KXT staff picks their favorite albums & concerts of 2023

The end of the year is looming and it’s giving us the opportunity to look back at 2023. This year, we didn’t just stop at our favorite albums, but took the time to shout out standout concerts as well…. and now we want to hear from you!  Make sure you share your top artist and album picks before December 20th and then listen back as our yearly tradition of counting down your favorites continues on December 27th. 😀


Lesley James 

Top 5 albums:

The Kills – God Games

The seven-year wait is over! I love it when artists evolve but maintain the essence of what made them great in the past. It’s a fresh sound with several bluesy ballads, and of course, The Kills delivers their trademark grooves. Jamie Hince’s signature guitar riffs and Alison Mosshart’s sultry, raspy vocals are all over ‘God Games.’  Catch The Kills at the House of Blues on March 9th. Their on-stage chemistry is infectious!

Favorite tracks: Going to Heaven, 103, New York, Kingdom Come, Wasterpiece

Jungle – Volcano

This is the first album that Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland take a break from front and center singing roles. Instead, they’re behind the scenes creating a cool mix of soul, funk and disco-infused grooves w/ hip hop, and several guest vocalists.

Favorite tracks: Back on 74,  Us Against The World, I’ve Been in Love ft. Channel Tres

Slowdive – Everything Is Alive

Legendary British shoegazers Slowdive are back for the first time in six years. Singer and guitarist Neil Halstead originally started the album as a “more minimal electronic record” but when the rest of the band were brought in, guitars returned. The album is a bit more mellow, but still beautifully layered with lush melodies. This is a record to play on the open road or while stargazing.

Favorite tracks: shanty, kisses, alife, skin in the game, chain to a cloud

boygenius – The Record 

The indie supergroup trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus had a huge year: Seven Grammy nominations (more than Taylor Swift!!), SNL musical guest, and several sold-out tours. All three are successful solo singer-songwriters (fun fact: Lucy and Phoebe previously opened for Julien on tour). The trio only planned to write one song together, but it turned into an EP and was released in 2018. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea an album was in the works from the supergroup until a few days before the lead single dropped. I love a great surprise! It’s a beautiful album, full of tasty harmonies and emotional songwriting.

Favorite tracks:  Satanist, Cool About It, $20, True Blue, Not Strong Enough

Gorillaz – Cracker Island 

Another strong offering from my favorite virtual band! The album is fueled by cross-genre collaborations from the likes of Stevie Nicks, Bad Bunny, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, The Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown, and Thundercat. It’s a solid, and mostly energetic album from Damon Albarn and company.

Favorite tracks: Tarantula, Oil ft. Stevie Nicks, New Gold ft. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown, Cracker Island ft. Thundercat


Top 5 concerts

The Cure at Dos Equis Pavilion

The National at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

Depeche Mode at American Airlines Center

Metallica at AT&T Stadium


Jackson Wisdorf

Top 5 Albums:

Nude Party – Rides On

Perfect blend of twangy country western sounds and Velvet Underground influenced Rock’n’roll coolness – Complete Package record, and another instant classic from the Nudie Boys – Also that awesome Dr. John cover is awesome.

Allah Las – Zuma 85 / Paint – Loss for Words

Kind of breaking the rules here, but Paint is the project of Allah Las guitarist Pedrum Siadatian, and both albums released at basically the same time, so I’m putting the two as a combo deal – Zuma 85 sees the Las continue to develop as a band, sounding tighter than ever with their nice mix of California-tinged psychedelic garage rock sounds – While Loss for Words sees Pedrum go off in a different direction filled with influences ranging from Dub to early-Kraftwerk-esque experimental sounds.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation

The 25th full-length record from my favorite Aussies, sees the band returning to the world of thrash metal for this epic double LP. Giving out total Mad Max vibes; only KG&TLW could write an eco-conscious metal song about a coven of witches and a giant Gila monster both fueled by Gasoline and the thoughtlessness of the human race – Listen to this one, you WILL NOT be disappointed.

Jess Williamson – Time Ain’t Accidental

The latest album from Flower Mound native Jess Williamson is a beautiful collection of folky tunes. Hunter has a trance-like effect on me, and I catch myself getting it stuck in my head almost daily – Great job to Jess on another fantastic album.

New Pornographers – Continue as A Guest

The New Pornos are back! Wonderful lyrics and instrumentation (as per usual) and I always get extra excited when Really Really Light comes on. To hear a song over a hundred times and still get joy out of it is a really impressive attribute for me!

(Honorable Mention) Andre 3000 – New Blue Sun

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a squeaker – Coming out literal days before putting this list together, this one goes on the list as an honorable mention because I’ve already listened to it nearly a dozen times – Never thought Andre 3000 would release an album filled with ambient flute-forward music, but I’m really really happy he did!


Top 5 Concerts

Altin Gun & Pachyman – Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ

New Pornographers – Studio @ The Factory

Shakey Graves & Rattlesnake Milk @ Shakey Graves Day – Tulips FTW

Nude Party – Club Dada

Garrett T. Capps & Nasa Country with Ottoman Turks – Tulips FTW


La Bell

Top 5 Albums:

Abraham Alexander – Sea/Sons

Stellar songwriting and production from start to finish

Chika – Samson: The Album

Chika reminds us often how gifted she really is when it comes to this lyricism thing. 5 for 5!

