It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Jan 10th – Jan 16th 2018

Excuse Shoe-In’s absence last week, it was like a wasteland out there. Never fear there’s some quality out there this week, especially if you like your sounds weighty. HALFLIVES +…

Excuse Shoe-In’s absence last week, it was like a wasteland out there. Never fear there’s some quality out there this week, especially if you like your sounds weighty.

HALFLIVES + WE ARE GIANTS + VIA DOLOROSA + THRIFT STREET
Friday January 12th
The Lab, Northampton
Alt-rock female-fronted quintet from Modena, Italy released their debut album Empty Rooms in 2017, and continue to tour in promotion of it. Doors 7.30pm, £6 tickets or £8 OTD. Alternatively £5 with a Lab Membership card.

SHARKTEETH GRINDER + GOLDEN DEATHMASK + EARLY BLACK + FRANTIC STATE
Friday January 12th
The Ex, Corby
Corby metal / punk / hardcore quartet celebrate the release of their second EP Volume II. Equally frantic / chaotic supports too, natch. Doors 8pm, tickets £2 or a fiver on the door.

POWDERHEAD
Saturday January 13th
The Prince of Wales, Kettering
Cambridge classic rock powerhouse quartet return to the scene of their 2017 triumph. Headbanging obligatory we understand. Doors 8pm, free entry.

AUSTIN GOLD + EMPYRE + MESMA
Sunday January 14th
The King Billy, Northampton
Sunday afternoon session at the Billy. Peterborough’s anthemic Austin Gold headline, with Northants’ intense and ever reliable Empyre in the middle; local newcomers Mesma play their debut gig [and bring more of a hard/stoner rock vibe to proceedings]. Doors 4pm, free entry.

COAST TO COAST + THE YOUNG HEARTS + WISHING WOLF 
Sunday January 14th
The Lab, Northampton
Rising Brummie emo/pop punk rockers bring the shakedown to ShoeTown, alongside fellow alt-rockers The Young Hearts. Opening is newish Kettering quintet [them with the tasty riffs]. Doors 8pm, no info on cost online anywhere as far as New Boots could see [free entry then?]

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New Music Friday: Acolytes debut EP

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding…

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding Dance Music, via Five Wound Records.

The “NN10 noise brigade” comprise singer/guitarist Hamm, guitarist Tom Bird, bassist Bewlay Stanton and drummer Marcus Lever. The five track EP is not for the faint-hearted, as they fray the senses with the Black Flaggy screamcore of ‘Lord Of The Land’ and ‘Worst Case Scenario’, but also give it some with the good old hard rock/metal sounds (think Kyuss, Nirvana, Motorhead, Mudhoney) on opener ‘Coup de Grace’ and ‘Wanting A War’. The politically-charged DIY band have been building themselves a name through 2017 and so this is a masterly way to begin the year.

Listen below on Spotify or purchase (as a ‘name your price’ deal) from Bandcamp. It’s supposed to be available on CD and cassette from the live shows too, so do get along and see them when you can.

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 27 2017 – Jan 2 2018

Last guide of the year – see it out in style with this handy round-up of county charms. LUNA ROSA + MONARCHS + SKIRT Saturday December 30th The White Hart, Corby…

Last guide of the year – see it out in style with this handy round-up of county charms.

LUNA ROSA + MONARCHS + SKIRT
Saturday December 30th
The White Hart, Corby
The latest Yuk clubnight, with a trio of excellent Northants alt-rock bands playing to a packed room. Doors 8pm, £3 tickets

END OF YEAR HARDCORE PARTY
Saturday December 30th
The Lab, Northampton
House Of Pain finish their year with a big bang: sets from Splintered, Sickones, Sharkteeth Grinder, Fatal Swing, Balance, and Frantic State. Doors 7pm, £4 tickets 

CANDIDATES + SOLARISE
Saturday December 30th
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Indie/rock night from the ever reliable Retro-Beat team. MK headliners, former Dem Urban Foxes openers. Doors 8pm, free entry

DANSMALL
Saturday December 30th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Singer-songwriter duo Dan Plews and Guy Fletcher. Expect guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and fiddle to rear their heads. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE BARRATTS
Sunday December 31st
Club 43, Northampton
A midnight show from the local indie gunslingers to see in the new year. Theres an indie disco too. Doors 8pm, £5 on the door

SWITCHBLADE CITY + GUNS OF ANARCHY
Sunday December 31st
The Prince of Wales, Kettering
New Years Eve party with original hard rock’n’roll, at the revamped venue. DJ Kane on the decks too. Doors 7pm, free entry

