New Music Friday: No Music

No Music is the name for the output of Joss Carter, Joel Harries, Joshua Ryan, and Josh Green. These four J-men are Northampton musicians from various projects – including 72%…

No Music is the name for the output of Joss Carter, Joel Harries, Joshua Ryan, and Josh Green. These four J-men are Northampton musicians from various projects – including 72% and Blood-Visions – who have created something of an NN supergroup. They have just released their second EP of no-prisoners noisecore: it is misnomerically entitled ‘Unholy Disappointment’. New Boots asked Joel and Joss to spill some beans.

This has got to be one of the most organic band formations ever. Mates on the NN scene wanting to hop into musical bed with others, is that right?
Joel: I suppose so! Me & Josh Ryan are long-time collaborators. I have done a few projects with Josh Green also. Everyone just seemed like the right fit for the group, and it clicked when we got together for our first full rehearsal.
Joss: Thereʼs been no bed-hopping, Mr. Green is a married man! But, no, Iʼve got no idea how the other guys decided on forming, but I came on board once most of the first EP was written and just got to shouting. Iʼd mentioned to Josh and Joel I wanted to get involved with something harsher after doing guest vocals on a song on the last 72% record, and they were game. Very glad they were!

How would you describe your sound? Was their much discussion on direction at the beginning, or was it more “lets go in a room and see what happens”?
Joel: When people ask for a genre I normally say “Noise Punk”. Itʼs fast, discordant & angry. I wrote a few bass lines ages ago, and they formed the basis of the first two songs we wrote. The main intention was for it to be ugly and aggressive. Initially me and Josh were singing, but then we decided to ask Joss after he joined 72% in
the studio for a day and nailed it. From there it has just come naturally, normally starting with bass parts and then growing from there.
Joss: Again, no idea what the discussions were at the beginning, but I do know that Josh refers to his guitar parts as skroingers.

What was the reaction like to the first EP, ‘Unearned Bliss’?
Joel: People seemed to enjoy it! We had a lot of positive responses. I think people were maybe a little surprised to hear music so quickly after we formed the band.
Joss: We had a good reaction from what I can gather, Blood-Visions members have given me positive feedback for it and, ultimately, everything I do is for the approval of Harry Brooks. Weʼve also had a really great response at shows, so hoping that continues in the future.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Unholy Disappointment’.
Joel: The writing process was pretty quick. We recorded the drums for it at The Lodge with Rufus from Blood Visions & Marc Cann. The rest was tracked at home, and Josh painted the front cover. The songs feel a bit darker and more
intense than the first EP to me.
Joss: Lyrically Iʼve tried to continue in the vein I started to go down on the last record. I start by envisaging the worst corporate job piece-of-shit, ask myself what that personʼs world-view can be boiled down to, and then summarise from there. The record itself is a little bigger and more varied. The first one was fast and fucking loud, this is even louder in parts but occasionally pulls back to be a more subdued kind of loud.

Your live shows are pretty formidable. What’s your secret?
Joel: Just get up there and play the songs correctly? Ha! Iʼm not sure really. Just good energy and a lot of noise.
Joss: Practice! Also, nerves. I only recently managed to play a No Music show without following it with nerve-induced vomiting. We also try to write as often as possible to keep what weʼre playing fresh and interesting.

What has been your favourite No Music moment of the past year?
Joel: We played a show at The Garibaldi on Christmas Eve and despite not pulling out any festive tunes people seemed really up for it.
Joss: I loved playing Christmas Eve at the Garibaldi. Ridiculously packed, ridiculously energetic fun. Other than that, though, Iʼve mostly enjoyed hanging out with these guys – theyʼre bloody lovely people.

What was the last album you all bought/streamed?
Joel: I have been listening to a lot of Yautja.
Joss: Sail Away by Randy Newman. Itʼs comfort food listening.

What are your burning desires for No Music to do? What plans do you have after this EP?
Joel: I would like to tour later in the year and get another record out. Maybe a full-length? We will see where we are at after the pandemic!
Joss: Iʼve got no idea. The worldʼs in a pretty dark place at the minute, so Iʼll just be happy when we are able to get back in to a room and play riffs again.

