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Glastonbury Emerging Talent – Acts To Impress So Far

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent – Acts To Impress So Far

Posted on 17 February 2017 by Joe

For the fifth year running I’m spending February helping the Glastonbury Festival organisers unearth some new talent as one of 40 music writer judges involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition.Glastonbury2017

Over this month I’ll be sifting through around 100 tracks and video clips of UK and Irish acts to find three to put through to the next stage in the competition – a place on a 120 strong long list.

This will then be whittled down further to a short list of eight acts, who will compete at a live final at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April to win the top prize of a main stage slot at this year’s festival.

The winner also receives a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize to help develop their career and two runners up will receive £2,500 from PRS.

As with the previous three years I like to focus on some of the acts that have caught my ear so far during judging and are in contention to become one of my three.

Here are some that have grabbed my attention so far.

Palm Honey

Every now and again the British indie scene needs a pick-me-up and Reading’s Palm Honey are just the band to do it.

This psychedelic pop quartet are full of fuzzed up fun and buzzed up ballsy rock and offer something for everyone with their self titled style of “experimental, alternative, noisy, psych-gaze pop”.

Their soundcloud clip of the track I Can Try impressed me and then when I saw their video for the single You Stole My Blackout I was hooked.

Already they’ve earned national attention with the Guardian writing about them and this week BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens played their track ‘Stick the Knife’ to further boost their profile.

Nicholson Heal

Bristol based singer songwriter Nicholson Heal is at home playing with a brass wielding six piece as well as on his own with just his guitar and beautiful voice. There are obvious comparisons to the likes of Elliot Smith but for me he is most akin to Canada’s Woodpigeon.

His is one of the most impressive entries I’ve heard across the five year’s I’ve been involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. Love that brass section too on the track Lacuna.

Oxygen

There are a fair few The xx influenced bands around but Maltese siblings Kurt and Katia Abela, aka Oxygen, stand out from the pack with their polished carefully crafted take on dramatic pop. With songs written by Kurt and composer Janelle Borg they list Ed Sheeran, Broods and Daughter among their influences and are proud to wear their heart on their sleeve, “due to the intense emotion they portray in their music”, so says their PR blurb.

Where so many acts of this ilk fall down is to overplay the emotion. But Oxygen’s understated delivery and seemingly genuine passion for the music shines through. A very good Glastonbury Emerging Talent entry.

by Joe Lepper

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Introducing… Eyelids OR

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Introducing… Eyelids OR

Posted on 25 January 2017 by Dorian

We’re not really introducing Eyelids OR (or just Eyelids in their homeland) as we have been going on about the band for some time.

We reviewed their debut album 854 back in 2014, and we’ve been raving about their subsequent single releases ever since.

However the band have just announced their first ever UK dates, supporting Drive-By Truckers, so it seemed to be the perfect time to catch up with the band’s songwriters, Chris Slusarenko and John Moen, to find out a bit more about the band.

You have been playing together for years. How did you meet?

JOHN: Chris and I met as young guys playing music in Portland. I moved to town in 1986 just after graduating from high school. Our bands played together here and there, but I especially remember being introduced by the cartoonist, Joe Sacco at a cafe. We were both skinnier then. I was bleaching my hair to stand out, and Chris wore a beret. I think we were both carrying satchels full of poetry.

Why Eyelids? (and how do you come up with band names? How do you top Death Midget?)

CHRIS: Well Death Midget was born out of innocence and teenage years. Plus it was the era of Butthole Surfers, Killdozer… So it fit our mess. To tell you the truth I’ve rarely got to name a band I’ve been in and I always thought Guided By Voices was one of the greatest band names of all time so it was special to be part of that. But names are tough… Eyelids (with an Or attached for our home state of Oregon—blessed on us via Tim Burgess of The Charlatans UK) just seemed to sound like our music a bit. A bit hazy, a bit eye-opening… It so weird when I stop to think about the word “eyelids” it just starts to fold in on itself… Once you’re the name you rarely stop to think of what it means anymore… it just becomes you.

Eyelids

You’ve both been in the background in some great bands, How do you feel about being the front-men?

JOHN: I think it’s terrifying, but it’s also kind of hard to resist. It seems there’s a fine line between “rocking-out” and looking like you’re about to die. Chris does most of the talking, thank goodness.

