We are very pleased to announce the 120 acts who’ve made it onto the longlist of our 2013 Emerging Talent Competition. These acts have all been chosen by our blogger judging panel, made up of the UK’s finest music bloggers – we’d like to say a huge thanks to them for their hard work and to all of the acts who entered the competition (more than 8,000 of them – making this longlist the top 1.5% of entries).
Each of the bloggers has chosen their favourite three acts. We’ve included the direct link that each of the acts provided for the judges to hear their music, as well as the judge’s comments about each act.
Later this week, these acts will be narrowed down to a shortlist of just 8 acts who will compete at April’s live finals for a main stage slot at this year’s Festival…
2 U I Bestow
1. A Band Called Wanda
Judge’s comments: This band from Galway will appeal to fans of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers for their brand of good time folk music consisting of harmonies, charming fiddle and uplifting tunes. The songs ‘Old Gold’ ‘Western Union’ and ‘Roses Are Still Red’ are superb tunes that deserve to reach a large audience.
2. Ali Warren
Judge’s comments: With a voice reminding me of Jeff Buckley and a vibrant backing band, Ali Warren could end up being a real superstar in the indie-folk/rock music scene. The singles ‘What We Say’ and ‘Don’t Mind Me’ are simply awesome and send shivers down my spine.
3. The Viking Project
Judge’s comments: Folk rockers The Viking Project are a band with four fantastic vocalists, superb musicians and have a bunch of great songs like ‘Got Sunk Down’, ‘Distance’ and in particular ‘Constance Keane’
1. The Dancers
Judge’s comments: Synthesisers all over the shop in this one over a well crafted and tasty indie backing. Gang vocals, boy/girl vocals – it’s a few handclaps off being perfect. I like the "doo-doo-doo" guitar solo as well. Understated, lovely stuff.
2. Patrick Gardiner
Judge’s comments: Plaintive strings and someone tapping milk bottles to start the song off, you say? Wait! Come back! It’s a wonderful, bittersweet love song. The strings and guitars come together (some cracking dynamics) while love and loss unfold on top. Shy, unassuming, a delight to listen to. Also it’s only three minutes long, and if you can say everything you need to in three minutes you’ve done a great job.
3. The Candle Thieves
Judge’s comments: You can tell the whole band were smiling when they recorded this one. A good old fashioned song that hits all the right buttons and twangs all the right strings. Just the right side of twee and sure to soundtrack an indie film montage. Also, the greatest use of "world wide web" as a lyric ever experienced.
1. The Dagger Brothers
Judge’s comments: …demonstrated a genuine sense of humour all too rare with the emerging music scene. Their track ‘Release Their Thunderball’ is a hilarious but well produced and catchy satire of modern British culture. The Dagger Brothers sound like Art Brut collaborating with Hot Chip and they clearly have bags of personality.
2. Animal Noise
Judge’s comments: …sound like Modest Mouse at their noisiest – there’s a terrific free form sound to their submission ‘Baddow’. Appropriately (given their name) there is a beast-like primal sound – the acoustic melodies are brought together in an experimental, jazz-like style.
3. Antimatter People
Judge’s comments: …stood out more than anything else I heard by doing something unique and, crucially, doing it well. ‘Phosphene’ has elements of cosmic disco and post punk wrapped up in track that wraps around the listener like clouds in a smokey room – it’s simultaneously delicate and heavy.
Breaking More waves
1. Avec Sans
Judge’s comments: Sultry and sophisticated electronic London based duo Avec Sans don’t mess about. They make songs that explode with huge pop hooks and computer sonics of the highest order. They’re a group with one eye on the heavens and one eye that aims even higher than that.
2. As Elephants Are
Judge’s comments: Blistering with ambition, indie rock band As Elephants Are sound like they’re made for a big stage. Here’s a group with a real sense of purpose, structure, atmosphere and dynamics in their guitar based music, yet they never lose sight of the most important ingredient of all; a good tune.
