Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Tom Rose & The Heathen Orchestra

Tom Rose and The Heathen Orchestra are Northamptonshire’s fine twisted blues purveyors. Tom is on guitar/vocals, Neil on drums, Toby on percussion, Dan on synths/backing vocals, and Matt on bass/backing…

Tom Rose and The Heathen Orchestra are Northamptonshire’s fine twisted blues purveyors. Tom is on guitar/vocals, Neil on drums, Toby on percussion, Dan on synths/backing vocals, and Matt on bass/backing vocals. After impressing with their debut album, new EP ‘Tail and Fins’ offers up another blast of great songs played with fire and skill. New Boots spoke to Tom to get the lowdown.

How did you guys get together?
The Heathen Orchestra didn’t so much get together as evolve over what seems like an epoch. We are I would say an inevitable accident of time; five musical organisms that emerged from the soup to create something greater than the sum of our parts. Though Matt [bassist] did remind me that I approached him in a graveyard on a wet Thursday morning and asked him to join [true story].

How would you describe your sound?
We sound like a group of people who have been around long enough to realise our own insignificance! For this reason we play because we love to play. I think this comes across in the raw, unfiltered nature of our music.
For purposes of classification, pigeonholing and hyperbole filled biographies we declare that we stand tall and testify from the gospel of visceral, blues-inflected alternative rock. We tell twisted tales of terrible injustices, crimes of passion, despair and strange goings-on. Our music is often filled with dread and torment, but we do not suffer melancholia – with our music we fight melancholy. Our songs are born of a love of life, and bristle with blistering, elemental energy and a drive to advance to better days.

Who has influenced the songs?
As a band, we each have wildly differing influences and spend hours ridiculing each other for our respective crimes against taste! Personally I am influenced as much by other musician’s attitudes to creativity as I am by their actual music. I love Bowie’s restlessness and need to keep moving forward. I see Dylan’s bloody-mindedness as thing to aspire to [the band would probably say I have achieved it]. Most of all though, I admire Leonard Cohen’s humility and dedication to his craft; if I ever think I’m doing alright I listen to his ‘Avalanche’ and remind myself how much I have left to learn, and get straight back to work!

What was the reaction like to your eponymous debut album of 2018?
Well, we are people who love to get together and play music. However we are not people who love to do hours of promotion! So the few who heard our debut album were overwhelmingly positive about it. We are trying hard to mend our ways!

Tell us all about the new EP.
It’s called ‘Tail and Fins’, it’s approximately sixteen minutes long and it’s a taut, muscular account of the last eighteen months as seen through my eyes: torn apart, fed into a wood-chipper, set on fire then reassembled through the medium of song by the immensely talented Heathen Orchestra. It’s highly personal, deeply political and a whole lot of fun to play.
These are incredibly fractious and dangerous times, I think any writer with a pulse would be hard pressed not to find inspiration! The challenge I set myself when working on these songs was to not shy away from the darkness or severity of the problems we all face, but to find a way of documenting them and turning them on their heads. Kind of like saying, “fuck you, we know you’re out there and that you want us to roll over, but you will not break our spirit, we will not give you that victory – and here’s some goodtime music to listen to while we’re working out how to kick your buttocks”.
I don’t like to go into too much detail of what individual songs are about. I think anything I reveal can only steal a bit of the song away from the listener. If I ever find out what Don Van Vliet was trying to tell us with ‘Bat Chain Puller’ I’m sure it would lose a little magic! That is part of the joy of music and why it should not be discussed in minutiae.
I will say that we are incredibly proud of this EP; it is a clear step forward from our previous recordings. I think we have managed to retain the energy and passion of our debut album, but with the extra focus and dynamism that an additional eighteen months of playing live has brought to the band.
We decided to record at Parlour Studios again for the simple reason that Neil [our drummer] owns the studio and he is a brilliant engineer so we would be foolish to go anywhere else [though Neil may appreciate the holiday]!