CHRIS: I can’t help the banter!!! Singing with Jonathan and John is easy–they come up with great ideas and I’m always surprised to hear harmonies. All my earlier bands never had them!!! Argh…so nice to have finally! And since John and myself both sing and write the songs it’s a nice back and forth between us live as well. I do like to rock out and look like I’m going to die so I’ll take that position for the band…everyone else can look cool. I’ll sweat it out…!

I first came across you from your work with Robert Pollard in Boston Spaceships. He’s a ten album a year kind of guy. How do you keep up? (Both in the recording and the drinking)

CHRIS: Well you just gladly jump in. Part of Bob’s work ethic definitely had an effect on John and myself and was the reason that we both realized we worked really well together. Since Bob would send us a cassette of him singing and playing guitar John and myself had to quickly help create the album he wanted (knowing full well there was another EP or LP or double LP breathing down your neck right behind it). I really wanted to go back to way early GBV worked. Not letting the “band” know the song very well and just get inspired takes before over thinking it. That has kind of flowed over into Eyelids where often the first ideas we play over someone else’s song tend to be the ones we use. Just letting your mind and fingers drift… none of us are what you’d call smoking guitar players but we do love our riffs and hooks. As many as we can pile on we will. And in terms of releases with the upcoming RSD 7” we’re doing with Gary of the Cribs singing lead and the full length in May that will be 5 7”s, a 12” Ep, and 2 full lengths in under 3 years… not too shabby. And we have 4 songs already finished for our next EP as well.

854 was one of our favourite albums of 2015 (and 2016 when it came out in the UK). How do you follow that on your second album?

CHRIS: This is actually the only second album I’ve ever made that I’ve been a principal songwriter in besides The Takeovers albums I did with Bob (Chris performed and wrote all the music, Robert Pollard sang and wrote lyrics). So it’s kind of abstract to think about what a 2nd album means for us. The first album was made with John, Jonathan and myself as a recording project/dare. But after we put a full band together to play the songs live a different character came into it as well. The EP we did after 854 reflects that pretty well. It rocks a little more but still has that weepy quality that I like. The new album was the first one where all 5 of us were there from the beginning and it was pretty exciting to hear that. For example I was playing a new song to everyone called “Moony”. It’s kind of a pretty looping type feel. But then John and Jonathan started adding this cool Television type interplay and Paulie and Jim were playing this XTC Black Sea area drumbeat and I was so happy. My simple little phrase all the sudden had an unexpected life pumped into it.

Peter Buck is producing for you, how did you come to work with him?

JOHN: Peter moved to Portland several years ago, and he is very generous with his time and talents. We are connected through Scott McCaughey who played in REM, and was instrumental in helping my first recording/touring band, Dharma Bums. Scott produced that bands first record and encouraged us in many ways. Peter has played guitar on a Decemberists record, as well, and he would come into Chris’s video store fairly often, where they got to know one another. Also, Chris was pretty heavy into the REM fan club in the old days. I believe he and Peter corresponded. All that to say, we are huge fans and we had to ask him to produce!

CHRIS: Yeah I wrote to R.E.M. right before Murmur was released and Peter was kind enough to write back. We wrote back and forth about 3 years after that. They’d send me reject photos, weird old posters, chronic town t-shirts that were bootlegs. Very generous. He told me they always wrote to anyone where the hadn’t played yet figuring someone in NY or Chicago would find their way. But at the time they were thinking “what the hell is Portland?” Then we re-connected as adults and it’s been a great friendship. And in terms of producing you really want to do well when he’s in the room! No waste ya know!!! He’s got great ideas and he’s been great to work with.

You also have a Record Store Day release with Gary Jarman of The Cribs on vocals, how did you come to pick him for the track?

CHRIS: I’d written some music for Robert Pollard to sing over called The Carbon Whales. It was a fake UK Post-Punk band—like a lost EP that he released. Gary heard it and said it was so convincing and true to the spirit of the original era—he loved it. So when we wanted to do another Record Store Day 7” I wanted to do something that would stand alone. So many RSD releases these days are live tracks or reissues. I wanted something that was made specifically for this event. So we thought it would be cool to have a Gary and his intense Wakefield accent sing lead on both tracks. He’s got such an amazing voice and delivery. It was perfect. I wrote the songs as I would have when I was 17. Kind of innocent but full of confidence. The lyrics I banged out really quick too. Then we all just played on it and had Gary come in and it became a real thing. The 7” is called Eyelids Meet Gary Jarman.

