We’ve been asking artists for their Top 10 of 2023 lists and Cut Worms‘ Max Clarke sent us his, which includes The Lemon Twigs, Joanna Sternberg, Anna St. Louis, Bonny Doon and more. Check out Max’s full list and his commentary below.
Cut Worms released his terrific third album early this year and if you haven’t checked it out yet, listen below. Cut Worms is also playing a Brooklyn show at Union Pool on January 6 with Air Waves and Milly Pail, with all proceeds being donated to Palestinian Legal.
CUT WORMS – TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2023
Ryder The Eagle – Megachurch
This record is full of songs that have really strong, affecting melodies and arrangements, that pack an emotional punch while still maintaining a wry, witty sense of humor. Adrien is a sweet guy and a very captivating live performer.
The Lemon Twigs – Everything Harmony
Brian and Michael consistently churn out first rate records and this is probably my favorite yet—very clever melodies and lyrical ideas, sturdy song-craft, expertly performed, produced and recorded by themselves. I’m continually in awe of what they are capable of.
John Andrews & The Yawns – Love for the Underdog
“Living like a celebrity that nobody knows” is about the best summation of being a touring musician (in my experience) that I’ve ever heard. Not sure if that’s how he meant it but that’s how it struck me. I feel this record is John’s best yet. I’m a bit biased because he is a friend and fellow Worm… But these songs, arrangements and recordings would stand up to anything. The record is full of little gems-like moments of lucid dreaminess. It’s gotten some love from people since its release earlier this year but in my opinion not nearly enough for how good it is front to back.
Joanna Sternberg – I’ve Got Me
I became familiar with Joanna’s music this year and then played a show with them which really knocked me out. The songs on I’ve Got Me have a raw-nerve-ending emotionality to them, but the ragtimey folk-pop melodies give them a timeless quality that is transcendent; makes you feel like you’re levitating along rather than being dragged through the mud.
Kyle Avallone – Crazy Dreams
This is Kyle’s strongest record yet. The storytelling and musicality here are visceral and gritty, but also funny and kind of slick, like the feeling when you’ve gotten away with something. The tunes are strong and it’s a nice ride. The image that comes to mind is of riding in the back seat of an old Cadillac with years of cigarette smoke woven into the leather, but the window’s down, it’s spring, and you’re going to the beach.
The Glyders – Maria’s Hunt
Longtime friends of mine, Josh and Eliza have been crystallizing their particular brand of electrifying minimalist psyche rock for years, and this time there’s a bit of country mixed in there which makes it even tastier. The grooves on Maria’s Hunt are solid as a rock and they really get you locked in, and the slower ones get you swaying like you’re drunk on the ballroom floor. They’re really getting down to the core of something. See them live!
Jonathan Rado – For Who the Bell Tolls For
I was really happy to get to hear a new record from Rado. He’s been busy being a great producer of other acts, but his ability to craft and deliver a song is still incredible and singular to him. There are some really moving tracks on here.
Anna St. Louis – In the Air
Anna’s latest record is probably my favorite of hers. Really lovely, breezy tunes that make me kind of zone out and in at the same time. There’s a gentleness but also an unshakable fortitude that pervades. I feel you can picture these songs almost happening at a molecular level.
Bonny Doon – Let There Be Music
I’m a big fan of Bonny Doon and this latest record from them doesn’t disappoint. The production is real tight and really lets the songs shine without too much extraneous stuff happening. When I saw them live earlier this year, it felt like I was seeing some really cool bar band in the ’90s (in the best way). Recommended.
Sam Blasucci – Off My Stars
I’m a fan of Sam’s band Mapache whose 2023 record Swinging Stars is also really great, but something about his solo songs really hit me in a different way. Particularly the song “Turn Yourself Around.” That was one which, upon first hearing even a small clip from it, I immediately said “what is this?” It is, to me, an instant timeless classic song and the rest of the record holds you right there as well.