Every year at CJLO we ask our staff, DJs, and volunteers to tell us all their favourite things of the past year. Much like 2023 itself, this list is an eclectic mix. Join us for recommendations of albums, songs, films, snacks, and other experiences you may have missed this past year. Happy New Year from your favourite campus-community radio station!

Allison O'Reilly - Station Manager and Host of Transistor Sister

Top 10 Best Albums of 2023

1. Cartwheel - Hotline TNT

2. This Stupid World - Yo La Tengo

3. Life Under the Gun - Militarie Gun

4. Live at Bush Hall - Black Country, New Road

5. Rat Saw God - Wednesday

6. Desolation's Flower - Ragana

7. Scaring the Hoes - JPEGMAFIA / Danny Brown

8. Sunforger - Sunforger

9. Migration Magic - Feeling Figures

10. Stay Safe! - La Securite


Honourable Mentions

i've seen a way - Mandy, Indiana

Gas Station - Fireball Kid

softscars - yeule

Live on Cool Street - Tha Retail Simps

Guts - Olivia Rodrigo

SAVED! - Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter

And The Wind (Live & Loose!) - MJ Lenderman

10.000 gecs - 100 gecs


Best Musical Gems of 2023

The release of The Replacements' Tim (Let it Bleed edition) with the fantastic Ed Stasium Mix, getting the chance to see Beyonce during the legendary Renaissance Tour, and finally getting the chance to attend Calgary's Sled Island Festival.

Cameron McIntyre - Program Director and Host of Half-Time

Top 10 Jazz Releases

1. Lockdown - Aaron Leaney, Guy Thouin

2. Fly or Die, Fly or Die, Fly or Die ((world war)) - Jaimie Branch

3. Tony Allen JID018 - Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Tony Allen 

4. Flowers In The Dark - Kofi Flexxx

5. Black Classical Music - Yussef Dayes

6. Puna - Oiro Pena

7. Welcome to Hell - Joseph Shabason 

8. Oshki Manitou - Chuck Copence 

9. Kurena - Kurena Ishikawa

10. Businessless - Sick Boss 

Aviva Majerczyk - Magazine Editor and Host of The Alley

10 Best Local Releases (Unranked)

I Held the Shape While I Could - Bodywash

Gloam - Maybel

Indian Cowboy - Love Language

Bravo! - Sorry Girls


Half Moon - Corey Gulkin

Everything’s fine - sweetmess

La clairiere - Vanille

Lover, or Whatever - Kieran Campbell

Gas Station - Fireball Kid


Other Albums I Loved This Year

This Stupid World - Yo La Tengo

Rat Saw God - Wednesday

Erotic Probiotic 2 - Nourished By Time

Valley of Heart’s Delight - Margo Cilker

Laff It Off - Pony Girl

Deep is the Way - Gena Rose Bruce

And The Wind (Live and Loose!) - MJ Lenderman

everything is alive - Slowdive

Cartwheel - Hotline TNT

Why Does The Earth Give Us People to Love - Kara Jackson

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd - Lana Del Rey

Flying Wig - Devendra Banhart

Heaven is a Junkyard - Youth Lagoon

Lisa Rupnik- Head Music Director and Co-host of The Last Stop

Well, well, well it’s that time of year again where we take our larger-than-life experiences and summarize them into tiny bullet-point lists. Granted, I’m one of those people who do this all year round, but that’s beside the point! This year is particularly special for me as it’s my first year working as Head Music Director here at CJLO! I loved discovering so much new music from my work, but I got the best recommendations from our DJs and what they’ve been spinning on air. What can I say? We’ve got great taste! These are the albums that kept me company throughout the year and have already taken up residence in my personal library. Here's who I consider the masters and the innovators, the best of 2023!

1. 12 - Ryuichi Sakamoto

2. The Girl is Crying in Her Latte - Sparks

3. Ooh Rap I Ya - George Clanton

4. Sweet Justice - Tkay Maidza

5. Softscars - yeule

6. The Ones Ahead - Beverly Glenn-Copeland

7. Lahai - Sampha 

8. A Host for All Kinds of Life - Green-house

9. Ticket to Fame - Decisive Pink

10. Invaluable Vol. 1&2 - Delilah Holiday

DJ Samuel ‘Thee’ Roberts – Host of Whip Appeal

Favourite Canadian Hip Hop/R&B Tracks of the Year

“Love Song” - 143

This debut single made me an instant fan of Toronto R&B vocal group 143 with a sound reminiscent of classic 90s groups like Jodeci and 112.

“Man on Fire” - JAHKOY

JAHKOY moves the ethereal Toronto alt-R&B sound forward with inventive production and a great sense of melody.

“Thug Passion” - K. Forest

I’m a sucker for jangly MIDI acoustic guitar synths and a catchy chorus, this dominated my playlists this year

“Inhale Exhale” - CHUNG feat. Cotola, Kyilah & Mike Shabb

Local rapper CHUNG dropped a fantastic LP in September with Chung Shui II, this posse cut being the highlight for me. CHUNG’s effortlessly chill flow, gorgeous psychedelic production from Cotola and some great features from fellow Montrealers Kyilah and Mike Shabb.

