Album review; Ashborn

ASHBORN Awakening [self-released] A band of four Polish émigrés now residing in Northampton, Ashborn have achieved much in their two year history. Highlights include winning Metal 2 The Masses which…

Awakening [self-released]

A band of four Polish émigrés now residing in Northampton, Ashborn have achieved much in their two year history. Highlights include winning Metal 2 The Masses which culminated in an appearance at 2018s Blooodstock Open Air, and performing at Northampton’s own HopFest. What they’ve achieved in under 24 months shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that band members have appeared in metal heavyweights Ghost, Grin and also DieRevers. It’s a pedigree Ashborn have brought to their debut album and ensures that Awakening is a full-on, no holds barred, metal assault.

Opening with ‘Mute’, an almost ambient piano introduction that’s textured with shades of Bach and Mozart, it’s an instrumental of ethereal beauty, poetry without words, that lulls the listener into a false sense of security. In an intelligent use of light and shade ‘Mute’ contrasts with the next track ‘Monsters’ that tumbles over the listener like a landslide. Ashborn race out the blocks with pedal pressed firmly to the metal, as drummer Marcin K fires his drums with piston-like precision and vocalist Marcin D delivers his words with a mixture of the clean and guttural. A riff-heavy affair ‘Monsters’ is akin to a five minute musical pummelling, with little respite. Again the use of sonic dynamics is put to good use on ‘Crushed Ant’, a track which bassist Peter bookends with two solos which makes the contuse music sandwiched between even more weighty. It’s a punchy song that’s given a modern hardcore feel by the lack of guitar noodling.

To record Awakening the band spent two weeks holed up at Initiate Audio and Media with Neil Hudson at the helm, and his expansive production finds the band attacking the listener from all angles. On ‘If The Walls Could Speak’ the guitars fire from different speakers creating the feeling of being under fire. Like Pantera at their most brutal it’s a song that seems to breathe as the guitar ululates in a groove metal way. The aptly titled ‘Light That Creates Darkness’ was the albums lead single. Lyrically it details the subject of nuclear Armageddon, and it’s a theme that’s mirrored in the music as the riffs erupt like mushroom clouds then fan out like radiation – the soundtrack to global apocalypse.

The album is kept interesting by tempo changes which pepper the record and also by changes of pace, most notably on the mean and moody ‘Awakening From The Death’. Like an anchor tied to a drowning man it swirls around a whirlpool while the song is punctuated with haunting interludes. The artillery barrage ‘This Is Slowly Killing Us’ picks up the pace again, and shells the listener for five minutes and with an air guitar inciting solo curtailing the song it’s all very whiplash inducing. This warlike theme continues on closer ‘We Are Going To Die’. A musical maelstrom in which drums fire relentlessly, guitars squeal as if shocked by electricity and tortured vocals float atop. It fairly races along and musically captures that brief moment in time just before a head-on car crash when there’s no chance of aversion.

Two bonus tracks appear on the end of the album and in truth they wouldn’t be out of place if they were shoehorned in anywhere on Awakening. Both of these songs appeared on the bands Demo CD with ‘Every Word’ being a more measured affair and has a metalcore feel very much in the vein of Hatebreed and Merauder. With Mietek’s guitar ringing like sirens ‘When Darkness Comes’ brings the disc to a suitably cataclysmic conclusion.

As a genre metal is much maligned and often overlooked. However along with Krysthla’s Worldwide Negative Ashborn’s debut album proves the subculture is alive and kicking and in Awakening [alongside Worldwide Negative] I’d argue they’ve not only produced one of this year’s best metal records unleashed in ShoeTown but one of the county’s best albums released this year regardless of category.

Peter Dennis

Awakening is out this Friday. Order here

Cover photo by Artur Tarczewski


No Comments on Album review; Ashborn

New Music Friday: Katie Malco

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’,…

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’, with a chorus that laments “Lose the battle/And then lose the war”. Floored by its aching quality, New Boots shares it below, plus we went to her in search of more answers.

How do you answer when that vague acquaintance asks what “sort of” music do you make?
“Sad lonely girl having a breakdown kinda vibes”.

Bar a Christmas single, this is your first release in six years. What have you been up to in that time?
I spent a long time writing, scrapping, writing, working, hiding….for a long time I didn’t really think I would ever put anything else out. I lost a lot of confidence at one point, and stopped even playing shows. It’s been weird getting back into it all again. To be honest I sort of surprised myself when I ended up with a load of recorded tracks.

