Author: Newbootsnorthants

New Music Friday: Counterpart

Northampton’s Counterpart are, according to their biography, “three gents with an insatiable appetite to record music and stick it on the internet (occasionally)”. Which is a good synopsis of the…

Northampton’s Counterpart are, according to their biography, “three gents with an insatiable appetite to record music and stick it on the internet (occasionally)”. Which is a good synopsis of the worldview of Jon Martin, Chris Hardwick, and Tim Smith. On the occasion of the release of wistful, 70s-style soft-pop EP ‘I Can’t Be Silent’ New Boots attempted to unravel a bit of the mystery to these talented folk. Jon Martin is your interviewee.

The group has been active since 2005, but can you tell us about the more recent history of the group.
Counterpart is essentially another extension or direction of my musical compositions for when I want to do something a little less “pop-driven”. The name ‘Counterpart’ has as you quite rightly pointed out been around since 2005 from when myself and my Counterpart Chris Hardwick first wrote and recorded an album when we were young lads. Ten years later in 2015 we wrote and released the This Accelerating Rate Of Change album, which is still available on Bandcamp [and due to be released on commercial streaming sites early this year]. This album received some great reviews and response and had airplay on national radio on the BBC Mark Forest show [a show that went out to all local BBC Radio listeners in the UK].
More recently we have acquired the addition of Tim Smith on the 2017 ‘EP#1’, and even more recently on the new EP titled ‘I Can’t Be Silent’. Throughout its history the group has been entirely a studio project.

How would you describe your sound?
60s, 70s, 80s, 90s-inspired alternative, and at some points progressive, pop rock. Classic albums-inspired, with a traditional “old school” method of songwriting and production.

Who are your main influences in music?
My influences vary from different styles of music that I release under various difference names. Under the Counterpart umbrella I would stick Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Mansun, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel and Steven Wilson to name a few.

What was the reaction like to ‘EP#1’?
Nobody listened to it. HAHAHAHAHA!…sorry no, I mean, those that did gave positive reviews. We were previously known for our 70s classic albums-inspired progressive pop rock. EP#1 was more of a pop-rock Americana/Tom Petty vibe. So those hardened Counterpart lovers probably found the transition hard. But yeah, we loved making it, and we aim to please ourselves first.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘I Can’t Be Silent’.
‘I Can’t Be Silent’ was written in February 2018 at the lovely Grange Farm studio in Norfolk. We’ve made a point over the last few years of annually visiting to write music. It seems to work pretty well for us, and didn’t disappoint on this occasion. Probably because we take many crates of Stella with us, and they have a hot tub. The EP was gradually recorded and mixed over the next six to eight months. Considering the fact that me and my wife welcomed our first child into this world in April, and had obvious dad responsibilities to attend to, the process of recording and mixing wasn’t too long. We recorded the EP at my Northampton studio, Stalkers Studio. The main concept of the lead track is around my struggles with tinnitus in my right ear! A concept perfectly depicted by my brother Joe [GoGo Loco mainman] in the EP artwork. We wanted the musical style to be a departure from the previous EP, in the sense of it being a more acoustic guitar-driven affair, rather than then Americana approach with distorted rock driven guitars of ‘EP#1’. The outcome kind of gives off more of my 90s Radiohead influence I guess, with Tim’s guitar providing the more classic flavours.

Why the decision to only record and not perform? Does the freedom from extra pressures play a part in such a decision?
Counterpart has always been a studio project right from the start. I guess it’s because I am a producer myself and having my own studio to play with I find it easy. I spend most of my time in recording studios, be it at Stalkers Studio or my home studio, so it gives me the luxury of not having to break the bank to book myself in. If I had my way I would spend my whole working day in the closed-off environment of a recording studio. That’s where I feel most at home. I do love playing live, and have had other outfits over the years to fulfil this. Most of my live work these days is either work for other artists or cover/function band work. I guess there is in part a freedom from the extra pressures of playing live. The initial thought after recording This Accelerating Rate of Change was that I needed around nine musicians to pull what was recorded off well! But I don’t have that excuse with this recent EP. That pressure of getting other musicians to perform what you’ve recorded on a record maybe. Or maybe it’s a laziness…….or a slight lack in confidence that I can take this one to the finish, knowing that in my older age I lose interest in projects quickly. Who knows? But as a songwriter there’s always that thought that you want as many people as possible to listen to your music, and by not playing live I am essentially limiting my audience somewhat.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Or does the live exile keep you firmly “on the outside” as it were?
To an extent, I do feel like I am on the outside and that is solely down to my decision to not perform live. Since the demise of Presley Johnson there is no real outlet for me in any live scene in Northampton. But at the same time I’m working and recording with local artists all the time at Stalkers Studio so still feel like I am a part, and am contributing to a great musical town. You might catch me on the keys with local band The Keepers from time to time too!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Steven Wilson – To The Bone

What is your burning desire for the group to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I know the whole point of this project is and was not to play live. But I’d love to take this out and perform it live at some point, there’s always that desire there! A new EP will be once again written and record this year. One of our “things” as it were is not to make the same record twice, so expect something completely different, well kind of. We are booked in to our Norfolk studio to once again to write, drink, and relax in the hot tub, and write, and drink again next month, so let’s see what happens ay! I love writing and recording music, that’s where I get my buzz from. So as long as I’m doing that on a regular basis, I’m a happy Jon Martin.