‘Unholy Disappointment’ is out now via the usual digital sites, plus on cassette via the below BandCamp link. Band photo by David Jackson

 

 

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New Music Friday: Cassini Circles

Northampton/London electronica trio Cassini Circles are slowly emerging into the light, dropping their latest ‘Halfway’ with a great video. New Boots caught up with the ladies for the back story….

Northampton/London electronica trio Cassini Circles are slowly emerging into the light, dropping their latest ‘Halfway’ with a great video. New Boots caught up with the ladies for the back story.

Who is in the band?
Shannon Kait, Jo Burns-Russell and Yoshe Watson. Yoshe and Jo are our producers, with both of them using ableton live with various control devices. Yoshe also plays keys and flute, and Jo has a TR8 drum machine we use for some songs. Shannon is the lead vocalist, with both Yoshe and Jo on backing vocals too.

How did you guys get together?
Jo originally joined a band Shannon was previously in called Fugues as a DJ/Producer about 3 years ago. Over time this evolved to being just the two of them working with some of the other elements form previous members in a more sample-led way, evolving as we went. With Yoshe joining the project we felt it was time to give us our own new identity, although there are still some Fugues songs in our sets, we’ve adapted them and made them our own,

What has changed as you move to a trio from the original duo of Fugues?
We’re developing a heavier sound, more dancey and adding more live instruments too. The sound the three of us create works really well. It has its own unique feeling too it, and having three of us sing in unison is quite powerful. Oh yeah and also more space focus, bringing in actual Nasa samples and getting nerdy with it. Our live set tracks the journey of the Cassini Satellite on its epic mission to Saturn. The space concept is something you’ll see in our artwork and videos too. We’d eventually like to have a light show element to our live shows to incorporate this more one day.

Tell us about this new single and accompanying video, ‘Halfway’.
‘Halfway’ was recorded around the time of the first Extinction Rebellion, and this was a big influence on Shannon’s lyrics and the video. I think the song combines both the more drifty ambient style of some of our earlier songs, but then builds up to some really heavy-hitting drums which are more in line with our newer work so it’s a nice representation of our musical journey. For the video we wanted to bring in some of the areas around ER and the climate crisis – it became quite abstract in the end but we were projecting natural disaster scenes from the client crisis on to us in a studio where we all did some movement and dance, and this was then transformed into a space journey, reflecting both the Cassini theme and the lyric “why don’t you meet me halfway to the moon”, which is about the lack of response to the crisis from government and business. Yesh, lots of levels! We worked with local producer Chris Lowe on the video, and it was a marriage of ideas from us all.

What are your live shows like?
We’re still pretty new to playing live, but we’ve really found our feet recently, adding in three-part singing sections and the flute which has helped bring it to life. It’s hard as an electronica act to find that balance of not just pressing buttons and engaging the audience. But there are lots of buttons and lights, kind of like a spaceship (see a theme here!)

What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It’s hard to choose; probably between getting the most beautiful pep talk ever from the legend that is Barry Ashworth [Dub Pistols] at the Craufurd Arms….. or when we first started directly sampling Nasa sounds – that excitement of turning moons and weird sounds from the Cassini mission into drums and basslines – ultimate nerdiness!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Yoshe: Grimes Miss Anthropocine
Jo: The Cinematic Orchestra To Believe

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for the rest of 2020?
We’ve got another single dropping really soon, we’re just finalising the mastering and hopefully we’ll get a video for that sorted too. Other than that we just wanna play loads of festivals tbh. Maybe a gig in space, that would be very ‘on brand’ for us. Maybe when Grimes and Elon Musk inevitably colonise Mars we can play the opening night.

‘Halfway’ is out now. The group play The Black Prince in Northampton on March 21st.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 11th – Mar 17th

RUFUS GOODLOVE + RAVENRUST Thursday March 12th The King Billy, Northampton Banbury-based Goodlove write rock songs full of passion and anthemic energy. Support are a female-fronted five-piece gothic/dark rock experience….