Jungle – Volcano

Such a fun record!

boygenius – The Record

Such a dynamic record and what an awesome year for the group!

Victoria Monet – Jaguar II

Victoria always gets it right. One of the best R&B, Pop songwriters hands down.


Top 5 Concerts:

Abraham Alexander – The Kessler

Snarky Puppy – The Longhorn Ballroom

Chris Botti – Texas Trust CU Theatre

Dezi 5 – Three Links Deep Ellum

Danielle Ponder – The Kessler


Eric Bright 

Top 5 Albums:

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Weathervanes

Not a bad song on it.

Corinne Bailey Rae – Black Rainbows

She’s not prolific, but she made a damn good 4th record.

Gord Downey & Bob Rock – Lustre Parfait 

I love this- Gord still making music from the great beyond.

The Gaslight Anthem  History Books

So glad they made a new record. Just good rock.

Taylor Swift – 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

Big player at my house. Love it.


Top 5 concerts:

Ok, well…I didn’t see many concerts this year….I guess a favorite would be Brave Combo at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival…because you just never know when it’s the last time.


Preston Jones 

Top 5 Albums:

Janelle Monae –The Age of Pleasure

One of pop music’s most reliable shape-shifters, Monae plunged headfirst into hedonism on her fourth studio album, resulting in the year’s most gorgeous, sensual and plainly funky collection of songs

Jessie Ware- That! Feels Good

Blondshell – s/t

Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here

Sufjan Stevens – Javelin


Top 5 Concerts:

Pearl Jam – Dickies Arena

The band made its Fort Worth debut over two nights, the first of which was a remarkable illustration of tenacity. Eddie Vedder was grappling with the flu, drummer Matt Cameron was out with COVID, and yet the veteran rockers summoned up an unorthodox but thoroughly thrilling showcase.

Ben Folds – Kessler Theater

Peter Gabriel – American Airlines Center

Emmylou Harris – Longhorn Ballroom

Lyle Lovett – Majestic Theatre


Benji McPhail

Top 5 albums:

The National – First Two Pages of Frankenstein 

Wow, just wow. This album gets better with each play. Favorite Song: Eucalyptus

Gregory Alan Isakov – Appaloosa Bones

Isakov created one of the most beautiful albums I have heard in a long time. He pulls you into a song like you are standing beside all of the characters. Favorite Song: Watchman

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Weathervanes

There’s a reason why Jason Isbell is on my persoal Mount Rushmore of songwriters. Listening to this album you will understand why he is being called the South’s version of Bob Dylan. Favorite Song: Cast Iron Skillet

Kiltro – Underbelly

Kiltro has such an original sound it makes them difficult to describe. The rhythm is the driving force of this record, and it pulls you along for an incredible journey. Favorite Song: Guanaco

Jungle – Volcano

This album is guaranteed to pull you out of any funk you might find yourself in. Not a bad song on this album. Favorite Song: Back On 74


Top concerts:

Danielle Ponder – The Kessler

The National – Mission Ballroom

Gregory Alan Isakov – Fox Theater

Peter Gabriel – American Airlines Center

War – World Cafe Live


Nilufer Arsala

Altın Gün – Aşk

The Amsterdam-based band sings Turkish folk songs with a psychedelic twist and a sound that is completely unique. The group’s fourth album is stacked full of bangers from beginning to end.

Jess Williamson – Time Ain’t Accidental

Williamson’s distinct voice immediately grabs at the heartstrings to take you on a bittersweet journey that somehow feels familiar in her follow-up to 2020’s Sorceress.

boygenius – The Record

The supergroup of Lucy Dacus, Julian Baker and Phoebe Bridgers delivers touching lyrics and perfect harmonies on The Record. This is one of those albums you can put on and play all the way through to the end…. but if you leave it on- the vinyl will remind you. The B-side ends with a locked groove that will repeat the word “waiting” until you stop it. It sounds amazingly creepy but also appropriate.

Arlo Parks – My Soft Machine

The British artist’s second album blurs the lines between hip-hop, indie, and straightforward rock and roll. Parks even wrote a book of poetry, My Magic Border, to accompany the release.

Bastards of Soul – Give It Right Back

BOS recently released their third and final album that features songs recorded before the untimely passing of lead singer Chadwick Murray, as well as guest appearances from Kiete Young and The Sha La Das. KXT writer Preston Jones caught up with the band ahead of the release to talk about the band’s sound, the album, and how Young stepped in to record vocals for the opening track “This Love” – a song that Murray penned for his wife, Hannah.


Top concerts:

Altın Gün – Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ

Abraham Alexander – The Kessler

Metallica –  AT&T Stadium

FIT & The Dirty Shirts – The Kessler

Lou CharLe$ & Remy Reilly – Klyde Warren Park for KXT’s Get Loud concert


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