The North East Is Brilliant


The North East is brilliant. It has produced Sting, Robson Green and Cheryl Cole, as well as a stellar cast of knockabout, salt of the earth, working class everymen and everywomen who can be watched on such superlative TV programming as Geordie Shore, Bouncers and that one about the Metrocentre shopping mall (I cant remember what its called, but am I fuck googling the shows actual name).

Were a simple but honest folk who like nothing better than 20 Newcy Browns (seriously, I have NEVER heard that term used in Newcastle), a harmless punch up, a kebab, and then the joy of taking home some endearingly slatternly maiden for a night of no frills fun, after which we will affectionately survey our bedsheets which, through the wonders of fake tan, will now look like the shop floor in a Wotsits factory.

Musically, well listen to anything, as long as its either got a donk on, in or around it or it can be whistled in a shipyard to other men (in black and white) with not a collar between them, yet a woodbine behind each ear

Ears which are in turn preventing their collective flat caps from collectively falling over their collectively hooded, yet honest, northern eyes
Eyes that look upon any passing lofty southerner in a mixture of awe and acquiescence, in much the same way a beagle would to a stentorian dispensing chemist grasping a box of Nicorrette patches.

Ok, Im talking at extremes, but I do find that very often when I tell anyone from the other end of the country that Im from Newcastle, they either ask me when Im moving to London or, at the very least, the way they talk to me about music changes and they begin to address me in much the same way as I imagine missionaries talked to tribes people during the age of discovery.

The fact is, more so than in a long time, the North East has an amazingly fertile underground music scene. There are a lot of people making some amazing sounds down here, as well as others who are throwing fantastic parties.

Yes, a lot of our locally sourced exports have now moved on to places like London (for instance the Idjut Boys, Capracara, or Bad Passion aka Those 2 monged DJs from Bestival), or Manchester (like Richard Gateaux aka Phoreski), but theres still plenty of us kicking about around town to keep it varied and exciting.

This column should hopefully run every fortnight. Im going to do my best to keep to events and releases that happen within these two weekly periods, and if the local Tourist trade picks up, then I hope youll all help me with my application to the Newcastle Rotary Club.

Im going to start off with this release that will likely be out by the time this article is online.
Since first releasing on Mark Es Merc Label a couple of years ago, Chicago Damn has been putting out amazing house music, on fantastic labels, without a need for any gaudy fanfare. The right people have been picking up his music and tuning in to his sound, and this has led to his first feature LP Experiments Must Continue, which has arrived on his own eponymous label. Chicago Damns sound, while being wholly unique, takes in elements of classical House and Detroit textures and manages to feel familiar and new at the same time. The album samples can be listened to below, and the record will be available in all the usual stockists. Act quick though, as the vinyl double  is limited to a mere 500 copies (or 499 if he takes the hint and sends me one).

Next up is another release from a local artist. (obvs) The sales notes for NY*AKs Truth Will Find You Ep (the second release on Marcel Vogels new Intimate Friends label) make a big deal of the cultural similarities between Detroit and Newcastle. While I appreciate that sentiment, its mainly rhetoric other than the fact that there are big parts of both cities that are absolute shitholes as is true in every city really (apart from maybe Reykjavik, Ive heard that Reykjavik is dead nice). Hyperbole aside though, there is no denying the Detroit influences that pervade throughout what is an assuredly soulful record. This latest EP follows previous records on the locally based Audio Parallax recordings, as well as Manchesters Paper Recordings. The record is already garnering some support from discerning heads like Toby Tobias, Dan Beaumont and Phonicas Simon Rigg.

In a trendy preview style, also out imminently is the People Get Real Ep, by, er People Get Real.

This latest record is released on their own label, Join Our Club, which has to date featured music by artists like Andy Blake, Jennifer Cardini and the drug chug poster boy himself, Daniel Avery.

Over the last few years PGR have really crafted out their own highly distinct techno-not-techno sound (I think I made that term up, but I probably stole it) and this latest EP sees them following familiar territory. Sparse movements of really dark grooves that will always stand out, but should still work on loads of different dancefloors. Im listening to it as I type and I really think this is my favourite thing theyve done so far and theyve done some amazing stuff already! Samples arent online yet, so youll just have to take my word on it for now, but why not add them and their label on Soundcloud for the time being

Parties wise, theres LOADS going on in Newcastle at the moment and if I try to be too inclusive of everything, then Im bound to offend someone by their accidental omission. With that in mind Im just going to try and pick out one (or sometimes two) things that are a bit more unusual. 

In the next couple of weeks Id point you in the direction of an event at The Star and Shadow Cinema where Local Label, come radio hosts, come party organisers Signals are teaming up with the long running Glasgow promoters Slabs of The Tabernacle to bring Nation Records boss Traxx to the bright lights of Byker. Id go on about it more, but theyre better writers than I am, so just check out the facebook link.

Right, all things being well Ill have more stuff to blether about in 2 weeks time. 

Geoff Leopard