Eyelids Live

Your dates with Drive-By Truckers are your first gigs in the UK. What should we expect from an Eyelids live show?

JOHN: Jet lagged American imperialists, of course! Ha. We are a rock band trying to play pretty… Sounds terrible, right? I really don’t know… I’m sure we will be a bit giddy to be playing with the Truckers(amazing!) in such killer venues. As a band, I think we are good at enjoying the moment together, and that energy( along with the songs that we are quite proud of) translates as a good time to those watching and listening.

CHRIS: I never get tired of playing out and to finally get to play these songs overseas will be incredible. Live I think we’re pretty kick ass so hopefully people will be ready for the songs to be amped up a bit. Pretty and loud. Also I’m a total anglophile in terms of music, film, books… For instance we’re doing an in-store at Rough Trade Records and to me as someone all the way over here on the West Coast of the U.S. it still makes me flutter my eyelids… can’t help it…

If you had to sell Eyelids to someone who had never heard you play before, how would you describe the band?

JOHN: I often dream of not being a salesperson… but, if cornered, I would say that we are a melodic rock band that wouldn’t mind being thought of as an (inclusive) art project. We are strong enough that your weird uncle won’t think we suck, but are soft enough to remind you of that rare house cat that will allow you to stroke its belly. There you go.

CHRIS: What he said.

Chris and John were interviewed by Dorian Rogers

Tickets for the band’s shows with Drive-By Truckers are available here.

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2017 Competition Launches

Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2017 Competition Launches

Posted on 24 January 2017 by Joe

Details of this year’s Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition, where thousands of acts compete to win a prestigious main stage slot at the event, have been announced.

For the fourth year running Neonfiller.com’s Joe Lepper will be among the 40 music writer judges, tasked with whittling down the entries to a 120 strong longlist.

A panel of judges, including festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis will then choose eight long listed acts to take part in a battle of the bands event in April in Pilton, Somerset, near to the festival site at Worthy Farm.

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The winners of this free-to-enter competition will win £5,000 talent development prize from the PRS Foundation  as well as a main stage slot at the 2017 event. Two runners-up will receive £2,500 from the PRS Foundation. For the last three years all eight shortlisted acts have appeared at the Festival.

Acts from any musical genre can enter the 2017 competition FOR ONE WEEK ONLY from 9am Monday 30th January until 5pm Monday 6th February 2017 via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun

The 2016 competition was won by Merseyside band She Drew The Gun. Previous winners include Declan McKenna, who was signed by Columbia after winning the accolade in 2015.

To enter acts need to supply a link to an original song on Soundcloud and a link to a video of themselves performing.

Emily Eavis said: “New music is at the very heart of what we do here at Glastonbury. The Emerging Talent Competition has become such an important way for us to find the next wave of talent from across the genres, and then help to shine a light on it. I’m really excited to hear this year’s entries.”

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

Posted on 29 December 2016 by Dorian

We recently published our Top 20 Albums of 2016, but this only reflected a section of the amazing songs that came out this year.  There were great albums we missed, albums that just missed out and songs that came out on single this year. So, as a bit of an end of year bonus, here are the best songs of 2016 that didn’t feature in our end of year album list.

16. ESP Ohio – Royal Cyclopean

It wouldn’t be Neon Filler without a Robert Pollard track, and this horn driven gem from his latest collaboration with Doug Gillard is one of his best this year.

15. The Wedding Present – Rachel

There are rumours that this year’s Wedding Present album may be there last, if that is the case then they are finishing on something of a high.

14. Childish Bambino – Me and Your Mama

Donald Glover is a successful comic actor, the face of the young Lando Calrissian and a Grammy award-winning singer, sickeningly talented.

13. The Shins – Dead Alive

The Shins releasing a song that sounds like they could have recorded 15 years ago may not seem that exciting, unless you think early Shins is about as good as music gets. Which I do.

12. Allo Darlin’ – Hymn on the 45

Allo Darlin’ sadly called in at day in 2016, but just as they played their final shows they released one last single. A final document, if nothing else, of why they’ll be missed.

11. Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Car Seat Headrest is the work of Will Toledo, this year’s bespectacled indie geek de jour. The album justifies the hype this time around.

10. The Avalanches – Subways

The new Avalanches album may not be much of a step forward given the huge gap between this and their debut recording, but there were enough good songs to make it worth a listen.

9. Parquet Courts – Human Performance

The New York band have been releasing consistently great music since they broke through with Light Up Gold in 2012. The title track from their latest album shows them in almost subdued mode.