RUFUS GOODLOVE + RAVENRUST
Thursday March 12th
The King Billy, Northampton
Banbury-based Goodlove write rock songs full of passion and anthemic energy. Support are a female-fronted five-piece gothic/dark rock experience. From 9pm, free entry

BEDLAM BREAKOUT
Friday March 13th -Sunday March 15th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The annual psychobilly and garage-trash festival. Marcel Bontempi with Ira Lea and the Tenessee Hotshots, The Hicksville Bombers, StageFrite, Kings Of Hong Kong, and El Camino play Friday, plus dozens more over the weekend. Tickets from https://www.bedlambreakout.com

KING PURPLE + DEAF TRAP + TORUS
Friday March 13th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Corby’s KP mix psychedelia and grunge, grounded by undertones of indie rock. DT play racuous alt-rock and Torus do similar. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

EASTFIELD + STEGOSAURUS SEX PARTY
Friday March 13th
The Lab, Northampton
“Same three-chord punk rock with a catchy tune and a smile”. Support from Coventry trash-punks. Doors 8pm, £5 entry

WHALE + HANNAH FAULKNER + MALCOLM & MADDY + OAKLEAS RISE + RAY BECK
Friday March 13th
The Witch & Sow, Guilsborough
A Ni Ni acoustic singer-songwriter session. From 8.30pm, free entry

STEVE PILGRIM + KEIRON FARROW
Saturday March 14th
The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton
Pilgrim is a highly acclaimed drummer and singer-songwriter. Well-known as a musician with Paul Weller, Steve has written and recorded four studio albums: the latest, entitled ‘Morning Skies’, with musical support from the ModFather himself, and double-bass legend Danny Thompson [Pentangle/John Martyn]. Support from Nene Delta bluesman; the illegitimate progeny of Howlin’ Wolf, Jack Rose, Lee Mavers & Charles Mingus. Doors 7pm,  £9.50 tickets

THE MEE KATS
Saturday March 14th
St James Working Mens Club, Northampton
Rockabilly/rock n roll trio hailing from Newcastle. Doors 7pm, £9 entry

THEE TELEPATHS + FAMILY OF NOISE + THE ABRAHAMS
Saturday March 14th
The Prince of Wales, Kettering
Local psych-fuzz men, with 2019s magnificent album The Velvet Night now behind them, focus on the future and celebrate their 100th show together. Corby instrumental trio and Kettering folk-rockers in support. Doors 7pm, free entry

SYTERIA + THE MISPELT + THE FILTH HOUNDS + CORNERS OF SANCTUARY
Sunday March 15th
The King Billy, Northampton
Yorkshire-based headliners feature Jax Chambers from Girlschool, touring the new album Reflection. Plus ShoeTown punks, Newcastle metallers, and new wave metallers openers who are on tour from the USA. Doors 4pm, £5 entry

ROWAN GODEL + GREGG CAVE
Sunday March 15th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Former Oysterband and Levellers collaborator, singer-songwriter Godel brings her own unique music along with some traditional songs – not to mention two of the finest musicians on the UK folk scene today in Benji Kirkpatrick and Tim Cotterell. Local singer in support. Doors 7.30pm, £12.50 tickets

 

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Album review: Kev Minney ‘Modern Stories’

KEV MINNEY Modern Stories [self-released] Northampton born-and-raised Brighton resident Minney is back with his second long-player, following the rather excellent 2017 work Stories Of The Sky. New Boots is pleased…

KEV MINNEY
Modern Stories
[self-released]

Northampton born-and-raised Brighton resident Minney is back with his second long-player, following the rather excellent 2017 work Stories Of The Sky. New Boots is pleased to report this album is even better than that ruminating debut. Ten numbers that come straight from the heart, every track here is full of affection, with no affectations to distract him from his purpose.

Minney’s guitar finger-picking style is rhythmic enough to become hypnotic over the timespan of each song. The string flourishes that pop up regularly on Modern Stories are often sudden and striking, bringing to mind the work of Nick Drake arranger Robert Kirby. Minney’s whispered vocal style is perhaps a reflection of his quiet and shy persona, but they are custom-built for the songs he writes.

His often powerful lyrics can throw you out of your daily step; e.g. “wouldn’t it be wonderful if angels helped us cry?” as heard on opener ‘Magic’. There’s a few themes that come across here [besides love!] – technology, addiction and climate change being obvious examples. It’s hard to pick out specific songs and go into depth about their showy musical range, for this is a folk album that is about the “feel”. The only number on here that shouts “radio play” is ‘God Is An Algorithm’, with its easy to remember, elevated chorus. But whilst some may worry that’s a weakness, it more than likely just shows you the confidence level we’re working with here. These songs speak for themselves; and the musicians allow them room to breathe. His musical and life partner Steph Brown adds touches of piano and backing vocal here and there, adding more layers to build the sound – especially effective on the dynamic loud and quiet passages of ‘A Way Out’. Their duet on ‘Natural Disaster’ is a highlight; their vocal interplay the result of many an hour spent harmonising.

