Archive | March, 2019

Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 long list revealed

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 long list revealed

Posted on 21 March 2019 by Joe

The 90 acts vying for a main stage slot and a £5,000 prize in the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 have been revealed.

The successful acts were chosen by 30 music online music writers, including Neonfiller’s Joe Lepper. Each writer selected three acts, with Joe picking singer-songwriter Laura Goldthorp, Brighton band Roma Palace and London jazz pop act Saachi.


Songs submitted by the acts can be found via the Glastonbury Festival website.

The acts will now be whittled down to an eight-strong shortlist, who will compete in a live finals next month in Pilton, near to the festival site.

Main stage prize

The winners will earn a main stage slot as well as a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize. Two runners up will also each be awarded a £2,500 from PRS for Music Foundation.

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun

Previous winners have included She Drew the Gun, who scooped the prize in 2016 and impressed recently during their UK tour. Declan McKenna is another notable winner, signing for Columbia shortly after winning in 2015.


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John Howard – Cut the Wire


John Howard – Cut the Wire

Posted on 15 March 2019 by Joe

It’s not often that reignited 1970s singer-songwriter John Howard gets compared to the late great Mark E Smith’s band The Fall. In fact this may well be the first time.

But John Peel’s quote about each new release by Smith and co is particularly apt here as Howard’s albums are also “always the same, always different”.

What is always there is his songwriting prowess and wonderful vocals, preserved during a two decade or so hiatus between his aborted 1970s career and his recent comeback. The defiant sense of independence in the stories he tells is also present.

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But each time there’s a difference. On 2012’s You Shall Go To the Ball we found out that his home recording skills included an expertise in creating trippy soundscapes. On his John Howard and the Nightmail collaboration with Robert Rotifer, Ian Button and Paul Weller’ bassist Andy Lewis, he added a strong slice of 1960s pop to the mix. And on Across the Door Sill a delicacy of touch in production came to the fore, on this largely vocals and piano release.

His latest, Cut the Wire, though sees Howard create a collection with a far greater focus on his 1960s and 1970s influences. The result fits wonderfully somewhere between the Beach Boys and English whimsical pop.

French Likely Lads

Opener So here I go, with accordion intro and playful pop, sounds like the perfect theme tune to a French version of The Likely Lads, should Probablement les garçons ever be made.

In contrast, Pre-dawn sees Howard at his most McCartney-esque., with strings and Eleanor Rigby feel.

Becoming is one of a number of perfect pictched melancholy piano ballads that are pure Howard before the album goes full Wilson brother tribute towards the end. On We are Howard’s admiration for Dennis Wilson is clear for all to hear and will please those, like this reviewer, who consider 2012’s revisting of The Deal as one of Howard’s finest moments

Nod to the Wilsons

Brian Wilson gets a solid nod and a wink on the penultimate track of Cut the Wire Jean Genet Just Imagined. This and We are are perfect together and showcase how far Howard’s production skills have come.

To finish it off he simply eases out a six minute epic Long Since, as you do.

Cut the Wire’s extra focus on paying tribute to classic pop maestros of the 1960s and 1970s adds something more into the mix for fans and looks likely to attract new admirers too.


by Joe Lepper


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She Drew the Gun – The Fleece, Bristol ( February 28, 2019)

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She Drew the Gun – The Fleece, Bristol ( February 28, 2019)

Posted on 01 March 2019 by Joe

The last time we caught a live set from She Drew the Gun was at the 2016 finals of the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Contest.

Singer and songwriter Louisa Roach’s stage presence and beautiful vocal performance, combined with political lyrics aimed firmly at disaffected youth, ensured their victory.

She Drew the Gun's Louisa Roach

She Drew the Gun’s Louisa Roach

On the evidence of their sold out show in Bristol, She Drew the Gun have clearly put their prize of a £5,000 development grant from PRS for Music Foundation and the kudos of a main stage slot at the festival to good use.

Now their live set is bigger and bolder. The political edge has increased, unsurprisingly after three years of the grimmest current affairs imaginable, from Trump to Brexit. The sound is also fuller, with an extra guitar added and the synths made chunkier. They also have  far greater command of the stage, with their latest visual show really adding to their live set.

Revolution Of Mind

Poem, the song that so impressed ETC judges was great. But the real highlights came from their second album, last year’s Revolution Of Mind.

This offers a great range of tracks that are even better live, with the 1960s guitar pop of Something for the Pain sounding even brighter and lead single Resister even more powerful and edgy.

She Drew the Gun 3

Best of all was Wolf and Bird, which has a Portishead feel to it and is shaping up to being a live highlight of their set for years to come.

Speaking of 1990s influences, the encore included an excellent version of The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony. This somehow fitted perfectly among, what Roach refers to as, the band’s main business at hand – producing “three minute deconstructions of capitalism”.

Support for She Drew the Gun included a blazing set from Warrington’s Man and The Echo, another act with a strong political edge.

By coincidence we also saw them live back in 2016, when they impressed supporting Billy Bragg in the Leftfield Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

Man and the Echo

Man and the Echo

Here they showcased some fine new tracks such as Capable Man as well as older songs, including Operation Margarine and I Don’t Give A F**k What You Reckon. We thought they were a great live band three years ago and they are even better now, with echoes of the likes of XTC, Fatima Mansions and Teardrop Explodes throughout their confident and fun set.

By Joe Lepper


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