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FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: YOUR GATEWAY TO GLASTONBURY


Entry to Glastonbury Festival’s 2023 Emerging Talent Competition is open from Monday 30 January. The free-to-enter competition gives acts of any musical genre based in the UK or Ireland the chance to compete for a spot on one of the main stages at this summer’s Festival. To add to the kudos, there are also valuable Talent Development prizes sponsored by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation to be won.


You’ll find full details on my midweek post together with some tips on how to make the most of your entry.


Photo of Michael Eavis by Anna Barclay

Photo of Emmecosta by Haval Mulla Nazar


Now to this week’s music: here is a nicely chilled start to Fifty3 Fridays for you. Fully in harmony as night time meets dawn, post-club trio Emmecosta, comprising Antonio Claudio Pallone, Alfonso Fusco and Aldo Axha, has an interesting heritage. Originally from the picturesque cliffside village of Positano on Italy’s Amalfi coast but subsequently based in Sweden for the past seven years, two members have now followed their Italian roots back to Milan to operate along a Swedish/Italian axis. A debut album, Overnight, is in the offing, expected to land on 14 April. The album is previewed via a new single, “Effort,” released today and which I am delighted to premiere here.

Opening with plaintive acoustic guitar figures, “Effort” strikes a downbeat note as synth samples, ambient beats and delicate vocals interplay to craft an atmospheric haze. There is a flavour of early Bon Iver to the vocal layers in the band’s gentle ruminations on love found and lost, through a distanced lens. The accompanying video adds to this sombre mood as a lonely discarded bag trails across a deserted cityscape to finally meet its demise via a speeding car. Quite where the fish come in, I’m unsure but they were wise to depart before the traffic builds up as morning hastens.

Back in the UK, I was delighted to encounter Lincoln based indie-pop artiste Georgie Hanson via the good offices of Fresh on the Net. Georgie successfully navigated the Listening Post to be voted one of the week’s Fresh Faves. Her talents have already found favour with BBC Introducing East Midlands and Radio 2’s Jo Whiley. The song that introduced me to Georgie, “2AM”, actually premiered five months ago but she is currently working on a new song that will be out soon as a single and will play at a couple of events in her locality in the next few months.

Georgie tells me she wrote “2AM” when she was 21 and confesses that if you had told her that this track left sitting on an old hard drive for ages would feature on Radio 2, she wouldn’t have believed you. She wrote it at a time when she was struggling to put pen to paper, so she resolved to list out all her flaws and insecurities which in turn made it one of the easiest songs to write, she added with a note of self-deprecation. Despite the lyric put-downs, there is certainly a feel of liberation about this song as if she is exorcising her mind of such cares. Georgie has such a comfortably relaxed voice that she simply glides through the verses while she clearly has an ear for a captivating chorus. It’s a resolutely impressive piece of work from a promising young artiste. Oh, and I love The Smiths guitar too.

Another Fresh on the Net find this week was Gold Spectacles, the London-based songwriting and production duo of Amie Pendarves and Robb Whiteman. The pair take a DIY approach to music, describing its own work as baroque pop which draws on an eclectic range of influences from Paul Simon to Phoenix to Lykke Li. Their music brings electronic and organic landscapes together and alongside their artiste project, they write and produce for other acts, cutting their teeth with a number of Scandinavian acts and latterly on the UK emerging pop scene with Mysie and SOFY (“Strawberry Milkshake.”)

“How To Make A Million” is simply a masterclass in songwriting and empathetic production. Written, recorded and self-produced mainly in the duo’s South London studio, the song combines analog synths, interwoven guitar lines, a splash of mellotron and Amie’s warm and sincere lead vocal as the story of her father’s death following a motorbike accident in spring 2017 unfolds. As recently bereaved myself though in a wholly different context, I can particularly empathise with the hollow feelings, unfinished conversations, unforeseen guilt and can’t-quite-believe-it expectations of a return. To wrap these personal emotions in such a consummate piece of music that uplifts as much as it prompts reflection is some achievement. Gold Spectacles has an upcoming EP due in May 2023. Enough said.

It has been a while since we heard new music from Derbyshire-based lo-fi cinematic artiste James Eary aka Debris Discs. Looking back, I recalled that he chose this moniker as it reflected his musical practice of piecing together several small ideas to make a whole in the way that planetary debris provides reservoirs of material from which new planets might even form. Anyhow, James tells me he has been busy recording his debut album, Post War Plans, and has signed to indie record label Analogue Trash, who’ll be releasing it this summer.

“The Worst Sight That I’ve Seen So Far” is a particularly foreboding title for a song. Telling it like it is, the song is inspired by a letter James’ grandpa wrote to his brother during the second world war, following some fierce fighting in Egypt. “Despite laying in a hospital bed recovering from dysentery, his prose is extraordinary” James explains. Letters are still an important conduit for memories and maintain a connection with the past that might otherwise be lost. The words here capture the contrast between horror and beauty, draped in matter-of-fact humility. Musically, James employs his trademark arsenal of dusty synths, drum machines, effects pedals and a trusty old telecaster to create a worthy backdrop for his grandpa’s sentiments.

We close this week with late news concerned our East Midlands mates, The Happy Somethings. Well, late in the sense that I didn’t post anything at the start of January and the prolific trio’s latest recorded offering came out on New Year’s Day. Don’t they know it’s a holiday? No matter, the wonderfully and almost apologetically titled A Gathering of Sorts is an 8-track EP comprising two brand new songs with six older ones, packaged as a kind of, sorry, sort of early spring clean. It is available free, or to help fund future recordings, at name-your-price on Bandcamp now.

One of those two brand new ones on the latest collection is titled “Anglepoise.” Now, I have to say I am generally a 3-minute man myself song-wise and struggle with anything that doesn’t hit at least the 2-minute mark but I’ll make an exception for this one. There is something gloriously anarchic about it which contracts nicely with the Happys’ regularly melodic jingle-jangle sound (of which there is more on the EP). From the raucous reimagining of a Buddy Holly riff to the eccentric accordion sound that answers the riff in the middle section, all with Joy’s fulsome lead vocal echoed by the boys, you’ll be lit up by “Anglepoise.” Now to a discussion group in the corner of the Teacher Training College staff rest room where we will dissect those lyrics…





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FIFTY3 champions

outstanding new music

through Fifty3 Fridays and

occasional features 

 

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

UPCOMING GIGS 

 

Selected dates in the London area:

Thu 23 May: Jon Allen, The Bedford, Balham

Fri 24 May: Grace Cummings, The Lexington, London N1

Thu 30 May: Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Greenleaf  Church, London E17

Fri 7 Jun: Goat Girl, Disco Room - Pryzm, Kingston

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

banquetrecords.com: See the Events page for all live shows in Kingston

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