FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: COMETH THE ADVENT CALENDAR


It may not be an original idea but it is something I intend to do every year until we get to around 8 December and I realise it’s way too late to start. Well, there’s always next year. Never fear. Followers on Twitter will have noticed that I actually did get round to it this year and this morning posted the 24th in my Fifty3Fridays 2021 Advent Calendar of great songs; the great being in the ears of the listener, of course. I am just here to offer an opinion, though always hopeful of your endorsement.


While there isn’t space to feature all 24 songs here each via a video link, I have picked out a few that have particularly memorable videos, not that many of the others don’t too, of course. You can listen to the full playlist on Spotify at the end of the piece but meanwhile here are a few vids by way of hors d'oeuvres.


DAY 1 REVERE – “THE ESCAPE ARTIST”

A song about division, separation and inhumanity that references the Holocaust, yet emerges as a glorious and uplifting experience. The former London collective, Revere, delivers an epic widescreen production from its haunting slow build to its heroic waves of sound, climaxing a huge sea of emotion.


DAY 5 KINGS HAVE LONG ARMS FT. CANDIE PAYNE – “BIG UMBRELLA”

A lovely circular melody graces this blissful 2008 union between the quirky-titled Kings Have Long Arms aka Adrian Flanagan, once labelled the ‘eccentronic popster’ and latterly trading under the moniker of International Teachers of Pop, and statuesque Liverpudlian songstress, Candie Payne. A “jumble sale around the sun” indeed.


DAY 15 SWEET LIGHTS – “ARE WE GONNA WORK IT OUT”

Sweet Lights was a solo vehicle of Shai Halperin, aka Shai, Son of Eli, of Philadelphia’s The Capitol Years. He can be seen break dancing as a teen in this marvellous video accompanying a quite brilliant pop song from its ominous build to its staccato piano and precise guitar phrases.


DAY 19 KATE WALSH – “THE REAL THING”

Recorded in a single take, the title track from the fifth and final album from Essex native Kate Walsh literally keeps it real. This song showcases Kate’s exceptional voice, simplicity of expression and great flair for melody while she is no mean guitar player either. Please come back to music, Kate!


DAY 23 KEVIN MORBY – “DOROTHY”

This is one of the very best from prolific singer-songwriter Kevin Morby; an ode to his guitar, his grandmother and to life. It recalls pivotal musical inspirations as he grew up which he illustrates in fine little cameos carefully woven into a beautifully paced, uplifting rock song.


DAY 24 THE WAITRESSES – “CHRISTMAS WRAPPING”

It seemed right to close with a Christmas song as we await the big day tomorrow. So, our final window reveals arguably my all-time favourite from New York’s The Waitresses. This bittersweet reflection comes with a happy ending that befits the season. Sadly though, singer Patty Donahue died of lung cancer in December, 1996 aged just 40. RIP.


SPOTIFY PLAYLIST - FIFTY3 FRIDAYS ADVENT CALENDAR 2021

TRUST THE DOC

You may note that just one of our Advent Calendar songs is a Christmas one. If you are looking for your fix of 20 choice Christmas cuts, including some sadly overlooked ones, I recommend you check out Neil March’s Greatest Christmas Classics over a mince pie or two.


Or for my list of 10 Alternative Christmas Songs take a look here.


Happy Christmas to you all. Stay safe and enjoy a fruitful new year. x

FIFTY3 champions

outstanding new music through Fifty3 Fridays and occasional features. 

 

Music is a great passion of mine. In my teenage years I was an avid record collector and concert goer. Stints as a booking agent, running folk clubs, promoting gigs and even a crack at artiste management followed. While it never became my main occupation, music was always on my personal radar.

 

During the past 11 years I have written for the leading US music website Consequence of Sound and breakthrough act site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have reviewed the festival for both the above sites.

 

Nothing gives me more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. You’ll find many of them on this site alongside the occasional legend of times past and I hope they will bring  you as much joy as they give me.

Tony Hardy

UPCOMING GIGS 

 

Selected dates in the London area:

Fri 14 Jan: Orlando Weeks, St John's Church, Kingston upon Thames

Mon 17 Jan: Penelope Isles, Banquet Records Instore, Kingston

 

Fri 21 Jan: Aurora, Pryzm, Kingston upon Thames

Thur 27 Jan: Let's Eat Grandma, XOYO, London EC2

Tues 3 Feb: Barbara, Blanid, Detweiler, The Bedford, Balham

banquetrecords.com: See the Events page for all live shows in Kingston

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