Archive | April, 2019

Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 Finals

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 Finals

Posted on 29 April 2019 by Dorian

After a two-year gap to let the fields and staff re-energise, Glastonbury Festival is stretching its legs and travelling its unhurried route towards the end of June. The Pyramid stage is clad; resale tickets have sold out (in the customary few minutes);  and the live finals of  the Emerging Talent Competition has awarded its £5,000 PRS Foundation grant and its coveted main stage slot at arguably the world’s most famous music festival.

Roma Palace

Roma Palace

The Emerging Talent line-up is always diverse and rarely puts a foot wrong providing great performances.  The variety makes getting into the judges heads tricky, but if there is a trend in recent years we have seen more MCs in the final, without any yet breaking through to win top spot.

Like the last event, in 2017, when Josh Barry’s vocal performance enticed the judges’ ears, this year they went for another stand-out singer. However the judges: Michael and Emily Eavis, representatives from the PRS, Glastonbury’s seasoned bookers, plus BBC Radio’s Huw Stephens – favoured a more melodic voice this time around, with Marie White clinching enough votes to take top spot with her two bitter-sweet compositions.

Aided by songs that suited the slightly subdued crowd that comes with an early start, Marie coped well with being first up. Tracey Chapman comparisons were made as part of her introduction, and her performance was authentic and moving. The tone and delivery of the second song ‘Out of time’ bears comparison with one of Adele’s tales of heartache and longing.

My personal on-the-night favourites were LIINES and Che Lingo. LIINES are in the middle of supporting Sleaford Mods, and are surely making fans with their challenging post-punk bursts. Extra points to them for rocking the “double-black Gene Vincent for the new millennium” look.  Che LIngo didn’t disappoint, he was charismatic and confidently owned that stage. At times he picked up the baton that Dizzy Rascal dropped a while back, and “Same Energy” had attitude to spare and unexpected layers that touched on A Tribe Called Quest.

The two representatives from the West Country are both well equipped to fill bigger venues. Iiola followed Marie White with another powerful vocal performance. The song ‘Sickly Sweet’ has a chorus to stick in the head and got the crowd bobbing; whilst Bristol’s Swimming Girls – the first band to fill the stage – added some polish and indie pop/rock to the night. They have some Simple Minds pomp and singer / bassist Vanessa has a distinctive delivery, a healthy sneer, and a hint of Ciccone. Clearly experienced and gig-ready, their sound is waiting for an anthem to take hold.

Whilst remaining totally unbiased, the first Neon Filler pick to make it through the final – Roma Palace – did themselves enormous credit. Their infectious guitar-led indie had echoes of Blossoms early outings, and entwined influences from beyond the shores of their current Brighton home.

Everyone is a winner on a night like this so Yamaya and Shunaji – get honourable mentions for their respective afrobeat fusion and jazz-influenced hip-hop outings. Both these acts chose to showcase just one song in their sets which left me, and possibly the judges, wanting to hear more to get a more rounded view of their repertoire.

Another good night to see some of the musical talent from across the nation and I for one will look up at least four of the acts at the main festival in June. Still no Hip Hop / MC winner though, but Flohio from the 2017 final is proving that just getting to the final can be enough to herald a growing career.

Words and pictures by Matt Turner

For more information about the competition and live final click here.

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Martha – Love Keeps Kicking

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Martha – Love Keeps Kicking

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Dorian

When I first saw Martha play at Indietracks about six years ago they didn’t make a huge impact on me. Don’t get me wrong, they were great, it was fun and the crowd loved them, but I didn’t come away with a strong picture of what kind of band they were. I certainly never suspected that they’d later produce an album as good as Love Keeps Kicking.

Martha Love Keeps Kicking

Listening back over their albums it is clear that they started good but get better and better with each release. The previous two albums were great, with some excellent stand-out songs, but on this release they’ve raised the bar and produced an album that hits home with very track.

They play a power-pop-punk that has a lot of American influences, Ted Leo springs to mind, but they bring some real personal sensibilities to the songs. I think that most of the band contribute vocals and they all sing in their own voice, no fake American accents on show here. This gives their songs so much more personality than if they’d embraced the affectations that so many British bands playing this kind of music fall foul of.

Lyrically they wear their heart on their sleeves, these are open and honest songs that don’t shy away from the personal, or the difficult, issues around love and relationships. It is a difficult line to walk but Martha, like so many of my favourite bands, manage to balance these lyrical themes against some really uplifting and energetic music.

If you want hear some great hooks, some blistering playing and some lyrics from a young band with something to say then you could do a lot worse than heading to your local record shop, or the their Bandcamp page, and picking up this release.

9/10

By Dorian Rogers

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Finalists Revealed

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Finalists Revealed

Posted on 03 April 2019 by Joe

We are delighted to announce that Roma Palace, one of our three long list entries for the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition, has made it through to this month’s finals.

“Brighton based Roma Palace impressed us with their fresh take on indie pop and rock, with a slice of blues thrown into the mix,” said Neonfiller co-editor Joe Lepper, who is one of 30 music writers to help compile the 90-strong longlist for this year’s competition.

Roma Palace

Roma Palace

“The band’s strong vocals and a pop sensibility, reminiscent of the likes of Phoenix, further add to their appeal.”

Commiserations to our other two choices, Saachi and Laura Goldthorpe, who also submitted very strong entries, as well as the other long-listers who missed out.

Roma Palace will now compete with Che Lingo, iiola, LIINES, Marie White, Shunaji, Swimming Girls and YAMAYA in a live finals on April 27.

A playlist of tracks from all the finalists can be found here

The winner will earn a main stage slot at this year’s Glastonbury Festival a well as a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation.

Two runners up will also each be awarded a £2,5000 PRS Foundation prize.

by Joe Lepper

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Robert Rotifer – About Us/They Don’t Love You Back

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Robert Rotifer – About Us/They Don’t Love You Back

Posted on 01 April 2019 by Joe

Robert Rotifer’s latest is one of those while you were out collections , offering up versions of two recent, less conventionally released albums you may have missed.

In both Brexit looms large – with his love for Britain and Europe and crucially a Britain in Europe the key emerging theme.

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The first of this two disc collection from the Austrian born, long time Kent resident  is an English version of his his 2017 German language release Über uns.

This is a calming friend of an album, with gentle guitar picking backing his melancholy take on a Britain that is departing Europe. We Have Lost, which opens the album perhaps best exemplifies this.

As for his love for Britian, this comes across most strikingly on Westgate Towers, which features some of the most beautiful parts of Canterbury, where he and his family have lived for many years. Who would not want to lie in the sunshine in the gardens surrounding the Westgate, after listening to this?

They Don’t Love You Back

The second album, They Don’t Love You Back, sees  last year’s  77-minute long stream of consciousness, charity release about Brexit converted into a more straight forward release with separate tracks.

A detailed review of They Don’t Love You Back can be found here. If you want to take advantage of the separate track listings to dip in, we recommend the first Psychedelic folk opener and the title track (track 10).

With a 16-minute medley of They Don’t Love You Back at the end of About Us added on, there are plenty of options to choose from when listening to Rotifer’s most recent work.

Speaking of options, as I write MPs are set to vote on yet another range of Brexit possibilities. As the right wingers and centrists alike step into the lobby I can only hope that the real, human side of Brexit, as featured on these two albums, is considered.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information visit Robert Rotifer’s Bandcamp page.

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