Describe the live show in five words or less.
Universal redemption.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
I really wouldn’t want to sully the reputation of any other bands by saying they were of similar mind to us!
To be honest, we are quite reclusive, we love playing in Northampton and the music community is the most welcoming and vibrant around. Every time we venture out, people are kind, friendly and supportive but we could not claim to be part of any scene. We are akin to the strange vaguely familiar uncle who crawls out of the woods once a year and everyone watches nervously, unsure what they might do and then they disappear again, only to return when you least expect it with a new tale to tell.

Favourite bands/venues?
We are very fortunate that we have just signed to Old Hotel Records, which is home to some of our favourite bands including Humblebee and Kenneth J Nash. I am a big fan of Jono and the Uke Dealers; Jono is the very essence of everything that is good about Northampton, I enjoy the strange grooves and melodies of The Drones Club, and obviously The Jazz Butcher himself – Pat Fish. Without a doubt though, if I could bring one Northampton hero back for one night it would be the wonderful Liam Dullaghan; his shows were among the best I have seen anywhere.
As for venues, Northampton is awash with great places for music but I would absolutely love to perform at the Playhouse Theatre. I think it would be the perfect setting in which to bring our songs to life.

What has been your favourite band moment of last year?
This is an easy one! Twinfest at the Pomfret was incredible. We are huge fans of everything Twinfest does and stands for, so to play for a barn packed full of people clapping and cheering along to our music was absolutely life-affirming.

What was the last album you bought or streamed?
I recently bought A Bunch of Meninos by Portuguese band Dead Combo. I highly recommend searching them out; they play sinister sounding Latin instrumental music and have collaborated with people like Marc Ribot (my guitar hero) and Mark Lanegan.

What is your burning desire for the band? What plans do you have?
We have no great Machiavellian plan! Playing music and writing songs is something I have always done and will always do. I think it’s innately human to want to share our stories and I am in no way a great talker; hence music is where I tell my truth [admittedly often couched in metaphor, allegory and a maelstrom of noise].
We do hope to play as many shows as possible this coming year. Live is without doubt where our songs come into their own. Standing up and singing in front of a crowd is such a terrifying and unnatural thing to do, but once we take to the stage we revert to our lizard brains and play as if our lives depend on it. It’s utterly cathartic and makes for an exciting show! Ultimately though, having a band of friends in the Heathen Orchestra who want to help bring my songs to life is a real privilege and so long as that continues I’ll be happy.

The Tail and Fins EP is available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple music, Amazon and Tidal. All proceeds from first year of the EP’s release are going to Amnesty International.

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New Music Friday: Baby Lung ‘Shoetown Blues’ EP

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed…

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed tones all year, and to cap it off a great 2019 with this work is fitting, and should see their star ascend. New Boots editor Phil Moore sat down with Maxx Riley, Mat Day, Harry Dinnage and Matt Willett to talk about the band and EP.

The ShoeTown Blues EP is out now from all the usual digital outlets. Baby Lung play The Black Prince in Northampton tonight, and then again on February 1st as part of Independent Venue Week. Thanks to The Charles Bradlaugh for hosting the filming, and Ryan Johnson for putting it together. 

 

 

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New Music Friday: Tragic

Tragic are three uncompromising and worldly teenagers. Their grunge-punk self-titled debut EP is brimming with life, and everyone who has heard/seen them so far immediately joins the fan club. There’s…

Tragic are three uncompromising and worldly teenagers. Their grunge-punk self-titled debut EP is brimming with life, and everyone who has heard/seen them so far immediately joins the fan club. There’s simply no denying they’re here to shake things up. New Boots speaks to singer/guitarist Cameron Godfrey about how we got here.

How did you guys get together?
Me and Lewis were bored of all the music we were listening to and playing at the time, and then we found the culture of punk and we found it as a convenient release from all the stresses of life. A way to let out what we are thinking and feeling without words; leaving it all behind us so we could have a happier day. Then when Will joined the band and we played our first gig at the Garibaldi Hotel we realised we can use that feeling of release and share it with everyone who listens and comes to see us live. And that became what we strive to do with everything to this day.

