The first half of 2023 has been nothing but prolific when it comes to the release of new music! I realized not only did I need a way to keep track of it all, but I wanted to be able to share it with others. So here is my “best of” list for 2023 (so far): including a playlist (below), and highlights of some of my favorites (read more).
I first became enamored with Kiltro when I heard their single “Ofelia” in the summer of 2018 on Denver’s Indie 102.3. Five years later—following their 2019 debut album Creatures of Habit—Kiltro is finally back with their sophomore release Underbelly.
They took their time for good reason: the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 shut down much of the music industry, and the ways it changed how we perceive and navigate the world continue to reverberate.
“Underbelly reflects everything that happens inside your soul when the world stops on its tracks,” said Chris Bowers Castillo.
Is better late than never? In this case, yes. I didn’t really feel like writing a year-end list for 2022, but I realized that it really is nice to have something to look back on in future years. Sometimes we do things not because they benefit us now, but because they will benefit us later. So here’s my musical time capsule of sorts for 2022 (playlist included).
Some background: I’ve been trying to write this piece on Covid’s impact on the live music industry for the past six months. And if I’m being honest, I’ve probably been trying to articulate my thoughts on the matter for the past two years.
There are two reasons I’ve finally come to write and publish it now, in October of 2022. One is that I’m just over being sick—not with covid, but with a bad cold that had me in bed for two days on a beautiful fall weekend (I say this because I’ve taken multiple PCR and rapid at-home tests, which have all come back negative), and just prior to that I had a bad case of bacterial tonsilitis or strep, which took another week out of my favorite season. I’ve remembered just how much it sucks to be sick (and for two weeks at that), how much time it takes to get better, and how grateful I am for the paid sick time my full-time job grants me to do so—something many musicians who perform live simply do not have.
The second reason is current events: Animal Collective, Santigold, Car Seat Headrest, even Ringo, and many other musical acts are canceling shows and tours because of ongoing health issues, financial dilemmas and the inability to make tour worth the money, time, and risk involved. Gas prices, inflation and ongoing supply chain issues have all impacted the ability for groups to successfully tour and turn any kind of profit, whether here in the U.S. or internationally.
Today, Denver-based band Corsicana debuts their new single, “The Torchbearer,” off their yet to-be-announced upcoming album. And for now, it’s everything we need. In the short span of only three minutes and ten seconds, the song provides a much-needed musical salve, encompasses singer-songwriter Ben Pisano’s musical journey thus far, and celebrates exactly where he is in the present moment.