“Roll Up the Rim” - Nicholas Craven feat. Estee Nack & Raz Fresco

If you like the boom bap sound of artists like Griselda, check out local producer Nicholas Craven’s work. This track samples some lounge-y muzak providing a relaxing soundbed for Estee Nack and Raz Fresco to drop hard bars atop of.

“Lover/Friend” - KAYTRANADA & Rochelle Jordan

This duo’s latest collaboration fits perfectly with the current revival of early 90s house music in the mainstream; a club banger that got me through the last batch of final essays this term!

“Thank God” - Mike Shabb

MTL legend Mike Shabb dropped three full-length projects this year which is insane! This track is one of my favorites for the sparse reggae-influenced beat and Mike’s cocky flow.

“Time Out” - TOBi

TOBi fuses Soulquarians-style neo-soul with jazz rap for a unique funky sound that doesn’t really have any contemporary in the Canadian scene right now. Love this track.

“10 Freaky 10’s” - Akintoye

Don’t sleep on Akintoye. This Toronto rapper is primed for a crossover breakout soon with unique live-instrumentation production, a willingness to experiment with cadence and fluid lyricism layered equally with dark humor and social commentary.

“Stand Up” - Raz Fresco & Figub Brazlevic

These two Montreal hip hop artists dropped a great boom bap record with September’s 777 LP. This track is perfect for hyping up your morning commute or to just get energized.


Favourite Hip Hop/R&B Tracks (Not Can-Con!)

“Kingdom Hearts Key” - JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown feat. Redveil

Spotify says I listened to this track (and the rest of this album) over 100 times this year. Sounds about right! Unfortunately JPEG didn’t play this cut during his Osheaga set but hopefully next time!

“Talk to Me Nice” - Tinashe

Tinashe has continued to innovate in the R&B scene since leaving her mainstream pop career behind in 2019. Taking influence from IDM, glitch and art pop, she creates a dreamy mysterious tone that I’ve had on repeat since this dropped.

“Spirit 2.0” - Sampha

Sampha is a once-in-a-generation talent. It took over five years to release Lahai, his follow-up to his debut album; but tracks like this prove it was worth the wait. Creative, catchy and rewarding.

“The Hillbillies” - Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

Can’t wait for the rumoured collaborative LP coming out next year from Kendrick and his cousin Baby Keem, who both killed it at Osheaga this year. Hearing Kendrick be goofy over a drill beat sampling Bon Iver wasn’t something I expected after last year’s emotional Mr. Morale LP, but I’m glad it happened.

“Double Trio” - By Storm

It’s easy to compare this first track from the surviving members of Injury Reserve after the tragic death of Stepa J. Groggs in 2020 to the similar reinvention of Joy Division into New Order; but it is a fair comparison. The duo evolve their sound into new experimental dimensions, creating emotional heft from free jazz samples and glitchy production.

“Cobra” - Megan Thee Stallion

An energetic hard-hitting rap-rock banger featuring a guitar solo that also happens to be about severe depression! Dope!

“Johnny Dang” - That Mexican OT feat. Paul Wall & DRODi

As a diehard fan of Southern hip hop, I was thrilled to see Paul Wall make a comeback this year with a feature on Texas rapper That Mexican OT’s sleeper hit “Johnny Dang”. A must-listen for fans of Swishahouse Records.

“Mosquito” - PinkPantheress

I’ve loved PinkPantheress’ music for a while now and am glad she’s continued to rise in fame since her surprise hit with Ice Spice this summer. The fusion of bubblegum pop with UK garage and 2000s R&B is already influencing other acts in the scene.

“Woke Up and Asked Siri How I’m Gonna Die” - Armand Hammer feat. JPEGMAFIA

Billy Woods and Elucid are the two best lyricists in hip hop at the moment, so a track produced by JPEGMAFIA is right up my alley.

“Critical” - RXKNephew

I am a big fan of NYC rapper RXKNephew, a rap provocateur unafraid to drop extremely out-of-pocket bars for comedy value as well as almost stubbornly refusing to stick with a single production sound. This track mixes his outrageous offbeat lyricism with a throwback Chicago house beat for a wholly unique sound.

Remi Caron - Co-Host of At The Movies With Iconic Sounds

Best Albums of The Year (No Order) 

Here are some of the albums that I listened to the most and quite enjoyed. It’s hard to classify them into a ranking. From pop, punk, to rock there is something for everyone on this list. However, if I had two albums I couldn’t live without this year it would be Feist with her return album Multitudes. I got to see Feist in concert at MTELUS this year which was a great show of the new and old tracks, especially the multidimensional “Hiding Out In The Open.” The track has to be one of the best songs and music videos that I have seen in a long time. It touches so many emotions through her lyrics and vocals. Also, it’s been a while since I have really enjoyed a Lana Del Rey record in full. The last one was 2014’s Ultraviolence. This year’s Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd took me some time to get into but grew on me after multiple listens. “Margaret” has to be one of my favourite songs of the year. It’s refreshing to hear and listen to a singer-songwriter who is not dating a football player, always in the limelight… no offence to Taylor. Her next project may have been hinted at as Del Rey was moonlighting as a waitress at a Waffle House this year. I cannot wait for her next album. Here are the rest of the albums in a non-order. 