Modern Stories is that classic ‘slow-burner’ album which reveals itself more each time. I can’t imagine someone in a rush giving it time to impart its many qualities, and with its minimalist design maybe it will sit quietly untouched in some reviewers drawers. Which is criminal. Minney should be whispered about in the same influential circles as your John Grants and Bon Ivers and Fleet Foxes are. He’s Northampton’s best-kept secret, but we can help change that. Listen in below, and tell your friends. Gifts like this are there to be shared.

Phil Moore

Modern Stories is out now via the usual digital platforms, and on CD from his shows.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 4th – Mar 10th

BLUES TONES + AMRIT SOND + STEVIE JONES Wednesday March 4th Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Expert blues band who play traditional Chicago blues, a Grammy award-winning and internationally known guitarist,…

BLUES TONES + AMRIT SOND + STEVIE JONES
Wednesday March 4th
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Expert blues band who play traditional Chicago blues, a Grammy award-winning and internationally known guitarist, and popular local music legend. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

PRIMA NOCTE + EX-PETS
Thursday March 5th
The King Billy, Northampton
First UK visit for the Spanish metal band, promoting their second album Oniric. NN noise rock trio in support. Door 8pm, free entry

NI NI ACOUSTIC SESSIONS
Thursday March 5th
The Walnut Tree, Blisworth
Featuring Beth Parker, Bob Whale, Shaun Beasley, Ant Richards, Jodi McCarthy, Joe Corkham, and Jacksboro Highway. 8pm to 10.30pm, free entry

ROZISM + KATIE PATON + MAMA LAINE
Friday March 6th
The Lab, Northampton
Celebrate International Women’s Day with some musical goodness from the goddess. Doors 7.30pm, £3 entry, which goes to Northampton Domestic Abuse Support Service [formerly Womens Aid]. 

LAY IT DOWN
Friday March 6th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Urban music/poetry open mic, with featured sets from Dreadz, L30 Robinson, HXRMZ, Smiley, and DJ Shakey Jake. Doors 9pm, free entry

AKKADIAN + EXPETYA + FAR FROM REFUGE + PINK7 + AKILLA
Friday March 6th
Raff’s Bar, Wellingborough
Metal and punk from Cambridge, Northampton, and MK. Doors 6.30pm, £5 tickets/£6 door

TRADARR
Friday March 6th
Silverstone Recreational Association
Northants folk-rock band – seven multi-instrumentalists and vocalists feature. £15: call 07738826618 or email jenjaynemusic@gmail.com

TEMPERS + JESSICA93 + PINK SHABAB
Saturday March 7th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
NYC-based duo- dark, ice-cold electronica blends a sinister slow static disco with danceable beats, a hinting of pop sensibility imprisoned in an almost gothic, industrial soundscape. Support from French one-man project: hypnotic loops, grungy riffs and cold beats, all wrapped up in an impressive sense of delicate and to-the-point song writing. Plus opening is the dream-pop/subtle disco of South Londoner Joseph Carvell. Doors 8pm, free entry

LEW LEWIS & HIS ALL STAR TRIO
Saturday March 7th
Vintage Retreat, Northampton
Performing his own brand of wild rockabilly. Doors 7.30pm, £10 adv/£12 door

CONCRETE ROSE + THE PETTY THIEVES
Saturday March 7th
The Lab, Northampton
The second “Reggae Town” event. Headliner brings roots reggae from Nottinghamshire, featuring members of Ferocious Dog and Unknown Era. Support from eight-piece sleazy reggae/ska band from the dirty suburbs of Medway. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

SECRET GIG #14
Saturday March 7th
Audio Works, Northampton
We hear there’s a 46XX theme to this secret gig. Can’t tell you who is playing, but one act might be an anagram of “a cloak item”. You don’t want to miss it, trust us. Doors 8pm, very limited £5 tickets here

TU-KAY & RYAN
Saturday March 7th
HMV store, Northampton
The harmonising acoustic duo play the record shop at lunchtime. From midday, free entry

