Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Sharkteeth Grinder

The hardcore game is strong across our county, and it doesn’t come any less intense than Corby quartet Sharkteeth Grinder. They – Bobbo Haldane on vocals, Jonny Lewis on guitar, Ross…

The hardcore game is strong across our county, and it doesn’t come any less intense than Corby quartet Sharkteeth Grinder. They – Bobbo Haldane on vocals, Jonny Lewis on guitar, Ross Davison on bass, and David Hoile on drums – begin the year by releasing the feral and furious Volume II EP. Mixed and mastered by Jay Russell at Parlour Studios, it contains four songs of righteous rage to split your speakers apart. New Boots spoke to Haldane for the lowdown on the daily Grind.

How/why did you guys get together to do Sharkteeth Grinder?
Sharkteeth Grinder started out of pure boredom and a passion for touring. Myself, David, and Ross decided we wanted to start a band, so we got a couple of riffs together, found Jonny and Sharkteeth was born. We aren’t in this to try and make it big or to fake our way through the industry, we like to do things real and our way. We enjoy playing shows and we enjoy touring, that’s why we do it really and we won’t stop.

How would you describe your sound for the hard of attention?
Aggressive and mental.

How has the ride been so far: smooth and mercurial, chaotic and hellish…?
It’s never been hellish. That’s one thing with us, we’re all pretty close mates. Don’t get me wrong there has been ups and downs, but only when we’re skint and starving, sat somewhere waiting for load in. It’s been smooth and chaotic.

Why this EP? Do they represent where you’re at right now in any way?
Yes they do represent where we are at right now and we believe we’re a hard working touring band who do literally live on the breadline. Money has been a struggle, meaning we weren’t able to release Volume II last year. The hunger for touring cost us quite a bit of money so it’s been tough, but we have achieved a lot in the past year and have played a lot of shows. We believe releasing Volume II sets us up perfectly for a busy year a head.

What influences what you sing about? Is ‘Scandal’ really about the BBC and the Tories?
Society is fucked up and we like to highlight that through our music. ‘Scandal’ is a prime example of how fucked up this world is. The song is pretty much based on the BBC’s cover ups with Jimmy Saville and other sex scandals that have came out of that hell. The only good thing about the BBC is music, everything else is just bullshit. All of our tracks are based on how shit the Tories have made our lives, because they really don’t care about the common people like you and me. Any establishment/government that puts rich people ahead of the poor and in need should be slung out.

The Great Dictator: black comedy genius from Chaplin with a big message. Why has it particularly struck a chord with you?
Charlie Chaplin was a genius and the message he gives in that speech is pretty much everything we stand for. Also we’re massive fans of a band called The Chariot they’re pretty much our idols and it’s a thank you to their art. They released a track called ‘Cheek’ from the album One Wing which features the whole speech so we just thought stuff it and asked our good friend Jay Russell to make the intro for us.

Give us a quick synopsis of this Corby scene that makes you tick.
For our style of music there isn’t really a scene for it and it has been a struggle getting locals who aren’t friends on our side. But Corby is a thriving scene for other genres and is leading the way compared to some city’s and town’s across the country. Everything Marc Collins has done for Corby’s music scene has been from the heart and he’s got it to where it is today.

What is the best thing about being in this band?
I speak for the whole band when I say this, but touring is the best thing about being in a band. Honestly it’s the best days of your life no matter what anyone says, waking up with your best mates everyday travelling from place to place getting stoned and steaming then playing a gig. My advice to all the local bands that haven’t gone and done it yet is, get off your arse and get out there! You will not regret it, trust me.

Can we have an album please?
Yes, over the next 3/4 months we will be writing our debut 10 track LP.

What’s coming up on the horizon?
We will be touring pretty much every month other than February and October by the looks of things. Also we will be crossing over to Europe for two tours this year in April and then November, so please keep an eye out on all our social media’s to see when we’re close to you and if we are, get to a show.

Volume II is out Monday through the band’s own label/distro Grinder Records on all streaming platforms, 7” vinyl and CD [Haldane: “also if anyone wants to start their own record label, we encourage that idea and will give you the masters of Volume I and Volume II to help get you on your feet”].

