Author: Newbootsnorthants

It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 18th – Apr 24th 2018

THE VAQUEROS + SIERRA TANGO Wednesday April 18th The King Billy, Northampton Three-piece indie/alternative group from Peterborough, playing “dynamic songs set around a fictitious Spaghetti Western”. Doors 8.30pm, free entry…

THE VAQUEROS + SIERRA TANGO
Wednesday April 18th
The King Billy, Northampton
Three-piece indie/alternative group from Peterborough, playing “dynamic songs set around a fictitious Spaghetti Western”. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THE CHEAP THRILLS + PIECES + CITRUS + GRACE
Friday April 20th
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
The Liverpool indie/garage/psych popsters with more hooks than Homebase make their ShoeTown debut in support of new single ‘Codependence’, ably supported by a trio of fresh Northampton/Kettering acts. A banging time to be had by all, and no mistake. Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 tickets

ACOLYTES + EARBONES + MUNDAYS
Friday April 20th
The White Hart, Corby
Week three of the Rocked Up Hootenanny battle for a slot at the festival, this time with a mix of rock and indie from all corners of our county. Doors 8pm, free entry

MIO FLUX / PATCHY, THE ROCKSTAR + LEO ROBINSON / CHARLIE BORTHWICK
Friday April 20th
The Garibaldi Hotel basement, Northampton
DJ/Producer Mio Flux and rapper Patchy, The Rockstar have been collaborating recently, with their tracks being supported by the likes of Reprezent Radio, BBC Introducing, and Balamii Radio. And now the duo are bringing their music to the live stage. Excellent support as well in form of Leo Robinson with Charlie. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE WITCHDOKTORS + KULT 45s + LOS TOMBSTONES
Saturday April 21st
The White Hart, Corby
South London garage punks give seriously good show and so everyone needs to get to the White Hart for this. Support from local swampy rockers and some Peterborough-based lo-fi garage to bring up the rear. Doors 7.30pm, £6.50 tickets

HANNAH FAULKNER + MYJAIKE + ROGUE STATE CIRCUS + DYNAMIX
Saturday April 21st
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Another Ni Ni session at the Pomfret, a chance to check out the best singer-songwriters in the area. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

ORANGE CLOCKS
Saturday April 21st
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
The OC’s create “textured psychedelia from a shed in a magical and mystical corner of East Northants; occupying themselves by improvising hypnotic noise with driving rhythms and creating elaborate concept pieces”. A groovy night in store for sure. Doors 9pm, free entry

RATS FROM A SINKING SHIP + MURDERERS ROW + THE PRODIGAL SCUM
Saturday April 21st
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Punk-rap-metal hybrid from Ilkeston, with support from Southampton’s powerful melodic punk 3-piece and Birmingham’s premier skiffle-punk band. Doors 8pm, free entry

 

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Northampton shops ready for the return of Record Store Day

Record Store Day returns this Saturday April 21st. Ahead of the annual race for limited edition vinyl New Boots contributor Peter Dennis took a trip around Northampton’s independent record stores…

Record Store Day returns this Saturday April 21st. Ahead of the annual race for limited edition vinyl New Boots contributor Peter Dennis took a trip around Northampton’s independent record stores to find out more about the day and what it means to local shops.

Older readers will recall fondly the plethora of independent record shops that peppered the town centre. Abel & Sons on the Market Square, which at one time boasted the largest stock of records in the East Midlands. John Lever on Gold Street, with its popular listening posts and own record label. Memory Lane began life in the much missed Emporium Arcade, while Spinadisc on Abington Street was a popular destination for vinyl aficionados. In fact music was such an integral part of the cultural fabric that records could be purchased in chemists, newsagents and supermarkets.

The lamentable decline of the independent record shop has been a national phenomenon, but compared to towns of a similar size Northampton still has several independent sellers and attracts buyers from surrounding areas like Milton Keynes and Leicester – who are void of such amenities.

If you arrive in town by train then your first port of call will be Spun Out on Gold Street. Coincidentally the store occupies the premises that was John Lever’s, so the fact that it’s another record shop provides a nice symmetry. “We’ve been here 18 years” explains manager Chris Kent. “At the moment we’re selling lots of rock, reggae, soul and indie. Having seen a slump in the vinyl market I’d say Record Store Day has been a godsend. It’s pointed out that you still have this resource, these independent shops where you can get immersed in music”.

