New Music Friday: Kian Russell

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to…

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to stop the study and give us some of his time. He obliged.

Who is in your band, and what do they play?
At the moment, the only permanent member of my band is Andy Doran, who lives in Hemel Hempstead. I am currently looking for a bass player and rhythm guitarist. Fortunately Oli Rumens, from The Comms, has been standing in on the bass. Oli and I have been jamming for a while now and I am grateful that he has been able to join me on stage. Also my guitar teacher and friend, Charlie Shaughnessy, from the USA stands in on the guitar. He is over here on an extended vacation to the UK. Charlie was part of my band in the States and co-produced my EP.

How did you start on your path to music/guitar playing?
My parents have always wanted me to do three things;
1) play a sport
2) speak a second language
3) learn to play a musical instrument.
I started playing rugby for the Old Northamptonians’ RFC when I was 7 and continued playing up until I was 13. I have been learning Spanish, academically, for the past six years. In the States I was learning Mexican Spanish, but now I am back in the UK I’ve been learning European Spanish for my GCSE.
Like Rugby, I started playing the guitar early at 7 years old. However my first love was rugby. At the age of 8, I was diagnosed with a very rare bone disorder in my foot which stopped me playing all sports, even walking wasn’t allowed, for a year! It was during this time that my passion for the guitar truly started to grow. I began to go through “Rockschool” gradings with my tutor, Anthony George at Cutting Edge Guitar here in Northampton.
Whilst I have always loved playing guitar, I really started taking it seriously once I moved to the USA. Seattle has an amazing music scene in general, and is really supportive of youth music and original music. I began to practice and focus my time and creativity in both guitar playing and songwriting. I continued my guitar lessons in the States with my school teacher. He passed me on to Charlie Shaughnessy, and that’s when I started to understand the technical side of guitar playing.
Since my musical journey began, I have been fortunate to be mentored by Seattle’s Ayron Jones and RCA recording artist, Steve Lynch from the band Autograph. These guys have guided me and helped me understand the industry and not just playing the guitar. They have made such a huge difference to the way I look at my music. My big achievement though is getting a full artist endorsement from one of the world leaders in guitar amps, Northampton based, Blackstar Amplification. These guys have been great and encourage me to aim high.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences do you feel?
I like to define my sound as a mix of blues and rock. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, Albert King and John Mayer have all been my major influences. However, I could spend all day talking about the great artists that have inspired them, and have inspired me. In the rock genre its Highly Suspect, Theo Katzman and Foo Fighters.

You spent some years in the States. Tell us about that experience in regards your musical development.
The States allowed me to define myself further as a musician, learning about different styles to which I wasn’t familiar with. As mentioned I am very lucky to have been mentored by some amazing musicians in the United States. They’ve helped guide me through both music as a performer and music as a business to try and become the best version of myself. In the US I had the chance to play with great musicians such as Travis Larson, Ayron Jones, and Dudley Taft, plus many other touring artists.
Outside of performing, I also began a journey on music production. One of the local venues which I frequented, Louie G’s, allowed me to run the lighting and sound for them every Friday and Saturday. Through this, I met many more like-minded musicians but also became exposed to many different styles.

Tell us about this EP, ‘Off The Ground’.
The EP was a way to wrap everything that I was leaving in the States in musical form. Recorded alongside my bassist and drummer, we had total creative control over how we wanted the songs to sound like in the finished product. ‘Off The Ground’, the title track of the EP, was the first song ever written for the project. With an indie/pop vibe, it is a juxtaposition of the rest of the EP.
It was recorded over five months and finished about one week before I left the USA permanently. Through Cakewalk [a DAW software] we weren’t restricted to the trio setup (which we used live) and could experiment with other instruments and sounds. The last track on the EP, ’I Don’t Need You’, is the most experimental.
With over 80 different audio tracks, it was the most taxing song to write. However, as a musician, it is one of my favourite songs to listen to. The chorus is packed with harmonies, both vocally and compositionally. Charlie Shaughnessy [bassist and producer] and I would work from 12pm to 2am on various parts of the songs; focusing on minute details to make sure they were tight and effective. We made sure that along the way, we used each others ideas to ensure that everybody could be heard.