I Can’t Be Silent is out now for streaming and download from the usual suspects

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2019 live music preview

Hey it’s January, we know. Not too much to get excited about right this minute. So it’s time to look ahead to some of the shows that have been announced…

Hey it’s January, we know. Not too much to get excited about right this minute. So it’s time to look ahead to some of the shows that have been announced in Northants for the first half of 2019. All tastes catered for here with this top twenty…

Alison Limerick, February 2nd, The Picturedrome, Northampton

Al Lover, February 10th, The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton

Roni Size, February 15th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Incognito, February 16th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Martin Carthy, February 24th, The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton

Shakin’ Stevens, March 2nd, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

KT Tunstall, March 12th, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Corduroy, March 22nd, The Roadmender, Northampton

Sleeper, March 29th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, March 30th, The White Hart, Corby

Gentlemen’s Dub Club, March 30th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Sleaford Mods, April 18th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Stereo MC’s, April 25th, The Picturedrome, Northampton

Rozi Plain, April 26th, The Black Prince, Northampton

The Urban Voodoo Machine, April 27th, The White Hart, Corby

Electric Six, May 14th, The Picturedrome, Northampton

UB40, May 16th, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Northampton Music Festival, June 16th, Northampton

Madness, June 28th, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton

Vader, June 29th, The Black Prince, Northampton

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

ELIZABETH & JAMESON Wednesday January 16th The Sargeant Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green An evening of folk music & folklore with Bedford-based folk duo Elizabeth & Jameson. Doors 6.30pm, £5.50 tickets LAY…

ELIZABETH & JAMESON
Wednesday January 16th
The Sargeant Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green
An evening of folk music & folklore with Bedford-based folk duo Elizabeth & Jameson. Doors 6.30pm, £5.50 tickets

LAY IT DOWN
Thursday January 17th
The Lab, Northampton
Volume eight of the new breed of open mike for the urban music scene. No mention of featured artists this time around, so perhaps a chance to get yourself heard if you fancy a turn on the stage. Doors 8pm, free entry

ATTILA STOCKBROKER & HIS BAND BARNSTORMER 1649 + KARL PHILLIPS
Friday January 18th
The Lab, Northampton
First Attila will do some spoken word, then after a break he will bring on his band, celebrating the release of their new ‘early music meets punk’ album Restoration Tragedy. They don’t sound like anything else! Special guest is local wordsmith Karl Phillips. Doors 8pm, £8 tickets

THE DRONES CLUB + KATIE PATON
Saturday January 19th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Returning to The Pomfret are the quartet with the wild ancestral and improvised music played to a backing of eastern and dub rhythms. With support from the P-Hexer and King’s Gambiter, singer-songwriter Katie Paton. Doors 9pm, free entry

THE DARKHORSE + CASKET FEEDER + LOOSE TOOTH + PHLEFONYAAR + 57 DOWN
Saturday January 19th
Fiddler’s Elbow, Wellingborough
Headliners are a four-piece hailing from the lower depths of East Midlands. Just over a year old, they have already performed at Bloodstock 14 and Mammothfest 15. Heavy/stoner support comes from a range of localish acts. Doors 7pm, free entry

TIM JON BROPHY + THE FED SISTERS + GRAND UNION 3 + HAZEYJANE
Sunday January 20th
The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne
Audio Vendor present a quartet of acoustic-based acts. The event will be recorded and the recordings will be made available to the events attendees at their request. Doors 6:30pm, £10 tickets. To purchase tickets call The Boat Inn on (01604) 862428 or visit http://www.audiovendor.com

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: The Death Alley Drivers

The Death Alley Drivers is a vehicle [like, literally] for Northampton songwriter Nathan Harris. Rebirth comes in many forms, and ‘Rotten Apple’ with all its interior drama is as good…

The Death Alley Drivers is a vehicle [like, literally] for Northampton songwriter Nathan Harris. Rebirth comes in many forms, and ‘Rotten Apple’ with all its interior drama is as good a way to go about it as far as New Boots is concerned. Tea and sympathy with Harris is below, with the lovely ‘Rotten Apple’ video at the bottom of the piece.

How did this project get together?
In the summer of 2017 after not picking up the guitar or doing anything musically since 2007 I had a creative burst writing tunes. Over three months I had written about 20 songs and decided I didn’t want to start a band, but did want to record them. Through the ’90s I played in Terraplane and Jnr Loaded and in 2006 I played in The Squids, and even though it was fun it did leave a bad taste in my mouth and feeling bitter towards music and the industry in general. Anyway I decided to contact Max Reed at The Lodge, who I had recorded with throughout the ’90s, so once he was on board I set out recruiting musicians who I knew but had never played with [apart from the odd jam].