“It’s all about getting involved”, he continues. “The initial Record Store Day has gained momentum and a lot of it is down to the fact there’s this exciting day that will give you a ticket into this club at your local record shop. We get a fair amount of people queuing up early because they know we try our hardest to have a good selection of all that’s released. This year we’ve also got Thee Telepaths playing live in store at midday, and DJs playing all day long.”

Walking up Abington Street next to the library you will find Watt’s furniture shop. Enter the store, ascend two flights of stairs and you will discover Vinyl Underground. Now in its 25th year they became a record shop almost by default, after selling specialist Detroit and Chicago imports unavailable anywhere else. The shop which has a reputation as a ‘digger’s paradise’ where you can browse through thousands of records. Owner Aidy Harland: “I love the fact that RSD supports independent and local businesses so I really want to get behind it and join in with it. We extend the shop and we have 300-400 people through here on a Saturday. We have a huge variety of releases and there’s a queue outside from 4am. People come in here who are regular customers just to enjoy the day. That’s what it’s all about; people coming in and talking about music”.

Behind Northampton College, on St Michael’s Road, you will find Spiral Archive. The shop is housed in an old printing works building, with approximately 35,000 items. The shop was founded in 1999 by local artist and musician Alex Novak when vinyl sales were at their nadir.  “I think if you look at it as a niche thing those people don’t go away”, he elaborates. “The people who are interested in records will always be there while other people kind of dip in and out”. While Spiral Archive doesn’t stock official Record Store Day releases, it instead opens from 11am until 4pm with half-price sale on everything. Novak also organises a record fair around the corner at The Lamplighter on Overstone Road – open from midday until 4pm – with local DJs playing vinyl right through until 1am.

To find out more about this year’s event and the limited edition releases, visit the official RSD site at https://recordstoreday.co.uk

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New Music Friday: Last Chance

Last Chance are a powerful, hard-hitting and melodic pop punk band from Kettering, who this week release their new Shut Down EP.  New Boots spoke to guitarist Dan Holmes about…

Last Chance are a powerful, hard-hitting and melodic pop punk band from Kettering, who this week release their new Shut Down EP.  New Boots spoke to guitarist Dan Holmes about the band and this release.

A quick synopsis of the band, if you please. How/why/when? 

So we are Last Chance from Kettering and we have Matt on vocals and guitar, Harry on bass, Dan on lead guitar and backing vocals and Luke on drums. We started back in March 2017. Originally we was to learn a few punk covers to play at a friend’s memorial party, but just didn’t have enough time to get our shit together to perform. But we stuck with it and actually wrote a few good songs which we thought people would like to see and hear so went out looking for gigs.

I think it’s fair to say you wear your influences on your sleeve, do you not?

Our influences are definitely delivered well throughout our tracks. Were all stuck in the 00s pop punk time zone. Bowling For Soup, Box Car Racer, Blink 182, New Found Glory and Green Day to name a few.

Tell us everything about this new EP ‘Shut Down’

Well our EP was recorded at Parlour Studio in Kettering by Jay, and we had an absolute blast. He made us sound great! The artwork was done by a good friend of the band Ant who lives in Australia and plays in the band Baltimore Gun Club. We’re currently selling the EP for £5 which automatically puts you into a raffle to win a REAL bright pink guitar which we have all scribbled on, so get buying people.

Do you all skateboard, like the artwork suggests? Is it an important band of the band culture?

Skateboarding is what originally brought us all together, apart from Matt who lived in Australia where surfing was his forte. I think now though with two of us being parents and the other two being reprobates, falling off a plank of wood onto hard concrete is definitely not the one no more.

It’s look like incredible fun being at your live shows. 

Oh yeah definitely, our gigs are a right laugh. The easiest thing to do for crowd entertainment is to just give Dan a microphone and he will entertain people for hours. But we all have a good crack doing what we do at live shows. We set each other challenges before we play like most amount of lunges and how many times can Luke the drummer stand up during the set. We just have a good crack and take the piss out of each other.

Do you hit the road very often?

