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ISSUE167

NOVEMBER20

FREE

ME LOST ME NARC. TV DISGRACELAND JP RIGGALL HOUSE OF THE BLACK GARDINIA

RELIABLYINFORMED


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PREVIEWS 4 | HIGHLIGHTS

Some of our pics for November

6 | PREVIEWS

ISSUE167

NOVEMBER20

FREE

RELIABLYINFORMED

Featuring new releases from A Whale In The Forest, Nel Unlit, Real Terms, Abbie Finn Trio, Salt House Lavish, Peace Burial At Sea and many more; live gigs from Ceitidh Mac, Eve Conway, Rachael McShane & The Cartographers, Hivemind among others; art exhibitions galore at NewBridge Project, Frederick Street Gallery, Hatton Gallery, The Auxiliary and Cornerstone Arts, plus performance at Dance City, live comedy at The Forum in Darlington and loads more besides. Get stuck in!

INTERVIEWS

In-depth conversations with musicians, artists, filmmakers, comedians, theatre makers and creatives

20 | JP RIGGALL 21 | JIMMY TURRELL 22 | NARC. TV

24 | ME LOST ME

Linsey Teggert talks to Newcastle’s experimental electronic artist Jayne Dent about her remarkable new album

This month’s edition of NARC. magazine is brought to you by frustration, caffeine-fuelled rage and a general sense of impending doom. How are you doing? Better, I hope. Strictly speaking though, it’s not all bad – we’re back in print again, which is a strong step forward, and we’ve had some great feedback from readers and outlets about being back to some form of normality, which manages to keep me motivated and goes some way towards squashing that ‘shouting into the void’ feeling. We also launch NARC. TV this month – our brand new magazine-style programme on YouTube, which features interviews and live performances from exciting local artists filmed in some of the finest venues in the region. It’s a project that was conceived back in May, largely in response to the dearth of full-band live performances on our screens during lockdown. Let me tell you, dear Constant Readers, there are only so many boys with acoustic guitars one can watch via Facebook Live, and something needed to be done! I’m over the moon to finally unveil our new video-based content, and hope you enjoy some cracking live performances as much as I did (of course, during filming I watched them ‘in the flesh’, which was bittersweet but also pretty damn great. Sorry not sorry). There’s loads more in the pipeline over the coming months too, so subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ NARCmagazineTV and we promise to keep your eyes and ears happy.

26 | POP RECS LTD 28 | CAROLINE HARDAKER 29 | DISGRACELAND 30 | HOUSE OF THE BLACK GARDINIA 32 | GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE 33 | BORN LIPPY 34 | TWIST HELIX 35 | PAINT THE TOWN IN SOUND 36 | PLASTIC GLASS 37 | BOBIK’S 38 | CALLUM PITT

Editor Claire Dupree info@narcmedia.com Website David Saunders narcmagazineonline@gmail.com Creative El Roboto Advertising Claire Dupree info@narcmedia.com

Cover Image Amelia Read Contributors Paul Broadhead / Jonathan Coll / Caitlin Disken / Laura Doyle / Lee Fisher / James Hattersley / Louise Henry / Jonathan Horner / Beverley Knight / Ben Lowes-Smith / Jay Moussa-Mann / Robert Nichols / Ikenna Offor / Nicola Owen / Paul Ray / Helen Redfern / Damian Robinson / Elodie A Roy / Steve Spithray / Dawn Storey / Linsey Teggert / Martin Trollope / Leigh Venus / Robin Webb / Ali Welford / Cameron Wright

Stay social, connect with us NARC.magazine @narc_magazine @narcmagazine NARCmagazineTV

39 | ROWAN MCCABE 40 | YOLCU REVIEWS 41 | DEMOS

Demo reviews of Ami McGuinness, Take The Night, Cait, R-Brew and Lottie Willis

42 | TRACKS

Reviews of new releases from local artists including EnemyThirty, ETHR, Xaatu, Motherland, NE Dons, Patience, Crimewave, Amelia Coburn, Envy Motel, NOPRISM, Ula Lovell and Swine Tax

43 | ALBUMS

Reviews of new albums from Tunng, Babeheaven, Molchat Doma, The Cribs, Ana Roxanne, Herman Dune, Hey Colossus, Faten Kanaan, Dorcha, Cabaret Voltaire, Landshapes and Ane Brun

46 | MIXTAPE

NARC. Magazine, Tel: 07748 907 914 Email: info@narcmedia.com Web: www.narcmagazine.com Published monthly by NARC. Media. Printed by Reach Printing Services, Middlesbrough. Distributed by CSGN All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the publishers. The opinions expressed in NARC. belong to the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of NARC. or its staff. NARC. welcomes ideas and contributions but can assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations

Newcastle’s much-loved songwriter and storyteller Nev Clay talks about some of his favourite songs

Next issue out 30th November

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PREVIEWS NOVEMBER’S DIVERSIONS INCLUDE LIVE MUSIC, HILARIOUS COMEDY, ART EXHIBITIONS, EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE AND MUCH MORE!

ART & LIT

SUNDAY 8

BACK TO LIFE

In what’s certain to be a relaxing and chilled out way to pass a Sunday afternoon, contemporary figurative artist Bernadette Koranteng presents her popular life drawing class at Bobik’s. During the live session with a model participants will be guided through several poses, with all materials provided. Bobik’s, Newcastle www.bobiks.com

ART & LIT

VISIT NOW

MUSIC

STAGE

THE NEXT STEP

The Sunderland Indie’s new exhibition presents an artistic look at resilience, optimism and patience in troubling times. New contemporary work will be on display by seven Sunderland artists: Anna Glover, Denise Dowdeswell, Lyn Killeen, Kath Price, Dean Turnbull, Barrie West and James Wilkinson. Taking place until 19th December. Arts Centre Washington www.sunderlandculture.org.uk

STAGE

WEDNESDAY 4 DRACULA: ONE BLOODY FANG AFTER ANOTHER An inspired one-man show written and performed by John Hewer. This fresh take on the Dracula story is an affectionate lampooning, complete with physical comedy, riotously rude gags and some genuinely scary storytelling, as attempts are made to uncloak the vampiric menace. Middlesbrough Theatre www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk

WATCH NOW 10 MINUTES TO…

Live Theatre’s 10 Minutes To… short plays continue, with new works by emerging playwrights. Olu Alakija’s raw monologue Watching & Waiting explores themes of identity, while yu can’t start a revolution sitting on yr arse is a typically vivid piece from gobscure. Both are available to view now, along with the rest of the highly rated programme. Live Theatre Online www.live.org.uk

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MUSIC

FRIDAY 6

BALTER

Newcastle’s community owned pub and venue, The Globe, continue to quietly book some cracking low-capacity live shows, and throw livestreams into the mix too. One such corker this month comes courtesy of contemporary folk quartet Balter, whose traditional melodies and original songs result in hypnotic and intricate arrangements. The Globe, Newcastle www.theglobenewcastle.bar

TUESDAY 10

KILONOVA

Tyne Bank Brewery’s rather aptly named Tinnitus Tuesdays series will more than satisfy any craving for hard and heavy sounds. Formidable modern metal foursome Kilonova bring contemporary thrash to the table, while support band Heist 2-11 combine melodyladen metal with mighty riffs and sinister masks. Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk

ART & LIT

Answers Aren’t Always Comfortable by Deborah Grice

SATURDAY 14 WINTER EXHIBITION

The Biscuit Factory’s winter exhibition kicks off with a weekend of seasonal décor, music and winter treats. Work from gallery favourites including Malcolm Teasdale, Rob van Hoek, Gordon Wilson among others, will be on display alongside the stunning wild landscape drawings and oil paintings of headline artist Deborah Grice. The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle www.thebiscuitfactory.com


WHATS ON

NOVEMBER HIGHLIGHTS

MUSIC

MUSIC

FRIDAY 20

MARTYN JOSEPH Expect an energetic and passionate

THURSDAY 19

performance coupled with compelling songwriting when Martyn Joseph brings his show to Stockton. His music and virtuoso guitar playing has seen him compared to the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews, with challenging narratives tackling the complexity of the human condition. The Georgian Theatre, Stockton www.georgiantheatre.co.uk

DYLAN CARTLIDGE Middlesbrough Town Hall are determined to bring live music to the masses, albeit through the magic of livestreaming. Until you can return to their lovely venue, some of the region’s finest performers broadcast from their own homes to yours, with highly regarded rapper and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Cartlidge being one of the major highlights. Middlesbrough Town Hall (Facebook page) www.facebook.com/ middlesbroughtownhall

ART & LIT

Pieta Of The North by Martin Kinnear

MUSIC

FRIDAY 20

JANGO FLASH

Rather than rest on their laurels during lockdown, Jango Flash (aka North Shields’ Jack Angus Golightly and pals) have been inspired to create an album of new material. Their signature ‘kamikaze pop’ will be on display at two live sets (matinee and evening) at The Cluny 2; expect an immersive and highly musical show. The Cluny 2, Newcastle www.thecluny.com

SATURDAY 21 REGENERATION BY MARTIN KINNEAR

Northern artist Martin Kinnear presents a moving and powerful representation of the year the world came to a halt. In Regeneration, the artist muses on the life-affirming power of change and the restorative power of contemplation, with a 16-foot high animation inspired by Teesdale’s High Force waterfall at its centre. Runs until 28th February. The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk

COMEDY

FRIDAY 20

THE WEEKEND SHOWS

The Stand’s Weekend Shows are the perfect tonic for current times; reliably filled with top regional comics (and the odd out-of-towner) and containing laughs aplenty, their Friday and Saturday night shows are guaranteed great nights out. This weekend chortle along with compere Matt Reed, Seymour Mace, Anja Atkinson and Fred MacAulay. Also on Saturday 21st. The Stand, Newcastle www.thestand.co.uk

ART & LIT

SATURDAY 28

PAKUI HARDWARE Artists Neringa Cerniauskaite and Ugnius Gelguda (aka Pakui Hardware) have produced an exclusive and newly devised commission to be installed in BALTIC’s level 2 gallery space. Exploring robotic and virtual care, it’s a timely reminder of how technology and materials shape our realities. Runs until 18th April. BALTIC, Gateshead www.baltic.art

MUSIC

SATURDAY 28

Shakk

NOBLE DAN WITH SOUL’D OUT, SHAKK & ENDEM

A night of socially-distanced hip-hop is on the cards at Darlington’s Forum Music Centre, with sets from Noble Dan accompanied by live band Soul’d Out, plus two of Teesside’s most respected rappers, Shakk and Endem, dropping beats and bars for your aural pleasure. The Forum Music Centre, Darlington www.theforumonline.co.uk

MUSIC

SATURDAY 28

PLASTIC MERMAIDS

One of the North East’s favourite promoters The Kids Are Solid Gold return with a superb socially-distanced (and all-ages) show in Middlesbrough. Richly textured and sonically adventurous, alt. indie Isle of Wight band Plastic Mermaids will perform two sets, with a Q&A session in between. The Hub, Teesside University, Middlesbrough www.thekidsaresolidgold.co.uk

MUSIC

SATURDAY 28

KATHERINE PRIDDY, GEORGE BOOMSMA, CEITIDH MAC & LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS

Music influenced by legendary English singer-songwriter Nick Drake, plus a few choice renditions of his music, will be performed by four exemplary musicians. Birmingham’s Katherine Priddy joins regional talent, including the haunting voice of George Boomsma and cellist Ceitidh Mac, plus Cambridge-based songwriter Luke James Williams. The Georgian Theatre, Stockton www.georgiantheatre.co.uk

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PREVIEWS

Photography of Linder, 1983. Courtesy the artist

ART & LIT

LINDERISM @ HATTON GALLERY

Words: Elodie A. Roy The Hatton Gallery is reopening its doors with a solo exhibition of works by visual artist and musician Linder Sterling. The spirit of Linderism first appeared in Thatcher’s ‘no alternative’ Britain, as Sterling started performing with Ludus and designing record sleeves for Manchester punk and post-punk acts like

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Buzzcocks. The retrospective at the Hatton takes us from these early punk photomontages and photographs to Sterling’s more recent forays into film and performance art. Like feminist collage artist Barbara Kruger, Sterling borrows, juxtaposes and rearranges images found in books and glossy magazines, unlocking their latent narratives. Her work probes into the mechanisms of desire, identity and alienation in consumer culture. Linderism, a spiritual child of Dada, pop art and Situationism, has kept alive something of British pop artist Richard Hamilton’s refreshing irreverence. It is therefore fitting that the

exhibition should be shown in the same building where Hamilton set up his studio in the 1950s, and busied himself deflating the bubble of post-war bourgeois bliss. Yet there is more to Linderism than a one-dimensional critique of capitalism and its poisoned glossiness. For over forty years, Sterling has been outlining a constellation of possible visions – courageously showing us that there may be alternatives. Linderism is at Hatton Gallery from Saturday 7th November until Saturday 23rd January www.hattongallery.org.uk


PREVIEWS

MUSIC

WAGTAIL RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM, NINE SONGS

Words: Laura Doyle I’m starting to get really envious of those types who are able to take a terrible situation and spin some gold out of it. All I feel like I’ve done

for the past six months is nap and binge bad TV shows. The folks behind Wagtail are definitely the former: they’ve taken their experiences during lockdown and funnelled it into a new venture. Featuring members from local legends Roxy Girls, No Teeth, and SMUJ, the quartet came up with the imaginatively titled debut release Nine Songs. The record consists of (you guessed it) nine songs, all of which were written and recorded at home. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill angsty songs about being stuck

in the house 24/7; instead this group decided that if they couldn’t get out more, they’d bring new realms via experimental musical soundscapes. Fancy gunslinging your way through the Wild West? Or maybe dystopian futuristic space travel? Whatever your mood, you’ve now got nine traversive songs to take you somewhere decidedly more interesting and adventurous. Wagtail release Nine Songs on 6th November www.wagtail.bandcamp.com

Rosie Kay Dance Company

Saturday 28 November 7.30pm Socially distanced seating only Tickets: £21, £17 concessions, £8 U18s/Students

dancecity.co.uk / 0191 261 0505

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PREVIEWS

The Kids Are Alright: Janet Etuk + Carl Harrison by Jen Malarkey

ART & LIT

STAGE

THE KIDS ARE OVERMORROW @ NEWBRIDGE PROJECT ALRIGHT ONLINE STREAM Words: Claire Dupree If you can’t start an ambitious six-month long multi-strand festival during a global pandemic then when, quite frankly, can you? With their ongoing Overmorrow festival, Gateshead’s NewBridge Project are here to remind us that the time is ripe for exploring open-minded approaches and pursuing new possibilities. Overmorrow will run from November until April 2021, and will include a series of commissions, talks, screenings and events which will explore our collective futures. In exploring ideas around how the pandemic can help us be open to societal, political and cultural flux, Overmorrow endeavours to reimagine our futures and how we might chart a new path from the present. “Exploring science-fiction as a tool for fictioning new possibilities, it will consider the futures we have lost and those we can still pursue. It will contemplate the public spaces of tomorrow and think about how the pandemic has highlighted the problems in society that stand between us and utopia.” They explain. “We’ll be using this within our programme to challenge the competitive structures of the art world and consider the future of art and arts organisations.” Individual events are likely to be held online, and will be confirmed on NewBridge’s website and via their social media. NewBridge Project seek to engender critical and practical discussion around a new kind of growth, with the hope of proactively and collectively shaping our future. Join in the conversation. www.thenewbridgeproject.com

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Words: Caitlin Disken Continuing their long-standing commitment to working in Byker, Northern Stage are once again returning to the area with their new production The Kids Are Alright. The play follows a couple dealing with the loss of a child, aiming to explore feelings of grief and loss in tandem with lightness and humour. Created in collaboration with Encounter and Fuel, the play has been adapted from the stage to be performed outdoors at the Byker Wall Estate, something which writer and co-creator Lee Mattinson is incredibly excited about. “To reimagine the show for a community I’ve come to feel so at home in is a joy,” says Mattinson, who has worked in Byker for two years. “Not only does this new site-specific version dance the same dotted line between comedy and tragedy as the original stage production, but there’s something delicious in creating a live performance exclusively for residents on the estate.” Whilst the live performances are for residents only, the play will be live-streamed on Facebook at 5pm on Tuesday 10th November, enabling non-residents to safely enjoy the production from their own homes. The Kids Are Alright is livestreamed on Tuesday 10th November via Facebook, visit Fuel’s website for more info www.fueltheatre.com

