endless, nameless


Today, a cigarette butt fell out of my sleeve straight onto the dining room table in front of my mother, who despite lifelong threats of disowning me for tobacco use, calmly escorted it to the nearest receptacle without saying a word. So you could say that 2023 was a lot, and changed most of us permanently.

This likely happens every year, of course. Not the cig thing, just time feeling longer and less connected to reality. We don’t really know how the cig got there… we were at a party. Regardless, 2023’s overall impression was that of the wind being sucked out of you while having your face and genitals crushed, and for must of us, not in the pleasurable way. However, we were also given plenty to celebrate in terms of amazing releases this year.

Sincerely, thank you for those. This Top 50 is one for the books, containing some of your boldest, baddest-ass work yet. Sit tight, grab your abacus, and bookmark this page / check out this playlist so you can jam these nuggets again and again. In no particular order, and no doubt with several missing. Keep this up, math rock community, and we’ll have to start doing Top 100’s.

50. Via LunaMuted Earth

You can tell when there’s been a lot of work put into something, and Muted Earth shows incontrovertible proof that the band works their ass off. From the understated but impressive composition to the perfectly spacious production, there are lots of nuggets here we’re still barely picking up from when it first came out.

49. The Turin HorseUnsavory Impulses

These groovy, gutsy Italians delivered quite the spice fest earlier this year, blending down-tuned punk and with anxious, vitriolic noise rock. Sometimes it feels like the US hogs the spotlight a little bit when it comes to that kind of thing, so it’s good to have some foreign horsepower to add to the playlist, but the staying power of Unsavory Impulses is undeniable.

48. Good GameGet Good

Easily one of math rock’s most absurdly talented bands, we weren’t sure what ace to expect up their sleeves when it came to their new album. Turns out, it was the best one: vulnerability. Instrumentally, it should be no surprise that the band taps with the best of them, but the way they blend pop and jazz into the leads and vocals is nothing short of fantastic.

47. TERMSAll Becomes Indistinct

The delectably obtuse TERMS really rolled us with this one – while not entirely dissonant, All Becomes Indistinct feels like the aural equivalent of comprehending betrayal while falling down the stairs with all of your belongings. Perfectly at home on their new label SKiN Graft Records, we’re hoping this is just the beginning.

46. Basil’s KiteShooting Tsars

One of the year’s most surprising treats. Christian from Mathcore Index always sends us good stuff, but there was a certain hilarity to this project that kept us coming back to it. It’s heavy on the prog, heavy on the sass, and heavy on the ‘what the fuck is going on here,’ and if you’re anything like us, you’ll see that as three reasons to check this album out immediately.

45. Endless, NamelessLiving Without

For much of the year, this was number one in our hearts – Endless, Nameless paints a palette of moving pictures using bits of art-punk, grunge, and emo to create something old and new simultaneously. The whole thing hits like a tidal wave, and it takes multiple listens to really appreciate, but we heal a little bit every time. If this list were in a particular order, this album would be much further down, so don’t sleep!

44. PredeceasedWhat do you do?

We will never not love punk, but every once in a while, we’ll find ourselves a little glazed over or jaded about it. Especially after 2022 where post-punk dominated a lot of our time, we weren’t expecting to become enamored with Predeceased, but their bouncy, noisy, altogether infectious blend captured us immediately. If you’re into technical music, but still enjoy an invigorating, fresh take on rebellion, you’ve just found it.

43. Tiny VoicesMake Up Your Place

Wisconsin got us in the feels with this one – Tiny Voices have a lot of heft for such a young band, dispensing hooks like a midwest emo Muhammed Ali. There’s an interesting sense of balance in the production too that reminds us of earlier 2000’s emo records where drums were really loud in the mix and minimally processed, adding to this sense that you are there in the room with the band, and for a record like this, it also adds a lot of replay value.

42. Teen PrimeNumber Eight

Teen Prime is truly out there, and if you’re into tightly woven, loop-heavy, minimal maximalism, first of all welcome. The Berlin-based duo are experts in the arts of non-linear (yet decidedly non-gospel) chops, whether it comes to guitars or the drums, but they also create a singular sound that’s hard to describe, other than ‘a math rock sound.’ Non-human intelligences and Don Cab disciples, rejoice.