Hitting the road and going on tour is something we really want to do but at the moment we’re still trying to find our way into local venues and continue writing more tracks for an upcoming album.

What’s the connection with Baltimore Gun Club?

Baltimore Gun Club are from the Gold Coast, which is where Matt moved from. His brother Christian (Ronnie) plays drums in this band and they came over to do a UK tour last winter and we supported them at the King Billy. It was so cool for Dan being Christian’s cousin and Matt being his brother to actually appreciate each others music live.

Best/worst thing about Kettering is…?

Where’s all the music shops and live venues gone? If you want to buy strings or even plectrums you’re then off on a 20 mile trip to Northampton. Such a shame; this town used to have some brilliant shops for musicians. They just all vanished one after another.

Who is your big tip from Northants for 2018?

Our tip is to support all local music venues and promoters. The promoters put on all the top local events like Marc and his guys at Rocked Up! These guys still work day jobs have family’s at home and still support the local music scene. Good on them.

What you got coming up next?

We’re looking forward to playing at the Pop Punk Pile Up in Selby at the end of April. Playing alongside Coast To Coast, The Bottom Line and Malory Knox just to name a few is going to be awesome. Then also we’re opening one of the tents at the Rocked Up Hootenanny in September which is also great news. With other gigs at other venues being booked it looks like a busy year for us. Were looking at hitting the studio again in September to record some more, and hopefully have the album out before Christmas. What we want to be doing is push this band as far as we can and see what happens. We don’t want to be just random people who blend in with the surrounding, we want people to come see our band and have a great night with us.

Shut Down is available on Spotify and the other usual online formats. Message the band at lastchancebanduk@gmail.com for a physical version at £5.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 11th – Apr 17th 2018

BLACKWATER HORIZON + BLACK TREE VULTURES Wednesday April 11th The King Billy, Northampton Pure rock from Mainz, Germany with support from metal rockers from Bournemouth. Either way, fist-pumpingly good [and…

BLACKWATER HORIZON + BLACK TREE VULTURES
Wednesday April 11th
The King Billy, Northampton
Pure rock from Mainz, Germany with support from metal rockers from Bournemouth. Either way, fist-pumpingly good [and black]. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THE MISPELT + BIRTH RITE + DUNCAN BISATT
Friday April 13th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Yer headliners are ’90s-era Motorhead-esque dark punk rock’n’rollers, then you have some Black Country steampunk in the middle, and the Bushpigs frontman to open proceedings. Doors 8pm, free entry

WE ARE GIANTS + LOOSE TOOTH+ THE MODERN AGE
Friday April 13th
The White Hart, Corby
The second of four heats. A crowd vote at the end of the evening decides who goes through to one final bout on June 22nd with the chance to win the opportunity of playing the main stage at the Rocked Up Hootenanny festival. Doors 8pm, free entry

STEVIE JONES & THE WILDFIRES + YODACLUB + THE TOUCH 
Friday April 13th
The Romany, Northampton
Acoustic-driven rock promoting new album Angels and Sirens. Plus edgy indie-pop from Corby and 80s-style rock from Kettering. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

LUNA ROSA + ODDITY ISLAND + TOUCAN
Saturday April 14th
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
Three of the best alt-rock/indie/psych non-Northampton bands from our county, all on the same bill. The future is bright, the future is now. Doors 8pm, free entry

THOMAS TRUAX + PAT FISH
Saturday April 14th
The Lab, Northampton
On tour in the UK with his signature brand of surreal Americana, promoting his new album All That Heaven Allows Thomas finally brings his Hornicator and ‘band’ of other self-made instruments back to the Lab, supported by his friend and Northampton’s own legendary gentleman and Jazz Butcher Pat Fish. Doors 8pm, £5 on the door

EL CAMINO
Saturday April 14th
The White Hart, Corby
Rockabilly legends bring their own brand of rock’n’roll from their two self-penned albums, plus they’ll throw in a few classics too no doubt. Doors 8pm, price TBA

HUBCAP
Saturday April 14th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Rock/blues/psychedelic two-piece with electric slide and some mean drum beats. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

HOUSES IN MOTION
Saturday April 14th
The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
They play jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, indie, and blues; equal parts covers and originals. Doors 9pm, free entry

