Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Poetic Horror

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic…

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic Horror creates instrumentals washed in reverb and erratic rattling hi-hats. Third tune ‘Blue Light’, featuring that man again L30 Robinson, just dropped, and we took this celebratory moment to ask some questions to Price.

How did this project begin?
I started getting into beat making and production. I’ve always had a love for hip-hop and electronic music. The idea that I could just sit in my room, make music on a computer, put some vocals on top and just release it to the world really just fascinated me.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
I guess the sound is kinda lo-fi and homegrown. It’s heavily influenced by hip-hop. I have a massive love for producers like Madlib and Swedish producer Whitearmor, he is insane. I also have a lot of love for dream pop and post-punk, so some influence from those genres may also carry through.

You’re studying at BIMM London music college right now, alongside fellow Fox Chapeller Johnny, correct? How’s it all going? 
Yeah London is great. Just exploiting the student maintenance loan for music equipment and trying my best to get the work done amongst all the madness.

What was the reaction like to to the first two Poetic Horror songs you put out, ‘City Air’ and ‘Astronaut’?
Yeah it’s been good. I’ve had so much love and support from the hip-hop community in Northampton, and yeah it seems a lot people rate what I’ve done so far.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Blue Light’.
‘Blue Light’ is a little collaboration between me and the super talented L30 Robinson. I just do a little sing and he goes in hard with some bars. It’s nice.

Will this ever be a live project too?
Yeah 100%. I’ve just bought a portable sampler from eBay, so I shall be hitting the road very soon.

Is Fox Chapel simply on a bit of a break now? Will there be new sounds and shows in 2019?
I’m not sure, everyone’s just doing their own thing. I hope that we can maybe bring it back and play some shows. We have a lot of unreleased music and it’s depressing me.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Them A Mad Over Me by Yellowman.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
After I throw a couple more tracks out I really want to make a mixtape or an EP of some kind. Just sit down and focus on something bigger, and make something I’m proud of. So far I’ve just been making songs in one day and throwing them out and not really thinking about songwriting or anything. So yeah, just get something real good out and play some shows.

Blue Light is out now via the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Dan Pigeon

East Northamptonshire artist Dan Pigeon has given 2019 one of it’s most esoteric and avant-garde releases already, in the form of the ‘Milky Grey’ EP. Trying to describe this skittering,…

East Northamptonshire artist Dan Pigeon has given 2019 one of it’s most esoteric and avant-garde releases already, in the form of the ‘Milky Grey’ EP. Trying to describe this skittering, snaking, abstract lo-fi beast is a tough one; best to just read the interview with him and head to the streaming link below, yeah.

How/why/when did you start this project?
I started Dan Pigeon around March last year, when I bought my laptop. I’ve always wanted to start making music and had loads of ideas in my head, but never actually got round to it because I had no proper means of getting it recorded and mixed. Teaching myself to produce has been a really interesting challenge and I’m actually really happy with how quickly I’ve picked it up. I’m not amazing, but I’ve got the basics I guess!

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
I’d describe it as atmospheric, intimate, almost haunting. My EP is probably a bit of a weird listen to a lot of people. It fits into the whole alternative rock/lo-fi region, but I cant place exactly where. I haven’t really got round to defining it just yet, because it’s in its early days. I’m really hoping to evolve my sound for the next EP – refine my skills and really hone in on creating an atmosphere that no one else has done before.
I’m into a whole range of music. I spent a lot of time trying to expand my music taste last year and I’m really glad I did. I’d have to say my favourite band is Teen Suicide. I’m also really into The Wytches, Earl Sweatshirt, King Krule, Radiohead, etc. Don’t think I’ve ever related to an album more than DC Snuff Film / waste yrslef [albums by Teen Suicide]. I’m into a whole range of genres: experimental hip hop, jazz, hardcore punk, post rock, etc. But mostly I listen to a lot of dreary lo-fi and anti-folk stuff.

