We’re over halfway through the year, which means we’ve had seven glorious months filled with great music. Whether you’re after party bangers, tunes for sunny weekends spent strolling through the city, or a record for those rainy duvet days, there’s a bunch of outstanding releases across various genres. Soulful R&B, rap and indie rock all have artists leaving their mark with impressive albums that we keep going back to. Let's take a closer look at 12 of our favourite records of 2023 so far:

Gabriels - Angels & Queens
Let’s get started with an absolute belter. Angels & Queens by Gabriels is a stunning fusion of vintage soul, jazz, gospel and modern electronic production, completely showing off the three pieces ability to write powerful and enchanting songs. The vocals of Jacob Lusk are absolutely incredible, and the songs are both catchy and thought-provoking. This is a record you simply can’t miss this year!
- Check out the song: Angels & Queens

Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here
This album is not what we expected when new Lil Yachty dropped. A departure from his usual sound, with a focus on more mature and introspective lyrics and a sonic landscape that leans towards soul and psychedelic rock. The album is still full of catchy melodies and upbeat production, but it also shows a new side of Lil Yachty and a departure from what society can expect from the term ‘rapper’.
- Check out the song: THE zone

Amaarae - Fountain Baby
Afropop star Amaarae drops a sexy record that we keep coming back to. It’s fresh, it’s full of absolute banger, and it will resonate with Gen Z audiences. Delivering a new and refreshing take on modern R&B with vocals that are sultry and soulful, and songs that are both sexy and empowering. Don’t miss this release if you know what’s good for you!
- Check out the song: Co-Star

Miley Cyrus - Endless Summer Vacation
We expected good things from the next Miley Cyrus release and she certainly delivered. Endless Summer Vacation is a fun and carefree summer listen, which Claudia Moross; founder of 12on12, calls a ‘refreshing mix of female empowerment and summer jams’. The rest of the team couldn’t agree more. Cyrus channels her inner Dolly Parton on tracks like "Flowers" and "Night Crawling," and the album is full of catchy melodies and upbeat production, perfect for those sunny long summer days.
- Check out the song: Wildcard


Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
Screaming Females deliver another powerful and dynamic album. A true exploration of female power and sexuality that’s both loud and aggressive, whilst maintaining a level of emotion and vulnerability that’s completely refreshing. Packed full of rock bangers,if cars still had tape decks, this is the kind of record we’d have left in there for months on end.
- Check out the song: Mourning Dove

Mahalia - IRL
“Trying to stay stable is hard”. Such strong lyrics for an opening song. IRL by Mahalia doesn’t stop with a great opening track though, it continues down that path with a record that’s a raw and honest exploration of love, loss, and growth. Mahalia's vocals are powerful and vulnerable throughout, and the songs are both personal and relatable. If you’re after a soulful r&b album for warm summer nights, you’ve certainly found it right here.
- Check out the song: November (feat. Stormzy)

Killer Mike - Michael
We’re always excited for new material from Killer Mike, wether in the form of a new RTJ release, or any of his many collabs. But this solo album is truly something else. A powerful and personal statement that is as full of bangers you can sing along too, as it is introspective songs that leave you on the verge of tears. Killer Mike's lyrics are both insightful and thought-provoking, and the production manages to find the perfect balance between raw and polished.
- Check out the song: Don't Let The Devil ft. EI-P, thankugoodsir

Kali Uchis - Red Moon in Venus
Kali Uchis brings us a dreamy and sensual exploration of love and desire. With vocals that are intoxicating, and songs that are both atmospheric and catchy. Lush lyrics over serene melodies which we can’t get out of our heads. You know those tunes you find yourself humming on the train, yeah this album is full of them. Do yourself a favour and check it out if you haven’t already.
- Check out the song: I wish you roses

Kaytranada and Amine - Kaytramine
Two talented artists at the top of their game deliver an unmissable album full of groovy beats, silky raps and well thought out features. As you’d expect from Kaytranada, the production is lush and atmospheric, and Amine's vocals are smooth and effortless. This is an album that we can see being on rotation for a long time, wether on a summer stroll or at a house party, it’s got beats and rhymes for every occasion.
- Check out the song: 4EVA feat. Pharrell Williams


Billy Woods & Kenny Segal - Maps
Sometimes all you need from an album is a dark and challenging exploration of the human condition… or is that just us? Teaming up with talented hip-hop producer Kenny Segal makes for a production that’s both atmospheric and unsettling, whilst rapper ‘billy woods' lyrics are sharp and insightful. The matchup makes for a great listen and keeps us coming back to notice new and exciting details.
- Check out the song: Soft Landing

Boygenius - The record
Indie-rock supergroup Boygenius have been writing bangers for a while, but this album takes it to the next level. A collaboration between three talented singer-songwriters: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, see’s the album chocka full of beautiful harmonies and introspective lyrics. The perfect album for those duvet days we mentioned in the intro.
- Check out the song: Emily I’m Sorry

Hot Mulligan - Why would I watch
Technically labelled an emo band, Hot Mulligan bring their emotive blend of punk and indie rock and create an emotional, hilarious and self-deprecating exploration of the awkwardness of being a young adult. There’s a lot of love and emotion in this record, which brings you back to those feelings of teenage angst within a few chords and vocal hooks. Hot Mulligan's lyrics are witty and relatable, and the songs are both catchy and fun.
- Check out the song: Gans Media Retro Games

We also have to give a honourable mention to the album Utopia by 12on12 collaborator Travis Scott (check out the collab we did with him here). It’s not made it into our list, simply because we haven’t had enough time to sit and let it digest. First listen seems promising though, there’s some absolute bangers on there that we’ll sure will have ‘Utopia’ making our end of the year list.

There you have it, 12 of our favourite records of the year so far, what do you think? Any you feel should have made it up there? Anything we need to get our asses in gear and check out? Let us know and we’ll get on it.

August 04, 2023

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