Stevie Ward was my first thought when it came to guitars, as he was in the first band I watched live in Northampton back in 1993 that made me want to be in a band. Plus I likes his style and sound, and he’s a fabulous songwriter. Next up I roped in Wayne Roberts, who again I had known from playing in bands back in the ’90s. From there I called in Giles Kaal on bass, who I had knowledge of since 1994, and him and Wayne were in a band together in 1998 with Tim Muddiman. Next up was Phil Searing who was playing in the Red Triangle and I had met several years ago. I was huge fan of his style, and I knew I wanted something different to the sound we were going to create. On the song ‘Rotten Apple’ that we just released I had my old friend Miles Christian Smart play the piano. Unfortunately he couldn’t commit to future songs so I got in touch with Nathan Bundy [P- Hex] to come and record the rest of the songs, and finally I got Lee Kenny [who again I had known from various bands in the ’90s] to play guitar on some of the tracks. That now is the core of The Death Alley Drivers.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences do you feel?
I’m not sure how to describe the sound as we’ve recorded ten songs for an album and no two songs sound the same. We got some slow burners and some uptempo ones, but the tones and styles are different on everyone. I think that’s the luxury of having such great musician’s playing on this. At the end of the day it’s all rock and roll to me. Influence-wise I listen a lot to Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Mark Lanegan, John Cale, Bowie, Paul Weller. I don’t really listen a lot to current music, but I do like Wolf Alice.

Tell us everything about these two new songs, ‘Rotten Apple’ and ‘P.M.A.V.’. Are these the first fruits of this project?
‘Rotten Apple’ is a song about love and loss, heartbreak, redemption. It’s nothing personal, I’m just telling a story when I comes to this one. The video was directed by my good friend Paul Michael Hughes. With ‘P.M.A.V.’ that’s a different one: I wrote the lyrics based on my time working in the mental health sector years ago. We have more songs to release once they’re finished. All the music is recorded, we just got some vocals to record and the mix so hopefully should be out in the next three months, but I plan to keep releasing songs with the videos like the one we did for ‘Rotten Apple’ as I am big fan of the filming side of things.

Will there be live shows?
We are currently in discussion with making our live debut at the end of April, this really did start out as studio project for me but as we’ve been progressing along it seems unavoidable now not to play it live.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
I’m more of a recluse, but obviously Stevie, Wayne, Phil and Nathan B all play in their own bands. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many of the musicians and artist from around Town over the past 20 years, and I did ask a few of them to contribute to the recording, including Gregg Cave, Katie Paton [Kings Gambit] and Sean Grant, but due to availability or whatever other reason it never happened. I might get them in when we record the next one.

I’ve always been a massive fan of our local scene even if I don’t get out and watch them much. I keep up to date via social media obviously. I’m a fan of all the guys in The Death Alley Drivers and their current bands, plus the musicians I’ve mentioned above. I really enjoy listening to Joe Woolley. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to King Purple, I think they’re amazing and definitely will be checking them out live at their next gig.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I don’t stream music, I listen to music mainly through YouTube. The last CD I brought was Mark Lanegan’s Gargoyle.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
I’m planning on following ‘Rotten Apple’ up with more songs with videos to accompany them, then get ready for some gigs and put out the album. As far as that goes I think that will keep us pretty busy throughout most the year. I have no plans to conquer the world as that is a young persons game. I’m too old and miserable to want to be taking orders and bullshit from record labels. Really I would just like to eventually get back in the studio and record again as I’ve already written another album’s worth of tunes.

‘Rotten Apple’ is out now via the usual digital means

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New Music Friday: Har-Q

Northampton rapper Har-Q has been building a strong name for himself with his many releases, and 2018 was a big moment with two albums released. New single ‘Big Money’ is…

Northampton rapper Har-Q has been building a strong name for himself with his many releases, and 2018 was a big moment with two albums released. New single ‘Big Money’ is equally worthy of attention, and New Boots asked a few pertinents to the man himself.

How, when, and why did you become Har-Q?
Well initially I went through some corny names, here’s a couple for e.g – Genesis, T.money, and w.a.s.p. “I was 16 you have to forgive me.” But while I was working at a call centre “big up space designs”, where I mainly wrote rhymes and occasionally answered the phone, one time a guy can’t remember his first name but it came up on the call screen called something “harq” and I complimented his name as I wrote his surname down and alas something I could work with that wasn’t lame. The meaning came not long after that, it was “HAR-Q when I leave the stage it will be a hard cue to beat.” Over the years as I grew in knowledge and the name evolved, it became H.A.R-Q which means the H = herald: messenger, A = ark: the message, R = returns/renaissance and Q = quadrivium, which alienates the hell out of people. I watch them squirm when I tell them this as its a bit geeky and probably out of the scope of their interest, but basically it’s saying that it’s a return to the original principle of university when the scholars focused on the four arts “arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy” and I came to spot the familiarity of that in the early hip-hop culture: breakdancing, graffiti, DJ, emcee and these are the pillars of education and advancements in life as the quadrivium / liberal arts gave birth to the renaissance out of the dark ages.

How would you describe your sound?
I go through a range of sounds if you listen to my back catalogue. But don’t: the production isn’t that great, good content but poor recording, so my goal over the years probably became to have a clear audible sound that mimics that of people on the radio.

In terms of content I would describe it as lyrical; often finding myself jumping on the spoken word because people by default don’t like to think too much while listening to music. It always has a storytelling theme because I binge watch and read a lot. I almost give a synopsis on the subject in song form or fully immerse my self into the character and do it first person, trying to embody the tale. I aim for entertainment value.

Composition wise I love heavy melodic music and multiple thumping bass.

