Northern Favourites #2

Being based in the North of England, we at York Calling want to champion some of the artists from this area. I started a series a few months ago based around underground music from the North, with this being the second entry in the series. The artists in this list all perform a wide variety of different styles and genres, so there should be something for everyone here.

Review by Jane Howkins

Picture by Amateur Ornithologist

Amateur Ornithologist – I Told A Lie

First up on our list is Amateur Ornithologist, a ‘weird pop’ project created in Tyneside. One of the things that stood out to me instantly on I Told A Lie was the 60s feel the music has – the production and songwriting harks back to that era of classic pop music, having an almost psychedelic edge to it. The main guitar line is captivating, as are the vocal harmonies performed on the track.

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Between The Frames – Because Of You

Because Of You has a huge anthemic sound containing elements of modern pop, 80s pop and indie pop. Between The Frames have created something really great here – the percussion sounds huge and the swirling synths hark back the glory days of 80s pop, sounding very anthemic. The vocal effects are used fantastically, fitting the musical themes well.

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Jay Moussa-Mann – One Summer’s Day

Jay Moussa-Mann is a singer and musician with a filmmaking background who has recently been gaining a lot of traction within the musical world. Her latest release One Summer’s Day shows us just why this is, as it sounds fantastic! It’s a poppy song with a dreamy vibe to it – the vocals are amazing, with the steady beat working well with the backing effects. This is the perfect song for summer listening!

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Palma Louca – Disappear

Palma Louca are a band that we’ve featured before, based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Their music is quite experimental, with a shoegazey/post-rock vibe. However, Disappear is still rather catchy, appealing to pop fans too. The percussion sounds very unique, mixing lithely with the smooth vocals, backing synths and guitar melodies. Palma Louca certainly have a distinctive sound, but there’s enough here to appeal to those into their more mainstream music.

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Into The Deep – Wasted

Into The Deep are a band for those into their rock music, with Wasted showing off their alt-rock skills to the world in great style. The track kicks off with a dark bass melody before the rest of the instrumentation kicks in, with urgent guitar lines progressing the track along until the slower verses arrive. The band also have a great sense of melody, as well as the heavier vibes – just check out those vocal harmonies!

Into The Deep – Decay

I enjoyed Into The Deep’s music so much that I wanted to share another track from them, this time titled Decay. The track is a little more upbeat than the previous song, although it still has some amazing melodies and harmonies within it, especially on the chorus. The guitar riffs are very impressive, building up a sense of tension and atmosphere that is unrivalled by most other bands within this genre.

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Del Scott Miller – Repeat Myself

Del Scott Miller is from our very own county of Yorkshire, based in the town of Barnsley. His music suits the folk/Americana genre well, with Repeat Myself displaying a great deal of emotion and depth. The track is a rather stripped-down affair, featuring a glorious acoustic guitar melody as its main instrumentation, combining well with Del’s lyrics. It’s the first in a series of tracks to be released this year, so keep an ear out for more if you like it!

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James Stephen – Stronger With You

Stronger With You sounds funky from the start, opening with a semi-disco beat and some brass instrumentation that makes the listener want to dance along instantly. James Stephen is a Stockport-based artist, creating catchy funk-pop songs with a lot of groove. The track has a proper retro quality to it, which mixes well with the more modern pop moments. It also helps that his vocals are full of soul.

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Bosola – Space & Time

Bosola are a band that we’ve featured before, so I was rather excited to hear their latest release, Space & Time. The band hail from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and have an intriguing rock and roll sound, harking back to the classic days of rockabilly and country/folk-rock. The song starts out slowly, before kicking into full throttle with the country-rock rhythm. There’s a lot of emotion within the music, especially on the distant sounding vocals.

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IWLD – Correction Burn

We’ve also featured IWLD before – they’re a solo project with an experimental bent to their music, as displayed in Correction Burn. The track would probably be best described as being an ambient piece of music, also containing elements of the post-rock genre. Little effects run through the music, over the pulsating percussive beat, with more motifs being added as the song continues on. It won’t be for everyone, but those into their more experimental music should try Correction Burn!

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SKYLIGHTS – Nothing Left To Say

SKYLIGHTS are another group from Yorkshire, showing that they most definitely deserve a place in this list with their song Nothing Left To Say. The track oozes energy from the start, with a huge drum beat kicking things off. The song contains moments of indie rock, modern rock and even a little hint of the pop-punk scene, especially on the chorus. The chorus is anthemic as all hell, with lush vocal lines being the name of the game here.

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Charts And Graphs – X Marks The Mainstream

Charts And Graphs are yet another band from Newcastle, showing just how fantastic the music scene is in the city! X Marks The Mainstream harks back to the 80s days of new wave, with elements of indie rock, punk and the ska movement also contained within the track. The bass is very prominent, running underneath the staccato guitar lines and providing a cool backbone to the song. The production is a little raw, but it really works with the style of music!

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Camens – Poltergeist

Camens are band that hail from Stoke-On-Trent, producing honest indie music for the masses. Their latest release comes in the form of Poltergeist, which has a slightly eerie feel to it, suiting the title of the track well. One of the things I loved about this song was the way in which the band were able to mix together a heavy sound with catchy melodies – the guitar lines that elope at the end of the chorus sound amazing, having a hidden beauty to them.

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Aza Brown – Afterthought

Finishing this list off is Afterthought by Aza Brown, an indie rock musician that I’ve shared here in previous months. Aza’s music is fantastic, with his latest song having more of a stripped-down vibe to it, even if it isn’t entirely acoustic. His vocals really shine through on Afterthought, with the Latin-infused percussion working extremely well with the acoustic guitar lines that weave their way in and out of the music.

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Spotify – Northern Favourites