MUSIC

CEITIDH MAC @ THE CLUNY 2

Words: Louise Henry Lucky music lovers are given two opportunities to catch Ceitidh Mac perform intimate shows at The Cluny 2 this month. Earlier this year, we asked alt. folk artist Ceitidh Mac to share her five favourite North East venues. Unsurprisingly for a cellist, whose gentle, melodic sound is most at home in fairy lit, intimate gigs, she opted for some of the region’s cosiest spots. The Cluny made the shortlist of course, a perfect place to showcase smoky vocals and gentle synths. Perfect that is, until a pandemic came along and scuppered any chances to perform live – save for a show stopping performance slot with Maximo Park on the stage of Gosforth Park’s Virgin Money Unity Arena back in summer. Whilst it might have been a quiet year for most, Ceitidh has still managed to squeeze in a collaboration with Newcastle based producer Calm C, produce a music video for her single Rhythm, and catch the attention of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Tom Robinson. Thankfully the wait for live shows is almost over, as Ceitidh performs a matinee and evening show at The Cluny 2 on Sunday 22nd November. The balmy summer nights might be behind us, but a winter evening down in the Ouseburn in Ceitidh’s company sounds alright to me. Ceitidh Mac plays The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Sunday 22nd November www.ceitidhmac.com


PREVIEWS

STAGE

SEX IS HARD WORK @ THE CLUNY 2

Words: Nicola Owen A new play by Alison Stanley takes to the Cluny 2 stage from Thursday 12th-Saturday 14th November showing what life is really like for a Tyneside sex worker. Sex Is Hard Work is based on the book of the same name and it’s

purportedly a tale so outrageous it will turn people’s views on the trade forever. Sex work as a career choice might be difficult to understand given the societal taboo which still exists and the sometimes risky and dangerous nature of the work, however Stanley promises that the show will look on the lighter side, explaining: “When other girls were buying crack and heroin, she was buying property. She’s hilarious. And some of the stories and her experiences will have people on their feet and their bellies aching with laughter.” Of course no individual experience of this

complicated line of work will ever be the same, so it will be interesting to see if Stanley’s character manages to follow the Pretty Woman and Secret Diary Of A Call Girl narratives to give us an entertaining and uplifting behind the scenes tour. Stanley’s opinion is clear: “The play is about empowering women. As an occupation, sex work isn’t often associated with ‘girl power.’” Sex Is Hard Work is performed at The Cluny 2, Newcastle from Thursday 12th-Saturday 14th November www.facebook.com/sexishardwork

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PREVIEWS

Nel Unlit by Amelia Read

MUSIC

NEL UNLIT RELEASE NEW SINGLE, TRUE THINGS

Words: Jonathan Coll Nel Unlit are a collection of artists, songwriters and storytellers from across the North East. They’ve been responsible for some of the most ambitious projects seen in the region, culminating in an acclaimed folk opera based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which was co-produced by Peter Brewis of Field Music. The Middlesbrough-based band release the final track and a new video from Wake From The Dreaming this month. True Things leans heavily into narrative and storytelling, accompanied by a fantastic acoustic instrumental. This comes as little surprise, as a musical collective Nel Unlit have always been fantastic at placing the listener firmly at the heart of the picture they’re painting. The enchanting animated video which accompanies the single displays the band’s love of storytelling and adventure and was created alongside artist, illustrator and puppet maker Deborah Snell. The song is a pivotal release for Nel Unlit, as the band’s Jon Horner explains. “True Things was the first song we worked on together. We grew and learnt who we were as a group whilst working on it. We have developed a parental affection for True Things and felt it should have its moment.” B-sides for the release feature a collaboration with North Yorkshire’s alt. rappers Ceiling Demons, who contribute a glitchy lo-fi remix of The Inn: Part 1. In reciprocation, Nel Unlit’s remix of Ceiling Demons’ track The Rose is a beautifully stripped back affair. Nel Unlit release True Things on 6th November www.nelunlit.com

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COMEDY

STEVE DAY/DAVE TWENTYMAN @ THE FORUM

Words: Nicola Owen The Forum in Darlington hosts funnymen Steve Day and Dave Twentyman on Saturday 7th November, serving comedy bangers for those of you looking for an alternative to standing in front of a massive fire in a wet field and dodging stray rockets (if that’s even a thing this year, who knows?!) Steve Day describes himself as Britain’s only deaf comedian, and if there are any others then he hasn’t heard. Steve has been described as ‘warm and witty’ by the Scotsman and has received many other rave reviews whilst performing shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Chortle gave him five stars in 2007 for Deafy’s Island Discs, which won acclaim for its moving humour. Quick-witted banter merchant Dave Twentyman survived a childhood in St Helens by evolving startlingly-bright patter. He puts a big smile on everyone’s face and his chatty, cheeky style endears him to the toughest crowd. Dave talks a lot about the subjects closer to home, such as family life and friends. It’s light-hearted, positive fun that you just can’t help relating to. Plus, it’s a cheap night out at only £10 for an hour of laughs so take a face mask and your favourite human and take a walk on the funny side of the street. Steve Day and Dave Twentyman perform at The Forum, Darlington on Saturday 7th November www.hilaritybites.co.uk

MUSIC

HIVEMIND @ TYNE BANK BREWERY

Words: Laura Doyle As the region’s live music scene begins to get back on its feet, let’s take a moment to remember what life was like before a global pandemic – specifically for Sunderland’s noisy rockers Hivemind. 2019 was a great year for them; successful singles, festival appearances and becoming a mainstay on the local music circuit took a lot of hard work. This paid off with a sold out headline show at the Head of Steam at the start of the year – you know, before everything went to hell. And truly, it’s what they deserve – Hivemind are one of the most captivating live bands on the scene today, and seeing them back on stage is truly the best smidgen of a return to normalcy that we crave. Their outing at Tyne Bank Brewery on Friday 6th November will also mark the first live performance of latest single Medicine, a track jam-packed with their trademark philosophyinfused melodic guitar rock. This gig will also be the first outing for their support, alt. rock five-piece Abnorm, whose debut single Citrus hit the digital shelves just two months ago. And really, what is better than not just supporting live music, but also supporting our region’s most baby-faced bands? Hivemind and Abnorm play Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle on Friday 6th November www.twitter.com/hivemind_uk


PREVIEWS

Real Terms

MUSIC

REAL TERMS RELEASE NEW EP, CGC

Words: Beverley Knight Cited as a constant reminder of parties gone by, referencing the styles of acid house and Belgian New Beat of the late 80s, Real Terms’ EP CGC does not identify as a record for the masses packed together on the euphoric, sticky floors of a nightclub. The third release from electronic outfit Real Terms on Soft Verse Label is their baby from a summer of isolated thoughts in our unusual and odd world. These thoughts transcended into tales, and those tales into music, and now we find ourselves with a sombre story of grave change and uncomfortableness conceived in the centre of Jesmond. “Blatant, dulcet and shrouded in existential thought – this emotional pandemic is wrapped into techno form.” Lewis Thompson himself explains. Slickly produced, the distorted voice throughout wraps up each track with the notion that it was hard to recognise the truth during these stark times of the last seven months. Industrial opener There Won’t Be Another gives a

vision of dripping pipes in an echoing corridor and an unnerving feeling of being trapped. A Flood Devours England possesses a rave beat and Underworld influences, and New 2020 goes further back into the past with its German retro effects. Not the easiest listen, but bloody brilliant. Real Terms release CGC EP in early November www.real-terms.bandcamp.com

ART & LIT

RED + GREEN = YELLOW @ NEWBRIDGE PROJECT Words: Helen Redfern An experimental exhibition exploring visual communication through imagination, abstraction and making, Red + Green = Yellow opens on Monday 2nd November at the NewBridge Project, Gateshead. This active and vibrant artist-led community has selected five creatives to take part in this artistic process: James Ellis, geometric abstract painter Theresa Poulton, visual artist Catriona Beckett, experimental sculptor Eveleigh-Evans and Abi Freckleton, who uses sculpture, moving image and performance. Each artist will present one existing work, which will be photographed. This photograph will then

be given to one of the other artists in the exhibition without any other information. The five artists will then be commissioned to make one new work as a visual response to what they see in the photograph. The immediate reactions and responses to the photographs when they are presented to the selected artists are of particular interest. A series of questions developed by the Programme Committee will prompt the artist to examine the significance of the photo in relation to their own practice. While considering the neural and artistic processes that will take place when developing the commissioned work, Red + Green = Yellow will examine what role the environment around each of the artists has played in the production of their work. As a part of NewBridge’s Overmorrow programme, a series of workshops and events exploring the common and diverse responses to new information and visual cues will take place during the exhibition, featuring a diverse range of voices from artists and scientists who explore vision and perception within their fields of practice. Red + Green = Yellow is at NewBridge Project, Gateshead from Monday 2nd November until January 2021 www.thenewbridgeproject.com

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PREVIEWS

Jazz Singer, Reflection, 61x61, 2018 by Robert Andler-Lipski

ART & LIT

ROBERT ANDLER-LIPSKI @ FREDERICK STREET GALLERY

Words: Damian Robinson The upcoming exhibition at Sunderland’s Frederick Street Gallery by South Shields-based visual artist and designer Robert Andler-Lipski is formed out of an overriding desire to surprise his audience by inverting the surroundings we often take for granted. Just as you might look twice at home decorations made from earthly materials like, say, sea shells, For Your Eyes Only sets everyday objects and designs into a new environmental context, inviting us to stop and notice the things we take for granted. Perhaps pop-art at its heart, Andler-Lipski’s work is often viewed as an ability to take a wide range of common materials and blend them into figurative subjects with abstract forms. Resulting in the creation of complex and chaotic harmony, what Andler-Lipski’s work often demonstrates is that art does not have to be obvious or immediately identifiable; in fact, often its real beauty is in the moments where it helps us to realise that we’ve been looking at things all of

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our lives, but never really seen them. Trying to find harmony and the truth inside of abstract-ism, For Your Eyes Only is an opportunity to stop for a moment and pay attention. Robert Andler-Lipski’s exhibition is at Frederick Street Gallery in The Bridges, Sunderland from Wednesday 4th-Monday 30th November www.frederickstreetgallery.com

MUSIC

SAGE GATESHEAD ANNOUNCE MORE LIVE SHOWS

Words: Claire Dupree Last month Sage Gateshead announced the return of live performance to their shiny venue, with a series of concerts designed to show off what the venue do best. Taking place in Hall One to allow for plenty of space, classical and contemporary sounds will once again emanate from their stage. Friday nights are given over to Royal Northern Sinfonia, who will dazzle with their virtuoso playing and stunning arrangements of familiar

and more unusual pieces. Saturday nights will welcome contemporary musicians. Avant-garde wonder Richard Dawson, ably assisted by sublime folk songwriter Yakka Doon, will perform on Saturday 31st October, while Saturday 7th November will see recent Mercury-nominated epic indie band Lanterns on the Lake perform what’s certain to be a programme highlight, with support from the inimitable Martha Hill. Newly announced are a couple of a rare shows from near and far; British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed plays the venue on Saturday 14th November, when her album Polyhymnia will be performed in its entirety by a 12-piece ensemble, and support is provided by alt. jazz rockers Archipelago. On Saturday 28th November electronic artist Joe Snape supports a unique performance from RNS Moves, an inclusive ensemble of disabled and non-disabled musicians. Later in the season, everyone’s favourite Mackem harmonisers The Futureheads will play a special show featuring acoustic and a capella arrangements on Sunday 5th December, with a pre-concert performance from Darlington songwriter Jodie Nicholson. www.sagegateshead.com


PREVIEWS

MUSIC

ANALOGUE BLOOD RELEASE KILL THOSE BEATS EP

Words: Laura Doyle Music without lyrics is one of those genres that, without proper due care and attention, can remain elusive. If I can’t sing along to a song, then what is the point? Well let me tell you, it may take a while to click, but when it does it’s

GREAT. Take Darlington duo Analogue Blood, for instance. Their electronic infused rock is certainly light on the lyrics, but their ability to construct and carefully formulate a track using the rhythm and beats and its cement is exceptional. They’ll be able to prove that in forthcoming EP Kill Those Beats – a paradoxical name if ever there was one. Lead single Insomnia captures the claustrophobic feeling of the night-time condition with heavy drum, trance-inducing wub-wubs, and a smattering of vocals from ‘unofficial’ third Chris Davidson, which act more like another musical element

Image by Helen Templeton incorporated into the soundscape than a grounding moment. With music like this, it’s easy to see how they secured slots at big events like Whitby Goth Weekend and Goth City Festival – their vibes are perfect. Hopefully they’ll be able to celebrate the release of Kill Those Beats in their home town – but if not I’d highly recommend getting out the LEDs and glowsticks, knocking the lights off, and giving it its due appreciation in a safe and socially distanced manner. Analogue Blood release Kill Those Beats EP on 9th November www.facebook.com/analogueblood

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PREVIEWS

Tribal Nike Airs 2016, by Sophie Lisa Beresford Smith

ART & LIT

RADGIE MAGICK/ TREASURES OF REDCAR @ THE AUXILIARY/THE PALACE HUB

Words: Claire Dupree Creativity comes in all forms, and some people are gifted with an abundance of it. Sophie Lisa Beresford Smith is one such individual; an artist of superlative talent whose creativity seemingly knows no bounds. Her previous work has delved into working-class culture and fashion, pairing her abstract textile clothing with EDM-fuelled performances which often take a metaphysical slant. The artist will be premiering two new exhibitions simultaneously this month; Radgie Magick is at Middlesbrough’s Auxiliary Project Space, while Treasures of Redcar is at the town’s Palace Hub, both from Friday 13th November-Saturday 12th December. Radgie Magick continues the artist’s preoccupation with wearable art; neon sensory appliqué, sculpture, painting and jewellery will be presided over by a stonking North East techno soundtrack and an overall tribal feel, with 3D effects fit to “blow your head off”. Treasures of

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Redcar showcases the town’s glorious bounty of natural treasure, transforming fossils into 24 carat gold and sterling silver jewels with splashes of vivid neon. “I use a lot of high voltage sensory content in my work, to activate the brain in ways that excite and delight the viewer.” Sophie says of her work, going on to explain how she’s inspired by the ‘codes’ in nature. “They are LETHAL for healing and restoring ourselves, connecting to creative genius and for cleaning out the daily sensory data spew-attack of capitalist culture. We can put nature codes into the art, being nature ourselves. Ask and they shall be given.” Sophie Lisa Beresford Smith presents Radgie Magick at The Auxiliary, Middlesbrough and Treasures of Redcar at The Palace Hub, Redcar from Friday 13th November-Saturday 12th December www.infinitecreativity.co.uk

STAGE

ABSOLUTE SOLO II @ DANCE CITY

Words: Helen Redfern Rosie Kay Dance Company presents Absolute Solo II, a triple bill of solos including a new work created during lockdown, performed at

Newcastle’s Dance City on Saturday 28th November. It’s been 21 years since Rosie Kay’s first ever solo show Absolute Solo, and five years since she last appeared on stage herself; now the renowned UK choreographer is back with much to say about the experience of being female. Part autobiography, part socio-anthropological study, this triple bill examines Kay’s personal experience as a female in dance. Using ideas of performance, identity, sex and gender, she explores her newfound dancing spirit. Alongside Kay’s new work Absolute Solo II, this insightful and inspiring triple bill includes an archive film Patisserie (1999) and Kay’s first public performance of Artemis Clown. How long has it been since we saw live dance performance? This will not be the same as before – nothing ever will – but it will be live, and it will be amazing. The real magic is in being there in the space, witnessing live performance, but if you can’t be there, the triple bill will also be live streamed to audiences at home. Rosie Kay’s Absolute Solo II is at Dance City, Newcastle on Saturday 28th November www.dancecity.co.uk