Who are your influences?
Hip hop: all the elements when combined 
Cap-com: love games 
Crunchy-roll: worship anime 
Robert Greene: for his accounts of history and what to take from it
Stan Lee for his characters 
Big dreamers: anyone with goals ambitions and direction because without the direction they are just dream
Myself: as I sit back and watch myself battle their life and surprise myself with my willpower, creativity, and resilience to the point I think most of the time I’m just a spectator in my own life.
books: because its facts / imagination/ history etc
Nas, for his mastery over the language 
Anderson Paak, for his creative style

What was the reaction to the two albums you released in 2018?
Trapped Hop was the first album that was released in twelve years. The first album was done by the record label Big Tuff Ent. So I didn’t really know what to expect with this one with no promotion, no shows, no marketing, no money.

I saw while doing research that you can get your songs streamed on sites like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc and thought: sweet, if I get it on their boom that’s my label and manager right there I’m going to get millions of plays while I sit back and get paid, and boy was I wrong. For the first five months it bombed. I had wasted half the year and had nothing to show for it. I was stumped so I got to promoting it: sharing it, making flyers and going to open mics then it slowly started to pick up in the late half of the year. I have seen a subsequent rise in the second quarter of the year, especially ‘Neo Yokio’ [from Trapped Hop]. 

The Creed has through looking at my analytics, geeking out, it holds most of the top spots, but it’s because I never wasted time when I released it. I was a bit more prepared or knew at least a bit more what to do and consistency is defiantly the key. Ad not just online: you have to hit the streets, if you stop sharing and stop looking for new people your progress slows down. I’m still in my infant stage really, even though I have never stopped working my craft artistically for what feels like a lifetime already. But in a nutshell it has been as successful as it could be in my eyes. Trying to watch my own achievements and not put it in comparison to people further in their career, that’s the quickest way to giving up. And hopefully I have started enough of a buzz for the up and coming material.

Tell us about your new single, ‘Big Money’.
‘Big Money’ is about the grind that we all go through, we always bump into people we know on the street, in a store etc who we haven’t seen in a minute and the hook kind of embodies a call an response theme of the generic questions people often ask. I’ve had a lot of changes in the latter half of this year: I’ve changed jobs after seven years, currently separated from my partner of 12 years, finally back in the studio diligently after eight years, so the grind has been immense. Thinking, learning and working towards where I want to be in the next five-ten years, so right now I’m just like ‘yyyyyooooo let me tell you about it’, but in the way an artist does. It’s a very relatable tune I feel, and felt it had a very human element to it as I’m always rapping about fantasy and stories.

What are your live shows like?
I’ve only this year got back to performing constantly working with the “Lay It Down” team [Northampton] and “Soapbox” spoken word [Milton Keynes] “ Breakmission” hip-hop collective [Birmingham]. So I’ve had some good shows, some shows where the liquor problem got the better of me, shows where my insecurities won. But I love to bring the energy whenever possible, but as I’m developing I want to integrate and bring more to the performance because I focus so much on the lyrical content I feel it can zap my focus on the stage. Forgetting my lyrics is probably the thing I fear the most in the whole world, as well as the socializing aspects afterward. I can be quite socially awkward sometimes, lol, but back to the point when I drop tracks like ‘Gang Gang’ and ‘Akuma’, it can get lit.

Do you feel part of the wider scene in Northampton and like-minded people, any shoutouts?
I think to be a part of the community you have to throw yourself into it. With that said the scene could also do with a shot of adrenaline to bring it to life. Yes I’m trying to immerse myself into it more, and be more involved. Lay it Down has been a massive part of this, and I’ve been out to Rugby doing some shows with Benny & The Jango Massive. I think if we work together, not necessarily as a team but toward a common cause, and combine our strength I think we got a great opportunity here for music lovers of the north.

What has been your favourite moment in 2018?
It has to be, hands down, going to Comic-Con Birmingham and rocking the Har-Q get-up mask and all then hearing someone call my name in the distance thinking it was my boy. By boy I mean friend, not son, as the rest of the sentence would sound like neglect lol. As I tend to wander off I looked round to see a guy with his son and he was like Har-Q, right ? I was taken aback, but was like “HELL YER” and he went to his son [who didn’t seem the faintest bit interested] “Its har-q”. But we stopped, spoke for a minute took a photo and ‘GASSED’ is an understatement.

What was the last album that you brought or streamed?
Well I haven’t brought an album in yonks, but I do listen to Spotify release radar and discovery every Monday where they drop something new that relates to something I’ve been listening to all week just to see what’s good. But I will say new artist wise I like Denzel Curry: love his raspy gravely voice, his content and delivery is furious. Reminds me of that raw era of hip-hop.

What is your burning desire of the future, what plans do you have?
My main desire is to create a comic book to anime, its always been one of my major goals. Other than that to keep working my craft and actually get in the studio with some session musicians and producers and create some classics on an unplugged vibe, and just to get bigger and better, more elaborate.  

Big Money is out now. Image courtesy of AudioStage

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Audio exclusive: Baby Lung ‘Casualty’

Baby Lung are a fresh new Northampton quartet, mixing minimalist emotional indie with a hint of jazzy vibes. Their debut single from back in November, ‘She’, laid out the agenda:…

Baby Lung are a fresh new Northampton quartet, mixing minimalist emotional indie with a hint of jazzy vibes. Their debut single from back in November, ‘She’, laid out the agenda: an atmospheric ’80s sound [like your man Ryan Adams might do], with a steady hypnotic rhythm backing dreamy guitars and synths to create a sum greater than its parts. New Boots spoke to singer/bassist Maxx Riley about these early days of the band, and we can exclusively reveal the audio to follow-up single, the harder-hitting ‘Casualty’, below.

