Archive | April, 2020

Glastonbury Festival 2021 Emerging Talent Longlist Revealed

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Glastonbury Festival 2021 Emerging Talent Longlist Revealed

Posted on 29 April 2020 by Joe

The Covid-19 pandemic saw this year’s Glastonbury Festival, like so many other major events, cancelled.

Nevertheless the event’s Emerging Talent Competition is continuing, with this year’s top prize of a main stage slot instead transferred to next year’s event.

Earlier this year music writers, including Neonfiller co-editor Joe Lepper, had selected three acts each for the 90-strong long list for Glastonbury 2020 before lockdown was announced.

Now the Glastonbury Festival has revealed details of how this year’s competition will pan out mid-lockdown, with Glastonbury Festival 2021 in mind.

As usual, this year’s 90-strong longlist will be whittled down further to a shortlist of eight acts. But due to social distancing measures there will be no live finals at Pilton, near to the event site, ahead of the festival.

Instead the judges will select a winner and two runners up from the eight shortlisted acts, based on the videos and music links they have provided. The shortlist will be announced in the week commencing May 18th.

Festival organisers have confirmed that the winner will be given a main stage slot at Glastonbury Festival 2021, which will take place in June 2021. In addition, they will receive £5,000 Talent Development prize from the PRS Foundation. The two runners up will receive £2,500 PRS Foundation prizes.

“At a time when the live music industry is on hold, and upcoming artists are not able to get out there and showcase their talents, I’m so pleased that we’re still able to shine a light on the best new acts in the UK and Ireland through the Emerging Talent Competition,” said Festival organiser Emily Eavis.

“I’m hugely looking forward to hearing the 90 acts on the longlist – and I really hope that lots of others will listen and choose their favourites too.”

Listen to all 90 longlist artists.

Neonfiller.com’s three selections

Good luck to all those longlisted acts especially the three artists chosen by Neonfiller.com.

These are:

The Covasettes, who pack a punch, drawing you immediately into their catchy melodies and unique take on guitar pop. Live they look they can more than handle a Glastonbury main stage crowd too.

Maphe was picked by us for her ability to perfectly build up her music, which is full of soaring, catchy choruses. Her track Fire instantly appeals and she also impressed with her live clip submission, for I’ll Break Your Heart (Nicely) – a mean song delivered with a wicked smile. A star in the making?

North of England trio The Elephant Trees are full of infectious energy, especially with their submitted track Idiot. They are more than a little reminiscent of the Go Team!, producing indie pop you can dance to. They already look like they would feel right at home on a Glastonbury main stage.

by Joe Lepper

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The Sinclairs – Sparkle

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The Sinclairs – Sparkle

Posted on 24 April 2020 by Joe

What kind of music will we be listening to post lockdown?

As we emerge from our cacoons and our routine of one walk a day will we want something slow and dramatic? Or will want something fast and furious to reflect our new freedom? Will we go back to the future and crave sci-fi B-movie style synths?

I like to think the answer may well be all three, which is exactly what is on offer in the debut from The Sinclairs, formed by Damned drummer Rat Scabies and Jesse Budd, aka Billy Shinbone, from Flipron and guitarist with Neville Staple’s band.

Armed with his trusty Gretsch, Budd’s picking, reverb and tone is on top form here and works well with Scabies’ punk nouse and drum pounding.

This instrumental though is not just another Ennio Moricone tribute album, its got a New Wave twist too with added electronica. This places it firmly in the sci-fi soundtrack territory that the early B-52s achieved. This is especially in reference to their ‘Duane Eddy on Mars’ guirarist, the late great Ricky Wilson and his uniquely tuned surf’s up Mosrite.

There’s lots to like here, especially the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-like Lipstick Rumble. Rat’s drums are particularly pounding here.

For the more guitar twang numbers then opener La Venta sets the scene well. Half Way Round Your Dreams is another guitar high point – odd, quirky and Western.

Meanwhile, Plimpton 322 is for those that love a spooky sci-fi theremin.

Could this be the soundtrack for our odd Covid-19 lockdown times as well as being a post pandemic party album? I’m probably spending too much time indoors and my brain is becoming warped, but I’m very much in the mood for some science fiction meets the harsh reality of a Western film plot.