1. Multitudes - Feist

2. Nouvelle Administration - Phillipe B

3. The Album - Boygenius

4. Missed Calls From Home - Ragers

5. Guts - Olivia Rodrigo

6. World Music Radio - Jean Baptist

7. Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd - Lana Del Rey

8. The Love still held me near - City and Colour

9. Remember Never Before - July Talk

10. Javelin - Sufjan Stevens


Best Scores/Soundtracks (No Order)

2023 saw two great scores from Thomas Newman who I appreciate as both a classical and experimental composer when it comes to film. Devonte Hynes provided a great score to Master Gardner, a problematic film from Paul Schrader. Ludwig Göransson stepped in for Hans Zimmer on Christopher Nolen’s Oppenheimer. Needle drops in film were everywhere from Saltbun’s 00’s nostalgia to Coppola’s Pricilla with dreamy rock nostalgia. Two of my favourites where “I’m Just Ken” from Barbie especially the end where all the Ken’s achieve a harmony with Gosling and Anatomy of a Fall with “PIMP” from Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band. Maybe it was an obsession with Hip Hop culture that the song never gets mentioned but is played on repeat by the father or the fact that the son Daniel has a dog named Snoop. Finally, during the film’s trial, the song is brought up as a reference to a misogynistic song by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson which the husband was listening to before the accident. It is effectively used in the intro and once again on repeat as the investigators and the lawyers are trying to recreate the day the husband had the accident. 

1. Elemental and A Man Called Otto -  Thomas Newman

2. Infinity Pool - Tim Hecker

3. Master Gardener - Devonte Hynes

4. May December - Original compositions by Michel Legrand. Adapted and recomposed by Marcelo Zarvos

5. Killers of The Flower Moon - Robbie Robertson

6. Past Lives - Christopher Bear

7. Oppenheimer - Ludwig Göransson

8. Beau is Afraid - Bobby Krlic

9. Dream Scenario Owen Pallet

10. Poor Things - Jerskin Fendix


Best Films of The Year (Official Ranking as Far) 

Where do I begin with this list. Well maybe by stating that these are the best films of the year so far because the theatrical run is not over yet and my list will ever be changing until January. You can follow the ever evolving list on Letterboxd. Last film seen in theatres: December 13th, May December. 

1. Beau is Afraid dir. Ari Aster 

2. Killers of The Flower Moon dir. Martin Scorsese

3. The Holdovers dir. Alexander Payne

4. Past Lives dir. Celine Song

5. Oppenheimer dir. Christopher Nolan 

6. Brother dir. Clement Virgo (Technically was a 2022 release however got it’s wide release in 2023) 

7. The Boy and The Heron dir. Hayao Miyazaki

8. Spider Man Across The Spiderverse dir. Joaquin Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers

9. Barbie dir. Greta Gerwig

10. The Killer dir. David Fincher


Honourable Mentions

Astroid City dir. Wes Anderson 

Anatomy of A Fall dir. Justine Triet 

BlackBerry dir. Matt Johnson 

Dream Scenario dir. Kristoffer Borgli

May December dir. Todd Haynes 

Talk To Me dir. Michael and Danny Philippou 

Saltburn dir. Emerald Fennell

Maestro dir. Bradley Cooper 

John Wick: Chapter 4 dir. Chad Stahelski

You Hurt My Feelings dir. Nicole Holofcener 

Priscilla dir. Sofia Coppola 

I Like Movies dir. Chandler Levack (Technically was a 2022 release however got it’s wide release in 2023) 

Showing Up dir. Kelly Reichardt 

How To Blow Up A Pipeline dir. Daniel Goldhaber 


Best of Television

Saying Goodbye to Succession and Ted Lasso was very hard to do. I left the final episodes for one night in June when I was ready to watch both back to back. Both finales were great. Here are some other defining shows of the year for me: 

The Last of Us 


Ted Lasso 


The Bear

Gabrielle Gagnon - Volunteer 

10 Favourite Montreal Hardcore releases of 2023 (in no particular order) 

Fuck You II - Gazm

Subterranean Prison - Glowing Orb 

S/T EP - Puffer

S/T II  - Ilusión

Total Nada II E.P. - Total Nada 

Coded Collapse - CPU Rave

Durex Fucks demo - Durex 

S/T - Deadbolt

Split - Glowing Orb/ Peeve 

Demo - Bruiserweight 


Honourable Mentions and Hardcore-ish Favourites

Demo -  Beef

S.W.E.A.T Songs - S.W.E.A.T

The Coming of Spring - Cloned Apparition 

World Powered - Cloned Apparition

Second Souffle - Béton Armé 

Primal Tomb - Primal Horde/ Scorching Tomb

Noël Perras AKA Djngame - Host of Chops, Spins, & Remixes

Top 10 Favourite Songs Discovered This Year and Played on Chops Spins & Remixes 

1. “Lucid” - YahMe2

Drum and Bass 

2. “Matches” - Ephixa & Stephen Walking (Mr FijWiji Remix) feat. Aaron Richards

Female Vocal Dubstep 

3. “I Love The Rain (Remix)” - Agon  


4. “Magik of Love” - Andy Bliss feat. El Villano Muskal  

Future House 

5. “Make Dam Sure” - Adventure Club & Modern Machines feat. Saint Slumber

Future Bass 

6. “It’s That Time Of Year” - Delray MagikLov  


7. “I Found Love on The Dance Flow” - 1hit 1der  


8. “Whitney (ESSEL Remix)” - Rêve & Essel  


9. “Back To You” - Illenium feat. All Time Low  

Future Bass 

10. “All Eyes On Me” - Bo Burnham  


Clifton Hanger - Host of Brave New Jams

Ten concerts from 2023

Seeing as it is the end of the year here are what the folks at Brave New Jams think are ten enjoyable concerts from 2023, and a link to give them a listen. The shows are in no particular order other than being alphabetical.

