Frankie & The Heartstrings

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Frankie & The Heartstrings
GenresIndie rock
Years active2008–present
LabelsRough Trade
Pop Sex Ltd
Wichita Recordings
MembersFrankie Francis
Dave Harper
Michael Matthews
Michael McKnight
Ross Millard
Past membersPete Gofton
Mick Ross
Steven Dennis

Frankie & The Heartstrings are a Sunderland-based indie rock band formed in 2008. The band's debut album, Hunger was released on 21 February 2011, and debuted at No. 32 on the UK albums chart. Known for their partying, they were labelled as the indie Mötley Crüe .[1]


Singer Frankie Francis and guitarist Michael McKnight were at college together. Drummer Dave Harper and McKnight had played in local bands for years. McKnight and Harper met Francis at a calypso night in a pub the singer was running at the time in Sunderland[2] and formed the band in December 2008. Singer Francis had intended to play bass in the band, but Harper said that "He was the worst bassist ever".[3] The band made their live debut in Christmas 2008[4] after friend Steven Dennis joined on bass.[3] Former Kenickie drummer, Johnny X, now known by his real name Pete Gofton, joined as a keyboardist. Pete Gofton has since left (in 2010) and was replaced with Soundtracks for a B-Movie and Minotaurs guitarist Mick Ross. It has been said that Mick "adds steel, bite and panache to their musicianship".[3][5] Other band names that were considered included Pop Sex and The New Groomers, but they settled on Frankie & The Heartstrings.[4]

The band's debut release was a 10" 7 track live EP 12.09.09, released on their own Pop Sex Ltd records in a limited edition of 500 in November 2009.[6] The following month they followed it up with a double A side 7" single Hunger/Fragile released on Rough Trade. That month they played their first major tour supporting Florence & The Machine.[7]

In April 2010, the band released their second single "Tender / I Want You Back". "Tender" was written by McKnight and was originally called "Tender Is the Night". It was recorded with James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco.[8] Further gigging continued throughout 2010 including slots at the Glastonbury Festival, Summer Sundae and Latitude Festival, overseas shows in Europe, New York and Tokyo and support slots across the UK supporting The Futureheads and Edwyn Collins, who produced the band's debut album in the late summer and early Autumn at his West Heath Studios in London.[7] The band released their third single "Ungrateful" in October 2010.[9]

The band's sound has drawn comparisons to Orange Juice and Dexy's Midnight Runners.[3]

Hunger, Frankie and the Heartstrings' debut album, was released in the UK on 21 February 2011; it charted at No. 32 on the UK albums chart.[7] Single "The Postcard" followed on 9 May 2011.[10] The band then went on to support Kaiser Chiefs and The Vaccines on their UK tours later in the year. A non-Hunger-related single, "Everybody Looks Better (In the Right Light)", produced by Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, was released on 28 November 2011. Its b-side, "The Way That You Kiss", was produced by Ryan Jarman of The Cribs.[11]

The band released their second album, The Days Run Away, on 3 June 2013. At the same time they opened their own record store in Sunderland, Pop Recs Ltd.[12] The store was initially only to be open for two weeks as a pop up store to promote The Days Run Away, but community response provoked the band to continue operating it permanently.[12]

In 2014 guitarist Mick Ross was replaced by Ross Millard of The Futureheads. In 2015, after bassist Steven Dennis left the band, they were joined by Michael Matthews of This Ain't Vegas and Sky Larkin.[13]

In July 2015 the band released their third album Decency. Recorded in late summer 2014 at Leeds' Suburban Homes studio with MJ of Hookworms at the controls, it was also the first release to feature Ross Millard.[citation needed] The band launched the album with shows in London and Newcastle as well as at Pop Recs Ltd. The band later toured both on their own and as support for The Charlatans, with James Leonard Hewitson joining them on brass for a number of their dates.[14]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
2011 Hunger 32
2013 The Days Run Away
2015 Decency


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2009 "12.09.09"
"Hunger/Fragile" Hunger
2010 "Tender/I Want You Back"
2011 "Everybody Looks Better (In the Right Light)"


  1. ^ "Frankie & The Heartstrings album debuts at number 32". 27 January 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  2. ^ Cochrane, Greg (11 June 2010). "Introducing...Frankie and the Heartstrings". Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Simpson, Dave (17 June 2010). "Frankie and the Heartstrings: 'Music needs a bit o' spite'". Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b Lester, Paul (22 September 2009). "Frankie & the Heartstrings (No 632)". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  5. ^ No Man Is An Isla
  6. ^ "Frankie & The Heartstrings 12.09.09 (Vinyl) at Discogs". 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  7. ^ a b c "Frankie & The Heartstrings-XFM". 4 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Frankie and The Heartstrings 'Kick Out the Jams' as the 2010 Reading Festival Kicks Off". 27 August 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  9. ^ Chang, Mary (18 October 2010). "Video of the Moment #370: Frankie and the Heartstrings". There Goes the Fear. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ Chang, Mary (20 April 2011). "Video of the Moment #457: Frankie and the Heartstrings". There Goes the Fear. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  11. ^ Chang, Mary (28 October 2011). "Single Review: Frankie and the Heartstrings – Everybody Looks Better (in the Right Light)". There Goes the Fear. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b Ian Youngs (9 October 2013). "Frankie and the Heartstrings: Record shop boys". BBC News. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  13. ^ Katy Wheeler (12 March 2015). "Frankie & the Heartstrings on new music and a new line-up". The Sunderland Echo.
  14. ^ Blackwood, Katy (18 December 2015). "Review: The Charlatans and Frankie and the Heartstrings, O2 Academy, Newcastle". Sunderland Echo. Johnston Press. Retrieved 10 July 2016.

External links[edit]