41. Fire-ToolzI am upset because of I see something that is not there

Fire-Toolz, aka Angel Marcloid, is basically a therapy unit for us. Somewhere between EMDR and ASMR, the visionary compositions feel like more than just… tunes. They feel like vibratory prompts, and if you’re ready for them, there’s a lot to take in. Not everybody is going to be ready for them, but we are. Cross your fingers and dive in – the water’s not necessarily mellow, but it is transformative and incredible.

40. CovetCatharsis

Without getting too into it, there was a lot that threatened to derail the Catharsis album cycle, which would have been criminally unfair to this triumph of a record. Yvette’s soul shines through, if not
damn near burns through, the familiar math rock and pop veneers to reveal that resilience can be more than just springing back – it can also mean bouncing into new heights, as scary as it is.

39. Fake PollocksThe Flashlight EP

To some, it might just be Floral with vocals, but to us, it is so much more. Yes, the talent’s of Floral are absolutely present – but not from the same people, and not in the same way. We finally get to witness the interplay between Ty and Nate’s guitars, which we talked about a couple years ago in an interview, but thought they were referring to Elaine the Singer. Regardless, it’s best if everyone just drops their expectations and accepts The Flashlight EP for what it is – excellent.

38. KinderDesastres naturales para niños

Loosely translating to ‘the natural disaster of children,’ we really didn’t have to know much more than that to know we were going to be into Peru’s Kinder. There’s also the impressionistic artwork – overall, Kinder provided one of the more memorable punches this year with its Battles-like approach to blending prog and atmospheric loops.

37. U SCO

This really shouldn’t have flown so under the radar this year. Portland’s incendiary U SCO delivered an absolutely face melting smoke show of psychedelic math rock and prog earlier this year, and if you haven’t heard it yet, prepare to be reduced to lead and mercury.

36. GallusWe Don’t Like the People We’ve Become


This was a sleeper for us. The last of the great 2022 post-punk wave actually crested in 2023: Gallus’ penchant for writing urgent but catchy tunes is almost intimidating, and beat out a number of albums we were looking forward to this year in similar genres. We’re watching you, Gallus!

35. Job CreatorsLove Monster

This hairy beast may look familiar, but for math rock, this NY duo manages to turn expectations on their head. That being said, not in a disorienting way – no, we’d be somewhat used to that. Instead, Job Creators take a uniquely smooth and new-age influenced approach to composition, and as strange as they may come across at first, they will get stuck in your head, and you will be reprogrammed. With love.

34. Aiming for EnrikeEmpty Airports

Norway’s Aiming for Enrike might not be the first band to make a drastic switch from math rock as we understand it to something else entirely, but they are one of the bands who managed to remain exceptionally unique, as well as recognizable, when altering their sound. From the ambient and aqueous to the busy and industrious, Music for Airports will undoubtedly take you places, and rarely where you expect.

33. All Structures AlignCut the Engines

The Ineson brothers drop another slo-core barn burner with Cut the Engines. Already experts at dropping dingy midwest dirges, the band pushes further inwards yet somehow creates an energized, even optimistic swell of energy. If you’re looking for some nasty 90’s angular crunch like Slint or June of 44, but want to build up all those pesky emotions to something new, this is a perfect candidate for that worthy exercise.

32. Will AshbyInfinite Horizon

There were a lot of killer solo albums this year, and we don’t think of it as something ‘trending’ or popular. The last few years threw a lot at us, and seeing these solo albums pop up to express the subtler things we never got to process has been inspiring to say the least. One of the first of the year to really hit us was that of our friend Will Ashby, who once blew us away with Graphic World, but does so now with an entirely different palette.

31. Dylan LounsburyMastication 2

Much like Ashby’s solo record above, this is one that we felt an intimate connection to despite its otherworldly occupations. The subtle brass touches and cinematic synths give the sense of uncoiling, serpentine cities of thought, and it’s got us scrounging for ways to get Dylan into film or something. Mastication 2 forces the listener to visualize dissonance and form together, eventually syncing the hemispheres of the brain, which we’re assuming makes you much smarter after a couple listens.

