BEST OF 2023 The Best Albums of 2023: F – K By Bandcamp Daily Staff · December 04, 2023

All this week, we’ll be counting down our editors’ picks for the Best Records of 2023 and, just like we did last year, we’ll be taking ’em on one chunk of the alphabet at a time. Next week, our genre columnists weigh in with their picks for the year’s best records.

Go to:

December 4: Best of 2023: A – E
December 5: Best of 2023: F – K
December 6: Best of 2023: L – R
December 7: Best of 2023: S – Z
December 8: 2023’s Essential Releases

Kari Faux

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Kari Faux is in the business of writing love letters. Her third album, REAL B*TCHES DON’T DIE!, is a testament to the enduring strength of Dungeon Family funk, a salute to the Memphis rap innovators that inspired generations, and an ode to the languorous tempo of life in the South. Faux pays homage to loved ones who have passed, processing grief by celebrating life rather than plumbing the depths. With REAL B*TCHES, Faux’s created one of the most heart-swelling rap records in recent years, a joyous look at the complexity of it all.

—Dash Lewis

Read our Album of the Day on REAL B*TCHES DON’T DIE!.

India Sky
Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon

Merch for this release:
Compact Disc (CD), Cassette, T-Shirt/Shirt, , Poster/Print

On Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon, India Sky marries fairy-like vocals to sparkling orchestral pop. There’s an almost childlike innocence to the way she sings the phrase “hey, hey” on “Dark Symphony,” or “we were in love” on “Breakdown”; on “Begin Again” and “Waves,” she is as vulnerable as she is honest, pondering the many ways life changes us, yet seeming renewed rather than shaken by the transformation. Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon affirms India Sky’s desire to seek out joy, even when sadness brings her to her knees.

—Chaka Grier

Read our Album of the Day on Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon.

Kara Jackson
Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

On her incredible debut album, Chicago singer and poet Kara Jackson landed in a space somewhere between the pure folk of her idol Joni Mitchell and the gothic songwriting of Nico. Her raw storytelling was countered by a refusal to be pigeonholed, preferring to see her work as a pure cathartic release. Written after the death of her best friend in her teens, in the title track she penned one of the greatest and most poignant songs of loss and grief.

—Andy Thomas

Read our Album of the Day on Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?.

Loraine James
Gentle Confrontation

Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP, T-Shirt/Shirt, Compact Disc (CD)

Loraine James deftly glides between genres on Gentle Confrontation, and her world-building has never felt so seamless and intimate. Known for heady IDM, James reaches back to her adolescence to craft interior dialogues simultaneously inspired by the Postal Service and Squarepusher, as heard on “One Way Ticket To The Midwest (Emo).” Electronic music can often come across as cold, yet Gentle Confrontation is elevated by personal touches like on “Cards With The Grandparents,” where a familial mood is layered over a wonky beat. It’s a record that serves as a warm invitation to the upbringing of a virtuosic musician.

—Eli Schoop

Read our Album of the Day on Gentle Confrontation.

Jane Remover
Census Designated

Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP

With her second album, Jane Remover has given normies definitive proof of what Discord-frequenting music snobs have known since 2021’s cult classic Frailty: she’s the future of alternative. That the 19-year-old New Jersey polymath—singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer—has never known an offline world is precisely what makes Census Designated, and her whole artistry, so remarkable. The staggering array of influences (shoegaze, hyperpop, dream pop, post-rock, indie, video game music), the dynamic see-saws sustaining her long-form arrangements, the specters of violence and depression and swipe fatigue explored on songs like “Cage Girl / Camgirl” and “Video”: Rarely has a record captured the forever-connected, yet forever-alone state of the union with such poignance and ambition.

—Zoe Camp

JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown

SCARING THE HOES, JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown’s collaborative album, is wonderfully cacophonous and disorienting. JPEG’s beats split apart mid-phrase, moving from thunderous, Memphis-indebted 808s to frenetic drum ‘n’ bass to serrated loops, all underpinned by chest-caving bass. Both emcees push against the boundaries of the production, yelping from beneath the distortion. Narcotics numb faces, politicians get skewered, references accumulate and topple over, shattering on impact. There’s a palpable, irreverent joy to this chaos; a sharp and piercing breath of fresh air.

—Dash Lewis

Karen y los Remedios

Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Ana Karen G Barajas may live in Guadalajara, but the music she makes with Karen y los Remedios (alongside Jonathan Muriel and Guillermo Berbeyer) resides in some other space entirely. Though it’s nominally cumbia, the music on Silencio has a kind of supernatural strangeness to it—its beats wreathed in stardust, Karen’s haunting voice drifting through the mix like a ghost passing through walls. The organ line in the spectacular album opener “Mi Gran Dolor” would be creepily effective as the score to an old Lon Chaney silent, and “Cartas Marinas” aches like prime Portishead. Karen y los Remedios hypnotize from the first note of Silencio to the last. The album’s title is, famously, the final word spoken in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. The record itself seems to imagine what happens next.

—J. Edward Keyes


Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Kelela’s music has always lingered on the edges of the club, but on Raven, she submerges herself headfirst into the rave, recruiting producers like LSDXOXO, Kaytranada, and AceMo to firm up her sound with jagged breakbeats and thumping four-on-the-floor bass. Her layered, fluttering vocals spin up a whirlpool of melody that is as soothing and cerebral as the heavy drums are physically stimulating. The recurring sound of cresting tides and gentle waves suggests Kelela as an oracle of the dancefloor, baptizing your senses in healing waters.

—Nadine Smith

Read our Album of the Day on Raven.


Los Angeles, California
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Los Angeles, California
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Knower’s new album represents the pinnacle—and antithesis—of easy listening. The Los Angeles-based duo of Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi are certainly at home basking in muzak’s creature comforts, from the hermetically sealed vocals of city pop (“Crash The Car”) to the tonal warmth of smooth jazz (“The Abyss”). But where the immediate surroundings stoke a sense of meditative calm, Artadi’s pugnacious, politically charged lyrics on tracks like “I’m The President” (Mount Rushymore has some tits/ I heard you been talking shit”) disturb the melodic peace, striking a compelling balance between the escapist and the uncanny. What we’re left with is a subversive marvel.

—Zoe Camp

Kofi Flexxx
Flowers in the Dark

Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP

Kofi Flexxx will be remembered as an inflection point for Shabaka Hutchings’s label Native Rebel Recordings. This is his Sun Ra moment: Hutchings invents a new mythology—specifically, a spirit named Kofi Flexxx, which possesses people—and merges the diasporic planes of spiritual jazz, spoken word, and hip-hop into ancestral channeling music. Flowers In The Dark can be a tempest of booming, ritualistic percussion and wailing flutes, or it can set the tone for a joyous dance. And, unlike the great Sun Ra, Kofi Flexxx has no single discrete human form. As such, Kofi Flexxx is infinite; no death, only life.

—Blake Gillespie

Read the next list… >


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