The 40 Best New Bands Of 2023

The 40 Best New Bands Of 2023

Hello and welcome to the 13th edition of Stereogum’s annual Best New Bands list. Lucky number 13! We started doing this back in 2010, and every year since then — except for 2014, which we skipped (sorry to any band that really hit it big in 2014) — our writers have taken stock of the past twelve months to spotlight the artists that have us excited about the future of music in any genre. It’s a fun task, and also an overwhelming one, because there are so many bands. And so many of them are good! So many of them are bad, too, but you won’t find those here.

Of course “new” is subjective. Some of these acts have been around for a little while. But across the board, there’s something about what each artist has done since last autumn that has us hyped up. Maybe they finally released that debut album, maybe their promise crystallized on LP2 or even beyond. Inclusion here is sometimes a judgement call, based on a nebulous vibe. I think our vibes are usually right. And we are still calling this Best New Bands, although some of these artists are not bands. It’s just what we call it. Finally, we intentionally run this list removed from year-end season to give these acts their own special shine. It’s not a year-end list. Our 2023 In Review coverage is just around the corner, and you will also complain that that is too early.

If you’ve been following along at Stereogum this year, a lot of these names will be familiar to you. They’ve been in our new music feed. They’ve been in our Band To Watch interview series. We’ve reviewed their concerts. And there’s a couple we haven’t mentioned enough, so consider this a mea culpa.

Now you’re ready to dive into Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands Of 2023, presented in alphabetical order. There are also playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, and TIDAL highlighting the honorees. —James Rettig

LOCATION: Baltimore, MD / Philadelphia, PA
Victoria Rose and Stone Filipczak, the members of the nigh-unsearchable duo @, recorded their debut album remotely, from their respective homes in Philadelphia and Baltimore. But their chemistry as musicians is undeniable on Mind Palace Music — bouncing off of each other in indelible harmonies, trading off ideas in a free-flowing, effortless way. They channel early Animal Collective, the Beatles, freak-folk, and beyond in their songs, which are warm and inviting and have a ineffable homespun charm. —James


LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
“Ecstatic black metal,” they call it. For Agriculture, that means deploying sonic techniques that often convey dark, demonic sentiments but flipping them into crushing waves of bliss. My fellow non-kvlt listeners will inevitably connect the band’s warm, violent onslaught to Deafheaven, but there’s something both kinder and harsher about Agriculture’s approach. It’s overwhelming, and you never know when pedal steel or a brass section might briefly emerge from the whirlwind before being once again swallowed by chaos. —Chris DeVille

[Photo by Milan Aguirre.]

The British trio bar italia share their name with a Pulp song, but their music exists somewhere between the blown-out noise-pop of Times New Viking and the off-kilter indie-pop of the Goon Sax. Those are both Matador alums, and this year bar italia linked up with the same label for a pair of woozy and unkempt albums, bringing a feral sophistication to art-school rock ‘n’ roll. From the tense lo-fi post-punk of “punkt” to the swaggering garage psych of “my little tony,” they were one of the most surprising, rewarding acts going this year. —Chris

[Photo by Steve Gullick.]

LOCATION: Singapore
In October, the four-piece Blush shared their debut album Supercrush, and the music is as lovesick and dreamy as their name and LP title suggest. Reminiscent of Lush or Slowdive, their songs are meant to get lost in, floating along with hazy guitars and syrupy vocals. Highlights include the delirious “I’ll Take Care Of You” and the euphoric “Still In Love,” but the whole record is a velvety daydream.
Danielle Chelosky

[Photo by Nicholas Kent Tann.]

Bobby TooTact

Bobby TooTact is a teen from Harlem making instantly lovable, forward-thinking rap. Over production that combines the depth-charge impact of New York drill with the brisk breeziness of Afrobeats, the kid darts and glides with an easy intuition, peppering his boasts and descriptive flourishes with unveiled insults for Mayor Eric Adams. TooTact calls himself the King Of Afro Drill, and based on how naturally he takes to those beats, the claim feels legit. —Chris

Cash Cobain

“This beat from Cash, not from YouTube.” That’s how the tag goes, but really, Cash Cobain’s beats come from everywhere. As a producer, Cash pulls from across the cultural spectrum — Mary J. Blige, Jai Paul, “Hey There Delilah” — and twists those tracks into playful headrush drill beats, which is how he’s worked with stars like Drake and Lil Yachty. But Cash sounds best rapping over his own tracks, conveying filthy thoughts in a skittering, feather-light flow. —Tom Breihan

[Photo by 20.]