After years in London you’re back in Northampton. How you finding the music world here?
To be honest I haven’t really ventured into the Northampton music world much since moving back. I happened upon a Blood-Visions show one time, and decided to start a little label to help them with their EP. But other than that my knowledge of the current Northants music scene is kind of rubbish. I’m actually playing my first Northampton show in ages soon, with Alessi’s Ark at The Black Prince on 11th October!

‘Creatures’ is a bit of a triumph, isn’t it. What can you tell us about the track?
Oh thanks! I recorded it with my friend Andy Jenkin, who also plays drums on it, and my friend Stephen Davidson from Tellison plays bass on the track too. I wrote a whole bunch of songs when I lived in Peckham and this was one of them. I had a week of not sleeping properly because I had a lot going on at the time, and I just felt like I was failing at life. I didn’t see a way forward.

What’s the last album you bought/streamed?
Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Do you still have the cat?
Yes! She sang backing vox on ‘Creatures’. I think the attention has gone to her head though, I’m trying to keep her grounded.

What’s next for you? Is their an album being worked on?
There is an album, there will be news. But I don’t know when exactly yet. What’s next in the immediate future is just playing a lot of shows hopefully….

Creatures is out now. Katie plays Northampton’s The Black Prince on October 11th alongside Alessi’s Ark, Hana Brooks and Mali Mae.

No Comments on New Music Friday: Katie Malco

Interview: THUMPER

THUMPER are the Dublin band everyone’s talking about, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows and penchant for howling…

THUMPER are the Dublin band everyone’s talking about, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows and penchant for howling feedback and pounding rhythm, each show is an exercise in unpredictability. ‘Out of Body Auto-Message’ is the first studio record, produced by Dan Fox (Girl Band). In this new phase, THUMPER step away from their early days of lo-fi bedroom recordings into a more widescreen effort – without losing any of the grit that defined the early material.

The band are consistently topping the “Ones To Watch” lists, touring relentlessly – headlining Hard Working Class Heroes well, joining Fangclub on a national tour, playing their first UK show at a sold-out Shacklewell Arms. Following this year’s festival packed summer they hit the road this month with seven back-to-back dates in established music venues of major UK cities. And Northampton [we lucked out there, huh].

New Boots spoke to singer Oisin Leahy Furlong about what makes THUMPER tick.

How  did you guys get together?
THUMPER started off as a solo bedroom recording project in 2015. I recorded three extremely lo-fi and gnarly EPs myself and distributed them around Dublin. After deciding to tour the songs a bit, THUMPER gradually morphed into the band you see today.

Growing up, who gave you the “eureka” moment?
There’s been a few eureka moments for sure. Hearing Nirvana and Sonic Youth for the first time was definitely an awakening. Being exposed to Jeffrey Lewis and the Moldy Peaches, and other NY anti-folk stuff was a big thing for me also. The warts-n-all approach they took to mining poetry out of mundane situations was a game changer. When I heard Parquet Courts and King Gizzard, though. That was when I literally turned around and said “I have to start a band”.

Fontaines DC, The Murder Capital, you. This jugular music is a thrilling addition to the music scene. Can you begin to pinpoint why this “voice of Ireland” moment is happening now?
I’m not sure either of the bands mentioned set out with the intentions of being an authentic voice of anything. We’ve all played shows together before any sort of attention was being payed, and the only goal was to be an authentic voice for yourself. There’s always been and still is undiscovered artists here with just as much vitality as anything the heavy hitters are producing, just have to keep your ear to the ground.

Is the spirit amongst the rock bands in Dublin collegiate; “high tides raise all ships” type of idea?
There’s such a vibrant scene in Dublin and Ireland at the minute that there’s no cookie cutter mentality in terms of careerism or competition. But the one thing that is true of all these bands is that the standard of music being created is booming. I don’t think this can be chalked up to rising to meet industry interest, it’s more so the quality of the records that are being put out is so fucking inspiring you can’t help but walk away inspired to aim higher.

Three guitar-players and two drummers is taking things to the limit. What’s the appeal?
Once you go two drummers you won’t go back! We never put much thought into it being a novelty, it just always felt right for us. We’ve a large sound, we’d be selling our audience short if we had any less people on stage [but bring earplugs!]

Describe your live show in five words or less.
Six boys get very weird.

This is your first tour of the UK – exhilarated by that idea right now?
Very much looking forward to meeting the real humans that our Spotify numbers represent, and making a night of it.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Murder Capital’s debut [When I Have Fears]. Stunning piece of work.

