2023: Tom's Top Ten

by Tom Haugen



Samiam – Stowaway

In the late ’80s/early ‘90s, I rode BMX bicycles with fellow Daily Vault writer John Mulhouse. John sported a Samiam shirt on occasion, and had much better taste in music than myself. I picked up a Samiam cassette in 1991, and have been a fan since. Stowaway is more of their first-rate melodic punk rock that suits the aging punk rock fan perfectly.


Liars Academy – Ghosts

Their first album in 19 years has the Baltimore rockers keeping their punk roots intact, while making for a ’90's rock vs. post-hardcore masterpiece that's so heartfelt. “Only One” is my favorite, most played song of 2023.


Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost

Branan never disappoints, and his country-rock and sincere Americana is particularly rich and memorable on this listen that welcomes some well-known names.

Flores Y Fuego – Altar

A Mexican hardcore band that is all power and armed with front woman Melisa Diaz's vicious vocals, a bit of melody is present as is influences like Los Crudos, which you won't hear me complain about.

Hunting Lions – Dark (EP)

The Bay Area all-star outfit continues to impress us with these darker, punk fueled, gritty and sometimes harmonic five tunes that might bring to mind Social Distortion, Thin Lizzy or Swingin’ Utters.


Eric Angelo Bessel – Visitation

The Lore City member makes for an exceptional listen on this debut solo album of ambient, dreamy, artistic and cinematic tracks that incorporate psychedelic, gothic and experimental moments.

Popsicko – Off To A Bad Start

Originally released in 1994, this reissue resurrects one of the most overlooked records from the ’90s . A memorable meshing of pop-punk, garage rock, power pop and college rock, fans of legends like The Replacements or Green Day will wonder why they never heard of Popsicko before.

Dougie Poole – The Rainbow Wheel Of Death

An atypical country singer from Brooklyn, Poole’s cosmic, honky tonk and heartfelt storytelling uses drum machines, harmonica and synthesizers that suits his distinct song craft.


Spells – Loose Change, Vol. 2

The Denver rockers assemble rare, out of print and early tunes for their ‘Vacation Rock’ that buzzes in a garage-rock sort of way, gets fuzzy like some of the best punk rock, and isn’t short on gruff moments, too.


Mister Rabbit – End Of History Illusion

A Canadian indie-rock trio who are probably fans of Westerberg and Tweedy, this first album of crunchy guitars, dreamy moments, bits of twang and Americana haze is one of the best debuts in recent history.

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