Chappell Roan

LOCATION: Willard, MO / Los Angeles, CA
It took a few years for Chappell Roan to find her voice. After moving from Missouri to Los Angeles due to her YouTube success, she was dropped by Atlantic Records despite linking up with Dan Nigro for her breakthrough single — what a mistake! Nigro would, of course, go on to great success with Olivia Rodrigo. He’s back for Roan’s full-length The Rise And Fall Of A Midwest Princess, and Roan has landed on her feet. Her debut is so, so fun — bright and goofy and earnest, it’s campy and a little corny but oh so delicious, a celebration of all the weirdos and those who refuse to stop trying. —James

[Photo by Ryan Clemens.]

Back in 2021, Cusp released an impressive EP called Spill, whose title track was a sprawling, reverb-drenched explosion. Their debut full-length, You Can Do It All, sees the band reach their full potential. From patient, sunny indie rock meanderings like “Dead Things Talk” and “Win,” to frenetic shoegaze supernovas such as “Limited Edition” and “Inside Out,” the album is dynamic and emotional throughout, a beyond-promising first record. —Danielle

[Photo by Taylor Eads.]

Debby Friday

Debby Friday started out as a DJ, and you can tell. On her Polaris Prize-winning debut album Good Luck, Friday bounces freely among moods, genres, and modes of expression. Soft pulsing bedroom-pop gives way to clattering, industrial quasi-rap. Beats hammer, skitter, bloop, and blorp. It’s all held together through craft, personality, and timing. As with a great DJ set, you can hear a powerful personality at work, even as sounds shift and twist. She knows what sounds good to her, and she trusts us to keep up. —Tom

[Photo by Katrin Braga.]

Destiny Bond

Destiny Bond roar through their debut album Be My Vengeance in less than 20 minutes, a punk rock whirlwind that is bright and pulverizing with both positivity and positively-charged fury. “Take a breath, take a look, take a moment to feel!” Cloe Madonna Janzen shouts on highlight “Kinetic.” “You’ve got so much! Ready to ignite! To burn your brightest! Every single night!” And, hey, they’re (probably?) the best hardcore band named after a Pokémon move. —James

[Photo by Jacki Vitetta.]

Feeble Little Horse

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA
Come on in, join the stable. With two albums in their saddlebag, Feeble Little Horse have quickly established themselves as an act deserving of breathless whinnying. (Sorry.) Their sophomore LP Girl With Fish is stuffed with so many ideas, paying off the promise of their ramshackle debut Hayday with songs that are playful but impressively dense. Lydia Slocum cuts through the band’s sonic collages with a hard-hitting sarcasm, laced with sweetness, exhibiting allure that makes the music really stick with you. —James

[Photo by Micah E Wood.]

Fievel Is Glauque

LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
Centered on the transcontinental duo of NYC avant-garde staple Zach Phillips and Belgian singer Ma Clément, Fievel Is Glauque play madcap jazz-rock laced with bright francophone pop. On last fall’s Flaming Swords, the band adventures through some of the coolest corners of music history en route to a destination all their own. Their technical prowess and compositional daring might leave your head spinning, but the bluster never comes at the expense of magnetic songwriting. —Chris

[Photo by Sergio Graman.]

LOCATION: Georgetown, MA
Three of the four members of Fleshwater also play in the abrasive, guttural metallic hardcore band, but the X-factor is singer Marisa Shirar, the one Fleshwater member who doesn’t play in Vein. Fleshwater’s sound is a swirling, downtuned, ultra-heavy version of late-’90s alt-rock — grunge, shoegaze, post-hardcore, and nu-metal all swirling together. On debut album We’re Not Here To Be Loved, they sound like a turbulent ocean, one heaving riff crashing down on the next. Through it all, Shirar wails with magnetic grace, a still and focused center of the storm. —Tom

Fust filter heavy-hearted roots rock through an indie-rock lens with winsome, sometimes spectacular results. On this year’s Genevieve, with a supporting cast that includes North Carolina neighbors like Indigo de Souza and Jake Lenderman, Aaron Dowdy and friends inject good old-fashioned sad-eyed twang with widescreen splendor and literary flair. Fans of Ruston Kelly and A.A. Bondy need to press play on “Violent Jubilee” right away. —Chris

[Photo by Charlie Boss.]

