FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND


In an attempt to impose some discipline on the writing process and get some new music out there more often than has been my wont, Friday seemed as good a day as not to begin; Friday 29 May in particular as it ties in with the release of a simply stupendous song, “Café Disco” – the first single from the forthcoming debut album, Hopefuls, by the excellent Leeds fourpiece, The Harriets, due out on 24 July.

I first came across The Harriets last year when a demo of “Café Disco” jumped out at me from my list of Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition entries. Here’s what I wrote down at the time: “I challenge you not to instantly fall in love with “Café Disco” and The Harriets. This is a song to take you straight back to youth – whether recent or more distant – in a kind of marriage of the best of Belle & Sebastian and Squeeze. A great live band too!” Sixteen months later, “Café Disco” sounds as fresh and sharp as ever, now fully realised and skilfully mixed and mastered by Pete Maher (Nick Cave, Lana Del Rey, Pixies). I hope you’ll find it ‘just the place to stay.’

Photo of The Harriets by Iona Skye

Continuing the Glastonbury ETC theme, I wonder quite how you are getting through breakfast without Sophie Morgan’s Marmalade. Sophie was one of my three ETC 2019 picks along with The Harriets and Truly Ford. Her latest EP, though released in March, now seems perfectly in tune with the kind of weather the UK is currently blessed with. You almost don’t need to view the idyllic Provencal setting of the fragrant video that accompanies the title track; the song itself takes you there while Sophie Morgan’s rare vocal tone has never sounded sweeter. What’s more, you can even order a jar of Sophie’s delicious sweet Orange Marmalade along with the EP here.

Turning to Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2020, two of my chosen acts have dropped new music in the past week. The London-via-Devon trio, Tors, has a bright new single out, “All My Friends” which, at 2½ minutes long, is all tune and no padding. The band takes its name from the granite outcrops on Dartmoor, where brothers Matt and Theo Weedon used to climb in their youth. If the surname sounds familiar, their grandad was the legendary guitar player, Bert, famous for his ubiquitous guitar manual, Play in a Day, which set many a star of the sixties on their road to stardom. With an impressively expanding repertoire, Tors should not need to wait in line too long either. Check out the new track here.

Meanwhile epic alt. rock n’ pop outfit, The Lunar Keys, has followed up the immense “Dreams are Never Spoken” with an equally enthralling track, “Dance with Me”. A song for our current times, it channels the pent-up nervous energy in lockdown when you just crave the freedom of movement and music. The accompanying video cleverly welds footage from the band’s last live gig with some lockdown mania and a dancer! The band says it is busy working on the bones of the next three songs which promise next level stuff. Can’t wait!

Friday is a big day for releasing music and probably the busiest day for Inbox overload. One that popped in recently and seemed to capture again the lockdown moment when you just need your spirits lifting was “Favourite Feeling” from Welsh country act, Hawthorn Avenue. The harmonious duo of Laura Benjamin and Marcus Gumm seem to have cornered the in-black look but this tune is a departure from some of their darker self-penned material. Living for the moment is a well-worn theme but we all need a bit of positively right now. Let’s face it, who can resist a banjo opening either.

FIFTY3 champions

outstanding contemporary music through news, album reviews, features, live reviews and interviews. 

 

Music is a great passion of mine. In my teenage years I was an avid record collector and concert goer. Stints as a booking agent, running folk clubs, promoting gigs and even a crack at artiste management followed. While it never became my main occupation, music was always on my personal radar.

 

Over the past 8 years I have written for the leading US music website Consequence of Sound and breakthrough act site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have regularly reviewed the festival for both sites.

 

Nothing gives me more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. You’ll find many of them on this site alongside some legends of times past and I hope they will bring you as much joy as they give me.

 

Tony Hardy

UPCOMING GIGS 

 

Covid-19 has rather put paid to them but may I commend:

Mondays at 8pm: Cressida Ford's Almost Acoustic Show on Radio Scarborough

 

Wednesdays at 6pm: Hattie Briggs - live stream on FB & Insta

 

Daily on Twitter: Tim Burgess' Listening Party

Anytime for great live sets: KEXP's YouTube channel 

banquetrecords.com: Kingston store may be physically closed but please support online. Check out live streaming shows too!

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