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Songs to Learn & Sing in 2023 OL writers choose the music (and more) that they're looking forward to in 2023.

Songs to Learn & Sing in 2023

OL writers choose the music (and more) that they're looking forward to in 2023.

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: January, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

'...the record that I'll choose as my favourite at the end of the year will be by an artist that I was blissfully unaware of at the start' Katherine Pargeter.


To hell with Blue Monday!

Obviously, we don't mean the indestructible record by New Order but that day in January when it's apparently okay to freely admit that everything in your life has, post-Christmas, descended into chaos and that there's no discernible flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. To hell with it and, whilst we're on the subject, any other gloom-riddled January stuff, because we're here to spread some actual hope...

And what could be more joyous than making note (whatever format your diary may take) of all of the releases, the albums, the gigs, and even some non-musical highlight that's going to define your next 12 months? What’s better than that? 

So, to help you manoeuvre your way through 2023, we've asked some of Outsideleft's writers to reveal what they are excited about, and what sounds (and more besides) are going to keep them going in the next twelve months. And here, in their own distinct styles, are their words. 

(If you don't mind, I’ll go first...):

Jay Lewis writes
I’ve been eased into the New Year by the mesmerising work of Polish pianist/keyboardist Hania Rani. Her ability to fuse modern classical with jazz and ambient music is astounding.  There are moments that remind me of Nils Frahm (she’s participated in his Piano Day) and in addition to all that she’s been heard to sing too.  Her new album On Giacometti will be released on the 27 February.

I’ll save my ponderous essays on the country/folk-tinged pop and 'poetry and not logic' philosophy of The Lilac Time for some point later in the year.  There’ll be plenty to say when the time comes as the Duffy family should be releasing both a new and a much-enhanced old album this year. Their eleventh release Dance Till All The Stars Come Down is due in August whilst one of their finest old long players 'Astronauts' has been dusted down, expanded and, with the great care and attention that the Needle Mythology label is renowned for, should be back with us later in the year.

Katherine Priddy, one of my favourite singer-songwriters, will be sharing some very exciting new music with us very soon.  She’s an exceptionally busy artist and will be heading off to play at a number of festivals this year (including AmericanaFest in London, Orkney Folk Festival and Focus Wales), she’s even been tipped as one of the ’50 Ones to Watch in 2023’ by a popular British tabloid (don’t worry, it’s not that one…or that one). For more information visit or follow her on Twitter here

Back in 2021 we named Katherine as our 'Artist of the Year', you can read our interview with her here⇒ 

After shrinking away from attending live shows because I likely got my first bout of COVID at a gig at the end of 2021, I’m finally braving it all again!  It’s taken the combined might of Courtney Marie Andrews, Hamish Hawk, and Robert Forster to convince me and I’m so very grateful.   So here goes:….

Singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews made my favourite album of 2022 (the poignant ‘Loose Futures’) and will be journeying to the UK in February and March.  Hamish Hawk may be the smartest and wittiest young artist (Imagine Steven Merritt crossed with vintage Scott Walker and you’re almost there), his new album (‘Angel Numbers’) arrives in February – as does his tour.  And then there’s the exceptional Robert Forster, whose eighth album (‘The Candle and the Flame’) is, on the strength of the first few singles, going to be a remarkable record. He tours in March. 

And finally, Wilco are playing at the Moseley Folk Festival in September. You may wish to read that last sentence through a few times so that it can be believed, but yes, one of the greatest bands I know of is coming to Birmingham and playing at my favourite festival.  Jeff Tweedy is being interviewed by our own Alex V Cook in Baton Rouge in February and we'll have a full report in these pages.

Lamontpaul writes:
Some things I am looking forward to in 2023? Well, since Some of my Best Friends are SongsTM, I am thrilled to have noticed that the Tomeka Reid Quartet have an, as yet untitled, LP on the Cuneiform records schedule in the spring of 2023. This will be the first from cellist Tomeka’s Quartet since the very entertaining Old New in 2019. Of course, there’s that little business of Tomeka winning the MacArthur Genius Award, but in the meantime…

Also, there’s Law Holt, I love her writing and her voice. The music she made with IKLAN (the album IKLAN Album Number 1 in 2022 was sensational. But this voice, Oh man! And I know she has some solo stuff going on in the early part of 2023. I have a good feeling that it will be great. 

What else am I looking forward to?  Getting back on boats, trains and planes. It’s been so long since I went further than the length of myself.