ALLUSINLOVE + BLOOD-VISIONS + BARRACUDA + TRAGIC
Saturday March 7th
Steel Park, Corby
Four years on the Castleford post-grunge quartet return to Corby for another headline show. Support from NN punk star pairing, and Leicester alt-rockers. Doors 8pm, £5 tickets

CRETIN 77 + BLUE CARPET BAND + PIZZATRAMP
Saturday March 7th
The Talisman, Corby
An evening of high octane rock’n’roll: with ’77 punk from Corby, garage-punk from London, and Welsh skate-punk. Doors 7.30pm, £8 tickets

OUSE VALLEY SINGLES CLUB
Saturday March 7th
The Queens Head, Higham Ferrers
Bedford’s finest New Wave Skiffle combo play the market town. From 9pm, free entry

 

 

 

 

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Live review: THUMPER | Tragic | Deaf Trap

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes March 2nd 2020 This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin,…

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
March 2nd 2020

This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin, plus two of Northampton’s finest noisy pups. Your reporter did not let it being a Monday night stop the rock, though a sparse crowd reflects other didn’t feel the same way. Your loss, mothers.

Deaf Trap have swiftly become something of a staple amongst the NN scene; admittedly not gigging that often, but always putting in the whole nine yards in their pursuit of sweaty good times. It’s great to see them cross county lines for a change, and they open things magnificently here. With tunes as good as ‘From The Floor’ and ‘Real Nice Night’ it’s always a pleasure to experience their set.

Tragic are very easy to wax superlatively about. The teenagers from Northampton have brought a vigour to the East Midlands music world that could put the energy companies out of business. They positively burst at the sinews to wring every inch of meaning from their instruments, and their manic energy is ever-present tonight. Previewing upcoming single ‘PIG’ alongside last year’s modern-day grunge-punk classics ‘Sloppy Kiss’, ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’ and ‘Walking’. Their melodic skill is perhaps their secret weapon, creeping up on you through the swampy fuzz. And “England is full of scared little boys” feels a very apt lyric for the current state of the nation. Move over slowthai, someone’s coming for your crown.

THUMPER are Dublin’s widescreen screechers of the faith. Never less than fully committed, the six-piece [two drummers and three guitarists, obviously] are treading the noise-pop line of contemporaries IDLES, Fontaines DC, Girl Band, King Gizzard etc but bringing enough of their own personality to proceedings to make them no mere imitators. New single ‘Ad Nauseam’ is a deep rumination on empty ships making the loudest noise. Singer Oisin Furlong is a proper frontman, looking into our very souls for an answer to something, and dealing with mundane broken strings with aplomb. The band never let up for a second, locking into their well-worked groove with motorik precision. Furlong’s foray into the crowd late into the set says “we are you” more than any clever soundbite could. And with ‘In My Room’ and ‘Down’ they’ve started their career with songs others still can’t match after many years of trying. In an increasingly dystopian world we should perhaps let these Irish men lead us to eternal salvation. When music is as joyous as this you can’t help but catch it now and spread it around.

Words: Phil Moore. Photos: David Jackson

 

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Bauhaus play Northampton [sort of…]

Pete Dennis previews The Teenage Werewolves / She’s in Bauhaus show this April Unlike Liverpool and Coventry who honour their musical offspring with museums and tourist trails Northampton’s goth rock…

Pete Dennis previews The Teenage Werewolves / She’s in Bauhaus show this April

Unlike Liverpool and Coventry who honour their musical offspring with museums and tourist trails Northampton’s goth rock pioneers Bauhaus have been confined to the attic like the madwoman in Jane Eyre. As if to remind us of our folly a double headliner comes to The Roadmender on Saturday April 11th, paying homage to The Cramps (Teenage Werewolves) and our very own practitioners of the dark arts She’s in Bauhaus.

Despite being largely ignored, officially, in their home town Bauhaus’ spectral shadow encompasses the globe, and one of many lives they’ve touched was that of American Jack Atlantis. He fronts both the Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus, and Jack spoke exclusively to express his joy at performing at the birthplace of Gothic rock.