How would you describe your sound?
Post-punk/90s grunge. We love bands such as Nirvana, Idles, Metz, Wire, Joy Division and Surf Curse, but we’re also big fans of Chicago and Portishead.

What was the reaction like to the ‘Walking’ single, and the video too? We saw quite a lot of video shares last month…
We were massively surprised by about the amount of support we were getting from it, and it made us feel like we were part of something so much bigger than three teens jamming in my garage.

Tell us about this self-titled EP.
This EP is our first EP, showing our earlier work when the band started, as we recorded it soon after. It’s a raw representation of what we think is pulling people down in their lives, such as toxic media. We our very proud of what we have accomplished with this EP, and are ready to show everyone what else we can do. It was recorded with Jay Russell at Parlour Studios, who did an amazing job and was so easy to work with and may be one of the nicest people I know.

You like to get out there and play live as often. What’s makes for a good Tragic live show?
A good show for me is when were all looking at each other at the end drenched in sweat, tired as fuck and knowing that we enjoyed ourselves, knowing we have accomplished something. It doesn’t matter to us what the audience thinks of us; the only thing that matters to me is knowing that we have played the best we can – and we just hope that they have as much fun as we do.

Any favourite bands to play with?
Blood-Visions is way up at the top of our list of favourite bands to play with, but we also fucking love playing with Nailbreaker – he’s such an easy person to work with, and is such a lovely guy.

What has been your favourite band moment of 2019?
At the last Garibaldi Hotel show in November, when everyone sang back the lyrics to ‘Walking’. It was the most surreal experience of my life.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Sessions (live) by Pond

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Our plans are to spread the word, and keep releasing and making music because it’s what we love to do and it’s a beautiful thing when you have the freedom to do this. With all the technology we have we will be making music no matter how much money we have.

The Tragic EP is out now via the usual digital platforms. Tonight [Dec 13th] they play The Lab with Skirt and Ex-Pets.

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New Music Friday: Primal Holocaust

Northants death metallers Primal Holocaust have put together a powerhouse debut EP to be mighty proud of. New Boots spoke to singer Sonny King about the nascent band. Where are…

Northants death metallers Primal Holocaust have put together a powerhouse debut EP to be mighty proud of. New Boots spoke to singer Sonny King about the nascent band.

Where are you all based? All over the county?
We are based mostly out of Northampton, but James [guitar] comes from Daventry and Olegs [bass] is from Kettering.

How did you guys get together?
Dave and Jack were friends already, and both had experience playing music and would jam together fairly regularly was the start of Primal. On a night out at The Lab in Northampton they met Olegs for the first time and became friends. It wasn’t long before Olegs then joined the band, and some of the really early material started to take shape. When it became clear a second guitarist was needed Jack got in touch with James as they had both studied music together at college. James was [and still is] in another band at the time [Woadraider] and after a few jam sessions was welcomed into Primal. Once things had started to really take shape the search began for a vocalist. I got in touch via an ad I saw on a local musicians page, and eventually joined the group. This was my first time being in a band, and after a few sessions was formally welcomed into the group. So we officially became a five piece band in July of 2018!