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 20 – Dec 26 2017

So much to shake a stick at this Christmas week. Get battered with these bosshoss sounds… WE ARE GIANTS + LAST CHANCE + PUBLIC GALLERY Wednesday December 20 The King…

So much to shake a stick at this Christmas week. Get battered with these bosshoss sounds…

WE ARE GIANTS + LAST CHANCE + PUBLIC GALLERY
Wednesday December 20
The King Billy, Northampton

Drummer Rob’s final show with the local power-trio metallers, it’s sure to be special. Support from Kettering pop punkers and Newark’s hard rockers. Doors 7pm, free entry

COUSIN AVI
Friday December 22nd
The Black Prince, Northampton
Northampton’s funk soul tunesmiths celebrate ten years in the game with a rare live outing/special Christmas show. Tickets thin on the ground we hear. Doors 8pm, tickets £7

HOPS END OF YEAR SHOW
Saturday December 23rd
Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
All day mayhem from House of Pain Promotions, with sets from SwitchBlade City, GarshKott, Pioneers, Wishing Wolf, and Guilty as Charged. Doors 5:30pm, free entry

KARL PHILLIPS & THE REJECTS + VHS PIRATES + PROJECT NOISE
Saturday December 23rd
The Lab, Northampton
Warm-up in time for Christmas with the steaming hot / bouncin’ skankin’ local legends, plus Milton Keynes rude boys Project Noise to open. This is bound to go off. Doors 7pm, £4/£5 on the door

MARS CRIMBO CRACKER
Saturday December 23rd
The White Hart, Corby
MARS Promotions end of year party: Bloodshake Chorus, Roughneck Riot, Dragster, Yur Mum, and Mystery Action all bring the noise. Doors 6pm, tickets £11

ROCKED UP’S CHRISTMOSH
Saturday December 23rd
The Ex, Corby
Promoter Rocked Up’s Christmas party is, of course, very rocked: Sharkteeth Grinder, Loose Tooth, and ReaperX all take to the stage. Also there’s a food bank and Corby Nightlight Centre collection going on, so please give generously. Doors 8pm, tickets £2

THE ABRAHAMS + ODDITY ISLAND
Saturday December 23rd
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
Ahead of the official album launch early in 2018 this is the soft double launch of the limited Live at Not Just Words CD and advance promo CDs of Album Proper. Support from ‘fluff girls’ Oddity Island. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

MARCUS MAROOTH
Sunday December 24th
The Artizan, Northampton
A solo set from the Sarpa Salpa frontman. Doors 7pm, free entry

USURP, RISE + SANE
Sunday December 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
A tandem of four-piece experimentalists to ease you into Christmas. Instrumental trip-hop/funk ensemble Usurp Rise are back in town for a rare show. Expect electronica-with-riffs from openers Sane. Doors 9pm, free entry

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Charles to bring Funk & Soul show back to town

The Roadmender has announced Craig Charles will bring his funk and soul show back to the venue next year. The legendary actor, host, poet and broadcaster is familiar to millions…

The Roadmender has announced Craig Charles will bring his funk and soul show back to the venue next year.

The legendary actor, host, poet and broadcaster is familiar to millions for his roles in Red Dwarf, Robot Wars and Coronation Street.

He is also one of the UK’s best loved funk and soul DJs. with a popular primetime Saturday night BBC 6 Music radio show,

Having been broadcasting live every Saturday Night for more than 10 years, Charles has garnered global support and recognition as one of the UK’s foremost funk and soul commentators, DJs and promoters of new music while still championing the golden age funk artists of the 60s and 70s.

Support will be by Northampton’s The RePro Jam Squad and DJs from Inspiration FM.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £15 before fees.

Doors open at 9pm and the event runs until 9pm.

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Levellers to headline opening night of Cropredy Convention

Folk aficionados will already have heard the news, but the Levellers have been revealed as the first headliners of next year’s Cropredy Convention which takes place next August on the Northants…

Folk aficionados will already have heard the news, but the Levellers have been revealed as the first headliners of next year’s Cropredy Convention which takes place next August on the Northants border.

As usual, the three day festival will feature two sets by hosts Fairport Convention who will open the festival on Thursday with a short acoustic set then take the stage again on Saturday to close the event with their traditional two-hour headline set.

Organisers are expected to announce the Friday night headliners next month.

Levellers recently announced their new acoustic album, We The Collective, is due out in March.

New single, The Shame, from the record is out now.

The Saturday will feature Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart, while Fish will be making his second appearance at Cropredy.

Other acts announced by organisers include award-winning band Le Vent du Nord, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Sam Kelly and BAFTA nominee Richard Digance who will return for his traditional Saturday slot.

As always, Cropredy will present a set by the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner.

Tickets are on sale now and three-day tickets cost £135. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.