Jack began by explaining his initial exposure to Bauhaus: “I was introduced aged 15 while watching the film The Hunger. Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy was singing ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ while David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve hunt red-haired dancer Ann Magnuson. Bauhaus left a lasting impression on my musical taste, vocal style and fashion leanings.” So much so that Jack would later form a tribute act in honour of his heroes: “Last Halloween, we performed our first full Bauhaus show in Los Angeles with Bauhaus members David J and Kevin Haskins in the audience. Backstage, Kevin told me that ‘at times, I forgot It wasn’t Peter [Murphy] performing those songs.’”

Many miles separated the original Bauhaus and Cramps. How does Jack think the two relate? “I find that both band’s champion the dark undercurrent of weirdos and the under-represented outcasts. They both defied stereotypes and created a loyal following, inspiring countless other bands through their visual shows but with very different approaches. These two unique bands have an interesting crossover appeal of audience. Their fans love both bands”

To some people the very idea of tribute bands is an anathema, while to others they provide an opportunity to catch a glimpse of their heroes in an intimate setting. The untimely death of Cramps vocalist Lux Interior makes acts like the Teenage Werewolves even more vital, and while the original Bauhaus have recently reformed for a run of stadium dates the chances of them playing a Roadmender-sized venue is unlikely. She’s in Bauhaus appropriately fill that void.

Both of Jack’s tribute bands have been warmly received, but what gave him the idea of putting them on the same bill? “It was a series of events that seemed too uncanny to be mere coincidence. In 2014 the Teenage Werewolves performed a double-headlining show with David J and his solo band at the Viper Room in Hollywood. Then two ago, I hosted David’s travelling acoustic show at my house with an audience of 40 friends. The next day David flew to Mexico City to meet Peter Murphy for the start of their first tour together in over a decade and that would become the current and full reunion with Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins. The picture of The Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus tour painted itself.”

How does it feel to bring She’s in Bauhaus to Northampton where Bauhaus first started? “Life is strange, as a kid from the other side of the world, hearing the songs of Bauhaus through unlikely sources, felt like my own secret world because I didn’t know anyone who also liked this music in the little town I’m from. When I moved to Los Angeles aged 18 I discovered legions of other fans, and it felt like my second home. I find it surreal to have met the band members on a personal level and then performing this strange show to English fans at the epicentre of where the band started. It’s an honour, and we won’t let the fans down.”

The Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus play Northampton Roadmender on April 11th 2020. Support comes from the Clash tribute The Clashed and Joy Division impersonators Shadowplay. Doors 6pm, £18.50 tickets plus booking fee.

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New Music Friday: Fraser Ingham

Kettering man Fraser Ingham has been writing songs for twenty-five years, and singing in bands [Tonic, Audiostar, The Kidnaps] in his late teens and twenties. Having stockpiled more than 140…

Kettering man Fraser Ingham has been writing songs for twenty-five years, and singing in bands [Tonic, Audiostar, The Kidnaps] in his late teens and twenties. Having stockpiled more than 140 songs, a chance meeting with Kenneth J Nash led to the music being recorded and released. New Boots gets more on this intriguing story.

How/why did you start this project?
There were two events that were the catalyst for starting this project. Firstly, I suffered a head injury in July 2018 that meant I couldn’t drive or work for three months. Whilst I was stuck at home I started to revisit all of the song ideas I’d accumulated over a period of about 10 years – pretty much since my last band, The Kidnaps, fizzled out. Then a couple of months later I bumped into Kenny at a festival he was curating. He’d asked me before to come and record some demos at Old Hotel Records, but I’d always put him off. However now I had a few songs in a more complete state; it felt like the right time. I went to Old Hotel in autumn 2018 and recorded 28 demos in two nights. I had low expectations I suppose, but Ken was very encouraging, he saw something in the songs that was worth pursuing. Since last summer we’ve been recording on a fairly regular basis.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
At the risk of sounding like every other singer-songwriter from the last 60 years, I’m writing songs on an acoustic guitar about my life and the stuff that’s happening around me. As a result the themes include mortality, family, community, mental health, love and drinking in my local pub! I’m not much of a guitarist or singer, but words and melody are important to me. I’d say my biggest influences in terms of sound and inspiration are artists like Conor Oberst, David Ford, The Smiths, Neutral Milk Hotel and Billy Bragg.

How was the experience of revisiting old songs and polishing them up?
In most respects it was very rewarding. I had around 140 ideas, ranging from complete songs to one line of a verse or chorus. The songs had documented a decade of my life, so it was interesting to go back and see how I was feeling about different things at the time. As you can probably imagine most of the songs won’t ever see the light of day.

