Nothing beats live music!

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Nic Wright brings us the monthly local music column from The Bunker studios in Stockton Road, Sunderland.

THE year may still be in its infancy, but the musical community of Sunderland is already beavering away producing records, putting on fantastic live events and bringing joy to the ears of the region.

Blazing the trail in February is burgeoning outfit Moonrunners.

The university students have been snapped up by Teesside-based label Satellite Records.

The band, who recently shared the stage with Shaun Ryder, started out playing as part of The Bunker’s Sunday Club, which has proved a breeding ground for young up-and-coming bands in recent years.

The band will play a homecoming gig on February 15 at Independent, alongside London band Bleech.

On the live circuit, one of the finest regular nights in the North East makes a welcome return.

Cosy folk showcase Old Friends/Bookends marks its fourteenth event on Saturday, with an all-female line-up. Fast-rising star Natasha Haws returns from her gigging break to start the night, followed by spellbinding newcomer Ditte Elly Goard and New Yorker Annie Dressner.

Headlining the night will be local ladies The Cornshed Sisters.

The folk/pop/harmony group recently signed to Memphis Industries, also home to Sunderland art-pop notables Field Music, and are due to release their début album in April.

Chamber-folk outfit Matt Stalker & Fables are to release a new single. The group will return to the studio in early February, with the single to be made available digitally shortly after.

The track, entitled Little Sister, will be launched with a gig at Heaton’s The Butterfly Cabinet in mid-March.

Also working on a new release is South Shields pop outfit The Railway Club. The band recently unveiled the first completed track from their forthcoming début album.

Previously known as rainfalldown, the five-piece reinvented themselves as The Railway Club last year, releasing their first EP, The Waiting Room, in July.

Since then they’ve built a reputation as one of the most underrated outfits in the North East. Their inaugural LP will be ready by the summer.

Dates for you diary:

l Old Friends/Bookends #14: The Cornshed Sisters, Annie Dressner, Ditte Elly Goard and Natasha Haws – Saturday, The Little Room, Independent. l Stripped Back 2012: The Lonely Captain, Ange Telford – February 16 , The Ivy House.

l Lone Wolf Presents We Beat The System, Spoken Words, Spray On Jeans – February 23, The Little Room, Independent

l Stripped Back 2012 Paul Liddell – February 23, The Ivy House

l Spray On Jeans, This Way To Exit, King Sloth – February 24, Washington Arts Centre.