Ancient Champion writes:
I’m looking forward to nice surprises and work just popping up from people I like, like Hera Lindsay Bird (how we wowed to a the poet who write Keats is Dead So Fuck Me from Behind⇒), could she do something? Please. R.M. Francis⇒ is doing something, and I can’t wait for that. I am also hoping that a great number of artists won’t actually do anything. That prospect is the real delight. That sort of thing. Surprise me.

DJ FuzzyFelt writes:
I have read more than enough rock biographies now, and I never ever want to see another. Except maybe… in early 2023, Paul Simpson’s Revolutionary Spirit from Jawbone Press. Am really looking forward to that since you asked. And then there’s also:  

Neutral Milk Hotel releases and expanded editions of Avery Island and In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, both due in February.

There’s a new Brian Jones Town Massacre album Your Future is Your Past also due in February.

Everything But The Girl‘s first album in 20-plus years, Force, is due in April, and, going on the first single released off it, it should be a proper good 'un.

Live tour-wise, hardy synth perennials Ladytron are touring in March and are a must-see, as is Louis Cole who is worth catching either with or without, his big band - touring the UK in May.

Books wise, Benjamin Myers new book is based on the life of St Cuthbert, it’s called Cuddy and it’s due out in March. On the subject of Myers, there’s a television adaptation of his novel ‘Gallows Pole’ that’s due sometime this year. It’s based on the true story of the Crag Valley Coiners and has been adapted for TV by Shane Meadows, which will be his first-period drama,  it sounds intriguing if nothing else.

Finally, a new addition of Weird Walks is just being sent out. A magazine/booklet that has previously contained articles covering everything from dungeon synth to medieval graffiti and is always worth a look.

John Robinson writes:
Well, Issyvoo by Momus is out now out (my copy of the CD has literally just arrived in the post),  It’s on the American Patchwork label. There is, of course, a full review pending.

The Advisory Circle release their new album Full Circle towards the end of January on the GhostBox label.  Their sixth album promises to go beyond the hauntological landscapes normally evoked by their music to somewhere more exotic and luxurious, but probably cursed.

Ladytron’s new album is Time's Arrow: A similarly optimistic-sounding and no doubt deceptive lead track - City of Angels - suggests that a new citadel awaits us.

As for viewing, there’s Ghosts Series 5 and Inside No. 9 Series 8.  Will Ghosts continue or conclude? - with its near-perfect ensemble cast and precision-crafted scripting while Inside No. 9 is - while varied in quality – is always a must-watch if only for the guest star turns and variety of approaches.

I’m sure that there’s much more no doubt to come!

Katherine Pargeter writes:
I don’t know what I’m looking forward to in 2023 and that’s just the way I like it!   All I can predict is that the record that I'll choose as my favourite at the end of the year will be by an artist that I was blissfully unaware of at the start. It’s not that I only care for music made by people who are just learning how to play, no it's not that at all. It's just that there is so much to discover, so much to be turned on to.  Don’t be overwhelmed by it, embrace it! There are so many musicians, singer-songwriters, artists, genres, styles…whoever, whatever… that I will hear within the space of a year - and some of it, just a fragment of it, will change my world. How great is that?

What I do know is that, at the start of last year, Gabriels was just a name that I was vaguely aware of, some distant chatter, something off my radar.  And then they did the curious thing of releasing just half of their debut album (Angels and Queens Part One), and its lush, dramatic tenderness blew me apart.  Jacob Lusk’s gospel raised sweet voices killing me softly. And the second part of that album will be released this April, so yes, that is something to look forward to!

Toon Traveller writes:
Personally, I'm looking forward to the following…

  • my bus pass.
  • my pensioner cold weather payments.
  • a trip to Myan Mexico.
  • a jazz funk revival.
  • a recognition that tribute bands are a good night out with friends
    thought not a fan, seeing Pep and Man City finally winning the European Champions League
  • Donald Trump to go on trial for something ( even if it's just littering )
  • Boris Johnson ex UK PM facing and losing a recall ballot for his parliamentary seat
  • Ukraine Victory by next Christmas
  • The people of the UK finally realising that leaving the EU is not leaving Europe, they are our only real friends!
  • People to finally realise that the TV Sitcom ‘Friends’ is, in no way, real New York living
  • People to admit (based on his most recent LP) That The Boss, just like Phil Collins once did, is committed a huge crime against great soul music.
  • And the realisation that new vinyl and old vinyl are NOT the same. The New Vinyl releases are just digital copies of the original analogue recording pressed onto vinyl.
  • PIL and John Lydon WINNING Eurovision for Ireland. I'd love that to happen. 

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»



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