What are your live shows like, in five words or less?
Energetic, shred-tastic, dynamic, fun, soulful.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Obviously being from Northampton, I want to play local venues. Up until recently, with exception to the Northampton Music Festival, the majority of my gigs have been in and around London plus some other cool places around the UK. I am a newbie on the Northampton music scene and still making friends and getting to know some awesome bands like Baby Lung [who I think are awesome], the guys from Tragic, The Big Dirty and Naked Next Door…. so much cool stuff coming out of Northampton at the moment. I think we have some cool venues here and I’m gradually ticking them off.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Definitely opening for Jared James Nichols at The Craufurd Arms! He has been a major influence for me, and to be able to meet and perform alongside him was a dream come true. We were all so pumped for the show and to perform as one meant all the preparation was worth it. We obviously impressed Jared and his management as they have invited us to support them again on his 2020 UK Tour. But I have also enjoyed playing on the same bill as Brian McFadden, supported Steve Rodgers and soon I will be supporting The Quireboys. So these are all favourite moments for many different reasons.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was the Purple Rain vinyl. For me, it is one of the best albums. However the last album I’ve streamed has to be (What’s the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis. It’s one of those albums that you just have to listen to.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I am currently writing for the next album. I want to try and get more songs written and composed before the end of the year to hopefully head into the studio next year. With some exciting shows coming up, as mentioned, like The Quireboys, Jared James Nichols and a few other bands, we are very excited to get a fresh set list going and to perform more locally. I am blown away by how well things have gone so far and I am excited for what is to come for the band and with incredible musicians behind me, there is no end to what we can achieve!

The Off The Ground EP is out now. The Kian Russell Band play Northampton twice this month: The Lab on November 22nd, and The Garibaldi Hotel on the 30th.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Nov 6th – Nov 12th

THAT JOE PAYNE Thursday November 7th St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton The Northampton-based recording artist is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as…

Thursday November 7th
St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton
The Northampton-based recording artist is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as frontman of The Enid [2011-2016]. This concert also features a special performance from Northampton Male Voice Choir Lite (NMVCL), and is a fundraising booster event ahead of Strictly Northampton 2019 in which Joe is a contestant. Doors 7pm, tickets £15 [all ticket money goes to Cynthia Spencer Hospice]

Thursday November 7th
The King Billy, Northampton
Laugelli is a seasoned Italian rock and metal bass player, in the vein of a Steve DiGiorgio or Martin Mendez. A steady member of Disease Illusion, Heller Schein and Hidden Stone, he brings his unique solo project to the UK for a second time. This live set up involves just two members, bass and drums, and brings a unique instrumental exploration, as he showcases tracks from the new album Soundtrack of a Nightmare. Support from Derbyshire trio and ShoeTown glam-punks. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday November 8th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Ambitious synth-pop-meets-folk project of Brighton’s Nick Carlisle and London-based Rachel Horwood [Trash Kit, Rozi Plain]. Electric banjo merges with rich synth atmospheres and electronic arrangements. Meanwhile Northants songstress Foley plays with band: Dave Crawford on guitar/synth/hair swishing, and Dan The Man Battison on bass. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday November 8th
The Lab, Northampton
Trash punks from Coventry on top, energetic pop-punk from Bedford, and alt rap-rock from Scunthorpe make up a formidable bill. Doors 7pm, free entry [?]

Friday November 8th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
The Caves are a psychedelic rock outfit who recently reformed after a 25 year hiatus. VVB feature one of Northampton’s best songwriters in Tony Mead, who fronts a line up of deft musicians [embellished by viola]. Causing a youthful storm at the start are West Northamptonians Rolling Thunder. From 9pm, free entry

Friday November 8th
The Witch & Sow, Guilsborough
A new addition to the NB gig guide, Guilsborough. A Ni Ni acoustic showcase session. From 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday November 9th
The Lab, Northampton
An all-dayer to show what the venue can do, following its recent “crunch meeting”. Music, food and a communal art project. Line-up includes Humblebee, Marnie , Yoshe, The Dubska Murphys, The Ginhouse Gypsies, Ali In The Jungle, Bisons, the Lay It Down crew, and more! From 1pm – 1am. £3 suggested donation

Saturday November 9th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
The local folk rock leg-ends play their favourite venue. From 9pm, free entry

Saturday November 9th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
AudioStage presents the folk-rockers with a conscious, plus NN singer-songwriter to open. From 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday November 9th
The Raven Hotel, Corby
One of Scotland’s greatest bands of the 80’s and 90’s. They released six albums in total and toured extensively, and featured Shirley Manson on lead vocals at one point. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album that started it all off, the Mackenzies are back to play Good Deeds in its entirety, plus a few extra treats. Black Country garage fiends in support. Doors 7.30pm, £16 tickets

Saturday November 9th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The folk-rock group make their return to Kettering’s prime live music venue. The band will be playing in quintet formation, with their Brittany-based percussionist David ‘Hopi’ Hopkins making a rare appearance with the band. From 3pm-6pm, free entry

Tuesday November 12th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Norfolk/London hard rock/post-hardcore types with the emotive poppy sound have partnered with so that “£1 from every ticket goes to War Child to protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children caught up in war”. Doors 7pm, £19.50 tickets


Photo credit: Jon Stone



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New Music Friday: FOSSILHEADS

Long-term collaborators Rachel Duncan & Rosie Swayne – aka FOSSILHEADS – have spent the past year or so honing their eco-conscious folk show to a fine art. Now you can…

Long-term collaborators Rachel Duncan & Rosie Swayne – aka FOSSILHEADS – have spent the past year or so honing their eco-conscious folk show to a fine art. Now you can hear how it sounds on record! New Boots is impressed enough with the Northants duo to get more answers. And here they are!

