NARC. E-ZINE #13 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Welcome to edition 13 of our digital ‘zine! Right here you’ll find all kinds of interesting and unusual diversions, designed to keep you entertained and informed on the region’s alt. music and culture scenes. Video interviews and sound clips, mini-documentaries, live performances, playlists, reportage, reviews and much more are all created exclusively by us as well as by some of the region’s talented creatives.

Spanning music, theatre, comedy, film, art and everything in between, the NARC. E-ZINE is designed as an antidote to doom-scrolling! With the aim of entertaining and informing, we will provide you with a constant source of exciting, surprising and unusual content continually evolving throughout the issue’s lifespan. Dip back in regularly, there’s new content uploaded all the time!


On World Music Day, the city of Sunderland announced the launch of its bid to become a Music City, joining other cities like Berlin, Manchester, Sydney and Valencia, which are famous for their music scenes and, crucially, how they support and encourage music to thrive.

With the aim of exposing more people on Wearside to music, the Music City bid will mean there’s a renewed focus on creativity in the city, with more support for musicians, events for music lovers and opportunities for those looking to make a career from their skills. They’ve gotten off to a great start with newly appointed Music City Officers Marty Longstaff and Frankie Francis, and they enlisted a couple of other well-known local artists to launch the initiative…

Check out their introductory video, courtesy of Sunderland Music City and Thomas Jackson.


Hard-working Newcastle rapper Kay Greyson releases her first single since signing to EMI North. On The Table is a typically soulful and charismatic track from the well-respected artist, and provides a tasty insight into her forthcoming album, due later this year. Insisting that the track draws as much from a DIY punk spirit as her hip-hop and R&B roots, it’s another enthralling release from an artist with an even brighter future.

RUBBER OH – Bloodlust

Newcastle producer and musician Sam Grant announces a new album for his weirded-out psych project Rubber Oh, due to land in September. The album contains collaborations with Rozi Plain, Voka Gentle, Me Lost Me and Ceitidh Mac and offers a vivid journey through Grant’s otherworldly machinations. New single Bloodlust is a driving psych journey, layered with fuzzed out bass, soaring strings, and community vocals; Bloodlust is a real statement of intent, with a video to match.


Newcastle songwriter Darren Burdis returns to his favoured ballad style on new single The Surface. Often compared to the likes of Elliott Smith, thanks to lush vocals and gentle finger-picked guitar, The Surface conveys messages of support, hope and happiness, as he describes. “On one hand, the song conveys the feelings of someone being in a relationship and finding true comfort, solace and happiness with another person, while also delivering the message of ‘no matter whether times or good or bad, I’ll be right there with you, and whenever I’m in need of support I need you to be all in as well’.”


Newcastle-based chamber/alt-pop artist Jodie Nicholson drops not one, but two live videos from her show at The Glasshouse International Centre For Music. Both tracks, You Wanted This and Bad Dream feature on Jodie’s latest album Safe Hands and are filmed by Rob Irish, who perfectly captures Jodie’s tender, haunting melodies and the intimate feel of her shows.

As part of her tour, Jodie will be performing at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 8th June (supporting Amelia Coburn) and The Fire Station, Sunderland on Friday 21st June. Tickets are available via her website.


A brand new NARC. TV mini-doc has landed! Our pal Art Mouse followed two of the region’s finest up and coming songwriters, Sisi and Tom A Smith, as they were paired with brass bands The Original Pinettes and Loud Noises, to create a one-off collaborative performance at Durham Brass Festival. Watch our mini-doc on Brassed On, discover how the collaborations came about and enjoy the thrilling live performances!


In the latest episode of My Writing Life, in which Fran Harvey chats with authors about their work, Fran talks to Middlesbrough writer Amy Lord about her debut novel, The Disappeared. They chat about the complexities of writing a dystopian novel that reflects the realities of life in some other countries; why having support that allows to both the time AND crucial head space to write makes such a massive difference and paying back to the writing community. Read the transcript here.

Listen to their chat via our Spotify Podcast channel.

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