What can we expect from the THMUPER debut album?
The goal is to subvert all expectations while giving you exactly what you hoped for.

THUMPER play The Black Prince on Wednesday September 25th.

THUMPER Facebook


cover photo by Keith Currams

No Comments on Interview: THUMPER

It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 18th – Sep 24th

BETH MUNROE Thursday September 19th The Lab, Northampton Talk by Maja of Queers To The Front Booking about being a trans-woman. Followed by music from the NN indietronica solo artist….

Thursday September 19th
The Lab, Northampton
Talk by Maja of Queers To The Front Booking about being a trans-woman. Followed by music from the NN indietronica solo artist. Doors 8pm, £4 entry [£3 members]

Friday September 20th
The Roadmender Northampton
The Purps are now a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Jacob, and to celebrate the release of latest single ‘Warning Signs’ they play their biggest headline show to date – in the main room of the Roady. Choosing three amazing support acts too means we’re in for a special one. Doors 7pm, and just £5 for a ticket

Friday September 20th
The Lab, Northampton
Your regular friendly urban music night, featuring the talents of Har-Q, Reality, Blistery, L30 Robinson, Thunder, Infinite Lore, Smiley, Anonymous, and more. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
The Cousin Avi frontman returns to Northampton for a special solo set of sultry Latino soul. A rare show from local bluesy singer-songwriter in support. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
St Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke Bruerne
An enticing night of roots music from artists of this region [or should we say parish?]. Doors 6.30pm, tickets £10 [from or call The Boat Inn on (01604) 862428]

Friday September 20th
Fiddler’s Elbow, Wellingborough
Scottish NWOBHM band that have recently reformed headline, plus brand new Medway metalcore, a groove metal trio from MK, and the opening entertainment is “foul language shouted over driven, anthemic state-side punk rock riffs”  [also from MK]. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
Towcestrians RFC, Towcester
A couple of local-ish bands to rock your weekend, all in aid of Sponne Schools Uganda. Doors 7.30pm, £5 entry

Saturday September 21st
The Roadmender, Northampton
A day of music, workshops and more that puts young people’s mental health centre stage. Lucy Spraggan, The Death Alley Drivers, Roses & Pirates, That Joe Payne, Jamie Lee Harrison, Candidates, Jono & The Uke Dealers, Amii Dawes, Adam Thomas, Tu-Kay & Ryan, Homeless Shakespeare, and Lunaxis is your entertainment. Doors midday, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Black Prince, Northampton
The New York “anti-folk” singer-songwriter has become a firm favourite of the Northampton scene. With The Voltage they play scuzzy urban indie-rock-folk, like “a 21st Century mash-up of Sonic Youth, Pete Seeger and R. Crumb”. Their new album Bad Wiring was recorded in Nashville, and will be released November 1 on Moshi Moshi Records. Support from everyone’s favourite local noisy art-punks. Doors 7.30pm, £10 tickets

Saturday September 21st
Earl’s Barton WMC
New Northants metallers Sulvain make their debut appearance, with past members of The Darkhorse and Garshkott teaming up with other local musicians. Support from Milton Keynes metallers, and the Cambridge-based melodic death metal band. Doors from 7pm, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Old Swan, Earl’s Barton
Ni Ni Sessions acoustic night. From 9pm, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Sargeant Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green
Best known for her world wide smash ‘Pilot Of The Airwaves’, Dore’s music has led to worldwide critical acclaim. This will be an relaxed evening, with special guest singer songwriter Orestano. Doors 7.30pm, £10 tickets

Saturday September 21st
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Blues-wailin’ duo play their popular afternoon slot. 3pm-6pm, free entry


Cover photo by Chloe Milne


No Comments on It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 18th – Sep 24th

Across The Border: Sept 18th – Sept 25th

Here’s our now regular Across The Border weekly round up of what’s going on at some of our favourite venues in neighboring counties. VICTORS Thursday, September 19 The Craufurd Arms,…

Here’s our now regular Across The Border weekly round up of what’s going on at some of our favourite venues in neighboring counties.

Thursday, September 19
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Leeds based four-piece Victors blur the lines between 1980’s synth pop, indie rock and atmospheric electronica. Forming in 2016, Harry Irving, Simon Appleson, Leon Davies and Dominic Brooks have been featured on BBC Radio 1, Spotify Weekly Discover and had tracks playlisted in Topman / Topshop stores. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £6.

