Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan discusses his favorite music of 2023

After releasing our #1 album of 2022 with ‘Diaspora Problems,’ Soul Glo had a very busy 2023. They covered System Of A Down, put out a new single, and toured constantly. Now, vocalist Pierce Jordan has made us a list of his favorite music of 2023.

Some of the albums I discuss don’t have any songs that appear on my playlist, and that’s largely because I want to focus on the listening experience of the album as a whole, whereas my favorite songs of the year playlist largely is made up of songs that came to me as singles. There is some overlap but I mostly wanted to keep them separate. I’d been working on this list over the course of the entire year as I listened and kept up with things happening around me. This list is long as fuck, yes, but I listen to a lot of shit and I wanted to put in at least a little bit of the same effort that the musicians who have impressed me put into their work. Hopefully you come away with a new fave.


Physique – Again
Saw Physique play for the first time earlier this year in west Philly and was inspired by their sonic perfection and intensity. The whole room was fucking each other up but for me it felt like a party, partially because I rarely get to see their guitarist Jake who I made acquaintance with during their time in G.L.O.S.S. and Xylitol, and partially because it felt like everyone I had ever met in hardcore punk in Philly pulled up for the gig. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a reprise on a d-beat album, let alone one of a riff that stuck in my head so easily the first time I heard it. I also can’t not mention the disgustingly precise and flawless drumming that is rivaled only by the Kinetic Orbital Strike record.

Babytron – BinReaper 3: New Testament
Y’all reallllllllyyy need to stop playing with my man Babytron. This hour long effort is the first of THREE albums released this year from the Michigan spitter who also released an EP after spending a night in jail for getting caught with the pack on him. On the Cordae-featured “Beetleborgs,” Babytron veers from his Detroit-centric comfort zone, weaving in and shining on a beat built from the same sample that Madlib famously used for Quasimoto’s “Real Eyes.” Any listener familiar with both artists would immediately think of each half of the song being more suited to either Babytron or Cordae, but both appear on both beats with ease and plenty of style. It’s here that Babytron delivers my favorite one-liner of his to date: “fuck a money counter, I can add it up like Archimedes.” Stop playing with this man.

Kelela – Raven
I had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Kelela this year at Pitchfork Festival. As someone of the world of “guitar music,” it never ceases to amaze me what people can do with 45min onstage and just their raw voices over instrumentals. She had no choreo or backup dancers, no special lighting or stagecraft, and not even a DJ. Just her up there. Over the course of Kelela’s career, her lyrics feature an amazingly wide range of content. She has no problem writing bops that talk about material and physical existence through things like the necessity of staying grounded and present through dance and time spent in the company of loved ones and trusted associates. She also has no problem writing about metaphysical shit like moving through emotional states of grief, feeling unseen/unheard, and learning about love and what does and doesn’t work for her. And then, she’ll bring her listeners lyrically from one end of this spectrum to the other, often in the same song, as though she’s pulling the song out of her mind and feelings in real time.

Zulu – A New Tomorrow
Zulu has done so much for me since they’ve started, and our tour this past year was only a continuation of my awe and appreciation of them. If I didn’t have Soul Glo, I’d probably be trying to find a way to move to the west coast so I could get involved with them in any way possible. Shit, lowkey I already done tried a little. I feel like they’re our west coast counterparts, that we have the same mission statement, and that we are achieving different sides of that mission simultaneously. The talent in Zulu is immense, and I think some miss it because of the effortless style that they exude. Every member is a multi-instrumentalist, and the work that each member has outside the band is just as potent as Zulu itself. I also believe that they are only scratching the surface of what they are capable of with this record, and in a decade’s time, they will have a genre-defining discography.

MSPAINT – Post-American
I think it’s clear that this record is pretty much the #1 critic’s choice. To me, MSPaint shines largely because it is unique music made by genuine people. DeeDee somehow typifies what it means to be an everyman while simultaneously being unlike anyone I’ve ever met, and his lyrics are some of the most consistently uplifting I’ve read in a long fuckin’ time. He is also the only person who calls me on the phone nearly as much as my own father. Hardcore, punk, and rap as “protest musics” typically all are graded on the same metric of believability as each other, and I find it really fascinating and encouraging that a band like MSPaint, which so plainly take influence from the second two of the aforementioned three genres, have received as wide an acceptance as they have from fans of the first. We truly need more punk bands that explore what the genre would be like without guitar, and there’s a lot that people could stand to learn from them about how to put yr town and dare I say, state, on the map.

