My Top Five EPs From 2020 In Collaboration With Spotlight .

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.

Single cover art for one of the tracks on the album.

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

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

A Review: Cortney Dixon with her Latest EP.

A Review: Cortney Dixon with her Latest EP- ‘Our Intuition’.

Newcastle based artist, Cortney Dixon released ‘Our Intuition’, her second EP this year, on the 20th of November. This Ep is the second EP that the skilled vocalist and guitarist has graced us with his year. It is a combination of pre-release and completely unheard tunes, and it comes after a busy lockdown for Dixon, from performing at online gigs and vlogging to the unveiling of an enumeration of brilliant, high quality works.

‘Our Intuition’ begins with the tracks ‘Summers eyes’ and ‘Nobody knows’, an impactful opening that portrays from the onset the genres and themes that Dixon plays with throughout the EP as a whole, creating an unexpected yet delightful sound akin to the unexplored middle ground between lullaby and retro pop.

When speaking with ‘NARC Magazine’, Dixon has described the themes of the EP to be:“ […]unmet expectations, the importance of talking to friends and family about mental health, getting sucked into bad lifestyle choices and exploring the idea of receiving the gift of endless life and wondering at what point would it get boring?”

These personal and reflective themes, intertwined with the futuristic and science fiction, contribute to the truly Unique sound Dixon has created with this EP.

 The Ep continues with the illusively diaphanous and slower track, ‘half My heart’. The track is filled with expressive vocals ranging from haunting whispers to crisp clean notes, creating an atmospheric effect that permeates the entirety of the Ep. This slower track that comes between higher frequency and alternative pop pieces, provides a point of reflection, an early breathing point in the EP and sets up a pattern of undulating currents of tranquillity and contrasting energy that really contributes to the success of this piece of work. This is seen moving forward in the album with the upbeat dance track, ‘What You Wanna Do’ and the following stripped back, emotive and highly personal tracks ‘Parliament of Owls’ and ‘Freddie’.

Through the distinctive combination of layering and progressing  futuristic and traditional sounds, Dixon emulates similarities to a range of artists, such as the more modern, Glass Animals, Lapsley and Alt-j and then to the timeless classics of Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac, previously disclosed musical influences for Dixon. This places her in an individualistic and interesting place as an artist, set for her career to progress into one of opportunity and success.

One of the tracks that features on the EP.

Dixon is set to have an equally busy 2021 and it has been suggested that her upcoming
work will be taking a slightly different direction, leaving much anticipation for the
ever growing demographic of Cortney Dixon Fans in the North East and further afar.

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

Q&A With Patrick Gosling

A Q&A With Patrick Gosling, in Light of His Recent Single, ‘Peachy’

Singer Songwriter, Patrick Gosling, released his latest single, ‘Peachy’, on the 13th of November. This single follows a busy year of releases for Gosling that have attracted attention from significant players in the world of emerging artists, such as BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing. This has seen Gosling rise successfully to become an eminent figure in the North East music scene.

‘Peachy’ is the fourth track Gosling has released as a solo artist since being the frontman for local band, Far Pacific. Since his former bands hiatus, Gosling has been working on his solo career.

This single is a single that is filled with positive vibes, brilliant lyrics and wonderful alternative, indie-rock tonalities. Alongside the single release, came a brand new music vide for ‘Peachy’ which oozes with personality and ambience and you can find this at the bottom of this article. Continue reading to see and hear Patrick Gosling discuss his latest release and more.

Question 1 :

Firstly, how have you found creating and releasing new music amid the pandemic, has your process been affected at all?

Question 2:

What does this track in particular mean to you, from a lyrical and general point of view?

Question 3:

You announced today that ‘Peachy’ is going to be played on BBC introducing North East, how are you feeling about this?

Question 4:

The recently released music video for ‘Peachy’ has a really lovely and personal feel to it, much like the track itself, can you describe the process of creating this video.

Question 5:

Peachy is your 4th release as a solo artist and 4th release this year, why has this year been the year you’ve decided to go down the solo artist path when it comes to your music?

Question 6:

And finally, do you have any future plans from a performance point of view, perhaps live streams or gigs again once Lockdown is over?

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

A Review: Envy Motel With Their Upcoming Single ‘Trendsetter’.

An exclusive review of Envy Motels upcoming single-out this Friday.

photo by Katherine Storey

Envy Motel are set to release their upcoming single, “Trendsetter” this Friday, the 20th of November accompanied with the release of their first ever lyric video on YouTube. After getting exclusive access to this track ahead of its release I can confirm that Indie Rock lovers of the North East should be waiting in anticipation for their next favourite song.

The South Shields band, made up of Stephen Armstrong (Vocals) , James Dunn (guitar), Callum Cabello (base) and Luke Pattinson (drums), has been rising to a status of popularity as of late. This is seen through various radio appearances on the likes of, local station, Spark FM ,BBC Introducing and headlining many of the North East’s Local venues. With ‘Trendsetter’, Envy Motel are taking one step further on this path to success.

