Friday, 2 March 2012

The Y Factor Finalists: all the lowdown on the top eight

Name: 36 Keys
Age Range: All 18
Influences: Radiohead, Wyclef Jean, Noam Chomsky

Description: A unique blend of all things reggae, rock and ska with a deep political message who closed the semi-finals with a bang. They don't have the same sort of following as some of the other bands on the bill but they still make great songs that you can bop your head to, especially In The Box, as well as be really interested in the sound and lyrics. P.S. don't mention anything about t-shirts!

Post Y Factor Plans: Working on two upcoming mixtapes being released through Stalkers Records

Odd Fact: Once managed to convince their singer, Connor, that their bassist, Lionel, had fallen over at practise, broken his neck and needed urgent medical attention. Sounds like the kind of thing I would do!

Name: Badly Kept Fish
Age Range: 16-17
Influences: Bombay Bicycle Club, Pavement

Description: The alt indie-pop rock foursome who I want to win purely because I used to know them seem to be the heartthrobs of many a teenage girl. But they're not just sideswept pretty faces; BKF make one massive noise that has everyone on their feet going crazy, screaming their heads off and jumping around like mad. Is saying The Blackout of Northampton overdoing it a bit?

Post Y Factor Plans: Continue recording new material and gigging both around the midlands and in London

Odd Fact: The name 'Badly Kept Fish' is from Ollie's first fish tank he got one Christmas which was pretty badly kept

Name: Imogen Longhurst
Age: 17
Influences: Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, all the obvious

Description: A talented young singer/songwriter with some heart-warming love songs. So nice to see a female playing a guitar and not doing karaoke covers in The Y Factor. Her soulful folk mellowness is strangely haunting and extremely addictive, making her my dark horse in the competition.

Post Y Factor Plans: Just carry on making music

Odd Fact: Her name is an anagram of Moonlighter's Gnu

Name: Johnny Perkins
Age: 18
Influences: Libertines, John Mayer

Description: With help on guitar from his friend Sam this singer blew me away with a completely original idea: an acoustic cover of Blind Faith by Chase & Status. Tunes all round. Add to that some tracks of his own then this minimalistic rocker with added finesse is the best way to keep you head after a night of heavy music and really stands out from the general indie crowd.

Post Y Factor Plans: Releasing EP, recording live sessions and establishing himself online

Odd Fact: Has a third nipple (some of this info may not be entirely factually correct!)

Name: Korrozion
Age Range: 15-16 ish
Influences: Led Zeppelin, Metallica

Description: Musically my favourite, any other teenage metal bands in the county have got a bit of a problem on their hands. No one thrashes it out as well as these five and they've rightfully scooped all the glory in the young heavy metal / hard rock scene with their disgustingly epic self-titled album. Huge performers, these guys sound, look and smell (not that I'm in the habit of sniffing emerging rockers) like a proper metal band making a ruckus way above their age.

Post Y Factor Plans: TBA

Odd Fact: TBA

Name: Peter Marchant
Age: 21
Influences: David Bowie, Queen

Description: Able to play all five major instruments in modern day rock: vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard and drums, next to nothing can stop this man of melodrama getting one of the awards up for grabs. For its incredible seventies feel I could not get enough of his Deaf In One Ear album last year. Space rock, glam rock, alt rock, you can't quite put your finger on it. Oh yes you can - awesome rock!

Post Y Factor Plans: Recording album two and possible European tour

Odd Fact: Has a passion for map reading and messing around on Google Earth

Name: Scott Booth
Age: 19
Influences: Newton Faulkner, John Butler, Andy McKee

Description: Capable of virtually anything on a guitar, Scott Booth has no need for a backing band of any sort. His stripped back strumming has the power to fill a room full of people and the acoustic brilliance of the man can only truly be appreciated live. It's hard to believe that just one person could create such a breath-taking atmosphere but then I guess that's why BBC Introducing sent him to Abbey Road.

Post Y Factor Plans: Finishing and recording new tracks then touring and increasing his online fanbase

Odd Fact: Uses pointed acrylic fibreglass nails for precision and sharpness when fingerpicking (they are sometimes an inch long)!

Name: Trip To The Sun
Age Range: 18-20
Influences: Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Free

Description: from the rockier, edgier side of the blues spectrum this band deserve so much more local radio coverage than they've been given. Trip To The Sun have got the guitars of a stripped back mid seventies prog-rock band (give them back then) and with that ace sound they're conquering almost every pub and club remotely close to our county. Blummin' hard working, these are.

Post Y Factor Plans: Recording their second album

Odd Fact: There was another band called Trip To The Sun in the 60s in Daventry and their bassist is the uncle of Adam Jones, the 21st century Trip To The Sun bassist. But they didn't know that before they formed.

It's incredibly difficult to call this year. 2010 was Billy Lockett hands down and 2011 had a handful of frontrunners. I try as hard as I can to introduce music from around Korrozion's age or lesser known musicians like Johnny Perkins but just because most of these haven't been reviewed it doesn't mean that they're not any good. Most of the acts here I would choose as some of my top locals and it's impossible to say one band is better than any if the others. I've got a few ideas about who's going to come where but that's completely different from who I think has earnt it. The final is not to be missed.

Gig News - The Y Factor Final takes place on Saturday 10th March from 6.30pm-10:30pm at The Roadmender with performances from all the contedors plus a few special guests. It's only £5 so spare a few pennies for the up and coming stars in our county and support your local lovelies. This year looks set to be the best so far.

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