Hannah Jadagu

Hannah Jadagu grew up in Texas, moved to New York City for college, and recorded her debut album in Paris. All the while, she was uploading songs online, building up the confidence that exudes on Aperture. She was scooped up by Sub Pop Records a couple years ago and the label clearly saw the promise in the songs she had been recording on her own. Aperture makes good on that: an eminently likable blend of rock and pop that’s sharp and surprisingly expansive. —James

[Photo by Sterling Smith.]

LOCATION: Edmonton, AL
It shouldn’t make any sense. A former member of dance-punk also-rans Shout Out Out Out Out joining forces with an oi berserker? Raspy, hard-strutting street-punk singalongs combined with sleek, brooding synthpop? Depeche Mode and Blitz in the same tumbler, shaken all around? And it’s from Edmonton? But here it is: Brutally bittersweet, angrily anthemic mosh music for people with expensive haircuts, or at least people who pretend to have expensive haircuts. It’s amazing that rock ‘n’ roll can still find new ways to shock your soul, but these guys have found one. —Tom

[Photo by Kate Suter.]

LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
“I find your music disgraceful and distasteful,” a ring announcer declares on “Mankind,” the opener on Jobber’s debut EP. “All of you are going down in hell in a cell.” This kind of intense introduction might prepare a listener for furious hardcore, so when breezy grunge is what follows, it’s a funny surprise. Warped keys make “Entrance Theme” sparkle; it’s hard to even notice the bleak subject matter: “The world is ending and we gave it up,” Kate Meizner sings, her voice merged with sweeping guitars, the sound immersive and pleasant. —Danielle

[Photo by Cooper Winterson.]

The teenage trio Lifeguard play post-punk with a fervor that reflects their age, channeled from a record collection far beyond their years. The group’s recent double EP for Matador evokes touchpoints like Unwound, Fugazi, Wire, and Mission Of Burma — noisy, explosive, and laced with melody in a way that rarely scans as pop. Each song charges ahead like factory equipment come to life, yet there’s a fiery glow within the cold structures. —Chris

[Photo by Mariana Belaval.]

Liquid Mike

LOCATION: Marquette, MI
On S/T, Liquid Mike relay the woes of waiting at the DMV, of relationships that don’t work out, of getting older. But the atmosphere doesn’t stray from upbeat and ebullient; colorful guitars and fervent vocals prove that nothing is ever too serious. There’s even a track about “the thrill of driving,” which Mike Maple exclaims over jaunty guitars reminiscent of Blink-182 on “RAV4.” —Danielle

[Photo by Marissa Dillon.]

Luh Tyler

LOCATION: Tallahassee, FL
NBC aired the Law & Order pilot in 1990, which means the show was 16 years old when Luh Tyler was born. Luh Tyler was 16 when he first went viral for rapping over Mike Post’s iconic Law & Order theme song. Tyler’s “Law & Order,” recorded on his phone, was a cute novelty and a sharp introduction to a confident young voice. Tyler, now 17, sounds like the world’s oldest baby — his soft, high-pitched voice coming out as a creaky, conversational wheeze over hazy, melodic, bass-heavy Floridian beats. A Luh Tyler track is smooth, formulaic, and satisfying — something like a Law & Order episode. —Tom

[Photo by Cam Kirk.]

Mary Jane Dunphe

For the past decade, Mary Jane Dunphe has been a part of underappreciated bands like Vexx, CC Dust, and many more. Her debut solo album Stage Of Love feels like the work of someone who doesn’t want to be underappreciated anymore. Revelatory and intoxicating, Dunphe’s songs scrape into dreamy, languid soundscapes. When she sings, it sounds like a gaping yawn, or maybe the Edvard Munch painting The Scream given a voice, a nightmarish yearning that courses through straight through to the listener. —James

[Photo by Aleck Venegas.]


LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
Model/Actriz have been impressing audiences with a chaotic live show since 2016; their debut album Dogsbody translates that in-person reckless abandon into a heaving, non-stop engaging mess. Part scrawling dance-punk, part feverish anxiety attack, all swagger. Cole Haden sounds like a sex-obsessed, self-hating force of nature — James Murphy if James Murphy could fuck — and the band meets his attitude every step of the way, itchy and raw and endlessly complex. —James

[Photo by Lily Frances.]

