Brian Bordello Shea’s Final Roundup of 2022


John Howard  ‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’

‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’ is pure schmaltz, pure Christmas Schmaltz as all great Christmas songs are. John Howard succeeds where so many seem to fail as he wraps the Schmaltz in a melody so beautiful and timeless it takes one back to the golden days of 70s Christmas TV, when the Val Doonican or Bing Crosby Christmas special would be aired mid evening on Christmas Eve and we’d be entertained by there special guest who would perform a song just like ‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’ as the host looked on resplendent in their Christmas jumper.

This song is filled with magic and nostalgia and I almost feel like I’m that young kid trudging through the cold to attend midnight mass, at least comforted by the thought that my Christmas morning would not have to be interrupted by an hour or so of God bothering. If you are going to buy one Christmas song this year I suggest you choose this gem.

LINN  ‘Okay, Sister’

This is a slow dance with your own shadow; a mixed delight of a lone shard of glass reflecting the crescent of the moon; a night time bathe in melancholia; a song to sing to your loved one as they leave you wanting alone with only memories for company; a bewitching jewel of longing and regret. A fine and beautiful song.

Humour  ‘Jeans’
(So Young Records)

I really like this, it has a wonderful wonky post-punk Captain Beefheart, Zappa feel to it; a song that sent me spiralling back to my youth of energetic nights out drinking in the local alternative pub soaking up the pleasures of too many bottles of newkie Brown and soaking up the sounds of Wigan’s finest, The Volunteers [whose Bladdder Of Life mini album is a must own for all lovers of wonky guitar thrills]. Yes indeed, I enjoyed this track a great deal. You could say I enjoy the cut of their Jeans, which I imagine to be quite flair-y but darn sexy at the same time. 

Dead Patrons  ‘Nothing’

There is nothing like a good Christmas song and video to bring the oncoming tide of nostalgia rushing towards you like the onslaught of a swarm of meat hungry giant turkeys all ready to weave a wave of mass destruction on the waiting children all ready for Santa to bring them their ideal Christmas gift, but instead are pecked to death in their beds, their last thought being it did not look like this in the Argos catalogue. But luckily for us this is not a wholesome Christmas ditty but instead a slow and dirty as death hardcore slow romp of mental cold metal anguish and depravity that we all really need this time of the year: believe me we really do.

Kevin Robertson ‘Why/D.C.B.A 25’
(Fruits Der Mer)

The new single from the infamous Fruits der Mer label, the label of course that released vinyl releases when vinyl releases where not the thing to release but did it anyway and over the years have released a whole slew of collectable vinyl, mostly psych shenanigans of the first degree, is a double-sided joy of 60s cover jangle by Kevin Robertson. The A-side ‘Why’ is a colourful and calmly laid-back reworking of The Byrds gem that explodes in the middle with a guitar solo and a half of acid induced seagull frenzy [which believe me is such a thing]. The B-side is a cover of Jefferson Airplanes ‘D.C.B.A 25’, which actually sounds like The Byrds strangely enough and is wrapped in a blanket of chiming almost Christmassy 12 string guitars, which I suppose this time of the year is very apt and no doubt the radio will soon be blessed with the sound of Chrissie Hynde telling us that 2000 Miles is very far.


Sanfeliu  ‘To Absent Friends’
(4000 Records)

This is a rather lovely relaxing wonky album of synth pop; an album full of bleeps and whooshes and wizzes and soft vocals that at times reminded me of The Frazier Chorus and at others, the Magnetic Fields, and on the excellent ‘El Rey Y La Reina De Los Descastados’ Sanfeliu seems to evoke the spirit of the wonderful Wilder album by The Teardrop Explodes: all hushed tones of angelic beauty, a really lovely track on an album filled with them. To Absent Friends is a must hear for all those with a love of synth pop and smooth relaxing warm slightly wonky music.

Richard Öhrn  ‘Sounds In English’
(Big Stir Records)

Sounds In English starts with a beautiful chiming jangle of the 12-string guitar, which should come as no surprise as of course this album is released on the excellent Big Stir record label. As anyone who reads my reviews will probably realise I normally review at least one album most months from the label. So, you will know what to expect as Big Stir specialise in releasing albums of well written and performed slices of guitar magic, and Sounds In English is yet another lovely gem of that ilk but with a much calmer and pastoral edge and with a baroque pop quality; ‘The Coolest Manners’ could easily fit on Costello’s Imperial Bedroom and ‘5th Month Announcement’ and ‘Love And Friendship’ recalling the sound of Simon And Garfunkel. ‘Every Shade’ has a fine seventies singer-songwriter feel  – I think Big Stir might have found their own John Howard.

Richard Öhrn has crafted a fine and enriching grower of an album, the more you listen the more the melodies seep in and soundtrack your days.

Eamon The Destroyer  ‘A Small Blue Car -Re-made/Re-modelled’
(Bearsuit Records)

‘A Small Blue Car -Re-made/Re-modelled’ is a remix album of sorts of the excellent Eamon The Destroyer album, and this is a rare thing as I actually prefer it to the original, and I enjoyed the original a great deal.

This album has a spooky warm quality to it and the opening track ‘Nothing Like Anything’ has a feel of The Beach Boys ‘Cabinessence’ and sounds like it is having its thigh stroked in a sensual way by a slightly out of it Momus. And track nine, ‘Uledaru’, is taken over and consumed by the brilliance of the Schizo Fun Addict taking the track on a short detour to heaven.