PREVIEWS

Zarahruth, who has written a new song for the Darling Tunes compilation

EVENTS

IT’S ALL HAPPENING HERE @ CORNERSTONE ARTS

Words: Claire Dupree Poetry, short stories, music and art installations will celebrate the creativity of Darlington in a weekend-long event at Cornerstone Arts. It’s All Happening Here is the brainchild of Darlo-based theatre company ODDMANOUT, and will take place from Thursday 5th-Saturday 7th November at the town’s newest arts hub. Devised before the pandemic, and since adapted to allow for home-based participation and social distancing, a community call-out in the Spring saw artist-led activities take place in preparation for the weekend. Creations of sculpture, new writing, music, spoken word and live performance will go on display, with particular highlights coming from some of the town’s arty residents. Actor and writer Steve Byron’s contribution, If Walls Could Talk, will see members of the Foundry group perform six short stories based around the idea of what the buildings of Darlington would say if they could talk; Gary Kitching’s epic poem about the town will be performed as a sound installation; songwriter Katie Doherty worked alongside members of the community to write a new song; there’s more musical delights courtesy of Darlington collective Tracks, who curate an album of music by local artists cannily titled Darling Tunes, which also features new compositions from Zarahruth and Jodie Nicholson – both of whom will be performing over the weekend. ODDMANOUT associate artist Christina Berriman will perform a live installation inspired by letters she received introducing her to Darlington, and there’s much more besides. ODDMANOUT’s Katy Weir summarises the project: “We wanted to make something which offered lots of different levels of participation so

people could come into and get involved with the project in a manner which suited them. The response has been really lovely – and I think demonstrates that need for connection and creative expression.” It’s All Happening Here takes place at Cornerstone Arts, Darlington from Thursday 5th-Saturday 7th November www.facebook.com/oddmanouttheatre

MUSIC

WOOLCRAFT RELEASE NEW EP, TRENCH ART LOL

Words: Robert Nichols Trench Art LOL is the latest and possibly last release from Teesside one-man left-field alt. pop provider Michael Baines under his Woolcraft moniker. Breaking out of lockdown from his Stockton analogue HQ, the one time Spit The Pips, Retardot and now Werbeniuk music meister has been responsible for six different albums over the past 15 years which have spanned musical genres but always bear the triple stripes of invention, accessibility and quality. How typical of a man that makes music so hard to pigeonhole that he should make the final Woolcraft production one of those in between album and EP seven song affairs. Setting sail with the intriguingly named Rakkaudella Kuu, apparently Finnish for a moon worshipper, it is a tender and melodic attempt to calm the waxing and waning tidal swings of a werewolf. It segues straight into the hard hitting buzzsaw liberty-stripping two tone-esque of For The Workington Man. Left-field, maybe, but Trench Art LOL is an instant hit personified by the calypso cover of Canadian maverick maestro Tom Holliston’s Show Business Giants’ stationery love song, Acres of Paper. Woolcraft release Trench Art LOL on 2nd November www.woolcraft.bandcamp.com

MUSIC

MEIOSIS RELEASES NEW ALBUM, BE NICE TO EVERYONE

Words: Jonathan Coll Since 1999 Meiosis has represented the musical output of Martin Thompson, who has been the band’s one consistent member throughout all eight of its full length releases. The forthcoming project, Be Nice To Everyone, was recorded with Simon Chester and Ray Tsai, and will be released on 16th November. Martin himself is well regarded in the Newcastle musical scene, both as a promoter and a purveyor of ‘wonky pop’; perhaps the most apt description of their eclectic sound. Mannequins was the maiden single from the LP, which arrived shortly before the album preview livestream at the end of September. The online only show to celebrate the launch of the album featured stripped back versions of the tracks, which are a range of fabulously varied compositions. Tracks such as Where Would I Be Without My Gaydar certainly have a lot going on, and the album doesn’t really fit snugly within any particular musical category. Let’s Stay Apart is a particular highlight, with earnest vocals being carried by a dramatic, foreboding instrumental. The album is a collection of interesting tracks addressing fascinating topics, and is certain to hit the right notes with the band’s dedicated following. Meiosis release Be Nice To Everyone on 16th November www.musicbymeiosis.com

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PREVIEWS

Rachael McShane & The Cartographers by Elly Lucas

MUSIC

A WHALE IN THE FOREST RELEASES DEBUT ALBUM, MACHINE NATURE

Words: Jonathan Horner “Turn the light off, shut your eyes and listen to the things that go buzz in the night…” This is the deal A Whale In The Forest offers and boy do they deliver! The North East experimental artist’s debut album swings from semi to completely atonal soundscapes. A restless record of dynamic swells that are gone before they, or you, settle in. Sporadic, intermittent beats erupt and then vanish amongst the desolation like a geyser in the Icelandic bleakness. When we finally get some melody, as in the chordal bass of Repetition Compulsion or stumbling piano of Progressive Regression it is dissonantly sub-melodic and tormentingly brief; a gulp of air before we lapse back into familiarly alien environments. AWHITF is fond of wordplay and uses the bastardisation of familiar phrases to deepen the sense of disorientation. As in the spoken word in Early Mo(U)rning it is proclaimed that “They say sticks and stones may break our bones but now the roles are reversing,” Thus begins the dark industrial clicking and swooping of Bones May Break Our Sticks N’ Stones. Those hoping for a sneaky Specials cover in Concrete Jungle should prepare themselves for a more literal interpretation of the paradoxical phrase. In fact, while we’re preparing ourselves for the

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unknown, prepare for anything and everything from Machine Nature! A Whale In The Forest releases Machine Nature on 13th November www.awhaleintheforest.bandcamp.com

MUSIC

RACHAEL MCSHANE & THE CARTOGRAPHERS @ THE GLOBE

Words: James Hattersley Multi-instrumentalist Rachael McShane is bringing her delightfully whimsical folk sensibilities to Newcastle’s The Globe on Friday 20th November. Backed by new band the Cartographers, the group will delve into their unique brand of reworked traditional folk, that promises to dazzle not only a limited seated audience, but a livestream too. This means you can enjoy the show from the comfort of your home; sprawled in front of a log fueled fire and sipping on a pumpkin spiced latte, if you so wish. Coming off the back of the well-received solo effort, 2018’s When All is Still, McShane is best known as one of the original members of the mighty contemporary folk band Bellowhead. However, with the fantastic Matthew Ord and Julian Sutton providing a strong foundation, McShane will distil audiences with wonder and a life affirming joy. Her brand of folk is decadent yet airy; enticing you before immersing you. She paints a stunning tapestry of yesteryears, when things were a little simpler. Truly a lover of the genre, yet McShane completely makes it her own. Rachael McShane & The Cartographers play The Globe, Newcastle on Friday 20th November www.rachaelmcshane.co.uk

MUSIC

PEACE BURIAL AT SEA RELEASE A SLOW ATTACK (PT. 1)

Words: James Hattersley When there’s no room left in hell, the dead will walk among us. It must be pretty packed down there as Hexham’s Peace Burial At Sea have reanimated and are now wandering the North East scene again, redelivering their distinct brand of alternative rock – a concoction of post-rock, post-hardcore and a dash of electronic. Following on from their 2006 self-titled album, Peace Burial At Sea will be steadily releasing a series of songs, starting with the aptly titled A Slow Attack (Pt.1). These songs have been a decade in the making; having been written and partially recorded throughout the years. Fans of the band’s previous work will delight in the return of atmospheric, doom inducing, ferocious yet fragile B-Movie themed romps. Nevertheless, there is still something fresh and necessary that will entice new fans to discover and fall for their special take on the genre. A Slow Attack (Pt.1) rides the extremely narrow line of triumph and utter defeat. The band have created a world of incredible bleakness that is surrounded by a gentle warmth. One that you can’t help becoming enthralled in. Peace Burial At Sea release A Slow Attack (Pt.1) on 30th October www.peaceburialatsea.bandcamp.com


PREVIEWS

MUSIC

EVE CONWAY @ THE GEORGIAN THEATRE

Words: Louise Henry Darlington’s Eve Conway returns with a gorgeous new single, and live show at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Friday 6th November. Singer-songwriter Eve Conway has spent much of lockdown sat in a cupboard under a duvet,

and given the circumstances, I can’t say I blame her. But whilst most of us have been burying our heads, bemoaning the collapse of life as we know it, Eve wrote and recorded a new single, and it’s a good one at that. Crucified By Hurricanes has been a long time in the making and came together over video calls in the aforementioned cupboard with the support of Cattle & Cane producer Paddy Jordan. “I still to this day haven’t met Paddy in person,” she says, crediting him for his patience during the process. In her own words, she might not be “skilled at music tech”, but Eve knows how to write a

Image by Rob Irish ballad. The meaning behind the track, she muses “is giving up on a situation, but leaving a piece of yourself there”. It’s anthemic and a song to be performed live and sung along to with an arm slung around a mate’s shoulder, so it’s just as well that you can nab tickets to see her on Friday 6th November for a socially distanced show at The Georgian Theatre in Stockton. Just, you know, without the singing or the touching. Eve Conway launches Crucified By Hurricanes at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Friday 6th November www.facebook.com/eveconwaymusic

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PREVIEWS

Abbie Finn

MUSIC

ABBIE FINN TRIO RELEASE NEW ALBUM, NORTHERN PERSPECTIVE

Words: Jonathan Coll Abbie Finn Trio present Northern Perspective, the forthcoming album produced alongside fellow Leeds College of Music alumnus saxophonist Harry Keeble and bass player Paul Grainger. Abbie’s own musical CV is particularly impressive, with a first class degree in music preceding spells at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and a run performing on London’s West End in Night School. Such a wealth of experience is reflected in Abbie’s approach to composition, and the album features songs recorded in July 2020, after the current pandemic had curtailed their performances at jazz festivals across the country. Abbie provides the percussion for some genuinely excellent music. The album is one that jazz aficionados ought to love, with the saxophone work of Harry Keeble being excellent from the initial notes of opening track Walkabout. The quality is consistent throughout, culminating in Umlazi Morning, an enjoyable jaunt of a track. It’s no real surprise that three musicians of such esteem should produce such an enjoyable album, but as someone with a fairly limited knowledge of jazz, this was a pleasant discovery. If you’re similarly unaccustomed to jazz music, Abbie Finn Trio may well be the band that changes that. Abbie Finn Trio release Northern Perspective is released on 29th October when they’ll perform at Prohibition Cabaret Bar, Newcastle. They also play The Globe, Newcastle on Sunday 22nd November www.abbiefinn.com

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MUSIC

#WEMAKEEVENTS GIGS @ TYNE BANK BREWERY

Words: Claire Dupree At a time when local restrictions make gig attendance more like a game of musical chairs than a social engagement, venues and promoters alike are being constantly challenged to find new ways of attracting their audience. Tyne Bank Brewery’s spate of live shows have been providing a much-needed lifeline for professional musicians and music-hungry audiences, and this month they unveil a week-long series of shows which they hope will further support those in the regional industry. Their #WeMakeEvents shows kick off on Monday 30th November, with each night curated by local promoters. The first show, presented by Wipe Out Publishing, will feature stripped-back sets from some of Tyneside’s most loved songwriters including Holy Moly & The Crackers, Hector Gannet and Rob Heron. Wednesday 2nd December sees promoters Kaleidoscope bring alt. pop quintet Shields to the venue alongside some special guests; while on Friday 4th December Little Buildings programme a noisy show which sees Newcastle-by-way-of-Brighton’s alt. rockers Demob Happy return to the region, with support from noise popsters Sick Joy. More shows are to be confirmed. “We are trying to support those that have received little to no support since March. Each organisation that is involved relies heavily on live music to survive, so it’s a way of directly funding them. We will be live streaming some of the shows to reach a bigger audience and provide further relief for North East businesses/ freelancers.” Says the venue’s Cole Gilroy, who hopes the gigs have a lasting legacy. “The hope is that other cities follow suit and remind

people that we are still here, still kicking and while it’s not a viable long term solution, it’s a chance to see artists in a small venue and will hopefully get others involved.” www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk

MUSIC

SALT HOUSE LAVISH RELEASES NEW EP

Words: Jonathan Horner 90’s rock musician to electronic music producer is a well-trodden path and for good reason; those rock hooks translate into bleeps and bloops so smoothly. Andrew Laverick is the latest to wander this yellow brick road with his new project, Salt House Lavish. He started out playing guitar and bass in bands in the 90’s, including stints in Filo Bedo, The Lazybirds and Boulevard Lounge to name a few. Eventually finding a love for the studio, it was a direction he would come to a full stop with. As is often the case with veteran musicians, life has a nasty habit getting in the way. Laverick is not immune to this and an almost career fatal carpal/RSI issue paused proceedings. However, through sheer force of will, getting back to basics with frequenting open mic nights and talking to some up and coming young artists, Salt House Lavish was born. Collaboration is a large part of his identity and the last year saw him work with both Thought Trumpet and To Kill a Nation. This current release, entitled performance cancelled, is a few pieces that tie together 2020’s output which is full of his combination of real world sound manipulation, synthesis and electronic production which, when all folded in, create a unique soundscape which is very much Salt House Lavish. Salt House Lavish releases performance cancelled on 13th November www.facebook.com/salthouselavishmusic


PREVIEWS

Twister by Adam Kennedy

MUSIC

TWISTER RELEASE NEW ALBUM, CURSED & CORRECTED

Words: Jonathan Coll Twister are a heavy rock four-piece representing the North East from their native Durham. Their debut album, Cursed & Corrected, will be released on 13th November, with the band looking to continue the

momentum they had built prior to the pandemic. Having recently released singles 64 White Lines and Call To Arms, they’ll be bringing their signature catchy hooks and energetic vocals to their debut album. Their live performances have earned rave reviews, supporting the likes of Papa Roach, Simple Minds and Texas, as well as selling out the O2 Academy 2 on their own headline tour. The forthcoming album shows Twister at their absolute best. Their impressive range of sounds is evident from outset, with the punchy, atmospheric Intro preceding the anthemic, pop rock of Feeding Frenzy. The band showcase

their signature heavy guitar riffs and powerful vocals on Fist Fight By The Waterside, with the album’s highlight coming in the form of the euphoric, uplifting track Trees. Twister have rolled many of the better elements of classic British rock into an album that sounds modern and fresh. It’s incredibly well produced, and carries an infectious energy that is certain to brighten the region’s music industry while it remains locked down. Twister release Cursed & Corrected on 13th November www.officialtwister.co.uk

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INTERVIEWS MUSIC

JP RIGGALL

I WANTED TO CREATE A FICTIONAL WONDER MADE OF REAL PLACES

JONATHAN HORNER FINDS OUT ABOUT THE TEESSIDE SONGWRITER’S ‘ANXIETY BLUES’ ALBUM, HOTEL WILDERNESS JP Riggall is a master terraformer. Digging the foundations, erecting landscapes for his songs to exist in, he understands that context is everything. A slow moving drama noir needs time to be. “I guess I’m doing fine”, would mean next to nothing over a bleep and blooped groove, but oppressed by broken up guitars and driving drums the lyric invokes a double take. He’s not waving, he’s drowning. Long-time fans of Riggall and his previous work with The Broken Broadcast will recognise his familiar mantric repetition on new album Hotel Wilderness. Is he trying to convince himself or us, or both, or neither? Whatever his reasons, he plants earworms firmly. After one listen to The Vagrant, the chorus is a passenger and companion for the rest of the day. “I was in Newcastle for a week in January, ended up doing a lot of walking to pass time and wrote a lot of lyrics.” Riggall explains about the evolution of the album. “By the time lockdown hit I had an album written and time to record it.” Initially mooted as an acoustic guitar and organ-fuelled record, the soon road forked again: “By the time I finished The Vagrant and producer Martin Trollope (aka Harbourmaster) sent me a mix back I knew I was going to do an alternative rock record.” On his second solo record, is Riggall settling into the spotlight? “Nothing beats playing live with your mates and notes hitting together perfectly, it’s an amazing feeling. However, recording as a band can be mind-numbing sometimes. I much prefer to write as we record, by the time you go in to a rehearsal room it’s still fresh but you have a good understanding of your parts and can still ad lib a bit.” He’s still managed to capture that band-in-a-room urgency whilst maintaining the grandeur of the record. “I have a lot of