80HD – Destabilize
Hands down one of my favorite live bands of this year alongside Melissa, Stress Positions, and Bootcamp. 80HD scratches a lot of the itches that my actual ADHD addled brain constantly produces. Since first hearing them in quarantine, I knew this band would be special, but seeing them play a set in Philly only for the crowd to damn near force them to play their first 3 songs a second time in their set truly impressed me. Their drummer Sasha, also of the bands Persona and Eteraz, is a true freak and genius at drums and recording. Drummers take note, these are the tempos you need to be training (killing) yrself to play at.

Cookiee Kawaii – Club Soda Vol. 3
When I was in europe earlier this year I saw a commercial for the u.s. Open. Tell me why I heard her second viral hit “Violin” by Cookiee as the song in the background??? I was flipping the fuck out. Vol. 3 hits on all the same strengths that I’ve come to expect from this Jersey club scholar, and it’d be a crime not to talk about this album as 2023 will be forever known as the year Jersey club hit the mainstream. “No Lies,” and “Let Me Rock” featuring Rocky Snyda, a NYC artist I was introduced to at a DIY show Kawaii did in Philly a year ago, are two standouts for me. Snyda deserves mention here as well because her viral song with JAYPROB, “Bronxlyn,” has put a TON of eyes on the two rappers, and I’m very excited to see them winning.

Vayda – Breeze+Dawn
Vayda is definitely my favorite find of 2023. Both of these releases are very short and damn near EP’s but they’re both fire and this is my list and I make the rules. Her breathy voice and insane beat choices are my favorite things about her, and it seems like the rest of rap is starting to agree. She appears on the song “lookin..’!! (gorgeous)” Pink Siifu and Turich Benjy album It’s Too Quiet..’!! with my mans WiFiGawd, and I can’t help but feel like 2024 is going to be a huge year for her. “Prima Donna” and “Jenner” are A+ tracks, but as I literally write this, she’s released a new album called Forrest Gump that I need to listen to, making it her third album of the year.

Melissa – II
Alright so boom, I’m at Punk HQ in NYC after a day show with the Glo at Tompkins Square Park. It’s the middle of the summer, scorching all day, and a lot of people from our show went to this gig that was People’s Temple, Phantom, Dremel, Cut Short, and Melissa. I’d been trying to see Melissa for the longest at this point and I really can only describe them as, like, evil punk. A lot of people who I knew would be there certainly neglected to tell me how it was basically a fucking oven in that venue, but it suited Melissa’s style too well. I felt like I was straight up at a show in hell. Really all you need to do is look at the insanely hard album art to get an idea of what yr in for.

World I Hate – Years Of Lead
I messed up my knee in November of 2022 during a show, and I feel like when I see this band live I’ll be at significant risk of reinjury. That being said, sorry to my knee, because someone needs to get clotheslined by me as soon as possible as this band plays “Progressive Plantation.” Deeply relatable lyrics throughout this record and it matches the anger I daily live with, which I honestly feel is an increasingly rare phenomenon when I listen to punk or hardcore. Shit is hard as nails.

Undulation – An Unhealthy Interest In Suffering
I became aware of Undulation’s singer, The Executioner, back when they were rapping under the name Guayaba. I heard their sick ass 2018 flip of Bhad Babie’s “Hi Bich,” (called “Bye Bich”) on shuffle and I still remember being snapped out of whatever bullshit I was doing and was hooked immediately. Talk about a vibe shift. Talk about multifaceted and multitalented. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard of a rapper becoming a death metal vocalist, (maybe Carley Coma of Candiria?) and I sure as fuck have never seen someone take their preexisting style and deep knowledge of something like antique jewelry to boss up their onstage style while delivering some of the sickest growls I’ve heard anyone do ever. Literally move the fuck out the way because you are not on the same shit as this. I truly believe this band is going to be doing some crazy ass shit next year.