8. Angel Olsen – Shut Up and Kiss Me

2016 was a bit of a breakthrough year for Angel Olsen, her 4th LP getting a lot of attention and radio play. This track showcases as much fuzz-pop as folk and is a bit of a break from the softer country vibe she’s associated with.

7. Case/Lang/Veirs – Best Kept Secret

Three of the best vocalists in country-pop come together and, unsurprisingly, the results are great.

6. Okkervil River – Judy on the Street

Every two or three years Will Sheff’s band release an album and they all range from good to excellent. This track from Away is no exception to the rule.

5. Teenage Fanclub – Thin Air

More than a quarter if a century in and Teenage Fanclub can still produce some of the best melodic guitar pop around.

4. Girl Ray – Trouble

One of the best bands that we saw at Indietracks this year and one of the bands to watch out for in 2017.

3. Field Music – Disappointed

Due to its release at a busy time we sadly didn’t get round to reviewing Field Music’s excellent 2016 album Commontime. We still loved it though and can assure you it was a typically excellent release from the Brewis brothers. This was a single and one of the best tracks.

2. Luke Haines – Smash The System

Smash The System saw Haines revisit some of his previous themes, with a number of nods to his Baader Meinhof album. The Monkees references in this song are confusing but welcome.

1. Eyelids – Slow It Goes

Eyelids didn’t have a new album out in 2016, that is coming next year, but they did release this song and showcased what we can look forward to. Excellent video as well.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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Best Albums 2016 – Neonfiller’s Look At The Year’s Best Releases

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Best Albums 2016 – Neonfiller’s Look At The Year’s Best Releases

Posted on 14 December 2016 by Joe

After taking some time in June to list our favourite albums so far this year, the time has come to reveal our Best Albums of 2016.

The surprise alternative pop album of the year has not budged from its number one slot, but our extended end of year list has given us the chance to add a further 10 albums to our selection.

There are a few more veteran performers here, but also plenty of new bands with some stunning debuts released this year.

It may have been a horrible anus  in terms of politics and the death of iconic legends but 2016 was still a great year for music. Sit back and enjoy our Best Albums 2016 list.

20. Picture Box – Songs of Joy

 

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Robert Halcrow uses his brand ‘wonky pop’ to take you on a tour of the lesser known nooks and crannies of his home City of Canterbury, in Kent. The demise of its speedway team, its smelly former tannery and a pet fish shop are the stars of this thoroughly eccentric look at small town England. Read the full review here.

19. American Wrestlers – Goodbye Terrible Youth

 

wrestlers-2016-pressphoto-evan-cuttler-wattles-650

The brain child of Gary McClure, once of Manchester band Working for A Nuclear Free City and now living in St Louis, this new act’s debut album earns a deserved spot on our list for its personal subject matter and catchy hooks all blended perfectly together with lashings of distorted guitar. Read the full review here.

18. Robert Rotifer – Not Your Door

 

robert-rotifer-not-your-door

Not Your Door is a deeply personal album for Robert Rotifer, taking in his present life living in Canterbury, Kent, as well as his past, growing up in Vienna. But with its themes of family and the very notion of home it aims to resonate with many. Its post Brexit release also offers a thoughtful alternative view on EU relations. Read the full review here.

17. Rapid Results College – In City Light

 

cover

Rapid Results College is such a great name for a band, cemented in modern urban life with tongue firmly in cheek about its pressures, pace and pitfalls. Their debut album left us enthralled, taking in influences such as XTC and their keen focus on melody, all channeled through some of the cleanest production you will hear all year. Read the full review here.

16. Southern Tenant Folk Union – Join Forces

 

joinforces500

After the ambitious Chuck Norris Project of last year, in which the Edinburgh folk collective used film titles by the rightwing actor to protest against his politics, their latest album goes back to basics. This has a more traditional sound, focusing on their bluegrass and Celtic influences, but still with plenty of politics and above all heart. Read the full review here.

15. Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are

 

Robert-Pollard-Of-Course-You-Are

Incredibly, this is now the 22nd solo album from the hardest working man in music and proves another high point in an illustrious career. Read the full review here.

14. Bob Mould – Patch the Sky

 

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Third album from the former Sugar and Husker Du man’s most settled line up for years. The key to its success is its ability to tackle the tough issues of life in the most fun way possible, as Mould’s rage and melody once again combine perfectly.  Read the full review here.

