January tends to be a bleak time for live music.
Fans spend more time in the gym than at shows, meaning that the calendar can be a little sparse.
London's annual Winter Sprinter, though, encourages you to get off the couch and support live music, a neat trick for those January blues.
Previously hosted by the dearly departed Fortune POP! label, Fika Recordings have stepped in to helm 2018's instalment.
Occupying London's Lexington venue this week, the line up is pretty damn fantastic, with sets from Creation Records legend Pete Astor, Steven Adams & The French Drops, Laetitia Sadier, The Leaf Library, Ralegh Long, Picturebox and Darren Hayman.
It all kicks off tonight (January 2nd) with a headline hurrah from The Surfing Magazines, the vital combo featuring members of The Wave Pictures and Slow Club.
With that in mind, we asked the band's Dave Tattersall to name his winter warmers...
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1. Robbie Basho - 'Rodeo'
This is a lovely and happy piece of guitar playing, a touch wistful as opposed to a superficially jolly kind of happiness. It's very playful and happy.
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2. The Cadillacs - 'Gloria'
This is just lovely. So soulful. It just oozes. It's a lovely big floaty cloud of a song. I wish I could sing like that.
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3. Julie Doiron - 'Snow Falls In November'
This is a beautiful song about winter. The lyrics are really literal and really good. Julie Doiron has a voice like honey. The band on this is one of my favourite bands of all time: Herman Dune: David Ivar, Neman and Andre (aka Stanley Brinks). They do such great backing vocals and Neman, as always, puts in a classy performance on the drum kit.
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4. Freschard - 'Brooklyn Moon'
I really love my friend Freschard's music. She's got a really lovely voice and she has these very simple, poetic songs. Very dark and wintry and groovy and mysterious. A song like this one is typical of her kind of everyday magic style. I like the drummer on this track a lot. He is called Leo and he also drums for the band Coming Soon. When he recorded this track he must have been about twelve years old or something crazy, but his playing is restrained and mature and cool.
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5. Takeshi Terauchi - 'Nakuna Jobatoyo'
I just got the CD of 'Nippon Guitars' by Takeshi Terauchi and I'm playing it over and over at the moment. It's really cool music, it sounds great and it makes me smile.
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6. The Go-Betweens - 'The Sound Of Rain'
This is a favourite of mine. It is mysterious and poetic. It makes me think of Raymond Chandler and also of my dreams. I really like Robert Forster's voice too.
7. Slim Harpo - 'I'm A King Bee'
This is what always ends up happening on a wintry night - I always end up listening to the blues. This is also true of all the other nights and days in all the other seasons. In the end, there's an itch that only some really good blues can scratch. I don't know why that's the case - it just is. You just can't beat a bit of the really, really good stuff. I love Slim Harpo! I mean he's just completely brilliant. What a voice! What a band! What a sound! So cool.
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8. J. J. Cale - 'Cloudy Day'
I know I already picked seven but I forgot to mention J. J. Cale, who I'm listening to all the time at the moment. This is nice winter music. He was a great mood guy. His good records are kind of zen in a way. They just have this strange magic charm to them. For years, I liked the odd track but mainly I found him a bit cheesy. This year it clicked for me. He's my man of the year for getting the most plays at home.
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Winter Sprinter 2018 runs between January 2nd - 5th, tickets HERE.
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