Thursday, September 19
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Expect a night of medieval lute music, Spanish guitar classics, Delta Blues and hints of Chet Atkins and Django Reinhardt, through to the Beatles. Having started playing guitar aged nine, Carroll graduated from Trinity College with a First Class Honours Degree in Composition & Guitar and is now regarded as one of the leading acoustic guitar players in the world. Doors 8.45pm, tickets £10.

Friday, September 20
Esquires, Bedford
From deepest darkest Surrey and with a decade of gentlemanly catterwalling under his belt, Mr B brings you Chap-Hop, re-acquainting hip-hop with the Queen’s English. His legendary live recitals have earned him plaudits, largely from top shelf gentlemen’s quarterlies. Support is by Thomas Benjamin Esq who went stratospheric earlier this year, with his single No More F’s To Give hitting several viral video channels, racking up tens of millions of views and propelling his album into the charts. Doors 8pm, tickets £10.

Friday, September 20
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Hannah Scott performs contemporary folk music and is picking up a loyal following thanks to her distinctive voice, strong melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. She has found her musical home with creative partner Stefano Della Casa and their well-received album Pieces Of The Night was released in 2018. Doors 8.45pm, tickets £10.

Saturday, September 21
Esquires, Bedford
We don’t regularly feature cover acts on New Boots, but The Total Stone Roses are the UK’s leading tribute act to the seminal band. They will be marking the 30th anniversary of the band’s self-titled debut by playing it in full. Doors 8pm, tickets £13.

Saturday, September 21
Esquires, Bedford
The Velveteers are an American Rock trio from Denver, Colorado that is the epiphany of punk with the aggressive sound and grungy wisdom that transcends through 21-year-old guitarist and lead singer Demi Demitro and her two drummers. Through fuzzed out guitar riffs and thunderous drums they lure their audience with vibes that come right out of a classic horror flick. In 2018 the band released their self-titled debut EP and have since been busy on the road touring. Support is by Coldharbour and Joyland. Doors 8pm, tickets £10.

Saturday, September 21
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Inspired by mod fashion and culture, punk attitude and 1960s melodies and harmonies, Steve and the boys are a retro-fuelled, high octane shot of adrenaline. Expect an evening of catchy, killer tunes married to insightful lyrics covering life, love and everything in-between. Doors 8:45pm, tickets £12.

Sunday, September 22
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Combining southern twang, a British accent and three-part harmonies, Royal South mix country and bluegrass influences with acoustic contemporary sounds. The trio of SaraBeth, Glen Mitchell and Vickie Vaughn are Individual artists in their own right, with chart topping songs, Grand Ole Opry performances, industry awards, a fiercely loyal social media following and world tours between them. Doors 8pm, tickets £16.00.

Tuesday, September 24
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Acclaimed American guitarist Paul Gilbert is co-founder of the hard rock band Mr. Big and a founding member of the now-defunct heavy metal band Racer X. He’s heading to the Craufurd Arms as part of his Behold, The Electric Guitar tour. He has previously been named among GuitarOne magazine’s Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time and Guitar World’s 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £22.50.

Tuesday, September 24
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Even before you get to the music there’s plenty to pique one’s interest with The Leisure Society. Main-man Nick Hemming began his career in shoegaze band The Telescopes and shared a further outfit with Paddy Considine and Shane Meadows. They’ve had two consecutive Ivor Novello nominations for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, and have enjoyed the endorsement of everyone from Guy Garvey to Brian Eno. Their long-awaited fifth album, Arrivals & Departures, was released this year. Doors 8pm, tickets £16.

No Comments on Across The Border: Sept 18th – Sept 25th

New Music Friday: Zandr

Northampton’s Zandr is 20 year-old producer Alex Howard, who pops up with these fascinating and euphoric chillwave beats, and DJ Shadow-style sonic journeys. Punchy new single ‘Void’ is just out…

Northampton’s Zandr is 20 year-old producer Alex Howard, who pops up with these fascinating and euphoric chillwave beats, and DJ Shadow-style sonic journeys. Punchy new single ‘Void’ is just out and already making people sit up and notice. New Boots has a chat to help joins the dots.

You’re at the university, studying music.
I am just about to top up my recently acquired HND in music production, to the full degree of ‘Popular Music’ by completing the third and final year. I would strongly recommend a course like this to anybody that is after a well-rounded approach to music. What you can learn from the different pathways you choose is eye-opening.

