Top 20 Emerging North East Bands
If you’re under the illusion that the musical talents of the North East consist of Chris Rea’s Radio Driven ballads, Dire Straits’ middle of the road Volvo driving soundtracks and Gazzas rendition of Fog on the Tyne, then we’re about to obliterate that assumption and smash that belief to smithereens.
The North East region of the country has one of the largest, diverse and talented music scenes on this fair isle. Since the emergence of luminaries such as The Futureheads, Maximo Park and Field Music, musicians of all ages have been writing, performing and releasing music in the hope of emulating their national success.
After tirelessly whittling my list down from 40, I present to you the top 20 emerging North East bands in reverse order…
20) Mammal Club
Believe it or not, the coveted twentieth spot was the trickiest decision to make. However just pipping ”ËThe Purnells’ to the post, this accolade goes to Mammal Club. Touted as an ”Ëintelligent indie foursome’ they produce an interesting and infectious sound which encapsulates Foals, Everything Everything and even a touch of their North East counterparts The Futureheads.
One for the Ears: ”ËOtter‘
19) Brilliant Mind
Any band who share their name with a 1986 new-wave one hit wonder are risking the backlash of music fans who fear the desecration of a venerable music moment, however Brilliant Mind need not lose any sleep as they serve up a veritable feast of jangly guitars and foot tapping indie. Hailing from Newcastle, it is entirely possible they have a chart-botherer in their arsenal, only time will tell.
One for the Ears: ”ËOur Osprey’
18) The Langtails
It doesn’t get more indie than South Shields’ The Langtails. The four piece who started off as a covers band have finely honed their libertines-esque sound and perform around the North East much to the delight of their punters. The four-piece also made it through to the semi-final of live and unsigned 2011 getting the nod ahead of 500 other artists. If you ever misplace a ”ËUp the Bracket’, don’t despair simply listen to this four piece and your musical pains will soon dissipate.
One for the Ears: ”ËRiff Raff’
17) Jimmy and the Sounds
One of a number of Teesiders on the list, Jimmy and the Sounds specialise in ”Ëmelodic indie rock’ but they’re far from here to make up the numbers. They offer a distinct North East twang which ripples through their already impressive catalogue of singles, including sing-along anthem ”ËSounds’. ”ËThis is not a disco, it’s only music, only music that we move to’ they sing, how apposite, you’d have to be a curmudgeon to resist the urge to groove when Jimmy and the Sounds spring into action.
One for the Ears: ”ËSounds’
16) Gallery Circus
The first duo on the list; 21 year old twins hail from South Tyneside having been brought up on a diet of rock and blues music. After residing across the pond in Chicago playing impromptu and DIY gigs, they have returned to the North East and delight crowds with their blues-infused soulful Indie-rock. They’re big sound is complemented by impressive vocals and ”ËLittle Knock Shakes’ is one of the most addictive songs I have heard this year.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËLittle Knock Shakes’
15) Boy Jumps Ship
Without a shadow of a doubt the most energetic of the bunch are Boy Jumps Ship hailing from Sunderland. They offer fast paced sing-a-long choruses, the perfect illustration of which is present in ”ËBackstays and Halyards’: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkm0CRiUxgA When asked, they claim that you’ll like them if you are Biffy Clyro or Jimmy Eat World fan – I’m not and I love them. They are also impressive when in a live arena, since they have supported Dinosaur Pile Up. This band will go from strength to strength picking up admirers beyond the North East.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËGood Ol’ Sin City’, ”ËBackstays and Halyards’
14) The Real Davina
This is the Real Davina, please do not swear! In fact, the only reason for the possible use of a foul mouth tirade would be when exclaiming about the fantastic, energetic live show they produce time and time again. The most ”Ëpop-tastic’ of the groups on the list, Sunderland’s The Real Davina offer a fresh sound amongst the landfill indie which some would argue is clogging up the local music scene. Their songs are often short, upbeat and put a spring in your step.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËA Secret Life’
13) Jen Stevens and the Hiccups
Having formed back in 2005 Jen Stevens and the Hiccups are difficult to categorise. There are chunks of folk and pop combining with nuances of blues and little vignettes of jazz thrown in for good measure. Chris Difford from Squeeze is amongst their admirers and the band from South Shields will attract many more fans in the months to come. Ben Folds-esque piano amalgamate with powerful and soulful female vocals to make ”ËThink about mine’ a pleasure to listen to.
