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The year is coming to an end and it was again a year of great new releases and discoveries. Of course, it was and is always impossible to limit a year to just ten albums, but the following records have left a lasting impression on us and accompanied us through the last months. It’s time to honour the best albums of the year: Here is the West Coast Top 10 of 2023!

Album Of The Year: “Behind The Tea Chronicles” by Ed Motta

In the world of music, the return of Ed Motta is nothing short of a grand spectacle. After a five-year hiatus, the musical “Colossus of Rio” reclaims his throne with his 14th studio album, “Behind The Tea Chronicles.” This musical journey transcends boundaries and welcomes us to immerse ourselves not only in groovy, soul-stirring tunes but also in cinematic reveries. Our album of the year 2023.

Ed Motta’s unrivaled musicality shines through, crafting enthralling arrangements and multifaceted compositions that seamlessly fuse various genres. Each track on “Behind The Tea Chronicles” demonstrates his mastery of different musical styles. From funky grooves to soulful melodies, jazz-infused AOR harmonies, and even hints of Broadway extravagance, all underpinned by his velvety smooth vocals.

Behind The Tea Chronicles features an impressive lineup of renowned musicians, including notable collaborations with both Brazilian and international artists. The famous singers Paulette McWilliams and Philip Ingram can be heard as backup vocals as well as the Czech FILMharmonic Orchestra.

Another key factor of this special recording is the eye for detail, not only when writing and composing the album but also during the recording, mixing and mastering process. This special treat will be welcomed with open arms by his audiophile audience.

Ed Motta’s commitment to artistic excellence reverberates throughout the entire album. He orchestrates a sonic tapestry that ensnares the audience, with each note and lyric weaving together to create a symphony of sound and emotion.

In conclusion, “Behind The Tea Chronicles” is a triumphant return for Ed Motta. This album not only showcases his incredible talent and musical diversity but also delivers a nostalgic and cinematic experience that will leave you in awe. It’s a testament to the power of music to transcend boundaries, ignite the imagination, and elevate the soul. Ed Motta has proven once again why he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of music.


Albums of the Year: Ranks 2 to 10

“Sundown” by Eddie Chacon

On “Sundown”, Eddie Chacon embarks on a meditative journey through the shallows of life. As on his comeback album “Pleasure, Joy and Happiness”, he is accompanied by his brother in spirit, the multi-instrumentalist John Carroll Kirby. It seems too early to speak of a late work for an artist who is just 59 years old. But “Sundown” shows a reflected singer and songwriter who draws his wisdom from his life’s experiences. This is how soul music has to sound in the 21st century.


“79​.​5” by 79.5

79.5 describe themselves as “the sound of New York City” – and they don’t exaggerate, especially when it comes to the sound of dark R’n’B and disco clubs in Brooklyn, where longing, ecstasy and breakdown are celebrated every night. On their now released sophomore album, the Brooklyn-based band captures all these emotional states in great songs that oscillate between 70’s underground disco, electro boogie, acid jazz and sugary sweet pop – somewhere between the cool funkiness of the Universal Togetherness Band and the catchiness of the Scissor Sisters.


“Love Makes Magic” by JIM

JIM is the latest alias of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and renowned DJ Jim Baron. His album “Love Makes Magic” is a sonic kaleidoscope that beautifully fuses folky harmony vocals reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash with an infectious funky backbeat. This album evokes sun-kissed blue-eyed soul, channeling echoes of Ned Doheny but emanating from a beachscape far removed from California. It’s a refreshing blend of influences and sensibilities, showcasing JIM’s prowess in crafting music that not only resonates but compels you to dance. “Love Makes Magic” is an adventurous, genre-bending exploration that invites listeners to immerse themselves in its captivating soundscapes. This is West Coast Music for the 21st century.

“Chronicles of a Diamond” by Black Pumas

“Chronicles of a Diamond” is a wild and mesmerizing journey that cements Black Pumas’ status as an unstoppable force in the music scene. This album represents a bold expansion of Black Pumas’ sonic palette. “Chronicles of a Diamond” doesn’t merely follow the path laid by their successful debut; it ventures into uncharted territories, exploring an array of musical genres with fearless enthusiasm. The result is a musical tapestry that’s part symphonic pop, part jazz-funk, part psychedelic, and all soul.


“What’s Trending” by Leo Sidran

Leo Sidran continues on “What’s Trending” his deeply personal examination of the all-too-human, today’s social circus and family life, which he already so skilfully laid out before us with an open eye and fine intuition on the previous album “The Art Of Conversation”. Enriched with funk, West Cost and even hip-hop elements, Sidran grooves his way through the pitfalls of everyday life in a swinging and elegant way, supported by numerous family members, including his father, the legendary jazz musician Ben Sidran, inviting us to smile and reflect and showing impressively that he has long since become an accomplished chronicler of his environment, a musical Woody Allen, if you will. What Leo Sidran observes, writes down and sings has a universal meaning that applies to life in Brooklyn as well as to the rest of the world.


“Yacht Soul 2” by Too Slow To Disco

Two years ago, Berlin-based Too Slow To Disco (TSTD) curator and DJ Marcus Liesenfeld aka DJ Supermarkt introduced “Yacht Soul – The Cover Versions,” a captivating collection of West Coast AOR tunes reimagined by talented black soul and R&B artists. It was evident from the start that this venture wouldn’t remain a solitary endeavor. The dusty archives were teeming with outstanding rarities and classics just waiting to be unearthed and shared with the world. “Yacht Soul 2 – The Cover Versions” is a great follow-up that continues the tradition and delivers a masterful collection of songs from the golden era of 70s and 80s music. Once again it becomes clear that exceptional songs transcend the boundaries of genres with ease.


“R​ê​verie” by Les Imprimés

Morten Martens, the creative force behind Les Imprimés, hails from Kristiansand, Norway. Juggling various musical roles for years, Martens finally seized the opportune moment during the pandemic to nurture his own musical creations, birthing his debut album. “Rêverie,” a testament to Martens’ multi-faceted talent, is a mosaic of meticulously crafted tracks. Here, Martens dons multiple hats, performing nearly all instruments while curating the album’s production and arrangement. The result is nothing short of a treasure trove of soul-stirring melodies that effortlessly meld Scandinavian pop finesse, contemporary beats, and echoes of timeless soul influences.

“A Good Woman” by Izo FitzRoy

British singer, songwriter and pianist Izo FitzRoy returns with her third album “A Good Woman” and impressively proves that she is one of the great voices of the British soul and gospel scene. The album is her most personal to date and reflects her development over the last few years, and is not least an examination of the roles women have to play in our society. Production comes courtesy of Kraak & Smaak’s Oscar de Jong, who takes her songwriting into a new territory.


“Dark Yacht” by David Fostex

Shawn Lee is always good for a surprise. Under the pseudonym David Fostex, the multi-instrumentalist and Silver Fox walks on the dark side of yacht rock on his latest solo album. On songs such as “The Love Syndrome”, “Should Have Washed My Hands” and “Taste The Biscuit”, the now 60-year-old musician lives out his love of crisp funk, catchy West Coast sounds and scurrilous humour to the full. On this musical adventure, the white-haired captain is supported by a crew of old friends such as Nichol Thomson, Hannah Williams and Paul Elliott. “Dark Yacht” is an album that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is a lot of fun for that very reason.

WEST COAST Albums of the Year Spotify Playlist

If you want to not only read about our albums of the year, but also discover a selection of the best songs from these releases, you can now listen to the “West Coast – Albums Of The Year 2023” Spotify playlist – our soundtrack for the end of the year.