One of the breakout bands of the year, and with Emily Eavis as a firm supporter, the Australian duo had much to live up to after NME labelled them the must-see act at Glastonbury out of the 2,000-odd acts booked to play. And they didn't disappoint. The Sydney-based duo Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield were the ideal Glastonbury band, pure Madchester revival with their baggy beats, reverb-heavy washes of psychedelic synths and guitars and blissed-out 1960s pop harmonies. They proceeded to spellbind the crowd with layered washes of sound and beats creating an unbroken trancelike vibe over the John Peel tent, as song flowed into song. Highlights were “Man I Need” and a clever morphing into The Cardigans' “Lovefool”.
See them at: Global Gathering, Creamfields, Bestival
Fronted by 23-year-old Elena Tonra (below), the London-based trio deal in the kind of haunting emotive indie-folk that calls for a hushed crowd. And on Saturday, at the John Peel tent, the packed crowd was spellbound by the band's washes of atmospheric layers of instrumentation, and Tonra's crystal clear vocals. “Youth” shimmered with the shifting dynamics of delicate finger-picked and reverb-drenched guitars, prompting a mass singalong. It's this song and “Landfill”, when Tonra's vocals carry the melody, that are the most affecting and intoxicating; but it's early days for the 4AD-signed trio who released their debut album If You Leave in May. Tonra's sadcore vocals might be maudlin but live the band are muscular enough to pull it off, with the addition of a guitarist adding spooky atmospherics.
See them: Latitude, End of the Road
A former member of the Mercury-nominated jazz band the Portico Quartet, 28-year-old Nick Mulvey (far right) is now signed as a solo artist to Communion/Fiction creating music that is far removed from his former jazz band. He performed two songs at Laura Marling's Secret Cinema a couple of weeks back and the folk songstress is now having him support her upcoming autumn tour. Opening the Park stage on Saturday, he displayed his talent for guitar-playing that draws influences from Congolese “soukous” and flamenco.
See him at: Latitude, Secret Garden Party
Half Moon Run
The Canadian band (below), who formed through an advertisement on Craigslist in Montreal, toured with Mumford & Sons across Europe earlier this year at the band's request; the band were taken by their serpentine folky indie melodies, meandering finger-picked guitar and atmospheric shimmering riffs. They followed their hit show at SXSW (which Huw Stevens called his festival highlight) with not one but two performances at Glastonbury and were one of the most talked about new bands. The first was at the Park Stage, curated by Emily Eavis's husband Nick Dewey and one of the best places for seeing rising acts this year. Their latest single “Call Me In The Afternoon” from their Monday-released debut album Dark Eyes on Communion Records, was most rapturously received.
See them at: Latitude, Green Man, Reading & Leeds
The Birmingham-hailing singer-songwriter (below) with a degree in classical composition was one of the most intriguing prospects to emerge in the annual ones-to-watch polls (she was shortlisted for this year's Brits Critics' Choice). Her show at the Park Stage on Sunday afternoon took the beautifully arranged, intricate orchestral jazz-inflected soul-pop of her March-released debut album Sing to the Moon to new heights. Not your average singer-songwriter armed with an acoustic guitar, Mvula was accompanied by a host of musicians including a small choir and harpist. Her cover of Bob Marley's “One Love” was one of the most memorable festival moments, uniting the crowd in an uplifting arm-swaying singalong under the afternoon sun.
See her at: T in the Park, Latitude, V Festival
The Californian trio of sisters who topped the BBC Sound of 2013 poll and are signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation management, have been gaining a rapidly burgeoning following for their infectious pop songs “Falling”, “Forever” and “Don't Save Me”. On Saturday at the Park Stage, Danielle, Este (left) and Alana Haim, aged 21 to 27, laid bare their influences with their version of Fleetwood Mac's “Oh Well”, and swapped instruments in a set that rocked out. It was fun but we're still waiting for a much put-back debut album to be released on Polydor.
See them at: T in the Park, Reading and Leeds
Hours before the Rolling Stones' set, the hotly-tipped Irish four-piece (below) brought their blistering, early 1960s rock'n'roll revival to life on the John Peel stage. If you closed your eyes you'd never have known they were aged between 15 and 17. Their early garage blues rock performance including Bo Diddley's 1962 track “You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover” and their own “Blue Collar Jane” was feverishly intense, raw and compelling, employing Mick Jagger-like yelps, and belied their ages. Drummer Evan Walsh, bass player Peter O'Hanlon and guitarist Josh McClorey met at primary school while their singer Ross Farrelly joined in 2010.
See them at: T in the Park, Secret Garden Party, Reading & Leeds
Sam Green and the Midnight Heist
“Stompy songs and some heartfelt moving songs,” is the way Sam Green bills his band's music on their Facebook page. That's pretty much right; Green and co's show at the Croissant Neuf area on Saturday evening drew a small but lively crowd, clearly carried away by his foot-stomping bluegrass and folk. The south Devon singer-songwriter performs with a band of double bassist, drummer and guitarist/harmonica-player. His contemporary finger-picked folk songs evoke John Fahey, but also shares much in common with the multi Brit-winning Ben Howard, and wouldn't be out of place supporting Mumford & Sons especially when reaching impressive thigh-slapping speeds on the rollicking “Miles Away”, when they turn the space into a full-on barn-dance. The band's debut EP Miles Away is out now.
See them at: Fieldview Festival