KING’S GAMBIT
Sunday April 15th
Open Stage Performing Arts Company, Northampton
Northampton powerhouse folkie quintet perform a special one-hour set at Open Stage [off the Kettering Road], for filming and recording purposes. So you now know what to do after your Sunday roast, yeah? The set is played 4pm-5pm, free entry

THE ROCKET DOLLS
Sunday April 15th
The King Billy, Northampton
Brighton riffing-rockers head out on tour to promote sophomore album DeadHead. The trio have been garnering rave reviews for the album and their live show, so one to catch. Doors 6pm, free entry

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New Music Friday: Deep Sea Mountains

Northampton indie-rock types Deep Sea Mountains have just released a new, Stalkers Studios-recorded EP entitled Pipe Dream. Watch the video for the title track below, but first New Boots spoke…

Northampton indie-rock types Deep Sea Mountains have just released a new, Stalkers Studios-recorded EP entitled Pipe Dream. Watch the video for the title track below, but first New Boots spoke to singer and guitarist Will Sey about it – and the bands’ past and future.

How/why/when did you guys get together?
Deep Sea Mountains have been playing together for four years now. When I first started playing live I was a solo acoustic act. As the songs grew my peers and I recognised the need for a bigger sound. I put together a band (all friends) to perform and record with. We played together for a bit, then two of the band members followed their hearts and left the island. The band was still young and Al Humphries and I were keen as ever to get going again, so I asked my friend Joe [Martin] to try out on the drums and my father-in-law Robin [Pugh] to try out on the bass. Both Joe and Robin were new to their respective instruments but took to them like a duck to water. It worked, we were happy – and are still creating now!

How would you describe your sound?
I would describe our sound as somewhere between indie, punk, britpop and grunge. That would describe the EP sound. The 2016 album spans many more genres, but we had to find ‘our sound’ and I believe this Pipe Dream release has done so (or at least helped).

Who/what are your main influences in and out of music?
Musical influences for me come from many sources. I am a huge Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Muse fan, have always loved heavy music, even a bit of hip hop and dubstep. Although I believe most inspiration has been drawn from the Northamptonshire music scene. Non-musical influences are drawn from the desire to help people, urging folk to get a big dose of nature therapy on the regular as I genuinely believe it brings peace to the body and mind.

Tell us about ‘Pipe Dream’.
‘Pipe Dream’ is the result of a bad time at work. I was in need of change and hadn’t acted, the result was a sense of gloom I couldn’t seem to shake. So I signed off with stress, headed out for a long walk and returned with a song about the comfort zone.

Do you feel there’s been a progression since the self-titled 2016 album?
I feel we have progressed. I’ve started playing electric now so the sound has grown. We are now writing as collective too so that adds many new dimensions. The album was mostly written when we started rehearsing so now there’s a freedom with the new material. It all feels a lot fresher.

What are your live shows like? Do you feel part of a music scene here in Northamptonshire?
The live shows are a lot of fun, we all know what we need to do and seem to get a lot of good feedback. We’re lucky enough to have had considerably more good gigs than bad ones too! We’ve been a part of the local music scene for many years now and have had the pleasure of playing alongside many superb artists. I don’t know what it is about this town but we are spoilt rotten on the music front.

What has been your favourite band moments so far?
Recording the album was a huge deal for me. After writing and playing for so long with no releases under my belt it felt like a huge milestone had been reached. Its a great feeling knowing that our songs are out and available, across the globe. In 2015 we had a headline show for Twinfest; this also felt like a huge milestone for me.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
‘Science Fiction’ by Brand New.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What immediate plans do you have?
My desire for the band probably has to be a tour of some kind, preferably global. More shows, more festivals and more releases. Immediate plans are to put ‘Pipe Dream’ on a hard copy and then plan a launch night. Meanwhile, we have three new songs to work on ready for our next trip to the studio!