Sexyy Red – Hood Hottest Princess
If you don’t think “PoundTown,” is the song of the year, you are confused. If you think that her aesthetic and style are corny, you can fuck off. If you think she “raps too much about pussy,” you can eat a burlap sack of dicks. Sexyy Red is a people’s champion. Performing STADIUMS for yr DEBUT ALBUM while PREGNANT is nothing less than a massive flex. Every year it seems now, a woman rapper comes out the woodwork and talks about the same shit that dudes do, and people hate on the woman artist for it. They did it to Lil Kim, they did it to Trina, they did it to Cardi B and Megan, they doing it to the City Girls, and like clockwork, Sexyy Red is misogynoir’s newest scapegoat. 2Live Crew did not do the work in court surrounding free speech for y’all to act like this. “SkeeYee,” is an instant classic. “Looking For The Hoes (Ain’t My Fault)” is completely in line with the traditions of “real hiphop,” flipping the 2020 Trouble and Boosie hit. “Shake Yo Dreads,” makes me wish stagedives at these kinds of shows were more normalized. I honestly have no shortage of good things to say about this album, partially because it’s been so divisive, and partially because it is full of good ass songs. That’s what I come for, that’s what I stay for.

World Peace – It Is Written
When I first heard about World Peace, I was simultaneously hyped and pissed. As someone who feels like a bassist before anything else, I’ve legitimately had an idea for a band like this but I kinda thought it wasn’t possible. World Peace said “fuck that.” Not only are the songs heavy as shit, they are also turnt as fuck. This band wields a groove like a goddamn weapon. Additionally, their more downtempo moments remind me of Admiral Angry, which is always a plus for any heavy band. Songs like “Gnostic Reform,” and the opening title track are fascinating to me as well as they prove that instrumental songs on a powerviolence album can be executed with a profound effect on the pacing of the record. I caught them in Philly with my homeboy Logan of Backslider filling in on one of the basses, and they truly are the complete package, completely worth catching a stray fist to the stomach for.

Niontay – Dontay’s Inferno
I met Niontay in europe at Outbreak Fest this year; he was traveling with MIKE and did a couple songs during his set. It’s truly always nice to meet people who like weed as much as me. The songs on this record are all over the place sonically, but fit perfectly with Niontay’s soft-spoken style. It’s inspiring to see how a person can tie all these different types of beats together on a single project with just their voice. “Thank Allah,” is one of my favorite songs of the year, and definitely was the soundtrack to some of my less than favorable emotional moments. Every single line is memorable and quotable, and I was extremely impressed by the feature-heavy “Real HipHop.”

Agriculture – Agriculture
Man, what the fuck? This band is nothing short of groundbreaking, and I’m honestly a little offended at how little I’ve heard about this record from extreme music publications. This album, which dropped through The Flenser, is described by the band as “ecstatic black metal,” which only partially explains it for me. A listen through the album’s six songs took me from black metal to post rock to folk and americana and back again, leaving me wondering just how many climaxes an album can have. The singing on “The Well” is so powerful and bold I was taken aback, it’s completely unlike anything I was prepared to hear on this record. The ecstasy of their playing is certainly present in each song, producing a gorgeous result that the band should be deeply proud of.

Kinetic Orbital Strike – Self-Titled
KOS popped out almost on some best kept secret type shit in Philly punk, but I think that time is pretty much over. Drummer Danny Cox and bassist Trish Quigley are probably the best rhythm section in the city right now, and Danny’s drums on this shit are damn near mechanical. Watching Trish come into her own as a riff master with her other current bands Delco MF’s and Hallucination and with her live sound work has truly been a privilege, and I am certain her best work is ahead of her. Chris Ulsh (who I know you know) and Trey Stallings round out the band on guitar and vocals respectively, and there’s pretty much nothing else to say except that it’s zero bullshit, punch to the face punk. Peep their new EP, The True Disaster.