How did you start the Zandr project?
During the time of my two year HND we were encouraged to make music outside of the scheduled sessions to better our skills and begin to make what came naturally to us. I took the full advantage of having my chosen DAW [Logic Pro X] accessible to me at any time, and began to craft my sound and practice all the time . Whilst doing so I decided it was a good idea to choose a name to release music/ produce under. After some research I decided I wanted a two syllable catchy name that was visually recognisable and easy to remember. I had been thinking of shortening my name or making something out of it, but when my mates started jokingly calling me “DJ Xander” which is obviously a play on my full name “Alexander” it just fitted perfectly. To make it stand out more and look dynamic I then changed the spelling to something more out-there and abstract. And that’s where the name originated.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
Whenever I’m asked to describe my sound I always struggle to answer because I make quite an array of different styles under the electronic umbrella. I think as far as what I have released: chilled electronic music, with catchy melodies and punchy drops would be a good description. Although I’ve showcased that I can make more hard hitting tracks such as ‘Void’ also. I have so many influences in music, from big producers such as Pharrell Williams and Timbaland, who’s online MasterClass I took earlier this year. To the other end of the spectrum; course-mates and musicians I have as friends that are just starting out like myself. Listening to them starting to find their sounds is inspiring in itself. I feel a standout artist for me is Diplo – his sound is so versatile and he works with so many different artists whilst covering countless styles of music. Something I aspire to do one day for sure.

What was the reaction like to the ‘Cloud 9’ EP earlier this year?
The reaction was surprisingly positive, as I had no clue how people would react to it whatsoever. ‘Cloud 9’ in a nutshell was supposed to be a small collection of feel-good tracks, with euphoric vibes that reflected the project title. Bar the introductory song ‘3AM Brainstorm’ – that was included to create a contrast and set the tone for the songs that followed. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of my first proper piece of work, especially as I mix and mastered it all myself as well.

The meaning of the tracks:
‘Epiphany’ – I was originally going to do a course in marketing and advertising after completing A-levels as academically I suppose it’s what I’m interested in, but after reading a life changing book on holiday I literally had an “epiphany” and something told me to follow music. Easily the best decision I ever made.
‘Cloud 9’ – doesn’t really have a deep meaning, and definitely isn’t about anyone in particular. The aim was to make a simple but catchy club-style drop with my chopped up and pitched vocals driving the drop.
‘Nostalgia’ – this was the first electronic track that I ever made after learning the basics of production, and I called it Nostalgia as it’s my oldest track and It’s crazy to think how long ago it was!
‘Higher’ – a track I wanted to have a really cool ambient vibe to it. The simple and relatable lyrics aren’t meant to mean anything in particular, it’s more just to blend into the rest of the song and enhance it slightly. And to my complete surprise, amongst my peers it seems to be the most popular song from the E.P!

Tell us everything about this new release ‘Void’. You must be ecstatic it’s had so many listeners already?
It’s a track I’ve been working on for a while, it’s something I started, but put off finishing until I thought it was just right. The goal was to make a single that had quite a distinct feel to it, and I really wanted to incorporate this into a house song because it’s one of my favourite genres. I feel with making music it’s so important that you love the sound of what your making and that your doing it for yourself before anything, otherwise what’s the point? Although the response of listeners is important to me, I’m making what I want to make, any positive comments are a bonus. I’ve been over the moon with the response to the track, it seems like people are really loving the feel of it which honestly makes me feel amazing.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Do you have many peers you’re in contact with?
I would say I am part of a wider scene in Northampton, having grown up performing in bands as a drummer and building up the amount of people I know through music. Musicians I have met through college that I’ve became friends with have come round to my personal studio to jam or lay down melodies for me, etc. This along with attending local events has all contributed to being a part of the scene ! I feel producing and releasing music helps in itself. As far as peers I’m in contact with, I’ve been lucky enough to be the “resident producer” at a small events company called Yellowbrick, ran by one of my good friends in Nottingham. This means if they need any music for anything promotionally, or they have clients contact them for beats or anything like that – they get sent to me!

Any live shows on the horizon?
Doing live shows is something I want to start getting into, I need to further develop my DJ skills as I’m still relatively new to it all. However this is all in the very near future as I have a couple of small events in the works that will be perfect for me to get started.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I listened to in full was Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. I’m a huge fan of him as an artist as he isn’t afraid to be different and explore innovative production styles, the album was a breath of fresh air.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’ve got quite a lot I want to do, I’m really looking forward to hopefully working with different artists and getting some features after I’ve crafted my sound a bit more. I want to also explore different genres as I produce a lot of experimental stuff and hip-hop as well. Following doing all of the vocals on Cloud 9 I want to really push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things and see what I can come up with, possibly implementing all of this into an E.P within the coming months.

