THE LORDS OF THYME Pellets (Sunstone) Midlands quartet ‘da Lords’, as no one probably calls them, are the quintessential folk-psych, West Coast-harmonising band who play like the calendar got stuck…
THE LORDS OF THYME Pellets (Sunstone)
Midlands quartet ‘da Lords’, as no one probably calls them, are the quintessential folk-psych, West Coast-harmonising band who play like the calendar got stuck on 1972. On this evidence, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that mindset. The group first came together as musicians in Circulus, and the nucleus/driving force of the band is Northants-based husband and wife team Joe and Michelle Woolley. Joe wrote five of the eight songs here, and arranged two of the traditional numbers.
Pellets originally was released on CD in 2016, but recently the group were approached by Sunstone to produce a vinyl version. This run is limited to just 200 copies; it also gave the band a chance to re-order the tracks into a more satisfying sequence. Now the album begins with ‘Burton Town’, possibly their most Pentangle-y song, which isn’t surprising as it’s on the first Pentangle album. Also tried out by Sandy Denny, you immediately get where they’re coming from. Michelle’s siren-song folk delivery is mesmerising from the first note, laid over tasteful organ and intertwining, earthy hand-picked guitar lines. Following a lovely solemn rendition of another traditional, ‘George Collins’, the listener is treated to the talents of J. Woolley and Tali Trow. ‘The Bird It Sang’ is more in tune with a Byrdsian worldview, riding a confident wave of up-tempo jangle, topped off with a wonderful dramatic chorus. Side one finishes with ‘Morning Came’, a plaintive rumination from Joe that recalls a solo Bert Jansch in all its honest, down-home singing. It’s a real stunning number, truth be told.
Side two begins with the epic melancholy of ‘Coming Down’, and introducing some mellifluous pedal steel guitar lines weaving in and out of some equally impressive Hammond playing. Is that jazz drumming too? It’s an ambitious, weighty and beautifully stoned number the band should be justly proud of (as they can of the whole album). ‘Freight Train to Rainham’ comes out of the leftfield a bit, very much a John Mayall workout that’s bluesy and probably a lot of fun to jam on. Pellets finishes with ‘Keep On Travelling’, a West Coast psych-rocker that patiently builds and builds, swirling through the fog of tyme to bring us one step closer to the beatnik-hippy dreamworld.
The album is a luxurious sounding thing, and perfectly suited to the vinyl format. If we’re allowed a little critique it perhaps would benefit from being a bit more dog-eared at times, to give greater range and depth to the overall vision. The songwriting and musicianship are beyond reproach, though – this is an album we will be talking about in twenty years time. No matter what format you hear it in, just make sure it comes into your life, and soon.
New Boots begins It’s A Shoe In, an attempt to provide a succinct guide to the toppermost shows in the county over the coming week… THE LEN PRICE 3 +…
New Boots begins It’s A Shoe In, an attempt to provide a succinct guide to the toppermost shows in the county over the coming week…
THE LEN PRICE 3 + THE MOBBS + THE HURRICANES + BETH MUNROE Friday November 17 The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
Up from the Medway delta are garage / power-pop types The Len Price 3, playing songs from their lauded fifth album Kentish Longtails. Support is from county tearaways who ply a similarly exciting garage / mod / punk hybrid. 7.30pm, tickets £6
EASTFIELD + SPRING PARK Friday November 17 The Lab, Northampton
Northants/Brum punksters Eastfield – 20 years and counting – make a rare live performance in Northampton. Support from newish Spring Park, who released their second LP Blow UP Your TV! last year. 8pm, £5 on the door.
ROCKED UP’S BIG MON THEN ALLDAYER Saturday November 18 The Ex, Corby
Rocked Up put on an all-day event to raise awareness and money for SDR for Cain. Acts performing on the day include Press to MECO, ACODA, Signals, Veins, King Purple, Calling the kidd Wednesday, Flash Peasants, Drinsipa, Family of Noise, and Skirt. 2pm. Tickets £10
DEAF TRAP + KILAMOJO + PRIME Saturday November 18 The Black Prince, Northampton
Alt-rockers Deaf Trap celebrate the release of their second EP Miscreants with a free live show. Doors 7pm.