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instruments (as well as some talented friends in Ian Dixon and Snowy) so I thought I’d see how sonically different I can make things. Of course there’s A LOT of guitars in there!” In comparison to his debut solo record, The Long Dark Bright, Hotel Wilderness kicks up more of a sonic fuss. However, he explains that it comes from a similar place. “It is very, very similar in theme; I think its a niche that I write from lonely perspective, there’s a lot in my songs about missing people or searching for something, I must subconsciously find the metaphors easier. I guess this is The Long Dark Bright’s slightly more adjusted and heavier big brother.” Along with his creation of environments for his songs, Riggall is also invested in the visual landscape. It’s not surprising then that this was created very early on: “The artwork was done with help from Andrew Johnson (Cherry Head, Cherry Heart) about three years ago. The vision on the record sleeve is what’s been with me since the start. I wanted to create a fictional wonder made of real places.” Coronavirus, lockdown and the shadow it has cast on the arts cannot be ignored, but the time has afforded Riggall a period of creativity which has borne magnificent fruit. Can he dodge the domino topple of live shows and what can we expect? “There’s definitely going to be some form of live show, even if it’s spring, this album has some great sounds which would be great live. I think I’ve got a few of the gang together to play everything pretty close to the record too, maybe some ad lib here and there...” JP Riggall releases Hotel Wilderness on 20th November www.jpriggall.bandcamp.com


INTERVIEW

ART & LIT

JIMMY TURRELL

LEIGH VENUS TALKS TO THE BYKER-BORN ARTIST ABOUT HIS LATEST EXHIBITION, REACTIONARY ART AND BEING INSPIRED BY THE BYKER WALL COMMUNITY Trailing a bounty of serious clients behind him – including MTV, Hugo Boss, Beck and the Chemical Brothers – Jimmy Turrell’s new exhibition catches the Byker-raised graphic artist and video director at a pivotal point in the year and his career. “It’s a strange time to have a show. The whole thing is based on my reactions to 2020, the triple-threat of COVID, racial tensions and the financial crash. I’m a glass half full sort of guy, and the best way to predict the future is to create it and do it in a modern, pop-collage kind of way.” Turrell’s iconic collage style and vibrant use of colour and texture will transform Newcastle’s Hancock Gallery, as his work is featured in a new group exhibition titled Doing:unDoing, taking visitors on a journey through his imagination and process. “Sometimes I’ll start with a specific idea and other times I’ll put on a bunch of tunes and create, then post-rationalise after I’ve made it. Before coronavirus, I was trying out different techniques, colours and patterns. Then when it all kicked in, I focussed on specific imagery, thoughts and feelings I had about my place in the world.” With 2020 continuing to inspire, he’s tempted to hold off a little longer on showing his work. “I almost want it to be after the US election so I can comment on that. I’ve printed large images of Trump onto glass, and I’ve smashed the glass, combining him with very positive quotes about the future. I want to respond in real-time, like Rauschenberg’s work about the moon landings, or what Marc Quinn did in Bristol recently, replacing the slaver statue with one of a protester.” Following significant shows in London and Tokyo, this new exhibition is specifically about 2020, nothing more nothing less. “There’s so much to pack in, and it’s a bit of a mindfuck, but I don’t want to be hackneyed. Trump is a dark individual, and I want to tap into that, but I don’t want my work to be too US-based either – Boris is definitely going to feature.”

TRUMP IS A DARK INDIVIDUAL, AND I WANT TO TAP INTO THAT, BUT I DON’T WANT MY WORK TO BE TOO US-BASED EITHER – BORIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO FEATURE Beyond Boris, being raised in the Byker Wall continues to weigh heavy on Turrell’s art and attitude. “The geometric shapes still influence me to this day. Growing up there was amazing; it was like living in a Lego set. That idea of the Byker Wall, about keeping the community together, influenced how I look at society, and the Toon continues to affect my work and who I am.” Fired by his dad when he tried to follow in his footsteps (“I was the worst carpet fitter in the world, and he knew it wasn’t happening. When you realise you’re shit at everything else apart from one thing, it’s time to jump in”), Turrell has long-since found his groove and is looking forward to the creativity that can be born from this inexplicable year. “In times of crisis, dark times, great art is created. In times of prosperity, there’s a lot of shit art out there. Like, where’s the next working-class band? I’m talking proper twocker, glue-sniffing bands; there hasn’t been one for ages. The creative industries are in trouble. They’re all based around people being together, and for the art world, it means they need to consider different spaces, new ways of thinking. “Maybe this is the gestation period, and 2021 will be the creative aftermath.” Jimmy Turrell’s work will feature in the group show, Doing:unDoing, which runs at Hancock Gallery, Jesmond from Friday 13th November until Saturday 6th February, and will also feature work by Robin Coleman, Stephen Johnston and Dan Parry Jones www.jimmyturrell.com

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FEATURE

T-B, L-R: Faye Fantarrow, Ceiling Demons, Girl From Winter Jargon, Shakk & Eyeconic,Wax Heart Sodality, The Dead Seat, Marketplace, Mt. Misery, bigfatbig

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FEATURE

DELIVERING EXCITING PERFORMANCES AND IN-DEPTH, INSIGHTFUL INTERVIEWS IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS PROJECT

MUSIC

NARC. MAGAZINE EDITOR CLAIRE DUPREE AND WEB EDITOR DAVID SAUNDERS INTRODUCE AN EXCITING BRAND NEW MULTIMEDIA PROJECT We hope you’ll forgive us a moment of self-indulgence, but we’re absolutely thrilled to finally unveil a project we’ve been working on for many months now. NARC. TV is a brand new magazine-style programme which will launch this month on our YouTube channel. Featuring interviews and live performances from some of the North East’s finest artists, filmed (in a Covid-safee manner) at some of the region’s finest independent venues – The Georgian Theatre in Stockton, The Forum Music Centre in Darlington and Independent in Sunderland. Delivering exciting performances and in-depth, insightful interviews is at the forefront of this project – much like the magazine and website, we strive to showcase quality content with the aim of entertaining and informing you about the best alternative music and culture in the region. We’ve teamed up with filmmaker and all-round artistic powerhouse Ste Bardgett, aka Artmouse Films, to produce five 30-minute long episodes, the first of which will debut on Thursday 5th November. Ste’s keen attention to detail and ability to capture the raw essence of a live performance has resulted in some really exciting footage. The experience has been a truly collaborative one, and has resulted in a project which all three of us feel extremely proud to be a part of. NARC. TV has been a real labour of love; we’re passionate about showcasing North East talent and it’s been a massive source of frustration to us that we’ve been unable to enjoy the live shows we dearly love throughout this year. While nothing can replicate the energy and emotion of an actual live show, with these programmes we’re able to give artists a valuable platform and you the audience informative chats and exciting live performances. On Thursday 5th November we kick off with an explosive first show featuring North Yorkshire’s masked alt. rappers Ceiling Demons, whose emotive performance is supplemented by live painting by Art Demon, filmed at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre. An in-depth chat with Psy and Dan reveals the motivations behind their work and their ethos as a band. The second half of the show features a mesmerising performance from Hartlepool’s experimental guitar loop artist Girl From Winter Jargon, who also discusses her musical practices and songwriting approach, filmed at The Forum in

Darlington. Subsequent programmes will be released every couple of weeks, featuring some of the region’s most respected emerging musicians including girl-gang rockers bigfatbig; Hartlepool’s lo-fi pop troupe Mt. Misery; shadowy garage rock quartet Wax Heart Sodality; Middlesbrough rappers Shakk and Eyeconic, who perform an exclusive collaboration; vibrant catchy pop band Marketplace; Sunderland’s indie rockers Plastic Glass; Darlington’s remarkable gospel blues band The Dead Seat and the extraordinary talent of singer-songwriter Faye Fantarrow. The programmes have been produced in conjunction with our friends at Tees Music Alliance; Paul Burns, their chief exec, explains why it has been an important project for them to support. “We’ve got a long standing relationship with NARC. going back to the day that the magazine was first published – and we’ve been proud to work alongside them ever since on a range of projects. When lockdown hit and they suggested approaching streamed performances in a different, more exciting style to what people were being offered, we jumped at the opportunity. Importantly though, the end result is not just an entertaining watch – it’s a fantastic snapshot of the region’s venues and artists in 2020; reminding us of the great music and experiences that we’ve been missing during these dark days.” Chief among our reasons for wanting to do this project has been a desire to support musicians in a tangible and meaningful way. Thanks to funding from Stockton BID, Creative Darlington, Sunderland Culture and We Make Culture, we have been able to pay 10 bands and artists to do what they do best, as well as give paid work to sound and lighting techs and filmmaker Ste Bardgett. It’s our hope that, as well as giving our audience some great content, NARC. TV will play a small part in helping to sustain our region’s creative sector. To be the first to see each episode subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/narcmagazinetv, where over the coming weeks you’ll also find loads more video interviews and features with North East musicians and cultural practitioners. www.youtube.com/narcmagazinetv

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COVER FEATURE

THERE’S DEFINITELY A LOT OF ANGUISH IN THE GOOD NOISE. IT WAS WRITTEN PRE-COVID BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE THAT WERE VERY MUCH SEEPING INTO MY WRITING

ME LOST ME LINSEY TEGGERT TALKS TO NEWCASTLE’S EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONIC FOLK ARTIST JAYNE DENT ABOUT HER REMARKABLE NEW ALBUM IMAGE BY AMELIA READ “Folklore is always being created, and I became interested in the idea of what stories will be told of now in the future.” Folk is in the blood of Newcastle-based experimental artist Jayne Dent, aka Me Lost Me. Raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Jayne would visit local folk music sessions and festivals with her parents, with her father playing several folk instruments including the concertina. Yet rather than focusing solely on the traditional, Jayne’s Me Lost Me project moulds the past with the future, creating a sound that is somehow both old world and otherworldly. Her futuristic approach to folk is even more apparent on her stunning second album, The Good Noise. “I found myself hypothesising on what those folklore stories told in the future could be – not just grand myths but both the tiny and the big stories. They might just be about stinging your hand on some nettles or going for a walk in a city that might not exist in the future.” Just as folklore is always situated in a specific place and time, landscape is incredibly important to Jayne’s songwriting. Throughout The Good Noise the listener is transported across different environments, often through field-recordings that are layered between ambient textures. From the Pyrenees Mountains to the humble Newcastle Town Moor, these little moments connect Jayne’s ethereal sounds back to the ground. It’s no doubt due to her background as a visual artist that she is able to evoke such a strong sense of place. “In my mind, there’s a place this album occurs in,” she explains. “Each song moves around through a composition of different places, it can move from a very wild place to a city, but it can float over the two throughout. I really wanted to capture those different sounds; Walking feels much more like it takes place in a city, but I wanted there to be sounds in the distance from a wilder place outside of the city. Then Nettle Soup, for example, takes place in a wilder location but there are moments of the city creeping in.” This juxtaposition between the natural and industrial often has an uncanny effect. As tends to be the case with folklore, there is frequently something darker bubbling just beneath the surface, and there is certainly a sense of foreboding that lurks throughout The Good Noise. The End of the World, the first single taken from the album, is the perfect example; a bewitching lament that gets under your skin, with Jayne’s haunting vocals layered over an ominously plucked banjo. “There’s definitely a lot of anguish in The Good Noise. It was written pre-Covid but there are a lot of things about the political climate that were very much seeping into my writing. For my last EP, The Lay of the Land, I made a conscious effort to write about climate change, and I wanted to respond specifically to the thoughts and

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feelings I was having about that. This album is not necessarily as direct, but that feeling of being out of control of the situation around you plays a very strong part. I didn’t necessarily set out to write any songs about climate change, though The End of the World is about capitalism and its contribution to the world changing and being left behind by the people in power who have promised to save everyone. That to me is political and environmental and you can’t really pull those two things apart.” Though The Good Noise leans towards a more serious tone, Jayne insists she was “conscious to at least put a couple of moments of joy in it.” Those moments of joy appear in the more playful aspects of the album: in fact, Jayne has been lauded for her ability to simultaneously create something that is both sinister and playful. This is demonstrated in the electronic art pop of Worm Unearthed, which muses on sprawling corporate developments from the perspective of a worm. There’s also a meditative joy present in Walking – its metronome-esque quality creating a sense of space and reflection, and in the pastoral Nettle Soup with its simple nettle picking narrative. Another one of those moments of joy comes in the track which gave the album its title, The Good Noise. “That was a good noise, wasn’t it?” remarks Jayne’s father, Jack Dent, after playing the hurdy-gurdy throughout. It’s a heart-warming little nod to the traditional folk influences that inspired Me Lost Me, but also a moment that informed one of the larger concepts of the record. “I wanted to explore the idea of what noise is. My Dad thinks my music is a bit noisy, but I think it’s interesting how we relate noise to taste and music, and how we judge what is a pleasant or unpleasant noise, and what sounds are considered to be musical and not.” As a testament to her artistic vision and the high esteem she’s held in locally, Jayne has recently been awarded a prestigious Artist in Residence position at Sage Gateshead. Despite the difficult circumstances, Jayne is no stranger to adapting her art and exploring new ways to create. “The main thing I took from my art degree, is just to keep making and follow the thing that works. I’m trying to think of lots of different outcomes and eventualities – there’s a plan A, B and C,” she laughs. “I don’t feel like I’ll be disappointed at the end of it, I feel like I’m being given permission to just write, and it’s really nice to have that time and space. Hopefully there will be a lovely gig at the end of it, and a release of some kind, but I’m happy to play it by ear and make sure it’s a valuable time no matter what.” Me Lost Me releases The Good Noise on 6th November, and plays Bobik’s in Newcastle on Wednesday 11th November www.melostme.com


COVER FEATURE

MUSIC

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FEATURE

POP RECS LTD.

DAVE HARPER TALKS TO DAWN STOREY ABOUT THE ROLES OF COMMUNITY, RESILIENCE AND SHEER STUBBORNNESS AS POP RECS PREPARES TO ENTER A NEW PHASE In 2013, when music stores were closing and HMV went into administration, Sunderland band Frankie & The Heartstrings opened a record store in their home city. Ironically, history seems to be repeating itself – because now, while most gig venues are currently closed due to the pandemic, Dave Harper from the band is busy building a new one. “There’s definitely a timeline of stupid decision making,” he says ruefully, explaining: “We’ve been working with the Tyne & Wear Preservation Trust to bring three Grade Two listed buildings back to life down the bottom of the High Street. The five year project which everyone expected to fizzle out hasn’t, so we’ve accidentally found ourselves in a position where we’re the only people in the country building a music venue when everyone else is closing theirs. It’s right on line with our run of luck. I’m not one to

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complain – I’m used to it. It’s been a laugh watching how many things we’ve had to deal with – floods, rents, politicians trying to bully us – we’ve had the full spectrum.” The original Pop Recs, created to promote the band’s second album, was only ever meant to last a fortnight yet it became so important to the local community (hosting gigs, yoga classes and craft groups) that seven years later it’s still there. “ I always had one eye on it thinking ‘there’s too much work gone into this and too much need for it to disappear’,” says Dave. “It’s not been open through this situation and we’ve spent a lot of money trying to get it to reopen.” The Stockton Road space will be open this month, confirms Dave. “I owe that to the people we support who stick with us and I know there are some people who are not doing very well. Most people are


FEATURE

MUSIC

FUCK EVERYONE WHO TELLS YOU THAT YOU CAN’T – STUBBORNNESS IS AS GOOD AS ANYTHING ELSE

not doing great [during the pandemic] so I think things like Pop Recs are increasingly coming into focus as a service. And that isn’t fair. ‘Cause I’m unqualified to do it but there’s also the thing of ‘don’t tell me I can’t do it because I know this city as well as anyone else’. I’ve got a reasonable feel for the needs of people like myself. I’m not looking like I’m gonna fall off the edge anytime soon but any of us are just a few steps away from that and if you think you’re not you’re kidding yourself, y’know? “It’s always been a sport in Sunderland. I mean, everyone’s negative about where they’re from – it’s a very British thing – but Sunderland, it’s the one thing we could be Olympic standard at. And that’s not the people of Sunderland’s fault – that’s 40 years of being smashed over the head with ‘you can’t’, ‘you shouldn’t’ and ‘you won’t have something’ and you can’t blame people for that.” It therefore came as a surprise to Dave to learn that Pop Recs is one of the organisations who will be receiving help from the Culture Recovery Fund. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done an Arts Council grant application by myself. There’s a culture of people saying ‘you need other people to help you’. I have very few qualifications, I’m from a pit village in East Durham, you know? I’m not supposed to be doing this, but at the same time fuck everyone who tells you that you can’t – stubbornness is as good as anything else.” The money means that he can fit out the new venue on High Street