3. Amy Lyon
Judge’s comments: With jazz and soul influences singing saxophonist Amy Lyon’s I’m Falling stopped us in our tracks the first time we heard it. It’s a silky late night beauty that deals with the classic theme of going just that little bit crazy and losing control as you begin to fall in love with someone. We felt a little bit like that when we heard her sing. A real talent with bags of potential.
Cats Band Crushes
1. Jack Tinner
Judge’s comments: Off This Train – Hugely excited about this singer from Manchester- haunting, soulful and stunningly flawless vocals paired with beautiful songwriting.
2. Black Balloons
Judge’s comments: Rascal – Love the urgency and power of this track. I can clearly envision ‘Rascal’ exploding out over the fields of Glastonbury to a thrashing audience.
3. Blank Maps
Judge’s comments: Everything Ends- Layered melodies and gorgeous electronic textures soar into feelings of euphoria that set Blank Maps apart in their craftsmanship.
Consequence of Sound
1. Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern
Judge’s comments: "24 ft March" This song really hit the spot on the very first listen and grows on repeat plays. I wrote down ‘like Mumfords having tea with Yes’. It has that Mumfords energy and rythmic intensity but it’s no straight copy and the vocal harmonies distinctly remind me of early Yes. I love the way the song builds, changes in the middle section and returns to the main theme to end on a clean, abrupt stop. From listening to some of the band’s other material, Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern strike me as a potentially compelling live act.
2. By The Sea
Judge’s comments: "Eveline" I was impressed by the clean simplicity of this song. Great melody lines, anthemic but not over-wrought, and played with precision and economy. The guitar tones have a rich, echoey resonance and are worked in to create light and shade. The lead vocal has a detached, dreamy quality that adds a sense of quiet longing (the vocal might have been a bit higher in the mix but that’s about my only criticism). Having checked out By The Sea’s debut album, I think they have a great repertoire and would go down brilliantly with a Glastonbury audience who are traditionally sweet on guitar bands.
3. Ella Janes
Judge’s comments: "Helen" I love the timbre of Ella Janes’ voice. Its purity is counterpointed by small, almost Celtic, inflections, that lend it a true vulnerability. There is a warmth and intimate sincerity to her lyrics which still fit the music like a glove.
This song has a lovely, lazy flowing melody and is arranged impeccably with each musician adding subtlety and understatement. Along with her accomplished band, Ella Janes could seduce a lazy Sunday afternoon audience just like Laura Marling did at Glastonbury 2011.
Crack in the Road
1. The White Bicycles
Judge’s comments: Courtesy: A wonderfully well rounded track, poignant, touching and heart-warming. The use of dual vocals and guitar sound compliment each other perfectly.
2. The Gorgeous Colours
Judge’s comments: Bright Ideas: Really expansive, brooding pop, caught them live about eighteen months back and was impressed.
3. Rhys Lloyd Morgan
Judge’s comments: I’ve Not Slept Right in Days: Intimate, heartfelt singer/songwriter. Certainly got bags of potential.
Judge’s comments: In a similar vein to Disclosure. These guys are getting a justified bit of hype right now.
2. Circa Waves
Judge’s comments: A short, sharp, indie-pop gem
Judge’s comments: A layered warm effort that would work well on the big stage
Judge’s comments: fun guitar pop music.
Judge’s comments: right up Cruel Rhythm’s street, a promising young electronic band.
3. Cocoa Futures
Judge’s comments: v catchy danceable pop.
Devil has the best tuna
1. The Horn The Hunt
Judge’s comments: The dreamy, gorgeous, ethereal The Horn The Hunt swoon out of the Yorkshire dales like the offspring of a hitherto unknown liason between The Sundays and the Cocteau Twins. On a sunny Glastonbury day this will have the crowds drifting into a dream world of unadulterated joy.
2. The Kitschen
Judge’s comments: The Kitschen’s sweet, honest, indie pop has more charm than a kitten in a flat cap. Their songs were made to hum. They’ll melt your heart, make you smile and rattle around your brain for weeks.