How did you get FOSSILHEADS together?
Rosie: We’ve only been performing together as FOSSILHEADS for less than a year. Although Rachel and I are also part of olden Northamptonian quartet Invocal, and have been singing together for 24 years [which takes us back to four years before we were born, if our press ages are to be believed].
Rachel: I thought I’d managed to escape her, to be honest…

How would you describe your sound?
Rosie: We are a folky, theatrical duo and use political satire/comedy in songs to open up issues surrounding the HILARIOUS climate crisis.

We admire your interests: “Smashing global corporate power, saving humanity, jazz hands”. The holy trinity, you might say. So do you find music is the best medium to get the message across – serious subjects given the light touch?
Rosie: Until recently I found much of the discourse surrounding climate change so broad and clichéd that it doesn’t really engage people or genuinely address the main problems – my hope is that that honing in on specific areas in an informed but [hopefully] entertaining style can help communicate ideas/info/perspectives in a way that doesn’t make people want to immediately leave. Though to be fair, people do still sometimes immediately leave. But hey we’re used to that, we’ve always been kinda niche.
Rachel: I was recently told by someone who had just heard us for the first time that whilst he felt he was “eco-naïve” and never really thought about the environment, that our music really made him think. That is a massive compliment, and if we can do even just a little bit to raise awareness and tackle the current crisis then it makes it all worthwhile.

Tell us everything about ‘The Future Is Petrifying’ EP.
Rosie: What I love about the EP is that it represents exactly what we do on stage, as it was recorded live – at Fitdog Studios – with just two vocals and one guitar. It’s a precursor to a fuller production studio album that we’ll start doing once someone throws an eccentric amount of money at us to do so. You can buy the four song EP via It’s download only, to save on production / packaging and costs just £3 [although there IS the option to throw an eccentric amount of money at us if you are inclined to do so].
Rachel: It was really great to get back into the studio with Chris at Fitdog Studios – our last recording session with him as Invocal was probably about 10 years ago (clearly making us only 10 years old at the time, if our press ages are to be believed). I was nervous at first because our live show uses visual humour as well as the comedy from the lyrics [we do acting, darling] so I was unsure if we could really do it justice on an EP – but I am really pleased with it! I think that recording the songs live has kept our “characterisations” intact. The songs themselves cover themes from plastics to corporate greenwashing, and are really well researched by Rosie, who is our resident “eco-expert.” Personally I’m still plucking up the courage to buy a [second hand, previously owned, locally sourced] Naomi Klein book…

With Extinction Rebellion now very much centre stage in the nation’s consciousness it must be exciting to see so many people sharing many of your goals. Have you found more acceptance in what you do over your time together?
Rosie: Yes it is very heartening and inspiring to see more people taking serious action, and I do believe more people are prepared to sit through a set of songs about climate change than they would have been a few years ago!
Rachel: We have many friends in XR and support our local groups when we can. I recently headed to London for the climate protest – but couldn’t stay long, so I admire their commitment to the cause. Their messages really resonate with me. As celebrities have pointed out recently, we are all hypocrites to some degree. It has to be about doing what we can individually but pressuring governments to make substantial, systematic changes.

What are your live shows like? We suspect/hope those witty words hit home…
Rosie: We’ve had some very emotional and meaningful feedback after shows, it’s been quite an experience getting the songs working successfully to audiences – and it’s amazing to realise the songs are having a genuine impact on people. The show does have the potential to tank though. If an audience aren’t in the mood to sit and listen to lyrics, we don’t really work as ‘background music’ – if there’s a room full of people chatting we just end up looking like your bizarre middle-aged aunties determinedly acting/squawking out a musical you’ve never heard of to nobody in particular.

Are you part of a music scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite acts/venues?
Rosie: I love the music scene in Northampton; gonna namecheck Kings Gambit, musical home of our beloved Invocal pal Helen – been so great to hear their sound evolve over the years.
Rachel: We’ve played at The Lab many times over the years – and it really is a great and supportive venue – long may it continue. I’ve also more recently been made aware of the number of really great open mic nights in and around the county. Northamptonshire really has so much talent and passion for music, I feel lucky to live here.