Bambii – Infinity Club
When I’ve had enough of the hot takes and bullshit politics of my peers, electronic and club music really helps me to unwind. I’ve definitely seen Bambii’s name on bills with people I’m acquainted with through the club world, and when Infinity Club came out toward the end of my seemingly endless summer of travel, I gave it a spin and couldn’t stop. This record is danceable and can turn a party up, but is also perfect for mundane tasks like crushing beers in the shower or cooking dinner. “WICKED GYAL,” and “Body” are the standouts here.

TisaKorean – Let Me Update My Status
If you know me irl, you’ve heard me say at least twice that TisaKorean is a fucking genius. Dude’s music videos are unlike anything I’ve ever seen, his music is psychotic and hilarious, and his live show is nothing but fun from start to finish. I want to dub him The Sultan of Silly. I saw videos online of the Sultan riding a skateboard onstage at multiple performances. It’s like he heard Soulja Boy and was like, “I can take this further. I can deconstruct rap even deeper.” Man even had Kendrick rocking a Silly Hoe shirt like, are you serious? Please listen to “mIdDlE FiNgErS Up.mP3,” and “uHhH HuH.Mp3,” I stayed playing both of those during our sets this year. Can someone teach me how to jerk?

Buggin – Concrete Cowboys
Buggin’s Flatspot debut was everything I hoped it would be, which was more songs that would be perfect on a heavy playlist. Concrete Cowboys truly feeds the tastes of punks and hardcore kids alike and also shows a significant amount of growth for the group. This shit is 100% for the moshers, regardless of yr style.

Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents – Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey
Listing Bandman once again because woo boy when I saw this shit pop up on my phone I knew I was in for a treat. But damn I wasn’t expecting it to hit this hard. Every single song is a banger. Like, every single song. 0 skips. Just an hour of sturdy ass music. The production is monstrous.The way “Jiggy In Jersey,” and “Jiggiest in Jersey” fit together at the end actually dropped my jaw, if I saw this shit live I might start levitating. Shit hits the way the beat change in “Searching For The Perfect Beat” did when I first heard it as a kid. I haven’t really been able to get enough of it, but I’m also one of those people for whom Jersey club doesn’t get old.

I know nothing of and have no context for ghettotech outside of this group. I need to lead with that. I have no idea who I would compare HiTech to. Maybe Antipop Consortium but even then, not really. These guys appeared on Show Me The Body’s remix album from last year’s album Trouble the Water, and I realized I’d heard that song when my friend Merrick put them back in front of me with his praise. This album is fucking sick and full of bangers, but “WHYYOUFUGGMYOPPS,” is definitely my favorite. Unfortunately the tracks are unavailable for streaming everywhere except YouTube while the group works on seeking a different distributor for the album, but their solidarity with artist Supercoolwicked is necessary and commendable. I wouldn’t be surprised if HiTech is invited to Coachella and Primavera next year because Détwat has received top praise from basically every corner of music.

Bootcamp – Bootcamp ‘23
For me, Bootcamp was one of those bands I go into a show with knowing nothing and coming out a fan. It was cool knowing that we shared a friend in one of our touring bassists Leon, and once they started playing I was sold within the first 5 seconds. I could make the same point I did with 80HD about tempo and how I personally feel like fast punk and hardcore bands could almost all be faster, in fact I tried when I met them. They scoffed at me and the idea that they could be as fast as 80HD, which I was endearing, but I believe it still. When you listen to this shit, definitely read the lyrics on their Bandcamp. These are just really sick fast songs with great wall to wall/two-step riffs and I hope they come to Philly soon. “Victim Complex,” is my favorite.

Bad Bunny – Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va A Pasar Mañana
Here I am, talking about Bad Bunny again. Bruv is on a mad one. Obviously dude is a megastar and everything but he’s doing what I loved most about last year’s Un Verano Sin Ti, which is making deeply compelling fusion pop. “CYBERTRUCK,” and “WHERE SHE GOES,” mix reggaeton and Jersey club which I truly never expected to hear. “THUNDER Y LIGHTNING,” is a drill song, and “TELEFONO NUEVO,” “FINA,” and “MR. OCTOBER,” are straight up bangers. Dude tweeted the tracklisting but just titled every song “FUEGO,” and didn’t lie once.