Trendsetter is a track that from the offset, with its high speed pace, thrashing riffs and passionate lyrics, showcases the extent of this bands disproval for the narcissistic tendencies we see all around us in both society and on an individual level today, a message conveyed perfectly by unique, becoming and effortless vocals.

When discussing the track, the band stated: “we’re really happy with the way it turned out, the original idea for the song came from our bassist Callum, then we took it into the practice room and it evolved into the final product that you hear now.”

Permeated with prominent, punchy basslines flashes of perfect chords and complimentary surges of crashing drums, ‘Trendsetter’ creates a kaleidoscopic indie rock experience that combines the classic with the individualised, thanks to the promising talent showcased by this band.

If you just cant wait till Friday to hear this track then tune in to radio shields tonight at 8PM for your very own exclusive preview, or pre-save ‘Trendsetter’ on Spotify here:http://smarturl.it/

Go check out Envy Motel on Instagram to keep up date on what this bands getting up to:

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs announce a limited reissuing of their first ever recording.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs announce a limited reissuing of their first ever recording.

Image source listed below

Newcastle based Rock band, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, commonly referred to as Pigsx7 , have just hours ago announced a ‘strictly vinyl’ reissuing of their first ever recording: ‘The Wizard and the Seven Swines’.

The 2012 record has been re-mixed and remastered by Pigsx7’s very own Sam Grant and comes in the form of a very limited (only 500 copies) vinyl. The vinyl comes complete with brand new cover art and vinyl etching.

The bands website states: “Everything going to plan, we expect this to land with us in mid-December and hopefully shipped to you to arrive before Christmas. All in the hands of the Vinyl Gods now…”.

The Instagram post in which this announcement was made can be seen below.

This brand new cover art, that encapsulates the essence of this band so well is produced by Drew Millward. The vinyl itself is Pressed at what has been acclaimed to be “the worlds greenest vinyl pressing plant”, Deep Grooves. To find out more about Deep Grooves, visit: https://deepgrooves.eu/ecofriendlyvinyl/ .

Earlier this year, Pigsx7 released their latest album, ‘Viscerals’, which has recently been revealed to have made number seven on ‘Rough Trades’ album of the year list.

See what Rough Trade have to say here: https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs/off-cuts

To order this limited vinyl, visit: https://www.pigsx7.com/products/pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-pigs-the-wizard-and-the-seven-swine-12

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

Single Review: Plastic Glass with, ‘Going Away’

On the 6th of November, Sunderland four piece, Plastic Glass, released their new single, ‘Going Away’, and now they have the video to go with it.

On the 6th of November, Sunderland four piece, Plastic Glass, released their new single, ‘Going Away’, and now they have the video to go with it.

By Josephine Canham

This North East Indie Rock band have established themselves with great success and recognition from the live music scene over the past few years. They are now propelling themselves onto bigger and better things. With recent support from the likes of, BBC Radio 6 music, BBC Introducing and Clint Boon on XS Manchester, following their previous single this year, ‘Let Me Know’, this new track is set to be another step in the right direction for Plastic Glass.

The track begins with a cascade of voluble drums and heavy guitar rifts that just keep on rolling from start to finish, a sound that would keep anybody’s feet moving for the duration of the fast pace and just shy of three minute experience.

When discussing the tracks themes, lyricist and guitarist Dylan Abbott stated: “Lyrically, this single covers the topics of boredom and wanting a change of scene. Specifically, tired of being stuck living at home and constantly relying on the same set of people.” Whilst this message certainly resonates with audiences of a similar age, with shared experiences to the song and band themselves, it likely resonates much further today than ever, to all of us with a shared claustrophobic boredom as consequence of the global pandemic.

The urgency of the expressed need for a change of state in the lyrical content, is deeply reflected in the musical content of the track. This is seen through the immense energy established by the classic indie guitar lines and impressive solos ,combined with fast pace, stomping baselines. This energy that is created promotes a sense of togetherness and connectedness to exude from the track, allowing this state of boredom and isolation discussed, to become a shared state of optimism.

You can see the newly released video for ‘Going Away’ below, a project that compliments perfectly the fresh and new Indie Rock vibe that Plastic Glass seem to be effortlessly attaining.

Plastic Glass have achieved sold out headline shows at North East venues such as Think Tank (Newcastle) and Independent (Sunderland), supporting popular outfits such as The Snuts, The K’s and The Pale White and working with nationally acclaimed promoters, Scruff Of The Neck and This Feeling. Now, producing two strong singles in just this year, Plastic Glass are projecting a path of successful progression, creating a sense of excitement in the North east music scene, where the horizons for this band are only broadening.

Your next chance to see Plastic Glass live will be Saturday the of 12th December or Sunday the 13th of December at Independent ,Sunderland. If you just can’t wait till then, you can see these guys perform on Livestream on Thursday the 19th of November with another local favourite, Faye Fantarrow.