How  did you guys get together?
Back in November 2017 I was pretty much done with music. My previous band [We Animals] was playing a few good shows and putting out some good music, but we couldn’t get to that next level. I had just come out of a relationship so I wasn’t focused on making music and at the time I was also working in the music industry, so music had become a chore more than a passion. Me and Mat [Day], who plays lead guitar in Baby Lung, were setting up some acoustic guitars for work, and I remember watching him play these jazz chords that I hadn’t heard before – I was very much ‘the same four chords with a capo on’ type of songwriter. I asked him to teach me a few chords and I managed to write a song with them. One song became a couple and then a few and so on. I managed to get the buzz of writing back and I straight away knew that Mat had to play guitar in the band. I had worked with Harry [Dinnage], who plays drums for Baby Lung, in my previous band so I was aware of how talented he was. I asked if he wanted to come and jam with us and we instantly clicked and had three songs complete in our first practise. For the next year we decided that we weren’t going to rush into gigging and instead we spent six months being unknown, with no social medias, just perfecting the songs and finding our sound. After recording our first two singles we were introduced to Matt [Willett], our saxophonist/rhythm guitarist, who has added so much to our songs already. It has only been a couple months with Matt but instantly we’re all on the same page with writing, and we’re all equally as committed to pushing ourselves and making music that we want to hear.

Who are the main influences that make up this project, do you think?
We all bring something completely different to the table, so I think this would need to be answered individually. For me personally it was Paul Weller, Jamie T, Mike Skinner (as well as others) that turned me from a drummer to a songwriter. I learnt that you could have fun with the lyrics whilst also keeping them relatable for everyone. I was very late in discovering the greats of music, and only in the last two years I’ve discovered geniuses such as Nat King Cole, Vera Lynn, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jnr., as well as many others which has really opened my eyes to a new way of writing. Luckily we’re all quite open minded people so we could be listening to Charlie Parker one day and then The Beatles the next. There’s currently a rise of current artists putting their twists on genres such as Yellow Days, Puma Blue, King Krule etc. I think they’ve influenced us to write what we want to write and to not be afraid to flirt between genres. I think as a band we unintentionally take different musical characteristics from different genres, such as the change of dynamics used in grunge to the catchy choruses used in indie or the real bluesy guitar solos mixed with jazz chords etc. We see no point in restricting ourselves and at the same time manage to keep ‘our sound’.

What was the reaction like to your first release, ‘She’?
I was real nervous about releasing ‘She’, and we actually waited around five months to release the single. We were unknown, so it was important to us to have a good single to release accompanied with an equally as good music video, which our close friend Ryan Johnson shot for us, in order to get people’s attention – which I believe we have done. Off the back of this we’ve received compliments from friends, family, members of the public, some high up people in the music industry and we’ve received numerous gig offers which we’re thrilled with. I think ‘She’ was the first song we ever worked on as a band, so I’m happy it’s gone down so well.

Tell us about this new song, ‘Casualty’.
The one piece of criticism we’ve received from a review was that ‘She’ was basic in terms of song structure, i.e verse chorus verse chorus etc. Although it was intentionally written like that I can’t wait for people to check out ‘Casualty’. Structurally this song is miles apart from ‘She’, and really shows our songwriting skills. I don’t like to go into too much details about what the song means as I hope they are subjective to whoever is listening. However the main premise is falling in love, and having that fear that at any minute it could end.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Maxx – Julie Is Her Name by Julie London
Mat – Carolina Confessions by Marcus King
Harry – Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin
Matt – Skylight by Pinegrove

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Our burning desire is the same as any other band; play big shows, record albums, etc. At the minute we’re happy with staying low and writing more and continuing to be perfectionists. We’re heading into the studio in early 2019 to record an EP, with a number of music videos to follow. We’re at the stage now where we can start to look for gigs and we plan to gig all across the UK.

Casualty hits the streaming/download services on January 4th

 

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New Music Friday: The Atrocity Exhibit

Grindcore trio The Atrocity Exhibit are a MK/Northampton act who have recently released their first “proper” full length album, Extinction Solution. The band  – James Caygill [vocals/guitar], Olly Edwin [bass/vocals] and Matt…

Grindcore trio The Atrocity Exhibit are a MK/Northampton act who have recently released their first “proper” full length album, Extinction Solution. The band  – James Caygill [vocals/guitar], Olly Edwin [bass/vocals] and Matt [drums/vocals] – have been ploughing their unique furrow for many a year and now have a refined piece of work to shout about. New Boots gets the skinny on everything from Caygill.

How did you guys get together?
The band kinda started around late 2005 with myself and Lee (ex-guitarist) just jamming out some ideas, just mashing everything we liked together.  It was a lot less cohesive then, but now it’s been more reformed into our own style. Just a bunch of people who wanted to make some noise.  Our first gig was six months later and a shambles really, a pretty standard story for most bands I’m sure.  We’ve been through a lot of changes over the years and the current line-up has been going about nine months.
 
How would you describe your sound?
Grindcore mixed with crust punk.  Blastbeats and d-beats, and occasional awkward angular riffs in silly timings. We try and write interesting energetic songs, but also avoid conventional song structures.
 
