Wednesday, May 22, 2024

McQ's Best Of 2023 Vol. 2 - Best Of The Rest Mega-Mix

Ratboy - The Window

Volume 1 - Best Of The Best laid out our favorite albums and singles of 2023.  

Here now is another 174 songs, courtesy of 162 fantastic artists, whose 2023 work we loved and didn't want to forget.

Including tracks representing nearly every popular genre, just throwing this mix on on random and seeing what surprises pop up is the best way to listen, but for those who want to zero in on a favorite niche, this year's second mix has been grouped by sub-genre.

To whit:


Here we hear blazing cuts from Christone "Kingfish" Fisher's Live In London, Joe Bonamassa's Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, Bettye LaVette's LaVette! (including a Stevie Winwood cameo),  Eric Johanson's The Deep And The Dirty, Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton's Death Wish Blues, Eric Bibb's Ridin', and additional curtain-call tracks from Coco Montoya, Durand Jones, and The Rolling Stones already featured on Vol. 1.


Chill bedroom romanticism, urgent calls for tolerance, and a few unexpected punk turns inform this section of the mega-mix dedicated to some of today's most exciting practitioner's of modern soul.  Includes 2023 cuts from Corrine Bailey Rae's Black Rainbows, Janelle Monae's The Age Of Pleasure, Victoria Monet's JAGUAR II, Gorillaz Cracker Island, Kelela's Raven, Liv.e's Girl In The Half Pearl, Gabriel's Angels & Queens, Genesis Owusu's STRUGGLER, and bonus call-back tracks by Vol 1 artists Amaareae, Raye, SZA, and Ahnoni and the Johnsons.


Lively boisterous mainstream rock leaning thrills abound in this section, featuring tracks from Low Cut Connie's Art Dealers,  Ratboy's The Window, The Men's New York City, King Tuff's Smalltown Stardust, Olivia Dean's Raving Ghost, The Menzinger's Some Of It Was True, The Hold Steady's The Price Of Progress, Jeff Rosenstock's HELLMODE, The Kills' God Games, The Hives' The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons, The Gaslight Anthems' History Books (here featuring a Bruce Springsteen cameo), Rancid's Tomorrow Never Comes,  The Osees Intercepted Message, and bonus Vol 1 callbacks from Wednesday and Bully.


Indie beta-males and fragile nerd-rockers pour their hearts out seeking understanding and connection in this block featuring endearing cuts from King Creosote's I DES, The Lemon Twigs' Everything Harmony, Beach Fossils' Bunny, Youth Lagoon's Heaven Is A Junkyard, Local Natives' Time Will Wait For No One, The Go! Team's Get Up Sequences Part Two, Andy Shaun's Norm, Belle and Sebastian's Late Developers,  Bombay Bicycle Club's My Big Day, 1980s Aussie jangle-poppers The Particles retrospective 1980s Bubblegum,  and bonus call-back tracks from Califone, Runnner, and The Clientele.


Two very different low-key genres combine for a brief period of mostly cool down reflection (opening track by Yo La Tango excepted). Includes cuts from Yo La Tango's This Stupid World, Braids Euphoric Recall, Rocket's Versions Of You, Sigur Ros ATTA, Clark's Sus Dog, Hotline TNT's Cartwheel, Ryuichi Sakamoto's 12, James Holden's Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities, and call-back extras from Slowdive and Sofia Kourtesis.


A brief run of our favorite out-of-left-field tracks.  No genre emphasis here, just weirdness.  Includes tracks from Mandy, Indiana's i've seen a way, Water From Your Eyes' Everyone's Crushed, Yaeji's With A Hammer, Squid's O Monolith, Goat's Medicine and manic Vol 1 call-back extras from Geese and 100 gecs.


Five song stretch highlighting the five jazz and fusion albums with the most critical crossover buzz in 2023.  Includes cuts from Cecile McLorin Salvant's Melasine, Yussef Dayes' Black Classical Music, Andre 3000's (yes that Andre 3000 from Outkast) New Blue Sun, Vijay Ayer, Aroof After and Shahzad Ismaily's collaboration Love In Exile, and a Vol 1 call-back extra from Jamie Branch.