Delco MF’s – 100% Complete and Total MF’s
I’m currently missing Dark Thoughts’ 10 Year Anniversary to write this and recover from a brutal hangover. Congrats y’all. If you are involved in Philly punk in any way, you probably know or have worked with Jim Shomo, one of the hardest working and most active people in the city. Delco MF’s, as the name aptly implies, is a band that pretty much does nothing else but sonically represent a middle finger being shoved down someone’s throat, which in many ways is a perfect characterization of the city. Straight up attitude packed into songs that are almost entirely under a minute and a half long, while the album is made up of recording periods over the last year and sequenced in reverse, which for me is referential of the way yr sanity degrades as you live here. Still though, I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else, and this record deeply captures the spirit of our city.

Quarantine – Exile
A crushing release from more Philadelphia heavy-hitters who are deeply involved in DIY in the city. This record is an unrelenting assault from start to finish, and Hart Seely’s production on the drumming (Chris Ulsh’s, of course) is particularly fierce. The tones and tempos are equally terrifying on this shit. It feels like the band has two settings: intense, and even more intense. I haven’t been able to catch these dudes live yet and it’s high on my priority list.

PeelingFlesh – Slamaholics Vol.2
This shit is crazy. I used to be much more into slam metal when I was a teen, but this band does it in a way I’ve simply never heard before. Mixing rap samples into devastatingly heavy death metal, PeelingFlesh make music that is very in line with the kind of shit I’m trying to hear more of from people in all forms of underground heavy rock music. Not only does this band look incredible live, but their recordings really give a mixtape feel that more and more bands of all kinds are doing in different and increasingly sick ways. They also plainly have a sense of humor, which is still pretty underrated in metal. “F.F.W.A.S.” is an amazing track.

Paint It Black – Famine
My OG Dan popping out to let everyone know what the fuck time it is. I caught one of their two album release shows last month, and I loved every minute. Paint it Black is sick not because of their years of experience through this and other bands, but that they can pop out once a year, sell out the First Unitarian Church two nights in a row and make it look easy, and then go back to minding their business. They’re like a tornado. They also tapped Philly electronic artist Kilamanzego for an insane remix that truly defies definition. Well done, all.

PinkPantheress – Heaven Knows
I don’t need to explain PinkPantheress and the perfection of her music here. This album was everything I was hoping for and more from her. The songs are longer but no less catchy, the one with Kelela didn’t disappoint at all, and there is much more fearless sonic exploration from her. “Ophelia,” is the song I keep coming back to, but truly the entire work as a whole is such a triumph. There’s a timelessness to what she does that is sort of elusive to describe because her music is so tied to sounds of the past yet still remarkably fresh sounding. It’s very exciting to watch unfold, there’s no one like her.

Another artist who defies comparison or description, El Alfa has been one of my favorites for a few years now. I often describe him as the Dominican Young Thug; all he does is take risks, seemingly doing whatever first comes to his mind when he gets on the mic. His 10th studio album and umpteenth release, El Alfa, as far as I can tell, is a pioneer of dembow and shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down. I typically try to avoid anything with Rick Ross but listening to El Alfa go “Haaaalllleeeiiighhhhluuuuujaaaahhhh” underneath Ross saying “she pretty and I really wanna hit it” on “COMUN BURRO,” is worth pressing play alone, I promise.

Andre 3000 – New Blue Sun
I think this album can teach us all a lot about artistry and being just as open to change as you should be unwilling to compromise. I had no expectations for this album and don’t consider myself well-versed in ambient music at all. I think Andre’s humility when discussing the album is admirable and I really can relate to his desire to avoid interviews despite his acknowledgment of how important they are. I have slept very soundly to this album, which I truly mean as a compliment. Ultimately, I just want happiness and peace for people who have made music I connect to at any time in my life or theirs, and I’m grateful for Outkast, even if I never get to see them live. I’m also grateful we get to see this new chapter in Andre’s work.

Deliriant Nerve – Contaminated Conscience
This fucked up grind record from these Washington, D.C. psychos is as relentless as the Quarantine EP, but winds and twists unpredictably. You can absolutely tell these people are scholars of bands like Coke Bust and Magrudergrind, Triac, and Pig Destroyer. The usage of roto toms elevates the already dismayingly superhuman drumming to the point where as I was listening to this record, I found my face contorting as I struggled to understand just what the fuck I was hearing. This is the kind of record that makes you want to hole up in yr practice space until you emerge a different person or quit music entirely.