3. O’Messy Life
Judge’s comments: With passion and sheer joy infusing everything they do Newcastle’s O’Messy Life are a breath of fresh spring air to shake away the winter blues. The unmistakeable vocals and twangy guitars sound like Pavement fronted by the Waterboy’s Mike Scott. A unique, intriguing and life affirming proposition.
Don’t Watch Me Dancing
1. Rivers of England
Judge’s comments: Immersive, simple but impressive music that is somehow quintessentially English, there is something quite wholesome, refined and altogether rather sweet about this music and the vocals are completely lovely. Rare but nice to find something reminiscent of Yo La Tengo and Nick Drake all at once.
2. Kersha Bailey
Judge’s comments: Wonderful purveyor of soothing acoustic jazz, Kersha Bailey manages to transfix with her powerful but delicate vocals and intricate guitar-playing. There is a nice dazed sway to her style that is charming and endearing all at once.
3. Tiny Dragons
Judge’s comments: Guitar rock is supposedly in decline but the brilliantly fluid riffs and the soulful vocals of Tiny Dragons all make for propulsive and engaging songs that serve as a pretty convincing argument that, done right, evocative guitar rock is still very much a contender
Dots and dashes
Judge’s comments: Sleepwalking: The West Country’s prime shoegaze scamps, theirs is a hazy and sporadically heavy charm which is at once involving and ever unpredictable.
Judge’s comments: Low Plane: Eruptive, noirish indie gilded with unapologetically ’90s guitars, LOW PLANE soars and immediately sticks out like the sorest of thumbs in need of instant attention.
Judge’s comments: I Want What You Got: Sprightly, though still melancholy jangle-pop fringed with lo-fi frivolities, Palace embellish the woolly nature of latter-day Americana with a quintessentially British aesthetic.
Judge’s comments: Blistering math-pop certain to deliver an intensity rarely seen on the festival stage.
Judge’s comments: An eight piece folk-pop band that proves that the more really is the merrier.
3. Friends In America
Judge’s comments: Earnest Scottish indie meets grandiose post-rock in a thoroughly arresting fashion.
Fear of Fiction
1. Dingus Khan
Judge’s comments: Music manifested in the form of a 7 piece riot, multiple drummers and even more guitars (than the net leading brand) result in some kind pf punk orchestra, with dead pan vocals reminiscent of a younger, angrier Damon Albarn resting his coalition-weary lyrics upon some brutal engaging songwriting.
Judge’s comments: Hauntingly beautiful minimalist pop, at points ‘Drive’ sound equally like a graceful Kate Bush ballad, and the icon soundtrack for Pride and Prejudice by Carl Davis. While the track remains stripped back, this allows the percussion to play with some In Rainbows-esque dance like rhythms.
3. Deer Lake
Judge’s comments: Uplifting, melodic and expansive rock, Deer Lake draw on a range of influences from Jeff Buckley to the Cure, but combine these reference points to create something new, an ode to the defining sound of pioneering 90s guitar music. Solemn vocals glide effortlessly over guitars laden with reverb, which eventually build impenetrable walls of distortion.
Flying with Anna
1. Bridie Jackson & The Arbour
Judge’s comments: Her voice took my breath away from the very first note. The string arrangements are heavenly, her voice is gorgeous and the songwriting sits somewhere between the lushness of Norah Jones and the quirkiness of Joanna Newsom. A very special sound indeed.
Judge’s comments: Although we only have one song to currently listen to, ‘Forces’ is so beautifully produced and the songwriting so reflective that you know you have found an artist with heaps of potential.
3. The Bronze Medal
Judge’s comments: Bristol band The Bronze Medal make thoughtful and well written music, collecting the sounds of bands like Mumford & Sons and Dry the River and adding their own depth and layers of sound to the songs.
For Folk’s Sake (Lynn)
1. Haiku Salut
Judge’s comments: Los Elefantes: From the moment you hear those first plaintive piano chords, you know you’re onto something special with Haiku Salut. Los Elefantes is taken from their debut album Tricolore. Haiku Salut are a baroquey-folky-pop instrumental trio from Manchester who make sounds that are not disimilar to the Amelie soundtrack. More please!