13. Woodpigeon – TROUBLE

 

woodpigeon

Heartbreak, loss and a globe trotting meander prove the powerful inspiration for Mark Andrew Hamilton’s latest album. Beautiful and inspiring. Read the full review here.

12. John Howard – Across the Door Sill

 

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This may just be the best album to date by John Howard, the 1970s singer songwriter who is enjoying a renaissance in recent years as an independent artist. His time capsule preserved vocals are in abundance here thanks to some sumptuous layering to create an entire choir of Howards backed simply by piano. Beautiful. Read the full review here.

11. Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart

 

 

martha

Many bands have trod the well worn path of capturing the pains of being young within three minute, fast paced pop songs, complete with guitar solos and rousing sing-a-long choruses. But no one does this quite like Martha. This collection from the north east of England act is another deserved entry to our end of year round up. Read the full review here.

10. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

 

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Like an extended rock jam, taking in science fiction, monsters and, naturally, some awesome guitar riffs this is another stellar release from the Australian psych rockers, with a little help from some robots and a gigantic wasp. Read the full review here.

9. Dressy Bessy – King Sized

 

Dressy Bessy Kingsized

Fabulous return from a six-year break for the US act. This works particularly well by merging their beefier pre- hiatus sound with the pop nous that made their early work so infectious. Read the full review here.

8. The Wave Pictures – Bamboo Diner in the Rain

 

wave-pictures

Underneath what may very well be 2016’s crappiest album cover lies this year’s best blues LP, as The Wave Pictures take their fascination with American blues to new levels. Read our full review here.

7. Papernut Cambridge – Love the Things Your Lover Loves

 

papernut

Former Death in Vegas man Ian Button and crew have created their very own 1970s pop band. Full of fuzzed up guitar riffs and stomping rhythms there would have been plenty to satisfy the charts back in the day, especially the album’s title song, and its best pop tune, Radio. Read the full review here.

6. Darren Hayman – Thankful Villages – Vol 1

 

ThankfulWeb

One of Hayman’s best pieces of work and possibly his most important, preserving the oral history of the relatives of those who survived the horrors of the Great War as well as paying tribute to the village life these soldiers left and thankfully returned to. Read the full review here.

5. Emma Pollock – In Search of Harperfield

 

pollock

Childhood memories and the toils of adulthood mix wonderfully on the former Delgados singer’s latest album. With the track Parks and Recreation she has also created one of the best songs of recent years. Read the full review here.

4. Arborist – Home Burial

 

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Imagine a colliery band on tour of the Appalachians and I guess you are somewhere near this sound conjured up in this stunning debut from the Northern Ireland based act, that also features The Breeders Kim Deal on vocals. It’s Americana, but not like you’ve heard it before. Read the full review here.

3. Free Swim – Life Time of Treats

 

Free Swim

Free Swim’s Paul Coltofeanu is a silly chap, that’s why we like him. We’ve already been enthralled by his collection of quirky EPs but here, on the act’s debut album, he joins forces with chum David Turn to  take the charm up a few notches. Ray Mears, air drumming, Neville Southall’s moustache and angry internet sensation Gordon Hill are among the cast of stars that Paul and David encounter. There’s some fine music here too, which shows they are no mere novelty act. Read the full review here.

2. Evans the Death – Vanilla

 

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On album number three London act Evans the Death have upped, shredded, beaten up and garrotted the ante. It’s full of rage, the guitars are heavier than before, the vocals fiercer and the ambition turned to stadium sized proportions, with a brass section and even a funky bass added to the mix. Incendiary album from what very well be Britain’s best rock band. Read the full review here.

1. The Monkees – Good Times

 

The Monkees - Good Times

The comeback to beat all comebacks. Originally planned as merely something to sell on their 50th anniversary tour this album has ended up grabbing the headlines in its own right. With Fountains of Wayne man Adam Schlesinger at the helm, a stack of lost demos to dust off and new tracks from talented Monkees fans such as Andy Partridge and Ben Gibbard, Good Times both pays tribute to their place in 1960s pop history and creates a great, modern day indie and alternative pop album in its own right. A well deserved number one slot. Read our full review here.

Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far was compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Top 10 Songs From 1991- One Of Music’s Best Ever Years

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Top 10 Songs From 1991- One Of Music’s Best Ever Years

Posted on 04 December 2016 by Dorian

This year is widely seen, even as it continues, as being one of the worst years in history.

