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Listening to Beirut’s remarkable first album, ‘Gulag Orkestar’, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to an Eastern European Orchestra but this record is actually the work of one 19-year-old Albuquerque native, Zach Condon who recorded the LP at his home.

Condon dropped out of high school at 16 and went travelling around Europe partying with the locals wherever he ended up. It was during one of these evenings that he was first exposed to Balkan gypsy music. He ended up staying up all night jamming with several Serbian artists who were going through albums country by country, note for note. The ‘Gulag Orkestar’ is the direct result of what he learned that night. Melancholic trumpets, ukulele and violins mix effortlessly with soaring mandolins and glockenspiels behind Condon’s understated vocals. An intriguing artist who is certainly worth watching in the future.

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The Wombats were greatly influence by a popular yet non-chart-topping Merseyside beat combo called The 4 Counts. The Wombats were just little and they were coming out of Woolies with their Pick'n'Mix when they ran from their parents side to jig gayly in front of the busking band on the other side of the street, nearly knocked over by a Volvo they were, but it was worth it just to hear the voice of Barrie Lantern.
Kev, Fazakerley

One of my personal favourite albums in a long long time. I have found out via chatting with him on myspace that his instruments get jealous of each other when he plays one in particular for too long...apparently his trumpet is the worst as she is the oldest. Not only is this man is a genius, but he has banter too. Amazing.

Electric Soft Parade's Tom White has played guitar for Sparks on the Jonathan Ross Show and the bside of their new single is a cover of the Sparks track Happy Hunting Ground.
Min, UK

I don't like Cold War Kids, this is because they sound like Orson.
Lovely Bertha, Roundtable

The Cape Twerp might have ended up as "The Potato Twerp". His original idea to go by the name, "Buy Potatoes, Cook Potatoes, Eat" was vetoed by a King Edward who didn't want to be dragged down by association.
Captain Seagull, North Sea

What about other UK (unsigned) acts like Lafaro who are from N.I. and playing on Paddy's day - how ironic
Simon Potter, Kelso

If you get the chance check out an Indie Aussie band called Borne (not on the list but who cares) - saw them at a festival down under on Monday before they flew out. They're good & I reckon in with a great chance of making it big (esp on Radio 1 & 2).
Rob, Loughborough (on location in Melbourne)

Seth's a lovely bloke but just don't ask him to do a headstand...
Ruth, Brighton

Check out the London band Dirty Fuzz, saw them recently and they rocked!! Can't believe they aren't signed yet. I think they are doing 4 xSW gigs including a crazy one on St Patricks day.
Claire, Hastings

Before becoming a successful solo artist, Lakeman was once recommended by careers advice to work as an entertainer fiddling at a local Irish themed pub, dressed as a leprechaun. Unsurprisingly, he turned it down.
Cressida, Exeter

i met lily at the bestival on the sunday, while waiting for the sisscor sisters. i was with my 3 year old little girl and she took the time to give us a kiss and was real sound, cheers lily we love ya, your our kind of girl, and you were brilliant all of that weekend. hope to see ya at the festivals this summer.xx
jannine,20, southampton

I first heard of Eisley when they supported Coldplay on their American tour. since then, they've toured with Snow Patrol and Taking Back Sunday in the UK - they even opened the mainstage at V2003, but haven't yet got the recognition they deserve over here. An extremely talented bunch.
Sinead, Dublin

As a teenager Seth performed in a band with his brothers. They were asked to perform at a naturist festival but turned it down as there were no exceptions to the naked rule.
Emma, Mersyside

What about The Pigeon Detectives??? They rock & they're lovely boys.
Matt Joy. Leeds

FACT: Air Traffic are HOT! And they're in the stupid nme chart which is well funny cos james jam (nme writer) said they weren't good. haha! FACT: Lilly allen said that she hated the nme on stage on wed night, and added that their editor conor had a small winkie!
Julia, Bournemouth (at SXSW)

Foals can't wait for more , saw them support the Noisettes a couple of weeks back at Southampton Joiners, frankly they blew the headliners into obscurity !
STEVE 'littletriggers'

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