1. Cabinet: April 17, 2023 Cafe Wha? New York, NY

Cabinet is a bluegrass band formed in 2006 that consists of Pappy Biondo (banjo, vocals), J.P. Biondo (mandolin, vocals), Mickey Coviello (acoustic guitar, vocals), Dylan Skursky (electric bass, double bass), Todd Kopec (fiddle, vocals) Jami Novak (drums, percussion) and Brian Gorby (percussion). One of the many highlights of this concert is the over ten minutes of epic jamming during "Silver Sun."

2. Circles Around The Sun: January 21, 2023  Brooklyn Bowl, NY

Circles Around the Sun is a Los Angeles based instrumental band that consists of Adam MacDougall on keys , Mark Levy on drums, Dan Horne on bass and 

John Lee Shannon on guitar.  The whole concert is one long spacey groove fest.   

3. Cowboy Junkies: July 27, 2023 Fox Theatre, Tucson AZ

Like all good things the Cowboy Junkies seem to get better with age. The line up has remained the same since their start in 1985 with Margo Timmins on vocals,  Michael Timmins on guitar, Peter Timmins on drums and Alan Anton on drums. The sound quality of the recording might not be the best but the music more than makes up for it.

4.  Joe Russo’s Almost Dead: June 4, 2023 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison CO 

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead is much more than just another Grateful Dead cover band.  This show features Joe Russo on drums and vocals, Tom Hamilton on guitar and vocals, Scot Metzger on guitar and vocals, Marco Benevento on keyboards and vocals and Dave Dreiwitz on bass. From "New Speedway Boogie" to "Terrapin Station", it's forty minutes of musical mayhem.

5. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: June 8, 2023 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison CO

Just four days after Joe Russo’s Almost Dead blew up Red Rocks Amphitheatre they were able to rebuild the place just for King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard to blow it up all over again. From the first set "Evil Death Roll" and "Magma" and all of the second offered some great Gizzard Lizard.

6. Los Lobos: November 17, 2023 The Fillmore, San Francisco CA

2023 marked the bands 50th year and one of the few bands in which the members have pretty much remained constant with Louie Perez - Drums, Guitars, Percussion, Vocals; Steve Berlin - Saxophone, Percussion, Flute; Cesar Rosas - Vocals, Guitar; Conrad Lozano - Bass, Guitarron, Vocals; David Hidalgo - Vocals, Guitar, Accordion, Percussion;  Alfredo "Fredo" Ortiz - Drums/Percussion. 

7. My Morning Jacket: June 30, 2023 Westville Music Bowl, New Haven, CT  

The band formed in 1998 and hailing from Louisville Kentucky My Morning Jacket is Jim James on vocals and guitars, Tom Blankenship on bass, Patrick Hallahan on drums, Carl Broemel on guitar, and Bo Koster on keyboards. 

8. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong: May 26, 2023 Pop’s Farm, Axton, VA 

It was a late night for the band with the show starting at midnight but they must have taken a nap because the concert was full blast from start to finish. Greg Ormont on lead Vocals, Guitar; Jeremy Schon on guitar;  Ben Carrey  on bass and Alex Petropulos on Drums.

 9. Pink Talking Fish: October 28, 2023 Jeanne Rimsky Theater Port Washington NY

2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the band, which consists of Eric Gould on bass / Vox, Zack Burwick on drums, Cal Kehoe on guitar/ and Vox, Steve Learson on Keys / Vox. As their name implies, they play the songs of Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish in the oddest way imaginable.

10. String Cheese Incident: May 4, 2023 Salvage Station, Asheville, NC

Starting out in Colorado in 1993, String Cheese Incident have become jam band heavyweights. With Michael Kang on vocals and various stringed instruments, Michael Travis on drums, Bill Nershi on guitar, Kyle Hollingsworth on keyboards, Keith Moseley on bass and Jason Hann on percussion. This concert is a tale of two sets, the first is okay but the second is why people travel all over the US of A to see this band. (Who are affectionately known as “cheese-heads.”)

Alex Viger-Collins - Host of Ashes to Ashes

Best Releases of 2023

1.  Desire, I Want to Turn Into You - Caroline Polachek

2. Guts - Olivia Rodrigo 

3. The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess - Chappell Roan

4. This is Why - Paramore 

5. Ooh Rap I Ya - George Clanton 

6.  Euphoric Recall - Braids

7. Weathervanes - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit 

8. Love Hallucination - Jessy Lanza 

9. Normal - Blesse 

10. Gas Station - Fireball Kid 


Honourable Mention

10,000 Gecs - 100 Gecs

DJ Jazzy Maize - Host of The Castle

DJ jazzy maize’s 2023 favs and hates :)

2023 was a dairy-free Whopper burger of a whammy. 

