Looking Forward To New Records In 2023
At Osheaga in Montreal this past summer, it was just at dusk when Wet Leg took to one of the festivals most pleasant venues – a site encircled by trees. The band charmed the audience for their very first Canadian appearance by commenting on how the sky looked the colour of a pink slushie. Their set was equally as much a confectionary treat. Though missing one member due to a travel snafu, the Isle of Wight’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers still managed to get everyone bopping along to songs, including their infectious viral hit “Chaise Longue” – which seemed to be as popular amongst the kids in the crowd as their parents.
The bubbly Gen Z sound of Wet Leg, however, is reminiscent of more than a few years back, leading one to believe that they’ve been crate digging in the collections of Gen X. And this is a good thing. Though the ever-so-clever lyrics and catchy hooks are very much their own, Wet Leg takes obvious cues from 90s acts that set the tone for the catchall genre now referred to as “indie”…and they weren’t alone with this approach in 2022.
The past year also gave us new albums from the equally 90s-influenced Horsegirl, whose spare lo-fi (reminiscent of Eric’s Trip) sat alongside excellent deja vu-inducing records from the more danceable, yet equally retro Jockstrap (“Greatest Hits” pulls from Fatboy Slim) and Special Interest, who gained many new fans, 2023 should be a breakthrough year for the New Orleans quartet.
Other new and newer acts like the UK’s Wunderhorse and Porridge Radio, America’s Ethel Cain and MJ Lenderman (number 11 on Northern Transmissions 2023 best albums list) and Canada’s Alvvays also released strong albums that could just as easily have been released in 1992. But given the attention to a wide range of excellent indie in 2022, it’s no surprise that some of the old and gold standards of what has become a reliable genre are due to turn up on the scene in 2023. Everything old is new again – heck, the Cure, Smashing Pumpkins and Blink-182 are due to release records in the coming months.
In the early 1990s, North American music denizens turned to Britpop as an alternative to, well, “alternative” music, and 2023 is going to bring reunions, reissues and potentially new music from some of the biggest British bands from way back when. Before spring 2023, the Charlatans are touring with Ride, both celebrating the 30th anniversary of iconic albums Between 10th and 11th and Nowhere respectively (yes, it was released in 1990 – but who’s counting?). A new album from Ride could be released this year (maybe next?) as well.
Almost three decades after “Common People”, Pulp will also be playing a range of concerts, including two dates in their hometown of Sheffield next summer, their second reunion after a decade apart. Blur is set to reunite for a second time as well in July 2023, and there has been a suggestion that new music might be in the cards (there’s also a Gorillaz album planned – which seems relevant to state here).
Contributing to the musical wayback machine that is expected to arrive in 2023, indie veterans My Bloody Valentine, whose last album was the long-awaited m b v from a decade ago, will release (fingers crossed) the music that Kevin Shields announced back in 2021. What is for sure is that Yo La Tengo will release their 16th album in February – the single “Fall Out” is a good indication of the loveliness that can be expected from such stalwarts.
Though more on the millennial end of the 1990s, The National’s 7th album is due for release (check “Weird Goodbyes”, a moody combination tune with Bon Iver and the London Symphony Orchestra for a taste). Perhaps one of the biggest surprises, however, is the potential return of American shoegaze band Drop Nineteens – who were only around for a few years in the early 90s, but whose two albums (and, in particular, the gorgeous single “Kick the Tragedy”) have a sure spot in any indie-obsessed Gen Xer’s musical memory.
But there’s also Porno for Pyros, Guided by Voices, Mary Timony, Mudhoney and more that make 2023 an opportunity to to think back to 1993. Yes, it might make some people feel old, but it also is a reminder that, as corny as it may be to say, rock and roll music from three decades ago still does rock.
Words by Erin MacLeod
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