How would you describe your sound?
It’s like blackened death but with a thrash metal attitude. We play fast and fun music for people to enjoy and bang their heads to. It’s heavy, it’s aggressive, and it’s honest. Our main influences are bands like Immortal, Behemoth, Anaal Nathrakh, Gojira, Skyforger, Carcass, Foetal Juice, Hate Eternal, Iron Maiden, Marduk, and King Diamond.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘Triple Headed Goat Machine’.
The EP marks the end of a year’s hard work for us. It’s a collection of the earliest songs that we created together. When we’d been together about a month we recorded two demos that we handed out at shows and put up online, so it’s been cool to finally rerecord those tracks, plus a bunch more, and show how far we’ve come. Conceptually the EP is a mixed bag! Goats with three heads and twelve tits, 40ft frost priestesses, planet-swallowing ocean demons, and of course, love. No one song is the same and we cover a good breadth in terms of style.
The artwork is a full-on indicator to the track listing, and those who’ve been following us know the origins well. The cover features the birth of the Triple Headed Goat Machine. The scourge of the earth, plague to the universe, multi-galaxy engulfing beast! The person birthing it is the 40ft frost priestess we mentioned earlier.
We’d been debating the art for a good few weeks and then one day at practice James said ‘we should have the Frost Priestess giving birth to the Triple Headed Goat Machine’. We all stopped and looked at each other, knowing this was always destined to be true, and James had just made it so. Within a week we’d had the initial designs created by Elliot [EwT Creations] which we tweaked as we went on [ i.e. told Elliot to add more boobs].
Recording was interesting as we did it all ourselves with the help of our metal Sherpa, Arthur Sambars[ of Stereoskull]. He has been a continued supporter of Primal and has produced some excellent music of his own, so we were thrilled when he said he’d help us record and produce this release through his own organisation Salamander Productions. Guiding us through the processes with ease, he captured the raw energy we were trying to give the EP, and has done a great job mastering it. We’re really happy with it and feel lucky to have such supportive team mates.
This really added another dimension to the songs as a whole, there’s adjustments to all of them so they’re not quite as you’ve heard them before, which is really exciting for us.

What are your live shows like?
Sweaty! We love a good floor show where we can be right up in people’s faces screaming and banging heads and causing chaos. We’ve had many rowdy gigs now, and we can’t get enough. Guaranteed if you come to our show to mosh, we’ll be in the pit right there with you. Live music is one of the greatest things any place can offer, and we try and make the most of that by giving people the opportunity to let their hair down and have a good time with us.

Whats your take on the Northants scene?
Northampton has a great scene and we’re proud to be part of it. We’ve played with a number of excellent ‘local’ bands like Stereoskull, The Darkhorse, Caliburn, and loads more, all of whom have shown us nothing but kindness. As someone that’s never been in a band before, I’ve been blown away by the level of talent that our town has to offer, and it’s really encouraging for us to try and push Primal as hard and far as we can. Similarly the venues too, we love playing The Black Prince [and will be there again on December 28th], as well as The Lab, and Raff’s in Wellingborough.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
We’ve had some really memorable gigs this year [Metal 2 The Masses, London, Oakfest in Derby) but getting the EP complete is one of our favourite moments, as it feels like it’s taken us forever to get this together, but now it’s here! Getting to play The King Billy for the first time was awesome too. I’d always gone there as a youngster and it was great to finally be on the other side causing chaos. We were supporting German/Latvian metal band Mara with Stereoskull on a mini tour right before the Metal 2 The Masses final and it was a blast.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Apotheosis by Necronautical, a fantastic black metal band from up North. Their last album The Endurance at Night is one of my favourites and I wasn’t let down by Apotheosis either. Proper atmospheric and melodic black metal that’s incredibly miserable – its great. The last album I streamed was actually the ‘Scalps’ EP by Casket-Feeder. Another great local talent.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We’re about to start planning for next year, but it’s our goal to do some festivals that we’ve had our eye on as well as creating new material. We’ve just completed about three new songs so we’re going to keep pushing with that to add more ammunition to the Primal live arsenal. We’re also considering what other elements we can add to our stage show. As much as we like enjoy just thrashing out with the crowd, we have some big ideas that would be really cool to bring to life on stage that would add a whole other element to our shows.

Triple Headed Goat Machine EP is out now via the usual online spaces. 

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New Music Friday: Blood-Visions

Blood-Visions are the Northampton hardcore quintet who once seen are never forgotten. One of NN’s truly great live acts, the band are more visible than ever, helped by the signing…

Blood-Visions are the Northampton hardcore quintet who once seen are never forgotten. One of NN’s truly great live acts, the band are more visible than ever, helped by the signing to True Friend Tapes label and today releasing their new, self-titled EP. New Boots can’t get enough of them, so here’s us talking to singer Joss Kieran about it all.