2023 was a year of daily rollercoasters. 

of beautiful watery sunsets and extraordinary ice cream experiences. 

I enjoyed my ‘space for life’ botanical gardens and Biodome pass. I flew around the city on my blue bike. I spent so much time with my plants, in good and bad ways. 

Here are some things I enjoyed this year and some things I did not

Best colour: this washed-out sky blue followed me around this year. hex code: #90EFFF

Outsides: things outside that I appreciated this year:

Best swimming spot: (45.4558159, -73.5625119)

Longest streak of consecutive days swimming: 12 days (September 2nd —> September 13th)

Best forest: Parc Nature de la Pointe-Aux-Prairies

Best rewilded space: Boise Vimont

Best social media: alerting people around you to look at the moon

Best weather happenings: the ice storm (wheee) 

Worst weather happenings: wildfire smoke :(


Bike paths 

Best paved bike path: canal (could be better but is very pretty. It can be very windy though)

Worst paved bike path: Rue Glen going under Route 136, downhill potholes, evil. Avoid.

Best unpaved path: Petite Voie du Fleuve

Outside of Montreal honourable mention: Petit Train du Nord <3

Worst unpaved path: downhill gravel with a sharp turn and reckless teenagers at the bottom in  Parc Nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies

Longest bike ride: 80km



2023’s Best Guitar Albums

Rat Saw God - Wednesday

Girl With Fish - feeble little horse

Lucky For You - Bully

The Window - Ratboys

Gush - 9Million

No One To LoseRoach



2023’s Best Electronic Albums

Soft Rock - Thy Slaughter

With A Hammer - Yaeji

mini mix vol.3 - Magdelena Bay

Hearth Room - Frost Children

Desire I Want To Turn Into You - Caroline Polachek

Rodeo Star - Cowgirl Clue

Jam City Presents EFM - jam city

Softscars - yeule

Beyond The Uncanny Valley - myst milano


10,000 gecs - 100 gecs


Best Singles

"Oral" - bjork and Rosalia

"GROUNDBREAKER" - umru and Warpster 


Most Surprising Release

New Blue Sun - André 3000


All of Charli XCX 2023 song releases ranked

“Welcome To My Island Remix”

“Speed Drive”

“Heavy by Thy Slaughter” (featured)

“Bottoms movie soundtrack” (particularly Yes No Okay)

“In The City feat. Sam Smith”


not even on the list

“2 die 4” - Addison Rae (I hate that song)


Best concerts

Best local performer: free Magi Merlin show at Diving Bell Social Club (rip)

Most emotional concert: Wednesday at Bar le Ritz

Best nonlocal performer: EDEN in Theater Corona

Best venue: Society for Arts and Technology (SAT)’s 306 degree domed projection room


Body doing body things

Worst tummy ache: December 14th :(

Worst headache: August 4th :(

Worst healthcare experience: Concordia calling me telling me I might have a UTI and to drink cranberry juice about it

Best healthcare experience: midnight MRI lady telling me she’ll still put me in the tube despite my appointment not existing (Hopital Notre Dame)



Best drink: Casa del Popolo’s dark n stormy

Worst drink: raspberry Smirnoff vodka injected (like, with a needle) into red Kool-Aid pouch (it was a genius idea but I don’t like Kool-Aid)



Best food by Concordia’s downtown campus: the Hive’s vege-pate reuben sandwich

Best coffee near downtown campus: vanilla oatmilk latte by Mick at Myriad

Best loyola food: Souvlaki George’s gyro pita (order: gyro pita)    

Best (vegan) ice creams: Calem by the canal (order: pandan and coconut)

Best (vegan) soft serve: Hoche Glace (order: chocolate waffle cone with vegan marble dipped in 54% dark chocolate and rainbow sprinkles)



These books did not necessarily come out in 2023 but i did read them in 2023.

Best memoir: This is My Real Name by Cid V Brunet - queer Canadian stripper memoir. So many trigger warnings. so good.

Best fiction: Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanely Robinson (2021)

Best self-help book: Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin and Robyn Dalzen (2021) 

Best non-fiction book: Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2003)

Best reread: Grendel by John Gardener (1989)

Worst book: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Most disappointing book: Letter to a Young Farmer by Gene Logsdon (started with barn critiques, ended up being racist??)