West, which he hopes will house several other services alongside the music, including an eatery and training centre to help people in need of a second chance. “I’ve got a new business partner,” says Dave. “Our paths crossed and we both wanted the same thing and saw the same lack of opportunities in the east end of Sunderland. It’s a huge building. We’ll have people like Washington Mind who will offer in-house counselling. We’re looking at other people that we already work with so it’s people we know, people we trust, people who we can work alongside; it’s always been the dream to have this complex of people doing creative things that can support each other. There’s places like The Warren down in Hull [a youth project providing support services to young people] which myself and Michael [McKnight] have visited and still keep in contact with that have similarities to us. The guy who runs it really took us under his wing. And that’s what we aspire to. It’s incredible what they’ve done with some space in the centre of Hull and if we can achieve half of what he did I’d be very happy.” Pop Recs is clearly so much more than a space, it’s a community of people with common goals. “The one thing we don’t want for is goodwill and I’m grateful for that – I would take goodwill over money any day of the week. People of the North East shout about us. It’s not easy, you don’t have to support something. We get some lovely messages that keep us going.” The Stockton Road shop is filling a much-needed gap for the city’s music and support communities, but Dave has one eye on the future. “We think the High Street West building’s going to get handed over in less than two months which means I’ve got to find some more money and buy a paintbrush because this is where phase five of me not knowing what the fuck I’m doing will start again. I went down the other day and it was the first time I’d actually been in the venue because it was so unsafe, but the concrete was going down on the toilet floors which just felt perfect. To me that’s exciting; watching concrete on a toilet floor, because that’s years of work for that. That’s excitement to me – you can keep your Las Vegas!” www.facebook.com/poprecsltd

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INTERVIEW

ART & LIT

CAROLINE HARDAKER

Image by Envela Castel

THE INSPIRATION FOR THESE POEMS IS ROOTED IN CAROLINE’S FASCINATION FOR REAL LIFE DISCOVERIES, INVENTIONS AND REVELATIONS

HELEN REDFERN TALKS TO THE NORTH EAST POET ABOUT HER DEBUT COLLECTION INSPIRED BY THE LITTLE THINGS THAT SHAPE US EVERY DAY Writer Caroline Hardaker came to poetry by, in her words, “a really weird route”. Poetry wasn’t something she always wanted to do. She started off writing scripts and screenplays in her early 20s. When she discovered a poetry journal online with poems about things she didn’t know people wrote poems about, the things she likes – witchcraft, mythology etc. – she saw that poems are in fact “rhythmic little stories about literally anything”. And then when the first poem she submitted for publication got accepted, poetry quickly became a bit of a bug for Caroline. She’s passionate about poetry: “In free verse, you have the freedom to do anything: you can write about anything and it can be any length, any genre. It’s generally all on one page, so you can see it all at once, see the shape of it.” There’s something old about poetry that she loves too – that sense of history, of the generations of those who have done it before. Having lived in the North East all her life, Caroline is influenced in her writing by everyday city life and the local countryside, particularly the coast. Each poem in her debut poetry collection, Little Quakes Every Day, is a story which rolls off the tongue, a painting with words that engages all the senses. This poet is also an artist, you see. She paints and creates fibre art and so the colours and textures are vitally important, as are the smells and sounds of the scene. It all works together to create a visual image with an accompanying rhythmic drum beat as you hear the poem aloud in your head. The inspiration for these poems is rooted in Caroline’s fascination for real life discoveries, inventions and revelations, that she sees depicted in a photograph or a painting, or objects and collections from other cultures from her time working in the Museum Service. The poems in Little Quakes Every Day are gathered into three

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sections – histories, discoveries and inventions – themes that fascinate Caroline and that she comes back to again and again in her writing. The organising of the poems was therefore simple. “I have a sense of awe, there’s something quite magical about history.” She reveals. “Time repeats itself to the degree where you can see patterns. Humanity is currently at a turning point in environmental terms – and I think it’s important to understand mistakes of the past so we can try to not repeat them.” Caroline balances a concern about environmental disaster with a hope for change. She’s exploring what it is to live a sustainable lifestyle and is inspired by others trying to make a difference. You’ll find a focus on the need to work together but also on a sense of loneliness towards the end in the Inventions section of this collection. All the poems were written before COVID-19 and yet the themes seem “weirdly relevant”, according to Caroline. And then there’s the title – Little Quakes Every Day is a line from one of the poems which hints at the little things that shape us, as Caroline explains: “We’re all adapting all the time, all trying to make sense of the world. When we first entered lockdown, I personally found it really hard to be creative, I couldn’t settle. And then I became even more creative than normal! I did try to write about it, but I wanted to use creativity as a way of getting away from reality.” Little Quakes Every Day offers a window on other worlds both past and present, an escape in itself. Little Quakes Every Day by Caroline Hardaker is published by Valley Press on Monday 9th November. Caroline takes part in a live launch party via Zoom on Friday 20th November, see her website for info www.carolinehardakerwrites.com


INTERVIEW

DISGRACELAND STEVE SPITHRAY INVESTIGATES MIDDLESBROUGH’S EVER-EVOLVING ARTS HUB

MUSIC

Even nestled among Baker Street’s bohemian orthodoxy, Middlesbrough’s Disgraceland is something of an anomaly. Steadfastly retaining the squat couture Jane Jorgensen has overseen from its inception, which has brought ad-hoc takeovers by the likes of Sad For Life Records and artist and promoter Bobby Benjamin’s Picasso Baby series to the venue, not to mention the Sleaford Mods/ Coldwar Steve hijackings, Jane has also sought to move on with each iteration of the venue. With Lockdown 2.0 seemingly here for the long haul in one form or another, it’s difficult to see how a place that thrives on this sort of relaxed creativity and general commotion moves forward. Disgraceland has evolved over the last two years from the vintage clothes store of the same name Jane ran from another disused terrace on the other side of the street, as she explained: “The inspiration for Disgraceland came from visiting Berlin many times in the 90s and drinking in the squat bars, I always loved the aesthetic and mood so I have done my best to bring that to Middlesbrough.” Disgraceland is arguably the most DIY of all the small venues across Teesside just in the purity of its ethos. Jane told me what she has planned over the next few weeks although, as we will see, it’s a very loose ordering. “Every week we are doing Free Stage Friday, rather than calling it an open-mic night and using this beautiful stage,” Jane motions towards an indeed impressive raised platform adorned with Liz Collier’s instantly recognisable graffiti glyphs, “then there’s

DISGRACELAND HAS ALWAYS JUST GONE WITH THE FLOW; IT’S A PIECE OF ART IN ITSELF

Slutmouth, John James Perangie, Danielle Boucher. We The Queers alt. drag runs once a month. Thursdays I’ve been showing films. We’ve done Sleaford Mods’ Bunch of Kunst and Electroma, the Daft Punk Film. Saturdays will remain ad hoc, whoever wants to do something can. We’ve got Little Picasso Baby in the pipeline. It was conceived with Bobby Benjamin. I’d thought about doing an open art night and it evolved from there.” It’s very much a ‘watch this space’ approach to promoting. Part of Disgraceland’s enduring charm is its anti-chic interior design. “I just pick up stuff where I can,” Jane told me. So, upstairs a number of Tretchikoff-style portraits adorn the walls of a salvaged bar giving the venue a genuine sense of distressed grandeur. “When all the other bars in the street were doing their refurbs I was just picking stuff up from the back alley, but I think I’ve done a good job of it. The pictures I’ve had for years but sometimes if people see them in charity shops they get them for me…” One nod to modernity is a large flat screen TV on the wall, but Jane explained: “if I’ve got an act on downstairs people can watch it up here as well.” While capacity being reduced from 110 to 36 has set its obvious challenges, Jane didn’t apply for the Cultural Recovery Fund partly down to her fiercely independent nature, but as the latest Coronavirus restrictions begin to bite hard she is coming round to the idea of help: “A lifeline now might be an Arts Council bid. Because Disgraceland has always just gone with the flow and it is an ever-evolving hub of art really. It’s a piece of art in itself.” Find Disgraceland on Baker Street in Middlesbrough, and check their social media for info on future events www.facebook.com/disgrace.land.3

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INTERVIEW

HOUSE OF THE BLACK GARDENIA

2020 HAS BEEN A STRANGE YEAR FOR ALL OF US, BUT WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS EMERGING FROM TYNESIDE THIS YEAR WOULD BE AN AUTHENTIC-SOUNDING COLLECTION OF VIPER JAZZ CLASSICS. LEE FISHER SPOKE TO ELISE AND NEIL HOPPER TO FIND OUT HOW THE HELL IT ALL HAPPENED One of the more curious Tyneside demi-mondes is that of the swing-dance enthusiast. Only ever spoken of in hushed tones, these fleet-footed, gin-soaked boys and girls, shuffling and shagging their way round neglected backrooms and ballrooms, have their own styles, codes and sounds. It’s from this netherworld that The House Of The Black Gardenia were born. Or, more prosaically, Neil Hopper found a double bass in a junk shop. “I had to learn how to play the thing after I’d been asked to join Lady

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Koo & Her Kooky Kitchen – there’s nothing like being asked to play a gig to sharpen your practising regime,” Neil explains. Neil and Elise Hopper (respectively bassist/sousaphonist and vocalist/washboardist of The House Of The Black Gardenia) started thinking about forming the band when they were running the highly popular Swung Eight swing-dance night at World HQ. “I guess because we’d been doing swing dance DJing a lot, we’d been listening to loads and loads of this music, from the first half of the


INTERVIEW

MUSIC

IT WAS NEVER SOMETHING WE ACTUALLY SET OUT TO DO BUT WE NATURALLY GRAVITATED TOWARDS SUBJECT MATTER LIKE BEING BURIED ALIVE

Image by Kayla Wren Photography

20th Century, so we were immersed in it. We had the idea when we first started that we would be like Tuba Skinny or something, but that didn’t really suit us. A lot of it has been determined by who we could get to play with us, because when we first started none of us really had any idea what we were doing.” “It’s also worth giving Rob Heron a shout-out,” adds Elise, “because he did encourage us to do this, and was briefly in the band at the beginning… He’d bought a banjo and wanted an excuse to play it, it came out of that really. He deserves some credit.” Meanwhile Elise had never really sung at all. “I still don’t think of myself as a singer…when we first started rehearsing in front of other people, who I thought of as actual musicians, was beyond nerve racking. Onstage now I’m alright with it, I quite like just chatting on a bit and because there’s so many of us I don’t feel like there’s too much focus on me. The phrase ‘jazz singer’ is not something I feel like I am. And when Michael [Littlefield] starts singing…he sings like an angel. The audience must be thinking, ‘Why do they have her singing…?’” At first the Hoppers found it hard to source the right musicians (“we mainly just nicked people out of the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band, that’s been the strategy really, and other bands in the North East – like Michael from the King Bees”) and they’re the only founding members left. “I do think that the way we sound has very much been shaped by the people we’ve managed to get in. You just play to people’s strengths.” Put on the spot to describe their sound, both initially just said ‘jazz!’

but when pressed, Elise admits that “even within this genre it’s hard to describe what we do but it’s kind of jazz blues swing”. “It’s more swing than trad, I guess”, adds Neil, “which is nice because there’s not many – if any – people doing that.” Perhaps the hardest thing to get right with this sort of sound is the arrangements, and while Neil had never arranged anything before, he loved taking it apart to see how it all works. “It’s different to arranging anything else. And there’s space left for free improvisation. What I’d really love would be to have a massive big band and do all that stuff.” (Elise groans) “But it’s bad enough trying to organise nine people, let alone twenty.” Most of the songs are written by Neil and Elise. “I do the music but we can’t be in the same room together. Even if I’m in the house, I need to send it to her as an email or something and about 30 minutes later she’ll come back down with it all finished…sometimes it doesn’t quite match the genre, which is good because it stops it all being a recreation of stuff that’s happened in the past which is a bit pointless.” Hence songs about unwanted dick pics (Picture Message Blues) and Donald Trump (Big Big Man). “It’s a defence mechanism to write something a bit stupid and a bit funny. The class clown approach to lyrics.” Elise explains. “I’m really delighted that the album is coming out around Halloween, because I feel like we really have that sort of dark element. It was never something we actually set out to do but we naturally gravitated towards subject matter like being buried alive.” As for a second album, as with so much else, COVID has proved a serious block. “This album has been a record of ‘our early teenage years’,” Neil explains. “Finding what we’re about. I think I have a better understanding of what it all is, and I hope the next album will build on that. We’ve got a lot of songs but they’re incomplete because there’s been no gigging or rehearsals that would focus our minds on getting things finished. It’s nice that other people are writing, being able to collaborate with people who come up with stuff you never would have done.” While the band are genuinely pleased with the support being shown in the form of album pre-orders, they’re clearly frustrated at not being able to play live. As a nine-piece band, even the current trend towards low-key gigs isn’t really practical, and as Elise adds, “Most of our gigs have lots of dancers coming, what we do is dance music. And that has disappeared entirely. So when it does all come back, I think everyone is going to be really ready for it. To be very close, have lots of musicians onstage…” The House Of The Black Gardenia’s debut album, The New Lowdown, is released on 30th October on their own HOTBG label www.houseoftheblackgardenia.bandcamp.com

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

Simeon Walker by Rhiannon Banks Photography

GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE CLAIRE DUPREE DISCOVERS HOW THE GOSFORTH VENUE HAVE STRIVED TO GET LIVE PERFORMANCE BACK ON THEIR STAGE As we’re all aware, the last seven months have been challenging to say the least for venues. With ever-changing restrictions and consumer confidence uncertain, it takes a certain degree of perseverance and good old fashioned faith to stay the course. Multi-purpose venue Gosforth Civic Theatre have faced their challenges head on, putting audience needs and safety front and centre, but always with a keen eye on how the current climate is affecting musicians too. A week after lockdown was lifted they kicked off live performances in their garden, and have consistently managed to give work to musicians ever since. “The first gigs after lockdown were the first that had happened at a venue in the city since mid-March,” Rob Huggins, GCT and Liberdade CEO, remembers, “the sun, the bands and the beer will be our overarching memory of a strangely quiet summer.” Safety has been at the forefront of GCT’s strategy when it comes to getting live music back to their stage; as well as providing a safe and comfortable space for the Liberdade community, who returned to the venue in mid-September, as Rob explains. “First and foremost we are a disability arts charity that was founded by an amazing group of people with learning disabilities. They have built this place for everyone to use and enjoy, so our priority, when we were able to, was to get them back in the building. We have tried to find a balance between being there for our audience and local artists and also ensuring we are able to survive the pandemic, it is a difficult path to tread.” GCT’s relationship with their audience has always been of utmost importance. “Just as it’s important that venues and artists need to be

WE HAVE TRIED TO FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN BEING THERE FOR OUR AUDIENCE AND LOCAL ARTISTS AND ALSO ENSURING WE ARE ABLE TO SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC, IT IS A DIFFICULT PATH TO TREAD 32

heard, audiences need to be too and we need to move forward together, so it’s like a three way relationship of trust in that respect.” Says building manager Joseph Harrop. “We were very conscious that things could change at any moment, so programming too far in advance was not a viable option with the risk attached to cancelling gig after gig and the ramifications that may have on customer experience and venue reputation.” Says Rob. “We also decided early on after lockdown that we would make all of our initial events ‘pay what you feel’, this worked well and removed any anxiety audiences had about losing their money, audiences repaid this by generously donating at those early gigs. To help bring these events to a wider audience we are investing in some hardware which will enable us to stream events at a much higher quality than we have been able to up until this point.” A focus on preserving artistic talent is also at the forefront of the GCT team’s approach, as Joseph explains. “The longer there are restrictions on the sector and the community for putting on live art and performance, the more potential artists or early career artists we’ll lose because they aren’t able to create and they’ll end up entering different career paths. So it’s not just about weathering this winter but it’s about weathering the next generation and making sure they have the support to come through it.” Forthcoming events taking place at Gosforth Civic Theatre include GCT Folk Club performers Annie Ball & Katie Tertell on Friday 6th, and Alice Grace Quartet perform as part of the GCT Jazz Club on Thursday 12th November, plus there’s more music and cinema events with food tie-ins planned thanks to the vision of new chef Dyonne Branch, not to mention a winter family show and music, film and food line-up for December, with the local community at the heart of their programme. “Our decisions are based on the fact that we want to make positive social change within our community,” says Rob. “I hope everyone that comes to GCT feels that.” www.gosforthcivictheatre.co.uk


BORN LIPPY

INTERVIEW

AS BORN LIPPY CELEBRATE THEIR THIRD BIRTHDAY THIS MONTH, CLAIRE DUPREE TALKS TO CO-FOUNDER DONALD JENKINS ABOUT NEWCASTLE’S CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS WORDY

STAGE

Louise Fazackerley by Citizen Mace Spoken word and performance poetry is perhaps a lesser talked about, but still hard-hit casualty, of the post-lockdown live circuit. Nights such as Born Lippy – who celebrate their third birthday this month – provide a valuable space for wordsmiths of all disciplines to show off their skills. Co-founded by poets Donald Jenkins and Tom C, Born Lippy was created to join what they saw as the obvious dots between performance poetry, rap and comedy. “We wanted to create a space which would convert the uninitiated, challenge the misconception that poetry is dull, boring and not for them.” Donald explains. “We wanted to put on a varied and interactive show that blurred genres and was exciting, engaging and speaks to a diverse audience. Also, we were concerned that the local spoken word scene lacked a diversity of representation, so Born Lippy routinely stages working class and artists of colour to appeal to a broader audience base.” Born Lippy events also often feature poetry slams, a friendly yet competitive space for new poets to test material and develop performance skills. “By combining these elements, we aim to expand access to artists from interconnected disciplines, creating a one-stop shop for ‘all things wordy’. We provide a platform for new and established artists from across the UK to explore place, identity and hope in a joyful way that connects people.” While some poetry events took place virtually during lockdown, Donald admits that many find the likes of Zoom or streamed events a barrier to expression, and he’s emphatic that the community element of Born Lippy is what makes it special. “It has been difficult as poetry is a cathartic exercise, people write to get things off their chest, vent their truth, share their experiences and use it to cope with issues life throws at them. Spoken word nights create communities where people can share these stories, be heard. [The pandemic] has made it difficult for people to get that experience.”