Tickets to the Livestream can be purchased here: https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/London/Virtual-Event/Motorhouse-Presents-Plastic-Glass–Faye-Fantarrow/13910259/tb.html

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

‘Firesites’ Set to Release Debut Album Next Thursday.

Local artist ‘Firesites’ Set to Release His ‘Absolute Stunner’ Debut Album Next Thursday.

By Josephine Canham

Next Thursday, the 19th of November, local North East artist, Tom Waterworth, better known under the project name of ‘Firesites’ will be releasing his debut Album titled: ‘The Sun’.

The album will feature ten tracks that draw on themes of the dystopian genre, all pulling from a wide range of influences such as, pop, rock and synth. ‘The Sun’ will be released on all major digital download and streaming platforms.

When discussing details of what the album has to offer, Tom Waterworth explains: “So it’s in this dystopian setting where these two people are trying to get away from something, like a sanctuary, and they’re trying to get outside of it to find the sun. […] a symbol for getting away from these things in real life.”

Waterworth has also stated that the album will contain a range of musical elements such as: “radio friendly pop music […] heavier rock stuff and then some really glitchy electronic stuff.”

The release of this album will follow a very busy October for ‘Firesites’, which saw the release of four singles and two music videos. This includes early releases from the upcoming album, such as the two tracks, ‘Chemicals’ -described as “an absolute stunner” by NE Volume and ‘Passengers’. Both of these are available now on Spotify. You can view the recently released music video for ‘Chemicals’ below:

Following the current national lockdown, in order to successfully take ‘Firesites’ to the stage, Waterworth will be teaming up with fellow musician, Sean Williams to create a show combining the use of live-electronics and conventional band performance elements.

Firesites have also released their four track EP, ‘Transistor EP’ in October of last year which is available on Spotify for listening.

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!

Lanterns on the lake: Live from the Sage Gateshead

Lanterns on the lake: Live from the Sage Gateshead.

On Saturday night, North East and mercury prize nominated band, Lanterns on the Lake, took to the stage at the Sage Gateshead to perform this year’s first and only live version of their latest album, ‘Spook the Heard’.

With plans for the show originally to be performed to a safe, socially distanced audience disrupted by the announcement of a second lockdown, the decision was made to livestream the concert to the sage website for an audience at home. “It feels really strange and silly to say hello to an empty room, but I’m ‘gonna do it anyway”, stated Hazel Wilde, lead singer of the band. This followed the two opening songs of the album, ‘When It All Comes True’ and ‘Baddies’. This statement perfectly captures how, despite this new virtual home for live music being the new normal for both audiences and performers, there is still a strangeness and unfamiliarity to it that is worth enduring for the spirt and support of live music in this time.

“It feels really strange and silly to say hello to an empty room, but I’m gonna do it anyway”

lanterns on the lake 2020

The band continued the performance with ‘Every Atom’. The most striking moments of this song were the blended violin and guitar melodic passages from verse to chorus. These rang effortlessly and brilliantly more than true to the recorded version of the song and resonated through the empty music hall and out of our screens at home, creating a moment of united breathless gasps of wonder throughout a separated audience. Following every atom came ‘Blue Screen Beams’, a song that, combined with powerfully political lyrical content such as the discussion of “scrolling screens” and the redundancy of walls, with the timing of the performance in line with the presidential election, asserted more prominence than ever. This was only amplified by the nature and passion of this live performance.

Relevance and prominence quickly became a key theme of this performance. With lyrics such as “…its been a strange year and funny old night” in the song, ‘Before They Excavate’, which features isolated segments of almost silence. These segments seemed to echo through the loneliness of the venue that evening to the audiences at home and to the many of 2020 in a delicately profound way. This song continued to set the slowed down and often haunting tone of the following two songs of the performance, ‘Swimming lessons’, and the heartbreakingly stunning, ‘Secrets and medicine’. Before concluding the show, Wilde stated, “Hopefully we will get to play these songs live for you one day”, this message of hope continued to follow into the rest of the performance. As Wilde sang the lyrics of the closing song, “what a fitting ending oh what a perfect scene”, it became apparent that this was, in an unexpected and non-traditional way, a bittersweet, perfect scene of unity between music and its fans in a time of such a turbulent nature.

Above are the images I managed to capture of my screen, from the performance, the new normal of gig photography.

Lanterns on the lake were able to create the feeling and essence of a wonderful live performance, despite their audience being on the other side of a screen. However, the surrealness yet normality of this new setting for live music complimented and echoed perfectly the haunting and beautiful nature of the album itself. For example, ongoing fireworks outside added an element of impact and ambience to this performance that could only be gained from the unpreferred nature in which it was received. This performance was unquestionably memorable, beautiful and meaningful, invoking more excitement for the future of this band, when audiences can finally hear their music in concert, together again.

For more from Lanterns on the Lake click here : https://www.lanternsonthelake.com/ . Or watch this YouTube clip of one of their latest performances:

By Josephine Canham

For extra Northern Noise, including more photos, updates and news, head to our official Instagram @northernnoise_ and be sure to follow!