Also not necessarily released in 2023 but was watched in 2023

Most immersive experience Stop Making Sense (1984/2023) at Cinema Moderne

Most inspirational: How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2022)

Best nonfiction: Discordia (2004)

Best sci fi: T-Blockers (2023) @ Fantasia Film Festival

Best rewatch: NOPE (2022)

Best feel good: Bottoms (2023) (out of all the bathrooms I’ve used this year, this Cineplex pee palace was the one with confrontational transphobia)

Worst movie: Cocaine Bear (2023) watched in French

Omar Sonics - Host of Hooked on Sonics 

20 Fave Records of 2023

everything is alive - Slowdive 

Metta World Peace - Soft Kill 

Death is Nothing to Us - Fiddlehead

i've seen a way - Mandy, Indiana

Cartwheel - Hotline TNT


Sunforger - Sunforger

Bird Machine - Sparklehorse

Still Life in Decay - FACS 

Life Under The Gun - Militarie Gun

Nature Morte - BIGIBRAVE

Fourth Record - Markus Floats 

Rat Saw God - Wednesday

After The Magic - Parannoul

Red Moon in Venus - Kali Uchis 

Lucky for You - Bully 

Power Is The Pharmacy - Ky 

Sit Down for Dinner - Blonde Redhead 

Adrift - Andrew Sisk

Blondshell - Blondshell 


10 Fave Songs of 2023

"alife" - Slowdive

"Trouble" - Soft Kill

"Name of God" - Mustafa

"Sullenboy" - Fiddlehead

"Needs" - Tinashe

"Sun Spots" - 9Million

"Monterey Canyon" - Samiam

"Very High" - Militarie Gun

"Sunblock" - Barnacle

“Your Spit" - Ian Sweet


5 Fave Local Squirrels







5 Fave Sodees

Maine Root Mexicane Cola

Cherry Dr Pepper

Maine Root Sarsaparilla

Virgil's Black Cherry

Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale

Josh Dimakakos - Host of Psychic Ceremony

Top 10 Albums of 2023

1. Tight Ass Goku PicturesTimeout Room

2. Good Lies - Overmono 

3. Good Living is Coming For You - Sweeping Promises

4. Hit Piece - Tony Price

5. A Blaze in Time - Erang

6. Live on Cool St. - Thee Retail Simps 

7. Sword & Circuitry - Quest Master 

8. Migration Magic - Feeling Figures

9. Super Snooper - Snooper

10. Ooh Rap I Ya - George Clanton

Eric Wider - Host of Patch Note

Favourite Albums of 2023

Album of the Year: WallsocketUnderscores

Every time I put Wallsocket on, it gets its hooks further into me. This is the second album by April Harper Grey, aka Underscores. It’s bolder, and more ambitious than her first, plunging into concept album territory and refining her alternate sound. It’s loud and full of energy, but also finds the time for subtler moments where April explores the boundaries of the town of Wallsocket, Michigan she sets the album in. The biggest compliment I can share is that whenever I start listening to any one song in the tracklist, I always find myself listening to it all the way through. 

3D Country - Geese

“God of the sun I’m taking you down on the inside'' Cameron Winter proclaims in the first three seconds of the opener “2122.” It’s this same bizarre post-apocalyptic theme that is a constant in Geese’s new album, 3D Country. Put simply, it’s an album packed with super engaging rock music. The album keeps an energetic grip throughout its runtime, elevated through its use of backup singers. It’s always fun when an album doesn’t take itself seriously, and how can you argue against Geese with the lyrics “we could live in the sea, just you and me, and those fishes in-between?” 

Everything Harmony - Lemon Twigs

I have a weird issue where I find it hard to go back to the classics. There’s an infinite amount of music that’s come before me, it’s easier just to stick to new releases. I plan to amend this eventually, but for now, listening to Everything Harmony will do. It’s a throwback to 70’s music, the kind of stuff that would slot right in with my parent’s collection. Every song is incredibly memorable, whether it’s the lyrically dissonant “In My Head”, or tragically sweet “Still It’s Not Enough.” It’s some of the most addicting music you’ll hear this year. 

Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? - McKinley Dixon

Add jazz instrumentals to rap songs and I’m sold. It’s all the better then that McKinley Dixon goes further than this, constantly throwing in curveballs to keep the audience on their toes. The borderline experimental "Mezzanine Tippin’" comes to mind, taking a detour into darkness early on. Sweltering saxophones, pianos and drums are gorgeously performed throughout the entire album, giving the perfect backdrop for McKinley to perform with. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? finds itself celebrating the life of a friend, and despite touching on heartache, grief and trauma, ends up feeling as if it’s letting a light in.

Lahai - Sampha

Lahai is ethereal. It is a labour of love that has managed to maintain its soul no matter how much it was tinkered with. Sampha’s voice remains beautiful as always, and so does the production. There is such a focus on keeping just the essential elements of each song, highlighting the beauty in each drum pattern or piano note. So much of Lahai makes you feel like you’re floating, but “Jonathan L. Seagull” is the closest to heaven I’ve come listening to any music this year. 

In the End It Always Does - The Japanese House

Amber Bain’s second album is light and airy, it’s the kind of music the best indie-pop is. Putting on this album is like throwing on a stranger's blanket: you haven’t grown up with it but it’s comforting all the same. ITEIAD is focused on love, and how it feels to fall out of it. Songs such as “Morning Pages" do a fantastic job at recounting memories but never feeling like a slog. Every now and then there are lyrics that go straight for the heart, with, “no one’s ever gonna love me, like this dog lying in my lap”. It’s a truly great album. 

The Brightest Days - Origami Angel 

It’s perplexing, staring out into the beach on a sunny day and feeling like nothing. On Origami Angels’s new mixtape, The Brightest Days, they distill this feeling down and translate it into a series of thick guitar riffs in and way too relatable lyrics on a tight 22-minute project. All their music has a shimmer to it, but there’s something about The Brightest Days that harkens to summer like nothing else they’ve released before. Maybe it’s the ukulele. 

