Published: 01/04/2014 13:00 - Updated: 02/04/2014 09:06

Netsounds Talk #2 - On great Highland bands for your consideration

Written byNetsounds Unsigned

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Netsounds Unsigned - finding great local bands so you (and by extension we) don't have to.

So, it's another month, and time for our second piece from Jamie and Murray over at music blog/podcast/great site Netsounds Unsigned. This month sees them in an expansive mood, as they scour all over the region searching for great underground artists for you to get excited about - and also learn that Moray is part of the Highlands. Read their words, listen to their suggestions and use them to tell your friends about how clued up and cultured you are!

We are lucky to have a blank page for our residency here at What’s On North. It gives us an added opportunity to gush about some of the wonderful music emerging from the Highlands and Islands but also to share with you some of the great gigs taking place and bands that are visiting the area. This time round however we would like to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on 4 bands from the area that we think deserve a little more attention.

Shaped
Shaped - photograph courtesy of photographer/blogging maverick Houdi

First up, Shaped from Alness. Since 2011 they have hid themselves away in their converted shed/studio enjoying their own company. It wasn’t until they recently competed in the successful Battle of the Bands at The Eagle Bar in Inverness that we first got a listen to this energetic 3-piece. As judges on the night they played, we and the other esteemed judge – a local photo blogger, were unanimous in our praise of the band and their win on the night. Shaped play 3 minute blasts of no nonsense punk/pop and are clearly a band enjoying themselves. Bands playing 10 minute epics with 17 guitar solos and eye-closed emotive vocals are all very well, but there are times you just want to band to kick the door down, smash the place up, smile and leave. Shaped do the latter brilliantly.

Listen to Shaped at www.shaped.yolasite.com/songs.php

Next a band from Elgin. Not quite the Highlands. Have we already gone outside our area of jurisdiction? Meh. [right now the fine people at The Forres Gazette, The Northern Scot and The Banffshire Journal are weeping - Ed.] His Name Is Codeine is a band that just do their own thing. Although they have played Inverness, they are relatively unknown here and definitely don’t get the praise they are due in the North. Regularly playing gigs between Glasgow and London it’s a crime that more haven’t heard of the band. Their stunning debut album “The Only Truth Is Music” was self funded and produced by the band. If you enjoy dreamy psychedelic vocals, fuzzy guitars and like (lazy comparison alert) Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Kills then you should give the band a look up. They are currently working a new album and we hope to see them make the journey our way soon.

Listen here: http://hisnameiscodeine.bandcamp.com/

Neon Waltz
Neon Waltz - photograph courtesy of the band themselves. Great lads.

We head far North for our next band, up to Caithness and a band that has evolved from previous groups The Maydays and more recently The Maginot Band. Now called Neon Waltz the 6-piece band is one of the most promising bands emerging from the area. They deliver a chiming, trippy almost contemporary psychedelic sound with a definite 60s influence. Their current single ‘Sombre Fayre’ is a wash with organs, cymbals and soaked in wonderful dreamy vocals that you could hang under the tag of ‘indie anthem’ whatever that means these days. These guys have the songs, they have the attitude and they even have a management company to guide them; Ignition Management (Noel Gallagher, Young Rebel Set). We said it when they were The Maydays and we are saying it again now, watch these guys carefully.

The Broken Ravens
The Broken Ravens - photograph courtesy of Netsounds Unsigned.

Finally a band from Stornoway who we first witnessed the full power of at one of our Takeover’s last year in Mad Hatters in Inverness. The Broken Ravens are a 4-piece riff-roaring band from Stornoway in The Isle of Lewis who have been together in various bands since their teens. Their own unique sound is a blend of influences from the like of Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Slayer. The band ripped a hole in goNORTH in Inverness last year and they recently played their first show at Glasgow’s King Tuts. The band also make their festival debut at Brew At The Bog in Inverness on 3rd May. They were also recently nominated for best newcomer at this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards and have their sights on recording new material with a producer they greatly admire in the U.S. The Broken Ravens are clearly ready for take off.

The next Netsounds Unsigned gig is on Tuesday April 8th at Mad Hatters, in conjunction with Gerry Loves Records - featuring Adam Stafford, Rick Redbeard and Yusuf Azak. Tickets (£5) are available from http://www.scottish.ticketsource.co.uk/ or on the door on the night.

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