Stuck for something new to listen to??

How about a playlist of 120 tracks from the UK & Ireland’s finest unsigned acts, hand picked by 40 bloggers from the over 8,000 entries to the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition?

In January, thousands of new bands, like Sky Valley Mistress (above) entered Glasto’s talent competition, and by June one of them will stand beneath the most famous Pyramid outside of Giza.

It is, however, a long road to Glastonbury’s main stage, they first had to tickle the ears of judges like me (Music Like Dirt) and 39 other music blogs who each listened to 200 artists. Each of us selected our favourite three to put forward to a mammoth 120 strong “Emerging Talent Longlist“.

Next, Emily & Michael Eavis (pictured) plus others faced the unenviable task of whittling the 120 down to a final eight who then perform in the live final at Pilton Working Men’s club.

You can read the thoughts of what I’m reliably informed are “40 of the UK’s best music bloggers” over on the Glastonbury site, or listen to all 120 of their choices in one mighty playlist here – or 50 in the embedded player below.



From the 200+ songs I listened to, around twenty pushed for a place in the final three. Many had ONE great song but Sky Valley Mistress sneaked in with consistently top-notch tunes.
Consistency isn’t a sexy word to sell a band but for any new act to have 3 songs I’d gladly listen to on repeat is rare.
Theirs is the sound of the blues, direct not from the Black Belt region but born instead in Blackburn, Lancashire. They’d fit happily in the racks alongside other modern proponents of a traditional bluesy style, like The Alabama Shakes, or the White Stripes. Nab their free downloads below.

SKY VALLEY MISTRESS:Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud


If the Slaves make it to Glastonbury I’d recommend choosing a vantage point a safe distance from the stage. Something tells me they’re a band who come with a liberal amount of phlegm and a rib bursting mosh pit.
White Knuckle Ride” is a visceral brute of a song from the smash and grab your attention Pistols meet the Hives rasping guitar riff to the Lydon-esque rasp of the lead singers angry declarations to “Get me the fuck off this rodeo“. Uneasy listening.

THE SLAVES: Soundcloud / Facebook


The Slow Show have definite echoes of Nashville’s LambChop both in the “sitting back and sipping whiskey on the porch” laid back sound and the rich honeyed vocals.
Seemingly marinated in the heritage of the North of England, their beautiful use of brass sets them apart from the alt-country/folk crowd. It’s as if those beating hearts of the North East, the colliery bands were marching again, flags aloft with the sole purpose of providing the perfect backing for the lead singers chocolate tones.

THE SLOW SHOW:Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud

Each music blog had to submit its final three choices by 12 noon on the 25th of February, and my deliberations went on until 11.49! All of the songs below were either in the three at one point or in with a shout of being so…
What do you think? Did I make the right decision?
Typing this as I listen to the joyful romp of The Starkins “Catch Her Eye” makes me wish for a few extra places on the list. The competition standard this year was definitely up on 2011.

Vladimir Woodham-Smith – “Phases”

The Speak – “Tangerine”

Stag Firm Collapse – “Contact”

Spaces Between – “Severed Dolls heads littered my bedroom Floor”

Veille – “Running”

Ruth Royall – “Mountains”

The Black Feathers – “Open Book”

Soul Thief – “Heart & Soul”