The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention and the first 2,000 will get a souvenir Cropredy car window sticker.

Cropredy runs from Thursday, August 9 to Saturday, August 11.

More acts will be announced in January. Tickets are available from www.fairportconvention.com

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New Music Friday: The Keepers, Charlotte Carpenter, Drinsipa

So you survived the snow and ice? Great, your reward is more new quality tuneage. Northampton indie/mod/psych rockers have been working hard all of 2017 and this is the final…

So you survived the snow and ice? Great, your reward is more new quality tuneage.

Northampton indie/mod/psych rockers have been working hard all of 2017 and this is the final present to you, a new single – with a proper A-side and B-side!

Charlotte Carpenter just gets better and better, as the recent Shelter EP ably demonstrated. And she’s generous enough to drop a final song for 2017, ‘Cheer’, for our festive listening pleasure. Sublimely haunting stuff.

And heavy hitters Drinsipa have quietly dropped a six-track mini-album/EP Poppy Fields on Bandcamp. And they’ve only gone and made it free as well to download, you lucky dawgs [technically it’s name your price, so be generous and give them a few shekels] . The stoner/grunge/metal duo wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the thing in Poppy Fields estate in Kettering, hence the title.

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Record Review: Alex Novak: META 1977-2017

Alex Novak META 1977-2017 (VUZ Records) To celebrate a 40-year career in art and music and tied in with his recent gallery exhibition, VUZ Records release a strictly limited edition…

Alex Novak
META 1977-2017 (VUZ Records)

To celebrate a 40-year career in art and music and tied in with his recent gallery exhibition, VUZ Records release a strictly limited edition commemorative compilation cassette/download to showcase the work of Northampton artist and musician Alex Novak. To sustain a 40 year career in any field is difficult and even more so in the alternative arts. Alex’s secret of longevity is to be something of a musical chameleon. Constantly evolving and shape-shifting he is one of those rare, eclectic musicians (like Killing Joke or PiL) who produce markedly different work yet it has a certain ingredient that makes it easily identifiable.

Assembled by the guys at VUZ Records this compilation features a host of rare, remixed and unreleased tracks that make the collection a veritable treasure trove. Thus this offering has that ‘mix tape’ feel, like the kind of tape a friend would dub for you back in the day. Kicking things off we have two tracks from one of Northampton’s first punk bands, Isaws. On a subconscious level the original punks knew their tenure was going to burn brightly but briefly so there was a real urgency to make their mark with haste. ‘No Admittance’ and the rarity ‘Nightlife’ are typically fast, furious and powered by a youthful enthusiasm. Imagine The Ramones meeting The Clash.

With Religious Overdose Alex moved onto post-punk, perhaps the most, for awhile, unshackled of musical genres. Post-punk was often angular and brittle mirroring the fragile state of society, and Religious Overdose captured something of that zeitgeist. Like much of their work ‘Control Addicts’ has a hypnotic feel, reeling in the listener before landing a surprise punch. In that respect the band foreshadowed electronic trance (albeit played organically) and like much of the music contained in this collection Alex and his cohorts seem to be ahead of the musical curve uncannily anticipating the direction of alternative music.

Alex’s tenure with UK dark wave pioneers Attrition proved very fruitful and it could be argued that they’re the missing link between Killing Joke and Godflesh. Here ‘Feel The Backlash’ shows the band influenced by their surroundings: it’s cold and monolithic like brutalist architecture, crushing the listener beneath its enormity. Both Spore and The Den took the raw energy of punk and fused it with electronica, two musical genres that at one time were diametrically opposed. It took a mad scientist to fuse them and the effect was literally electric. The Den in particular are like PiL filtered through The Covenant, The Sword…-era Cabaret Voltaire, offering a disturbing glimpse of a dystopian Orwellian future.

In an age when popular culture was accelerated The Tempest perfectly captured that shift from post-punk to gothic and like all the bands on this compilation they stand apart in their originality yet are still connected by thin gossamer threads: the hypnosis that was pioneered with Religious Overdose is evident here in ‘Low Ebb’ and was later transferred to Alex’s Nova State Conspiracy. The two tracks here from the Conspiracy, ‘Definitive Item’ and ‘Life in the Basement’, feature electronics with surgical precision overlaid with organic vocals and the effect is quite disarming. Like all good art it is the tension of opposites that makes it so intriguing.