Will the four EPs be themed? How did you choose what to put where?
I’ve just released my EP ‘Winter’, which contains some of my most melancholic songs. I think ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’ will be more uplifting and ‘Autumn’ will be more reflective. Most importantly, I hope that the four EPs will represent all of the different aspects of my writing.

Do you play live shows at all?
Not many to be honest. When I’d been in bands before the process always seemed to be write songs; rehearse them; book gigs; write more songs; record them; get more gigs [hopefully bigger and better than before]… and so on. This time I thought I’d record the songs first, see if people like them, then book some gigs later. I’ve had quite a few offers, but I’m going to see how things go with the first EP.

What has been your favourite acts of the past year or so? What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The bands I’ve enjoyed most in the last couple of years are IDLES and Fontaines D.C. I think IDLES in particular are trying to do a lot of positive things through their music. Last listened: Bill Fay Countless Branches

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2020?
Releasing four EPs in 2020 is my main focus at the moment, the songs are written but there is still a lot of recording to do. At the end of the year I’d like to release some of the songs on an album, ideally on vinyl. If the songs are well received, hopefully I’ll play a few gigs along the way too!

The Winter EP is out now on Old Hotel Records via Bandcamp

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Feb 26th – Mar 3rd

SHARKTEEH GRINDER + DEAD KIWIS + CROW + BADDREAMS + INDIFFERENT ENGINE Wednesday February 26th The Black Prince, Northampton Hardcore bands from Corby, France, Cambridge, and Birmingham. Doors 7.15pm, £5…

SHARKTEEH GRINDER + DEAD KIWIS + CROW + BADDREAMS + INDIFFERENT ENGINE
Wednesday February 26th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Hardcore bands from Corby, France, Cambridge, and Birmingham. Doors 7.15pm, £5 entry

BOB WHALE + DAN MCCARRY + JODI MCCARTHY + MEG SHIPMAN + CAMERON GRACE + HANNAH FAULKNER + WAX LYRICAL
Wednesday February 26th
The Golden Horse, Northampton
Ni Ni acoustic singer-songwriter sessions. From 8pm, free entry

ANDY CROFTS + VELVET ENGINE + JOE B. HUMBLED
Friday February 28th
The Black Prince, Northampton
A Northampton musical ledge [The Moons, Paul Weller, etc.] returns to an old haunt to play songs both old and new. Support from local singer-songwriters that are major talents in their own right. Doors 7.30pm, £9.50 tickets

FRANCISCO
Friday February 28th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
An intimate night of soulful originals by the Cousin Avi singer. Doors 8pm, £7 tickets

THE WAX LYRICAL SOUND + TRAGIC + L30 ROBINSON + JACK Vs HOTDOG
Friday February 28th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Rap-rockers showcase new material, plus the punk trio, NN rap mainstay and the irreverent singer-songwriter. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

LUCY SHAW+ JACOB BRATHWAITE + RUSSELL HEYWORTH
Friday February 28th
The Lab, Northampton
Singer-songwriter and guitarist from Birmingham, plus similar NN talent too. Doors 7pm, free entry

THE BIG DIRTY + MOJO CITY REBELS + STONE PIT DRIVE
Friday February 28th
The King Billy, Northampton
From 8.30pm, free entry 

SPRING.FALL.SEA + DEAD FREQUENCY + BROKEN EMPIRE + DESCENDANT OF ODIN
Friday February 28th
Raff’s Bar, Wellingborough
Pop-punk from London and Daventry, plus metal from Oxford and viking death metal from Bedford. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

KING’S GAMBIT + GLOVE COMPARTMENT + DAVY POO + SHELLY CARE
Friday February 28th
Earls Barton Working Men’s Club
High-octane Norfamtun folkies, plus the solo project of keysman Anthony Shiels [“pop music for grown-ups”]. In the middle is the fingerpicking songwriter from Bedford, and the warm-up slot is reserved for a local songstress. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

THE COMMS
Saturday February 29th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton [upstairs]
New indie rockers from ShoeTown reveal their shifted line-up. R U Indie tunes and lashings of fuzz for a Saturday night. Doors 8pm, free entry