How/why did the band get together?
I’ll try to keep this brief, as the band has undergone several line-up changes over our time together and I’ll miss something important if I attempt to go into things in full. Harry, Lewis, Becca and I all attended a youth group ran by Mel and Magnus of the Northampton band Tarantism, where kids were given the task of forming bands and playing a show once a school term. It was a great initiative that really helped us, along with a few other Northampton musicians, find our footing in terms of performing. The band initially consisted of myself, Lewis, Harry and Kirsty McEwan, who left around 2013 to focus on photography/studying. Becca had already joined at that point and we were playing with two drummers, so it wasn’t the band-rupturing problem that sort of thing can be, though.

Rufus joined a few years later after having recorded a couple of EPs with us. After the first EP we did with him we kind of already knew he was the perfect guy for the job and the band has been massively improved by having him on board. Having Rufus, and super-sub Daniel Church, allows us to stay versatile as everyone with some form of guitar knows each other’s parts, so if at least four of us are available we’re good to play where-ever.

Who were the sort of acts the nascent band bonded over?
I’m not certain, to be honest. This was nine years ago, so our tastes have all changed quite significantly. Personally, I remember having conversations about Cap’n Jazz, Dananananaykroyd, Desaparecidos and Deftones. But at that point we were between 13 and 15 years of age – when you’re that age you’re just aggressively hoovering up all the music you can possibly hear. This would have only been exacerbated by the internet and unlimited access to music, so it’s hard to say if there were any specific jumping-off points.
We mostly bonded over a shared interest in playing loud and upbeat punk songs, it didn’t really matter what we were drawing from. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jay Reatard, though, who we took the BV name from.

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, what was the reaction like to the ‘Make Good Choices’ EP of 2017?
I think it reached the people it needed to reach in Northamptonshire. We’ve had a few shows outside of Northampton off the back of that record that were a lot of fun – Drug Church, Single Mothers, and a couple of others I’m forgetting – but those songs inevitably always go down best in this neck of the woods. That’s why I’m really grateful for True Friend Tapes [their label] getting behind us and pushing us to people further afield. We’re honestly always just happy to have the songs out, and to have the chance to move on to the next project. I don’t think any of us really took stock of what people were saying about those songs. There were some songs on that record I’ve noticed becoming sing-alongs in Northampton, though, so I think people must have responded pretty well to it.

How did you approach this new EP?
I think the plan with this was to make something a little more cohesive than what we’ve put out in the past. What tends to happen with us is that songs pile up, we record what we can and then get together a great, but often jumbled, set of songs. This time there was a real attempt to make something that felt like it was coming from a streamlined, precise place. There’s a specific tone and energy to the record that I think actually has a lot more in common with the first demo Rufus recorded with us that I really like. It’s not the latest stuff as we’re writing for the next project, and we’ve demoed one of the tunes before. We move fairly slowly, so this is a collection of the best songs we’ve written since the last record, not just the freshest.
I initially thought that lyrically this was quite scattershot, but listening back all the songs revolve around discomfort, where we choose to call home and the relationships you build when somewhere like Northampton is your hometown. I’ve been quite surprised I was able to reign in my brain enough to focus on a fairly limited pool of themes. Then again, it could just be evidence that I need to broaden my horizons a bit.

Where did you record it?
We recorded it in our friend Ant’s basement. We had a lovely time: we hung out, played a lot of Mario Kart, drank and messed around with amps for three days straight. Dan dropped by to record vocals on one of the tunes, which was nice. I think we averaged four falafel-based meals a day between us if I remember correctly. I’d thoroughly recommend recording with him.