Void is out now to stream and buy on the voidesque internet thingy machine you’re reading this on

No Comments on New Music Friday: Zandr

It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 11th – Sep 17th

WEIRDOE + SAMUEL LOX + CEEPZ Friday September 13th The Black Prince, Northampton Debut headline show from the Northampton rapper with the mad fast flow, with similarly talented NN supports….

Friday September 13th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Debut headline show from the Northampton rapper with the mad fast flow, with similarly talented NN supports. Only a few tickets remaining – this one is going to go off. Doors 7.30pm, £6 tickets

Friday September 13th 
The Lab, Northampton
Death grind from Gothenburg headline, plus ShoeTown grindcore crust [last show with Matt on drums!], crust ‘n’ roll from London, powerviolence from Nottingham, death grind from Stevenage, and some more local “total crush battle doom” from the returning IG. Doors 7.30pm, £5 entry

Friday September 13th 
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
South-east hardcore/metal/math rock group on top, then London’s raging metallers, plus ShoeTown’s young punk rockers open up. Nice. Doors 7pm, free entry

Saturday September 14th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
A one day mini-fest held over two stages at the Gari, featuring some of Northampton’s best artistic talents. Highlights are the unexpected return to the game by Ivory Yardsale, and the debut show from the slightly mysterious Lift Tower collective. Doors 3pm, free entry

Saturday September 14th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Physical Education Recordings present a night of live music. You get: London indie/hardcore trio, dark-but-melodic Swedes, and incendiary ShoeTown trio with a rare live show. What’s not to like? Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday September 14th
The Coach & Horses, Wellingborough
Retro Beat welcomes MK powerhouse indie rockers, who mix the 90’s scene with a modern rock’n’roll twist. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday September 14th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Acoustic singer-songwriter in an afternoon setting. 3pm-6pm, free entry

Sunday September 15th
Abington Park Bandstand, Northampton
The 8th annual Rockin’ Roadrunner mini festival. This community event is focused towards people with special needs, their families and carers. Performances from Elvis Tribute, Charles, Hollie May, Show time at the musicals, Performing Room, Dance with a Difference, The Cube Disability, Arts Academy, Encompass Arts, Y-Not Arts, The Autistix, plus loads of other fun and creative things to do. 12pm-5pm

Sunday September 15th
UFO Pavilion, Northampton
The Bard Of Northampton gets chosen for the year. On the outside stage will be live performances from P-HEX, Katie Paton, Kenneth J. Nash, Jono and The Uke Dealers, Taylor Smith, Helen Verrill, Yoshe, Jacob Braithwaite, and The Whistling Dandies. From midday, free entry

Sunday September 15th
The King Billy, Northampton
An afternoon of punk, headlined by original West London punks who were Top Of The Tops regulars. Doors 4pm [finishes at 9pm], £5 entry




No Comments on It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 11th – Sep 17th

Across The Border: Sept 11th – Sept 18th

Three in three weeks! Across The Border is well and truly back. Here’s what we think you should be considering going to see at venues in our neighbouring counties in…

Three in three weeks! Across The Border is well and truly back. Here’s what we think you should be considering going to see at venues in our neighbouring counties in the coming days.

Thursday, September 12th
The Stables, Milton Keynes,
Prog rockers Gryphon are headlining The Stables. Since their last appearance at the venue, the band have released the LP ReInvention, a studio album of new material and their first for more than 40 years. Doors open at 8pm, tickets cost £18.50.

Friday, September 13th
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
London’s softcore-psych quartet Childcare head to the region next week for two gigs, the first at the Craufurd Arms. Childcare are on the road touring in support of their debut album Wabi-Sabi. They were formed by Ed Cares, formerly one of West London’s most in-demand male nannies. Cares enlisted bassist Emma Topolski, guitarist Rich Le Gate and drummer David Dyson to complete the group. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

Friday, September 13th to Sunday, September 15th
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Rock‘n’roll legend Joe Brown is out on his 60th anniversary tour and playing three nights at The Stables. His Very Best Of album achieved Gold Record Status and was on the UK charts for eight weeks staying four weeks in the Top 20. Ten years ago, he celebrated with a sell-out show at the Royal Albert Hall and his Ukulele Album caused a similar stir breaking new territory for Joe. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £33.

Saturday, September 14th
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Hailed as ‘Britain’s New Age Vintage Nightingale’, Sara Spade brings her new show to The Stables on Saturday. It will feature songs from her latest album and selections from early 20th century music. Doors 8.45pm, tickets £10.