You’re part of the Acolytes world, correct?
Yeah I am actually. My brother’s the lead guitarist. I’m really close with all the members, and two of them play in my band when I perform as Dan Pigeon. We’re all part of the ‘NN10 Noise Club’, which is more of an inside joke between us but I guess it’s a music collective. Shout out to Nailbreaker and Dylon Dean – two of the solo projects from Acolytes. They’re really making some sick stuff at the moment, and I’m too excited to see where they go. From what I know Acolytes are gonna be back at some point, but its a mystery to know when exactly.

Tell us about this ‘Milky Grey’ EP.
The EP is something I spent about nine months on. It’s six tracks long and about 20 minutes in length. It’s a collection of songs I’ve written about some of the stuff that’s been going on in my life. It’s mainly about my mental illnesses and just some observations I’ve made about life in general. The world’s a really messy place and I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to how shit everything is, so having the opportunity to express myself has been great. It’s really important to me that people don’t just put it on shuffle because otherwise it doesn’t flow. The songs are really contextual to the actual EP, so just taking random snippets really doesn’t do it much justice in my opinion. I want people to listen to it when it fits their mood. It’s not something I’ve made with the intention for people to have it on as background music, it’s much more intended for when you’re feeling a bit gloomy about everything. Listening it out of context or on the wrong day could ruin it in my opinion, so if you’re gonna give it a listen take in what I’ve just said.
One of my main intentions with it was to make something that’s a bit quirky and experimental, so I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out in that sense. I don’t want to sound like everyone else. I’m so bored of hearing the same sound time and time again. It does make it harder to find the right audience though – alternative music isn’t for everyone, so I can imagine a few people listened to it and thought it was boring or whatever, but I’m fine with that.

What was the first live show like? The music on the EP is quite intricate and lo-fi, was it an easy thing to translate to a band environment?
I did a launch night at The Garibaldi Hotel on the 5th of January, and live shows tend to play out differently, which is something I’m almost glad about. I tend to do more energetic, punky covers of my songs because it’s more fun and I think people are more likely to watch it and get involved. I don’t really have that much if a fanbase, so I’m worried people wouldn’t really get it if I played the songs exactly like the EP.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Yeah I guess I am. Over the last few years I’ve been to a load of local gigs in Northampton, mainly at The Lab and the Gari. I’ve only really pulled myself together and organised gigs of my own recently but I have met and seen some really great artists in and around Northampton – shoutout to the NN10 Noise Club especially, but also big shoutout to I’m Just Really Sad, Sharkteeth Grinder, Grynn. So many great bands in Northampton, and it’s great to see a scene of something you’re passionate about.

What has been your favourite Dan Pigeon moment so far?
Probably releasing the EP. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with it but over the last few weeks I’ve really become a lot more proud of it, and I’m progressively getting happier with the stuff that I’m making. It’s really exciting for me that I’m able to be doing this, so anything’s a plus!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Party Suite by Dan Blake. One of those albums I just stumbled across and I’m so glad I did. Some really funky, vibrant coffee shop jazz with some really engaging sections throughout – definitely worth a listen.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What general plans do you have?
To be honest I really wanna start building a fanbase and playing a load more gigs. Starting Dan Pigeon has been so fun so far and I cant wait to see what else it has in store for me. It’s something I really care about and want to share with people, so writing more music and evolving is gonna be really fun. I’m hopefully going to London to do a philosophy degree later this year, so I’m gonna really throw myself in at the deep end and try and spread my music as much as possible. It’s something that’s truly special and it’ll help me build my confidence massively.

The Milky Grey EP is out now via the usual places

 

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New Music Friday: XOV

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30…

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30 Robinson. New Boots wanted to learn more.

How did you start making music? Where’s the name come from?
When I was younger I used to write down little raps to do at our local community centre, but never took it very seriously to begin with because the rhymes were all over the place and I just didn’t feel like I could ever be successful at the craft. But when I started uni I used to write down raps when I was having bad days and spoke openly about depression, anxiety and other mental illness that I have witnessed or gone through. I worked very closely with Leo Robinson in promoting his music and decided I had enough confidence to show him this rap (which went on to be called ‘Paradise Is Scary’). He really enjoyed it and it dropped last July and since then I started doing rap.
The name XOV was just something silly I used to rhyme everything with and kinda kept the name. It may seem corny but I had a very lucid dream about being on stage and people chanting it and I always wanted that dream to become a reality, so I thought why not call myself the name.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
My main influences are emo rappers such as Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, but I also grew up listening to the greats like Wu Tang Clan, Grandmaster Flash and even bands such as Nirvana and AC/DC I’ve always been brought up around such a broad range of music.