2. Jennifer Left
Judge’s comments: Black Dog: Brighton-based Jennifer Left’s Black Dog bowled me over with its deceptively dark lyrics, pounding beat and an eminently whistleable tune.
3. Flight School
Judge’s comments: The First Thing: Lovely girl-boy harmonies, a sweet pop song to lost love. Flight School are a three piece from London/Derby.
For Folk’s Sake (Helen)
1. James Canty
Judge’s comments: I’d already heard of James Canty before the Emerging Talent list arrived in my inbox, and I’m including him here (in the number one slot) because I think his songwriting is witty, original and suitably large-scale to go down well on the various stages at the festival. It’s truly modern folk music, and I find it thoroughly exciting to listen to.
2. Holly Holden
Judge’s comments: A truly original songwriter, singing guitar-led, bluesy songs with character, verve and enormous variety from track to track. She’s received barely any attention on social media, or in reviews and appears only to have played a handful of gigs, yet she sounds enormously polished and professional. Her listed influences provide a useful summary: Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Ella Fitzgerald, Concha Buika, Regina Spektor, Feist, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone.
3. Heg & the Wolf Chorus
Judge’s comments: a wonderful Bristolian five-piece peddling dramatic folk music with incredibly strong vocals and a fantastic sense of scale and show. They’re really strong storytellers with an intoxicating atmosphere of occasion about them.
For Folk’s Sake (Ian)
1. Laurence Made Me Cry
Judge’s comments: An understated sound does not make these bedroom recordings any the less engaging. Catchy tunes, sweetly delivered, stay with you as Jo Whitby combines folk and electronica to create a warm, snug sound.
2. Kiera Osment
Judge’s comments: The first thing I had to try to do with this one was verify that Kiera is in fact just 12. A slightly unusual entry for that reason, but Osment’s work stands up against that of much older artists with ease, a fully realised sound carried by a stunning voice.
3. Gibson Bull
Judge’s comments: He made my shortlist last year and in the time since has raised his game enough to make it once more even as the standards of the competition have gone up. Expanding to a full-band while losing none of the intimacy of his sound, Bull’s stirring vocals lead this track but it is the quality of the songwriting that stands out the most.
Gold Flake Paint
Judge’s comments: The guitars throughout are brilliant and it has a really catchy vocal melody. This is the only song on their page but it could fit right in alongside Alt-J and The Maccabees without anyone batting an eyelid. A really great debut single.
Judge’s comments: Lovely Errors-style synths with more prominent vocals. Really nicely structured, the build and layering is great. Would love to hear more from them.
3. Hey Sholay
Judge’s comments: The few singles they’ve released so far have all been pretty great indie-pop cross-overs. They’ve already shown that they have more than one trick up their sleeve and could prove to be a big cross-over hit if the circumstances are right.
Hot Cakes (Sim)
1. Josef Salvat
Judge’s comments: Great production that surprises throughout and he has a keen ear for songwriting. There’s only one track on his Soundcloud but it shows great promise considering his opener is this strong.
2. Osian Rhys
Judge’s comments: I don’t speak Welsh but the emotion Osian conveys through his songwriting is immediately apparent and quite beautiful.
3. Island Cassettes
Judge’s comments: It was hard to choose who to put in third but I can imagine seeing this band on a festival stage – catchy, great guitar and an all together summery vibe.
Hot Cakes (Oliver)
1. Kid Kin
Judge’s comments: Absolutely beautifully crafted post-rock/instrumental stuff. I had visions of this rousing a slightly worse for wear crowd. I’d be very interested to see the recorded tracks recreated in a live setting.
2. Katie Cruel
Judge’s comments: This track is dark and haunting but also incredibly memorable. Katie Cruel was one of the more innovative artists on my playlist. This track is crying out to be on the soundtrack of a futuristic, possibly post-apocolypitc western movie. That’s a good thing.
3. The Lottery Winners
Judge’s comments: This band will get people dancing. The musicianship is brilliant – reminiscent of 1980s a crop of British bands… like the Smiths or the Cure.
