My Top Five EP’s from emerging North East Artists in 2020. With Spotlight Music NE
Recently, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly interested in EPs. I’ve been reflecting on what EP releases can mean to emerging artists. Being shorter than an album, less expensive to make and therefore more accessible, EPs can provide emerging artists with an opportunity to showcase and define themselves in ways that single releases can often fall short in. I’ve put together my top 5 EPs of 2020, all from local emerging musicians in the North East. Keeping true to my own personal music taste, its a right mix of genres and I hope you enjoy!
Number 5: Pave the Jungle with, ‘The Hissing’.
At number five I’ve chosen the October release, ‘The Hissing’ from Pave the Jungle. This alternative rock band from Newcastle that formed just over a year ago in 2019, excitingly exude a mix of Post-punk and Indie New-wave tonalities. This debut EP follows a series of single releases that have collectively been building much anticipation for this release.
This EP comes with feelings of freshness and individuality, showcasing an immense amount of talent.
This sense of individuality comes from the distinctive brooding vocals, dramatic hair-raising sequences of thrashing pace drums, that often are followed by subdued and moody segments, this together, creates a unique and fresh feeling to this EP.
Pave the Jungle are band evidently showing a desire and ability to succeed at producing music that’s off the beaten track when it comes to upcoming bands of this genre, establishing themselves to show true promise at being a future key player in the Alternative Rock scene of the North East. I am more than excited for their debut headline Gig at Tynemouth surf café on June the 11th 2021.
At Number 4: Blom with, ‘Flower Violence.
At number four is the chaotic calamity of sound, punk group that is the brilliant Blom, with their May release, ‘Flower Violence’. Earning airtime on BBC Radio 1 as part of Idles’s future artists mixtape, this band are destined for success similar to that of artists such as Fontaines D.C, Pigsx7, Black Honey and the heroes of the current Post-Punk revolution, Idles themselves.
Reflected in the oxymoronic title of the EP, the North East three piece consists of members from the marginalised of society and exists within a musical genre dominated by the cis white man. This state of rebellious existence for Blom is reflected by the frantic, hectic and high energy from start to finish nature of this EP, emanating an unmistakeable sense of urgency.
Blom are definitely a band I will be seeking out for upcoming, post-pandemic gigs, as I can’t even image how intense, subversive and visceral of an experience this live performance would be.
At Number 3: Cortney Dixon with, ‘Our Intuition’.
At number three is, ‘Our Intuition’ by the rising favourite of the North East music scene, Courtney Dixon, notably it is also the most recent release in this top 5. This Is the second EP Dixon has released this year alongside many other singles. As Dixons portfolio of outstandingly professional and wonderful work has been growing, so has her recognition as a serious contender in the world of emerging artists. This is seen through her mention in BBC Introducing’s Top 10 Tips for 2020.
Our Intuition perfectly highlights the vocal and musical talents of Dixon as well as her ability to produce music that’s influenced and combines a range of unexpected genres and inspirations, to create a project that manifests a sense harmony and dynamism.
I have recently published an in-depth review of this EP on the Northern Noise website if you are interested in hearing more of what I have to say about it. It was a hugely enjoyable experience to write and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what this artist has to offer.
At Number 2: Martha Hill With, ‘Summer Up North’
At number two is the vibrant ‘Summer Up North’ EP by local success story, Martha Hill. This Newcastle based, alternative pop artist that’s been tipped as BBC Introducing’s “one to watch”, featured on Jools Holland and has even had singles playlisted by BBC6 Music, has propelled herself even further into success with ‘Summer Up North’.
This EP, released with the help of the ‘Do it Differently’ fund, is in many senses a product of lockdown, created at a distance with producer Julien Flew.
Featuring raw, husky vocals, rhythmic hooks and a catchy energy, with ‘Summer Up North, Hill has created a deeply personal yet deeply relatable EP.
EP With this EP, Hill truly captures the narrative of youth, female perspective and elements of life in the North East. Flickering from up beat tracks filled with sassy attitudes to the reflective, dreamy and lyrically descriptive, this EP offers a range of emotion and personality. I often find myself unable to hold in a smile from the instance of hitting play on the first track.
At Number 1: The Dawdler With, ‘Sign of Growth’.
At number one, I have chosen ‘Sign of Growth’ by Newcastle’s John Edgar, better known as The Dawdler. After recently coming across this artist on the Instagram page of BBC Introducing North East, I’ve found myself in bafflement that this EP belongs to an emerging local artist, and is not some sort of soundtrack to an academy award winning film.
This ambient, melancholy and often inspiring collection of music truly appeals to the side of me with a fascination for movie scores and soundtracks and the way in which they highlight the ability music has to provoke such strong emotions and atmospheres.
The calmness created through the balancing of climatic vocals and whirling crescendos, with instances of serenity and simplicity, has allowed this EP to quickly become the soundtrack to my life, through its capability to somehow adapt to my moods and feelings, making it a perfect listen for almost any situation. With similarities to that of volcano choir, Bon Iver and lanterns on the Lake, The Dawdler is set for a career of opportunity and growth.
By Josephine Canham
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