Saturday, September 14th
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
More prog – this time in the form of progressive folk rockers Solstice who are heading to the Craufud Arms for a hometown gig. They recently played at The Secret Widget Festival and New Day Festivals. Their latest LP Prophecy was released in 2013. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8

Saturday, September 14th
Esquires, Bedford
Spear of Destiny are returning to Esquires to play their classic LP One Eyed Jacks in full.
With the exception of a few songs, all of the songs had been played by the original line-up for nearly a year prior to the LP’s recording and the record remains a classic in Kirk’s back catalogue and a firm fan favourite. Doors 8.00 pm, tickets £19.

Sunday, September 15th
Esquires, Bedford
The second of this week’s gig by Childcare, this time the quartet are at Esquires and will be joined by Jeana and Among The Citizens. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

Sunday, September 15th
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Deitweiler are launching their new single How Can I Make A Difference on Sunday as well as playing other new material. Support by Leopard Rays. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £5.

Wednesday, September 18th
MK11, Milton Keynes
Eduardas Armonas is an award-winning guitarist from Lithuania, based in the UK. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music, he performs regularly in London and across Europe. He will be playing with the venue’s house band who also host a jam session in the second set. Doors 8.30pm, free.

Thursday, September 19th
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Leeds based pop / electronic quartet Victors have been busy playing festivals this summer and are now out on a UK tour which is heading to Milton Keynes. Their latest single I’ve Been Missing You was released in June. Support is by Jeana and Garden. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £6.

No Comments on Across The Border: Sept 11th – Sept 18th

Album review: Nina Harries

NINA HARRIES Nina Harries [self-released] If you have not already had the good fortune to be acquainted with Nina Harries, let New Boots introduce you. Nina is a British double…

Nina Harries [self-released]

If you have not already had the good fortune to be acquainted with Nina Harries, let New Boots introduce you. Nina is a British double bassist and vocalist hailing from Northampton. She comes from a family of musicians, she trained in western classical music for four years at the Royal College of Music under double bass professor Enno Senft of the London Sinfonietta. In the last two years of her degree at the RCM she began to work as a soloist and band bassist for several acts from the London band scene, namely The Burning Glass, John Fairhurst Trio, Barbarella’s Bang Bang, Symphonica Feat DJ Switch and the London Electronic Orchestra.

At this point Nina also began to discover a love for solo performance, and began to experiment with performing a mix of original and cover songs using only double bass and voice. She fits nicely under the ‘dark folk’ genre, but also brings with her some flavours of rock, trip-hop and EDM. She has a fantastic range – massive respect for hitting those real low notes – and her vocals appear different on every track, whilst still managing to maintain her own ‘Nina style’.

Each perfectly-formed song on Nina Harries has new, fresh influences, when compared to the previous track. You can never be sure where she will go next. The album was recorded with producer and engineer Peter Miles at his studio Middle Farm Studios in Devon, and has an overall feel of the later albums by Nico or more modern styles like music by This Is The Kit.

The album starts with a slow build and absorbs you in with ‘Heavy Doubt’, which does what it says on the tin, perfectly reflecting the feeling of doubt in the mind, but even if this is not your thing do not rest here. There are two stand-out tracks on the album, and the second track ‘Lose Yourself’ is definitely one of them. With its faster-paced rhythm and the way she bends the opening notes on the bass is reminiscent of Mick Karn from Japan. Accompanied with Nina rapping in unison, she is absolutely nailing the experience of being a woman in a male dominated musical genre. It is an immediate ‘add to play list’ moment.

Track three ‘Icarus’ has an eastern vibe and once again has a slow build; at 8 minutes 34 seconds it is the longest track on the album, but is well worth the investment of time. At this point in the album she could have gone anywhere, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint. This track captivated me, in the same way The Doors captivated me with The End. It is truly mesmerising, sit back, relax and enjoy. ‘Will; I’m Not’ is a collaboration with the album producer Peter Miles, and sticking to the view that the bass and vocals can do anything and go anywhere, Nina moves into the zone of EDM dance music. Re-enforcing the fact that she has the skills to do what ever she wants, in whatever genre she sees fit.

On ‘O’Lothsome Day’ and ‘Pendle Hill’ her vocals have a slight ASMR quality as the album moves back to her dark folk and gothic rock roots. The second stand-out track is ‘One Hard Task’, an alternative rock track which hooks you in immediately and sounds so perfectly formed. Along with ‘Lose Yourself’ they are the “check out Nina Harries” songs from this album. The final track ‘Int;;Ext;;Int;;Ext;; / Butterfly’ is a beautiful conclusion to the album moving back to the EDM-style and includes the piano, bass and of course the superb ethereal vocals of Nina.