Pipe Dream can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 4th – Apr 10th 2018

ADY JOHNSON + WHALE + SKYFLOOD Wednesday April 4th Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Acoustic night from Kontra Roots, headlined by a Colchester singer-songwriter with rave-reviewed albums and national radio airplay. Support…

ADY JOHNSON + WHALE + SKYFLOOD
Wednesday April 4th
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Acoustic night from Kontra Roots, headlined by a Colchester singer-songwriter with rave-reviewed albums and national radio airplay. Support from Market Harborough trio and local indie/alt-rock openers doing something a bit different from their usual set. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

EX-PETS + GOODNIGHT VENICE
Wednesday April 4th
The King Billy, Northampton
The regular Wednesday night original band night at the Billy: this week with local punks headlining and Bedford rockers also in action. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

CHRIS RONALD TRIO + LAB COLLAB ACOUSTIC
Thursday April 5th
The Lab, Northampton
A special appearance from the Chris Ronald Trio playing folk, all the way from Canada, packaged by the magical Clan Hannigan. Support from familiar faces from The Lab music crowd, but this time stripped bare and playing solo. Doors 7.30pm, donation requested on the door

THE SHARPEEZ
Thursday April 5th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Powerful original R&B from London in a Rory Gallagher/Dr. Feelgood stylee. Doors 8pm, free entry

SISTERAY + KARL PHILLIPS & THE REJECTS + THE MODERN AGE + PEACHES
Friday April 6th
The Black Prince, Northampton
”Butt-kickin’ new punk” say BBC 6 Music, Londoners Sisteray came together out of their shared love for bands such as The Smiths, Velvet Underground, The Clash and The Replacements. Support from well-travelled ShoeTown rap rockers, Corby indie upstarts, and local slacker pop to open proceedings. Expect mayhem of the best variety. Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 advance tickets

WISHING WOLF + LAST CHANCE + BLOOD-VISIONS + THE TOUCH
Friday April 6th
The White Hart, Corby
Road to the Hootenanny gig #1. Free Entry shows across April showcasing the best live original acts in the county, with a crowd vote at the end of the evening to decide who goes through to one final bout on June 22nd with the chance to win the opportunity of playing the main stage at our festival. Doors 8pm

BROOKE SHARKEY + THE BREWERS DAUGHTER + J KELLS
Friday April 6th
The Lab, Northampton
A candle-lit showcase of the warmest, most striking variety, Sharkey is compared with the likes of Kate Bush, Ane Brun and Cat Power. Meanwhile The Brewer’s Daughter are “a perfectly balanced brew of traditional and original folk music, featuring gutsy female vocals, an antique fiddle and a vintage 12-string guitar”. Doors 7pm, £4 on entry /£3 members

IRON BASTARDS + MOLOTOV SOULS
Sunday April 8th
The King Billy Rock Bar, Northampton
Fast rock’n’roll from Strasbourg France, plus metal/punk/ska from Coventry! Doors 4pm, free entry

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Shed Seven to play warm up show in Northampton this June

Ahead of their biggest headline show to date at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester, Shed Seven will be playing a very special warm-up date at Northampton’s Roadmender on Thursday June 28th….

Ahead of their biggest headline show to date at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester, Shed Seven will be playing a very special warm-up date at Northampton’s Roadmender on Thursday June 28th.

The York five-piece rose to fame in the 1990s and were one of the leading lights of Britpop with two gold albums and 15 Top 40 singles under their belt. They released their fifth album Instant Pleasures last November – their first release since 2001’s Truth Be Told. Instant Pleasures saw enough pre-orders that would have made it a Top 10 chart album every week of 2017. They celebrated the release with the biggest tour of their career, selling over 50,000 tickets across the country – and that was before any fans had heard a note of new music.

Shed Seven will perform at Sounds of The City on Friday June 29th, alongside Reverend & The Makers and The Twang.

Tickets for The Roadmender show go on sale 9am this Friday, April 6th via gigsandtours.com, ticketmaster.co.uk, and theroadmender.com.

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UoN launches record label; Beth Munroe first release

The University of Northampton have set up an in-house record label, WMTH Records (We Make Things Happen), announcing local artist Beth Munroe as their first project. The label, operated by academic…

The University of Northampton have set up an in-house record label, WMTH Records (We Make Things Happen), announcing local artist Beth Munroe as their first project.