Who do you feel are your main influences?
Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Soilent Green, Acid Bath, Melvins, Hard To Swallow, Iron Monkey, Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, 80’s punk.
 
How has the band progressed since 2006? Is it a case of sticking to your core values throughout that time despite all the natural changes bands go through?
I think we quickly became a lot more focused musically, when we started all the songs felt completely different but now it’s more part of a ‘sound’.  Every line-up change has had a bit of an influence on shaping it though.  As for values we’ve always been sticking to a rigid DIY ethic.  We try and do as much as possible ourselves rather than paying someone else to make the effort; it’s harder work but a lot more rewarding and personal. When we do work with other people then it’s usually involving our mates. The UK DIY scene is small but pretty healthy and self-sustaining, everyone helps each other with organising gigs, recording, artwork, printing, etc.
 
You’re a fan of the EP, but this is your first studio album. Is it hard to decide in what format to release your songs?
It’s actually our first proper full length! We did a live tape (a split with Atomck) for a European tour back in 2011 but I think we only actually made 30 copies of that, and it was a live recording anyway. All the copies sold out on tour but then we got quite a bit of attention from it being distributed online by Randall from Agoraphobic Nosebleed, on his Grindcore Karaoke Bandcamp page. Most of the time the EPs were a result of us trying to release things fairly quickly, we’ve played a lot of gigs and between live shows and changing line-ups it was good to try and keep new music out there.  It also makes it more affordable for smaller bands, especially when its working together with split releases.
In terms of format vinyl has always been the preferable option for our scene, or maybe cassette.  CDs always sell much slower. Having a Bandcamp page is essential, but otherwise I never really pay much mind to the digital end of things.
 
Tell us everything about Extinction Solution.
We recorded it with Boulty up at Stuck On A Name Studios in Nottingham.  SOAN is a fantastic place and a real sweet spot for the DIY scene, covering practice rooms, live shows and recording.  Every town needs somewhere like this, but sadly they’re incredibly rare these days. It was probably the easiest recording I’ve ever been involved with, we just set everything up as we would at practice and smashed out 19 songs together.  All the music was basically done in about 90 minutes.  Vocals were recorded after a quick breather, and by the time we were finished I think Boulty pretty much had it all mixed. We’d played those songs live a lot so I think almost everything was done first take: we’d just listen to it and have another go if it wasn’t fast enough.
Releasing it took slightly longer. We worked with nine DIY labels from around the UK, Europe and America, it involved a lot of juggling and many many emails back and forth, but it was worth it in the end. The labels are Woooaargh (Germany), Give Praise (USA), Let The Bastards Grind (UK), Rip-Roaring Shitstorm (UK), FHED (UK), Aktiver Ausstand In Plastik (Germany), Praise Saitan (Austria), Visions Of Warning (Northern Ireland), and Existential Dread (UK).  Released on LP (pink or black vinyl), cassette, and CD, as well as digitally in the usual places. Spotify and that are a bit crap though so I’d rather you just stole it and sent us a quid.
The illustration for the front cover was by my good friend and old housemate Amy Edwards, she’s a brilliant artist and works in a tattoo studio in Birmingham – one of the best portrait artists I’ve seen.  We collaborated a bit on the front cover: she did the hard work of the original black and white ink drawing, and I basically coloured it in. W did a similar thing for our self-titled EP a few years before.
Lyrically most of the songs cover a range of ways that human beings seem addicted to aspects of apathy and self-destruction.  Things are crumbling and systems are failing people everywhere, but it’s easier for everyone to pretend it’s going to be okay.  It’s fairly nihilistic, but it just seems to get more relevant each year.
 
What are your live shows like?
A load of sweaty screeching feedback and noise!  No messing about.  We’ll bang out 20 songs back to back in 20 minutes and get out of the way.
 
Are you part of a wider scene in Northants/Bucks, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
It’s pretty much non-existent around here really in terms of similar bands – there was the great Let It Die from Kettering, but they sadly retired a few months ago. Matt also plays in Casket Feeder from over Milton Keynes way, and I have another band Hot Cops with our old drummer Danny.  There are definitely like-minded bands with a solid DIY ethic here though. One that immediately springs to mind is 72%, who’ve always been consistently excellent and interesting. I used to really like Operatives as well, with their Frank Zappa playing the Melvins mix up.  Iron Grave are great too on the slow heavy end of things.  There’s a local metal scene but we’ve never really been a part of that.  In terms of venues, The Lab is the main DIY venue these days and I always enjoy it there.  The UFO Cafe is a good spot too, but I think they’ve been limited with sound levels recently.
The UK grind scene is pretty strong at the moment, there’s a bunch of really wicked bands around and each one has their own sound.  I’m sure I’ll miss out a few but well worth checking out are;   Gets Worse, Afternoon Gentlemen, Human Cull, Atomck, Nothing Clean, Evisorax, Boak, Groak, Endless Swarm, Wheelchair x4, Famine, Gout, Ona Snop, Negative Thought Process.
 
What has been your favourite moment of 2018?
Finally releasing the album!  There was a hell of a lot of work involved behind the scenes in getting that out there so it was a great relief when it happened.
 
Last album you bought/streamed?
I think the last album I bought was DaDhelo by Chepang, which is banging! Recently I’ve mostly just been listening to a lot of Tom Waits, Hawkwind, Melvins and early Queen.  That probably applies most of the time to be honest.
 