One for the Ears ”â
12) Morris Ford
The first solo act on the list is Morris Ford hailing from Chester-le-Street. Producing uplifting and highly likeable acoustic folk music, he has been playing guitar for around 15 years and sings in a wistful tone which is soft but optimistic. Its music that you can’t help but put a smile on your face and with the mainstay of his songs clocking up less than two minutes, you can certainly squeeze several of his offerings into a short space of time.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËWait till the Morning’
11) Grandfather Birds
Arguably the most highly regarded band on the list, they have tipped for big things by many a music journalist and it’s easy to see why. They have been gathering radio play on several of the BBC introducing shows with their latest single ”ËHigher Bridges’ http://soundcloud.com/generator/grandfather-birds-higher They cleverly combine melodies with guitar hooks and heartfelt vocals and their music simply improves ten-fold with every listen. Are they the next North East band to break through to the mainstream market? It’s more than probable.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËThe Woods’, ”ËHigher Bridges’
10) Nick Pride and the Pimptones
Nick Pride is a Jazz guitarist who certainly knows how to produce an appetising slice of funk as is evident on their debut album ”ËMidnight Feast of Jazz’. A more radio-friendly version of ”ËThe Heavy’ they are certainly in a league of their own and long may it continue. The bands appearance plays up to the jazz stereotype of dapper suits and the occasional hat. Having already supported Candi Staton, they gig regularly around the North East where seeing them live will add another dimension to their sound. Their brand of Jazz, funk and soul is filling a much needed gap in the market and it’s filling it with great aplomb.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËWaitin’ so long’
Fresh faced and hailing from Middlesbrough Toyger openly describe their music as a strand of ”ËMath-Pop’, citing Foals and Dartz! as two of their major influences. As well as sharing their names with a breed of cat they have recently attracted the attention of Tom Robinson from BBC Introducing. The talented 5-piece offer up disjointed guitar riffs and a stop-start upbeat sound which will have you nodding your head and tapping your feet. With Foals appearing to have recently fallen off the map, expect Toyger to fill the void with consummate ease.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËLetter Bombs’
8) The Castells
This Durham outfit have been compared to ”ËThe Bandits’, remember them? No? Fair enough, it was nine years ago and they did only have one single, The Castells will be around a lot longer than their Scouse counterparts. Specialising in romantic Rock’n’Roll, they gig around the North East impressing the crowds with their marvellously tight sound. They’re youthful, energetic and passionate about the music they play. They are supporting Grouplove in Darlington in July, if you have tickets for this gig, turning up early is imperative.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËTurn out the lights’
Whilst I have described many of the acts on this list as ”Ëuplifting’, Polarsets take poppy Indie to another level. Even Adrian Chiles might raise a smile if he listening to ”ËSunshine Eyes’ before walking on the Daybreak set. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rrtx7Q8zlI This Newcastle three-piece even incorporate a cowbell into their work and listening to them will add a sprinkling of sunshine into your life. Lay off those anti-depressants and reach for the Polarsets album instead.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËJust don’t open your eyes yet’
6) The Chapman Family
Kingsley Chapman is the name of either a member of aristocracy or a front man in a rock band and luckily for us it’s the latter. Hailing from Teeside, they are possibly the most recognisable band of the list. They have certainly the most success and with admirers including Steve Lamacq they should by rights be household names. They offer rip-roaring rock’n’roll cranking up the volume; upsetting tinnitus sufferers everywhere. A thunderous chunk of enjoyment fills your lugs as drums and guitars come crashing down around you.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËAnxiety’
5) Love Bites andBruises
Every now and again, the cobwebs need to be blown off. How you choose to do this is none of my business, but I highly recommend listening to couple of 3-4 minute blasts of pure unadulterated joy courtesy of Love Bites and Bruises. They share their name with a member of The Wonder Stuff’s back-catalogue and this Newcastle four-piece are a pleasure to see live as they improve with every viewing. They formed from the Ashes of ”ËThe Motorettes’ and specialise is fast-paced spiky rock’n’roll with sing-a-long choruses which is particularly prevalent in ”Ëcatches bullets with his teeth’
One for the ears: ”ËThe truth + the heat’
The first thing everyone seems to divulge when reviewing Mausi is that they are half English and half Italian. Well, I’m not going to break from tradition because despite two of the members being born in Milan, they are based in Newcastle and are one of the brightest young talents in the North East. Spitting out catchy melodies driven by interchanging boy/girl vocals reminiscent of a softer and poppy Blood Red Shoes. Serving up a selection of delightful alternative harmonies which encourage you to reach down and lace up your dancing shoes.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËFollow me Home’
3) The Lake Poets
The Lake Poets is Sunderland based singer/songwriter Martin Longstaff who carves a niche in ethereal loveliness. He often performs as a solo act but is occasionally and more recently aided and abetted on stage by a couple of friends who supplement his dreamy vocals with bass guitar and drums. Writing songs about the city in which he grew up and tributes to his Grandad; watching him live is like an out of body experience, forgetting where you are and being absorbed by the haunting and delectable compositions.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËWindowsill’
2) Vinyl Jacket
According to my trusted dictionary ”Ëtwiddletastic’ is not officially a word, but that doesn’t stop Vinyl Jacket opting to use it to describe their music. Hailing from Wylam they are delighted to be part of the ”Ësurge’ of North East bands. Recent single ”ËPainting stations’ is a catchy ”Ëharmonillicious’ (yes, more fictional lexicon), which could easily be filed alongside Vampire Weekend and Bombay Bicycle Club. A very distinctive sound which is easily accessible and look out for their next single ”ËKoala’ which is released on the 18th July http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AMS6InDEN8
One for the Ears ”â ”ËPainting Stations’
1) Athletes in Paris
Any band who are able to incorporate a wooden block into their music has already won me over. However Athletes in Paris also produce perfect pop anthems with songs catchier than a Frisbee, there is so much to like about this North East five-piece. Catchy hooks leave you singing or humming their songs for the remainder of the day but not in an unwanted pesky earworm sense. This band will be headlining festivals in years to come playing their familiar stompers to the delight of the crowd. They serve up a feast of guitar at its finest and this is why they are top of the list, catch them in the live arena and it’s easy to see why.
One for the Ears ”â ”ËBorrowed Time’