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Playlist: Punk Princesses

Festival highlights in Shields and Sunderland

By Andy PottsPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The summer festival season is getting into full swing, even if the weather isn’t always willing to play along. This weekend sees a female-fronted fantasia in South Shields, which features previously playlist star Cortney Dixon in addition to a couple of acts with new tracks mentioned this week. And, just down the coast, Sunderland is celebrating the launch of its Music City with a mini-festival of artists from or connected to the city. Read on for some of the highlights.

Hannah Robinson - I'm Sorry I let You Down

Starting at that Shields festival, there’s a belting line-up of local talent and Hannah Robinson is one of the most exciting acts on the bill. Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for a whiff of the 80s, and there’s a hint of a big-haired cinematic ballad here. The pounding drums at the start, and a riff that shimmers off the big screen all set a retro scene.

But Hannah’s music is never merely derivative. This is another accomplished slice of contemporary indie rock, underpinned by her resonant vocals. Lyrically, “I’m Sorry” is inspired by grappling with anxiety; those sleepless nights when nothing is quite right, even when nothing is obviously going horribly wrong. The apology is directed inwards for failing to live up to expectations, however unrealistic.

Musically, “I’m Sorry” marks the start of something of a new era for Hannah and her band. Speaking to NARC recently, Hannah cited the likes of shoegaze giants Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine as influences, also namechecking more current acts like NewDad. It all contributes to a potent brew, one that carries sufficient quality to dispel those creative doubts.

The Live at the Amphitheatre event starts at 2pm on Saturday. Hannah Robinson's set starts at 4:15 and the show finishes at 9pm. Admission is free.

Labyrinthine Oceans - Home

The latest Labyrinthine Oceans single came out earlier this month and, once again, it’s a belter. We’re off into the territory between isolation and belonging; a home that is beyond reach, both sought after and kicked against. Lyrically, it’s not an easy place to inhabit: one false move sends you spinning from the glories of lights that never go out, only to stumble into the self-indulgence of Maudlin Street.

Happily, the Oceans continue to build their own powerful sound world and there’s no room for the navel-gazing misery of a whiny indie-kid. Instead, we’re in full-on cinematic surround-sound as this trick builds and builds to a shattering conclusion. Yes, you’ll hear echoes of their earlier single, Untitled, as the slow burn unfolds. But you’ll also pick up ripples of anyone whose music ever dived down the shoegaze-y path. The more I hear of this band, the more excited I am about what’s coming next.

Labyrinthine Oceans are on stage at the Live at the Amphitheatre festival from 5pm.

Celadore - Dawning

Just down the coast from South Shields, Sunderland’s music scene is stirring. The city is marking World Music Day and the imminent launch of Sunderland Music City with a program of performers connected with local artist support programmes. These include the likes of Jodie Nicholson, who has featured in earlier playlists, emerging R’n’B diva Mcxxne, Welsh-born, Wearside-based singer-songwriter Ruby Kelly and a personal favourite, Celadore.

Fronted by Rachael Small and backed by the legendary Bunker, probably Sunderland’s longest-running and best venue for independent music-making, this is definitely music with a Mackem accent. Rachel’s own impeccable Wearside credentials are only enhanced by her recent photo shoot to launch a retro range of Sunderland AFC gear based on the 1992 FA Cup final kit.

Back to the music, debut single Dawning sees Rachael deliver a slab of female-fronted rock that calls to mind the likes of Lacuna Coil or Evanescence. It’s a beefed-up take on the piano ballads that Rachael has recorded for some years, and represents an exciting new direction. A recent debut headline slot at the Ship Isis went down well, and her et promises to be a highlight of Friday night’s show at the Fire Station.

Celadore performs as part of Sunderland Music City Roots at the Fire Station on Friday, June 21. Tickets are £8 and available here.

Thanks for reading another playlist. 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 / #6 / Border Crossings / #8 / Safe hands throwing stones / More Than a Stone’s Throw / Fusion / Pigs, parties and Portuguese / From Bronte to Black Metal

song reviewsindiealt rock

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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