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Psst. Reasonably pleasant new year to you. I’m just keeping this celebration thing on the down low. If we’ve learned anything over the past few years it’s don’t get your hopes up, don’t expect big and bold good things, just rescale your sense of what’s possible. Between war and inflation and these almost-over but really never-ending pandemics we’ve all taken a beating. So let’s start 2023 with an attitude adjustment, a reality reset, a proper mind-frame for (limited) success. And a few tunes.

Talk about timely. Austria’s The Geezers literally have just released an album and single entitled 2023. This from a band with song titles like “Jeff Lynne” and “Tom Petty,” which tell you a lot. But this new song suggests they might need tunes named for New Order or some of those Britpop artists. An interesting mix of rock and roll and dance synth elements. Perhaps 2023 might be time to take what’s familiar in some slightly new directions.

Brian Dunne’s most recent album is Selling Things. With song titles like “Getting Wrecked on Election Day” and “I Hope I Can Make it to the Show” you get the sense he’s fully onboard with this whole lowered expectations thing. But his track “Nothing Matters Anymore” is an acoustic guitar-loaded gut-wrencher from the Springsteen school of social realist heartache. Really the song is saying ‘what does matter’? And that is the question for our age. RL’s response is “Be True.” Stripped down name, stripped down sentiment. With some groovy, rather spacy organ riffs and spare guitar work.

In times like these some people turn inward, looking for love in all the most available spaces. Sweden’s The Genuine Fakes make the whole enterprise sound pretty sweet melodically, if still somewhat lyrically dicey, on “Two Fine Lovers.” Rogers and Butler country-rock things up on “Oh Romeo” in a Steve Forbert kind of way, calling for Romeo to play his predictable bad boyfriend part. Janelane is having no part of that on “Goodbye to Heartache,” responding with a Tamar Berk sense of upbeat rocking melody and noticeable electric piano hooks.

Of course, another option to go really inward, like ‘dude where’s my inner peace?’ inward. That does make some sense. Now with wacky tibaccky legalization happening most everywhere across western countries Bellows suggest just letting “Marijuana Grow.” This mellow tune is so channeling the Elliott Smith school of breathy poprock – and I like it. The Moneygoround call for you to ‘hazy up the day’ with a Beach Boys vibe but perhaps that’s not spliff code on their light and breezy single “Catch a Breeze.” Or maybe it is. You can enjoy it either way.

I’ve been messaging Jonathan Kupersmith about getting his fabulous tunes up on some service where the whole wide world can buy them. So far he’s just got an album’s worth of stuff on YouTube videos. I guess that’s working for him. “Number One On My Playlist” seems apropos for our ‘scaling it back’ theme here. Or, going back to The Genuine Fakes fabulous new EP Extended Play Vol. 3, perhaps  “We’re All We Need”?

What’s advice worth? Not the e-paper it’s printed on. But anyways, happy new mumble mumble …

Photo courtesy Stefan Van der Straeten.