What has been your favourite Fossilheads moment of the past year?
Rosie: So much work went on at home before getting our live act up-and-running, so I guess the weekend we played four gigs at two of our favourite festivals was pretty gratifying – in feeling like we were properly out there and gigging again.
Rachel: We’ve had some truly humbling moments over the summer doing festivals – people approaching us after gigs with so many compliments and heartfelt responses. For me however it was when a guy from a well-known band [not to be named] came up to us after our set and said he thought we were the best band on the festival circuit this summer. I’m not sure I agree, as we have been privileged to hear some amazing music this summer, but what a fabulous accolade!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Rosie: The Sacrament of Sin by Powerwolf. I didn’t even realise I was ready to Come Out publicly as a fantasy metal fan, but there it is.
Rachel: Loving Linnea Olsson at the moment. Her album Breaking and Shaking is great and ‘What’ is currently a favourite song of hers for me. Probably best not to take musical recommendations from me though: recent music streaming has included Pitch Perfect 2, And Bros.

What is your burning desire to do in the near future? What plans do you have?
Rosie: Play more gigs, save planet, get chips on the way home.
Rachel: Same.

The Future Is Petrifying is out now via BandCamp.

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Across The Border: Oct 30 – Nov 6

As we power towards the end of the year, the gigs keep coming thick and fast. Here’s our weekly round up of what’s going on outside of Northamptonshire in our…

As we power towards the end of the year, the gigs keep coming thick and fast. Here’s our weekly round up of what’s going on outside of Northamptonshire in our surrounding counties which there’s still tickets available for.

Thursday, October 31
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
A Pale Horse Named Death siphon strangely blissful melodies from apocalyptic heavy metal awash in swells of cavernous gothic keys and grunge songcraft. The New York quintet released their long awaited third full-length album When The World Becomes Undone in January. Doors 7pm, tickets £12.

Friday, November 1
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Sisteray met when they collided in the mosh pit at a Libertines gig and soon discovered their shared love for The Smiths, Velvet Underground, The Clash and The Replacements. They have played up and down the country, performing pop-up guerrilla gigs, organising their own club night and have played roof raising sets at Camden Rocks and the Isle of Wight and Reading and Leeds festivals. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.

Saturday, November 2
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Andy Fairweather Low shot to fame as lead singer in Amen Corner singing massive hits like Gin House Blues, Bend Me Shape Me and If Paradise is Half As Nice. A hugely successful solo career followed with Wide Eyed And Legless being the biggest International hit from his three solo albums. Together with his band Andy will be playing songs from across his career. Doors 8pm, tickets £25.

Saturday, November 2
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Former Hanoi Rocks Frontman Michael Monroe is in the UK in support of his band’s new LP One Man Gang. The band’s all-star line-up features former Hanoi Rocks and New York Dolls bass player Sami Yaffa, guitarists Rich Jones and Steve Conte and drummer Karl Rockfist. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £22.50.

Saturday, November 2
MK11, Milton Keynes
James Taylor, one of the great British instrumentalists of his generation, has taken his trademark howling Hammond sound to the masses for more than 25 years. The band’s relentlessly entertaining tunes take inspiration from the rare-groove style funk and boogaloo funk of the 1960s and 1970s. They are one of the most important jazz-pop crossover outfits in British music. Doors 8pm, tickets £20.

Sunday, November 3
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Lazybones are one fuzzy bass guitar, amplified organ and drums, creating a trashy, unapologetic, to-the-point sound, comparable to the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Slaves. With initial singles championed by all the usual suspects across the music press, Lazybones released their debut EP Bang! Bang! in February. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7,

Sunday, November 3
Esquires, Bedford
Himalayas are an indie / garage rock band from Cardiff with a cinematic sound and style featuring heavy guitar lines, dual vocals and huge anthemic hooks. In the past year they have played both Reading and Leeds, Festival no. 6, SXSW, The Great Escape, Live at Chelsea, Isle of Wight and many others. Their latest single The Masquerades was released in October and this is the band’s first headline UK tour. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

Tuesday, November 5
Esquires, Bedford
Edinburgh’s Vistas are fresh off a tour with Circa Waves and have been surging to the forefront of the indie-rock scene over the last few years with a steady stream of catchy singles leading to extensive praise from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, 6 Music, DIY Magazine and Clash Magazine. The Scottish trio have become known for their brand of colourful and energetic guitar-based indie pop and are quickly beginning to show their universal appeal. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.50.

Tuesday, November 5
The Stables, Milton Keynes
The Delines second album The Imperial was released in January and took three years to finish while vocalist Amy Boon recovered from a serious car accident. She is joined by keyboard/horn player Cory Gray, pedal steel player Tucker Jackson and a bunch of Richmond Fontaine band members, namely Sean Oldham, Freddie Trujillo and novelist Willy Vlautin. Doors 8pm, tickets £19.50.

Wednesday, November 6
Esquires, Bedford
It’s proving to be another hugely successful year for Lucy Spraggan. The singer songwriter released her fifth studio album Today Was A Good Day in May played Glastonbury and SXSW, toured Europe and Scandinavia with Melissa Etheridge and completed her own US and UK headline tours. Now she’s out on the road as part of a mammoth 32-date UK tour. Doors 7pm, tickets £18.

