twitter Facebook Facebook

Subscriber Login here

In tune. Informed. Indispensable.

Rough Trade Reveals Nation of Language’s Strange Disciple as Album of the Year 2023

The independent record store has announced its top 100 albums of 2023


Rough Trade is reflecting on the past twelve months with a curated list of its top 100 ‘Albums of the Year.’

The list celebrates an adventurous and compelling mix of albums and artists from across the expansive musical landscape of 2023 and is informed by the Rough Trade community of customers, artists, labels and staff. It consists of a combination of the most in-demand releases in-store and behind the scenes and reflects the variety across the stores’ record racks and diverse customer base, including thousands of gig-goers. 

The album of the year is Nation of Language’s LP ‘Strange Disciple’. The Brooklyn-based trio features lead vocalist and musician Ian Devaney, backup vocalist and keyboardist Aidan Noell, and bass guitarist Alex MacKay, and their meticulously crafted third album follows previous albums A Way Forward (2021) and Introduction, Presence (2020).

Strange Disciple is an expanded exploration of their signature synth-pop sound, brilliantly realised across 10 hypnotic tracks that explore and evoke the chaos of infatuation - a testament to the band’s evolution over the last three years.

The band commented: “If there was any list we feel comfortable and excited to be number one on it’s Rough Trade’s. It’s a place we can go and hang out, a place we’ve seen memorable shows, a place we happily walked copies of our first record to in the early days so that someone like us might see it stocked there and take a chance on it.”

Nation of Language’s ‘Strange Disciple’ can be purchased exclusively online via Rough Trade, in LP and CD format available for £27.99 and £10.99.

Their selection as the top pick is reflective of the group’s wider impact and burgeoning fandom within the Rough Trade community since their music first hit racks in 2020 when the
band hand-delivered copies for sale. 

Emily Waller, Head of Brand and Content at Rough Trade UK, commented: “Every so often, the stars align and a mutual adoration of a singular artist or band washes over all.

“This level of endorsement is, safe to say, reserved for very few and since day one Nation of Language has been one such example at Rough Trade.

“Whether it’s via their trance-inducing performances or soaring synth-pop melodies, we’re hopeful our Album of the Year crowning will see their music go on to move and delight a whole new legion of fans. 

“The love Nation of Language have for their craft is so wonderfully evident and I know they will be as honoured by this award as we are giving it because they take great joy from all their successes, big or small.”

Other titles featured in the top five include Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Javelin’, Caroline Polachek’s ‘Desire, I Want To Turn Into You’, Lankum’s ‘False Lankum’, and Young Fathers’ ‘Heavy Heavy’.  

To coincide with the highly anticipated and influential list, a selection of artists have announced new releases and vinyl editions exclusively available at Rough Trade.

The independent record store is stocking unreleased material, including a five-track LP of unreleased songs from Sufjan Stevens, a recording of Mercury Prize nominees Lankum’s favourite songs performed live in their Dublin studio, and a special 10” vinyl from Young Fathers featuring four live tracks recorded in Paris.

Nation of Language has also released a compilation of tracks from Strange Disciple, featuring remixes by Daniel Avery, Miss Grit, Cutouts, and Sextile.

The albums are available to purchase at the independent record store chain’s five UK stores – Rough Trade West, East and Soho in London, Rough Trade Nottingham and Rough Trade Bristol, and online at its UK web store. 


You can list the full list of exclusive releases here.

Here’s a list of the top 20 albums of the year and bonus releases exclusive to Rough Trade:

  1. 1.     Nation of Language – Strange Disciple (Rough Trade Exclusive yellow marble vinyl) + Strange Disciple Companion Piece (Rough Trade Exclusive green marble vinyl)
  1. 2.     Sufjan Stevens – Javelin (Indies yellow vinyl + Rough Trade Exclusive bonus CD) + 5 Unreleased Songs (Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl)
  1. 3.     Caroline Polachek – Desire, I Want To Turn Into You (Rough Trade Exclusive clear vinyl)
  1. 4.     Lankum – False Lankum (Rough Trade Exclusive mirrorboard sleeve edition) + Live in Dublin (Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl)
  1. 5.     Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy (Rough Trade Exclusive pink vinyl + foldout poster) + Live in Paris (Rough Trade Exclusive white 10”)
  1. 6.     Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music  (Rough Trade Exclusive mint green vinyl) + Live from Malibu (Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl)
  1. 7.     Baxter Dury – I Thought I Was Better Than You  (Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl) + I Thought I Was Better Than You Megamix (Rough Trade Exclusive pink 12”)
  1. 8.     Armand Hammer – We Buy Diabetic Test Stripes (Crime Scene edition vinyl) + Scientist Remix (Rough Trade Exclusive 7”)
  1. 9.     Overmono – Good Lies (Rough Trade Exclusive sky blue vinyl) + Everything You Need (Rough Trade Exclusive white 12”)
  1. 10.  Grian Chatten – Chaos For The Fly (Rough Trade Exclusive alternative sleeve on transparent blue vinyl)
  1. 11.  Wednesday – Rat Saw God (Rough Trade Exclusive clear bubblegum vinyl) + Live From WXPN (Rough Trade Exclusive opaque pink 12”)
  1. 12.  Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan – The Nation’s Most Central Location(Rough Trade Exclusive blue vinyl) + Live At Iklectik Art Lab (Rough Trade Exclusive 12”)
  1. 13.  Daughter – Stereo Mind Game (Rough Trade Exclusive marbled white/brown vinyl)
  1. 14.  Altin Gun – Ask (Rough Trade Exclusive marbled white/clear vinyl)
  1. 15.  Black Pumas – Chronicles of a Diamond (Rough Trade Exclusive white/clear/orange splatter vinyl)
  1. 16.  Durand Jones – Wait Til I Get Over (Vinyl) + Gerri Marie / That Feeling (Rough Trade Exclusive live 7”)
  1. 17.  Everything But The Girl – Fuse (Rough Trade Exclusive pink/purple splatter vinyl)
  1. 18.  Blondshell – Blondshell (Rough Trade Exclusive Signed OBI Strip and Bonus CD)
  1. 19.  Mandy, Indiana – I’ve Seen a Way  (Rough Trade Exclusive cloudy clear vinyl + bonus Pinking Shears 12" - Clipping rework)
  1. 20.  RVG – Brain Worms (Vinyl) + Nothing Really Changes (The Remixes) (Rough Trade Exclusive 12”)

For more information on the albums that made the top 100, read about it on Rough Trade’s blog, or pick up a copy here.

Submit news or a press release

Want to add your news or press release? Email Paul or Kevin

Two week FREE trial
device: pc