Martha, Joanna Gruesome, The Spook School and Chorusgirl

Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, Martha play energetic, impassioned power pop with intricate vocal interplay and lush four-part harmonies, informed by 90s indie rock and Scandinavian anarcho punk. The band is comprised of J. Cairns (guitar), Daniel Ellis (guitar), Naomi Griffin (bass), and Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums). All four members sing and write the songs. Daniel and Nathan also play in Onsind, while Naomi also plays in No Ditching. Their debut album “Courting Strong”, produced by MJ from Hookworms, came out in 2014 and was included in NPR’s top 50 albums of that year, winning them the epithet “One of Britain’s best rock bands”. Following a Glastonbury appearance last year at the personal invitation of Billy Bragg, the this year took to the stage at the End Of The Road festival. Their second album “Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart” was released via Fortuna POP! in July last year.

“Martha are one of the most thrilling and likeable bands to emerge from the North East in god knows how many years… Courting Strong is just fantastic”. (Drowned In Sound)

Joanna Gruesome’s terrific debut album Weird Sister took the world by storm when it was released in September 2013, going on to win the Welsh Music Prize. Fantastic press support saw glowing press reviews across the board with particular love from Pitchfork and from NME, including a spot on the front cover as part of their Rule Britannia issue, as well as live coverage from The Guardian, Observer and The Independent. At radio the album’s singles scored a remarkable four out of four on the BBC 6Music playlist and the band played sessions for both Lauren Laverne on 6Music and for Huw Stephens on Radio One. Second album Peanut Butter was released in 2015 and was a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence, containing a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs.

“Joanna Gruesome are a brilliant band from Cardiff who love their fuzzy melodies and songs dripped in scuzzy reverb.” (Huw Stephens, Radio One)

The Spook School’s latest album, Try To Be Hopeful, is brim full of noisy, tuneful and triumphant queer pop songs about identity, sexuality and being awesome. Since forming in 2012 they’ve become increasingly involved with the DIY queer punk scene, taking inspiration from the passionate, like-minded people they’ve met along the way, and from bands such as Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund and Tuff Love. Citing influences including Buzzcocks, T-Rex and the noisier end of C86, the new album is louder, bolder, fuller-sounding and captures more of their live sound—aided and abetted by producer MJ of Hookworms.

“It sounds like such a simple formula: write catchy pop songs about things which are important to you, but the fact is The Spook School have nailed it better than pretty much anyone in recent memory.” (Drowned in Sound)

The brainchild of German songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist Silvi Wersing, Chorusgirl blend the shimmering dreaminess of 4AD bands like Lush, the noir pop of The Cure and the bittersweet electricity of The Breeders across songs that sparkle with melody and pop nous but are stealthily subverted by something darker. Dig beneath the surface of the perfect pop songs and you’ll find heavy lyrics about saying goodbye, giving up, grief, alienation and loneliness. With their debut album Chorusgirl breathed new life into guitar pop, reinvigorating the genre with fresh hooks and sharp-edged songs full of heartache, anger and grit.

“Chorusgirl take up the female-fronted fuzzbomb art-pop baton that Lush and The Long Blondes help patent – jangling guitars carrying along a bucketful of big hooks, Silvi Wersing’s strident, cool-as vocals, joy camouflaging the pain.” (Sweeping The Nation)


+ DJ Paul Richards (Scared To Dance)