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North East bands creating a buzz

By Toby Rogers
BBC Tyne contributor

Toby Rogers, editor of North East music blog Toonwaves, gives us his top five must-see bands of the moment.

Despite never really enjoying the commercial success of Liverpool, Leeds or Manchester, Newcastle's music scene is nevertheless as vibrant as that of any city north of London.

With local outfits Little Comets and Detroit Social Club recently inking lucrative recording contracts, there's a genuine buzz around the city's venues at the moment.

Here are five other North East acts you really must see.

Frankie & The Heartstrings
Frankie & The Heartstrings. Photo: Courtesy of FATH
The band have been played on Radio 1's Introducing show

Walking the line between The Smiths and The Stray Cats, Sunderland-based five-piece Frankie & The Heartstrings are fast emerging as the most talked about band in the North East.

Led by be-quiffed front man Frankie Francis, the band's cocksure reinvention of 50s-tinged indie-pop is exhilarating.

Appearing halfway down the bill at this year's Narc. Fest, they attracted an audience packed with regional rock 'n' roll taste makers including Ross Millard of The Futureheads and (apparently) TV culture critic Lauren Laverne.

Already favourites of respected DJ and producer Andy Weatherall, Frankie & The Heartstrings are a band marked for greatness.

Brilliant Mind

Delivering literate indie-rock in the mould of Jarvis Cocker and Morrissey, Newcastle's Brilliant Mind are a precociously intellectual bunch.

Formed from the ashes of multi-instrumental twee-poppers New Vinyls, the band have stripped back their sound to Britpop's bare essentials of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Fronted by charismatic song-smith Calum Lynn, Brilliant Mind's bookish tales of the darker side of English life are extraordinary.

Night of Sevens

A numerology-inspired rock 'n' roll democracy, Tyneside-based outfit Night of Sevens unleash a fearsome barrage of apocalyptic psychedelia on their own Rag Tag Records.

Drawn together by a shared love of outlaw literature and socialist ideals, the acidic drone-pop collective are firmly in control of their own destiny.

Self-contained, self-produced and self-released, Night of Sevens boldly refuse to exist on anyone else's terms.

Manila Chapter
Manila Chapter. Photo: Idene Roozbayani
Manila Chapter explore dark post-punk themes

Borne out of a joint appreciation for incandescent indie-goths The Editors, Tyneside super-group Manila Chapter's rise to prominence has been swift.

Made up of former members of well-regarded local outfits Kubichek!, Peace Burial at Sea, Sefelt and People Of Santiago, the band were thrust into the limelight almost immediately.

Exploring dark, post-punk themes that recall the embryonic Factory Records, Manila Chapter are a band to keep your eye on.

Acrobatic Society

Juggling genres as diverse as folk, bluegrass and alt-rock, Chester-le-Street-based six-piece Acrobatic Society defy easy categorisation.

Eschewing traditional indie instrumentation in favour of ukulele, mandolin, accordion and glockenspiel, the band's leftfield approach to arrangement is invigorating.

An utterly original outfit, Acrobatic Society have to be seen to be believed.

Raised in the suburbs of Newcastle on a diet of The Beatles and Britpop, Toby has recently launched the local music blog Toonwaves.co.uk.




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