Wednesday, November 6
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Award-winning Austin, Texas-based Hot Club of Cowtown may be the world’s most globe-trotting, effervescent string trio, whose joyful sound blends the traditional Western swing of the American southwest with European hot jazz influences of the same era. Doors 8pm, tickets £17.50.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Oct 30th – Nov 5th

TRACK NOT FOUND + TRAGIC Thursday October 31st The Lab, Northampton Two-piece grunge/riot grrl punk outfit all the way from Guernsey to enliven Halloween in ShoeTown. Support from fast-rising teenage…

Thursday October 31st
The Lab, Northampton
Two-piece grunge/riot grrl punk outfit all the way from Guernsey to enliven Halloween in ShoeTown. Support from fast-rising teenage punks with songs to excite. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday November 1st
The Lab, Northampton
Leicester art-rock duo who have been busy crafting their new album Worldviews. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

Friday November 1st
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
East London punks headline this basement show, with NTown’s finest shouters also along for the ride. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday November 1st
Raff’s Bar, Wellingborough
A night of NN hardcore and death-metal in support of London headliners, who play tracks from their excellent third album Guided. Doors 7pm, £6 tickets

Saturday November 2nd
The Black Prince, Northampton
The “Creep it real” Halloween Party, featuring tasty riffs from the NTown rockers, alt-rock from the Leeds-born singer behind ‘In Music We Trust’, local five-piece pop-punk/emo band, and an electrifying new MK trio. After-party disco in the front bar too! Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 tickets

Saturday November 2nd
The Talisman, Corby
The John Robb-fronted post-punks return has been quite stunning, their 26 year break followed by their best-received album, Dark Matter/Dark Energy. Plus suitable punk and post-punk supports. Doors 7.30pm, £11.50 tickets

Saturday November 2nd
HMV, Kettering
The local quartet bring their ambient folk sound to Kettering’s prime music retail outlet venue. 5pm, free entry

Sunday November 3rd
The Black Prince, Northampton
The co-headline alt-rock/metal tour descends onto ShoeTown, with support from those Bedford giants and NTown pop-punks. Going to be quite a night apparently, ticket sales are HIGH. Doors 7pm, £6 tickets

Sunday November 3rd
The Hare & Hounds, Great Addington
The Hare and Hounds has new landlords, and the Wildfire Sessions Acoustic Open Mic continues.  Host STEVIE JONES welcomes acoustic acts to come and open up proceedings. Doors 4pm, free entry

Tuesday November 5th
The Roadmender, Northampton
California hard rock band formed in 1974. Many of the biggest acts of the ’80s became popular opening for the powerhouse quartet. Y&T have sold over four million albums, and their hits are still played on VH1 Classic and Classic Rock radio stations worldwide. With the passing of Kennemore, Haze, and Alves, it’s Meniketti who carries on their legacy. Support from the Australian quintet. Doors 7pm, tickets £18.50



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New Music Friday: EarBones

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively…

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively disco-esque backbeat. After a while away they are back with new single ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, so time to get those New Boots questions in!

How did you guys get together?
We actually met on, and the first time we met in person was in a practise room at Audioworks. It all started from there really. We started writing in the first session, and it all spiralled from there. We base ourselves in Northampton as it’s the biggest town, plus we love AudioWorks and find ourselves more productive there.

How would you describe your sound?
We’ve always prided ourselves in being loud, once called “the loudest band to practise at Audioworks” by its owner Josh, but our main focus was to create music for people to move to. The guitars are thick, and the the drums are hard. It’s the way we’ve always liked it and comes from a range of influences in both of our musical backgrounds.

Who are your main influences do you think?
Initially the main influence behind starting the band was Death From Above; we absolutely love those guys and they played a huge part in our formation, but our influences are far wider spread. Queens of the Stone Age, The Beatles, The White Stripes, T. Rex, Bowie, all of them have played a huge part in our sound and style. We could list bands all day!

What was the reaction like to your debut, the ‘Key’ EP in 2017?
The Key EP was a way for us to have our music available elsewhere as soon as we started playing shows. I suppose it didn’t garner the support we’d have loved, but looking back it was still us finding our feet. We hadn’t even played a show when we recorded the tracks. We still love it dearly though, and still play all four tracks live, although some of them slightly grown up versions as time has gone on.

