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CVLT Nation’s Top 10 ALT ROCK Records of 2023


Losing someone you care about to suicide is such a complex experience. It’s like walking down a hallway full of doors, some you enter, others you don’t. Remembering the love between you is sweet, and you can enter those rooms over and over again. But the shadows of their despair and the ways you couldn’t take it away from them loom heavy in the rooms you avoid. Friendship Commanders have written a record about going through every room, and their melodic grungy post rock is bringing up the heartbreak I’ve packed away. “Blue” isn’t a sad song; actually, it feels like it’s full of hope, a reminder that even when we’re drowning in shadows light can peek in. This Nashville duo marries gritty fuzz and weighty rhythms with a glittering melody that is somehow bringing together all of the love and despair in my memories and inviting them to share the same space. “If you don’t yet have the language for what you want to say, you will.” It’s an emotional rollercoaster for me, not gonna lie.

#9 WEDNESDAY Rat Saw God

Hey y’all it’s time for y’all to tap into WEDNESDAY’s Rat Saw God new album because it straight ROCKS! This album is a little bit of County with a whole lot of awesome! Today I realized that WEDNESDAY writes the kind of songs that put a smile on my face. I’m sorry for not writing a lot, but I will let this band’s music do the talking!



Alright, OK, it’s time to turn y’all on to DAZY’s OTHERBODY. I won’t lie rad as this takes me back to my youth when I used to watch the Monkees perform Stepping Stone and say to myself, damn, I love Rock & Roll. What makes this record so fucking epic is its perfect balance of Psych and Pop. DAZY passed the test meaning that my 9-year-old daughter started dancing as soon as she heard it! All I can do as I blast OTHERBODY is SMILE which is not a bad thing being that the world is upside down right about now!

#7 ROCKET Versions of You

One of our favorite shows of the year was when we got to see Milly and Rocket — both bands were super rad! We shared to epic convo with both bands and realized we shared some pretty awesome live connections. As I watched Rocket, I thought to myself, I was witnessing something really special, and I knew that the sky was the limit for them. Since that night, we have been bumpin’ their tape Versions of You on the regular! All you have to do is blast “Trial Run” once and you will be hooked! Hey Rocket, thank you for rocking, I know y’all are the future!

#6 zzzahara Tender

Hell yeah, zzzahara new album Tender is the BOMB! They have conjured up a perfect subversive Pop record. This is a sonic magic carpet ride that takes to to an awesome space! Every song is an anthem that paints my existence with eternal BLISS! Tender is one album that I keep coming back to because it’s so epic! zzzahara please know you have HUGE fans over here at CVLT Nation. I envision myself walking on Venice Beach at dusk right before sunset with Tender blasting in my headphones. What I just is something I will make a reality one day but in the meantime I’m going to buy the vinyl!

#5 SWORD II Spirit World Tour

Once I heard the song “Damage” by SWORD II, I was hooked! Holy Hell Yes their new record Spirit World Tour sounds like no other. The layers of off-kilter goodness are next level and will enchant y’all for sure. Listening to them feels like covering your existence in a beautiful sonic tapestry. I want SWORD II to know that we are stoked for them and their creative spirit resonates with us for sure. I feel blessed that we got to see them live in Vancouver and now I look forward to seeing them again!

#4 Enumclaw These Are Some B​-​Sides

Yo, Enumclaw is another band we got to see at this unreal show in Vancouver. Not only did they rock but we also had the chance to buy their last record Save the Baby on vinyl. That being said LP became a part of our regular rotation because it’s that awesome! Now they have released a little something-something called These Are Some B​-​Sides. All three songs on this offering only prove that Enumclaw creates BIG TUNES that weave themselves into your universe and only bring light to your life!

#3 HOTLINE TNT Cartwheel

There’s something anthemic about HOTLINE TNT’s new record Cartwheel. On the first listen, I was already singing along, it was like I already knew the melodies and lyrics even though I was hearing them for the first time. They know how to craft a rad rock song and overlay the whole thing with a thick shoegaze fuzz. Because of that, there aren’t too many bands like HOTLINE TNT out there. Now I’ve listened to this record so many times it’s almost hard to describe exactly what it is that speaks to me so deeply. Listen to it, I know you’ll hear it too.

#2 HAVEMEYER Slacker

Sometimes humans are so unjust to one another. Not in an overtly violent way, but with emotional microaggressions. When I experience situations like this, I turn to music to find solace or to make sense of the nonsense. An album that has been a beacon of light for me is the new HAVEMEYER album Slacker! Their brand of Indie Post Punk is not only powerful but also super infectious. Today I want to turn y’all on to the new HAVEMEYER visual for their anthem “Swim.” I want to say thank you to the band for creating a collection of songs that give me the power to say I refuse to be gaslighted. Also for manifesting some of the best melodies of 2023!

#1 MILITARIE GUN Life Under The Gun

Whoa, the new MILITARIE GUN album Life Under The Gun out now on Loma Vista Recordings is a HUGE can of Sonic Awesomeness that’s extremely addictive and will have you smiling and dancing at the same time. Real talk, I’m writing this from a pure place of happiness because I can’t listen to this band without feeling good to be alive. Imagine if Fugazi, Modest Mouse, Pinback, and the Pixies decided to have an audio Love Child, the offspring would sound like Life Under The Gun. Songs like “Very High” put a gigantic smile on my face and let me know that nothing in this world can stop me from being me! Ian has a knack for writing lyrics that tap into the youthful spirit that lives within us all. “Big Disappointment” is another MILITARIE GUN anthem that does not disappoint, uplifting the listener to a cool state of mind. Musically, all of the songs on this album demonstrate the sense of unity and friendship that exists within this band!

If you have not seen this band live, they are beyond amazing. No matter who you are, we all know that the state of the world is upside down for so many reasons, and bands like MILITARIE GUN give us the space to be ourselves. The tunes “See You Around” and “Life Under The Gun” close out this insanely rad record, and they both are BIG TUNES! I can’t front, I’m stoked we got a copy of the vinyl when it first dropped, and I look forward to blasting it over and over. 

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