[Headline photo by JazzaJewelz, EP artwork by Jordan Cameron]

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New Music Friday: Oddity Island

Kettering’s woozy indie rockers Oddity Island formed in early 2017 and a year on have readied their debut single, ‘Finger Puppets’. New Boots spoke to Alex Gardner (vocals/ukulele) for the lowdown…

Kettering’s woozy indie rockers Oddity Island formed in early 2017 and a year on have readied their debut single, ‘Finger Puppets’. New Boots spoke to Alex Gardner (vocals/ukulele) for the lowdown on this song and more.

New Boots: How did you guys get together?
Alex Gardner: Well Will Bates [guitar] and I went to college and uni together and were apathetically pondering the idea of trying to make something at least resembling a band for years but never got anything really going. Then we started seeing Sam Draper [guitar] everywhere we went. He had a little bit more drive then me and will to get something started so we met up for a jam and that was that. Finding Paul Parry [drums] and Simon Game [bass] after that was just pretty organic. Paul being Sam’s brother and all and we just got our mate Simon and told him to learn bass… he did.

How would you describe your sound?
We are all in to psychy/shoegazey kinda stuff. I think that’s pretty evident in the music. But there is a massive folk influence on it too. Especially melodically. Then Paul pretends he is in a much heavier band and music comes out. I guess that question is hard to answer definitely; that’s probably a good thing.

What do you think are your main influences musically?
I kinda feel like I don’t know. Like I never really directly think of anyone in particular. It’s just a mess of stuff that’s been crammed in ours heads, right? I would say Neutral Milk Hotel or Beirut or something personally but the rest of the band would say something completely different

What are your main influences outside the world of music?
Nicolas Cage in Wicker Man.

This song seems very anti-religion. Is God deader than ever?
If we count it by his cultural relevance then probably yeah. Not exactly current is Our Kid God. I don’t think of the song as anti-religious though. But more anti Faith. Blind faith anyway. It’s more about being confused about why people need religion rather than hating religion. I mean religions in terms of history and culture is actually incredibly interesting. It’s just the whole ‘I believe in this because I do and that is all the proof I need’ kinda attitude that doesn’t sit well with me. But then again live and let live and I really do understand the comfort in it. I guess that would be nice.

What are your live shows like? Are you part of a music scene in Kettering, playing with like-minded bands?
Live we just try and put as much energy and possible in to it and try to have fun. We have a few slower songs that build up to burst of energy then back down….then back up. We don’t like to stay in the same place very long.

In terms of the scene we play with a lot of cool people round here. It’s a very talented town really, it just has a hard time showing it off nowadays. The scenes there but there’s little to rally around. Speaking of like-minded bands The Abrahams have helped us out a lot with gigs and stuff which we appreciate a lot. Check out there new album it wonderful.

What was the last album you bought?
Derevaun Seraun by Kiran Leonard

What has been your favourite band moment in the past year?
Going to Bournemouth to record. Me, Sam and Paul all slept in a car in the middle of November after going out. It was one of the coldest but one of the funniest nights I’ve ever had.

What plans do you have for 2018?
To gig as much and as far afield as we can. We are also gonna record a kinda live EP in the very near future.

You can find Oddity Island on Facebook and Twitter

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An interview with: Alex Novak

Alex Novak has been entertaining Northampton and beyond with his esoteric sounds for forty years now, and to celebrate this milestone Northampton gallery Sanctuary are hosting an exhibition of his…

Alex Novak has been entertaining Northampton and beyond with his esoteric sounds for forty years now, and to celebrate this milestone Northampton gallery Sanctuary are hosting an exhibition of his artwork, entitled “Meta Art/Music/Work 1977-2017”. New Boots speaks to the Spiral Archive proprietor at length about the musical journey from then to now.

What was your musical upbringing? What influenced you as you got to 16 and joined Isaws?
Pre-punk I listened to a wide selection of music from The Beatles, Roxy Music, Bowie, T.Rex, Black Sabbath, soul music. Then bang! – the punk explosion happened in 1976, so got to hear The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Buzzcocks, The Stranglers. This also pulled in bands like New York Dolls, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Stooges. I guess what is referred to now as proto-punk. I followed the advice of the Sniffin’ Glue fanzine – “here’s one chord, here’s another, go form a band”. It was year zero: we had no previous musical experience, just picked it up as we went along. Isaws first gig was at Weston Favell Upper School talent contest as Hawker Harrier & the Jump Jets – for the next gig we changed it to The Isaws.

