The best new music to look forward to in 2023

Yo La Tengo, Billy Nomates, Låpsley and Paramore have hotly anticipated albums due out – while the BBCSO puts on an Everest opera and Simon Rattle waves goodbye to the Barbican

Iggy Pop – Every Loser

Pop teams up with superproducer Andrew Watt – who’s recently worked with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Morrissey to Elton John – and promises “music that will beat the shit out of you … made the old-fashioned way”. Contributions come from Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan.
• 6 January

Billy Nomates – Cacti

Bristol’s Tor Maries AKA Billy Nomates.
Electric energy … Bristol’s Tor Maries AKA Billy Nomates. Photograph: Eddie Whelan

Tor Maries’ follow-up to her acclaimed eponymous debut as Billy Nomates has been trailed by a succession of great singles, the sound of which has ranged from electronic to growling pop-punk, their eclecticism held together by the sharpness of her writing and the power of her voice.
• 13 January

John Cale – Mercy

An array of younger guest stars populate Cale’s first album of original songs in a decade: Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Laurel Halo, Actress and Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering among them. The warped funk of Bowie tribute Night Crawling and the epic, disorienting electronica of Mering’s star turn on Story of Blood suggest an impressive degree of invention within.
• 20 January

Låpsley – Cautionary Tales of Youth

Liverpool singer Låpsley’s single Dial Two Seven was shot in Cape Town, South Africa.
Poetic and powerful … Liverpool singer Låpsley’s single Dial Two Seven was shot in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Hannah TW

Låpsley’s last album, Through Water, had the misfortune to be released three days before the UK’s first lockdown was announced. Låpsley, meanwhile, found herself stuck in South Africa, an experience that inspired its follow-up, an album that also features contributions from Jessy Lanza.
• 20 January

Måneskin – Rush

Has rock music in recent years offered a more unlikely success story than that of Måneskin, Italian hard rockers with a distinct hint of glam about their sound, propelled to huge pop success by their victory in Eurovision and a four-year-old cover of Frankie Valli’s nothern soul classic Beggin’? Whether their current arena-packing, insane-streaming-stats status is a novelty or something more lasting should be revealed by their next album, produced by Swedish pop overlord Max Martin.
• 20 January

Sam Smith – Gloria

Faintly gothic … Sam Smith at Royal Albert Hall, London.
Faintly gothic … Sam Smith at Royal Albert Hall, London. Photograph: Jo Hale/Getty Images

“Sex, lies, passion, self-expression and imperfection,” are apparently the themes of Sam Smith’s fourth studio album, which reunites them with longstanding collaborator Jimmy Napes. The Kim Petras-featuring single Unholy was a glorious, faintly gothic dance track – at the other extreme, Gloria also features a cameo from Ed Sheeran.
• 27 January

Raye – My 21st Century Blues

The saga of singer-songwriter Raye’s debut album is a turbulent one: in 2021, she accused her then label Polydor of deliberately withholding its release, and they swiftly parted. Despite her obvious talent, Raye has thus far been more successful as a guest on other artists’ tracks than in her own right: the sharp-sounding advance singles suggest that her debut will change that.
• 3 February

Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

Thus far, three tracks have been released from Young Fathers’ first new album since 2018’s Cocoa Sugar: the slow-building and anthemic Geronimo, the defiantly odd electro-glam stomp of I Saw and the virtually beatless electronic gusts of Tell Somebody. All three suggest the Edinburgh trio’s approach to left-field hip-hop remains as thrillingly unpredictable and inventive as ever.
• 3 February

Paramore – This Is Why

Foals-y … Paramore. Photograph: Zachary Gray

A return to guitars after the synth-pop textures of 2017’s After Laughter, the pop-punk band’s first album in six years (and the first in their career to feature the same band lineup as its predecessor) took Bloc Party as its “number one reference”, although there’s definitely a hint of Foals in the sonic mix too.
• 10 February

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World

A sharp left turn from the ambient instrumentals of predecessor We Have Amnesia Sometimes (an album recorded while adhering to social-distancing protocols), This Stupid World is heralded as “the most live-sounding album in years” from the New York indie perennials. Single Fallout sounded as warm and smart as ever.
• 10 February

Sam Gendel – CookUp

The LA jazz experimentalist’s positively torrential release schedule – he released three albums and a live EP in 2022 – continues apace with a selection of radically rearranged interpretations of late 90s/early 00s R&B tracks. Ginuwine, Beyoncé, Aaliyah and SWV are among those whose work gets transformed into a suitably abstract flow of intriguing weirdness.
• 24 February

Yazmin Lacey – Voice Notes

Over the course of a lengthy string of singles and EPs, Lacey has emerged as one of the UK’s most distinctive singer-songwriters. On her debut album, two years in the making, her sound encompasses jazz, drum’n’bass, reggae, soul and funk, all as warped as you might expect given the presence of the Invisible’s Dave Okumu in the producer’s seat.
• 3 March

100 Gecs – 10,000 Gecs

Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs’ sound can be divisive – you either find its attention-deficit sugar-rush of noisy guitars, computer noises, heavily Auto-Tuned pop melodies hugely original and of the moment or irritating beyond belief – but their 2019 debut topped many critics’ best-of lists and its follow-up is eagerly awaited.
• 17 March