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2019?
We’d been a bit quiet for a while this year whilst releasing the album and getting the new line-up ready for shows.  So I’m keen to get back on it in 2019 and hopefully head back to Europe and Ireland for some gigs, and I’d love to play Obscene Extreme Festival in Czech Republic as that’s always been a goal since we started.  We’ve already been confirmed for Dreadfest in Leeds in March, and Chimpyfest in London for September. 
Otherwise we’re finishing off a load of brand new songs for the next recording session.  It’s been a slow process but we’ve got about 20 new songs almost there.  So that’s hopefully a new album, and we’ve been talking about doing a split with Human Cull for a while.
 
Extinction Solution is out now
 
 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 26th – Jan 1st

THE TOUCH Wednesday December 26th The Britannia, Burton Latimer Cementing their reputation as the hardest working band in the Kettering area, The Touch won’t be sleeping off the Christmas indulgence….

THE TOUCH
Wednesday December 26th
The Britannia, Burton Latimer
Cementing their reputation as the hardest working band in the Kettering area, The Touch won’t be sleeping off the Christmas indulgence. Instead they’ll bring their classic rock to the Brit for a matinee performance. Music 4-6pm, free entry

SARPA SALPA + BABY LUNG
Friday December 28th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
After such a triumphant [and no doubt exhausting] year for the Fab Funk Four they celebrate with a hometown end of year show. Support from brand new indie-jazz quartet to keep an eye on. Doors 8pm, free entry

GRYNN + BLOOD VISIONS + NAILBREAKER + LA FOLIVORA
Friday December 28th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
It’s the “Blood Visions office Christmas party”. Local Math-Rock-Pop-Jazz-Funk-Junk legends come out of retirement to headline, then it’s fierce punks who basically live at the Gari, plus digital hardcore from George, and the punk duo to open. Doors 7pm, free entry [£3 donation to Northampton Mind requested]

ALDOUS PINCH + TRICKEY MICKEY + KAREN ANGELA
Friday December 28th
The Lab, Northampton
Theatrical musical performances as part of the ‘Cringle Cabaret’ night. Also featuring burlesque, comedy, spoken word from Sami The bard of Northampton, and belly dancers. Doors 7pm, £6 tickets

SOUL GROOVE
Friday December 28th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
The clues in the name; soulful melodies and grooving rhythms. His live set will include “his Roland TR-8, his Korg minilogue and more”. Doors 8pm, free entry

EL-CAMINO
Friday December 28th
The Prince Of Wales, Kettering
Back by popular demand for some psychobilly festive fun. Music from 9.30pm, free entry

JOE CORKRAM
Saturday December 29th
The Three Horseshoes, Ecton
Acoustic singer-songwriter from Northampton. Music from 9pm, free entry

 

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: The Wax Lyrical Sound

Northampton’s gritty rap-rock quartet The Wax Lyrical Sound have re-emerged after a fairly quiet twelve months to finish 2018 strongly, including the release of ‘Precious Little Things’ [hear it below]….

Northampton’s gritty rap-rock quartet The Wax Lyrical Sound have re-emerged after a fairly quiet twelve months to finish 2018 strongly, including the release of ‘Precious Little Things’ [hear it below]. New Boots spoke to singer Simon Meekey about this new beginning.

How did you guys get together?
TWLS were formed in 2013 by drummer Ryan Ashmore. He recruited his old bassist, Neil Bland, from Princes Street and after some persistent pestering, frontman Simon Meekey joined. Initially a three-piece, the puzzle was complete when guitarist Ali King joined onboard a month later. The band formed because Ryan wanted to achieve more and wanted to produce a more unique sound. Our sound is eccentric, unique and not like any generic music. It has a balance which works like no other and from the feedback we get, most people like it.

What was the reaction like to the first couple of EPs?
The first few EP’s were good. It’s funny when you make a record and think its the dogs dinner at first glance. When you develop and become technically better in what you do, everything becomes more nitty gritty and every little detail counts. Its small margins and its those small margins that determine whether you achieve a ticket sale for a show or not.

Who are the current influences that are getting the guys fired up? You’re a bit heavier these days, aren’t you…
In terms of influences, we have many that have inspired us along the years. Beastie Boys, The One Hundred, Rage Against the Machine, Crazy Town, System of a Down, Scroobius Pip, Jamie T bigger artists such as Eminem, Dr. Dre. Funnily enough, the whole band started due to an influence by Skindred. Much is not related to music either, most influences comes from day to day life, current affairs, media and things happening in the brain. There is no specific style we have though or we aspire to have, we just do what we feel is right at the time. I think our natural progression has made us heavier and I think we needed a part of that to appeal to more crowds and be able to play more shows.

Tell us about this new song ‘Precious Little Things’. It’s the first of a bunch of singles from you, right?
So the next release will be sometime in 2019! No set date, we’re not in a rush. We take things at our pace and we control what we want to do. Some say there’s a demand but, as we’ve learnt from previous experiences, music shouldn’t be rushed. We have ‘Precious Little Things’ currently out on all platforms, soon to be followed by ‘Human Race’ and others. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and keep streaming!

What are your live shows like?
Well the only way we can describe them is if you’re there to soak them in. Normally full of energy and bespoke, we aim to capture audiences and engage them with our lyrics and raw sounds. I used to be much more energetic but due to excessive alcohol intake, my gut has decided to slow down for now!

