It feels like a pretty good time for DIY culture right now. Its spirit of inclusivity, ethics and community is being eloquently and positively spearheaded by a number of great bands at the moment, and somewhere at the forefront of the movement are County Durham’s Martha. Since May’s release of their debut album Courting Strong on the peerless Fortuna Pop, they’ve gone from strength to strength, accumulating devotees around the UK and far beyond.

It’s not difficult to see why people are falling for them, either. They’re just that kind of band. You can’t really just casually be into a band like Martha. Without even really thinking about it you find yourself falling in love with them, getting sucked into their universe, playing the album four or five times on repeat without a hint of boredom creeping in. They’re the kind of band who have the power to make you relive the rich, terrible tang of youth (even if you’re old, and jaded like me). It’s all because they mean every single word they say, whether they’re spinning hyper-literate yarns about pissed-up kids outside Durham Cathedral, spikily appraising gender roles or elegising doomed young love.

Current single Present, Tense encapsulates them perfectly. It’s an exhilarating punk pop ode to anxiety which is accompanied by a video (self-directed of course) which captures the playful, slightly awkward heart of the band as they take you on a tour of their world. If you’ve yet to discover the joy of Martha, then this is a pretty perfect place to start. Make sure you’ve not got any plans for the rest of the day before you click Play on the video, though, because once you do you may find yourself unable to tear yourself away from this band for a while.

Words by Paul Brown

Tip by Bill from God is in the TV

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