It’s All Indie
1. The Adelines
Judge’s comments: “Little Games” has got great hooks to it, and the combination of that and the vocals in the chorus makes this track sound really euphoric. The gentle vocals really make me love this song, as I’ve already said, the chorus is amazing, up there with the likes of Coldplay!
2. The Brightsparks
Judge’s comments: “Where Did She Go” from the off is a very upbeat track, with punchy guitars and great vocals they really remind you of the early General Fiasco songs. With the harmonies going on in the background this track has it all. A really great song by a band that loves playing music!
3. The Alexines
Judge’s comments: "Silhouettes": The track starts off with Editors style riffs and then disappears into a wall of guitars and thick bass. This one really gets your head banging as The Alexines most probability would want you to! The punchy chorus is a wash with oos and ahhs, it really brings the track together. They’ve got a great sound and I can see them doing well!
Just Music That I Like
1. Gerard and the Watchmen
Judge’s comments: Rich, restrained melodies and affecting lyrics. Heart-warming and truly beautiful.
2. Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker
Judge’s comments: "Done" A gorgeous blend of traditional folk and masterful instrumentation topped by a vocal radiant and clear. "Done" is sparse yet uniquely captivating.
3. Lillian Todd Jones
Judge’s comments: "Butter Soul" is a striking debut track, raw and passionate throughout it’s a rare track that is dark, intriguing and beautiful all in one go.
Judge’s comments: There were a lot of soul singers on the list, and I really liked that this was a little bit different, with Typesun being an excellent beat maker as well. When I think of a sunny (fingers crossed) saturday afternoon on the pyramid stage, this is what is playing.
2. Afro Cluster
Judge’s comments: Love the sound of the rapper’s voice, great instrumental too.
3. Almighty Planets
Judge’s comments: Just really catchy. They do a great cover of Wildfire by SBTRKT & Little Dragon as well!
Judge’s comments: Really great fusion of different influences can be heard throughout their music, which is easily accessible, and hugely catchy. Straight away I can imagine them really taking off in a festival setting.
Judge’s comments: Refreshing to hear a UK based hardcore metal band produce music which is clearly heavy, yet still maintains a clear edge of widespread appeal and integrity.
3. Esper Scout
Judge’s comments: An interesting variation on shoegaze rock, the female vocals stand out as do the guitar riffs. The appreciation to have longer tracks is also a welcome discovery with this band.
Music like Dirt
1. The Slow Show
Judge’s comments: The Slow Show have definite echoes of Nashville’s LambChop both in the "sitting back and sipping whiskey on the porch" laid back sound and the rich honeyed vocals.
They seem to have soaked up the heritage of the North of England with their beautiful use of brass instruments making them standout from the alt-country crowd. It’s as if the beating heart of the North East in its colliery bands were reformed just to provide the perfect backing.
2. Sky Valley Mistress
Judge’s comments: Its a tough competition and Sky Valley Mistress made it through becuase where many acts who had ONE great song, Sky Valley Mistress had consistently top notch tunes.
Consistency isn’t a sexy word to sell a band but for a new act to have 3 songs I’d gladly listen to on repeat is a fairly rare event.
Blues with the sound of the Black Belt region but born instead in Blackburn, Lancashire.
They’d fit happily in the CD racks alongside other proponents of the blues, like The Alabama Shakes, and the White Stripes.
Judge’s comments: If the Slaves make it to Glastonbury I’d recommend picking a vantage point a safe distance from the stage. I get the feeling their a band who come with a liberal amount of phlegm and a bruising mosh pit.
"White Knuckle Ride" is a visceral brute of a song from the Pistols meet the Hives rasping guitar riff to the Lydon rasp of the lead singers angry declarations to "Get me the f$%k off this rodeo". Uneasy listening.
1. Nadine Shah
Judge’s comments: Nadine Shah’s influences include Scott Walker, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey and it shows on this throbbing, atmospheric and downright frightening track she submitted called Aching Bones. The sparse piano and her croaky voice all add to the mystique of this track, which is part Portishead, part gothic horror sound track. Scary and beautiful music from this north East of England singer ,who has recently completed her debut album Love Your Dum and Mad.