Full Body 2 – Infinity Signature
This record immediately had me looking up the band when I heard our drummer TJ playing it in the van. Reminiscent of 2003-2005 era M83, aka my favorite and the best era, this band uses heavy synth in their shoegaze in a way that I have entirely been missing in the genre’s boom of the last few years. There’s a boldness to their approach in their indulgence in long weird passages of digital sounds in songs like “self:heal,” but it only creates a compelling picture of how they might go about achieving it live. I’m gonna be seeing them in about a week on their tour with my man PJ’s band They Are Gutting A Body Of Water, and I know I won’t be disappointed.

Stress Positions – Walang Hiya
Another unbelievable live band that seems to play at the edge of human ability, I deadass need you to not waste any chance you get to see them. It’s rare to see a band play with the precision and energy that Stress Positions does, and it’s truly not often that I am scared to follow a band, but when we played with them in Chicago a couple months back they really had me making sure I worked my ass off onstage. As I write this, their new album Harsh Reality has become available for streaming through Three One G records, and they’re two days into a tour for it which sadly doesn’t come to Philly. Still though, I couldn’t think of a more perfect pairing of band and label if I tried.

Honorable Mentions
Weapon of Pleasure-xWeaponx and World of Pleasure
Winter Promo-Sanity Slip
Self-Titled Demo-Keys To The Astral Gates And Mystic Doors
Self-Titled-Sea Of Shit
Demon Muppy-Niontay
Act of Aggression-Electric Chair
Something to Give Each Other-Troye Sivan
Tornado Siren-My Hair Is A Rat’s Nest
Captain Jazz-Captain Jazz
Testimony and Self-Titled EP’s-Raskol
MID AIR-Paris Texas


PoundTown by Sexyy Red
Boys A Liar 2 by PinkPantheress and Ice Spice
Goblin Mode-80HD
Double Fantasy-The Weeknd and Future
Theory of Mind-Kublai Khan TX
Hot Love (Boy Harsher Remix)-Debby Friday and Boy Harsher
X Em-Philly Goats
Millions (Jumbo Sounds Mix)-Tierra Whack, Jumbo Sounds)
No Lies-Cookiee Kawaii and Yū Novaa
Prima Donna-Vayda
The Hillbillies-Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem
Point Me 2-FendiDa Rappa and Cardi B
Thank Allah-Niontay
Deli-Ice Spice
Hawthorn-Rachika Nayar
The Well-Agriculture
2Humpy Anthem-2Rare, Brock, Bril, GE3Z, Jmoney, DJ Crazy
Get Off The Wall-Philly Goats
Montgomery Brawl-Gmac Cash
Closure-Kelela and RahRah Gabor
Natural Devotion 2-Spirit Of The Beehive
uHhH HuH.Mp3-TisaKorean
mIdDlE FiNgErS Up.mP3-TisaKorean
SkeeYee-Sexyy Red
I Know-Kanii
Midwest Death Toll-Inner Peace
Fina-Bad Bunny, Young Miko
Cybertruck-Bad Bunny
Telefono Nuevo-Bad Bunny
Where She Goes-Bad Bunny
Real Hip Hop-Niontay, El Cousteau, MIKE, Earl Sweatshirt
Autodidacta-J Noa
Other People’s Money-Peace Talks
Capable of Love-PinkPanthress
Europe Must Burn-Xiao
Famine-Paint It Black
Exploitation Period-Paint It Black
Champions League-Cochise
Deathrow Bby-Namasenda
Thicc-Shygirl, Cosha
Let U In-Debby Friday
Handplay-DJ Haram
In The Trunk-Fendi Da Rappa, GloRilla
Eat From The Lab-Overgrown Throne
Trauma Mic-Armand Hammer
Flaming Sword-Stress Positions
Overcome by Pain-Physique
Screaming Brain-Delco MF’s
Got Me Started-Troye Sivan
Peaches & Eggplants-Young Nudy, 21 Savage