Political upheaval, bloody conflict and ecological collapse are all themes of the year, as is celebrity death. The latter has been particularly true in music with a number of musical legends leaving us this year.

It has also been a year of notable musical anniversaries with loads of excellent albums celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, or 25th anniversaries.

Most notable to me has been the number of great albums from 1991 that celebrating a quarter of a century this year. It may be my age (I was a music obsessed 19 year old in 1991) but it is striking just how many amazing records were released in that year.

Among the albums released were debuts by acts as varied Blur, Mercury Rev, The Smashing Pumpkins, Orbital, 2 Pac, Massive Attack, St. Etienne, Pearl Jam and Mr. Bungle. Julian Cope, Throwing Muses, Dinosaur Jr, Uncle Tupelo, Slint, KLF and Talk Talk all released albums that were arguably their career best during the year.

The best of year lists for 1991 read like those “100 albums to hear before you die” books with Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, REM’s Out of Time, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Nirvana’s Nevermind all hitting the shelves of HMV and Virgin.

It also marked the release of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque, an album that doesn’t get talked about as much today but beat all of the above to be voted album of the year by Spin magazine, and is one of the albums that I always go back to.

So here, in honour of its 25th anniversary, is a selected Top 10 of 1991.

10. Pixies – Alec Eiffel

9. Talk Talk – Myrrhman

8. Mercury Rev – Car Wash Hair

7.  Slint – Good Morning Captain

6.  Dinosaur Jr – The Wagon

5. Throwing Muses – Counting Backwards

4. REM – Half a World Away

3. Julian Cope – Beautiful Love

2. Uncle Tupelo – Watch Me Fall

1. Teenage Fanclub – Alcoholiday

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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Preview: Together The People 2016

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Preview: Together The People 2016

Posted on 23 August 2016 by Dorian

In less than two weeks Brighton holds the sophomore Together The people festival in Preston Park. The two-day event is similar to London’s Field Day, taking place in a city park without fields and campsites associated with most festivals.

Neon Filler attended the 2015 event, and the enjoyed range of music on offer from the fledgling festival, with Brakes, Public Service Broadcasting and the Super Furry Animals being amongst the highlights.

We’re even more excited about this year as a genuine musical legend, Brian Wilson, will be descending upon the park to play Pet Sounds in full! It is worth noting that the beach Boy’s legends other UK shows are either sold out (London) or cost as much for a ticket as the whole Saturday at the festival (Southend-On-Sea).

Together The People

Sunday brings another act that, although whippersnappers next to Wilson, have been around for 27 years; Suede. The band may officially hail from London but singer Brett Anderson and bassist Mat Osman hail from West Sussex making this something of a homecoming gig.

Across the weekend a wide range of interesting acts are set to play with Gaz Coombes, Songhoy Blues, M. Ward and local favourite Chris T-T being top of our must-see list. Another interesting act, albeit one we approach with some trepidation, is Peter Hook & The Light. The recent works by New Order have been a surprise success so we will see what the bearded bass-player brings to covers of his former bands back catalogues.

Families are well catered for (Lazytown Live is top of our list) and a range of food stalls and other attractions are promised across the site.

Visit the official website at http://www.togetherthepeople.co.uk/tickets/ to get day and weekend tickets.

By Dorian Rogers

 

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Indietracks Festival 2016

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Indietracks Festival 2016

Posted on 20 August 2016 by Dorian

Friday

As with our last trip to Indietracks we underappreciated the length of the journey from the south coast up to Derbyshire. Traffic jams for most of the route meant that by the time we’d pitched tent and set up for the evening that we’d already missed one of the three acts playing on the first evening.

Indietracks

Simon Love was in full flow at Indietracks Festival 2016 when we arrived on site, in the midst of a set heavy on tracks from his most recent album. Love does seem a little distracted, but puts on a  good show replete in white suit shirt and tie. It’s an irreverent, fun, and slightly shambolic set to start the weekend.

Simon Love

Simon Love

The Spook School have established themselves as Indietracks’ stalwarts since I first saw them play way back in 2012. They are as engaging as ever, although the many distractions of the site see me moving from shed to train to bar and back during their set. They’re an intriguing band with a lot to say, quietly spoken between songs and outspoken within them. Although they’re sound is primarily spiky pop punk there is a real variety to the mood. Some songs are really pretty downbeat, but that doesn’t stop them playing ‘The Vengabus is Coming’ as an encore.

