Well... Despite being an anagram of Satan, I am really into the whole Santa thing. The psychotic sado-masochistic giving until the expense really, really hurts. It's the only time I feel all year long. Who would deny me such simple pleasure? This is really it, the last Outsideleft Week in Music of 2022. Next week? Who knows what fills this space. Whatever. This week features some fab tunes that would be winners if people weren't distracted by Christmas shopping. Meanwhile your beloved Week in Music, like your favorite president or something, will be back in 2023.
FOCUS TRACKS-Formerly known as Singles
CRAIG WEDREN - Who's Alive (Tougher Lover)
by Tim London
Craig’s ‘famously elastic voice’ here on a mercifully short track taken from his new EP, Second Sleep is like a scene from an afternoon love and knickers TV movie wherein the heroine, newly arrived to a small town in Massachusetts encounters the handsome but horribly coiffured English teacher at the local high school who is distractedly playing piano to himself but secretly knowing she is watching which is all part of his dastardly plot to get into her knickers and steal her house/money/car/soul. Does he succeed? Buy the EP and find out!
LITTLE SIMZ - Broken (Forever Living)
by Lee Paul
Little Simz released a whole LP, No Thank You, with such alacrity that the entertainment machine surrounding our top entertainers these days couldn't keep up, didn't have time to secure a slot at the vinyl record pressing plant making it very difficult for white people to enjoy the album since "What? This is not available on vinyl yet?" Well then it might as well not really exist. Broken is an arresting Dylan-esque lyrical odyssey, very brilliant and very painful, so compliments of the season to you for that. "Work two jobs, just so rice is on the children's plate, Landlord tells you, 'This is the last time you can be late' Health issues that you try to suppress, But all your health issues are derived from stress..." Sounds like fragments from conversations with my best friends. And so hummable too. Little Simz is our poet, saying it is okay to say something, reaching national treasure status before 30 I'd be thinking.
RON GALLO - Yucca Valley Marshalls (Kill Rock Stars)
by Tim London
Play it again, Tim. OK, I will. Why? Well… there’s a section of the long lasting BBC R4 comedy panel show I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue called one song to the tune of another, where they sing the lyrics of one song to the tune of another. And, initially, it sounds like that’s what Ron’s doing here, the lyrics split and separated at all the ‘wrong’ places. Which makes it interesting and sets off the somewhat basic trad bass/drums/strummy guitar to an extent. Then there’s a lovely bridge and chorus and you are there, killing the planet along with Ron in his hire car cos he wanted to see the desert but bumped into a shop instead (or as well).
SUFJAN STEVENS AND DANIELSON - Worried Shoes (Shimmy Disc)
Daniel Johnson's tremulous Worried Shoes rekindled by Sufjan Stevens and Danielson or Danielson and Sufjan Stevens. However you like it I guess. I sometimes wonder whether I am the luckiest unlucky man in the world, or just the unluckiest lucky man? Amazingly beautiful. Steeped in Bukowski-Hopper-esque Americana. Tearjerker of the week for sure.
DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - Late Upon A Starry Night (Bandcamp)
A quick history lesson, an archetypal David Benjamin Blower song. It's folk, for strange folks and more. Test your taste... Late Upon A Starry Night is a Christmas song, up for the duration of Christmas only (until 5th Jan '23). 50% of the proceeds go to Safe Passage UK, who are working toward safe routes for refugees. "He has brought the powerful down from their thrones, And lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And sent the rich away empty" -Lk1:52..
GRAPETOOTH - Infinite Source (Polyvinyl)
by Tim London
Two chords on a rickety horn section promise… something. And then a 1990s dance music producer walks in and there is a battle between him and the family of the horn section arranger who he asked around to do some healing type singing together, because, you know what with one thing and another and the will and all that, they needed some time together and singing is a way for them to, like, remember they are related and they used to love each other. It’s a draw.
AAYUSHI - I Ran Out Into the Snowflakes, Laughing (Bandcamp)
by Lee Paul
I've got to tell you that I am really into Aayushi, so this seasonal greeting sounds better to me with every listen. One of UK's great unsung stars.
THE WEDDING PRESENT - Momento Mori (Scopitones)
by Lee Paul
Momento Mori has all of the facets I love from the Wedding Present music. It does it for me. Guitars. Guitars going on when the drums stop going at all. Love that. David Gedge. Relationships are an eternal mystery. Yep. "I can see the mountains from here and they don't look too high." An oblique reference to Diana surely? Dave's way of saying ain't no mountain high enough. Momento Mori is part of Loneliest Time of the Year EP put out for the season. It's the goods.
erm, none we noticed this week.
BIG STAR - Jesus Christ (Ardent I dont know)
Ancient Champion lumber through this every Christmas. Eva since Lake told me to listen to it, it's been nn my top ten fave Christmas rock songs forever. I should do a playlist for Christmas eve for that time when you get back from midnight mass while Santa and the helpers and reindeers are working their asses off but your drinking is kicking further in and in my child house that was the one day a year my dad ate liver and onions? Dad! Jesus Christ is from Big Star's 3rd and is a balmy BALM of the season. Remember that word. Capitalized just like that. We're gonna get born now...
ANCIENT CHAMPION AND MUSEUMGOER - Western and Country (Youtube)
by Sheridan Coyle
Heard this late at night on Soho radio's The Trip this week, and while it took me an age to find a version of it, it was well worth persevering. A demo by Ancient Champion and Museumgoer for Dime Records, a French indie label we've loved this year. Pedal steels from Baton Rouge. Western guitars from Bearwoods. Video star and horse? Only visuals fabricator Jay knows. Ancient Champion and Museumgoer remixed by Million Dollar Tim. An all together fine combine.
LIV.E - I've Been Learning From My Mistakes (and way more the the - Tiny Desk) (Tiny Desk)
Oh my god, how much do I love Liv.e's subsuming all of contemporary rnb into one record, Wild Animals⇒. So now, while you've got a long weekend on your hands, hopefully, check that out and check out this lovely gospel inflected - although our church band never sounded like this, Tiny Desk show...
THE GO! TEAM - Whammy-O (Memphis Industries)
We've reviewed this already but in case you missed this superlative incitement to excitement, on wax.
Main Image: Santa