2. Nudy Bronque
Judge’s comments: There were two things that leapt out when I heard this track Allsorts from Wiltshire based Nudy Bronque. The first is that their lead vocalist sounds like the late great Vivian Stanshall, of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band band fame. The second is that the track has been mixed and mastered by Colin Moulding, who given their Wiltshire location must surely be Swindon based Colin Moulding from XTC, another hero of ours. So I had a look through some of their other tracks and, yep, they are good as well. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band meets XTC; I don’t think influences can get any better than this for our website. It’s worth checking out their more upbeat tracks as well, especially Fond Of You.
3. Super Squarecloud
Judge’s comments: Super Squarecloud is a five piece act that bills itself as Maths rock. Even after a few seconds you can tell they are a little bit different on their very mathsy track Lolly Moon. The opening heavy guitar riff jerks in and out in time seemingly only with itself, while their vocalist Jo Ford sings sweetly over it. It jerks about a bit more, giving the listener no chance to even get an abacus out to calculate the rhythm. It’s odd, strange, beautiful pop that you certainly can’t dance to and is all the better for it. Great stuff, especially for fans of other innovative UK bands such as Free Swim and Special Benny. The three of them should tour together; it’d be one hell of a show.
Judge’s comments: Of all the bands that I listened to for the competition, these guys sounded the most assured and together.
2. Lily & Meg
Judge’s comments: Soothing country folk. Could see this working as a cure for sore heads.
3. Rayon Nelson
Judge’s comments: Unique mix of singer-songwriter and R&B vocals. Catchy hooks and a great voice.
1. Mt Wolf
Judge’s comments: Whilst not being what I’d usually look for in a band, Mt. Wolf are so good that it doesn’t even really matter what you’re ‘after’ when you start listening. A dreamy take on folk, with an almost tribal element to it, it’s difficult not fall deeper and deeper in love as you listen
2. Joy to Filth Ratio
Judge’s comments: Straight out of left-field – a classical take on trance by an extremely talent ensemble of musicians. Perhaps this selection is a little selfish, as I would love to catch these in a field somewhere this June – perferably whilst it’s sunny, please.
Judge’s comments: First of all, excellent name – of all the Rad puns to pick (Rad Pitt, Simply Rad etc), Rad Stewart is up there. The song is nominally about how Eskimos have a lot of words for snow, but it’s generally a mushy, lo-fi number – pretty much my sweet spot. Not falling for it would’ve been pretty much impossible.
Play Pause Rewind
1. The Thirst
Judge’s comments: When we announced our shortlist of six acts this band garnered well over a 100 comments on the site as well as having a real fresh indie/dance crossover sound having watched live videos they would certainly light up a festival stage.
2. Verity Susman
Judge’s comments: Totally different from anything else on our list i was blown away by this solo work from Electrelane’s front woman perfect festival fare
3. The Big V
Judge’s comments: There has been a lot of love shown towards the Big V since we featured them another band I had not previously encountered they epitomise all that I feel this contest should embody. The Song submitted is a truly fabulous body of work
Real Horrorshow Tunes
1. Saint Savanna
Judge’s comments: The Brighton trio’s electro-pop stylings really stood out from the crowd. "Balconies" may appear to be a concertedly subdued affair, yet crescendos beautifully alongside the lyrics’ more emotionally poignant moments. I can tell there’s a lot more in store from these three.
2. North Bay
Judge’s comments: Oxford’s North Bay previously released an incredible EP of demos on excellent indie Flatpack Recordings, with "Golden Years" amongst them. His melodically addictive and atmospheric sound really encapsulates the new and contemporary, which will undoubtedly enrapture future audiences.
3. Isaiah Dreads
Judge’s comments: This ambitious, genre-hopping, 15-year-old seems to have talent oozing out of him, each new artistic endeavour is handled with ease, and his track "Predator" showcased his love of grime, surely making him one of the most promising youngsters out there right now.