WE WANTED TO CREATE A SPACE WHICH WOULD CONVERT THE UNINITIATED, CHALLENGE THE MISCONCEPTION THAT POETRY IS DULL, BORING AND NOT FOR THEM While online events can enable those who can’t come out into real-life spaces to attend, Donald says there are further struggles to come for the industry. “I think as we move back towards in-room events, there will be a need for people who can watch via streaming. One of the impacts on the spoken word scene has been the death of venues and the lack of work for poets, we are dependent on venues which may disappear altogether without a significant support package. Some people are professional poets and need work – I am part time professional poet. There is less work at the minute and artists from all disciplines are competing for what funding there is.” Born Lippy will celebrate their third birthday with a foot in both camps – a live ‘in-room’ show at The Globe in Newcastle, which will also be streamed to an audience at home. Taking place on Wednesday 11th November, performers will include darkly humorous poet Louise Fazackerley, winner of BBC Radio 3 New Voice award, European slam finalist and support artist for Dr. John Cooper Clarke; Louise’s unique approach to word-witchery makes the ugly beautiful and the mundane fantastical. She’s supported by political comic and surreal storyteller Raul Kohli, engaging rapper Reali-T and poet and painter (and recent Born Lippy slam winner) JM. Born Lippy’s third birthday takes place at The Globe, Newcastle and via livestream on Wednesday 11th November www.facebook.com/bornlippyne

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

TWIST HELIX

Image by Paul Murray Media

NEWCASTLE’S ELECTRONIC ALT. POP BAND TURN THEIR GAZE TO THE NEFARIOUS MACHINATIONS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ON THEIR NEW ALBUM, BEN LOWES-SMITH FIND OUT MORE For the last five years, Twist Helix have been diligently crafting their unique brand of politicised synth pop with a truly commendable work rate and playing shows across Europe in support of their ferociously DIY releases. Following on from 2018’s Ouseburn, an album concerned with gentrification and the value of art, comes new release Machinery – another heavily polemic record fixating on the mechanics of the music industry. On being asked why such a meta-textual approach was taken with both records, the band collectively explain: “In a world as connected as ours, it’s almost impossible to exist as if within a vacuum, so it seems natural to us to write in this way. Our single Frida Kahlo probably sums this idea up best: it’s all about reacting to culture until it becomes indistinguishable from your own identity; the irony being the song ends up not really being about Frida’s self-portraits at all but about kitsch fashion.” Although the band insist they’re romantics at heart, they admit to being cynical about the music industry. “The machinery behind it makes modern music artificial: everything’s about the product, the distribution, the consumption. We make pop music that channels various influences and has a sort of organic self-awareness. On Machinery we wanted to explore that if you strip away the nuts and bolts of the industry, you might be left with something that’s (for

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FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE IS REWARDED, AND MUSIC IS ABOUT AS PERSONALLY FULFILLING A THING AS YOU CAN DO. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, DON’T LET ANYONE PUT YOU DOWN

better or for worse) a bit more recognisably human.” A handful of songs on the record speak to the ever present chauvinism in the music industry, which the band are glad to see being addressed by some festivals and promoters. “It’s absolutely true that the lack of gender representation in music and particularly rock and indie is a source of shame. It’s as much a symptom of a broader culture that doesn’t value women as it is a sign of ingrained chauvinism in the business.” Their track Ghost attempts to articulate the band’s frustrations. “Particularly how women are overlooked by festival bookers, or not held in the same critical regard as their male counterparts. Ghostly invisibility is certainly a fitting metaphor for the experience. In terms of remedy, well, promoters can and should #BookMoreWomen or sign up to the Keychange initiative. But I don’t think we should wait around for change to be top down, there’s so many amazing women in music right now, challenging expectations and doing things on their own terms, we say power to them! From personal experience, persistence and perseverance is rewarded, and music is about as personally fulfilling a thing as you can do. Believe in yourself, don’t let anyone put you down.” Indeed, this sort of valuable polemic is all over Machinery. “I think it took us a long time to really find out what our voice was and then be confident in using it, with that in mind the opening track Louder really sets the tone for the album, with the closer Goodnight Little England being an assertive and confident use of that voice. In terms of message, we’d love for the album to make people think about our culture a little bit more, where it comes from and what it says about us. But failing that, just getting lost in the music for a little while would do. After all, feeling what others do is the first step to understanding them.” Twist Helix release Machinery on 20th November www.twisthelix.com


INTERVIEW

ART & LIT

Graeme Hopper, With Guilt, 2019, mixed media collage, 29.7 x 21cm. Courtesy of the artist

PAINT THE TOWN IN SOUND CLAIRE DUPREE DISCUSSES THE INTRINSIC LINKS BETWEEN MUSIC AND VISUAL ART WITH FIELD MUSIC’S DAVID BREWIS, WHO CURATES A NEW EXHIBITION IN SUNDERLAND Sunderland’s acclaimed quirk popsters Field Music have been let loose on the Arts Council Collection of artwork to curate a music-themed exhibition, taking place at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from this month. Paint The Town In Sound looks at the intrinsic links between music and visual art, asking how they function as acts of self-portraiture – whether through youth and fan culture, fashion, iconography and symbolism. The band’s David Brewis explains how the exhibition came about: “We were given free rein with the Arts Council Collection and combined it with some North East-related things to look at how music and visual art feed into each other, and especially with how we use music culture as an act of self-identification.” Featured artists include Helen Cammock, Jeremy Deller, Anthea Hamilton, Mark Leckey and Susan Philipsz. “I think Mark Leckey’s Parade and Jeremy Deller’s The Uses of Literacy were the key starting points. With the Leckey, it’s about how we use imagery and symbols to present ourselves to the world. And with the Deller, you’re seeing how people construct their identities through their attachment to pop culture.” It was also important that regional artists were recognised, and the exhibition features well-known North East names like Rachel Lancaster, Graeme Hopper and Narbi Price. “We’ve got Laura Lancaster’s painting for the new Maximo Park album, a Narbi Price painting and one of the stage shirts Pauline Murray made for herself.” North East-linked record sleeves will also go on display alongside local video work, original flyers and gig posters and a

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND, THAT DESIRE TO MAKE OR REMAKE YOUR IDENTITY FROM SONGS AND IMAGES IS PRETTY UNIVERSAL

display from the Bunker 35 archive. Paint The Town In Sound promises to be an accessible and highly engaging exhibition, drawing from elements of popular culture that are ingrained in our everyday lives, as David explains: “What band T-shirt you wear, what typeface you use on your record sleeve, what you soundtrack your Tik-Tok videos with...they’re all imbued with meaning and associations and we’re using those associations almost as social shorthand. In visual art, symbolism is a really powerful tool – consciously used to give subtext – but in pop music symbols are mostly indistinguishable from cliché. So, for example, if you want people to understand that you’re miserable and lonesome you might use the symbol of a reverb-y slide guitar and mention whiskey in your lyrics.” And when it comes to Field Music’s own sound, David admits that most of how visual art influences them is most likely through “unconscious pilfering”. “Of course, we use symbols too but we try to be aware that we’re doing it and I hope that we do it for good reason and not just as a shortcut to profundity.” An accompanying programme of events and podcasts are also planned, plus Sunderland’s Young Musicians Project members are putting together a display of local musicians to be exhibited in the museum’s Art Lounge, and further collaborations are planned with Sunderland Culture’s Celebrate Different Collective and Arts Centre Washington’s Bright Lights exhibition for young artists. “Working on this exhibition has really made us confront how we tell stories about ourselves through our music and artwork.” Said David. “And it’s also shown that no matter what your background, that desire to make or remake your identity from songs and images is pretty universal.” Paint The Town In Sound is at Sunderland Museum & Winter Garden from Saturday 21st November until February 2021 www.sunderlandculture.org.uk

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INTERVIEW

PLASTIC GLASS

DAMIAN ROBINSON FINDS OUT WHAT THE SUNDERLAND INDIE ROCKERS HAVE IN STORE WITH THEIR NEW SINGLE, GOING AWAY

MUSIC

Image by Ricky Atterby Talking with musicians it’s often interesting to find two opposing thoughts when considering how to follow up a well-received single. On the one hand, there can be the feeling of heightened confidence that follows the praise others provide to your work (and therefore a desire to build on the momentum quickly); on the other, there can be the slight paralysis which comes from the self-doubt of wondering if you can reach those heights again. Often falling into the extremes of emotions, a well-received single can be just as damaging for future output as it can be useful. There is however, as Sunderland indie rockers Plastic Glass prove, seemingly a third way: you can record as much as you can altogether in one great creative moment. Hot on the heels of previous impressive single Let Me Know, the band’s new single, Going Away, finds them reaching a real peak in performance. Compounded by a pounding bassline, pronounced vocals and a well-constructed narrative about modern-day relationships, Going Away mixes the machine gun guitars of early Clash with the spite and wit of the Arctic Monkeys to produce a single that is as punchy as it is match-fit. Coming in at under three minutes, there’s no fat at all to chew on; like a prize fighter, it gets in, does the job and gets out. “As it happens we recorded Going Away at exactly the same time as Let Me Know back in December 2019,” confirm the band when asked about the difficulty of following up Let Me Know. “We started playing both of them live at the same time last Summer, so they started to develop together.” Going Away is focused on the interplay of human relationships, as well as the demand for personal reinvention, as they explain. “The track focusses in on being around the same set of people for years and years but constantly being let down and then moving away,

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GOING AWAY IS FOCUSED ON THE INTERPLAY OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, AS WELL AS THE DEMAND FOR PERSONAL REINVENTION finding a new scene, a new group of friends.” The strong narrative of Going Away is also supported by its precise production; a sound the band are keen to recreate when playing at their sell out show at Sunderland’s Independent on Saturday 7th November. “We were buzzing that it sold so quickly, they’re such small intimate shows so we were hopeful of a sell-out but when it actually happened, on the same night, it was mental.” Another show on Sunday 8th November has since been added due to demand. A prospective tour is already being lined up for next year. “We’ve got loads of shows pencilled in for 2021, it’s just a waiting game and as soon as we’re allowed there’ll certainly be a UK-wide run of shows, hopefully including our April headliner in Sunderland working with national promoter This Feeling.” The band are already working on Going Away’s follow up, with material written during the early stages of lockdown. “We spent our time together writing and developing a couple of new songs, so hopefully you’ll get to hear them at some point in the future.” If following a strong single is hard, God only knows how hard it must be to follow an even stronger follow up… Plastic Glass release Going Away on 7th November. They play Independent, Sunderland on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November www.plasticglass.band


INTERVIEW

MUSIC

T-B, L-R: Tom Bright by Julian Richard Peters, Fawn by Crispin Halcrow, Kay Greyson

BOBIK’S

ARTISTS HAVE STRUGGLED MORE THAN MOST THIS YEAR, AND WE’VE SEEN HOW KEEN THEY ARE TO GET OUT AND PLAY, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT THEIR ENTHUSIASM ISN’T TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF

ALI WELFORD TALKS TO BOBIK’S EVENTS MANAGER RUSSELL POAD ABOUT THEIR INTIMATE SPLENDID ISOLATION GIGS Although a route back to normality feels no nearer now than it did eight months ago, North East venues did receive small crumbs of comfort last month in the shape of grants from Arts Council England, as part of the government’s £1.5 billion cultural rescue package. It won’t hush an industry decrying the neglect and condescension its faced amidst the crisis, and with no end in sight there’s little doubt more will be needed, but it should at least provide some solace for scores of beleaguered institutions enduring this toughest of winters. Among the beneficiaries is Jesmond live music hub Bobik’s, who’re using the funds to curate a series of Splendid Isolation gigs from November through to January. Having already trialled a handful of well-received COVID-secure shows, the announcement sees a welcome return to a fuller calendar, though for events manager Russell Poad the prevailing mood remains one of caution: “We’re not out of the woods yet – we may still have harsher restrictions imposed upon us at any time,” he acknowledges. “Obviously if [sister pub] The Punch Bowl is forced to close then Bobik’s will be too, and it’s still not clear how that would affect the funding. It covers a three-month period through to January and some of it is going towards paying our staff – but what happens if we close and they’re paid through the furlough scheme? Everything’s still a bit up in the air.” While uncertainty persists, gig-goers need have no misgivings over the safety of Bobik’s events. All shows will be fully seated and socially distanced, with drinks ordered via table service, face coverings mandatory and track-and-trace details logged during the booking process. With capacity capped at 20, the grant has allowed Russell to cast his net wider, booking the likes of Edinburgh’s

Roseanne Reid (Saturday 5th December), Tom Bright from London (Wednesday 9th December) and York’s Fawn (Saturday 16th January) alongside local favourites such as Kay Greyson (Wednesday 25th November), Me Lost Me (Wednesday 11th November) and Jodie Nicholson (Saturday 9th January). “It allows us to pay appropriate rates. I’d like to think that in 12 years of promoting gigs – both independently and now at Bobik’s – I’ve built a reputation for paying acts properly. You can’t expect somebody to travel from Scotland or Leeds and take a percentage of your door takings when the capacity is 20 and you’re charging £5 per head. Artists have struggled more than most this year, and we’ve seen how keen they are to get out and play, but it’s important their enthusiasm isn’t taken advantage of. “I wouldn’t attempt to persuade anybody still feeling uneasy about coming to gigs – everyone’s situation is different,” he continues, turning his focus towards audiences. “What I can say is that the feedback we’ve received so far has been positive; that it’s felt safe, but not too weird – almost like a normal gig. Also, while I understand from a financial perspective why some venues are only offering tables for twos, fours and sixes, a lot of people – myself included – enjoy going to gigs alone, and I don’t want those people to feel excluded. Our setup allows us to be quite flexible in that regard. Some of our regulars who were cautious at first are beginning to come back too, so tickets are selling quickly!” With multiple events already sold out, these scarce winter delights aren’t to be dithered over! For a full list of Bobik’s Splendid Isolation events, head to their website www.bobiks.com