“I think I like a listener to be a bit confused and a bit unsettled,” Eva Liu told us earlier this year, when discussing her otherworldly debut as mui zyu, Rotten Bun For An Eggless Century. Her solo work is a departure from the prickly rock songs she makes as part of Dama Scout; here, Liu makes enveloping synthesizer music that leaves behind a smeary sort of residue. —James

[Photo by Holly Whittaker.]

My Hair Is A Rat's Nest

LOCATION: Albuquerque, NM
Bandcamp is crawling with obscure, mysterious screamo acts, each one a sonic lottery ticket that might repel you or become your new favorite band. My Hair Is A Rat’s Nest, a mostly one-person operation out of Albuquerque, is one of the best to emerge in recent years. The project brings post-rock splendor to bear on lo-fi epics that often push past five, seven, or even 10 minutes in pursuit of sweet release. The results are gritty at their prettiest and enthralling at their most raw. —Chris


LOCATION: Seoul, South Korea
The terrifying, exciting moment when the K-pop machine absorbs and internalizes the PinkPantheress aesthetic. NewJeans bring a twee, starry-eyed take on futuristic dance music, and it translates to a uniquely endearing sound. They work with cutting-edge producers like Erika de Casier, and their music draws on Jersey and Baltimore club, drum ‘n’ bass, and UK garage. The hooks gleam, but the singing style is pure bedroom pop. It all comes together to make “Super Shy” one of the year’s best singles. —Tom

Nourished By Time

LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
Before Marcus Brown even released his debut full-length as Nourished By Time, he’d already attracted fans like Yaeji and Dry Cleaning, and it’s easy to understand why. He has an ear for the past that feels like the future. Like the project’s name, Brown’s music feels filled by the inspiration of what came before. His debut album Erotic Probiotic 2 is an easy-going blend of R&B and sophistipop — it might have been recorded in his parent’s basement but it has far-reaching ambitions. —James

[Photo by Micah E Wood.]

Pain Of Truth

LOCATION: Long Island, NY
Pain Of Truth started off as a pandemic project, blasting out an EP of old-school New York mosh music so anthemic and single-minded that it couldn’t be denied. In 2023, they proved that their fundamental caveman-stomp riffage could work at album length, as a mob of legends and contemporaries — singers from Madball, Terror, Angel Du$t, and more — came along to add gang-shout intensity to their Not Through Blood. You’re not likely to hear a harder record anytime soon. —Tom

Poison Ruïn

LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA
Härvest, the sophomore LP from Poison Ruïn, has an eerily distant texture, like the songs you’re hearing are coming from someone’s basement down the block, their corrosive guitars loud enough to sear through the walls and echo down the streets. Mac Kennedy shouts and roars, summoning medieval imagery and constructing his own blood-drenched bubble mirrored by the chaotic sound. “Torture Chamber” is a racuous dive into sadism; “Resurrection I” is a cinematic rebirth. —Danielle

[Photo by Cecil Shang Whaley.]

Pupil Slicer

The trio Pupil Slicer make music as cutthroat and deranged as their name suggests. The songs are relentless and roared with abandon. Blossom is a merciless blast of metal, despite its rather flowery title. Mostly, it’s discordant, in-your-face tumult, though melodic moments shine through when you least expect it, plus there are plenty of brooding buildups with rewarding payoffs. —Danielle

[Photo by Gobinder Jhitta.]

Scar Lip

Scar Lip was already blowing up thanks to 2022’s TikTok-viral drill track “Glizzy Gobbler” when the blustery “This Is New York” emerged this year, instantly joining the pantheon of recent-vintage NYC rap anthems. In the months since, the Bronx emcee has shown staying power, and her grizzled, ferocious voice has only grown more commanding. Swizz Beatz, who’s executive producing Scar Lip’s debut album, touts her as the new DMX — strong words coming from the guy who produced “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” but it’s not inconceivable that Scar Lip could validate the hype. —Chris

[Photo by Raven B. Varona.]

Sexyy Red

The sheer nastiness caught everyone’s attention. Sexyy Red had been rapping for a few years before her single “Pound Town” became meme-bait and proved that rap’s raunchiness envelope could still be pushed. But beyond the shock value, the self-described female Gucci Mane radiates imperious charisma. She raps her ass off while sounding magnetically detached. On “Rich Baby Daddy,” she showed that she can already overshadow giant stars like Drake and SZA. You can’t do that on nastiness alone. —Tom

[Photo by @lucamarieg.]