What’s first EP single ‘01604ever’ about? Have you written your long-awaited love letter to ShoeTown?
It’s my ‘Northampton, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’. It’s about minimum wage jobs, alcoholism and trying to forget your dumb relationship mistakes. Obviously, Northampton isn’t anywhere near as damaging to me as the song makes it out to be, but there’s definitely a mood of “I’m drinking through it” to the lyrics. There are definitely love letters to Northampton littered throughout the recordings we’ve made, but I think I’m done writing them. I’ve found that I’m a lot more influenced by narrative these days, so ‘01604ever’ and the songs on the new EP are probably the last time I’m going to write about the general feeling of Northamptonshire.
I’ll obviously still go to bat for Northampton forever; it’s a wonderful place that doesn’t deserve the shit it’s been handed by Conservative rule, but I don’t think I have any more “this is about Northampton” songs in me. The name itself was my twitter name for a little while – we just tend to name songs after shite that makes us laugh. There’s another song on the record called Norfo, which is named after this awful Cosmo article.

What are your live shows like? Give us your best adjectives and superlatives.
I know that in the past our live shows have been described as chaotic, although I think we’ve become a fairly well-oiled machine in the past two years or so. Our shows are direct, aggressive and, hopefully, joyful. You should come out and watch us, readers.

What has been your favourite band moment of 2019?
I think it has to be closing out the first ‘Lift Tower Presents’. That show was ridiculously well attended, and a bunch of our favourite Northampton bands played [Lift Tower, La Folivora, 72%, Tragic, Nailbreaker, Big Loss AND Ivory Yardsale]. Our best bud Chris did an excellent job on the sound that night, and there was a really energetic crowd at The Garibaldi that night, which always helps. Joel from 72% came up and did vocals on ‘NVR-BCK-DWN’ with us as well, and was ace at that.
Other than that, the Jeffery Lewis show we opened up at The Black Prince was great. Lewis and I have been fans of his music since we were in school, so it was fun to get to play with him. Those two weekends were back to back and were definitely the tightest shows we’ve played to date. The idea is to replicate that level of energy and execution going forward, and we’re working towards that goal.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’m currently listening to Rain on Lens by Smog. Bill Callahan is a genius, and I’m very glad his songs exist.

You’ve been going almost a decade now – what advise would you give to any new band starting out?
Just try to make friends with the bands you play with and like. Keeping going is so much easier if there’s a whole community around you. No one is going to like you more for coming across as aloof, so just try to be friendly to the people you’re playing with. You should also watch Inside Llewyn Davis because 80% of music is something that most people just don’t see a lot of money in, and that’s okay.
I’m kidding, of course, all young musicians should be demanding significant sums of money. Equipment isn’t acquired through bartering, and the haircut that Later… With Jools Holland necessitates, well, it doesn’t come cheap. Secure the bag, kids…

The Blood-Visions EP is out now via True Friend Tapes from all the usual places. Tonight [Fri Nov 29th] the band launch the EP at The Black Prince, with support from Tragic and Lift Tower.

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New Music Friday: Joel Harries

Northampton music man Joel Harries is hard to sum up in a pithy sentence or two. Central to so many bands over the past decade or so, he’s also a…

Northampton music man Joel Harries is hard to sum up in a pithy sentence or two. Central to so many bands over the past decade or so, he’s also a prolific solo artist, and has just released his latest EP, the intriguingly-titled I Am Not What I Seem. Let’s talk!

How did you first start writing your own music?
I borrowed a few Dinosaur Jr records from my Dad’s collection in my early teens and that was the beginning really. From then on I was always searching for new music and formed a number of bands. My Luna Vacation was the first serious one, where I actually wrote some songs. We played an odd mash-up from hardcore/metal/emo with the odd trumpet part, funky sections and a lot of screaming. I have very fond memories of that band, as daft as it was. From then on I joined and formed LOTS of other bands. I started writing solo material when I was maybe 18-19. Being surrounded by music as a child was definitely a huge part of how I ended up where I am!

There’s some busy musical people in ShoeTown, but I think you might be top of the pile – you have solo work, plus No Music, Big Loss, Sad Drone, and 72%, and your sister Nina’s extraordinary album. What drives you? Do you find time to sleep?!?
I just love recording music. Everything about it. Playing live is great but I think my main passion is being in the studio. I have a reasonably diverse taste in music, and have always felt I needed multiple avenues to express myself through. I couldn’t really go from singing sweetly to screaming blue murder in the space of one solo song, so having each of the these projects with the wonderful people in them allows me to indulge myself! My work revolves around recording music, so I am very lucky to be able to have such a creative life. Sleep on the other hand is a luxury I often miss out on!