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

CALLUM PITT

JONATHAN HORNER TALKS ABOUT INTROSPECTIVE THEMES AND SENSORY SOUNDS WITH THE NEWCASTLEBASED MUSICIAN

Callum Pitt is a songwriter for now. His message, tender and important, has certainly helped countless people through tough times and tougher are surely to come. Earlier this year, his single Ghost, explored the minutiae of human interactions during crisis, specifically terminal illness. It does not wallow in pain but gives thanks for the small things. Callum explains that he always looks for the positive thread that runs through sad situations. “Happy memories could thankfully still be made despite this black cloud waiting in the distance much of the time.” While Here If You Need gives his sonic hug to the exponentially growing number of us that are losing hope in a society, fractured by design: “Well if ever you feel cheap and old within this sea of greed / Take some time for yourself and I’ll be here if you need”. His new single, Sea Of Noise, is true to this manifesto, celebrating the unique human experience of happy-sad. “The title alludes to a feeling of helplessness and feeling surrounded by quite a lot of negative things, but the song discusses having a person take your mind away from that kind of mindset and keeping it away.” He explains. There is something exposed about an introvert releasing music under his own name. An intimacy that we’ve not yet earned. He’s aware of this and has embraced it. “It certainly had its challenges at the start as it’s weird to see myself as someone who can perform to hundreds of people as an introvert, but I’m getting better at defining my normal self and the performing artist version of me.” As he grows into his role we cherish both, supporting the artist, determined to repay the trust the man put in us. Moods and textures have swayed from single to single but, as is the case with songwriters and musicians with a strong sense of self, the songs all feel unmistakably like Callum Pitt. Some of this is down to technique: “Overall my vocals are probably quite consistent across

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CALLUM DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN HIS SENSES WHEN ALLOWING CREATIVITY TO MOVE THROUGH HIM; STIRRING A SENSORY SOUP OF SOUND, VISION AND VOCABULARY songs, for instance I love group vocals in a chorus, and also there’s a particular harmony which I use loads,” but he also has the immeasurable, undefinable (we aren’t going to say youknowwhatfactor) ‘thing’ that makes him, him. Callum does not discriminate between his senses when allowing creativity to move through him; stirring a sensory soup of sound, vision and vocabulary when he writes. “The song was initially called Out Of The Water when I wrote the first version a few years back, so I’ve always had water imagery in mind for it.” After a whole bunch of wonderful singles and an excellent EP, there can surely only be one thing left, the big debut album! “I’m definitely ready to step away from single releases and prepare a more cohesive body of work, so yeah that’s really not too far away at all.” Finally, when asked for tips, he reveals another side to the gentle singer: a sure footed, unflinching man on a mission. Not just budding songwriters but all of us would do well to listen. “Have a clear vision for what you want to achieve, and be very stubborn to make it happen. Surround yourself with supportive and loving people, don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with, value yourself, manage your expectations and enjoy making music as much as you can!” Callum Pitt releases Sea of Noise on 6th November www.callumpittmusic.co.uk


INTERVIEW

STAGE

ROWAN MCCABE

BEVERLEY KNIGHT TALKS TO THE NEWCASTLE POET ABOUT CAPTURING A SNAPSHOT OF 21ST CENTURY BRITAIN WITH HIS DOORSTEP POETRY The novel idea of knocking on stranger’s doors and writing poems for the lucky occupant became a reality for poet Rowan McCabe, as he embarked on his door-to-door poetry odyssey across the UK last year. The project has since grown even more significant than first anticipated, and you can see the results for yourself as he brings Door-to-Door Poetry: Nationwide to Stockton’s ARC on Thursday 12th November. Rowan tells us more: “I was performing a show about what happened to me at the Edinburgh Fringe. A lady came over afterwards and said, ‘This is such a good idea. But it would only work in the North East.’ I asked why and she said, ‘Because Geordies are exceptionally kind. You’d never get away with that down south’.” Admitting that he’s stubborn, he had an urge to prove her wrong. “The idea was to start in March 2019 and visit 12 places, one per month, all over England. I wanted to affirm that absolutely anyone could enjoy poetry, and I thought it would be an interesting time to try and capture a snapshot of 21st Century Britain too.” Desiring each location to say something about our country, the verse-maker picked his areas after careful thought. “I went to Boston in Lincolnshire because it was named ‘The Most Divided Town in Britain’ and voted higher than any other to leave the EU. I went to visit a group of Syrian refugees in Kent. I went to visit the ‘Anti-Fracking Nanas’ in Preston because I felt that was saying something about our relationship with the environment. But then,

THE ISSUES THAT CAME OUT FROM MEETING ALL THESE PEOPLE SEEMED TO BE SAYING SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT ABOUT BRITAIN TODAY

once I got there, events kind of took over.” Rowan scouts out potential poem recipients and asks them one crucial question: “The only question I ever ask people is ‘What is important to you?’ Things quite quickly took on a life of their own.” He confesses that the responses varied, but often delivered contrasts. “There were moments, like in Boston, when it was as if these two people, who lived nearby but didn’t know each other, were completely in sync. Their suggestions both dealing with exactly the same subject.” After the initial visit, he liked to take time and care in his response. “I’m terrible at improvising so I’d try and find three people in every place I visited, then go home and write the poems. Two weeks later, I’d go back and deliver them, performing each one on the doorstep and giving them a written copy,” he reveals. The project had a surprising outcome for McCabe. “The experience was a real wake-up call. But, on a bigger level, the issues that came out from meeting all these people seemed to be saying something really important about Britain today.” Lockdown forced him to reassess the ethics of what he was doing. “The initial questions were ‘Can I do this? Will it actually work?’ When the restrictions started to kick in, it became ‘Should I do this?’ Writing poems for people on their doorstep involves a lot of mutual trust. That trust was pushed further and further as the pandemic got closer.” During his live show, Rowan’s mix of funny and thought-provoking spoken word and theatre is ultimately intended to have an uplifting effect. “I’m hoping people will laugh at the funny bits, feel sad at the sad bits, but leave with a feeling of optimism.” Rowan McCabe performs Door-to-Door Poetry: Nationwide at ARC, Stockton on Thursday 12th November www.rowanthepoet.com

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INTERVIEW

YOLCU

THE ART POP DUO, BASED BETWEEN NEWCASTLE AND ISTANBUL, TALK TO JAY MOUSSA-MANN ABOUT FINDING INSPIRATION IN THE EMOTIONAL SOUL OF ANATOLIA

MUSIC

Anatolian-inspired electronica band Yolcu are set to release their striking new EP, In Stream, this month. Based between Istanbul and Newcastle, Dağtaş (Turkey) and Joe (UK) are the masterminds behind this powerful music. The pair met in 2017 while studying for a sonic arts MA in Istanbul, instantly making a musical connection and setting up a studio near Mount Ida in north-western Turkey. Within its dark, modular synth-infused tone, Yolcu’s music has an air of yearning and poignancy about it. “I think it comes from our interest in the emotional tone, or soul, of Anatolia,” muses Joe. “There is a sense of yearning in most of the music, poetry and literature from the region which is partly inspired by local traditions of mysticism. It’s not a yearning to be happy, earn money or something like that, rather it’s a search for answers to questions of an existential, metaphysical nature. One could say that the agony of the mystic is their separation from God (however you wish to define it), and through art that feeling expresses itself as a yearning for union.” Open track The Somewhere comes barrelling in with its hip-hopcum-ethnic beat and gorgeous microtonal scales of the bağlama, a traditional stringed folk instrument of Turkey (and one of my favourite sounds). But don’t be fooled, this song is closer to an underground rave track than traditional folk. “Since we’re both interested in each other’s cultures it seems effortless to blend them together. We’ve never tried to force the influence,” says Dağtaş. “It always depends on what the track needs, if it supports the production and the song’s narrative.” The name Yolcu in Turkish means ‘passenger’ and is a metaphor about how the passage through life is a journey. Despite being

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THERE IS A SENSE OF YEARNING IN MOST OF THE MUSIC, POETRY AND LITERATURE FROM THE REGION WHICH IS PARTLY INSPIRED BY LOCAL TRADITIONS OF MYSTICISM written two years ago, the EP feels strikingly prescient, which makes sense when you understand where the themes came from. The lyrics are post-modern, dealing with confusion, anxiety and loss of control. “Post-modern in the sense of a fragmented self,” says Joe. “A loss of grand narratives to explain, guide and motivate, an alienation from political and cultural structures, being pessimistic about one’s capacity to change things – not much different to the 90’s really.” Yet 2020 has been a highly productive year for the duo. “We wrapped up everything for this release and produced two music videos,” says Dağtaş. “I made the artwork for the releases and the 3D-scanned animation music video for A Hunter And The Prey. During lockdown I shot the music video for The Somewhere with Turkish artist Anıl Önen. The pandemic meant that we couldn’t play live to help promote our releases, but it did allow us to focus entirely on this EP release, which we’ve learned a lot from. And I think personally, for both of us, this time has helped us to be much clearer about what we want and how we want our next release to sound.” Yolcu release their In Stream EP on 6th November www.facebook.com/yolcuing


DEMOS WE WANT YOUR MUSIC!

IF YOU’RE AN UP AND COMING BAND OR MUSICIAN, AND WOULD LIKE YOUR MUSIC REVIEWED IN OUR DEMO SECTION, EMAIL A TRACK TO INFO@NARCMEDIA.COM AND TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF! WORDS: MARTIN TROLLOPE

DEMO OF THE MONTH

Lottie Willis – Safe Inside When Safe Inside opens with a stuttering, almost garagey electronic drumbeat, it’s difficult to know what to expect. But the second the vocal comes in, you instantly realise that you’re listening to something that could, and probably should, be an absolutely massive hit. Safe Inside is simultaneously understated and powerful, with Willis’ cool vocal effortlessly soaring around a

Ami McGuinness – Channel 4

In Channel 4, we find an entirely understandable frustration with the climate around us, combining with a real desire for the life experiences that make us all human. Despite this, there remains a palpable sense of hope emanating from the slow burning rhythms, right from the opening guitar strum. It’s a deeply personal song, but one that will speak easily to the vast majority of us, with the emotive vocal delivery perfectly matching the honest, poetic lyric. The arrangement is brought together with a simple but effective country rhythm section, reminiscent of some of the great American singer-songwriter albums of the early ‘70s. Channel 4 floats past us while somehow remaining firmly grounded in the roots we all share. www.facebook.com/amixmcg

Take The Night – Teenage Love

Teenage Love feels like one of those songs that I’ve known for my entire life. There’s a lot of the classic ‘80s keyboard sounds that have made a resurgence over the last few years

pristine pop melody to make something truly special. The subtle production uses warm, non-intrusive sounds to create a dark and brooding atmosphere, hinting at the dangers of the outside, but it’s still a comfortable place to hide. This is definitely a songwriter and a voice that sound incredible inside, but you will certainly be hearing everywhere you go soon enough. www.facebook.com/lottiewillismusic

through synthwave and Stranger Things, and that’s no bad thing. It’s triumphant and immediate, and full of catchy little hooks with the sort of chorus that will be stuck in your head before you know it. It’s warm and nostalgic, but still individual enough to not just be a tribute, with lyrics that hark back to our younger days and fondly remembered naïve romances. I’d guess it might be a bit too ‘80s for some, but it’s a great song regardless of the decade. www.takethenight.bandcamp.com

Cait – He Sells Sea Shells

At once cinematic and gentle, intimate and open, He Sells Sea Shells makes clever use of contrasts to tell a really fascinating story. We hear the calm sea lapping at the beach intermittently throughout, while the consistent, up-tempo acoustic guitar somehow creates a downbeat base for a tale of surviving the end of a relationship. There’s a fascinating use of space in this recording, that makes you feel like you’re inside the story and watching it at the same time. It’s a beautifully self-aware song, seeming to focus on questioning the

past and coming to terms with the fact that love can obscure the truth of our relationships, while finding enough strength to accept it and move on. www.oceanhearted.bandcamp.com

R-Brew – FIBBER (Hammy Goes To London)

Using minimalist techno techniques to maximal effect, FIBBER is another piece that thrives on antithesis. The four-to-the-floor dance rhythms provide consistency, while the drones and found sounds slowly evolve around them. You’d could actually be forgiven for feeling like nothing changes throughout it, but that’s where FIBBER really gets you. Listening to it is almost like watching something grow; not noticing the changes until you think back to how it was before. The second half seems to become a new piece, like a DJ is mixing in the next record, but there’s enough remnants and hints to remind you of where you are, with a really satisfying reprise of the excellent vocal sample refrain right at the end. www.soundcloud.com/r-brew

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TRACKS WORDS: JAY MOUSSA-MANN

T-B, L-R: Ula Lovell, NE Dons, Envy Motel There’s a bit of something for everyone in this month’s wonderfully diverse tracks selection. Amelia Coburn dazzles with her latest single Dublin Serenade. What an utterly stunning track! If you’re looking for a song to transport you this folk-jazz track will do it. Amelia never, ever disappoints, but this gem is particularly beautiful. A vocal virtuoso, Amelia dances us round with her familiar ukulele on a lullaby tour through Dublin, over Patrick Jordan’s delicate arrangement. Elsewhere, founded on warm, sultry guitars the cinematic soft folk rock track Nights is a gentle piece from new creative project ETHR. Comprised of Harri Endersby and Rich Endersby-Marsh, the indie pop duo from Country Durham have created a rich track with their project born out of lockdown. I can imagine this as the soundtrack to an episode of Bloodlines with Harri Endersby’s autumnal tones lyrically winding us through a story. Coming in strong with a little fury of distorted electric guitars, Motherland’s latest track Starting Blocks journals the breakdown of a relationship. The five-piece rock band’s new little belter is emotional and raw. Trendsetter, from South Shields alt. rockers Envy Motel, merges a head nodding beat, guitar grooves and licks into a loud, heated piece which focuses on how the media and modern-day trends affect narcissistic tendencies. From heavy indie/hip-hop hybrid EnemyThirty comes Holy Roller, a punky track which evokes feelings of unrest and frustration. With a strong, straight beat and screaming guitars, the North Shields duo combine morale themes with tumultuous melodies to create a unique sound that resonates with the forgotten and the hopeless. Blood Angel by Xaatu is an unexpected piece, combining far-Eastern flutes with unique bold electronic beats and arpeggiated synths. It leaves you in a

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strange dimension somewhere between falling cherry blossoms and a pounding electric blue light. Every section is slightly different and more surprising then the next. Excellently executed and original. On Job hails the return of rappers NE Dons, and also features up and coming Newcastle artist RobRez. Dealing with themes of determination and winning against the odds, it carries a strong beat and refreshing poetry. Eager to show their musical versatility, On Job moves away from NE Dons’ usual grime sound and into more traditional UK rap. While soft alt. rock duo Patience bring us Timelapse, a British-flavoured and deeply personal four-track EP. Opening track Passing Moons was written about the vocalist’s personal experience meeting his siblings that he didn’t know existed, for the very first time after 18 years. Unusual glitching beats, screeching muted guitars and echoey vocals all feature in the EDM track Barcode by Crimewave. who combine late 80s/early 90s shoegaze music with contemporary electronic sounds. Drift away on dreamy pop/psychedelic rock on Ula Lovell’s new single, Cruel Love. The refreshing pop song is full of cool rising bass riffs, bouncing drums and breezy synths all sitting underneath Ula’s light airy vocals. A lovely escapist track with a really catchy tune. Pantherbeat by NOPRISM is an electrifying dance track, which to me feels truly disco. With its throbbing beat, infectious 80s-style synths and strong vocals, this fast-paced song sweeps the listener up, making them want to move with it. And finally, new single Relax by Newcastle rock quartet Swine Tax is an addictive pop rock track. An ode to Newcastle’s primal club scene, the piece displays punchy lyrics cleverly sung with dexterous bass and drums and intoxicating guitar playing. All in all, a brilliantly performed, dynamic piece of modern rock and roll.