How was the Skindred support show at The Roadmender?
The show with Skindred and Sonic Boom Six at Roadmender was mint! Collectively couldn’t of asked for anything better. We didn’t expect a very large crowd because a majority don’t really watch the first acts or are late arriving. To our surprise however, and fair play to the crowd, the room was packed and we received some nice comments and feedback. Benji from Skindred even caught some of the set! Hopefully gigs like that will open some doors for us and get us similar support slots in the future!

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We take things as they come. A lot of bands are stuck up their own arses nowadays and we haven’t got time for it. Its a shame really, but each to their own. Some see it as competition and its not: the music scene should be a hub where artists influence each other. Luckily we have made some good friends from the scene, and always look forward to playing shows together. There’s some cracking promoters on the scene too who really look after set bands. In terms of favourite venues, Roadmender is always good, The Craufurd Arms, Bedford Esquires, The Lab are all great little spots – and the list goes on!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Last album I physically bought was Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At The Disco. Prior to that was Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino by Arctic Monkeys, and what a belter it was! Very different, but all do excellent things!

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We want to continue to enjoy what we do, continue to entertain and continue to create good music! I think those three things are vital to bands and artists, because when it feels like a chore, it might be time to have a reshuffle. We collectively had a reshuffle this year, and are happy with the outcome and where we want to be. We plan to continue to build our reputation and play some of the best stages across the UK, and even overseas!

Precious Little Things is out now across the digital platforms

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 19th – Dec 25th

LAY IT DOWN VOLUME 7 Thursday December 20th The Lab, Northampton The grime/hip-hop/spoken word open mic night is now a fixture on the calendar. Featured artists this time round are…

LAY IT DOWN VOLUME 7
Thursday December 20th
The Lab, Northampton
The grime/hip-hop/spoken word open mic night is now a fixture on the calendar. Featured artists this time round are Napps and Jay Mac. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE BIG DIRTY + THE WAX LYRICAL SOUND
Thursday December 20th
The King Billy, Northampton
Bringing some seriously big rock, red and black check shirts, and their ‘Whiskey Solo’s’ (can you finish the bottle before C-diddy finishes the solo?), they also are promoting brand new mini-album Sex Rock City. Doors 8.30pm, free entry
 
AOIFE FOLEY, WITH JOSHUA RYAN
Friday December 21st
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
After playing with Northampton band Lucky, Foley decided to channel the inspirations from that group project into a personal one. She is joined by Joshua Ryan on guitar. This is part of The ‘This Is What Makes Us Girls’ Christmas special, which also features DJs Gutta Versayce and morechapatti, and poets Katie Higgins and Chloe Minnie Mayo. Doors 8pm, free entry
 
HUBCAP + THE MARKUS REEVES BROTHERHOOD + MOJO MULES
Friday December 21st
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
A night of rip roaring bluesy rock. The night kicks off with John and Craig: local multi-instrumentalist musicians who perform as a two-piece upbeat blues duo. If Wilco Johnson, Neil Young and Billy Bragg had a Leicester baby they’d call it The MRB. Headlined by ShoeTown psychedelic blue rockers Dave and Dan. Doors 9pm, free entry
 
STORMBRINGER + REAPER-X + WE ARE GIANTS + PROTEUS
Saturday December 22nd
The Black Prince, Northampton
Northants hard rockers who just get better and better top the bill. Plus metallers from Corby, riff giants from ShoeTown, and opening with more metal – from Gloucestershire. Doors 6pm, £6 tickets
 
THE VINCENT VEGA BAND + SKYFLOOD
Saturday December 22nd
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Skewed alternative low-fi indie flavourings in a Lloyd Cole style, with support from Craig O’Donnell’s band of alternative pop-rock brothers. Doors 9pm, free entry
 
BLUE CARPET BAND + WRECK-AGE + DIABLOFURS + REBEL STATION
Saturday December 22nd
The White Hart, Corby
Have a punkin’ Chrimbo with this lot. Doors 6.30pm, £7 tickets
 
THE BIG DIRTY + ANNIE’S CHAPTER + IN LIMBO
Saturday December 22nd
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
A night of different shades of rock, from ShoeTown and Kettering. Doors 8pm, free entry
 
SEX PISSED DOLLS
Sunday December 23rd
The Roadmender, Northampton
All-female, all-action rockers who since 2014 have been wowing audiences with their edgy, high octane performance of classic rock and punk mixed in with their own original material. New single ‘Maniac’ was recorded at Peter Gabriel‘s famous Real World Studios and was produced by Steve Brown [Manic Street Preachers, The Cult]. Doors 7.30pm, £13 tickets
 
SACRILEGE + METAL MESSIAH + SATAN’S EMPIRE
Sunday December 23rd
The King Billy, Northampton
A night of three NWOBHM bands from the 1980s who have reformed in recent years. Doors 4pm, £4 tickets
 
DESOLATION ANGELS
Sunday December 23rd
The King Billy, Northampton
A second King Billy show today: this time it’s a melodic, classic, chorus-driven metal band from London. Doors 7pm, free entry
 
USURP, RISE + SANE (solo)
Monday December 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton 
Usurp, Rise are a 4 piece experimental, trip-hop ensemble from Brighton/Northampton, UK. Sane are not too far away from that description either: soothing electronic sonic landscapes…Doors 8pm, free entry
 
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