Let’s talk about the latest solo release, ‘I Am Not What I Seem’. How would you describe this iteration of what you do?
I Am Not What I Seem is a collection of songs I wrote for a band I started called Low Acre. Initially I was recording with a wonderful producer in London called Emre Ramazanoglu. I then started working with a manager and he suggested that the project became a band. We worked on it for a year or two, and then life became quite complicated, or me, and the pressure of the band kind of overwhelmed me a little. I had to step away from it at that point. After a while I did a few solo gigs playing the later material I had written, and decided I wanted to record some proper versions. So I spent a week recording them in Ireland with Quincey Brown singing backing vocals, and then got Dave Crawford, who had played in Low Acre, to add some of his synth parts. Iʼm really pleased with how they turned out. It is great that the songs didn’t vanish into the void, as some of my old solo stuff has done. I hope to release the music from the sessions with Emre in the future, as there was some really special music in there. We shall see!

You’ve been putting out solo bits and bobs for a decade, is that right? How’s things changed for you over that time?
When I first started there was a kind of folky edge to what I was doing, this disappeared immediately once I made my second album. Each subsequent release has kind of had its own style/identity, just with the only constant being my voice. This material is always the most candid and honest version of my music, I think.

You posted something about Cineworld. Your music featured in something…
That was from a Cast & Crew screening of a locally made feature film called Nene made by Screen Northants. I composed and recorded the score. Hopefully it will see a public release of some kind in 2020. It was a wonderful experience and something I really want to do more of.

Any live shows coming up?
Big Loss will be playing at the Lamplighter on the 20th December, and then No Music will be playing a Christmas Eve show at the Garibaldi. In the new year 72% will be doing a few short tours before thinking about making another record. I will be playing guitar in my sisters band for a few festivals also. Iʼm sure there will be a few solo gigs here and there too!

What has been your favourite personal musical moment of the past year?
Recording the new 72% album How Is This Going To Make It Any Better? with Wayne Adams at Bear Bites Horse studios is probably the one. We spent four days in June holed up in there, and I am so proud of what we accomplished.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I have been listening to the most recent Coilguns album Watchwinders a lot. Great band!

What are your burning desires for 2020? What plans do you have?
In 2019 I put out 9 releases from my various projects. In 2020 I want to try and beat that number. Hopefully including a new 72% full length, a steady stream of solo EPs, new Big Loss EP, more Sad Drones and a No Music full-length would be nice too!

I Am Not What I Seem is out now via BandCamp and the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Anieshi Pearl

From the dark streets of Northampton, shaded by dimly lit street lamps, an alternative electronic musical wonderland is thrown up by Anieshi Pearl. On the eve of her new EP,…

From the dark streets of Northampton, shaded by dimly lit street lamps, an alternative electronic musical wonderland is thrown up by Anieshi Pearl. On the eve of her new EP, New Boots shares her new video ‘Understand’ and has a quick word or two with her and collaborator Brett Redvers.

How did you start making/writing/recording music?
Brett: AP started around 2009 after I worked with Ani’s previous band on a song. They split up and I blagged her into working with me. On a personal level I have been writing since ’88, working as an engineer / producer and doing my best to stay out of the music industry at the same time. The old music business model is now almost completely dead: however, so I see many doors and possibilities where I once only saw walls.
Ani: I was itching to sing from an early age; for some reason I felt like I needed permission to give it a go! YEARS later, someone told me I had a nice voice, and that was it! It was all I needed to hear. Brett and I started working together, experimenting with covers of the 80’s group Five Star! It went from there basically.

