Newcastle and its satellite towns have previously given the music world The Animals, Dubstar and Maxïmo Park. We look to the North East and discover a thriving, politically vital, guitar driven music scene as we set out to find 20 bands that are exciting audiences in the city and its surrounding area.
The Pale White
First up, The Pale White. With a great juxtaposition of northern indie vocal and a dark guitar sound belied by their pale name, this Newcastle three-piece are grabbing lots of attention in guitar driven circles with their debut single 'Reaction', described by band member Adam as “the blueprint of what we are”. Watch the video below.
Airy jangling indie with less of a pop bias than the likes of Peace or Swim Deep, Seeing Hands formed in early 2016 and have recently been supporting the hotly tipped Dream Wife. Watch their video for 'I Knew You'.
This electro three-piece describe themselves as 'Electroclash with a modernist conscience. Henry Moore's lost synth punk project'. You may think that's a nonsense description to grab short attention spans, but in fact the band's track 'Old Flo' looks to Henry Moore's 1957-8 sculpture 'Draped Seated Woman' for inspiration, along with its politically fraught journey as a public owned piece of accessible art. Head to their SoundCloud to find out more.
This band have a sound pleasingly reminiscent of the influential yet often overlooked US band, The Rentals, albeit with an overall northern British accent. Guitars, synths and harmonies go hand in hand to drive these anthemic indie bangers. Check out 'Demolishing The Fourth Wall'.
Street Party In Soho
Light, youthful indie pop telling the story of illicit entry to an 18 plus venue, '17' is Street Party In Soho's big song so far, complete with a video filmed at Newcastle's O2 Academy.
'Milk Tooth' is an excellent example of Keiandra's ethereal, haunting songcraft. Julie Cruise for a new generation of Twin Peaks fans? The Line Of Best Fit and DIY are fans and so are we.
Alternative R&B outfit, SoShe have already scored slots at 2017's Kendal Calling and The Great Escape already with their debut single 'Showed Up', so you're likely to have a chance to see them if you're attending festivals this summer. Check out the song, featuring the vocal talents of Cadet, below.
With an unusual back story, Gallery Circus are twin brothers Daniel and Graeme Ross who originate from South Tyneside, moving to Chicago where they honed their act on the underground music scene before moving back to the North East of England with their alternative rock 'n' roll sound. A respected live band, they've already toured with the likes of King Charles and Little Comets. Watch their violent video for 'The Flood'.
Deceptively straightforward but wonderfully crafted indie pop is the trademark sound of this five-piece, perfect for those who prefer less distortion in their guitar based bands. With an EP and debut album expected shortly, Shields are already a regular name on the local scene and look set to become known further afield.
Stretching the parameters a little to include Newcastle's seaside neighbour, Whitley Bay, Lisbon have a great edgy 1980s vibe, both to their sound and to the aesthetics of their video for 'Vice' which you can watch below. Catch them at Hit The North - Newcastle's biggest inner city music festival along with The Pale White and SoShe.
One of the most exciting punk orientated bands emerging anywhere in the UK, this three-piece live up to their name with a strong feminist left-wing direction and great hard distorted guitar and synth blasts aimed at established injustices. Check out three perfectly formed tracks on their 'Hairless' EP.
Hailing form nearby Durham, four-piece Pale Kids have a great vibrant and irreverent C86 lo-fi sound. Listen to their 'Home by Nine' EP and check out their split EP with Londoners, MOLAR.
It's early days for Callum but he does possess a unique voice and an equally distinctive song in the form of 'You'd Better Sell It While You Can'. It's tricky to attach a genre to Callum Pitt's music. Just great singer/songwriting.
Described by NME as frantic and feral, Kobadelta have a sound that could slot into the end credits of a 'True Detective' episode. Moments of Grinderman mixed with Steppenwolf. Check out their excellent 'Bathsheba,' taken from their 'Metaphysical' EP.
James L. Hewitson
Another solo singer/songwriter dodging genre pigeon holes, James L. Hewitson has been described as anti-folk. His latest 'Shy of Hard Work' seems to prove that he is anything but, when it comes to making music.
Indie-pop well finished with a New Order meets Duran kind of flavour. Should appeal to a young audience across the UK. Listen to 'SLOWDOWN' here.
A heavy bass driven brutal post-punk three-piece, Casual Threats will probably appeal if you liked Tough Tits earlier in the list. With a vocal style somewhere in-between Bauhaus and Joy Division their latest 'Stalking Awareness Month' is well worth a listen if the post-punk ethos is your thing.
Although they're from Billingham, Mouses are definitely honourary members of Newcastle's healthy punk/new-wave scene. The duo of drummer and singer/guitarist more than make up for their low numbers with their noise levels and distortion.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
With a sound that manages to span punk, psych and metal, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs seem to channel the spirit of the late great Lemmy Kilmister and have one of the most confusing band names since Dananananaykroyd. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are currently signed to Rocket Recordings, the same independent label who brought you Goat, Gnod and Teeth Of The Sea. Check out their excellent 'Feed The Rats' EP below.
Concluding our list, Moon Rover, as their name may suggest, make shoegazey space themed rock and the concept is carried through onto their eponymous debut album with a tracklisting that reads like the chapters of a sci-fi novel. Though a more chilled incarnation of Newcastle's thriving guitar scene, they sit well on billings alongside many of the noisier artists in this list.
Huge thanks to all of those who made suggestions or got in touch to be involved.