The label, operated by academic Roy Wallace in partnership with the University, begins it’s activities by releasing a four-track EP from Munroe entitled ‘The Euphoria of Losing Everything’ on the April 26th at 6pm, to be available via iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Google Play. This will be accompanied by an EP launch party on May 18th at The Lab [Charles St, Northampton], as part of a full UK & Ireland tour in May & June. The tour is still being booked, but dates in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Isle of Wight, and more will be announced in due course. Physical copies of the EP will be available to buy at all of the shows.

Beth Munroe is a singer-songwriter working on indietronica [a mix of ambient/electronic indie rock, combining guitar music with elements of IDM/glitch music]. Her influences include CHVRCHES, Lorde, Muse, Bastille, and London Grammar. “I’m so excited to be working with WMTH Records, it’s like a dream come true after so much struggle”, says Munroe. “Roy Wallace is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable, as a musician himself he has that clear passion and understanding that’s just priceless. The production team in the studio have done an amazing job in making the EP sound exactly like I hoped it would, and my marketing manager Nicole Drury has looked after everything so perfectly”.

“It is a pleasure working with Beth as she is a truly unique artist”, says Drury. “Her powerful vocals and personal lyrical themes make for very catchy, relatable songs. The process we’ve gone through to get the music to where it is now has been challenging but definitely worth it and I can’t wait to share it with others. Beth should be very proud”.

The video below for ‘Masochist’ was directed by Jon Hogg in collaboration with UonTV students.

http://www.wmth.tv/record-label
BethMunroeMusic.co.uk

Update: also confirmed for release on April 26th is ‘Long Way from Home’ by Ellie McCann and ‘Surgery#2’ by The Doctor.

 

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New Music Friday: Keiron Farrow

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here. What did…

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here.

What did you grow up listening to?
Well, my folks were really into soul and also ska and reggae. My dad was a collector, so mainly their records; lots of Stevie Wonder, Jr Walker – The Temptations were an astonishing group to me. I was also a massive Glen Miller fan and I loved The Beach Boys. I was heavily into James Brown at 14, but it was my aunt lending me Sgt. Pepper when I was 16 that really opened up the world of music making for me.

Give us a bit of background to your musical adventures that led you to now…
I started playing guitar two months before I turned 17, so quite late. But then I played pretty much every day for the next two years – even taking my guitar to work. I got a lot of stick from my mates and whatnot, who where mainly into rave music; whilst I was devouring everything I could get hold of in Daventry Library: from Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, to Led Zeppelin, Bert Jansch and Bob Dylan. Then I played in local bands, started writing my own songs and kinda meandered along. I’d become quite jaded with playing in a band, trying to ‘make it.’ I’d started getting very serious about acoustic guitar after becoming obsessed with Nick Drake. I figured that playing solo would be the best way forward for me. I managed to establish myself fairly well in Northampton in the noughties as ‘The Bugs’ and played some great gigs, did some radio. Then other things – children, poetry, work – started to pull me in other directions. I got the urge again once my lad started school. I started a band, played some gigs, got frustrated with having to organise everything and everyone and decided to go out on my own again, so I guess I’ve come full circle.

This Brit folk/folk baroque style of music has fallen from favour, but it’s hard to imagine why. What led you to it?
Honestly, I don’t know what’s ‘trending’, as the kids might say! So whilst there are certainly influences I just sit down with my guitar as much as possible and enjoy doing whatever I want musically. To paraphrase Charles Mingus ‘Its the place I’m most free’. My style is basically me not being good enough to play or sing like the musicians I admire!

What’s the most personal song of the collection? Danny is about your boy, yes…? And the famous Eleanor Cross statue in town inspired you too?
I would say they all are really. I was going through a lot when they were written: ‘Danny’ is about my son and I dealing with being apart from each other after his mum and I separated. ‘What Lurks’ – mental illness. ‘No Harm’ about the trials of a 20th Century bloke trying to connect in the social media age. ‘The Quickening’ – falling in love again and being real. The title track, ‘Roundabout Queen Eleanor’, was really just a guitar motif that I nicked from Bert Jansch and developed. I used to live near the Cross and being a Northampton native wanted to tie in some way with the landscape. I think its a travesty that Northampton’s historical and cultural impact has been neglected so badly since, in many ways, the English Civil War.