A quick fifteen minute excursion into our favorite metal-ish tracks of the year.  Features tracks for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's PetroDragonic Apocalypse..., Sleep Token's Take Me Back To Eden, and Ghost's covers album Phantomime.


Past favorites and newcomers impress in equal measure over this next stretch of twangy gems.  Includes songs from Margo Cilker's Valley Of Hearts Delight, Margo Price's Strays, Rodney Crowell's The Chicago Sessions, The Coral's Sea Of Mirrors, Wilco's Cousin, Lydia Loveless's Nothing's Gonna Stand In My Way Again, Zach Bryan, and call-back bonus tracks from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, and Ratboys.

TRACKS 92-105: POP

Some of today's top female stars and stylistically like-minded newcomers power this next block of music, featuring cuts from CMAT's Crazymad, For Me, Troye Sivan's Something To Give Each Other, Jungle's Volcano, CAROL G's MANANA SERA BONITO, Yeule's softscars, Chappell Roan's The Rise And Fall Of A Midwest Princess, Samia's Honey, and call-back bonus tracks from Paramore, Blondshell, Lana Del Rey, Julie Byrne, Olivia Rodrigo, boygenius, and Caroline Polachek.


Moody-broody rockers rise from the shadows over this next jarring stretch.  Includes efforts from Protomarty's Formal Growth In The Desert, The Murder Capital's Gigi's Recovery, Algiers' Shook, Bar Italia's Tracey Denim, Militarie Gun's Life Under The Gun, and a curtain call bonus track from The Armed.


Legendary artist of every genre who debuted prior to 1990 but are still going strong inspire with their persistence in this next block.  Presents songs from Depeche Mode's Memento Mori, Peter Gabriel's i/o, Bob Dylan's countrified reworking of past classics Shadow Kingdom, The Pretenders Relentless, John Mellencamp's Orpheus Descending, Duran Duran Halloween-inspired cover camp-fest DANSE MACABRE, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Bird's Council Skies, The Church's The Hypnogogue, The Damned's Darkadelic, Teenage Fanclub's Nothing Lasts Forever, Sparks The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte, and the sole thirty-three minute title track from Paul Simon's Seven Psalms, as well as call back bonus tracks from John Cale, Blur, and Iggy Pop.


Favorite 2024 rap tracks and albums power this next stanza of the mega-mix.  Profiles selects from Aesop Rock's Integrated Tech Solutions, Armand Hammer & Billy Woods' We Buy Diabetic Test Strips, Billy Woods and Kenny Segal's Maps, Dave Okumu's I Came From Love, Killer Mike's MICHAEL, Lil Yachty's psychedelic Let's Start Here, Little Sims' late 2023 release NO THANK YOU, McKinley Dixon's Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?, Noname's Sundial, The Streets' The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, Nourished by Time's Erotic Probiotic 2, PinkPantheress's Heaven Knows, Travis Scott's Utopia, and a bonus track from Young Fathers.


Troubadours strum their way into our hearts in this next passage.  Highlights best efforts from Susanne Sundfor's blomi, James Yorkston's The Great White Sea Eagle, The Mountain Goats' Jenny From Thebes, Joanna Sternberg's I've Got Me, Hamish Hawk's Angel Numbers, Robert Forster's The Candle And The Flame, Meg Baird's Furling, The Tallest Man On Earth's Henry St., and bonus cuts from featured Vol 1 acts Sufjan Stevens and False Lankum.


The remaining top tier rock-leaning tracks on this mix are gathered here. Great songs are featured from Steve Mason's Brothers & Sisters, Yves Tumor's Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), Sparklehorse's posthumous retrospective Bird Machine, Stranger Ranger's Pure Music and curtain call encores from Vol 1 acts The National, Foo Fighters, Gaz Coombes, Hozier and Screaming Females.


Super fun way to close this mix with arguably 2024's richest genre in terms of top-tier album efforts. Fueled by songs from Everything But The Girl's comeback Fuse, M83's Fantasy, US Girls' pregnancy inspired Bless This Mess, Kylie Minogue's Tension, Roisin Murphy's Hit Parade, The Chemical Brothers For The Beautiful Feeling and bonus tracks from Vol 1 artists Jessie Ware, Nation Of Language, Fever Ray, Romy and Caroline Polachek.

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