Tell us about this new single.
‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’ started out with just the main riff a few months back whilst I was noodling around on my guitar. EarBones was on a break, and when we got back together for the first time in eight months I [Arran] showed Mike the riff and we knew we had to run with it. We wrote 90% of the song there and then, and decided we should record it to coincide with us getting back on the scene. A while back, my friend and pedal builder, Steve Weston of Raygun FX had told me that when we were ready to release something, we could do so under his label, Instereo Records. I got chatting to him about us looking to record and he offered to record the track for us at his space in Southend-On-Sea. We snapped up the opportunity and headed down with one of my best friends, and our unofficial third member Oli who photographed the session for us. We actually finished the track in four hours. It got released on cassette for Cassette Store Day, which was something we never thought we’d ever say. We have a couple of copies left and they’re only going to be available at our shows, so make sure you get down if you want one.

What are your live shows like?
As mentioned before, we like it loud! There’s a running joke that I’m told to turn down my amps at every single show we play. We used to have such a focus on what you heard recorded is what we sounded like live, but we purposely strayed from that, and made a conscious effort whilst recording the new single to have it sound how we wanted, not necessarily what we could replicate live. Instead we focus on giving it more energy, and making it heavier live, to provide a better experience for those in the audience.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
We’ve actually found it a little harder to conquer Northants, as we’ve struggled to find bands that fit our style, and venues who’ll give us opportunities. Don’t get me wrong there are some amazing bands and venues here, we’ve had the privilege of playing a couple and we’d love to play locally more. We’re hoping this new single and change of direction will open up better support opportunities as we widen our sound, as we really do love the home crowd. Anyone reading this who needs a support act, or a band for a slot at a venue, hit us up!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Other than releasing our new single, we played a venue in London the other week called the Lady Hamilton. We were the first band ever to play in the venue as they’ve only just got their live music license. It was pretty cool – apparently it used to be a brothel, which is always odd, but it was cool to be a part of the first live music event in the venue and to be the first band to ever play there was just awesome. We also got to play Woodfest two days in a row due a band pulling out: we absolutely love playing outdoors so it was a great moment for us. And finally working on the new music we’ve got coming up. We’re so happy with ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, and we’ve also been working on a couple of new tracks called ‘Lavender’ and ‘The End’ which we cannot wait to play live and record soon.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt. 2 – and my god what an album it is. Absolutely loving it, ‘Like Lightening is a belter and I cannot wait to see them live again next year. Highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already listened.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We’d love to play some more outdoor events, we absolutely loved playing Woodfest earlier this year and the atmosphere of a festival really fuels us on stage. One day we’d love the be in the position to tour, and maybe headline some smaller venues. We really want to push ourselves and grow our audience and fanbase. We’d be lying if we said the dream wasn’t to play Reading though, we’re not bothered what stage or time, but Reading was the first festival I ever went to, so it holds a special place for me. Generic, I know but I love the vibe there.

Well I’ve Been Here Before is out now via the usual digital sources. The Cassette Store Day release is available via the Bandcamp link below.

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Across The Border: Oct 23 – Oct 30

Thinking about leaving Northamptonshire for you gig fix this week? Here’s some of the good things going on at our favorite places nearby. Our pick of the bunch, She Drew…

Thinking about leaving Northamptonshire for you gig fix this week? Here’s some of the good things going on at our favorite places nearby. Our pick of the bunch, She Drew The Gun at Esquires. 

Thursday, October 24
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Blanket started as a bedroom project from Bobby Pook and Simon Morgan. Later recruiting Steven Pellatt and Matthew Sheldon to form a live show. The EP Our Brief Encounters was released in 2017 to critical acclaim and the following year they released their debut LP How To Let Go. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.

Thursday, October 24
Esquires, Bedford
Legendary bluegrass kings Hayseed Dixie are returning to Esquires. Their last performance at the venue sold out weeks in advance but tickets are still available. They released the live album It Happened So Grassed! Last year. Doors 8pm, tickets £18.50.

Thursday, October 24
The Stables, Milton Keynes
This year country music legend Charlie Landsborough is retiring from touring to concentrate on writing and recording music. However, he’s embarking on an extended tour of the UK which is heading to The Stables. Doors 8pm, tickets £28.

Thursday, October 24
Esquires, Bedford
A product of Glasgow’s famously fertile music scene, Catholic Action mix big tunes and massive melodie. Their debut album In Memory Of was packed with glam guitar solos and huge choruses. A new album is planned for next year, so expect a sneak peak of new material. Doors 8pm, tickets £7.

Friday, October 25
Esquires, Bedford
Last seen at Esquires supporting Slow Readers Club, Bridges combine poetic lyricism with anthemic soundscapes. Support by China Bears who released the single Sunday at the end of May. Doors 8pm, tickets £8.

Friday, October 25,
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Described as a rootsy songwriter with an extraordinarily soulful voice, Cornwall-born Winter Mountain has released two critically acclaimed albums with a third on the way. Doors 8:45pm, tickets £10.

Saturday, October 26
Esquires, Bedford
She Drew The Gun make impassioned, hypnotic and darkly ornate psych-pop built around the lyrically evocative songwriting of singer-guitarist Louisa Roach. Under the moniker, the Wirral native started playing solo gigs with a handful of songs in 2014 and recruiting band members along the way. Their latest album, Revolution Of The Mind was released last year. Doors 8pm, tickets £12.

