For the fourth 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 .
Over this month I’ll be sifting through around 130 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.
Bloke on beach makes an incredible sound by hitting his guitar strings. That’s immediately a little different. Then the voice from this Welsh singer songwriter, called Thomas Seddon who goes by the name Luna Tides, comes in, which is great. Then came the clincher for me – it’s a song that kept rattling around in my head days after listening.
Unusual rhythms, squelchy keyboards, great vocalist all with a dark bunch of lyrics elevate this four piece from Southampton above the usual indie rock fare. I certainly wanted to hear more after hearing this brooding take on romance.
There’s a nice laid back folk feel to this track Bella from singer songwriter Josh Savage, who as a child was a soloist touring the world with the National Children’s Choir. The addition of violin on this track reminded me a little of Ra Ra Riot.
Indie-poppity pip, pippity-pop. Like finding an old Chesterfields cassette down the back of the sofa this London four piece are firmly rooted to C86 indie pop, with some lovely guitar interplay to boot. This feel good track plus their intriguing listing of Magic Johnson as their genre certainly grabbed my interest.
Sink or Soar
I love a good epic sounding baritone fronting guitar pop and Wit, the vocalist for this trio, certainly fits the bill. With BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson already interested they are another act that shows strong potential to put in a good live set at Glastonbury.
by Joe Lepper