Even though 2023 is just over three months old, Alaska musicians have already released music impressive in both its quality and volume. The headline album of the year so far is Medium Build’s EP “Health.” Songs from the album have garnered over 2.5 million plays on Spotify for Nick Carpenter and company.
[Medium Build’s Nick Carpenter has hit the national stage, but he isn’t leaving Anchorage behind]
But there has also been plenty of music released by other Alaska artists, from singles and EPs to full-length albums and videos. Here’s a sampling of some of the releases from the first quarter of 2023:
Paul Jacks, ‘Amphibious’
Anchorage artist Paul Jacks released “Amphibious” last month, a nine-song follow-up to his 2020 album “Black Jackal.” For his most recent release, Jacks worked with L.A.-based Brit producer Alex Newport, well known for his work with The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In. The album’s second single, “Brand New Shame,” is a slow, dreamy delight, but there’s plenty more on the album with a more pressing pace.
James Glaves, the Anchorage musician/production and engineering guru who releases music under the name Glaves, has dropped three singles this year. With bluesy riffs and a smoldering vocal, “Emotional” hits cruising altitude on the chorus in the middle of the track. Check out his other two releases of 2023, “I’m So Alone” and “Givin My Baby Up.”
Emma Hill, ‘When Will We Sing Again?’
A year after releasing the full-length album “Park Songs,” Emma Hill has a new single in 2023 called “When Will We Sing Again?” Written in December 2020, the song reflects the longing for a return to sharing music, even if it’s in a return to “a dark and dingy bar,” as she sings in the final verse.
Casey Smith Project, ‘Red Lights and Whiskey’
Fairbanks trio Casey Smith Project was one of the state’s busiest bands of the last year, both from a perspective of playing live and developing its sound. Smith’s vocal range is on full display on new album “Red Lights and Whiskey,” which features slow burns like “Cruel” and “Never Gonna Let It Go” while the rhythm section takes the lead in the moody “In December.”
Chad Reynvaan, ‘Generator’
Chad Reynvaan wears plenty of hats in the Anchorage music scene. The Jangle Bees drummer also hosts top bands to record at his Wattage Studio. But with a second solo album in three years, Reynvaan continues to hone reliable rock songs with arresting hooks. “Generator” delivers plenty of them, but “Zoe” is a standout.
Valley Below, ‘Time To Let Go’
The Fairbanks band’s debut album, “Time To Let Go,” invites some boot steppin’ right off the bat with the opening track “Step Right In.” The album alternates between honky tonkers, waltzes and country prototypes. “Let’s Get Drunk At Home,” with hot fiddle and guitar picking, argues that the convenience of the kitchen floor sometimes outweighs the dance floor.
Estate Sale, ‘Room For Cream’
Estate Sale has been releasing new music at a breakneck pace, starting with a five-song EP called “Room For Cream” last month. Then on April 1, the Anchorage band released the “Sauce” EP and has a third EP awaiting release in the near future. The first two EPs cover plenty of ground, from the forthright ballad “After You” to the funky jam “Aperitif.”
Morning Patrol, ‘islands’
The Anchorage two-piece group released its first music to streaming late last month. Musically, the single “islands” offers a guitar-driven ebb and flow while thematically, the song illustrates an unfulfilled search. It opens with the lyrics “I can’t relate or find my place,” later admitting it’s all futile “like a fish chasing a line.”
Bethlehem Shalom, ‘Chains’
Bethlehem Shalom released “Chains” in January, providing a ruinous pop song with a steady, danceable pulse to kick off the year. The song’s verses kick off with the lyrics “Send another bottle / Send it to them bottom,” as the Anchorage musician/designer details demons that cause sleepless nights.
Husse, ‘tens of them’
Released in February, “tens of them” features lush acoustics and opens with Husse declaring “When I’m older I know I’ll be wrong / Whether it’s real or not I can be strong.” The track comes as a follow-up to the single “Strawberry Blonde,” which was released last summer by the Anchorage artist and has garnered almost 60,000 Spotify plays.
Saint Deon, ‘Pink’
Anchorage’s Saint Deon released “Pink,” a four-song EP last month that he says revolves “around my more transparent self.” The album’s third song, “Sunrise,” is a highlight. It works as a split track, opening with pensive, layered vocals over a bare instrumental track before flipping into a sparse, repeating vocal line.
SunDog, ‘Valley of the Moon’
Fresh off a return trip to Boise’s Treefort Music Festival, the rock trio continues its string of relentless records with “Valley of the Moon.” Featuring searing guitar, driving vocals and an airtight rhythm section, the track continues to showcase the Anchorage band’s evolution. SunDog has some April shows in Alaska before departing for the Pacific Northwest for a May tour.
• Annie Bartholomew has a new album set for release this spring. But in the meantime, the Juneau songwriter had a tune — the American folk classic “The Blackest Crow” — featured on the popular YouTube video channel for Western AF, a site that curates independent country-western music.
• It was released in December 2022, but Anchorage band Lilac’s debut album, “Bloom,” is packed with 13 songs.
• Another 2022 release of note was “Sonus” from Gustavus resident Sean Patrick. The nine-song record includes contributions from Alaskans Todd Vierra and Alexei Painter among others. “Sonus,” recorded at Rusty Recordings in Gustavus, straddles the line of melody and intensity reminiscent of the best rock recordings of the 1990s.
• Coming off a few releases late in 2022, Alaska hip-hop artist Tayy Tarantino is gearing up to drop new singles and is planning to release a new EP by the end of the summer.
• On Friday, hip-hop duo Brother Buffalo released its video for “Still Cold Out.” Brothers Garrett and Jake Swenson of Brother Buffalo appear at a number of Alaska locales, from the stage to the ski slopes.
• Anchorage band Wiley Post recorded with James Glaves over the winter and is set to release a single “Devil’s Club” later this month.
If you know an Alaska band or artist that has released new music in 2023, send the details to email@example.com.