How the years do roll on. I think back to 2018, the first year I properly attempted a ‘Best of…’ Spotify playlist as opposed to a conventional year-end Mixtape. The former suffered from me not knowing quite when to stop adding tracks. The latter offered the built-in discipline of limiting the number of songs you could include to, say, 18, before the disc was full. That meant tough choices but more chance of keeping the listener onboard. I had long since abandoned the medium of cassette tapes, although in recent years they have made a limited if rather quirky comeback. Anyhow, along with Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s “Asking for a Friend” from its exceptional album, Wapentak, probably my favourite so


How faithful are you? Keeping up with musicians whose work you love is always the intention but less often the reality. The ephemeral nature of music makes it easy to lose touch unless the artiste is constantly bringing out new tunes, or heavily posting on social media. I first became aware of Dublin, ROI singer-songwriter, Ailbhe Reddy, in 2017 and soon after was privileged to see her play a captivating solo set on a pocket-sized, bicycle-powered stage in Glastonbury’s green fields, just as the Pyramid was about to welcome Radiohead. I remember her distinct, surprisingly robust and soulful vocal tone, exemplified by her stellar 2017 single “Relent” below, which teased and stretched syllable


While it is undoubtedly uplifting to uncover new music from artistes often entirely new to you each week, it is equally a pleasure to reacquaint yourself with acts you have enjoyed listening to before but with whom you may have lost touch. A case in point is Norwegian trio, I See Rivers, who I first saw play a lovely yet surprisingly feisty and humorous show at London’s St Pancras Old Church getting on for two years ago. The girls actually met while studying at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the college founded by Sir Paul McCartney no less. After falling in love with the Welsh coastline while recording a first EP, the band settled in Pembrokeshire and now operate between Wales and


Forget your troubles, come on get happy. So goes the song from the 1930’s made famous by Judy Garland in the fifties while David Cassidy fans may recall an entirely different song – “C’mon Get Happy” – as the theme tune to The Partridge Family TV series in the 70s. Ah, the hair and those fashions. Before we lay waste to any further decades, the point is we can always do with a little happiness in our lives, especially in these viral times. Enter, quite feasibly stage left, The Happy Somethings; a rare, reclusive breed of the musical kind in that the choice is not to plaster their faces over Instagram but rather mask identities behind three dolls that would not look amiss in those 60’s sci-fi


Fashions and styles in music come and go. Some you’d love to see the back of and some you’d love to see back. This week’s Fifty3 Fridays offers a selection of musical styles united by a common thread; that each act is offering its own angle on oft experienced emotions or scenarios. Now where do you stand on glam rock…? Female-fronted extrovert five-piece, Slant, brings a refreshing idiosyncrasy to its music. The band, all friends from student days in Brighton, has just released “La Danse”, a follow-up to its energetic debut single, “Haircut”. It’s fun, kitschy and animated, with hints of eccentrics like The B52s about it as well as eclectic styles from glam rock and disco to punk. I remember

FIFTY3 champions

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


During the past 10 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 reviewed the festival for both the above 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



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

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