Northampton School of Art was the precursor to the University of Northampton today. Can you recall your time there for us.
Well art school was cool – made even cooler by The Jam song! It was a laboratory for lots of different ideas and a place where many bands were formed, including Bauhaus, Isaws, Aliens, Religious Overdose. It was a place where art and music came together.

You came of age musically and found your style with Religious Overdose. As the recent Glass Redux compilation makes obvious it was a special band. How did you guys capture that magic elixir?
Punk set us free in thought/style; to think for yourself. The whole DIY movement was a breeding ground for many ideas – punk was not a uniform. Gordon King from Sheffield joined Isaws (later he would be in World of Twist/Earl Brutus) and exposed us to early Human League, Clock DVA, Vice Versa (pre-ABC). We experimented, but it wasn’t working so we all went our different ways. I ended up joining Religious Overdose. RO was a different animal, we used repetition and improvisation to make songs. Live tracks would develop as we went along. Richard Formby (later of In Embrace/The Jazz Butcher/Sonic Boom) brought in influences from The Fall, Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Can – a more experimental approach to music.

Was Northampton a major influence on Bauhaus? Did the pre-existing local scene naturally lead to their formation?
Alan Moore called Northampton “the murder mecca of the midlands” so that set the tone for Bauhaus’s mix of Banshees meets strobelight-Bowie. It was very monochrome, to suit the edgy local scene. They certainly went through many incarnations – from the punk of Cardiac Arrest, new wave of Craze and the power-pop of Jack Plug & the Sockets – before settling on Bauhaus 1919. You get swept along with whats happening, things moved fast.

Was the 1980s a golden age for music in Northampton?
I think every ten years or so there’s a change, a musical upheaval, but it was certainly an interesting time centred around venues like The Black Lion [now the Wig & Pen], where you got to see local bands alongside the likes of The Housemartins, Spacemen 3, The Jazz Butcher…all being aided by the Northampton Musicians Collective and as conduit to the wider world via release on Glass Records [based in London].

Tell us about The Tempest album. You didn’t stick around for long…
After the demise of Religious Overdose Richard Formby went on to university in Leeds, where he still runs a recording studio. So I decided to get together with other local musicians including John Luccibello (Russians) and Mark Refoy (later of Spacemen 3/Spiritualized/Slipstream/Pet Shop Boys fame) to form The Tempest.
Mark and John were also in The Syndromes at the same time, but The Tempest fell apart after the recording of our only album 5 Against The House.

You had a brief sojourn to London and worked with Attrition during the mid 80s. How did that affect you, being exposed to a different scene in a new city?
I had been aware of Attrition for a while. Martin Bowes had also written a Coventry fanzine called Alternative Sounds and Religious Overdose had played a few gigs with them. After the demise of The Tempest I joined Attrition, who were based in London, sharing a studio with The Legendary Pink Dots. I got to see a lot of bands listening to more experimental/electronic music being produced by labels such as Third Mind, In Phase, Projekt, Sweatbox, United Dairies, Wax Trax etc.
There was a lot of activity, not just with the band, but socially: taking in gigs, clubs, exhibitions, meetings with shops/labels. In hindsight a productive period, and an exposure to the European scene which then paved the way for Venus Fly Trap.

You formed Venus Fly Trap on your return in 1986, alongside your brother John. What was the plan at this time? The line-up may have changed, but has the vision changed much over the years?
I tried out with a band in Norwich, which didn’t work out as we had different ideas, so I decided to do my own band. So John (Isaws/Wheres Lisse) and Tony Booker were both available, so we got it going pretty quickly. We just got out and played gigs: not just in Northampton but Oxford, London (a lot), Rugby, Norwich, Leicester…we got picked up via a contact I had made via Attrition. A new label based in Paris called Tuesday Records released our material initially [they had already put out material by McCarthy]. So we got to play in France and put out our first single ‘Morphine’ within six months of gigging. The European connection has been important ever since. Changes in line-up has been part and parcel of VFT – new members bring a different view point and fresh ideas. We’re always open to new ideas – not into following trends/fashion. We produce music we like…anything’s possible!