What was the reaction like to ‘Paradise Is Scary’ and ‘Switch Up’?
‘Paradise Is Scary’ is my first track I ever released and I was really surprised with the reception, it gained 1.5k views and although I’m proud of the song I do believe the sound has changed and I’ve become so much more confident over the months of its release. ‘Switch Up’ hasn’t been released properly yet but it’s a powerful story of not having confidence to speak to a girl and Leo plays the voice of reason. Funny thing about that song is we had a very similar talk a few years ago, so it’s technically based on a true story.

Tell us about this new release, ‘Ledgur’, a collaboration with L30 Robinson.
‘Ledgur’ is a song about pushing yourself away from everyone around you due to a lifestyle that is very sheltered. It’s one of my favourite songs of mine as it has some lyrics that are very personal. The back to back with me and Leo has to be my favourite, as it really showcases both of our abilities and shows people we are a solid team.

What are your live shows like? You’ve been doing some spots with Leo, haven’t you?
I have been doing shows since July alongside Leo. They are amazing, I love performing live. The reception I’ve received has been overwhelming considering I’m still really new to performing and rap music, but people always say how they can’t believe I’m still new and that’s the best feeling.

How important has Leo been to developing your sounds and skills?
Leo has been a huge help, he is always helping me try develop my own individual sound. I’ve known Leo for many years and worked alongside him promoting his music, and even helped towards a record label named Wordworkers a few years ago. So we have a rapport already; we have very similar ideas for how we want our music to sound. He is a hardworking artist and mentor.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite people/venues to play with?
I feel like Northampton’s music scene is very diverse with some amazing talented people. I have found artists that are very similar to the type of sound I’m going towards: people like Poetic Horror, Kiao, L30, Mio Flux and Patchy The Rockstar are just a few that I really cannot wait to work alongside. I often perform at the Lab on Thursdays with the Lay It Down lot, it has to be my favourite time to perform as the feedback is amazing and there are so many different acts who vary in sound – from rappers, poets and other acts – it’s really good!

What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It has to be performing at Twinfest in July at the Pomfret Arms and the Lamplighter. The atmosphere was amazing and the other acts who performed were awesome. The festival is great for artists like me to develop into stronger artists.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Lil Peep – Come Over When Your Sober Part 2. This man’s music means so much to me as he was so open about things other people shy away from, that’s including drug take and mental health and suicide and uses melodic rap to get the messages across. It’s my favourite album of last year.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
I want to release my EP ‘Dystopia Is Heaven’ and really focus on becoming a confident performer as well as maybe even appearing on radio with one of my songs. I plan to release as much music as I physically can to show people the different styles of rap I have from flows to delivery.

 

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New Music Friday: Type 22

New Northampton indie-punks Type 22 have released their first audio recordings, a double A-side single ‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’, and there’s no denying they’re a couple of lo-fi bangers. New Boots got the…

New Northampton indie-punks Type 22 have released their first audio recordings, a double A-side single ‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’, and there’s no denying they’re a couple of lo-fi bangers. New Boots got the lowdown from singer/guitarist Cameron Godfrey.

How did you guys get together?
I joined the band about three years ago through Tommy [guitarist] and Lewis [bassist]. We had two different members who have left, as they moved further away. After that we played as just me, Harry [keyboards], Lewis and Tommy for a year or so, and then just last year we found a drummer, Luke, who suited the band perfectly.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I would say it’s in some elements British punk, indie and rock. A mix of Granddaddy and various other artists in the indie and punk genre, like Parquet Courts.

Tell us everything about this double A-side single, ‘Rot’/’Haunt Me’.
‘ROT’ is a tune that I wrote in my bedroom: at first trying to make a song that sounded a little bit like Highly Suspect, but absolutely failed and made something else instead. Then I brought it to the band and then we completely changed it again . The song is lyrically based off the poem ‘Ozymandias’, showing that people in power will eventually ROT away. ‘Haunt Me’, written by Harry, is about trying to justify being selfish and ignoring the plights of the outside world.

