Newcastle music is really cooking at the moment. We’ve got local acts touring the country in support of some of the world’s best artists, many local bands are making their way onto radio playlists nationally and overseas and we’ve noticed attendance at local gigs increasing every week. So we thought it was time to give a shout out to a few local acts you need on your playlist and encourage you to check them out live sometime.
Now, before anyone comments, we know that Ben Leece is a solo artist and Fritz is a lone producer, but 3 NEWCASTLE BANDS, 1 SOLO ARTISTS AND A PRODUCER YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW, was just too long of a headline.
If I ever meet Ben Leece, I hope he forgives me for being late to the party. I stumbled across Ben’s music by chance, after possibly and hour of digging through the music archives which circulate across many platforms, hailing form our town. I was looking for something to ease me into the afternoon, and Ben’s alt-country sound took me by surprise. His music generates a sense of distance between the listener and their own personal chaos – a rare and true gift. After all, we listen to music to escape our own lives, and either enter someone else’s or have our own sense of self validated and understood. Ben’s debut solo EP Hank Volume 1 – will be released across all platforms on the 19th of May, before doing a small run of local shows in June at the Grand Junction in Maitland and The Stag and Hunter.
Arcades & Lions
There’s something about the evolution of Arcades and Lions that excites me about the local music scene. Since their inception Arcades And Lions have taken their strengths and continued to build on them, which is something many local acts sadly fail to do. This is evident in the songs and sounds you can find on the band’s Idle Dreams EP. While I’ve enjoyed the band’s output since their Youth Rockin The Back Dog band comp win in 2015, I’ve always felt like the band had a swag of great ideas that never culminated in one great song or set. That all changed when I first heard the EP, and I can’t wait to catch the band live to see it play out on stage.
At just 17, Fritz aka Tilly Murphy, is making some flipping awesome tunes. It’s the perfect fusion of lo-fi, DIY, fuzzy pop punk with a twist, if I could even come close to describing her sound with any sort of ease and elegance. Her latest single ‘YUK!’ was a certified hit with the kids at Triple J, is just a teeny tiny section of her slice of the talent pie. There’s something so great about the really traditional take on the DIY project and fusing it with punk attitude and aesthetic. I’ve pegged her as one to watch not just because of her sound now however, if YUK! (amongst the other tracks featured on her debut self titled EP) is just the starting point for the 17 year old then what’s to come will surely blow us all away.
If there’s a tighter local band I’ve yet to see them. I first caught dave at the Bar On The Hill and not only was I blown away with how tight their playing was, I couldn’t believe I was seeing a local band with a set full of great tunes. A lot of the local acts I see have 1 or 2 stand out songs, but these guys have enough to fill a headline spot! To top it all off, dave have a particular sound that weaves throughout all their music… You know you’re listening to a dave song when it starts playing.
I’ve been following these guys for a little while now, and their tunes still have not escaped my mind. Ceilings fuse dreamy electro-pop layers with delicate vocals and stories that I could only dream of penning. Holly Wilson’s vocals rival that of the Jezebel’s Hayely Mary, and the arrangements are tight, the musicality is fierce and if you haven’t seen these guys live yet aim to change that immediately. Although the band have released just two tracks, ‘Animals’ and most recently ‘Traces’, their approach to performing, writing and playing, will leave you wanting more.