ALBUMS 4.5 / 5 ANE BRUN HOW BEAUTY HOLDS THE HAND OF SORROW (BALLOON RANGER RECORDS)

5/5 Tunng by Lilias Buchanan

TUNNG SCARED TO DEATH (FULL TIME HOBBY)

Words: Lee Fisher This is a really astonishing piece of work – let’s get that out of the way. And it made me cry. Seven albums in, Tunng have made something that manages to be not only musically stunning but also has some hefty cultural import. This is about death, folks, and I can’t think of another record like it. The band have tackled death before, particularly on their ageless Bullets, but here they really examine its meaning, its impact, what it tells us about life, meeting it full on rather than dabbling with it like a tongue bothering a tooth. To do this they’ve recruited some really fascinating contributors – Max Porter (whose heartbreaking book Grief Is The Thing With Feathers seems to have been the key to the project’s inception), Alain de Botton, AC Grayling, Derren Brown and more – and recorded them in conversation, using samples or specially commissioned pieces throughout the album. And, being Tunng, there’s an attention to detail that’s remarkable – the album is set around a D-E-A-D chord sequence, there were visits to death cafes and discussions with palliative care workers. And of course it’s not just an album: there’s a series of podcasts, a fanzine, there were plans for special live events that, somewhat ironically, have been put on hold because of COVID-19. All of this would be laudable but a little pointless if the record didn’t match up to the work surrounding it. But this is perhaps Tunng’s finest recording yet. One of the few bands to survive the dreaded ‘folktronica’ tag unscathed, Scared To Death employs their usual blend of electronics, acoustic instruments and those impossibly gorgeous vocals to make something that is beautiful, soothing and melancholy without being dour or miserable. This isn’t an album about how miserable death – or the contemplation of it – is. It’s about finding ways to live in the knowledge that this too must pass, perhaps without the protection previously provided by religion. Stand out songs like opener Eating The Dead and the truly uplifting Swedish Death Cleaning are as good as they’ve ever written. When I find myself before the consultant’s desk finding out I’ve finally succumbed to the disease that will end me, I’d take the news a lot better if it were sung to me by Tunng. Released: 06.11.20 www.tunng.co.uk/dead_club

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH Adulkt Life – Book of Curses (What’s Your Rupture?, 06.11) //TV Priest – Uppers (Hand In Hive, 13.11) // Tourists – Another State (Modern Sky UK, 20.11) // King King – Maverick (Channel 9 Music, 06.11) //Camila Fuchs – Kids Talk Sun (Felte Records, 13.11) //Craven Faults – Enclosures (The Leaf Label, 27.11) //Fatima Yamaha – Spontaneous Order (Magnetron Music, 13.11) //Pole – Fading (Mute, 06.11) // Kelley Stoltz – Ah!(etc.) (Agitated Records, 20.11) //OSEES – Panther Rotate (Castle Face Records, 13.11) // Pharoah Overlord – 6 (Rocket Recordings, 13.11) //Tiña – Positive Mental Health Music (Speedy Wunderground, 06.11) // Frank Turner & Jon Snodgrass – Buddies II: Still Buddies (Xtra Mile Recordings, 13.11) // Luke Titus – Plasma (Sooper Records, 13.11) // Sensible Grey Cells – Get Back Into The World (Damaged Goods Records, 27.11) // Anna McClellan – I first saw light (Father/ Daughter Records, 20.11) //Seamus Fogarty – A Bag of Eyes (Domino, 06.11) // Jack Name – Magic Touch (Mexican Summer, 20.11) // Hjalte Ross – Waves of Haste (Wouldn’t Waste Records, 27.11)

Words: Damien Robinson Part two of a two-album companion piece, How Beauty Holds The Hand of Sorrow sees Brun move into a slightly darker, slightly more serious, mindset to last month’s After The Great Storm. Full of deeply introspective, highly emotive, symphonies, Brun fills the album with a variety of musical textures all of which fit together through a common theme (heartbreak) and a common voice (Brun’s soaring, almost theatrical, deliveries). Opener Last Breath, with its Spirtualized-styled sweeping orchestra, steals the album, though Closer and Gentle Wind of Gratitude, with their moments of piano minimalism and down-tempo electronics, provide evidence that it’s not necessarily the musical environment which stands out, but rather Brun’s performance style and central narrative. Ambitious, varied and explorative; what a wonderful record. Released: 27.11.20 www.anebrun.com

4/5 DORCHA HONEY BADGER (BOX RECORDS) Words: Ali Welford Another winner from North East imprint Box Records, this latest offering saw Birmingham quintet Dorcha decamp to Geoff Barrow’s Invada Studios in Bristol. Making full use of the space’s treasure trove of synths and analogue effects, Honey Badger is tailored to reflect the workings of an introverted brain subjected to bouts of psychedelic revelry. Sonically, however, the results could just as easily soundtrack a fucked up fairy-tale, offering ground which electrifies, confounds and exudes eerie beauty – often within the same three-minute number. Even its most euphoric moments – the string-led rush of Bruiser; the wickedly groovy Last Minute – reject linear progression, allowing listeners neither time to settle nor to retreat into their comfort zones. A fervent, intoxicating melting pot, and one uniquely ill-suited to background consumption. Released: 06.11.20 www.dorcha.co.uk

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4/5

4/5

4/5

FATEN KANAAN A MYTHOLOGY OF CIRCLES (FIRE RECORDS)

MOLCHAT DOMA MONUMENT (SACRED BONES)

BABEHEAVEN HOME FOR NOW (AWAL)

Words: Ali Welford For composer and musician Faten Kanaan, creative fuel stems from a desire to inject humanity into inherently inhuman sonic forms. On her fourth full-length project, the Brooklyn-based artist’s “variation through repetition” is explored more thoroughly than ever, with real-time motifs superseding both looped and programmed cycles. The upshot is a rich electronic collage laced with nuance and mysticism, underpinned by an appreciation of space and a skill for fashioning fresh shapes from familiar earth-bound textures. On occasion, A Mythology of Circles’ palette is broadened further via samples of a male voice choir, lending beating hearts to a record which blurs borders between temporal and astral with rare finesse. Released: 13.11.20 www.fatenkanaan.com

Words: Cameron Wright With the Russian dark-wave band’s melancholic melodies and dreary beats allowing this creative force to crawl into the limelight, their previous release was held together by pristine production and a beautifully brooding atmosphere. The waves of dread and mystic that the band conjured were potent enough to overpower the repetitive troupes of the genre that shamelessly plagued their releases. Instead of a pastiche of post-punk, their newest release is its future. Instead of planting their feet in nostalgia, Molchat Doma are pioneering the evolution. With their most versatile, engaging and even charismatic release to date, the band embark on an enthralling journey, despite their sinister and ominous atmosphere, they spectacularly dance around being frosty and foreboding, while consistently proving to be tenaciously fun. Released: 13.11.20 www.molchatdoma.com

Words: Ikenna Offor Amply laced with nostalgic whimsy, Babeheaven’s liltingly hypnotic sonics are cast in the same broodingly melodic mould as Massive Attack and Portishead. Birthed from a decade-plus creative partnership between vocalist Nancy Andersen and guitarist Jamie Travis, the West London quintet excel at pairing luxuriously hazy vocals with hauntingly ambient production to sublime effect. Given the eclectic cohesion of its mixtape-style palette, Home For Now proves to be a dexterous exercise in genre-straddling omnivority. The mellifluously moody trip-hop flourishes of both Human Nature and Cassette Beat evoke wintry jaunts through dimly-lit parks, whilst on Craziest Things, pensive musings are deftly juxtaposed with perky indie-leaning sensibilities. Elsewhere – perhaps most impressively – despite its unabashed tenderness, How Deep (love) never strays into schmaltzy territory. Released: 20.11.20 www.babeheavenband.co.uk

5/5

3.5 / 5

5/5

HEY COLOSSUS DANCES/CURSES (WRONG SPEED RECORDS)

HERMAN DUNE NOTES FROM VINEGAR HILL (SANTA CRUZ RECORDS)

ANA ROXANNE BECAUSE OF A FLOWER (KRANKY)

Words: Lee Fisher Dances/Curses feels like the culmination of the explorations begun around Cuckoo: a double-album of absolutely thrilling music, full of the lurch-worthy bangers that we love but continuing the opening out of their sound heard on Four Bibles. There’s vocal harmonies and gorgeous guitar refrains and post-hardcore churn and chiming post-punk and even some catchy psych. The absolutely IMMENSE A Trembling Rose is the motherlode of course, sixteen minutes of surging waves of genuinely beautiful guitar noise, perhaps their greatest moment yet and already a live highlight. There’s even a fine Mark Lanegan guest vocal on The Mirror, which will hopefully show people what some of us knew all along – that Hey Colossus are the most essential guitar band in the country. Released: 06.11.20 www.heycolossusband.wordpress.com

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Words: Elodie A. Roy Herman Dune’s 14th album was recorded in David Ivar’s home-studio in San Pedro, Los Angeles. It is the musical equivalent of watching slides on a projector. The pictures tremble and jump in a quaintly unsettling way. There are unaccountable gaps, eerie superimpositions and abrupt transitions. David Ivar mostly sings in a surprisingly low, crooning voice: phantoms are conjured up and we hear, in turn, Dylan circa Nashville Skyline, Gram Parsons, Lee Hazlewood, David Berman and even Marc Bolan. The album is grainy with sun but even the Californian light seems borrowed – it shines in a mocking, derivative way. And yet not everything here is decorative: songs such as Scorpio Rising remind us that a clear, simple heart continues to beat, somewhere beneath yesterday’s dust. Released: 06.11.20 www.hermandune.net

Words: Paul Ray Ana Roxanne’s outstanding full-length debut has the intense intimacy of a purifying ritual, ambient music not as soothing sonic mush but as a mysterious transmission from some parallel dimension. Roxanne doesn’t just pick a nice-sounding synth patch and input some relaxing chords: this music is suffused with a sense of place, room sound and analogue artefacts colouring between the musical lines. Compositions like album opener Untitled straddle the line between the beatific and the nightmarish, beautiful phrases winding angularly around a ghostly liturgical drone like the incantations of a priestess. It might sound like stuff you’ve heard on Kranky before – Grouper comparisons are not unwarranted – but Roxanne distinguishes herself with a truly unique combination of pastoral beauty and Delphic mystery. Released: 13.11.20 www.anaroxanne.bandcamp.com


ALBUMS

5/5

4/5

4/5

THE CRIBS NIGHT NETWORK (SONIC BLEW/PIAS)

LANDSHAPES CONTACT (BELLA UNION)

CABARET VOLTAIRE SHADOW OF FEAR (MUTE)

Words: Paul Broadhead Opening track Goodbye on this – the Jarmans’ eighth – long-player is aimed at their former label for keeping them silent. A cathartic Beach Boys-esque ballad, it exorcises the demons from the closet, not with a raging fist, but with a polite middle finger. And from then on, The Cribs do what The Cribs do best. Running Into You is chock full of instant hooks, lush melodies and high octane positivity. The band are making up for lost time and this is the least 2020-influenced record you’ll hear this year. It almost takes us back to 2004, as the brothers sing, “Still the same kids, screaming in suburbia…” They may be continents apart, but they’ve rarely sounded so good together. Released: 13.11.20 www.thecribs.com

Words: Robin Webb Cacophonous opener Rosemary offers snippets of open atmospheric space only to be pounced upon by bashing guitars and drums, demanding we pay more attention and stop slouching. The band is attempting to become bolder and consider the negative spaces in their song craft, an openness left to meditate, consider relationships, love, life and ‘Contact’. It’s been a long five years since their last release Heyoon. Touring has enabled them to harness their raw energy into a controlled expression full of pathos and melancholia imbued with hope for the future. Let Me Be is a succinct math–rock gem among a bedrock of solid confident tunes that needs to be listened to more than once to appreciate its power and genuineness. Released: 20.11.20 www.landshapes.bandcamp.com

Words: Robin Webb Sample-heavy electronic indie noise-meister Richard H. Kirk returns as the sole progenitor in the guise of a rejuvenated Cabaret Voltaire, 26 years since the last highly regarded album The Conversation. Many artists in the field of experimental, electronic and beat-driven music justly acknowledge that the Cabs are a keystone influence who should be loftily revered; this album is a remarkable return, no novelty, no pastiche, no looking back. It’s dubby, techno electronica, modern Kosmische created prior to our currently interesting times – pre-pandemic, it can be suitably interpreted as a commentary. Shadow of Fear taps into collective paranoia, pulsing and tormenting with samples that surreally expose unease in a developing dystopian world of our creating. Released: 20.11.20 www.thecabaretvoltaire.com

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MIXTAPE WORDS: NEV CLAY

(In the voice of Troy McClure): Hi, I’m Nev Clay. You might remember me from such support slots as Keith Emerson, the Rainbow Girls, the Wave Pictures and Steven Adams of the Broken Family Band. It may surprise you to learn that I don’t like all singersongwriters, even though I’m one myself. Some of them are terrible, but let’s not talk about them. In this Mixtape I’d like to focus on some I really like and rate – there’s too many to mention here in the North East – in addition to the obvious and recognised great ones like Richard Dawson, Kathryn Williams, and Hazel Wilde. PS. quick request to songwriters: please put your lyrics on Bandcamp so I can read them. PPS. Ages ago, we did a thing at Sage Gateshead called the Big Song Bakery, where folk got together for a day or two just to write songs. It’d be nice to do it again sometime, in a socially distanced way. Nev Clay plays The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Saturday 28th November www.nevclay.bandcamp.com

SARA OHM FUCK OFF NOISE MISOGYNY I think Sara was recommended by Bandcamp. I’ve bought a few of her things, she’s very prolific, very noisy, very antifa and very angry. I like power electronics like Ramleh, Big Road Breaker and Whitehouse, and here she’s making a similar glorious racket (and an important point), just with a guitar – like a one-woman Blöm (who are also great, obvs). I’d love to see her play at The Old Police House should the opportunity ever arise.

NICKY RUSHTON SNOW This song is taken from Mush’s Family Album. Nicky is one of the few folk whose songs bring tears to my eyes. I’m in awe of her lyrics, sublimely crafted, beautifully delivered, often heartbreaking. A hero. Nuff said.

LINGUA IGNOTA FRAGRANT IS MY MANY-FLOWERED CROWN I was privileged to see Kristen Hayter performing this in Manchester last year. The whole album is a towering, terrifying and heart-crushing edifice of glorious noise, with Kirsten equalling Jarboe and Diamanda Galas in emotional intensity and vocal pyrotechnics. Hard to know how she, or anyone else, could follow it, and no surprise that she’s released some choice cover versions in its wake, including Jolene and Eminem’s Kim.

YAKKA DOON GOLDEN PLOVER An astonishing debut and instant classic from Claire Welford (accompanied by Phil Tyler), who seems to have appeared fully-fledged as a great songwriter without any of the usual tentative, stumbling steps. There’s something timeless here. This is another song that brings water to my eyes. Marvellous.

GEM ANDREWs LETTER I love Gem’s songwriting – clear lyrics, no cliches, good melodies and heartfelt expressions of human experience. This is from her lovely album North, which has a clean, windswept country and Northern vibe. It sounds easy, but it’s really hard to do.

YOUNG PROPERTY DEVELOPERS YOU LOST YOUR HEART TO A LOCAL VEST ENTHUSIAST I first saw Paul sing at a local charity gig three years ago. He sang a song about going shopping with Pantera, and I was immediately smitten by his lackadaisical, laconic delivery and his brilliant lyrics (often delivered at such a pace that you miss two out of every three wry cultural references). Coming from somewhere that makes Ashington look like Leeds, and eschewing universal themes (which are the downfall of many an aspiring songwriter) in favour of the parochial and the banal everyday (and heavy metal,

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of course), he’s reminiscent in ways, but different to, Pete Dale (Milky Wimpshake, Chronicity etc.), Half Man Half Biscuit, the Burning Hell’s Mathias Tom, Evan Dando and Jonathon Richmond. One feels that some sort of recognition must await. See also Give Me A Warm Jumper, Heavy Metal Tanning Salon and I Love You, But Please Stop Talking About Radiohead’s Performance At Glastonbury. Highly recommended.

GRAHAM SHIPCOTE/SHIPCOTE AND FRIENDS PERAMBULATING Known and loved by many, Graham’s been a powerfully benign, understated and self-effacing presence in the North East and beyond for decades. As the impresario of the Jumpin’ Hot Club, he must have promoted hundreds of acts from overseas and here locally over the years, including yours truly – but perhaps he’s been more reticent to promote his own songs, and he’s written loads of beauties. Again, there’s a deceptive simplicity to them, but lyrically they’re crisp and considered: often celebrating the simple good things (as here, where the delights of Coatsworth Road’s Superpie feature), but also, belying that ubiquitous smile, occasional hints of sadness and anger. It’ll be an honour to play alongside him at The Cluny 2 on 28th November (fingers crossed), and hoping he gets some songs on Bandcamp soon.


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MIMA School of Art & Design at Teesside University

INVITATION TO VIEW LAUNCH Undergraduate showcase of our Class of 2020 visit tees.ac.uk/artschool#class2020

CREATE THE EXTRAORDINARY tees.ac.uk/artschool Jasmine Borlos, Altered State, Class of 2020

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NARC. #167 November 2020  

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