How was playing at the Marburg edition of Twinfest?
It was magical – the town scenery itself is straight out of a fairy tale – apt as ‘The Bothers Grimm’ were denizens. I met so many fascinating, talented, warm-hearted people. There was definitely a vibe that permeated the whole week – love and friendship basically, and the crowds and venues were so supportive – no studied cool whatsoever. I still feel very humbled that I was considered worthy of a place on the bill. The only drawback was not being able to see some of the other artists I wanted to, because I was already on stage somewhere else! Having said that, seeing Sarpa Salpa play to 1500 people at KFZ was brilliant. Like an old-school Roadmender gig!

Do you enjoy playing live? What’s your take on the Northants singer-songwriter scene?
I love nothing more than playing live. This EP was recorded live in my dining room, all first takes; Ben Jennings did his bass afterwards as he was really buzzing to add some lines. The majority of music I listen to was recorded with all the players together on the floor going for it – Blue Note Jazz, for example. I just want to play live as much as possible. In terms of the Northants scene, there are some ridiculously talented people. I love what Charlotte Carpenter is doing. Only last week, I saw a guy – Blood Moon at The Garibaldi. Corrine Lucy – she’s such a beautiful singer, a great writer and a lovely down to earth human being. Her drive to create music is on a par with William Blake’s illuminated works and epic poetry. What Northants seems to lack are venues which are receptive to what I would call the ‘roots’ side of things: folk, jazz, blues and singer-songwriters. Despite being able to spin 360 and fall into a coffee shop in Northampton we do not have a ‘coffee shop culture’, where traditionally players of our ilk congregate.

Tell us your upcoming gigs. What you up to for the rest of 2018?
I’m doing a turn as part of a triple header called ‘Music in Rugby’ tonight [March 30th], which will be ace. Then the Harmonics Collective night in Corby on April 27th , followed by Vintage Retreat’s third Vegan Festival on April 28th. As for the rest of 2018, I’d like to build on what I’ve achieved over the last year and hopefully connect with more listeners. I’d like to put on gigs locally and bring together more solo performers – see where that goes.

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Gig report: Century City + Pieces + GoGo Loco

CENTURY CITY + PIECES + GOGO LOCO The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton March 24th 2018 Since the turn of the year The Garibaldi Hotel, yer proverbial diamond in the rough in…

CENTURY CITY + PIECES + GOGO LOCO
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
March 24th 2018

Since the turn of the year The Garibaldi Hotel, yer proverbial diamond in the rough in the back streets of The Mounts, has been under new management, and what a difference it’s making already. Tonight the turn out is exactly what it should be for decent local live draws – in short, busy.

The openers are playing their debut show tonight. Not that you could obviously tell, as GoGo Loco merge seamlessly on from their former The Mobbs guise. Joe and Cheadle might be a man down, but the songs are still primitive and strong. The primary influence now is clearly Bo Diddley, as demonstrated by them covering ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At It’s Cover’ in a short but deadly set. From now on bring your dancing shoes to the shows, you’ll need them.

Pieces are a new trio formed from the ashes of An Army Of Lights. This, just their third show, is hard and entertaining. The indie disco rhythms are very much the legacy of the noughties, but their tough edge and excellent interplay gives the whole enterprise a strong coherent whole. No idea what the songs are called as they haven’t put anything online yet, but Pieces are definitely a band you would want to check out if you see them listed as playing near you.

The headliners Century City have been wowing ShoeTown since they formed in 2014. A vehicle for former New Cassettes denizens Nik Gray and Tommy Francis, they are joined by Oli Knight (Loose Tooth) on guitar and Dan Battison (Ginger Snaps, and another former New Cassette) on bass. Their guilty pleasures-influenced guitar pop is the very definition of infectious, as it combines Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac vocals with Death Cab For Cutie/Biffy Clyro drive’n’crunch.

They are the go-to party band in these lands as they give proper show and can handily write pop triumphs like ‘Cherry Red’ and ‘The Others’. As things begin to climax at this well-received outing Gray gets on the bar to fully express himself and get a closer look at those at the back. Result: smiles all round. Gods among men, Century City have the winning formula of not taking it seriously whist actually being seriously good. Long may that continue.

Words: Phil Istine. Photos: David Jackson/Phil Istine

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