Spook School

Spook School

Saturday

The first full day starts wearily; we camped far too close to the disco tent. Sleeping through a rowdy singalong of ‘The Hymn for the Cigarettes’ isn’t possible. A midday walk around the site followed by an invigorating ride on the miniature railway sweeps some of the cobwebs away.

Beard

Dirtygirl start things off in an “interesting” way, they are pretty ramshackle and don’t seem quite ready. There is a rawness to the band that I appreciate and an honesty to their songs, it isn’t for me. Vaccaciones from Spain are more like it, but also pretty ramshackle I have no idea what they are singing about but I like the sound of it and their senthusiasm seems to drag some sun from between the clouds.

In the Church Wintergreen get an immediate few marks on the obscure instrument bingo-sheet by having an Autoharp and harmonium on show. The bands start is delayed by a lot of tweaking to their set-up, and more endearingly by their violin player still being on the train. Indeed with harmonium and melodic also on the stage they are close to a full house. The band sound pretty good and remind me of a more classically English Efterklang. The only problem is that even with the extended set-up they don’t seem t be able to get the sound set-up quite right. The set breaks down half way through and the band do start to lose the audience a little. One to revisit on record I think.

Wintergreen

Emma Pollock on the other hand gets the sound rust right for her early evening set. The songs from her excellent new album, In Search of Harperfield, sound appropriately punchier live and it proves to be one of the sets of the weekend. Great songs and years of live experience prove to be the magic combination here.

Emma Pollock

Emma Pollock

Although Saint Etienne are the official headliners it is obvious that The Lovely Eggs are the band that the Indietracks crowd want to see most. The crowd is huge and rightly enthusiastic about the duo’s set, They play a nicely dirty take on indie pop punk and the audience goes wild.

Lovely Eggs

The Lovely Eggs

Even though the outdoor crowd is always a bit less rowdy than they are in the train shed, they seem pretty excited about Saint Etienne. They play a pretty great set high on hits, a well chosen selection of album tracks and not too many new songs. There is a lot of comfortable cosiness about them these days, but they are still a pretty great pop band and a fitting end to the day.

Saint Etienne

Saint Etienne

Sunday

Due to the unusually dry weather Indietracks 2016 for me is all be about the open air. So after a brief watch of City Yelps we head out again to get a seat on the grass for Witching Waves. The band play a fairly typical indie punk set, but there is thing wrong with that. They have some really good tunes and their on-stage nervousness is endearing. Wanderlust hits again halfway through the set though as we head for our (only) train based gig. Sadly we don’t get to see the band as some people (cheats!) were already on board and it fills up sooner than promised. Our photographer did get a place so he enjoyed Gavin Osborn and the rest of us had a pleasant train ride. The report came back that he was pretty brilliant, so one to catch in the future.

Gavin Osborn

Gavin Osborn

The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy have nice instrumentation and arrangements but a tendency to be rather dreary, a lot of which is down to the slightly flat vocal style. We go to watch Girl Ray as part of a rare venture indoors and well worth it. Tuneful vocals and catchy tunes are what I’m looking for and they deliver that perfectly.

Back in our place on the grass Haiku Salut seem perfect in the late afternoon and have a very strong sound. The second time Efterklang have come to mind this weekend, plus a bit of the Yann Tierson thrown in. No festival singalongs here but some very beautiful atmospheric music (Possibly the prize for most instrument changes also).

Darren Hayman arrives on stage in power trio format and takes no time to pillory Bill Botting for forgetting a bass strap. It is a well structured festival set and Hefner make an appearance as early as song 2. It is beautiful stuff with a number of recent songs from the  Thankful Villages and Chants for Socialists albums. A sore throat seems to cause Hayman a few problems but performing ‘The Hymn For The Cigarettes’ as the last song shows he knows how to play a festival.

Darren Hayman

Darren Hayman

I remember Comet Gain but don’t really remember their music, and noting in their set sounds familiar to me. I really like the overall sound, but I struggle to really get into the set without any familiar reference points.

Comet Gain

Comet Gain

Watching the last steamroller can crush of the weekend and stroking the tiny owl do mean arriving late for The Aislers Set. They’re another band I know little of, but I can tell they are a band I would have loved if I had discovered them first time around. It would have been nice to have had a band I was a fan of finishing the weekend, and you can’t fake that feeling.  But on the night they sound pretty great and seem like a pretty decent Indietracks finale.

