borrowed sounds from the ‘80s and ‘90s in there but they are able to work some Canadian magic into it and create something fully of their own. If dancing wasn’t such a stupid thing to do I’d almost be inclined to awkwardly move myself around while listening to this whole damn album. – Trevor Graham – Contributor

Slow Pulp “Yard”

Slow Pulp’s highly anticipated sophomore album, “Yard” pays homage to that saucy little new buzzword ‘countrygaze,’ a genre which took everyone’s Spotify Wrapped by storm this year and provoked questions like ‘what does that even mean?’ For all the buzz, it certainly does not disappoint. Fuzz-forward instrumentals accentuated by light floaty vocals seem to be their speciality at this point and boy do they deliver on that front. Matched with lyrics about the mundanities of life like menstrual cycles and summer crushes, ‘Yard’ is – simply put – music for the soul. – Elanna White – Contributor

Bully “Lucky For You”

Bully is celebrating nearly a decade of its existence as a project and lead singer/songwriter Alicia Bognanno has been relentlessly touring her latest, and excellent album, ‘Lucky for You,’ to mark the occasion. At this point, Bully has rightfully earned a place on the Mount Rushmore of modern punk rock. On second thought, the founding fathers never released an album, so maybe they should just be replaced by punks who have actually positively contributed to American society like Bognanno. – Neel Bhakta – Contributor

Drain “Living Proof”

Possibly the most anticipated album of the year, the follow-up to their 2020 hardcore masterclass “California Cursed” sees the band level up in every way possible. Thrash meets hardcore breakdowns meets metal riffs meets Santa Cruz surf punk. If you haven’t seen them live yet, your New Year’s resolution for 2024 should be to rectify that ASAP; just remember to bring your bathing suit and life jacket. Who has more fun than Drain? – Steve Esparra – Contributor (Pick up a copy in our store)

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