We’ve been asking artists for their Best of 2023 lists, and here’s Protomartyr frontman Joe Casey‘s, which goes to 11. “We put out a record this year, Formal Growth In The Desert, and that will be number one in my heart,” Joe tells us. “Besides that, here’s 11 other records listed alphabetically that I heard and enjoyed this year. If you don’t see a particular album there’s a good chance I didn’t hear it or forgot it came out this year. I’ve been busy. Also there’s a small chance I did hear it and thought it stunk, but let’s not get bogged down in negativity here. Also, I didn’t put any EPs on here, if I did I’d probably throw on Day Residue’s Deadly Walk and Es’ Fantasy.”
Records that did make Joe’s list include Lankum, Lewsberg, Eddie Chacon, Detroit pals Tyvek, XV and Zoos of Berlin, and more. Check out his list and commentary, and listen to Protomartyr’s Formal Growth in the Desert, below.
PROTOMARTYR’S JOE CASEY – TOP 11 ALBUMS OF 2023
Eddie Chacon – Sundown
Long story: On tour – late at night in some German hotel room, I watch part of Taylor Hackford’s awfully bad 2016 movie “The Comedian” starring Robert DeNiro. The next morning I hazily recall the plot to the rest of the band and add, “it ends with DeNiro’s comedian going viral online with some song called ‘Poopy,’ you should check it out”. Greg finds a clip on Youtube that inexplicably and hilariously smash cuts to the full credits soundtracked by Charles & Eddie’s big 1992 hit “Would I Lie To You?”. Anyway, through the delirium of the road, “Would I Lie To You?” became the song we would play over the PA after we left the stage, in homage to that scene in that bad movie. Well, all that to say searching for what became of Charles & Eddie led me to this album, which I unabashedly love. Funny how that works.
Exek – The Map and the Territory
On tour you have a lot of jaw sessions with a lot of people about music and mostly about how music sucks and most bands are copying garbage assholes. Enough different people reminded me this year that Exek had a new one out and that they definitely fall into the “great band” category. I’m glad I was reminded. Chris from Spray Paint is in this band, so bonus points for them.
Famous Mammals – Instant Pop Expressionism Now!
Siltbreeze puts out an album by a trio of Bay Area underground heroes perfectly capturing, commenting on, and possibly bettering the classic UK DIY art punk sound? Sounds swell to me.
Lankum – False Lankum
They’ve been given their laurels by everybody by now, so they don’t need me puffing smoke. I’ve been listening to them for a bit, thanks to my Irish pals, and I couldn’t be happier that a band as good as them has “made it”. Maybe they have saved Irish folk from moribundity and ham-handed American fuckery for a bit and I am certainly glad for that.
Lewsberg – Out And About
Okay, don’t tell these other bands, but Lewsberg’s “Out And About” would probably be my number one this year if I had to pick. Just a masterful band in full command of their many gifts. Some say this is the “chiller” Lewsberg album and it may be. Also the best band I saw live this year.
Search Results – Information Blip
Those Irish friends I mentioned above, they really know where to point me. Search Results is probably the “least known” commodity on this list and therefore deserve your full attention. What little I know about them is they are a fairly new trio based out of Dublin. What I hear is a great band untethered to specific genre chains, which in this time of mood playlists and the like, is a wonderful thing.
Stuck – Freak Frequency
Greg from this band has been our sound tech on several tours and I’d like to think he learned everything about how not to sing from me.
Terry – Call Me Terry
If Terry puts out a record, I’m interested. Another winner for the Australians. Probably could have made a list of just the great albums Upset The Rhythm put out this year, but that would have been cheating.
Tyvek – Overground
Yeah it was a shit year, but at least we got a new Tyvek record.
XV – On The Creekbeds On The Thrones
Second full-length from these Michigan greats. I would call this the best “experimental” record of the year but what the hell does that mean? They run trials and hold beakers? Nope, they write great songs like none I’ve heard before.
Zoos of Berlin – Busy With People
Funny how the alphabetical list ends with three Detroit-area bangers. Zoos of Berlin, like Tyvek, take far too long between records but when we finally get graced with one it’s time to celebrate. Studio craziness. The kind of album reviewers call “baroque” or “art-pop” I guess.