After listening to more than 1,600 entries, the judges have chosen the following 11 acts to go through to the live Emerging Talent Competition finals, where they’ll compete for a main stage slot at this year’s Festival. Click here for details of the 10 acts who’ll be competing in a public vote for the 12th slot at the finals.
Providing the soundtrack for a sleazy post-Skins party with dirty electronic rhythms, gritty lyrics and sweaty dance moves, Bunny Come, from the wilds of South London offer an infectious, swaggering groove that mixes wild party times with a more surreal early morning comedown.
Dizraeli And The Small Gods
Featuring a slam poet turned songsmith, Dizraeli and co layer, insistent acoustic guitar riffs, shuffling drums, the occasional beatbox and almost spiritual choruses behind some often ironic hyper-intense wordy rapping, breaking for a melodica here, a crashing bottle there.
Ellen And The Escapades
Dragging the folk rock and psychedelic pop of the late ’60s into the present, Leeds-based Ellen And The Escapades sound like a youthful Kirsty McColl, with clever, catchy pop songs and some reeling melodies, not to mention the occasional harmonica.
Family Machine swerve from distinctive lo-fi melodic pop to twangy guitar-powered psychedelic musing. With dangerously hummable tunes and a knack for a chorus, the Oxford quartet play songs that you’ll swear you’ve heard before, infiltrated by strange sounds and ultra sharp hooks.
Let’s Buy Happiness
The far-off hinterland of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne never sounded so wonderfully floaty and ethereal. Let’s Buy Happiness deliver escapist theories and the gorgeous vocal of Sarah Hall on some vintage indie pop that’s every bit The Sundays at their very best, with reverb guitar for texture.
Sounding like the result of ingesting a huge record collection in one sitting, Southampton’s Montage Populaire are ambitious songwriters whose sharp verse/chorus constructions are littered with arty twists that offer snatches of Bowie, Los Campensinos and early Blur high on Syd Barrett.
Hailing from East London, with a penchant for melodramatic keyboards, and chunky guitars, My Luminaries already won a slot at the Queen’s Head when they were chosen from over 600 early bird entries. Their melodic guitar-laced anthems have also proved powerful enough to get them into the main ETC final.
The Phantom Light
Ethereal, slow-paced dream pop from a Swansea trio whose floating syth and echoey guitars with some other worldly vocals fall between vintage ‘50s Phil Spector wall of sound, reverb-drenched shoegazing and emotive Mary Chain at their most haunting.
The Secret Cinema Band
Centred around the soulful croon of Laurent Francis John, The Secret Cinema Band have the key to melancholy and moody yearning. Using a selection of odd sounds – bass violin, electronic toys – to add flavour to their emotional tunes, they produce epic moments with undeniable hooks.
There’s a trip hop groove holding this Leeds trio together with some witty conversational raps laid over evocative guitar and insistent rhythms. Their songs sound amazingly familiar and the mid-paced shuffle and warm vocal make Tiger Shadow feel like an old friend it’s good to hear again.
Tom Williams And The Boat
Tom Williams’ lyrics are like the script for a nervous speed dater, itching to tell the world all about, well, everything. Set over well-groomed tunes that rattle with piano, sax and violin, like Springsteen if he was brought up in Kent wrestling with new technology and inner demons.