DIY OR DIE: March 2015 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

It’s been a little while since the last DIY OR DIE, and in that time there’s been a bunch of brilliant stuff released. All in all, these are pretty good times to be a fan of all things DIY. Alas, the real world occasionally intrudes on the great stuff going on in the DIY community, meaning that we’ll sometimes have to say farewell to bands we love. This week saw the announcement that Tyrannosaurus Dead were calling it a day, much to my dismay. I’ve already covered them before on these pages, but if you’re still to check them out then I’d implore you to give their incredible debut album Flying Ant Day a listen and then delve into the EPs and singles that came before it.

A band whose recent emergence slightly cushions the blow of T-Dead’s demise are Thalassocracy. They put out the awesome Shimensoka last year and have a new 7” coming out at the end of April on Icecapades. Lead track Graves is a clattering, breakneck couple of minutes which hinges on a searing riff which calls to mind Glasgow’s Paws. Blistering stuff.

Thalassocracy’s front-man Richard Walsh is also one of the two figureheads of Art is Hard, one of the most innovative DIY labels to have emerged in recent years. They’d been fairly quiet at the start of the year, but have sprung to life of late with some mouth-watering releases. Firstly, they announced that they will be reprising the amazing Family Portrait release of three years ago which put Joanna Gruesome, Keel Her, Playlounge and Gum on wax for the first time. Family Portrait 2 will feature Living Hour, Bruising, Fruit Bomb and Abattoir Blues. The former’s track Steady Glazed Eyes is a gorgeous slow burner.

As well as this, AIH also announced their new singles club for the year. The Handcut Record Club will see a new handcut 7” released every three weeks, limited to 25 copies, with the first instalment featuring Scratch It Off by The Red Cords. Perhaps the most pleasing news from the label, though, is the announcement of a new single by Shunkan, whose EP Honey, Milk and Blood was one of my favourites of last year. Our Names is an insanely infectious blast of fuzz-pop which will be released as an A6 comic on April 13th.

Perhaps my favourite new band to emerge in recent months are Alimony Hustle. The Bristol duo put their first few tracks up on Bandcamp the other week and they’re just wonderful. The bitterly beautiful Gutter Gutter Strike Strike Gutter Gutter is my current favourite, but all three are stunning pieces of work. They’ve only played a few shows so far, but they’re definitely a band you should be excited about.

Another great new band to have sprung up quite recently are Margate’s Ray Gun. Their debut EP May the Bridges I Burn Light Your Way comes out on Sexx Tapes on March 23rd, and it’s a cracker. It comprises five chunks of bracing grunge, rich in explosive energy from start to finish. The run of tapes is limited to 50, and this one is definitely worth getting your hands on.

Closer to home in the North East, we’ve seen a new tape and zine label set up in the shape of Good Food which is pretty exciting. They’ve unveiled their first batch of releases recently, which includes a few Alright Lover tapes, a couple of essays as well as an EP by Yeah You. The songs on Yantra, like all those of Yeah You are made up on the spot and recorded at the same time, meaning they’ve got hundreds of songs behind them, with six being compiled here.

Fellow North Easterners Apache Viking finally released their new EP Magic Dudes early in March after a lengthy gestation period. It’s definitely been worth the wait, though, because it’s brilliant. It’s a disarmingly cohesive mess of influences, part weirdo slacker pop, part grunge, part straight up punk. The outcome is a thrilling adrenaline-fuelled trip which feels way too short.

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