30. Garret Gleason – Music for Electronics and Snare Roll

For the love of all that is natural, Garrett Gleason, stop being so talented. Garrett should be a familiar face/name to many readers of the blog, as he is no doubt one of our most prolific friends, but what he does with Robby Brown on this record is nothing short of magnificent. More than production and composition, Music for Electronics and Snare Roll feels like gravity and light, working together.

29. Ando San – Seeing Pastures

Ando once again gives us far more than we deserve with his prog-hop opus, Seeing Pastures – he’s always been great about opening up and letting his authentic experience do the talking, but he lets us in even further here to staggering results. It’s as dynamic as anything he’s put out before, but the contrast of the lyrics with the instrumentals and production has never felt more intentional, making for one of the longest lasting impressions of 2023.

28. Mold! – S/T


One of the most surreal takes on punk we’ve heard in a while, Mold!’s take on punk meets prog and spacious stoner rock makes for an overwhelmingly transportive self-titled release. What makes it so cool is the way they alter everything enough to make you do a double-take, whether it’s the sporadic vocals or constantly shifting onslaught in the background.

27. Stress Positions – Harsh Reality

Let’s just get this out of the way – this is probably the most straightforward record on the list, but Christ was it essential to our mental health. It wastes no time in splitting skulls, and feels rather genuine compared to their popular contemporaries. Whether you’re into hardcore for its ethics and intensity or are just there for a good thrash, you’re bound to enjoy the Harsh Reality presented here by Stress Positions. Turn it all the way up.

26. KyoriLejos de Casa

It’s so good to see our homie and legendary organizer Juan Godfrid doing the thing with his own band – especially when it sounds so damn good. For the most part, we know Juan as the maté-chugging intellectual that helps facilitate our Twitch sessions and booking, so getting to hear him back his passion up with his own music is a gift. We’ve had the title track stuck in our head since we heard it in August.

25. Joseph A. Peregine – Mantra

Another absolute thriller from Joseph A. Peregine may have been on our bingo card for 2023, because let’s face it, Joseph is extremely reliably when it comes to great music. However, we couldn’t have predicted that this year would be the one in which he enlisted none other than Don Cabellero‘s Damon Che to help him and Chris Pennie with the album. This meeting of minds results in some of the most beautifully complex musical moments of the year without a doubt, and you are straight up doing it wrong if you haven’t checked it out already. When this came out, somewhere on a sticky note, we wrote down ‘top ten’, and even though this list is decidedly out of order, just make a note of that. Mantra is worth repeating for years to come.

24. Fly Fly TriceratopsSo Many Ghosts

This adventurous little ditty surprised the hell out of us. On one hand, right away you get the vibe these guys like to have fun – it’s not overly complicated, but still very recognizably technical. That being said, it’s the London-based group’s grip on slippery structures and unusual melodies that has us enamored.

23. HIRS Collective – We’re Still Here

Another relentless hardcore banger that ended up being more essential for our mental health than we realized at first. Despite at their core being a two-piece, HIRS collective brings in a veritable star-studded cast to make sure no stone is left un-kicked-the-shit-out-of, but there is a lot more than clout going for this brutal onslaught of a record. If you ever happen to find yourself on the outside of where you want to be, but think you might be able to get through it with some headphones on, records like We’re Still Here offer a uniquely warm respite.

22. Feeble Little HorseGirl with Fish

Progressive lo-fi? Electro grunge? Post-everything shoegaze? It doesn’t matter what you call it – Feeble Little Horse’s nimble, always changing aesthetic is a thing to behold. Like a slightly heavier Indigo D’Souza or Great Grandpa, genres function more like props and settings while the main stories take place. It might seem like a risk on paper, but any trepidations you might have about Girl with Fish will be dissolved within it’s benevolent velcro fuzziness.

