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Playlist: part #6

Another dabble into the northeast music scene

By Andy PottsPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The Girl with the Replaceable Head – Shangri La

Yeah, I’m an 80s kid. That comes with certain conditions. In particular, there’s a twang of a guitar that jets me back to my carefree, younger days when life was simple and the Cocteau Twins catered for most of my musical needs. Which brings us neatly to The Girl with the Replaceable Head. Not just a great name for a band, this lot also have a neat line in jangly, shoe-gazey indie that would surely have bagged a deal with 4AD in about 1990.

TGWTRH’s current incarnation is an expanded four-piece, adding some heft to the familiar acoustic sound from debut album “Death in Gateshead”. That deeper sound is worth celebrating and to do just that there’s a new album out, “Sometimes She Lives in the Dark, Sometimes She Lives in the Light” (check out bandcamp to purchase your copy), and gigs on the way at the end of the month at the Cumberland Arms in Byker and the Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. “Shangri La” is a stand-out track from that release, with a hook that sh-sh-shuffles its way into your mind and lurks there like an echo of Heaven (or Las Vegas). If you’ve got a handy stash of Slowdive singles or Cocteau Twins remixes, this is very much for you.

Kathryn Williams – The Me For You

One release I’m really looking forward to this spring is the collaboration between Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand. More about that in a couple of weeks, ahead of their show in Durham. But, while I’m waiting for that one to drop, I’ve been introducing my daughter to some of Williams’ recent work. Most of the time, this happens in the car – from day one, I was clear that driving under the influence of Disney was liable to lead to accidents and took the chance to introduce some musical appreciation to days out.

It's become clear that female vocals go do well. But it’s not always easy to guess which songs will capture a seven-year-old imagination. On this trip, with last year’s “Night Drives” in the CD player, I expected the catchy up-tempo “Radioactive” or “Put the Needle on the Record” to work best. Instead, it was the more reflective “The Me For You” that caused a clamour from the back seat. The reason, it turned out, was the opening guitar motif: with daughter starting to learn the ukulele, she’s suddenly very interested in anything that can be plucked.

The good news is that her taste is pretty good. The Me For You might not be the most immediately attention-grabbing of tracks, but it has a gently haunting refrain. Lyrically, it draws deep on Williams’ well of faith in humanity, with all its flaws. Here, even if “the person we turn into is not our best”, nobody is beyond redemption. And, whether school aged or middle aged, that’s not a bad message to take on.

Gone Tomorrow – Matador

This one probably won’t go so well with a seven-year-old. Matador is a stand-out track from Gone Tomorrow’s recent “Never had it to lose” EP. That release is something of a howl at the state of the world. Hard-driven guitar, pounding drums and a vocal that screeches into incoherence before sheering off into a squeal of feedback.

It’s the kind of music you get the impression people stopped making. After years of despairing that the rock scene was retreating into a world of retro-devotion, tracks like this offer faith that there’s a new generation out there determined to tell its story rather than fall lazily back onto the bands that got us to here. Gone Tomorrow is on the Eaglesfest bill this weekend (along with Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand), where we can expect them to deliver an alternative blast of noise and power. Matador is a highlight of the five-piece’s live show and, with a summer of big festival slots ahead, it should be sounding fresher than ever.

Thanks for reading the fifth of my playlists. If you liked it, give a like and subscribe. If you really liked it, consider buying me a coffee. But, most of all, please consider supporting the artists by buying their music or attending their gigs.

Previous playlists: Folksy flavours / Politics / Stockton Calling / Russia / Aelius

concertsong reviewsindiealt rockalternative

About the Creator

Andy Potts

Community focused sports fan from Northeast England. Tends to root for the little guy. Look out for Talking Northeast, my new project coming soon.

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