Like PIL before them Venus Fly Trap had a constantly revolving line-up, more through necessity than design, but unlike PiL the VFT was a democracy and this flux resulted in an ever-changing sound as evidenced by the three tracks presented here. From the bruising rock of ‘Moscow Menagerie’ (again with that hypnotic riff) to the electronic enthusiasm of ‘Achilles Heel’ what did remain constant was the cinematic nature of the music: the combination of music and lyrics combine to imprint a powerful image on your mind. Each track plays out like a ’60s French film noir or Tarantino flick in your imagination. Of course if I assembled this tape I’d have included ‘Pulp Sister’ but maybe you’d pick ‘Morphine’ and that’s the whole point – and fun – of mix tapes.

With a new Venus Fly Trap album tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2018 release there is still more to come from Alex Novak, but ‘META 1977-2017’ is the perfect way to celebrate the closure of one volume just as another begins.

Sargent

META 1977-2017 is available here.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 13 – Dec 19 2017

SKANDAL + LORD OF WORMS Wednesday December 13th The King Billy, Northampton Power trio Skandal are on the final leg of their international tour, promoting their latest release Year of…

SKANDAL + LORD OF WORMS
Wednesday December 13th
The King Billy, Northampton
Power trio Skandal are on the final leg of their international tour, promoting their latest release Year of the Cicada. They define their style as “doom ’n’ roll”, with influences from classic rock ’n’ roll bands and doom metal groups. Bristol’s progressive grunge quartet Lord of Worms support. Doors 7pm, free entry

DREADZONE
Thursday December 14th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The dub heavyweights return to ShoeTown to promote their 2017 release Dread Times, which mixes their trademark heavy dub and roots reggae sound with fresh beats and electronic flourishes. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £16.50 

PARLIAMENTS + FOX CHAPEL + PHANTOM ISLE
Friday December 15th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Psychedelic groove-rock trio headliners have excellent new single ‘Red Sun Dead Moon’ to promote, with support from the superb Fox Chapel and London/Northampton psych-poppers Phantom Isle. Radio Northampton DJ Lal Muttock will be behind the decks too. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £5

THE KEEPERS + PRESLEY JOHNSON
Friday December 15th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
‘Another Night’ is the new single from the moddy/indie/Britpop/psych boys, and this is the launch. Support from local stalwarts Presley Johnson. Doors 8pm, free entry

FAMILY OF NOISE + THEE TELEPATHS + CHUCK THE POET
Friday December 15th
The White Hart, Corby
Instrumental racket merchants Family Of Noise join forces again with psychic fuzz marauders Thee Telepaths to bring a night of muzak and merriment. Also expect a reading from Chuck The Poet. Doors 8pm, free entry

CENTURY CITY + PUPPET REBELLION + PIECES
Friday December 15th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Classic-rock and alt-rock shapes and sounds from locally-adored headliners, plus Manchester rockers [with a hint of ShoeTown in them] Puppet Rebellion make the trip down. Openers are new band Pieces [ex-Army Of Lights]. Doors 8pm, free entry

BURROWING BEES + JOE PAYNE feat. DUNCAN MCLAUGHLIN + STUART BRUCE
Saturday December 16th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Winter warmer organised by smooth, minimalist r’n’b/pop duo headliners. Former Enid singer plays “a set of his favourite xmas R&B bangers”, whilst opener Bruce, former front-man of Sympathy State, Decibels and Lennoxx, plays a solo set. Doors 8pm, £4 on the door

GARDEN + MONARCHS + HUSSY
Saturday December 16th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The fast-rising alt-rock quartet celebrate the release of debut EP ‘City People Are Weird’ with a party, with stellar support from Kettering rockers Monarchs and south London’s Hussy. Doors 7.30pm, £6 tickets

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New Music Friday: Parliaments, Blood-Visions, Puppet Rebellion

The shops might be heaving right about now, but these bangers are the only presents you need to concern yourselves with. A-grade fuzzy, hypnotic rock from Parliaments, courtesy of their…

The shops might be heaving right about now, but these bangers are the only presents you need to concern yourselves with.

A-grade fuzzy, hypnotic rock from Parliaments, courtesy of their new single ‘Red Sun, Dead Moon’. The video was directed by Northampton film-maker Jacob Austin-Lavelle and gets quite unsettling as it unfolds over its dark and brooding six and a half minutes. Anyone who enjoys Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, or King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard should hit play right about now. The song is out now on the usual streaming/purchase music sites. There’s a launch gig at The Roadmender on the 15th too.

Not to be outdone in the growly stakes anytime soon are Blood-Visions. Their new EP is out now on Bandcamp and on CD directly from the band at their shows (like The Garibaldi one this evening). One of the tracks is this lovely raucous blaster, ‘Ed Reckless’.

Finally a shout out for Puppet Rebellion, the Manchester band who include Northamptonian guitarist Craig Gibson. The new single/video ‘Dark Thoughts’ is a track from their just released debut album Chemical Friends.

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