21. PhoxjawNotverynicecream

Genuinely, this was the year that genre took a backseat, and truthfully we are so thankful. We love math rock, but we love everything else too, and Phoxjaw have lovingly thrown ‘everything else’ together here for us. Humorous, atmospheric, noisy, and altogether strange, Notverynicecream needs to be heard to be believed.

20. Taking MedsDial M for Meds

Do you remember being a certain young age and listening to pop-punk without the slightest hint of irony? Taking Meds lets us do that again, guilt-free. We won’t waste time with comparisons to any golden eras gone by, but rest assured, the depth of Taking Meds’ chunky, guitar-drive catchiness is only matched by their dark humor, and for us, that’s a winning recipe.

19. ProtomartyrFormal Growth in The Desert

Easily one of the classiest records of the year anywhere near the rock spectrum, Formal Growth in The Desert is an ode to just that. As literal as its subject matter can be, the contrasts are substantial on every track, from reverberated, star-gazing nostalgia to percussive diatribes of self-questioning. There is a lot of weight to the songs outside of their instrumental content, and it can be a lot for some listeners, but the poetic catharsis of it all makes it well worth it.

18. NiFol Naïs

What can we even say? Two jesters standing in a gaseous sixty-nine position for the entertainment of court and king? Well now, okay. Right, there’s a record here. Actually, to be fair, it’s an amazing record, and the cover makes sense when you think about how bonkers this French duo must be to come up with mischievous batch of sounds.

17. SAWCE – >I>Life is Temporary, Sawce is Forever

This hyper-modern gem has a lot to offer, and much of it beneath the surface. Despite so much of the record having a laser-lathe feel to it in terms of perfection, there’s a level of emotional content that can’t be dimmed. In fact, “Crunch” kept coming to our heads in therapy. There’s something about the subliminal melancholy that’s so engrained, it’s actually comforting, and it’s been a damn long time since a single song did that to us, but rest assured, this whole album is filled with curious, deceptively deep little zingers – don’t miss out.


You cannot escape it, we will not let you – yes, we straight up make an appearance on this record. But even if we didn’t it would be on this list. In fact, it’s on this list despite this – why, you ask? How about listen to the record and find out for yourself that Chris and Mac fit more quality into a minute and a half of music than many bands fit into an entire record. Ballsy claims, we’re well aware, but seriously. The Pieces of Shit! back it up every time, and this time they brought Jeff Steitzer.

15. Former AnimalsDUCKBEAROTTER

You know, they may be former animals, but they’re always going to be freaks at guitar and drums, and we’re always going to be jealous. DUCKBEAROTTER had some of the best, most complex tapping melodies we heard this year, and we even got to premier our favorite track from it in January on the West Coast compilation. That song alone was the price of admission for their new EP, but in the four songs they’ve included, there’s not a weak moment on it.

14. Jack Binkerd – Every Day

Jack Binkerd’s midwest-meets-southwest EP was one of the most unique experiences we had this year. We constantly play with the idea of doing an article exploring the connections between country, math rock, and classical, and hearing this lap-steel heavy EP was a lightbulb moment for us. Of course it’s not just possible – it’s being done right now, and very well, by Jack Binkerd and his homies.

13. YOUFFHeydays

We don’t know how Fantano skipped on this one, y’all, because it’s probably the most grating, disturbing trip we’ve pleasurably endured since DaughtersYou Won’t Get What You Want. It’s like Kubrick directing an old rubberneck horror show, which should terrify you, and trust us, that’s exactly what Heydays is going to do. You just have to experience this one. At least once.

12. NYOS – Waterfall Cave Fantasy, Forever

We didn’t realize it but that’s not actually a waterfall, or a cave, or potentially even a fantasy on the cover there. But that’s not really the point – NYOS have always painted the true pictures with their minds and instruments. Or perhaps, now more than ever, it’s possible that NYOS is toying with the audience that’s tried to contain them for so long by saying one thing, yet playing another. We just know that we enjoyed it.

11. Right ChipperPut Me Down

When we first heard Knox Engler shred a couple years ago, we remember sweating. The guy tapped like a monster on that guitar, and then after he introduced the material for Right Chipper, we felt ourselves sweating again. Guy is shredding and crooning at the same time while making both look easy – good thing the EP is amazing as a result, or we’d just be sitting here, still sweating.