A Small Blue Car… is another overwhelming success of a release taking the experimental and layering it with blankets of alternative pop electronica warmth.

Scott Robertson  ‘Footprints In The Butter’

Scott Robinson is a young man from Scotland and member of the excellent Jangly 60s inspired Vapour Trails [who I have written about in the past] and another band whose name escapes me [let’s call it a senior moment shall we], who are a little more prog and 90s alternative psych sounding and also excellent, but I have for some reason never written about [let’s call it another senior moment and be done with it].

Anyway, young Scott is a talented chap and this, his debut, album lies somewhere between his two bands. Opening track ‘Lost My Curtains’ is a lovely soft psych-tinged ballad recalling Teenage Fanclub when they where worth a damn, and ‘The Death Of Daylight Saving’ again psych’s it up with Cinnamon Girl guitar riffs and a Byrds like adventure that has not been heard since the long-lost adventure filled days of the early 90s when the much-underrated Spirea X looked like they where about to rule the roost.

Footprints In The Butter is a lovely album filled with a mature songwriting but with a veal and adventure that can only be performed by a young soul not yet fully tarnished by life. And an album I like so much it has had me dipping into my paypal: heating bills be damned, I will just keep myself warm frigging vigorously to this excellent debut.



The very last monthly playlist of 2022 is a bumper edition of eclectic choice music from the last month, with a smattering of tracks from upcoming December releases too.

This month’s picks have been collected from Dominic Valvona, Matt Oliver, Brian ‘Shea’ Bordello and Graham Domain. The full track list can be found below the Spotify link.

The monthly will be back in the New Year. Until then absorb this behemoth of a selection, and next month, ponder and peruse the blog’s 140 plus albums of 2022 features.


Black Market Karma/Tess Parks  ‘The Sky Was All Diseased’
Enter Laughing  ‘Met Me When I landed’
Salem Trials  ‘Man From Atlantis Is Dead’
Humour  ‘Jeans’
Cities Aviv  ‘Funktion’
Vlimmer  ‘Mathematik’
Gabrielle Ornate  ‘Phantasm’
Dead Horses  ‘Can’t Talk, Can’t Sleep’
Lunar Bird  ‘Driven By The Light’
Mui Zyu  ‘Rotten Bun’
Thank You Lord For Satan  ‘When We Dance’
Pozi  ‘Slightly Shaking Cells’
My Friend Peter  ‘When I Was’
U.S. Girls  ‘Bless This Mess’
Sofie Royer  ‘Feeling Bad Forsyth Street’
Surya Botofasina  ‘Beloved California Temple’
Edrix Puzzle  ‘Shadow of Phobe’
Let Spin  ‘Waveform Guru’
Etceteral  ‘Gologlavka’
Juga-Naut  ‘Camel Walk’
The Pyramids  ‘Queens Of The Spirits Part 1’
Illogic  ‘Nowhere Fast’
Planet Asia/Snowgoons/Flash  ‘Metabolism’
Dabbla/alone  ‘Adept’
Karu  ‘Spears Of Leaves’
Neon Kittens  ‘Nil By Vein’
Renelle 893/King Kashmere  ‘My Demons’
Mount Kimbie/Don Maker/Kai Campos Ft. Slowthai  ‘Kissing’
Homeboy Sandman/Deca  ‘Satellite’
Uusi Aika  ‘S-T’
Gillian Stone  ‘The Throne’
Raw Poetic/Damu The Fudgemunk  ‘A Mile In My Head’
Boldy James/Futurewave  ‘Mortemir Milestone’
Arthur King  ‘Dig Precious Things’
Tom Skinner  ‘Voices (Of The Past)’
Trans Zimmer & The DJs  ‘Wind Quintet No. 3 In E Major, Second Movement’
George T  ‘Dub On, King’s Cross’
The Dark Jazz Project  ‘Great Skies’
Noémi Büchi  ‘Measuring All Possibilities’
Russ Spence  ‘Spectrum’
Seez Mics/Aupheus  ‘Cancel The Guillotine’
Dezron Douglas  ‘J Bird’
Fliptrix/Illinformed  ‘Eden’
Apollo Brown/Philmore Greene  ‘This Is Me’
Illogic  ‘She Didn’t Write’
Milc/Televangel Ft. AJ Suede  ‘Ronald Reagan’
Vincent/The Owl/Nick Catchdubs  ‘Fade 2 Black’
Shirt/Jack Splash  ‘Cancel Culture’
Clouds In A Headlock/ASM/Daylight Robbery  ‘3D Maze’
The Strange Neighbour/Leolex/Bobby Slice Ft. DJ Sixkay  ‘Keep Your Head Straight’
Kormac  Ft. Loah & Jafaris  ‘Bottom Of The Ocean’
A. O. Gerber  ‘Walk In The Dark’
Ben Pagano  ‘Hot Capital’
Hög Sjö  ‘Love Is A Gamble’
Kinked  ‘Introduzione Alla Fabula’
Årabrot  ‘Going Up’
Old Fire Ft. Julia Holter  ‘Window Without A World’
Meg Baird  ‘Star Hill Song’
Susanna/Stina Stjern/Delphine Dora  ‘Elevation’
Rita Braga  ‘Nothing Came From Nowhere’
Orchid Mantis  ‘Endless Life’
The Zew  ‘Come On Down’
Ocelot  ‘Santa Ana’
LINN  ‘Okay, Sister’
Sanfeliu  ‘Grassy Patch’
Young Ritual  ‘Ages’
Yermot  ‘Leaning To Lie’

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