1. Arabella Sprot Quartet
Judge’s comments: In a world full of jazz-lite that sounds like it was done to soundtrack lifts and coffee chains, there’s something so refreshing and genuine about this Bristol acts approach to jazz. The title of the first track ‘A Cheeky Pint’ alone suggested something different, but here are people showing that actually being able to play your instruments is not a sin…especially when it produces something as wonderful as this.
2. Awkward Pride
Judge’s comments: A jazz standard which manages to convince. And I felt that whilst the weather at Glastonbury in June can be no more guaranteed than anywhere else in the British Isles, this song screamed ‘sun’ more than anything else.
3. Minnie Birch
Judge’s comments: Sea shanties?!? Oh why the hell not! This was the most original submission I heard. The form may be old, but the reworking of an old idea into something modern when folk traditions can so often get diluted defintely deserve a wider hearing. And why not Glastonbury for that?
Song By Toad
Judge’s comments: This was the one band I actually liked from the list, although it’s hard to tell much about just one song. I like the awkwardness though:
Judge’s comments: This lot were probably my favourite of the indie bunch – they make a good racket!
3. Pip Taylor
Judge’s comments: Alright, this is a bit silly, but I reckon it would be great fun at a festival:
Swear I’m Not Paul
1. The Daydream Club
Judge’s comments: Sometimes music doesn’t need to be extravagent or exciting. Sometimes simple is best. That’s exactly what makes the Daydream Club special, just guitar and vocals can be as powerful or as moving as a full orchestra – and when you have Paula Walker on vocals, you’re sure to be moved.
2. The Blue Choir
Judge’s comments: Dublin band The Blue Choir’s single is called ‘Get Ready for War’ and features a machine gun on the cover, while the music takes a while to load before it blitzes you with a full scale attack. Like the best crescendos of Coldplay or Elbow, this one builds to a rousing climax.
3. The City Apples
Judge’s comments: Straight-up rock still has a market in the 21st century as long as it is clever and offers something fresh. The City Apples are one of those bands that sound both timeless and exactly of their time, and are all the better for it.
Judge’s comments: Royal Wolf’: Trying to describe what it is that We/Are/Animal create, is certainly a difficult process. They’ve managed to cherry pick all these great sounds, whilst avoiding the trap of becoming a second-rate tribute act. That doesn’t happen often, and I commend them for that.
2. We Walk On Ice
Judge’s comments: One Fine Day Part II’: We really liked this track. Nice shoegazey, Dum Dum Girlsy feel to it. The video is spot on in terms of nailing those influences too.
3. We’re No Heroes
Judge’s comments: Ghost Coast’25/02/2013 It’s very reminiscent of foals – with that driving beat combined with the ‘mathy’ guitar. Enjoyable stuff.
The White Noise
1. Port Isla
Judge’s comments: “With a pop-take to modern folk music, Norwich’s Port Isla stood out from the other entries instantly. The fast-folk beats and wailing raspy vocals from the lead singer show a striking resemblance to the popular Fleet Foxes and catchy vocal melodies that could knock off any other band on today’s iTunes chart. The quality of songwriting and genius blend of musicality stuns me as to why they’re not grabbed by a record label yet, and the day they put out their first LP, I’ll be in line to click the buy-button.”
2. Mano’s Daughter
Judge’s comments: “The synth-pop duo of Sarah Carter and Matthias Garrick, Mano’s Daughter, caught my attention with their dark trip-hop track ‘The Machine’. The intro and verses are nostalgic of Massive Attack and Portishead past records with a heavy chorus harmonizing echoes of ‘Can we go back?’ that compares with other popular up and coming electronic duos birthing from Brooklyn, NY. I could definitely see this band playing on main stage or supporting tours with Polica, Phantogram or MS MR. A fantastic new find with a far future ahead.”
3. Mademoiselle Mademoiselle
Judge’s comments: “Describing themselves as a ‘fun pop band’, Mademoiselle Mademoiselle’s track ‘Drive Away’ fits perfectly with new indie bands such as Theme Park or Peace. Simple melodies and simple lyrics work so well in this infectious summer song. Put those glasses on in the festival sun with Mademoiselle Mademoiselle playing live just seems like a natural fit. Understandably, still a young band therefore other tracks I’ve listened to on their page are a little weak but if they continue with the style they’ve presented with ‘Drive Away’, this band is worth keeping tabs on.”