The Aislers Set

The Aislers Set

So ten down and hopefully many more to come. There is nothing quite like Indietracks and it still holds the prize for being the friendliest and most relaxed musical event of the year.

Words: Dorian Rogers | Pictures: Nic Newman

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Record Label Focus – El Paraiso

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Record Label Focus – El Paraiso

Posted on 28 June 2016 by John Haylock

As the UK sadly prepares to wave goodbye to Europe it is to other shores we go and specifically Denmark to look at a pair of latest releases from the small but perfectly formed El Paraiso label.

Launched in 2011 by Jonus Munk and Jakob Skøtt it is a direct outlet for their psych rock band Causa Sui as well as acts and projects that “are related in spirit”, according to their website. It is also “all about eco-friendly high quality vinyl”, the website adds.

The label now has a small coterie of diverse and dynamic noisemakers including Papir, Sun River, Brian Ellis Group and Monarch amongst others.

landing

The first of the two latest releases that have impressed us is Third Sight by Landing, from New Haven, Connecticut, who have been creating undulating hypnotic walls of ambient sound for the last two decades.

Third Sight has four relatively long tracks in which they take you on a leisurely stroll through the gardens of your mind. These soundscapes are delicate washes of electronica where gentle rhythmic beats appear slowly out of the mist and languidly morph into solid forms before dissipating back into the electronic ether before you can say ‘Brian Eno, peace be upon him’.

This is never more evident than on the superb opening track Delusion Sound, which over the space of thirteen minutes becomes a transcendent life affirming piece of work, with a gentle riff and barely heard voices. It is one of the best things I’ve heard all year and is almost equalled by the 14 minute Morning Sun. More trippyness than you can shake a stick at.

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While Landing are a gentle breeze, Mythic Sunship, who specialise in melting your brain with instrumental jams that ricochet around your brain like a cranial pinball machine, are a howling gale.

On Mythic Sunship’s latest release Ouroboros there are three huge tracks of  paint stripping guitar heaviness, deeply mesmeric and tremendously exciting. None more so than the suitably titled Behemoth, which clocks in at a head spinning 24 minutes.
Think a more restrained Acid Mothers, a more tuneful Samsara Blues Experiment, and a more contemporary Spacemen 3, mix them all up, add an extra bucketful of fuzz and voila… a deliciously heavy banquet of a debut album.

By John Haylock

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European Referendum Top 10

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European Referendum Top 10

Posted on 22 June 2016 by Dorian

This week will see the British public voting in a referendum to decide whether to remain part of the European Union or not. We are a music site, not a political one,  so we aren’t here to influence whether you vote in or out and we will remain impartial.

However, if you are voting and not sure which way to jump, perhaps our European Referendum Top 10 will help you to decide.

British Sea Power – Waving Flags

Immigration is a hot topic in the European debate. British Sea Power take a more welcoming stance than many “Oh welcome in” they sing.

Bis – Eurodisco

“The party’s at its end” sing Scottish popsters Bis. Is this an unlikey foreshadowing of the end of our relationship with the EU?

Allo Darlington- Europe

A British band with an Australian singer performing a song about Europe in Vienna. If that isn’t an endorsement of freedom of movement I don’t know what is.

The Divine Comedy- Europop

“It’s taken time but I’ll think you’ll find that everything is alright” sings Neil Hannon. Is he singing about the European project? Probably not.

Guided By Voices- The Littlest League Possible

This song is about independence and being a big fish in a small pond. Will the UK be better off as the only fish in a small pond?

Billy Bragg – There Is Power In A Union

Billy isn’t a European Union enthusiast exactly but he is voting remain, so that seems reason enough to see this as an endorsement of a different kind of union than it was originally intended.

The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Stay of go? That is the big question. And this is the laziest song choice on a fairly lazy list.

Phil Ochs – Love Me I’m A Liberal

Liberals get a lot of bad press from both sides in the debate. Phil Ochs had a similarly disparaging view back in 1966.

Gruff Rhys – I Love EU

Gruf Rhys is pretty clear when he sits in the debate and this is his “official” pro-remain anthem. I’m sure that there are Brexit songs out there, but I suspect they aren’t very good.

Roxy Music – A Song For Europe

I have no idea where Bryan Ferry stands on the Europe question, I suspect he is closely monitoring any potential effect on his share portfolio. Former Roxy Music colleagues Brian Eno and Phil Manazanera have both come out in favour of remaining however. Read into that what you will, this is an excellent song whichever way you look at things.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

 

 

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