Saturday, 26 October
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Willy Porter blurs the line between indie folk and rock with his finger-picking guitar sound, absorbing lyrics and playful, high-energy live performance style. He has shared stages with the likes of Jeff Beck, Tori Amos and Paul Simon. Doors 8.45pm, tickets £10.

Saturday, October 26,
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
2019 is the 40th anniversary of Joy Divisions’ album Unknown pleasures. Transmission will be playing the album in all its entirety as their first set, with a second set of the band’s iconic classics. Support is by The Venus Fly Trap. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £10.

Tuesday, October 29
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Life of Agony is a hard rock/metal crossover band from Brooklyn. Best known for their debut album River Runs Red, they have shared stages with the likes of Metallica, Black Sabbath and Slipknot and sold more than one million records worldwide. Doors 7pm, tickets £22.50.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Oct 23rd – Oct 29th

REV REV REV + 72% Thursday October 24th The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton Named as ‘One of Europe’s finest shoegazer bands of the last decade’, the Italian quartet have just released…

Thursday October 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Named as ‘One of Europe’s finest shoegazer bands of the last decade’, the Italian quartet have just released their new album Kykeon on Fuzz Club Records, produced by James Aparicio [Spiritualized, Cult Of Dom Keller, Dead Vibrations]. They have been played on BBC 6 Music [Steve Lamacq, Radcliffe and Maconie]. Support from the local noiseniks, playing tracks off their stellar new album. Just go along and have your mind blown, ok? Doors 8pm, free entry 

Thursday October 24th – Sunday October 27th
The Shire Horse + The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
The annual alternative local music festival. You get The Abrahams, Black Carrot, Aviators, James Watt and the Avenues, Midnight Dogs, G & the Sound Tribe, Veins, Family of Noise, and Boss Caine [Fri], Brandy Thieves, My Mate Dave, Midnight Honey Club, Boss Caine, Aldous Pinch, and Rob Reeves, Karl Phillips & the Rejects, Leave Nothing, Aviators, Brace Brace, Waves, and Tu-Kay & Ryan [Sat], The Touch, Humblebee, Solarise, Multimorph, Jacob Brathwaite, Alex Gardner, Oddity Island, Howlin’Mat, Clifftop Empire, Markus Reeves Brotherhood, and Slow Burn [Sun]. Raising funds and awareness for Johnny’s Happy Place. All events free entry

Friday October 25th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Bedford’s Jeana [pronounced Jen-Nae] and her RnB slow jams are coming to her adopted hometown. Her new single ‘Nameless’, much like the previous one, was produced by Jay Brook [Ginger Snaps], who also plays in her live band, as does ShoeTown musical movers Josh Greene and Dan Battison. Support from ethereal folk-rockers and a band described as “experimental grunge with post hardcore tones”. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Friday October 25th
The Roadmender, Northampton
“Return To Steeltown” 35th Anniversary Tour. Steeltown was their second album, with production from Steve Lillywhite. Regarded by many as a classic, the multi-million selling album went straight to the #1 slot in the album charts. Big Country will be performing songs from the album, as well as the classic hits and live favourites, including ‘Fields of Fire’, ‘In A Big Country’, ‘Chance’, ‘Wonderland’, ‘Look Away’ and more. Doors 7pm, £22.50 tickets

Friday October 25th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Dan Plews [Jon Boden, Saul Rose, Eliza Carthy, Ian Giles[ and Guy Fletcher [Tickled Pink, Little Johnny England, Albion Band, Ashley Hutchings] are two great singers who utilise guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and fiddle. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday October 25th
The Old Swan, Earls Barton
Ni Ni Sessions acoustic singer-songwriter showcase. From 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday October 26th
Vintage Retreat, Northampton
Rockin’ Kent combo playing 1950’s rock’n’roll and rhythm’n’blues. Doors 7pm, £10 tickets

Saturday October 26th
The Lab, Northampton
Nade celebrates her new album ‘Safe Place’ with cards dealt from the decks of soul, jazz blues, roots and folk-pop, this Bristolian singer-songwriter fills your heart with words and melodies likened to a rich fusion of musical greats, bearing velvet tones of Joan Armarading and Nina Simone adding a heady, folk-jazz splash of John Martyn thrown in. Support from superlative NN singer-songwriters who are worthy of entrance fee alone. Doors 7.30pm, £6 tickets

Saturday October 26th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Northampton punks at The Gari, providing noise that won’t annoy. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday October 26th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
The rhythm & blues band goes acoustic for one night only. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday October 26th
The Melbourne Arms, Northampton 
Ni Ni Sessions acoustic singer-songwriter showcase. From 9pm, free entry