This Music Wins
1. The Romleys
Judge’s comments: Liverpool-based band The Romleys are bearers of brisk and heavily stylistic sub three-minute blues songs, which entertain an attractive uncaring and endearing confidence. “Jailboy” is characterised by its rootsy delivery and charismatic execution – but there is a vivid imagination poured into the production too – all the songs have the kind of errant charm and ramshackle rockabilly folk feel which is inescapably bound up with live performance – something which these recordings undoubtedly capture.
2. The Mourning Suns
Judge’s comments: The Mourning Suns latest track “A Cloud” – recorded as part of EMI/The Roundhouse’s 30/30 project for 2012-13 – is a stunning foray into the realms of sprawling, folk tinged rock music. Warpaint immediately spring to mind on first listen, as does a touch of the sinisterness of Esben & The Witch. But besides the gorgeous crunch and reverberation of the guitars, there is much to be said for the patience with which TMS both choose and subsequently develop their ideas; the realisations of which are refreshingly well-constrained and ineffably powerful.
3. Wild Swim
Judge’s comments: You’d be forgiven for assimilating certain aspects of Wild Swim’s delicate aura for that of Wild Beasts; much of the instrumentation is characterised by similarly soft textures and neat cyclical builds, vocals persistently hint at Hayden Thorpe’s distinctive operatic flair, and seamless transitions on newest track “Echo” from its eerie and contemplative beginnings into unsettling yet controlled chaos suggest, as with Wild Beasts, that an infinitude of future idiosyncrasies are yet to show themselves.
What’s the Ruckus
1. Pulp Disco and The Outcasts
Judge’s comments: I had quite a few electronic based acts in my selection, and these stood out to me as doing something different to the rest. I love the fact their music is influenced by Euro disco as well as by british based dance music as it gives them a unique sound that I didn’t hear elsewhere in the list. I also love the female singer’s voice on the track they submitted for judging.
2. St Somebody
Judge’s comments: I have to admit I expected this track to be just another indie track, and was ready to dismiss it as not being exciting, but then the singer’s voice kicked in and before I knew it I had listened to 4 of their tracks on youtube. I love the use of space in the submitted song, and am really excited to hear more from these guys
3. Stealing Signs
Judge’s comments: This song grab be me from the first few bars. It’s fun summer indie music that I can imagine dancing in a field to. But listening to the rest of their music on youtube they have some interesting variation in their music and definitely are not a ‘one trick pony’.
When You Awake
1. Sorcha Richardson
Judge’s comments: I Heart NYC: I’m digging the layered vocals.
2. Songs For Walter
Judge’s comments: Tougher Than a Soldier’s Boots: Nice indie folk with a poppy vibe.
3. Todd Dorigo
Judge’s comments: Bit on the side: This one’s a bit of a curveball, but the song is strangely catchy…retro, very tongue in cheek (and found myself humming it hours later).
White Noise Review
Judge’s comments: Never Let Me Go: This was by the far the most accomplished and professional dance track that I heard amongst the entries. The liquid DnB beat patterns worked fluidly with the shimmering synth textures (you’d normally hear these drum patterns accompanied by darker moods), and that lovely vocal sample was the icing on the cake.
Judge’s comments: Running w: Claws: This track really impressed me as well. Although not all that dissimilar from many artists pushing the dubious ‘future garage’ sound, for a newcomer it’s a very impressive piece of production. A good sense of musicality contributed a few winning melodies while the bass throbs reminded me of the work of producers like 123Mrk or Arkist.
3. Lee Sanderson
Judge’s comments: Ain’t Nobody: Although the straightest of my three choices, I chose this one simply because I thought it was the best dance track out of the selection. Sometimes simple is best, and I can imagine this hitting hard on any UK dancefloor. The Jersey house chimes and earworm vocal combine to make an irresistable package.