NAILBREAKER + EX-PETS + THE PARKS DEPT
Saturday February 29th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton [basement]
An evening of disgusting noises. Headliner plays a set of entirely new material [hopefully still in the digital hardcore vein]. Plus noise rock veterans, and “high frequency synths and groovy bangers” from electropunk Luke Farmer. Doors 8pm, free entry

RAY LEWIS
Saturday February 29th
The Deco, Northampton
One of the original Drifters , this show covers six decades of classics, such as ‘Under the Boardwalk’, ‘Kissing in the Back Row’, ‘On Broadway’, ‘Like Sister and Brother’. Doors 7.30pm, £25 tickets

LUNAXIS
Saturday February 29th
Hopmaster The Reserve, Rushden Lakes
Northampton folk-rock group play the snazzy new bar down at the Lakes. From 9pm, free entry

STEVIE JONES + CELINE ELLIS + ADAM DE SANTIS
Sunday March 1st
Hare and Hounds, Great Addington
Wildfire Sessions acoustic open mic with featured sets from the above. 4pm – 7.30pm, free entry

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Live review: The Rezillos

THE REZILLOS + THE MEMBERS The Roadmender, Northampton February 21st Tonight The Members are performing as a power trio and, stripped back with the absence of a second guitar, proves…

THE REZILLOS + THE MEMBERS
The Roadmender, Northampton
February 21st

Tonight The Members are performing as a power trio and, stripped back with the absence of a second guitar, proves the band to be a multifaceted animal. Lively opener ‘Soho-A-Go-Go’ pulls the slackers in from the bar as the bass heavy ‘Offshore Banking Business’ follows. Not only is that song vitally relevant 40 years later but it’s a perfect example of how punk and reggae cross-pollinated and created a little harmony in a time of racial strife. The high energy rhythm and blues of ‘Working Girl’ swings like Dr Feelgood, and precedes the groove-laden and punchy ‘Muzak Machine’. Next they take the cool Germanic brittleness of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’ and infuse it with the warmth of reggae, which sounds like a strange combination, but The Members make it work by creating a whole new beast. ‘The Sound of the Suburbs’ is a song they must’ve performed thousands of times, yet they play it with an energy and respect that a song which defined a generation deserves.

Eschewing the nihilism of their peers, The Rezillos always stood apart from the prevailing punk scene into which they were birthed. Preferring to call themselves a ‘new wave beat group’ they meshed ’50s rock n’ roll and ’60s garage to ’70s glam rock, and added a touch of retro sci-fi imagery. While the Clash sang ‘No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones’ The Rezillos were busy exploring their roots, which is why they sound timeless and much of their generation seems of its time. Aided by a clear, crisp sound ‘Destination Venus’ finds them on top form with the original twin vocal attack of Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds firing off each other. By second track ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ they’re firmly in the groove, and are propelled forward by hard-hitting drummer Angel Patterson. In a set that’s always shifting gears the high octane rockabilly of ‘It Gets Me’ sits effortlessly along side the reverb soaked ‘(Take Me To The) Groovy Room’. It’s all killer and no filler as The Rezillos play with an energy and effervescence that’d put many younger bands to shame.

A crowd pleasing set touches all bases from their debut album [1977’s Can’t Stand the Rezillos] to their critically acclaimed 2015 opus Zero with two following from that record in the shape of ‘Spike Heeled Assassin’ and the title track. Attesting to their deep roots an amphetamine-charged cover of The Beatles ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ is played with so much velocity it veers into psychobilly territory. The distinctly garage-rock feel of ‘20,000 Rezillos Under the Sea’ is paired with another cover, a song they helped to revive: Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonite’. Like The Members ‘The Sound of the Suburbs’ The Rezillos ‘Top of the Pops’ is a song that has a life of its own, appearing on almost every punk and new wave compilation that it’s overshadowed much of their other work, and with a discography as good as they’ve displayed tonight that seems a trifle unfair. Nevertheless they treat it with the respect it deserves, and there couldn’t be a better way to end the set.

However the band return for a well-earned encore. When they were forced to change their name to The Revillos [for contractual reasons] there was no drop in quality, and it’s one of those gems that closes the show in the shape of ‘Do The Mutilation’. Like The Cramps mating with the 13th Floor Elevators it provides a suitably largess conclusion that sends all home happy.

Peter Dennis

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