Live at Bush Hall - Black Country, New Road

Maybe it’s unfair to put this on the list. The band has stated they don’t consider this as an album, but more of a live concert (which it is). With that said, it’s still an excellent snapshot in time and worth considering. Live at Bush Hall sees the now six-piece Black Country, New Road playing music over the course of three nights, blended to get the best performances out of each show. As corny as it sounds, it’s a showcase of the power of friendship. Having their lead singer leave earlier in 2022, the art-rock band has split up vocal duties among three of the members, each bringing a unique flair to the song they perform. It’s extremely smart and technical, but never leaves behind the emotional weight of their previous work. If you were to watch this, the first listen has to be the concert film itself, there’s truly nothing like seeing great musicians perform live.

10,000 gecs - 100 gecs

Recently there was a post on Twitter that picked up momentum: a clip of the song "Money Machine" by 100 gecs with the caption “i won’t forget some of u guys used to like this.” Taking a step back and perceiving it from someone else’s perspective, I get where they’re coming from. It’s grating music, overblown and not really focused on anyone liking it except for Laura Les and Dylan Brady themselves. But if you like it, odds are you really like it. 10,000 gecs is filled to the brim with capital B bangers, from the sample filled "Dumbest Girl Alive" or the always clipping "One Million Dollars." I’m fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones who enjoys this absurd music. 

World of Hassle - Alan Palomo 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever listened to a more fun, funky album this year than World of Hassle. Alan Palomo used to go by Neon Indian, but he’s shed that moniker and has now released his first album under his own name. Every song is full of shimmering, perfectly constructed synth work that finds its place in each mood it goes for. It’s also a truly funny record in moments such as “Big Night of Heartache” which sees Palomo bargaining with a partner, claiming his tears are just the byproduct of a spicy meal. His vocals are great as always, singing in his native tongue of Spanish for a good portion of the runtime. It’s the perfect music to listen to if you find your head is in some serious need of bops. 


Bonus: Albums I’m sure are good that I’m embarrassed I haven’t gotten around to listening to

Rat Saw God - Wednesday

Javelin - Sufjan Stevens

I Killed Your Dog - L’rain

Maps - billy woods and Kenny Segal

Girl with Fish - Feeble Little Horse

Integrated Tech Solutions - Aesop Rock 

Desire, I Want to Turn Into You - Caroline Polachek 

Andrew Wieler - Metal Music Director and Host of Grade A Explosives

10. The Crotals - Conjure - A big ole sludge fest from a three-piece from Switzerland. This record feels heavy and has a real foreboding atmosphere to it, and if that isn't enough, it probably has the best incorporation of horns into sludge I've ever heard on "Taenia", with the greatest respect to KEN Mode, who is also doing a great job in the same field.

9. JAAW - Supercluster - Supergroup featuring members of Therapy? (who had a subpar record this year), Squarepusher, Petbrick, and Sex Swing, this is called a "post-industrial” record. I don't know about that, but it's damn good and calls back to the best 90s industrial stuff (read: the best Therapy? era) and gives it a flavour from today.  

8. Humanity's Last Breath - Ashen - Jeeeesus christ, this record is fucking heavy. If you have bass turned up for the device you're listening to this on, you should probably turn it down or your speakers and ears will be crushed with what's coming out. But, if that would scare you away, it isn't juuust heavy; it manages to also have good melodies that are present... just underneath the pure seething rage. Hey, that's kind of an apt metaphor for 2023 in general.

7. Tigercub - The Perfume of Decay - It's no surprise that I like this, being that fellow UK band Royal Blood, whose first and second records were excellent, become a slightly darker Imagine Dragons knockoff recently, and this band is basically doing what they're doing with a bit of Spotlight's darkness mixed in. Your inner goth will thank you for listening.

6. Green Lung - This Heathen Land - After the fantastic stadium rock opus of Prequelle, Ghost hasn't been hitting as much as I'd like. Luckily, UK's Green Lung are here to give their best Ghost impression along with some stoner rock flare. Honestly, if you can listen to "Maxine" and not enjoy it, you're probably dead inside, and not in the cool way.

5. Spotlights - Alchemy for the Dead - This is some tasty doomgaze from this NYC trio that manages to have some interesting arrangements and instrumentation in the mix. They toured with Baroness this year, and the sound at Corona... oh, sorry "Beanfield", didn't do them favours. If they want to come back and play Turbo Haus again, though, maybe they can stop by CJLO and do a session. Not saying... just saying...  

4. Mutoid Man - Mutants - Steven Brodsk, lead singer and main songwriting mind behind this band has been busy between Cave In, joining Quicksand, and returning to Converge for the team-up record with Chelsea Wolfe, but among all that, he still found time to make this record. Mutoid Man has always been catchy but this record really outdoes their previous works. If you want some heavy rock and/or roll and still be able to sing along, this is probably the best record you could ask for.

3. Svalbard - The Weight of the Mask - UK's post-everything band Svalbard puts out another stellar record, this time with the backing of Nuclear Blast, so good for them. If you're a fan of everything from Mogwai, to Touche Amore, to Harakiri for the Sky, there is something on this record that will interest you. Hell, it's probably up your alley if you're into heavier shoegaze as well. Just a great record from a consistently great band.  

