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On Wednesday Glastonbury Festival announced its headliners along with a goodly selection of other main stage performers. Cue the endless bickering on social media; no Taylor Swift, no Eagles… I am reminded of the John Lydgate adage later attributed to Abraham Lincoln that “you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.” The reality though is that all the tickets were sold before anyone knew who was playing and they could have been sold 5 or 6 times over and still not satisfied demand. So, if you ain’t wild about Coldplay headlining for a fifth time or don’t accept that SZA is “quite possibly the hottest hip hop/R&B act on the planet” it’s a bit like ignoring the menu, telling the waiter to bring you anything and then complaining about the food. No one is forcing you to watch on TV and if you’re going, you’ll love it anyhow so just be happy.


Well, I still have a soft spot for Coldplay, and that’s not an innuendo so don’t go there, and I was also delighted to see some names among those announced to date that I hope to check out in the fields in June. It’s quite a while since I saw Shania Twain at Wembley Arena, so I’ll include her Sunday afternoon Legends spot for sure. Cyndi Lauper, Alvvays, Avril Lavigne, Bombay Bicycle Club, Confidence Man, Corinne Bailey Rae, Declan McKenna, Dexys, Idles, The Last Dinner Party, London Grammar, Michael Kiwanuka, The National, Paul Heaton, Soccer Mommy and This Is The Kit also go on the nascent wish list.

Next week we should know who has made it through to the longlist via the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition so look out for a midweek F3F with news of who I chose and a playlist featuring all 90 acts who will be competing for a place in the grand final at the end of April. Meanwhile today’s issue is something of a catch up. We missed last Friday and our previous two editions focused on live reviews so the Inbox has gathered a wee bit of dust meanwhile. So here are a few choice tunes that came up on my radar over the past weeks.

Originally from the Romanian capital Bucharest, Iulia Tache aka Jewelia is now based in London, having swopped law studies for music to gain a degree in Creative Music Technology plus a masters in Audio Engineering no less. She writes and produces all her songs and has used crowdfunding to finance a debut album, a follow up EP and a new LP, Little Wins, due for release on 19 April. Taken from the album, her latest single “Loser” dispels any bad vibes that stark title might give off, with a bright pop melody and sparky vocal; an ode to procrastination and distraction rather than innate inadequacies. Jewelia’s album launch show is at The Lexington, London on 21 April.

Photo of Lissy Taylor by Paul Gallagher

Another young artiste making waves is Stoke-on-Trent rock singer-songwriter Lissy Taylor whose new single “Life Changing” is out today. An Americana influence runs through her music which stems from cutting teeth playing in music bars across America where she moved with her parents in 2015 before returning home. It’s still there in her energised drawl but home-grown rock is much more to the fore. There is a raw, impassioned edge to Lissy’s vocals as she kick starts a motivation-driven anthem inspired by her hometown and its people, their struggles and resilience to pull through. There could be a message for Stoke City FC in there too! Lissy will be playing the main stage at this summer’s YNOT Festival, opening on the same bill as Noel Gallagher. Maybe don’t mention the football?

I first wrote about Shropshire native Alexandra Leaving back in August 2020 via her single, “Backseat”, which channelled an imaginative late night cab ride. In those days Alexandra went under the name of Alex Jayne. The now London-based artiste has taken inspiration rather than a musical style from the Leonard Cohen song of that same name to usher in a new ID and a rockier, uncompromising edge to her music. Her new single, “Bite”, is a sharp riposte to someone whose game has been rumbled. Alexandra’s influences include the likes of Wolf Alice and PJ Harvey and there is a clear ‘bite’ to her vocal delivery that carries shades of those acts. She has an EP in the making and an identity that should make its incisions on the live stage.

Female artistes seem to have taken over today’s column. This could be because they are currently producing some of the most compelling music among independent and grassroots acts. A case in point is Bristol’s Emily Breeze whose single, “The Beatniks”, was voted one of last week’s Fresh On The Net’s Fresh Faves. The song is from Emily’s EP Second Rodeo which is available digitally with a physical release set for 12 April. It projects a larger than life character in line with an interview with Clash, where she described her aesthetic as drawing “influence from female Disney villains and drag queens.” Spanning a spoken intro evoking the days of beatniks (look ‘em up, ye Gen Z) over insistent synths, she spins off into pop punk territory aided by guitar collisions and tempo shifts which keeps everything excitingly on the edge. Her vocals are the icing on a real tour-de-force.

Photo of Molly Rankin/Alvvays at Shepherds Bush Empire in 2015 by Maja Smiejkowska

To conclude this week let’s pluck two names from that Glastonbury line-up we began with. Toronto’s Alvvays has (yes) always been a favourite band of mine and I had the pleasure of seeing them live at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and at a previous Glastonbury back in the day. “Party Police” from Alvvays’ splendid 2014 self-titled debut album is one of my favourites and the moment when lead singer Molly Rankin’s voice cracks an octave (3:21 on the video) just seals it. She does it live too.

So, Coldplay then. “Viva La Vida” is from the 2008 album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. I chose it today as I can still hear the crowds singing the chorus after the band’s 2011 Glastonbury headline set. I also got lost trying to make my way out of a throng largely heading in the opposite direction which seemed to extend the sung chorus mentally into a full-blown opera. I always thought this song was about Tony Blair but what do I know. Maybe one of the 896 million YT viewers might like to comment.


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outstanding new music

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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.


In the past 15 years I have written for leading US music website  Consequence and breakthrough  site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have reviewed the festival for both sites. I am now pleased to curate my very own music site.


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

Tony Hardy



Selected dates in the London area:

Fri 7 Jun: Alexandra Leaving/Frankie Morrow, The Waiting Room, London N16

Sat 8 Jun: Bat For Lashes, St John's Church, Kingston

Sun 9 Jun: Blanid, The Black Heart, London NW1

Mon 17 Jun: The Mysterines, St John's Church, Kingston

Thu 20 Jun: Charm of Finches, The Lexington, London N1 See the Events page for all live shows in Kingston


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