Been having a bit of a grumpy old time of it these past few weeks so time to crack out the big guns.

Madonna Of The Wasps is one of three Hitchcock numbers that never fails to cheer me up (for the record: Heaven and Ted, Woody And Junior are the other two).

Honourable mention to Neko Case whose cover version works the exact same magic.

Not the theme song to the once popular soap opera (though I suppose that was alright as a signal that it would be safe to use the phone in half an hour), the song from Liverpool’s finest – Shack.

Mick Head’s one of the few performers who can nail kitchen sink drama as song, whether that’s about itching for drugs, looking to buy drugs, taking drugs… I’m half joking, half not. Obviously there’s a lot of songs about drugs in his oeuvre but there’s also the most wonderful ordinariness, Shack songs are working class songs, they’re Liverpool songs, they’re songs about your neighbours, songs about football, tea, bondage, being somewhere.

‘Comedy’ got me through homelessness, Neighbours is their finest tho.

There’s a frustration to Neighbours that I don’t think I’ve ever heard in any other song. The scream midway offers no release from the humdrum, from the checking the window. It just is.

That’s where Shack shine – music that just is. It’s wonderful stuff.

I’m not really a believer in needing to experience something to have empathy for, well, anything but I’ll let that slide for such a moreish chorus.

Absolute brainworm in the best way.

Our Time In Eden is peak 10,000 Maniacs for me, some tremendous jangly folk tinged stuff there and what an album for Nathalie Merchant to bow out on.

However, as much as I love it as a coherent album, it’s Don’t Talk from In My Tribe that’s been getting me through this week.

Between the jangle, the thunderous drums and Merchant’s voice, the incredibly vivid lyrics, it’s just a complete ooooh of a song. Gets me every single time.

Did have a moment of “gosh, is it really that old now?” but given last week seems a lifetime away in 2020, understandable really.

Every single song on Miya Folick’s “Premonitions” is solid pop gold. It opens strong with Thingamajig and somehow, incredibly, gets better and better as it goes on. To the point where picking one song as best seems utterly rude.

I’m going with Stock Image today though because right this second, it’s my favourite track. Ask me again in five minutes and I’ll no doubt have changed my mind. Even writing this, I’m sitting here thinking “No, wait, Baby Girl? Dead Body? Cost Your Love!” which means I best have a listen to the album again. Again.

That chorus tho. Bloody hell.

One of my favourite things about Paul Simpson’s work post The Care is how it teeters perpetually on the brink of cabaret. The Worst Year Of My Life especially sounds like the sort of thing you’d hear whilst passing a pub during karaoke hour and I adore it for that.

But it’s not a perfect song, that’s Bringing Home The Ashes. Ashes is still borderline cabaret but it somehow transcends that into the sublime. It’s very Liverpool indie, albeit tuxedo’d up. It’s great.

It’s quite unsettling just how perfectly Redpoint soundtrack looking out of the window on a damp, overcast, day in 1981.

It’s the music of grey days, of so many hopes, dreams and wishes. Of boredom, longing for something – anything – to happen and of escape to somewhere, someplace else. And in 2020 of wistful stares and decades of regrets, acceptance and gladness. Gladness for choices made, for distance, for time passed and time spent. For not looking out the same window on the same grey, damp, overcast day.

Impossibly haunting stuff.