10. Oavette – S/T

Though it’s technically a re-release, this definitive collection from Oavette is a stunning piece of work for fans of Paranoid Void or other electronic-tinged proprietors of math rock. There even are some passages that almost bring to mind krautrock and trance, but within the minimalist loop-scapes, keen listeners are bound to be impressed by it’s massive array of uncanny rhythms and slippery snare placements.

9. FNCTRLude

We’re not entirely sure what’s so lude about ice sculptures, sensuous synths, and saxophone solos, but… oh, yeah, we get it now. Damn. Um, regardless, this funk-meets-prog ice-capade is an insanely fun journey for fans of jazz and jazz fusion, complete with some of the most exciting drumming of 2023.

8. Atlas Parlor – S/T

We can’t be the only people who got obsessed with this record this year. Atlas Parlor, hailing from Spain, cut deep to the heart of a trance-inducing groove with their self-titled LP, but also know how to write a proper noisy prog banger. It’s a hypnotic combination, but we promise, it’s not one that will put you to sleep. It’s got way too strong of a heartbeat.

7. Squid – O Monolith

Jeez, it only took a couple spins of O Monolith before we remembered to ourselves, ‘wait… weren’t these guys on the list last year?’ Well, luckily that was actually 2021, so we can ease up a bit. It’s not that listing two years in a row isn’t possible, that’s silly – however, the idea of such a new band releasing two such distinctly incredible albums so close together is still frightening, and the drummer is the singer, so you know they don’t mess around.

6. The ArmedPerfect Saviors

Earth’s greatest band is back with a sprawling sequel to 2021’s epic Ultrapop, and if you thought it got weird last time around, get ready for the trip of your life. Perfect Saviors is the perfect sequel to that brand of madness, but also the perfect antidote to the very hype its predecessor produced – whether or not the long con has given way to transparency, or if we are just witnessing another chapter in their multiphase operation, we’re not sure. And that’s okay, because the record is great either way.

5 AtivinAustere

Ativin’s return to the scene was a welcome one, and it would have been even if they just showed up and said ‘hey, we’re gonna play a few shows and see how it goes.’ But instead, they dropped an album that gnaws your emotional bones with instrumental insight, spinning beautiful cautionary tales with creaking guitars and haunting occasional brass.

4. Trust Fund OzuFaye Doubt

We had a feeling Trust Fund Ozu’s followup to Tribute Summon would go pretty hard, but even our wildest expectations were more or less shattered when it comes to TFO’s white-knuckled grip on her aesthetic and it’s blazing sonic results. Faye’s confidence and candor reaches new levels on Faye Doubt, resulting in one of the most thoroughly engaging records of the year.

3. Closure in MoscowSoft Hell

By god’s sweet gravy, Australia’s freshest funky mutants came back with a killer record this year. Soft Hell takes the psychedelic, vaguely dissociated vibes of their last album and injects new life into it, expanding even further into exotic territories on every track. This wouldn’t be the first time we were smeared for saying Closure in Moscow released an undebatable masterpiece, and at this point, we don’t think it will be the last.

2. CloutchaserMETALLICA

Arguably the best Metallica album in decades, Cloutchaser rip through the math rock atmosphere with their ahem, metallic obsessions. It’s always worth noting when a band can somehow imply or execute humor from an instrumental perspective, and this record made us laugh our asses off with how ballsy it was. If only they’d just let go of Lars.

1. Gabba GhoulSmoke ’em if You Got ‘Em

There may not be an order to this list, but in the end, this list is about the community. This list is about love. We suffered a lot this year, but the loss of charismatic vocalist Lacy Smith was a truly bitter reminder that at every turn possible, we should try to express that love, in turn making Gabba Ghoul’s Smoke ’em if You Got ‘Em one of the year’s most important moments.

So smoke ’em if you got ’em, fools, and tell everyone you love ’em while you’re at it. Just dispose of your butts in the appropriate receptacle before you make your mother question her own sanity. Here’s to 2024.