How would you describe your sound? Influences?
Brett: The current sound is synthwave/synthpop. Mostly based on my love for the analog synths and drum machines of the 80s/90s, and how they blend with Ani’s voice so well. AP has been through many sound developments over the years, but has always maintained a synthpop edge. I’m influenced by genres and scenes mostly… synthwave, vaporwave, Britcore, glitch, breakbeat hardcore… I also listen to a lot of horror movie soundtracks.
Ani: I love all music, I change my mind daily on my favourite style/song/band. I wouldn’t say I am influenced by any specific bands anymore, more emotions and life experiences. I tend to create according to how I feel on the day.

Why the break in releases since 2015, and why comeback at this juncture?
Brett: There has never really been a break in the music creation, we have always been creating. We have just taken a while to package some tunes up and release them. We create for ourselves first and foremost, and sometimes the push to show the world what we do just gets lost in the matrix.

Tell us everything about this new single and video ‘Understand’, and the follow-up EP.
Brett: This new release is all going to be on an EP, we are looking at getting this out by the end of the year. We also have an additional EP we plan to release just before this, that consists of a bunch of tunes we completed over the past years that have yet to see the light of day. These songs have a darker flavour, but are some of our favs from the ‘lost tracks’ of yesteryear.
Ani: We try not to be specific with deadlines anymore, I’m laughing as I type this, because I put ‘AW2019’ on the release date of the EP, so I can set an actual date the second I am happy with it all. The video was, as predicted, a major operation! The work that goes into making them happen is intense, but the results are always so good, so it’s worth it! Paul Michael Hughes is a filmmaking visionary and a genius DOP, so when he agrees to take on a music video, you know that track is going to get sprinkled with fairy dust to make it fly. We made the recent video for ‘Understand’ quite spontaneously, so it was shot in 4 hours, and turned out to be something we are proud of.

Are there live shows?
Brett: It’s been a while since we performed live. Not sure if this will be on the cards in the future, we have yet to see. It’s hard because we have an international audience, so if we played in Northampton for example, one man and his dog might turn up to watch us play! Online performances are in our minds however, but we shall see how this pans out moving forward.
Ani: I’m not a performer sadly. Never have been. I just made myself do it in the past, because I thought I had to in order to make music. I love this new era of music we are in: I get to create, and put it out there with zero pressure. I wish I was a superstar performer! Online would be the only way I think we would go for now.

Are you part of a music scene in Northamptonshire? Anyone you wanna give a shout out to?
Brett: Personally I am part of the online synthwave, rave and hip-hop scenes. The people and artists I know in music are based all over the globe. It’s been a very long time since I spent any time at local venues. I used to be part of the Racehorse band community, and worked at The Lodge recording studio in Northampton back in the 90’s tho – so shout out to everyone from those days!
Ani: I’ve got lots of friends doing great things in music…but here are a few bands/musicians that stand out to me at the moment. Meg Amirghiasvand – anything she touches turns to gold – recently joined Sarpa Salpa, which is a hit with me. I’m also keeping an eye out for Baby Lung, they’re destined for great things! And, the legendary Billy Lockett should be called ‘Billy Rocket into stardom!’.

What has been your favourite AP moment of the past year?
Brett: Writing, recording and mixing. For me, all the fun is in the studio. 😉
Ani: “I like the bit in space”.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Brett: Anything by John Carpenter.
Ani: I’m not sure I can put an honest answer for this… If I was trying to be cool, I’d say PLYA, but honestly, it was probably ‘the sounds of the rain’ soundtrack. I stream that every night to get to sleep.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Brett: I don’t ever intend on leaving the studio. You’d have to tempt me with lots of sweets to step outside!
Ani: Might take up a new art form. Pottery or something. I did just start learning pole dancing too. Got the bruises to prove it! No future plans with music [other than get this EP out]. I fall in and out of love with it. Brett waits patiently, I snap out of it and the music continues. So I guess we’ll keep going as long as I keep showing up to the studio!

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New Music Friday: Kian Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Music Friday: FOSSILHEADS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future Is Petrifying is out now via BandCamp.

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New Music Friday: EarBones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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