What are your live shows like?
Our live shows are very energetic and loud! We like to present our music in our movements and interaction with each other.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Most of the time we play locally, but recently we’ve been starting to play elsewhere. We recently played at the Craufurd Arms which was great, but our most enjoyable gig was at the Roade Football Club. One band we played with was called Bilk [Essex punks] and we became really big fans of them to this day.
 
What has been your favourite band moment of the past 12 months?
Probably at Roade FC, just because we had the opportunity to play a two hour set and the crowd were amazing and so into the music.
 
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I streamed Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age, and the last album I bought, on vinyl, was Joy As An Act Of Resistance by Idles.
 
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We are all hoping to become a bigger band and play at bigger gigs. I think we all want to be able to fill a big room, such as the Roadmender, with total strangers that came to listen to us . That’s our goal.
 
‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’ is out via the usual download/streaming sites
 

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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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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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The New Boots Review Of 2018

It’s been a cracking 12 months for the Northants music scene, with musicians flying the flag for our county on a local, national, and international level. To celebrate, we’ve had…

It’s been a cracking 12 months for the Northants music scene, with musicians flying the flag for our county on a local, national, and international level.

To celebrate, we’ve had a run though of some of our favourite things this year. Before we get going, a quick caveat. We love all the acts we write about, but we can’t include everyone and talk about everything. If you or your favourite are not in there, just remember; there’s always next year…

So, without further ado here’s the ramblings of New Boots editors Phil Moore and David Jackson. Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year to all. [most photos by David Jackson]

SONG OF THE YEAR
Phil: “For me it’s Tom Grennan and ‘Barbed Wire’. Yes, Tom’s from Bedford but his backing band includes Northants musicians Danny Connors and Adam Gammage. Danny is a long-time local songwriter and musician and he co-wrote the single with Tom. I think it’s the best thing on his debut album Lighting Matches that came out earlier this year.”

Dave: “For me, it’s ‘The Modern Man’ by Ginger Snaps. Jay Brook has been putting out great records for years in Gingers Snaps, and with previous bands. I think ‘The Modern Man’ was an almost a perfect mix of what Ginger Snaps is about: great beats, scratching and guitar hook all rolled into one.”

Phil: “I also want to mention The Barratts‘ second comeback single from this year ‘The Garrison’. The band came back after a break from recording and that tune still has the essence of The Barratts but it’s moved the sound on with a bit of a harder edge. Luckily they’ve still got a brilliant way with a chorus.”

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Phil: “This is a much harder category because we’ve had fewer albums out than singles, but the quality of those I’ve heard has been excellent. Three stood out most for me. Firstly Domino Blitz by Tim Muddiman & The Strange. It is a serious piece of art which he clearly put his heart and soul into. “It has a sort of Nick Cave / Tom Waits dark blues/noir rock feel, and has some great arrangements.

“Secondly Venus Fly Trap and Icon. This is possibly the best album they’ve done, which was a bit of a surprise. “It’s a diverse record with lots of memorable hooks, both guitar parts and vocal lines.

 
“It’s also worth mentioning P -Hex, who have been together for almost 30 years now and finally put out nan album, Quantum Funkanics, this year. I think they have previously not bothered to do an album because they thought they were predominantly a live act, but I’m glad they did because it is brilliant.”

Dave: “There’s not much I can add to what you’ve said, but the album I’ve probably listened to the most has also been Domino Blitz. I really enjoyed Tim’s previous record Paradise Runs Deeper so was looking forward to this one and it really didn’t disappoint. As you said, a great, dark bluesy record which I really rate. It was great to have him here this year playing some of those songs as well.”

BEST LIVE ACT
Dave: “Sharkteeth Grinder were one of the highlights at the Rocked Up Hootennany this summer, and one of the best local live bands I’ve seen this year. They were probably a band I saw photos of before hearing them live and knew they were someone I’d love.

