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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Artist of the Day: Frankie & the Heartstrings

As you may or may not have seen this week, Songkick have officially declared Local Natives the hardest working band on Earth over the past calendar year. How so? A calculation of total shows played combined with miles covered, which sees the LA group top the tree ahead of Kendrick Lamar and Alt-J, having amassed a commendable 188 shows and 192,486 miles. Now, I'm not about to argue with those figures, but what I will call into question is the criteria by which we define "hardest working." Should it be based purely on live endeavour (as has clearly been the case here), or should studio output also be considered? Alternatively, would it not also be wise to consider extra-curricular work; the type bands have no obligation to carry out, yet persevere with for the good of the musical community, be it on an international or merely local level. I can't offer a definitive answer, but if the latter is to have any influence, Sunderland's Frankie & the Hearstrings surely deserve a mention.

Already contributors to North East England's music scene through their label Pop Sex Ltd, the five-piece have outdone themselves in 2013 by opening their own record shop - Pop RECS Ltd - in their hometown. Established as a pop-up back in June, the store was initially given a lifespan of two weeks, yet remains open to this day, as music fans from across the region flock through its doors for their fix of local artists and labels, along with quality vinyl from more established and universal acts. Indeed, with numerous in-store performances planned for the new year, there are no apparent plans to abandon its premises - an achievement which becomes even more impressive once you consider they've also had a (rather good) new record, The Days Run Away to promote and take on road. They're not be the most renowned act, and may not undertake huge continental tours, but if anyone has a better suggestion for the "hardest working" accolade, I for one would like to hear it.

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