2. Wayfarer - American Gothic - I know, Panopticon is the gold standard for mixing folk with black metal, but it doesn't quite capture the "Western" feel that Colorado's Wayfarer is able to get on this record. The record is a bit uneven, with the first part being the heaviest, and then becoming way more mellow at the end, but that's all totally fine for me.

1. Sleep Token - Take Me Back to Eden - I mean... can it get better than this? If it can, then, I suppose it would be a case where I just kill myself directly after listening, knowing full well that life has hit a peak. Mixing elements of djent, black metal, RnB, pop, and hip hop, this record treads ground that no other metal record has tried, and if there is a band that does anything close to this, I want to know about it. And look, is this album above critique? No. But if you're one of these people saying this is the downfall of all metal, or that it's only liked by "fake metalheads", why don't you just, I don't know, shut your mouth? Some people don't want to hear the same thrash chords or blast beats every day of their lives, and frankly, if this gets ANY young people into one of the oldest skewing genres, I am totally for it.


Honourable mentions

KEN Mode - Void - Those good Canadians still punching you in the face with sludge.

Lethvm - Winterreise - Belgium post-doom that is alternating between breathy and heavy

Pil & Bue - Special Agents - A very good... grunge... pop?... yeah, let's say that, form the "most northern band on the planet".

Liturgy - 93696 - I have never gotten Liturgy up to now, so if you're like me, maybe give this a shot

Raum Kingdom - Monarch - Irish proggy doom that has a real mean streak to it

Racetraitor - Creation and the Timeless Order of Things - Some unique hardcore from a band that used to have Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy in its ranks

3teeth - Endex - Modern industrial of the highest order

68 - Yes, And... - Weirdo rock at its finest

Vvon Dogma I - The Kvlt of Glitch - The mastermind behind Unexpect puts out a glitchy weirdo metal album, so basically Unexpect with electronics

Angelica Calcagnile - Art Director and Host of BVST

Another year, another set of favourites in no particular order. Want to listen to the tracks to taste that I've selected from each of these records? Check out the playlist here.

Debby Friday - Good Luck

Also one of my favourite live shows this year, 2023 belongs to Debby, whose flawless album synthesizes your every dark desire and hidden regret into ten perfect crystalline confessions. Track to taste: "Let U Down"

Bonnie Trash - Hail, Hale!

At three songs and barely 15 minutes long, the biggest critique of this beautifully sparse and haunting new release from the Toronto twin twosome is that it's too damn short. Track to taste: "Shades of You"

Dusk - Rethrenody

Costa Rican industrial black metallers Dusk consistently release some of the most frightening music you can imagine, and this downtempo reinterpretation of their 2019 punisher Threnody proves that being slower and softer doesn't mean any less scary. Track to taste: "Threnody II"

Tigercub - The Perfume of Decay

This record was a sexy surprise, dark and brooding and full of whispered promises. With a hair pull and a cab ride home, this record will touch you where it matters without overstaying its welcome. Track to taste: "Swoon"

JAAW - Supercluster

If the collective screaming of our last few years was collected, charred, corroded and cut into eight digestible chunks it would sound a lot like this delicious nightmare. Track to taste: "Rot"

Acid King - Beyond Vision

It's been eight years since Lori S. and friends blessed us with a record and this one crawls and soars and burns lovely and slow. A trip, in every sense, so pack yr bags. Track to taste: "90 Seconds"

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Land of Sleeper

Doing the heavy stoner psych thing the way only the English can, Pigs x7 bring the kind of gut-rattling low end I can't stop coming back to. Track to taste: "Big Rig"

Dead Quiet - IV

Vancouver's own returns with another rock record that's soulful without being sanctimonious, dripping in organs without being gothy, and familiar without being tired. Track to taste: "Dying to Live Again"

Bog Monkey - Hollow

Just 'cause it crunches doesn't mean it can't boogie, as is proven over and over again here. Can doom metal be... catchy? Can it be... dancey? Yes and yes, see for yourself. Track to taste: "Trip"

Wayfarer - American Gothic

They call this "black metal of the American West" and it does exactly what it says on the tin. If you were ever hoping for a little more yeehaw with your yeeeearrrgghhhh then this is exactly what you need. Track to taste: "The Cattle Thief"

Nina Przr - Co-Host of Dreamscapes

Top 10 dream symbols of 2023 (in no particular order)

Eggs, water, crocodiles, cheese, clothing( imbued with special powers), disintegrating or malfunctioning architecture(stairs, houses), trains that become dragons, floating/levitating/flying, old women, friendly giant skulls with a puppet show inside.


No order special mention

waking up from a dream remembering a new song you just invented in the dream, sleep paralysis naps in Canadian history class,  donnie darko, Frank from Donnie Darko and also rabbits in general, Tarot for Change by Jessica Dore, Alie Ward's Ologies, Dreams and the Underworld by James Hillman, 10000 Dreams Interpreted by Pamela Ball, Dream Scenario(?- we haven't seen it yet but we are intrigued and will report back), the interview with Matt Johnson where he says he directs movies like everyone is trying to remember a dream together, the moon (at all percentages of illumination).