20 years of a band is a great run. What’s next for VFT?
We have been working on a new album Icon, which will be released via Glass Redux. It’s full circle in one respect as this was my first label for Religious Overdose. The planned release is Spring 2018, alongside doing dates in the UK and in Europe.

What’s your take on the Northampton music scene in 2017?
There’s plenty of interesting bands in Northampton if you look for them. I always like to catch a band if I’m not working. I’m always discovering new music, whether its local or touring. Long may it continue.

Meta Art/Music/Work 1977-2017 runs from Monday November 27th to Sunday December 10th at Sanctuary [2 Clare St, Northampton]. Open from 11-4 by appointment [sanctmark@hotmail.com]. There is a meet and greet launch night on Saturday December 2nd from 6pm to 9pm, with an after party across the road at The Lab from 9pm.

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Charlotte Carpenter offers us ‘Shelter’

[Excuse that groan-worthy title, but no one has used it yet and that is a grave oversight] Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has had a pretty good opening scene so far,…

[Excuse that groan-worthy title, but no one has used it yet and that is a grave oversight]

Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has had a pretty good opening scene so far, releasing EPs and singles digitally since 2014, to much acclaim. And now she releases her best song yet, ‘Shelter’, as the lead track from her first vinyl release, the 10″ Shelter EP.

New Boots had a quick chat whilst she is on her whirlwind promotional trail

New Boots: This new song is something special. What’s is about?
Charlotte Carpenter: ‘Shelter’ is about the push and pull of the early stages of a new relationship, the moment you know you’re about to go into this big life changing event but part of you is still holding back. It’s ultimately about letting go, and just embracing new change. The video embodies that along with my growing confidence – as a musician and a woman.

NB: You have referred to ‘Shelter’ as your “unofficial James Bond theme”.
CC: Awkwardly, I’ve never watched a Bond film! They don’t tickle my fancy, but the songs always have. I love those big Bond numbers, with uneasy strings and chords to make you feel on the edge. My favourite Bond songs are ‘Skyfall’, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.

NB: ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ feels so intimate. Do you find this intimacy plays to your strengths?
CC: The funny thing with ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ is that its quite different to what I’ve done before. Firstly, It isn’t about me, and my songs usually are. The feel/tone of the song is a slightly different style to previous releases too. I think the intimacy in this song shows that I can bring both light and shade to the table, and that’s a strength on its own. So I guess, to answer the question: yes.

NB: Who’s in your band?
CC: Lee and Matt! When I’m playing headline or festival shows I’ll have the guys with me; they’re wonderful people and completely respect my songs. Lee plays slide, baritone and Moog (he’s also my producer) and Matt is my drummer who literally takes on anything I throw his way.

NB: How do you find touring? Must be finally nice to have some vinyl to sell at the upcoming shows
CC: I love touring, it’s the best part about it all. You get meet those who you talk to online and thank them in person; visit cool venues, cities and countries and eat some great food. I am over the moon to have some vinyl, it’s a complete dream to hear these songs on my record player at home.

NB. Best and worst things about the Northants music scene.
CC: Best – There is some serious talent. Worst – Not enough variety of good size, good sounding music venues.

NB: What do you have planned for 2018?
CC: I’m planning on recording every week, touring my ass off and making my way across Europe!

CC live dates:
Oct 23 The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
Oct 24 Open, Norwich
Oct 25 The Star Inn, Guildford
Oct 26 Record Junkee, Sheffield
Oct 27 The Cookie, Leicester
Oct 29 Surf Cafe, Tynemouth
Nov 01 St Pancras Old Church, London
Nov 10 The Roadmender, Northampton (with Hana Brooks)

The Shelter EP is out now. Watch the videos for ‘Shelter’ and ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ below. Order the Shelter EP here, and stream/download it from the usual outlets.

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Solid Ten: British Sea Power

            Ahead of their appearance this Sunday [October 22] at The Roadmender in Northampton, here’s ten of British Sea Power‘s best singles, 2001-2017. Tickets  …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahead of their appearance this Sunday [October 22] at The Roadmender in Northampton, here’s ten of British Sea Power‘s best singles, 2001-2017. Tickets

 

 

 

 

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Interview: Scarlet.

Hotly-tipped north-west quartet Scarlet are currently on a UK tour and finish their run at The Lab Northampton on Saturday October 14th. New Boots speaks to them about alt-rock, feminism and getting to America. New…

Hotly-tipped north-west quartet Scarlet are currently on a UK tour and finish their run at The Lab Northampton on Saturday October 14th. New Boots speaks to them about alt-rock, feminism and getting to America.