Dave Okumu and the 7 Generations – I Came From Love

Frontman of the Invisible and noted producer in his own right, Okumu has described his new album as a “tapestry of the Black experience” that explores ancestry, the legacy of slavery and existence in an unjust society and takes inspiration from James Baldwin and Aimé Cesaire. It’s a star-stuffed affair – no less than Grace Jones makes a rare guest appearance.
• 14 April

Eddie Chacon

Eddie Chacon of 90s duo Charles & Eddie.
Going solo … Eddie Chacon of 90s duo Charles & Eddie. Photograph: Bennet Perez

The return of Eddie Chacon – once one half of 90s hitmakers Charles & Eddie – to music after 20 years is one of the more unexpected stories of recent years, not least because he has pursued a fascinating, defiantly left-field brand of modern soul since resuming business, as evidenced by recent single Holy Hell.
• Spring

Everything But the Girl

The first Everything But the Girl album for 24 years was quietly announced on social media in November. What it will sound like remains a mystery, but if the unerringly high quality of the Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt solo albums in recent years is anything to go by, it should be special.

Classical and opera

Buddha Passion

Chinese Composer Tan Dun.
Chinese Composer Tan Dun. Photograph: China News Service/Getty Images

Inspired by a visit to the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in western China, Tan Dun’s huge choral work uses the form of a Bach passion and texts in Sanskrit and Chinese to present the foundational legends of Buddhism. The composer conducts the UK premiere with six soloists and the London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra.
Royal Festival Hall, London, 22 January

Harrison Birtwistle: A Tribute

The London Sinfonietta presents its memorial to the great British composer, who died in April 2022. Conducted by Martyn Brabbins, it will include works from all phases in Birtwistle’s career, from his first Sinfonietta commission, Verses for Ensembles of 1969, to his last, In Broken Images, first performed in 2011.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 5 March

Il Trittico

A complete staging of all three of Puccini’s one-act operas is something of a rarity. Scottish Opera’s new production of Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi is directed by David McVicar, and conducted by Stuart Stratford; the casts include Roland Wood, Sunyoung Seo, Karen Cargill and Francesca Chiejina.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 11, 15 and 18 March; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 22 and 25 March


The Royal Opera gives the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s latest opera; it’s her fifth and the first to have a contemporary setting – at a wedding in present-day Finland. The text, mainly in English but with passages in eight other languages, is by Aleksi Barrière (the composer’s son), and the production is directed by Simon Stone and conducted by Susanna Malkki.
Royal Opera House, London, 17 April-4 May

Mahler’s 10th Symphony

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts Symphony No 10 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will conduct Symphony No 10 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham Photograph: PR

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla completes her single season as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s principal guest conductor with Mahler’s final masterpiece, which was left unfinished at his death in 1911. She conducts what has become the standard performing edition of the score, by the musicologist Deryck Cooke.
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 18 May

Elder conducts Elgar

Mark Elder has made Elgar’s three great oratorios, The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Kingdom, signature works of his years as the Hallé’s music director. For his final appearances in the 2022-23 season he conducts all three works in eight days; soloists include Michael Spyres, Alice Coote, Sarah Connolly, Ed Lyon and Roderick Williams.
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 4, 10 and 11 June

Dialogues des Carmélites

Glyndebourne follows last summer’s double-bill of Poulenc’s one-act operas with his only full-length stage work. Barrie Kosky’s staging of Dialogue des Carmélites was originally scheduled for the 2020 season; Robin Ticciati conducts and the cast is headed by Danielle de Niese as Blanche and Katarina Dalayman as the Prioress.
Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes, 10 June-29 July

Rattle steps down

Simon Rattle retires as London Symphony Orchestra’s music director in 2023.
Bowing out … Simon Rattle retires as London Symphony Orchestra’s music director in 2023. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

At the end of this season Simon Rattle leaves his post as the London Symphony Orchestra’s music director. For his final Barbican concerts he has chosen Messiaen’s Turangalîla, and conducts the gigantic symphony with pianist Peter Donohoe and ondes martenot player Cynthia Miller as the soloists, alongside a world premiere by Betsy Jolas.
Barbican, London, 14-15 June

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir

The music of the Icelandic composer features prominently at this summer’s Aldeburgh festival. The Danish Quartet gives the first performance of a work specially composed for them, based on Schubert’s Rosamunde music, and there are UK premieres of Thorvaldsdóttir’s music from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu, and a string ensemble assembled from quartets performing at the festival.
Various venues, Aldeburgh, 12-24 June


Welsh National Opera closes its season with Leonard Bernstein’s sprawling, touching take on Voltaire’s satirical novel. The cast isn’t finalised yet, but Ed Lyon will take the title role, with Vuvu Mpofu as Cunégonde; James Bonas directs, with video and animation by Grégoire Pont and Karen Kamensek is the conductor.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, 22-24 June, then touring until 12 Jul

• This article was amended on 10 January 2023. A previous version pictured Dave Okumu in the lead image but an editing error led to his album preview being deleted; this has been reinstated.


Alexis Petridis and Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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