LOCATION: Nashville, TN
Nashville punk outfit Snōōper unleash rapid-fire chaos for a little over 20 minutes on their new album Super Snōōper. There are songs about getting eaten by bed bugs, about winning the Powerball, and about working out. It’s as energetic and absurd as an episode of Tom & Jerry, with riffs like dramatic sound effects and vocals like announcements made through megaphones. It’s a nauseating delight. —Danielle

[Photo by Monica Murray.]

LOCATION: Kitchener, ON
On their See You In The Dark EP, siblings Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn apply a gothic gloss to shoegaze-pop. Softcult’s songs surge with revved-up energy even when creeping along at midtempo, and they sparkle brightly in the shadows. There’s a grandiosity to this music that connects the dots between Cocteau Twins and Evanescence, but it’s grounded in smaller-scale delights from the lineage of post-punk, new wave, and the catchiest alt-rock on ‘90s radio. —Chris

[Photo by Pearl Cook.]

LOCATION: Dublin, Ireland
Sprints didn’t come out of the gate with “Up And Comer” — the Irish band had been building up to it for a couple years — but it is the type of song that sends a band to the next level. “They say she’s good for an up and comer!” Karla Chubb snarls in the chorus, a firework of guitars and feedback setting off behind her. Their debut album, Letter To Self (due out early next year), is just as invigorating: slickly off-kilter rock music, filled with massive choruses and an infectious rage. —James

If it was easy to combine hardcore ferocity with towering hooks, a whole lot more bands would do it. On their first two EPs, Squint, a band full of St. Louis punk-scene veterans, make it look easy, joining the elite tier of Drug Chuch, Militarie Gun, and, dare we say, Turnstile. Squint look to mid-’80s DC for inspiration, and frontman Brennen Wilkinson screams like a basement banshee, but the riffs carry the same life-affirming punch as Matthew Sweet or Sugar. The combination makes for joyously intense pogo music of the highest order. —Tom

[Photo courtesy of Squint.]

“Illusion Pt. II” is a hell of an album opener. It’s the first track on the Tubs’ debut full-length Dead Meat, and it’s a massive, frustrated love song, bursting with Smithsy guitars that frolic forward with Owen “O” Williams’ Morrissey-like ponderings: “I can’t believe I’m in love with you again/ Over and over it goes/ It never ends.” The songs are jangly and romantic, as enthusiastic as they are fast. —Danielle

[Photo by Maria Cecilia Tedemalm.]


Underground metal can be a hermetic world, obsessed with the borders that separate it from anything bigger. It’s rare to hear a new band who could potentially appeal to outside listeners while still bringing enough fire to keep the faithful happy, but Undulation might be one such band. They combine black and death metal in brutal, intense ways, and their singer, known as the Executioner, has a towering roar. But Undulation’s ominous instrumental flourishes are genuinely pretty, and their loudest moments rage cathartically. We could be looking at a unicorn here. —Tom

LOCATION: Indianapolis, IN
“Don’t follow me/ I’m vibrating ecstasy,” Nina Pitchkites sings on Wishy’s explosive song “Donut,” which radiates this feeling of invincibility with soaring guitars and a hurried rhythm. Unstoppable, effervescent energy is at the core of her and Kevin Krauter’s Paradise EP. It’s a vibrant, unpredictable spurt of indie rock that travels through dream pop and shoegaze, speckled with idiosyncrasies and detours that always returning to a jangly core. —Danielle

[Photo by Conor Shepherd.]

Worlds Worst

LOCATION: Salt Lake City, UT
Worlds Worst’s self-deprecating name is a testament to their devotion to bleak, jaded lyricism: “I grow tired/ Trying to figure out what debt to pay,” vocalist Andrew Aronson drawls on the catchy “Long Con.” Despite the theme of monotony, the grungy sound on their eponymous debut album is imbued with color and personality, especially on the centerpiece “Challenger,” an earworm packed with warm, energetic instrumentation. —Danielle

[Photo by Kaden Prado.]

yunè pinku

As yunè pinku, producer and singer Asha Yunè creates electronic fantasy worlds to be explored. In her own words, recent EP Babylon IX exists “somewhere caught between science, religion and magick, much like reality.” It’s a high-concept project; songs take place in the worlds of characters representing various aspects of yunè and the person she’s trying to be in real life. But you don’t have to get that deep into it to appreciate the artful, infectious pop music soundtracking her journey. —Chris

[Photo by Leanda Heler.]

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