THE LORDS OF THYME Tuesday November 21 Upstairs at The Lamplighter, Northampton
A very infrequent opportunity to witness a Northants performance from the Midlands psych-folk quartet is not to be passed up. Playing songs from their recently re-released album Pellets [Sunstone Records]. 8.30pm, £5 on the door
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 [firstname.lastname@example.org]. 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.
Another Friday, let’s share some more new Northants tunes. Sarpa Salpa are quickly turning into something to shout very loudly about. Their second single ‘She Never Lies’ is as infectious…
Another Friday, let’s share some more new Northants tunes.
Sarpa Salpa are quickly turning into something to shout very loudly about. Their second single ‘She Never Lies’ is as infectious as you might expect from the Northampton foursome. There’s a very nice home video you can watch below. They launch the single with a show on November 11th at The Roadmender.
And not to be outdone Monarchs throw some amusing dance shapes in the clip for their new one, ‘Darker Shade Of Black’. The Kettering trio are also doing a single launch at The Roadmender, their one coming along on December 1st.
LA synth-pop duo Magic Wands share their new single, ahead of their UK tour. The duo turn into a five-piece live band on their European ‘Abracadabra Tour’ in anticipation of…
LA synth-pop duo Magic Wands share their new single, ahead of their UK tour.
The duo turn into a five-piece live band on their European ‘Abracadabra Tour’ in anticipation of their third album, ‘Realms’, which is released February 2018. The first song from that album, ‘Loveline’, is available to listen to online now.
The tour begins on November 1st in Newcastle, and takes in Northampton on Friday November 3rd at The Roadmender. Support in Northampton is from local acts Fox Chapel, Garden, and Thee Telepaths.
Sadly, not together (imagine that for a moment though). New tunes for a Friday from a couple of Northampton-based artists. First up Ginger Snaps, aka Jay Brook and chums. The…
Sadly, not together (imagine that for a moment though).
New tunes for a Friday from a couple of Northampton-based artists.
First up Ginger Snaps, aka Jay Brook and chums. The fourth single, following ‘Paranoid’, ‘Phat Kids’, and ‘Number Crunching’, is more kooky rap-pop, this time with guest vocals from Vo Williams. Speaking to Dork, Brook says that “Ginger Snaps is a thing that allows me so much scope. I’ve done a pop single, a funk single and this new ones a bit baggier. I’m enjoying just working with different musicians so it stays fresh!”
Jordan Mackampa, meanwhile, previews his next EP (‘Live From the Grand Cru’, due 2018) by dropping ‘Give Into The Dark’. The singer-songwriter is continuing to co-write material with Olly and Gayle from Turin Brakes, from which this song and the rest of the EP is made up. ‘Give Into The Dark’ is a typical confessional Mackampa gospel-folk tune that tingles the spine and burrows into the synapses on repeated listening.
Mackampa told Clash magazine: “I’m saying that the ‘real world’ feels less like a dream come true and more of a nightmare. So by giving into the dark, I escape to a place where I’m at peace, giving me the chance to runaway from the war I’m fighting; even if it’s only for a moment or two”.
California’s Kingdom Of Giants headlined the Roadmender on Monday night as part of their jaunt around the UK. The band released their second major album All The Hell You’ve Got…
California’s Kingdom Of Giants headlined the Roadmender on Monday night as part of their jaunt around the UK.
The band released their second major album All The Hell You’ve Got To Spare in May and were joined in Northampton by Our Hollow, Our Home, Create To Inspire, Caliburn and From Once We Came.
It was a great turn out for a Monday night with the back room of the Roadmender pretty packed. Below are a few photos of KOG, OHOH and CTI. (Apologies to Caliburn and From Once We Came, we couldn’t get to the venue early enough to see you guys).
[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.