Sunday October 27th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Three live acts + a DJ from France, synthpop and industrial electro rock being the sounds to expect. Doors 5pm, £5 tickets

Tuesday October 29th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Minney and Brown return to Northampton to perform songs from their new albums; this time they’ll be bringing along a string quartet! Make the effort, it will be special. Doors 8pm, free entry



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New Music Friday: The Bighead

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead…

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead single ‘Hangover Cure’.
How did the band begin?
The band formed in 2010 with its original lineup. A line-up change in 2015 completely changed the band, whilst retaining a fusion of ska and roots reggae, first wave ska and 2 Tone influences. I originally worked with the Mad Professor in south London as a teenager playing bass.
You have a reggae sound with soulful vocals. Who do you feel are your main influences in music?
The main influences, I would say, are Delroy Wilson , The Clash, Black Uhuru, and The Beatles.
You released the Outlaw Verses album in 2013, is that your sole album, or is there a whole discography I’m missing?
There’s a second album, from 2016 and on ITunes, called This Is The Bighead.
Tell us about this single release, ‘Hangover Cure’.
‘Hangover cure’ is a stand alone single, in a traditional vinyl jukebox hit, influenced by 1965 ska and doo wop simplicity: think Smokey Robinson recording for 2 Tone in 1965. We are the missing gap between The Specials and the best beat. It’s about “boy meets girl and cheats on girl”.
What are your live shows like? Any fave towns/venues to play?
Favourite shows are probably Tommyhaus in Berlin, and the Northampton festivals around the county.
Do you identity with the Northamptonshire music scene at all?
We stand as unique to the Northampton scene, with most bands playing covers, though we love Kenneth Nash, Johnny Pike & The Red Stars, and Phantom Isle.
What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Well the favourite show was the Leicester Barefoot festival…
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Four Tops ‘greatest hits’, 1967, on vinyl
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We are already living the dream after supporting Madness at The County Ground in 2013. Playing a big show in London would be cool and back to the 100 club is our target. Then more vinyl and acoustic dates are our next concern doing the record store tour.
‘Hangover Cure’ is out now digitally. A vinyl/cd pack is £10 through Black Circle Records, and at the bands shows. They also play record shop in-stores: Sat 2nd Nov at Black Circle [Leighton Buzzard] and Sat 23rd Nov at Soul Trader [Brixton, London]. More of those to follow too.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Oct 16th – Oct 22nd

CLEM BURKE & BOOTLEG BLONDIE Wednesday October 16th The Roadmender, Northampton A living legend in the house. Blondie drummer joins the band to play the whole of Parallel Lines and…

Wednesday October 16th
The Roadmender, Northampton
A living legend in the house. Blondie drummer joins the band to play the whole of Parallel Lines and more. Doors 7.30pm, £18 tickets

Thursday October 17th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Hard rock London fivesome: big guitar riffs and soulful vocals a go-go, on the campaign trail promoting their latest album Road To Nowhere, with local rockers in support. Doors 7pm, £15 tickets

Friday October 18th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
A quintet of ShoeTown musical favourites on offer; rock, folk and electronic sounds all served up, and there’s no doubt you need to there for it. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday October 18th
The Lab, Northampton
The urban music / spoken word open mic night this month features Smiley, Reality, and loads more. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday October 19th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
The second instalment of Lift Tower Presents – seven bands over two stages, plus DJs. Upstairs you have Lift Tower, Big Loss, and Sad Drone. In the basement you can experience Sharkteeth Grinder, Nailbreaker, Brazen Foxes, and Dan Church.

Saturday October 19th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Stripped Bitter Suite 30th anniversary show. Brothers Patrick and Gregory Kane formed Hue and Cry in 1983 and the duo made a huge impact in the late 80’s with the albums ‘Seduced and Abandoned’ and ‘Remote’, as well as massive hit singles such as ‘Labour of Love’ – and now have sold in excess of two million records worldwide. Doors 7.30pm, £18 tickets

Saturday October 19th
The Black Prince, Northampton
A night of original music with one of the country’s oldest boy bands. Expect lo-fi widescreen loveliness [think Richard Hawley, XTC, The Wedding Present]. Doors 8pm, free entry

Sunday October 20th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Contemporary jazz from Shoe Town’s finest. Doors 7pm, free entry
Tuesday October 22nd
The Roadmender, Northampton
The one-time Two-Tone troupe head on tour in 2019 to celebrate their 40-year career. Support from DJ Rhoda Dakar. Doors 7pm, £25 tickets
Tuesday October 22nd
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
The former Far and new End Original frontman kicks of the UK leg of his ‘Halfway to a Hundred’ tour in K-Town. “50 Songs For 50 Years” is the theme. Derbyshire alt-rock band and local singer-songwriter in support. Doors 7.30pm, £9 tickets



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