FEATURE: Si Beckwith’s Weekly Thing | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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After last week’s list of five overrated bands (which you can read here, and seriously, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are the wooooooooorst), I thought I’d be more posi this week and natter on (or ‘nats on’, I’m trying to make nats happen) about five bands I think are proper class. Turns out, listing underrated bands is really hard because ‘underrated’ is such a hard term to define. It’s also tough because Tom Waits is underrated in that he hasn’t been made King Of The World yet like he should be, so I just went with five bands you should listen to if you haven’t yet.

The Decemberists
These really should be the biggest band on the planet. Country, folksy influences throughout their first few releases, probably my favourite lyrics ever and they’ve even gone a bit electro pop with their last release. Eli, The Barrow Boy is one of the most tortured, heartbreaking songs ever written, the whole Picareque album is beautiful AND they have a bloody Sea Shanty. Colin Meloy just seems like a beautiful human too. Oh, AND they were in Parks and Rec.

ONSIND
A local one; two nice Durham boys doing lovely sing-a-long songs. Incredible songwriting ability, and the two gents who went on to form a quarter of the equally wonderful indie pop band Martha show so much talent and absolutely wonderful morals and ethics. Oh, and I have their lyrics tattooed on me, so they sorta had to go in. Their songs are full of beauty and hope through (generally) two acoustic guitars and sumptuous vocal melodies; and any band which gives you the advice to ‘never trust a Tory’ is alright in my book.

Against Me!
Probably my favourite punk band right now. The story of guitarist and vocalist Laura Jane Grace is a fascinating one, and intelligence and thoughtfulness resonates throughout. Just an awesome band with banging tracks and raw, earnest, heart-on-the-sleeve energy.

Everything Daryl Palumbo has ever done…
The man is a god. GlassJaw are one of my favourite bands of all time, coming out of the Nu Metal era as one of the bands who’ve really stood the test of time. Heavy, awesome and phenomenal live. Head Automatica were a criminally underrated side project too, pop at its best, all electro, sleazy and sexy on debut album Decadence, and joyous new wave era pop on Popaganda. Hardcore punk supergroup United Nations were equally unreal, and various other side projects set Palumbo up as a musical genius.

Pretty Girls Make Graves
My favourite band of all time, oh, and I have their lyrics tattooed on me, so they sorta had to go in. Started a lot heavier, with a chaotic post-punk influence then stand-out album The New Romance went all dark and tortured with Andrea Zollo’s tension-filled vocals the glue that pulled together some great musicianship. Splitting up all too early, they’re a band that not enough people know now, but should.

You can find me on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

I’m also on Matt & Hal’s Gag Reels at The Stand, Newcastle on Sunday 4th November.

I’ll leave you with my favourite band of all time…

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