8/10

More information about The Sinclairs can be found here.

by Joe Lepper

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The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

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The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

Posted on 24 April 2020 by Joe

For the first time in almost two decades Mountain Goats songwriter and frontman John Darnielle has returned to the Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox that served him so well through his early career.

Not since 2002’s All Hail West Texas has this trusted electronic collaborator been dusted off for a Mountain Goats release. Why should it with a stellar band assembled for recent releases and tours, including bassist Peter Hughes, Superchunk drummer John Wurster and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas?

But the sonic scope of last year’s In League With Dragons or another beautifully produced album, 2011’s All Eternals Deck, is simply impossible as Covid-19 locks us down.

Darnielle has instead gone back to his lo-fi roots, pressed play, stood the boombox on one end to avoid a faulty click, worked on a song a day and produced a great album for our isolated days.

Songs for Pierre Chuvin is based on the French historian Chuvin’s book A Chronicle of the Last Pagans. This is Darnielle’s inspiration across a collection that feels that each is written as if a sweeping string section or melancholy set of horns should be heard.

But stripped back it does admirably, showcasing what Darnielle has always done – writes good lyrics with good melody. That’s it. Simple. That’s all you need for a good song.

And on Exegetic Chains we have one of the first great lockdown songs. Is that now even a genre? Take these  lyrics for example:

Keep the chains tight

Make it through this year

…if it kills you outright.

Other highpoints include second track Until Olympius Returns, where he venomously vents at hierarchies, whether pagan temple dwellers or perhaps referring to the politicians mishandling the current crisis. It also features a great “yeah”, which I always like to hear.

There are further parallels across this collection to the pagens’ constant threat to life and the Covd-19 fearing set of online communities we have become. Here we are adjusting to loneliness and blotting out the full impact of those dying alone in hospital.

Digital and Cassette

Songs for Pierre Chuvin is released digitally but also as a cassette in the US. This physical form of the album sold out swiftly with a third edition of a further 2000 copies underway. If any are left over they will be sold at future gigs.

The digital release too is proving popular, especially here in the UK. After its first day it had reached number seven in the album charts, solely on digital sales.

While this is very much a solo album, his bandmates and the whole team of people that rely on income from the Mountain Goats are firmly on his mind. Proceeds of this release will go to them.

8/10

By Joe Lepper

For more information visit The Mountain Goats bandcamp page.

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Seazoo – Joy

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Seazoo – Joy

Posted on 06 April 2020 by Dorian

Joy is Seazoo’s second album, their first being critically acclaimed and award nominated back in 2018. We loved them at Indietracks last year and we’ve been looking forward to this album ever since. The band had  a string of live dates in support of the album planned and things were looking pretty promising for them.

Then, like for everyone else, the rug is pulled out and the world gets put on pause. The album gets a delayed release and when it does come out there are no record shops with it on the shelves, and no live dates to support it. Luckily things like Bandcamp exist and people can mail order, or enjoy the album digitally, but the current climate does take the shine off the release of one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard this year.

Seazoo Joy

This is straightforward indie guitar pop, and I mean that 100% as a compliment, it is music that I love and Seazoo do it with aplomb. This is a band that knows how to write great tunes, can play and has an accessible and immediate sound. That doesn’t mean it isn’t sophisticated, there is enough of an identifiable sound, and enough in the production, to keep things interesting.

Things bounce in from word go with ‘The Pleasure’ and really don’t let up until 10 songs and 33 minutes later. It’s such a breezy pleasure that things fly by, even considering the moderate run time.

Mid way through there is a nice change of pace as ‘Throw It Up’ cranks the volume up a bit. Two of my favourite moments on the album are this and ‘I See Beauty’ when the band let go a little. That isn’t to say the lighter stuff in’t good, it is just nice that they vary the textures on the album. In fact ‘Heading Out’ may be the fluffiest bit of pop on the whole album and it is an absolute, well, joy.

I’m looking forward to being released and getting to see the band play in the late Summer/early Autumn (hopefully the former). Until then I think I’ll let this be the soundtrack to an indoor Spring and I urge you to as well.

8/10

By Dorian Rogers

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