WDIY's Top 10 Albums of June 2023
As we are officially halfway through the calendar year, let's pause and take a look at what's been playing at your summer celebrations; its time for WDIY's Top 10 Albums of June 2023! Our on-air hosts play a wide variety of genres and styles, so check out the list to find your new favorite from our airwaves!
Trampled by Turtles
October 28, 2022
Produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Alpenglow is the Minnesota-based sextet’s 10th album and was previously featured on WDIY’s ranks back in March. The album, named after the optical phenomenon that takes place when the sun casts a reddish glow across the mountains at dawn and dusk, contemplates the passing of time and how best to enjoy it before it's too late. For the whole record, 10 of the 11 tracks were written by lead singer Dave Simonett. Jeff Tweedy, beyond producing, also makes an appearance on acoustic guitar on four different tracks and provides backing vocals on “A Lifetime to Find.” The majority of the songs on this record deal with longing to wander, maintaining roots, nostalgia, loss, and having the inner strength to keep what’s important in focus. According to mandolin player Erik Berry, their goal has always been to be the “weirdest band at the festival.”
The Mountain Goats
August 19th, 2022
This is the 21st album by the beloved California indie rock band. The album was written between December 2020 and January 2021, and recorded immediately at Betty's in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Frontman John Darnielle took inspiration from action films from the 1960s-'80s that he watched towards the end of 2020 (we all had our hobbies during the pandemic, and this was his). By January 2021, Darnielle was joined by bandmates Peter Hughes, Jon Wurster, and Matt Douglas at the studio, and the album was finished within a week. Their reputation precedes them for a more deconstructed guitar and strings feature, but to follow the aesthetic of old-school action films, this record relies more on electric guitars than previous records. However, where some could argue the action movies of this time lacked moral complexity and a gray area, the lyrics certainly do this time around; purposefully allusive lyrics may lead you to question who exactly you’re rooting for.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Cool It Down
September 30, 2022
Cool It Down is the fifth studio album by American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It marks the group's first album since 2013's Mosquito and their first release through Secretly Canadian. While the band’s appearance and aesthetic might not be as art-punk and avant garde as we’re used to from their debut in 2003, they still command a stage and drive home a memorable sound all the same. In the almost decade gap since Mosquito's release, the band experienced solo projects and family building as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and they came out of the other end with an album that leaves space for the misery that comes with environmental ruin and societal collapse. Just as importantly, though, Cool It Down looks forward to a hopeful and defiant future.
Polyvinyl, Transgressive, and Celsius Girls
October 7, 2022
Immediately after the release of Antisocialites in 2017, Alvvays went on extensive tours both as headliners and as support while writing their third album, Blue Rev. However, it wasn’t an easy-going process to craft the new record, and while the pandemic is to blame, this band had a few interesting and unique hurdles; a thief broke into lead singer Molly Rankin's apartment and stole a recorder with several demos contained on it, and the day after, a basement flood destroyed all of the band's gear. They eventually regrouped in October 2021 in a studio in Los Angeles with producer Shawn Everett to work.
Tedeschi Trucks Band
I Am the Moon: I. Crescent
Swamp Family Music LLC
June 3, 2022
The fifth studio release by Tedeschi Trucks Band is considered by many to be the most ambitious and yet somehow intimate work that rock and roll big band has ever made. It embodies an old-world epic in size and scale; this series contains four albums and 24 original songs inspired by classical literature of days old and the drama, isolation, and pain of the modern pandemic era. In May, 2020, two months after the band was forced off the road by lockdown, vocalist Mike Mattison sent an email to the rest of the band with some pandemic reading assignments. The poems and stories became the foundation of the lyricism for this record series.
Rickie Lee Jones
Pieces of Treasure
April 28, 2023
In her 15th studio album, Rickie Lee Jones celebrates a reunion with her lifelong friend and tried and true coworker, legendary producer Russ Titelman, co-producer of Jones’ debut and the follow-up record Pirates. Traditionally a jazz singer, Jones has never quite leaned into the title as much as she has before; the newest record is 10 covers from the Great American Songbook. While that in itself isn’t a very revolutionary concept as lots of talented performers have taken on the task before her, none have done it quite like Jones has. It’s not a retro flashback or a trip down 1970s nostalgia, but instead a more modern arrangement fashioned with Jones’ timeless vocals. The album was recorded at Sear Sound during a five-day stint in New York City, and you can hear the fast-paced and urban beat of the city move and breathe in all 10 songs.
The Lone Bellow
Love Songs for Losers
Dualtone Music Group
November 4, 2022
The newest work from The Lone Bellow is an album about losers by losers. It’s a homage to the anti-heroes and the underdogs in the world, spare for the few songs that lead vocalist Zach Williams penned for his wife. In a departure from their past work with producers like Aaron Dessner of The National and eight-time Grammy-winner Dave Cobb, the Nashville-based trio struck out on their own for their new album. Recorded at the possibly haunted former home of the legendary Roy Orbison, the result is a meditation on the pain and joy, triumph and tribulation, and all of the simple pleasures that comes with being human.
Stories from a Rock n’ Roll Heart
Highway 20 Records
June 30, 2023
The triumphant 15th studio album by the American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams comes as a sort of victory lap: in the past three years, the legendary rocker has survived a tornado, a pandemic, and a stroke. Even though she can’t play guitar as a result of the stroke, she refuses to go down without a fight. She played more shows in 2022 than she has any year since 2017, except now she has a support team for touring and collaborating on songwriting instead of doing it all on her own. Her newfound love of being in the studio and working with other creatives has influenced her workflow so much that the sequel to this record is already done and set to release sometime in 2024.
Moving on Skiffle
March 10, 2023
After two heavy-hitting albums of political ranting about lockdowns, Van Morrison appears to have got everything off his chest and gone back to his basics. His newest record is 23 covers of early country, gospel, folk and blues songs that he first encountered at Belfast’s Atlantic Records during the skiffle craze of 1956–57. It only seems fair that such an old music genre and an old crooner cross paths again in 2023. This is, after all, the 44th studio album by the Northern Irish singer-songwriter. The 90-minute record, despite the beastly length, feels like a moment of peace after two intense albums; Moving On Skiffle is light and lively, an easy record to enjoy.
O Sun O Moon
True North Records
May 12, 2023
O Sun O Moon is the Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn's latest studio album. Recently released, it’s a collection of 12 original songs that demonstrate songwriting and guitar-playing skills from more than 55 years of artistry and mastery. Along with the musical chops, Cockburn also uses his wisdom and age to write almost exclusively uplifting songs that tackle topics from politics and human rights to the environment and spirituality. On the night before his triumphant 78th birthday, he reminds us why he is so well loved. Since his self-titled debut in 1970, he has won 13 Juno Awards, released 22 assorted gold and platinum records, been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and been made an Officer of the Order of Canada, among many other accolades.