I think it is fair to say that you cannot and should not underestimate this lady, you cannot take her for granted. This album will move you through a rainbow of sounds and is deeply captivating. But just like the butterfly, do not attempt to try to pin her down: she will sit with you, but she cannot be boxed. She is on a mission to explore all the realms available to her musical craft, and to create new ones. She is certainly one to pay attention to.

Lisa Eversden

Nina Harries is out September 13th [order vinyl and CD here]. The album launch show is the same day at Hoxton Hall.

[cover photo by Joe Brown]


No Comments on Album review: Nina Harries

Live review: Stormbringer

STORMBRINGER The Roadmender, Northampton September 6th Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from…

The Roadmender, Northampton
September 6th

Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from Oxfordshire/Northants are a bundle of finely-honed energy. Displaying little in the way of nerves they deliver original tunes like ‘Parasite’ which are both heavy and emotive. Lyrically astute, their first single ‘No More Lies’ follows and is peppered with neat time changes that remind me of ’90s era Metallica. A twin-guitar attack creates a huge sound as set closer [and forthcoming single] ‘Time Running Out’ is a real earworm, and brings things to a suitably climatic crescendo.

Hitting the stage like a gang of whirling dervishes Parallax haven’t come to take prisoners and by second track, ‘End’, their enthusiasm has infected the whole venue. Some powerhouse drumming creates an earth-shaking sound that’s underpinned by some fine finger-tapping on the bass, while the vocals mirror the rhythm and alternate between hardcore growls and something almost soulful. The guitars fire in unison to create an artillery barrage as ‘Losing Control’ and ‘Hero’ are unleashed in quick succession. It’s great to see a band enjoying themselves, but the in between song banter could be toned down so their stage presence matches the ferocity of their sound.

Local band Still Remains appear as a blur of Flying V’s and throwing shapes. It’s no surprise the band cite Metallica, Saxon and Thin Lizzy as influences because their sound perfectly captures that moment in time when the NWOBHM was morphing into speed metal. Originally formed in 1993 as a reaction to grunge their unique take on trad metal has been immovable and seen off various fads and trends. With no pomposity Still Remains are simply four guys on stage, having a ball and living out their fantasies as guitarist Andy Green delivers blistering solo after blistering solo and his vocals have that earthy touch of Paul Di’anno. The whole band lock in well together as the set ebbs and flows smoothly with the songs paired by tempo. ‘What I Am’ broods with a moody riff, while the ferocious set closer, ‘Redeemer’, ensures they leave as they arrived: in a blaze of sonic fury.

Tonight’s headliners Stormbringer have a sound that’s built for the biggest stages, and they’ve taken the right route by paying their dues in clubs and bars. While the Roadmender has become their spiritual home you have the feeling they will soon outgrow the venue. Since I last saw Stormbringer they have shuffled personnel with Darren Caven-Quantrill coming in on guitar and original vocalist Mike Stockley returning after a hiatus. Fans shouldn’t worry as it’s the same Stormbringer, only more groove-orientated and with a more expansive sound. Appropriately they open with their very first single ‘Grinder’, and it’s like Mike has never been away. Slotting right back in the band he immediately commandeers centre stage, constantly punching the air and standing astride the barriers. He’s one of those rare frontmen who can make the whole venue feel involved and, despite the line up changes, the band hit the ground running, like a well-oiled machine they’re firing on all cylinders as ‘Bleed For’ and ‘Save Me’ are discharged in quick succession. It’s a career spanning set which pulls tracks from their three albums while the new song debuted, the moody ‘Mirage’, stomps like a giant and has that huge feeling that Metallica captured on their Black Album. ‘Stick to Your Guns’ follows along with ‘Bad Blood’ as drummer John Paul Quantrill provides a thunderous soundtrack to which bassist Darren McCullagh prowls like a caged animal. Two from their debut album MMVIII follow in the shape of ‘Mark Anthony’ and ‘Gazing at the Grave’, both of which provide plenty of foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air metal action before guitarist Dom Wallace lays an explosive solo over the anthemic ‘Smother’. Still driven by an insatiable hunger the band look visibly exhausted as they near the sets conclusion; yet they drain the tank to deliver an explosive closer in the shape of ‘Dying Breed’.

Peter Dennis.

Photos by David Jackson

No Comments on Live review: Stormbringer

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search

error: Content is protected !!