Monday, 24 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Josh Barry

Having been involved in the judging process of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition for a number of years now I’m occasionally asked by artists and bands who have already developed their careers a little bit if I think they are too far advanced with what they are doing to enter the competition. 

The reason for this question is that there is a misapprehension that the Emerging Talent Competition is only for bedroom artists who have never released anything, never played a live show or already developed their careers in any way. Whilst the competition does have rules about who can and can’t enter (for example if you are signed to a major label, clearly the Emerging Talent Competition isn’t for you) there are many artists out there who may already have some experience, but are still considered emerging by the rules of the competition and could really benefit from not only the exposure and opportunity to play a main stage at one of the most famous festivals in the world, but also the £5,000 Talent Development Prize award from PRS, which can go a long way to helping the artist take their music to the next level. 

This weekend the live final of the Emerging Talent Competition took place and the winner was Josh Barry. Listening to his song Spirit Road it’s easy to understand why the final judging panel chose him unanimously as the winner. His voice is blessed with all the elements of a classic soul singer; that perfect mix of power and emotion with just a hint of rawness. Spirit Road is also a bloody good song.

With a vocal as good as Barry’s you have to wonder how he hasn’t already been discovered, but this is where my previous words about who can and can’t enter the competition come into play. For Barry isn’t a full-blown novice. He’s already been working within the music industry having performed with chart stars Gorgon City, has recorded with Friction (supplying vocals to the 2015 song Freak) and SG Lewis (Silence). Yet clearly Barry still felt the need to enter the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and judging by the excitable pictures and words on his Facebook, it means the world to him to have won. 

Congratulations to Josh Barry, we’ll be looking forward to see where his musical journey takes him next. 

There's no Emerging Talent Competition next year (as Glastonbury itself takes a year off), but I'd recommend any self financing artist who considers they've got what it takes to play a main stage at Glastonbury to enter in 2019.

Josh Barry - Spirit Road

Friday, 21 April 2017

New Music: Kate Nash - Agenda

Look. This is how to do great pop music:

1. Be Inventive. Be Exciting. Be Bold. Be Fierce. Be Engaging.
2. Don’t just follow a formula.
3. Have something to say. 
4. Have a good beat. 
5. Make polite people go “Woah” and everyone else go “What the fuck.”

Kate Nash does all this and more on Agenda, one her most brilliant tunes she has ever released.

An (occasionally) sweary musical manifesto with hooks and punches galore. This is great pop music. No messing.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New Music: All We Are - Human (Video)

There’s an energy, a passion and an intensity to Human, (not a Rag 'n' Bone Man cover) the new song from Liverpool’s All We Are, that gets you in the stomach. It grinds, kicks and thrashes around and it sounds gloriously alive. 

The video’s great as well. It features a sleepy rural neighbourhood known as Sunny Hill and a developer’s plan to ‘revolutionise access’ to the place and the angry reactions, drama and friction it creates within the local community. I particularly like the old ladies at cross stitch club: “Your cunting road can fuck the fuck off” they sew. This video is just part 1, so it’s worth subscribing to the band’s You Tube channel so that you don’t miss the other parts. 

Human is taken from the band’s second album Sunny Hills which is due June 9th. They're playing a variety of shows this summer including some big UK festival slots such as Glastonbury, Latitude and End of the Road.

All We Are - Human (Video)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New Music: Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life ft. The Weeknd

You know how Lana is always singing about putting on clothes and taking them off? 

"Watching me get undressed, take that body downtown." "I’ve got my red dress on tonight." "Blue jeans, white shirt." "White bikini off with my red nail polish." "Honey put on your party dress." Etc etc etc. It must be like a 24 hour changing room in Top Shop at her place.

Well, she’s at it again. This time with The Weeknd. In theory this lyrical obsession should be getting boring by now. But it isn’t. Mainly because the songs are still f*ckin’ great. 

All together now: “Take off take off take off all your clothes.” 

To be honest, I’m still waiting for her to sing about putting mismatching socks on. But this will more than do.

Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life ft. The Weekend