“There’s a fantastic controlled chaos about them, and even with the disconnect of a main stage and barrier at the Hootenanny, Bobbo was out in the crowd, screaming his heart out putting everything into that performance. They’re just fantastic to watch live.”

Phil: “They refer to their performances as exhibitions and yes, they’re very passionate and seriously and in love what they do. They’ll play anywhere to anyone wherever there’s an audience. They’re one of the sincerest bands I’ve ever spoken to. If you like hardcore they’re absolutely a band for you.

“I’d also like to mention Karl Phillips and The Rejects. I’ve only seen Karl and krew a couple of times this year, but they are very tight and very entertaining. Karl has tons of personality, and the band went on a massive tour this year, which takes guts in this day and age. Each venue that books them seems to fall in love with them and want them back.

“More new songs in 2019 please Karl.”

EVENT OF THE YEAR
Dave: “I’ve just mentioned it, but the Rocked Up Hootenanny was amazing and without doubt one of my highlights of the year. What Marc Collins and the Rocked Up team and other promoters involved achieved in 2018 was fantastic. 

“The Hootenanny has been growing year by year and the ambition to create something on that scale has to be massively applauded.
“There was a fantastic mix of local and national touring acts and to get the final full show by Arcane Roots was as huge coup.

“Yeah, it was a bit windy, but it was a great day and the organisers did a great job of pulling together a really diverse day of music with rock, alternative and hip-hop across three stages. Hopefully, despite his pending move to Hamburg, Marc and the team will be back next year with another Hootenanny.”

Phil: “The event of the year for me has to be the return of Bauhaus – if only under the name of Peter Murphy and David J. “The pair hadn’t played Bauhaus material together in this town for 36 years and that in itself was a huge moment for Northampton – and they played two shows!

“I went to the first and it was fantastic tour de force. Their music, which was always visceral and revolutionary, sounded great and I feel it was a moment you had to revel in.”

Dave: “We also have to mention Twinfest, as each year it goes from strength to strength.
“It opened for the first time on the Thursday in the Guildhall’s Great Hall, which felt really special. It was a great opening night, and I hope they’re able to do something similar again next year.”

Phil: “The organisers were very on it this year, and utilised each of the venues really well. It’s a very small-scale organisation working on a small budget and they are maximising the results. All power to them for achieving that – I hope they can keep it up in the future.”

BEST TOURING ACT TO COME TO NORTHANTS
David: “I think it’s been another strong year for bands coming to the county, and for me a couple stick out. It was great to see post-hardcore legend and former Far frontman Jonah Matranga play all of Water & Solutions at the White Hart in Corby.

“Jonah seems to be over in the UK every couple of years and besides being one of the nicest guys his work rate is incredible. It was the first time I’d seen Jonah play with a band as he normally just tours acoustically. Rob Reeves from Run Your Tongue also deserves a ‘thanks’ for making that gig happen.

“My second choice would probably be Gary Numan at the Roadmender. When you look at the size of shows Numan is playing it was a real coup for Northampton to get a show. He’s still writing fantastic songs and his last couple of albums I think have been among the best of his career. Another mention must go to Tim Muddiman representing Northampton on bass for Numan.”

Phil: “It was a big, big deal for him to come and play a show that size and we’re lucky. I’m sure Tim helped make that happen.

“I’d like to pick Don Broco. They’ve had a massive year with their album Technologyand they’re playing to packed audiences. The Roadmender gig sold out almost immediately and they’re from the region so a big shout out must go to them for their amazing efforts and great live show.

“Also, The Lovely Eggs. One of my favourite DIY bands, who also came to the Roadmender. They’ve been growing year by year and are releasing quality albums and playing quality shows. The atmosphere at their gigs is always extremely friendly, and you feel like you’re part of their family. Which is apt, as they also bring their kid on tour as well!”

ACT OF THE YEAR
Dave: “I think there’s two we need to talk about here: Sarpa Salpa and slowthai.

“The Sarpa lads put in an incredible amount of work this year. They played more than 20 festivals, countless regular shows and supported some big acts along the way, while also headlining the MaNo-Musikfestival in Germany, playing to about 2,000 people.

“They’ve released a couple of great singles and filled venues across the region.”