New Boots: For the uninitiated could you let us know a bit of background about who are you as people and how you formed?

Jessie: We are SCARLET, an unsigned DIY band that sounds like if Nirvana, Blondie and The Pixies had a band baby. I’m Jessie, the singer and guitarist, Adam is guitar man, Jake is our drummer and we have a bassist called G.
Adam – We’re a bunch of northerners dotted around Manchester Liverpool and St Helens who are all obsessed with writing and performing live music. Me and Jessie got things going through out our time at Chester uni and eventually we got a band together who could all meet up and rehearse in Liverpool and we’ve kept our rehearsal space there ever since!

NB: How would you describe your sound? It’s pretty anthemic to our ears. 
Jake: To me our sound is pretty unique. I feel like we’ve taken the late grunge, alt rock sound from the 90’s (think the Pixies) and really modernised it. We have that same energy and riff driven sound, but with an intelligence and level of sophistication that feels fresh and modern, not just a throwback.

NB: Jessie, you recently spoke out on the difficult experiences of being a female in the music business. Can you elaborate some more for those that didn’t see the article.
Yeah, I wrote a piece for Alternative Press magazine along with some other brilliant girls, about our experience in the music industry surrounding sexism. We literally spoke about the facts, things that have actually happened to us at shows and how we are treated in comparison to how men are treated. The comments on the article pretty much backed up what we were all talking about. Angry men calling us all kinds of names and pigeon-holing us into a criteria that they think fits a woman that has the nerve to talk about her experiences. I was shocked at the response to be fair. The reaction to the word ‘Feminist’ is often a defensive/aggressive one. “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” (Nicole Kidman said that). I never think of myself as different to the boys. I forget I have boobs most of the time. It would be great if
everyone could forget that I have bobs.

NB: What was the last album you bought on vinyl? What was the last thing you downloaded?
Adam: Last album I bought was DAMN by Kendrick Lamar (the GOD)
Jessie: The last album I bought…If were telling the truth on this one, it was Little Mix – haha – them girls can sing! I love how fun they are. But I’m into all kinds of music, the last vinyl album I bought was Enter Shikari’s new one on pre order
Jake: I’ve gotten quite into my vinyl purchases recently. The last albums I bought were Currents by Tame Impala and Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave. Last album I downloaded was More Life by Drake. I love hip hop.

NB: What are your main influences/interests outside the world of music?
Jessie – I’m an animal nerd. I think animals are amazing. I love watching films, I got so into Kick Ass 2 that I literally forgot to breathe and almost passed out, haha. Films draw me in massively, I throw all my emotions into films. I am also really into science… like, specifically the anatomy of the voice… I’ve only recently got into it and its the best thing to geek out over.

Jake – I love reading: I’m a big ol’ nerd when it comes to fantasy books and stuff. I think I’ve read Lord of the Rings about three times, so that gives you an idea! I also love quirky independent films and tend to like the low-budget, coming-of-age type stuff. My biggest soft spot is American comedy shows though, I can’t get enough. Shows like Rick and Morty, Archer, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Bojack Horseman are just brilliant.

NB: What can folk expect from your live show?

Jessie: Sweat… and uncontrollable mashing, haha!
Jake: Expect loads and loads of energy! Our live performances go down really well as we put our blood, sweat and tears into every song.

NB: There’s a lot of great new guitar music around. Who is your ‘tip for the top’?
Jake: There’s a great band who we played with in Blackpool called Seegulls, they’re really great and we loved playing with them.
Adam:- I tip Purple Merlin from Stockport to have a great year.
Jessie: Seegulls all the way, their live energy is something else. I have no idea how they aren’t massive yet. There’s a few incredible bands about right now: Occoeur, Witch Fever, and Seegulls are my faves.

NB: What is your burning desire for the band to do next? What plans do you have for 2018?
Jessie: I want to keep building a team around us. And I want to go to America and get on all the festivals next year. A handful isn’t enough, I want to do them ALL.
Jake: for me I want to get an EP or a single recorded. Promote that. The next year or so will be huge for this band. I can feel it. Something big is coming, I can feel it in my bones!

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