The best new music to look forward to in 2023

Iggy Pop – Every Loser

Pop teams up with superproducer Andrew Watt – who has recently worked with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Morrissey to Elton John – and promises “music that will blow your mind … done the old-fashioned way.” Contributions come from Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses.
• January 6

Billy Nomates – cacti

Tory Maries’ follow-up to her acclaimed debut as Billy Nomates was preceded by a string of great singles that ranged from electronica to growling pop-punk, their eclecticism held together by the sharpness of her writing and the power of her voice.
• January 13

John Cale – Mercy

Cale’s first album of original songs in a decade features a slew of younger guest stars including Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Laurel Halo, Actress and Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering. The warped funk of Night Crawling’s tribute to Bowie and the epic, disorienting electronics of star Mering in Story of Blood suggest an impressive level of inventiveness.
• 20th January

Låpsley – A Cautionary Tale of Youth

Låpsley’s latest album, Through Water, had the misfortune of being released three days before the first UK lockdown was announced. Meanwhile, Låpsley became stranded in South Africa, which inspired her follow-up, an album that also features contributions from Jessy Lanza.
• 20th January

Maneskin-Rush

Has rock music had more incredible success in recent years than Måneskin, Italian hard rockers with a distinct glam twist to their sound, propelled to massive pop success with their Eurovision win and Frankie’s four-year cover? Classic soul classic Valli Beggin’? Whether their current arena-filled status, crazy streaming stats is a novelty or something more permanent should reveal their next album, produced by Swedish pop king Max Martin.
• 20th January

Sam Smith-Gloria

Slightly Gothic… Sam Smith at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Slightly Gothic… Sam Smith at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Photo: Jo Hale/Getty Images

“Sex, lies, passion, self-expression and imperfection” are apparently the themes of Sam Smith’s fourth studio album, which reunites them with longtime collaborator Jimmy Napes. The single Unholy, featuring Kim Petras, was a great, slightly gothic dance track – on the other hand, Gloria also features a cameo by Ed Sheeran.
• January 27th

Raye – My 21st century blues

The saga of singer-songwriter Raye’s debut album is tumultuous: in 2021, she accused her then-label Polydor of deliberately holding back the release, and they quickly parted ways. Despite her obvious talent, Raye has had more success as a guest artist than herself so far: hard-hitting singles suggest her debut is about to change that.
• February 3

Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

Three tracks from Young Fathers’ first new album since 2018’s Cocoa Sugar have been released so far: the slow and choppy Geronimo, the defiantly quirky electro-glama track I Saw, and the virtually beatless electronic blasts of Tell Somebody. All three suggest that the Edinburgh trio’s approach to left-wing hip-hop remains as excitingly unpredictable and imaginative as ever.
• February 3

Paramore – Here’s why

Returning to guitars after the synth-pop textures of 2017’s After Laughter, the pop-punk band’s first album in six years (and the first of their career to feature the same band line-up as its predecessor), Bloc Party became “the number one reference”, although there is definitely a note of Foals in the sound mix as well.
• February 10

Yo La Tengo – this stupid world

Associated with: Paramore: ‘We realized it wasn’t worth risking our health for this team’

A sharp left turn from the ambient instrumentals of predecessor We Have Amnesia Sometimes (an album recorded under social distancing protocols), This Stupid World is hailed as “the most live-sounding album in years” by New York indie perennials. The Fallout single sounded warm and smart as always.
• February 10

Sam Gendel – CookUp

The Los Angeles-based jazz experimentalist’s positively busy release schedule – releasing three albums and a live EP in 2022 – continues with a selection of radically altered interpretations of late 90s/early 00s R&B tracks. Ginuwine, Beyoncé, Aaliyah and SWV are among those whose works they transform into a suitably abstract flow of intriguing quirks.
• February 24

Yazmin Lacey – Voice Memos

Over a long string of singles and EPs, Lacey has become one of Britain’s most iconic singer-songwriters. On her debut album, which she’s been working on for two years, her sound spans jazz, drum’n’bass, reggae, soul and funk, all as skewed as you’d expect given the presence of Invisible’s Dave Okumu in the manufacturer’s site.
• March 3

100 Geeks – 10,000 Geeks

Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs’ sound may be controversial – either you find their overwhelming concentration of raucous guitars, computer noise, heavily tuned pop melodies incredibly original and up-to-date, or irritating beyond belief – but their 2019 debut topped many critics’ and their sequels are eagerly awaited.
• March 17

Eddie Chacon

The return of Eddie Chacon – once the creators of hits from the mid-90s – resumes his activities, as evidenced by the recent single Holy Hell.
• Spring

Anything but a girl

The first album in 24 years, Everything But the Girl, was quietly announced on social media in November. What it will sound like remains a mystery, but if the unmistakably high quality of Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt’s solo albums in recent years is anything to be noted, it should be exceptional.