Phil: “They’ve had a fantastic year and are the whole package really. “They’ve gigged their asses off and are a great representation of what you can achieve. We love them and will continue to support them as much as we can.

“Next for them, I think, is start to get getting more national press/radio exposure, and then we can expect big things beyond conquering the east Midlands.”

Dave: “Onto slowthai – who currently is gracing the cover of numerous major publications while featuring in a lot of ‘2019 hype’ lists.

Phil: “While he’s not been working the local scene as such,  he is very much a product of Northampton and is heading for the stars as we speak.

“2018 has been a phenomenal rise and breakthrough year for him. He’s put out a succession of riotous singles, and the snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger. We may not see him locally much more, but he’s a guy with bucket loads of charm and we should all love him.”

FLYING THE FLAG – REPPING NORTHANTS AROUND THE GLOBE
Dave: “Billy Lockett. He’s had a hell of a year, hasn’t he. Seeing the ELO tour poster with his name on, playing every major stadium in the UK and Europe was great.

“I went to one of the London O2 Arena shows and it was incredible to see Billy’s name in lights either side of the stage, and the reaction he was getting from fans. It was only a few years ago it seems he was still trying to work out exactly who he wanted to be, trying different line-ups and formats and it all seems to have clicked this year for him.

“He’s released some cracking songs along the way as well.”

Phil: “This year was a real moment for him. I think you could tell how much it meant to him to come and fill the Royal back in May I really think now the sky is the limit for him.”

Dave: “We must also mention Alistair Wilkinson who has been playing drums with him as well.”

Phil: “Yeah, he’s a great guy with a lot of talent. He’s very in demand as a session drummer and I hope they continue to work together because it will really feel like a Northampton band then.”

Phil: “We’ve already mentioned Adam Gammage and Danny Connors playing with Tom Grennan, and it’s worth pointing out guys have been rehearsing at Stalkers Rehearsal Studio in Northampton. It’s amazing when you think we have top ten artists on our doorstep like that.

Greg Coulson is now playing keyboards in Spiritualized, which is fantastic for him, and you have to continually mention Ben Gordelier and Andy Crofts recording and playing with Paul Weller.

“Weller released his best album in years in 2018 with True Meanings, and they played some fantastic gigs. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them two next year with the return of The Moons.”

Dave: “There’s then also people we’ve previously discussed like Tim Muddiman touring across the world with Gary Numan.”

ONES TO WATCH IN 2019
Dave: “Two bands I’ve been really impressed with this year have been King Purple and The Keepers.

“It’s an interesting one, because both kinda occupy genres which aren’t my immediate ‘go to’. ‘Stuck In The Rough’ is a cracking tune and I know King Purple have been gaining a lot of traction. I’ve seen them a few times and every time they’ve really impressed.

“They’re clearly really talented guys and I hope they going to have a good 2019.

Phil: “I think their sound is very ‘now’ and a mixture of American and English influences and that always translates and travels quite well in this day and age.

Dave: “I met up with The Keepers recently and was very impressed with frontman Jordan’s drive and determination. He clearly knows exactly where he wants to take the band, and how he wants to achieve it.

“I just think with that drive and work ethic, they’re halfway there. They’ve got a good live show and are writing some good music.”

Phil: “I can see them getting better and better and I hope they get the support they deserve locally. They mix a few genres; there’s a bit of indie, psych and mod in there, and there’s enough going on in the pot there to satisfy anyone really.”

Phil: “I want to mention Weirdoe and That Joe Payne. “Weirdoe is a local rapper who seems to be a great character, and has built an impressive YouTube following. Aaron’s got some mad rhyming skills and his flow is always on point. His music is truthful, with some gallows humour, which inevitably brings [healthy] comparisons to Eminem.

“With Joe Payne – I think you are obligated to say ‘Joe Payne, former vocalist of The Enid‘ to give him some context! He left The Enid a couple of years ago now though. He already has fans and the press on his side from those times, he has a great voice and great piano skills. He’s got enough self-awareness to take everything with a pinch of salt, and that’s really important in this industry.

“Joe, and everyone else, New Boots hopes you have a kick-ass 2019.”

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