Radiohead, Burn the Witch
Layering up. Spending an entire day cooking a stew. Shivering. Trying to get washing dry. Cats that refuse to go outside, and sleep on top of you like furry dead weights. Visits to Kathmandu. Replacing another set of wiper blades destroyed by ice on the windscreen. Gumboots.
I hate all of these things with an absolute overbearing passion. Especially gumboots. Why would anyone want to wear freaking gumboots?
In short, I hate winter. It's that time of year when I am reluctantly forced inside to hybernate, to avoid the cold, the wind, the wet, the grey skies, the frozen pavements and the muddy puddles.
I don't want to hybernate. I want to wear jandals and soak up the sun. I want to hear cricket balls hitting wood, steaks hitting the grill, lawnmowers munching the grass, waves splashing on the beach.
I do not want to breathe in acrid air blasting out of a heat pump while spooning down yet another mouthful of salty chicken soup and wearing three pairs of socks. Bleargh.
So Radiohead's Burn the Witch is the perfect winter anthem for me. It's agitated, messy and contorted. It's perpetually worried, constantly concerned, displeased about the world without being in your face about it. Basically, it's The Scream turned into song form.
But, by the end, when the soaring strings have diluted and Thom Yorke's finished wailing lines like, "This is a low-flying panic attack," the birds start chirping and Burn the Witch admits that it knew all along that summer is coming, and everything will be right with the world.
That's where I'm at. And this is my jam.
Cruel Youth, Mr Watson
is the new release from Teddy Sinclair (Natalia Kills) and Willy Moon's band Cruel Youth.
It's low-key and has that old-school, lounge bar sound which sounds like sitting fireside and drinking whiskey.
But unlike too many "winter" songs, it's not so low-key that it becomes depressing, because let's be honest, winter is already depressing enough.
It still has some grit to it; Kills sings the blues like the low-fi love child of Brittany Howard, Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey, there's a good beat, but a bit of whimsy in the melody too.
It's a song about love without being so sickeningly about love. It feels warm and rich, and is the perfect accompaniment to a chilly winter's night in.
MUNA, Winterbreak (Tiësto's Deep House Remix)
I may be becoming a little addicted to Tiësto's remixes of indie pop bands. I loved his reworking of Passion Pit's
, now his revamp of MUNA's new single
, has caught my attention. The Dutch DJ/producer has injected some deep house into the dark pop track, giving it an incredibly catchy electro vibe.
The original track is deliciously solemn with its lush synth vocals and down-tempo dance beats - but just because it's freezing outside, doesn't mean you can't still heat things up in your speakers. Both versions of the song deserve to be put on repeat this winter. Plus with a title like Winterbreak, how could I not add it to this list?
Brain Eno, The Ship
My hot (ho-ho!) winter pick is the title track from Brian Eno's latest album
. Like winter itself the song is icy, cold and bleak as hell. It's long too, with a glacial run time that lasts almost as long as the season itself.
What I'm saying is its heavy, man. But it's also incredibly beautiful.
Eno's bubbling, beeping and droning synths drown you in the rich textures and ornate sonic detail of its foggy ambiance while occasional moments of delicate shimmering warmth offer brief respite from the cold. Like a rare burst of sunshine in an otherwise wet week.
Mostly though The Ship is dark, wet and gloomy. Perfect.
Beth Orton, Petals
Yes, the lead track on Brit singer-songwriter Orton's new album
and that might well fit this list of hot new songs for the cold. But it's
a couple tracks later that brings on the avalanche.
Having first arrived back in the trip-hop era with guest spots on William Orbit and Chemical Brothers albums, after her breakthrough folktronica 1996 debut Trailer Park Orton treated fans to largely acoustic settings on subsequent releases.
But the new album has her back to her electro roots co-producing with Andrew Hung of Bristol synth-psychedelic mob F*** Buttons and Petals is quite something, with Orton's frosty vocal heading to church (an old cold stone English one) as the track builds from dubstep rumblings to a cathartic drum-led explosion. Chilling and thrilling in equal measure.
• For the record the top picks in America for the song of the summer are: Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop The Feeling, Ariana Grande, Into You, Calvin Harris and Rihanna, This Is What You Came For and Meghan Trainor, Me Too.