Northern Alliance

13th Note, Glasgow, Thu 19 Jul; Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sun 22 Jul


They’ve released just three albums in five years (two of them mini ones), and as yet never played a full band live show. What’s been the hold up for Edinburgh lo-fi indie slowcoaches Northern Alliance?

Kids, careers and studies, for starters. In fact, considering that singer/guitarist/songwriter Doug Johnstone has written his first novel during that time, while busily plying his trade as a music journalist for - among others - your favourite fortnightly Glasgow and Edinburgh events guide, it’s a wonder they’ve found time for the rock at all.

‘The music stuff I find is a bit of a release actually,’ says Johnstone. ‘That’s how it got going in the first place. For a long time we just did it in our basement, bashing out tunes for a laugh. Then we put out a mini album and people started buying it. Then we had to take things a bit more seriously.’

Much to everyone’s gain, the three piece finally released their rather brilliant first full-length longplayer For the Grains of Sand last year on 45B/Fence Records.

Another album is slated to drop this autumn, after they’ve broken their full band duck with a pair of live dates this month featuring members of grungey fellow Fence signees The Red Well.

‘It’s going to be absolutely rocktastic,’ says Johnstone of the gigs. ‘Like Dinosaur Jr meets Pavement. Big and loud.’

Incidentally, how would a Doug Johnstone Northern Alliance review read, were he given the convenient chance to write one himself? He thinks for a minute, before replying, ‘Shambolic, but their heart’s in the right place.’ It seems appropriate.

(Malcolm Jack)

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