Classical and operatic

Buddha’s Passion

Chinese composer Tan Dun.

Chinese composer Tan Dun. Photo: China News Service/Getty Images

Inspired by a visit to the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in western China, Tan Duna’s massive choral piece uses Bach’s form of passion and lyrics in Sanskrit and Chinese to represent the core legends of Buddhism. The composer conducts the British premiere with six soloists and the London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra.
• Royal Festival Hall, London, January 22

Harrison Birtwistle: Homage

The London Sinfonietta presents its memorial to the great British composer who passed away in April 2022. Conducted by Martyn Brabbins, it will cover works from all stages of Birtwistle’s career, from the Sinfonietta’s first commission, Verses for Ensembles in 1969, to its last, In Broken Images, first performed in 2011.
• Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, March 5

Il Tritico

A complete staging of all three of Puccini’s one-act operas is rare. A new Scottish Opera production of Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Stuart Stratford; the cast included Roland Wood, Sunyoung Seo, Karen Cargill, and Francesca Chiejina.
• Theater Royal, Glasgow, March 11, 15 and 18; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, March 22 and 25

Innocence

The Royal Opera is organizing the UK premiere of Kaiji Saariaho’s newest opera; it is her fifth and first to have a contemporary setting – at a wedding in contemporary Finland. The text, mostly in English but with portions in eight other languages, was written by Alexi Barrière (the composer’s son), and the production was directed by Simon Stone and conducted by Susanna Malkki.
• Royal Opera House, London, April 17 – May 4

Mahler’s 10th Symphony

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla concludes her single season as Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Mahler’s final masterpiece, left unfinished at his death in 1911. He conducts what has become the standard edition of the score, by musicologist Deryck Cooke.
• Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 18 May

The elder leads Elgar

Mark Elder created three of Elgar’s great oratorios, The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Kingdom, masterpieces of his years as Hallé’s music director. For his final appearances in the 2022-23 season, he runs all three jobs in eight days; soloists include Michael Spyres, Alice Coote, Sarah Connolly, Ed Lyon and Roderick Williams.
• Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, June 4, 10 and 11

Dialogues des Carmelites

Glyndebourne follows on from last year’s double juxtaposition of Poulenc’s one-act operas with his only full-length stage work. Barrie Kosky’s staging of Dialogue des Carmélites was originally scheduled for the 2020 season; Robin Ticciati conducts and the cast is led by Danielle de Niese as Blanche and Katarina Dalayman as Prioress.
• Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes, June 10 – July 29

Rattle goes down

Simon Rattle is retiring as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2023.

Bowing… Simon Rattle is retiring as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2023. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

At the end of this season, Simon Rattle is leaving his position as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra. For his recent concerts at the Barbican, he chose Turangalîl Messiaen and conducts a gigantic symphony with pianist Peter Donohoe and ondes martenot player Cynthia Miller as soloists, along with the world premiere of Betsy Jolas.
• Barbican, London, June 14-15

Anna Thorvaldsdottir

The Icelandic composer’s music features prominently at this year’s summer festival in Aldeburgh. The Danish Quartet premieres a work composed especially for them, based on the music of Rosamunde Schubert, as well as the British premieres of Thorvaldsdóttir’s music performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu and a string ensemble composed of quartets performing at the Festival.
• Various Venues, Aldeburgh, June 12-24

candide

The Welsh National Opera closes the season with an extensive, touching take on Leonard Bernstein’s satirical novel Voltaire. The cast is yet to be finalized, but Ed Lyon will play the title role, with Vuvu Mpofu as Kunegunda; James Bonas directs, Grégoire Pont’s video and animations, and Karen Kamensek is the conductor.
• Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, June 22-24, then tour until July 12

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