Record review: The Hurricanes

THE HURRICANES Let’s Go! [self-released] Recorded in their practice room, Northampton quartet The Hurricanes – aka Robert Jones [singing/guitar], Dammo Clarke [guitar], Neil Robinson [drums], and Tony Norton [bass] – have unleashed…

THE HURRICANES
Let’s Go! [self-released]

Recorded in their practice room, Northampton quartet The Hurricanes – aka Robert Jones [singing/guitar], Dammo Clarke [guitar], Neil Robinson [drums], and Tony Norton [bass] – have unleashed their debut album after a quiet period of gestation. Songs were worked on, refined, and put to tape over the past year, away from the glare of expectation. 

Three-quarters of the band cut their teeth in local ’90s Britpopish band Collide, but it is the mod revival sound of ’79 onwards that The Hurricanes mine for their sound. The Prisoners probably sit at the head of that table, as the opening [title] track sets out. Slashing power chords, agitated vocals, a pummelling rhythm section: it’s all here. And the band The Prisoners are usually mentioned alongside – The Jam – is there on track two, ‘This Is The Time’, with the 100 Club spit’n’pogo energy, alongside a no holds-barred rumbling bassline. A handclap breakdown appears mid-song too, giving it a dose of The Chords-esque soul in amongst the bludgeoning guitar noise.

‘Felicity Paige’ has a great, undeniable chorus chant, straight out of the Graham Day handbook. Robinson’s drumming is the key to this stomper, all elbows flying about in the authentic Moon-style. ‘Is There A Why In Your Mynd?’ gives a nod to The Creation, The Eyes and John’s Children with a ’60s freakbeat vigour and stinging fuzz solo. It goes a bit psychedelic at the end too, which is a nice touch. The aggression is toned down somewhat on ‘Staring At The Stars’, with a forlorn lead vocal and some sweet Who-esque backing vocal lines. It’s quite reminiscent of former Prisoner Allan Crockford’s contemporary band The Galileo 7, actually. ‘Taking Care of Business’ is a good summation of what’s happening throughout this album.

Considering this is effectively a home production, with resultant occasionally muddy sound [proper authentic garage-band, you might say] Let’s Go! is something to be properly proud of. It’s direct hits from the past, yesterdays’s sound tomorrow. And jolly, vibrant good fun it is too. They ain’t half bad live too, should you get a chance to catch them.

Phil Istine

PS. current Northampton Saints coach Chris Boyd was appointed whilst still boss of New Zealand team The Hurricanes, based in Wellington. A cosmic coincidence, worthy of a brief mention.

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Raging Speedhorn play first hometown show in four years next week

Next weekend Corby metallers Raging Speedhorn celebrate their 20th anniversary with a show at London’s Electric Ballroom. In order to prepare for that they’ve just announced they will play their…

Next weekend Corby metallers Raging Speedhorn celebrate their 20th anniversary with a show at London’s Electric Ballroom. In order to prepare for that they’ve just announced they will play their hometown the night before, Friday October 5th.

The last time RS played Corby was back in 2014, at The Zombie Hut, so this is undoubtedly a big deal. The show at The White Hart will see The Amazing Scurge and SharkTeeth Grinder support. They are no advance tickets, its simply £8 on the door once they open at 7pm. Good luck.

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New Music Friday: [sane]

[sane] is the name for a Northampton electronic quartet consisting of Gabriel Halford, Tim Robinson, Adam Bullock and Connor Webb. New single ‘Stitching’ sees the band return from the studio…

[sane] is the name for a Northampton electronic quartet consisting of Gabriel Halford, Tim Robinson, Adam Bullock and Connor Webb. New single ‘Stitching’ sees the band return from the studio with music after a bit of a hiatus. New Boots spoke to the guys to get up to speed.

How did you guys get together?
Gabriel: We formed the band about four years ago, off the back of these four songs I’d made as part of my music tech degree. When I moved back to Northampton and got to see so many bands I was really inspired to start performing again. I asked my old bandmate Adam first because I knew he could nail it and we shared similar tastes, then asked Northampton’s busiest drummer/musician Josh to join. I asked my friend Tim from school to join as we shared very similar tastes in music and I knew he could play keys. In all honesty I didn’t know what to expect as he’d never played in a band before, but when he learnt so much so quickly it became obvious that it was a great bet. The other guys were very keen to try another singer for a song, and after I eventually pushed my ego as singer aside, we got him on ‘Born Lever Puller’ and the difference was undeniable.
Connor: I was drafted into the band a little after its creation, I was originally a guest vocalist on a track (‘BLP’), did a couple of gigs with the guys where I sang on said track, as well as a couple others. I was made an official member sometime after that.
Adam: I was in a band with Gabriel when we were young. We had a break for a couple of years before starting [sane]. Gabriel had written an EP and wanted a band to do live performances and that’s where we started.
Tim: Gabriel had been making music under the moniker ‘sane machine’ for a little while before deciding that he wanted to put the band together in order to play live shows. At the back end of 2014, he assembled Me, Adam and Josh (our old drummer) to fulfil that. Gabs had previously been in a band, called Black Friday, with Adam whilst teenagers, and all four of us have been kicking around together for years. Josh left the band a while back and we gained a vocalist in Connor. He brought so much to the song and had a great feel for the music so we asked him to join .

How would you describe your sound?
Tim: That’s a tough one really. We dread having to associate ourselves with any particular genre because nothing quite fits! We usually tend to go with electronica/ambient techno, but there are elements from all sorts of different places.
Connor: Danceable, emotional electronica.
Adam: Electronic, moody, dance, infectious.
Gabriel: Poorly.

Who are your main influences do you think?
Gabriel: All the guys on Monkeytown Records (esp Siriusmo), Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Country Teasers, Flying Lotus.
Tim: We are all big Radiohead fans, so some of the songwriting is influenced by them for sure. Artists such as Siriusmo, Modeselektor and Alex Banks are huge influences in terms of production style. Most of what is put out by labels like Monkeytown, and Ninja Tune, is usually a pretty good bet. Bonobo, Machinedrum, Amon Tobin. Maribou state, Dark Sky, and vocalists such as Jono Mcleery, Thom Yorke and Sampha. To be honest, we all just really love listening to music. Our tastes are fairly eclectic, and massively overlap, but we each bring something individual to the table.

What was the reaction like to ‘help your self’ EP? Also, why the two year gap in releases?
Gabriel: It was generally really positive! We put a lot of effort into every song and making sure the CDs looked swanky and professional. We also learnt a lot about how to improve for our next release, mainly simplifying the arrangements. The main reason for the long gap is that we’ve been wanting to make an album. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it’s taken a long time to create material I’d be proud enough of to release.
Adam: We had a good response to HYS. I spent six months travelling around India at the back end of last year, so the band was a man down for a while also.
Tim: Generally pretty well received. ‘Holy Poly’ got a fair bit of radio play and is the one people tend to anticipate at live shows. It took us a long time to put together and we have definitely progressed a long way since then, in terms of production and songwriting. We did release another song, ‘Born Lever Puller’ the following year, which was the one that featured Connor. The big gap is down to a combination of perfectionism, lack of time, and various life events that slow the whole process down. Our drummer left the band, so we had to regroup a bit after that as it changed both the type of music we make and the way in which we make it.. And also just miscellaneous work commitments and trying to fit music around a functioning life. It would be great to be able to dedicate more time, but once or twice a week is about all usually manage.

Tell us everything about this new track, ‘Stitching’.
Gabriel: The song is about the feelings you go through after losing something and trying to put yourself back together again. The aches of grieving and trying to also be grateful for having had something worth losing in the first place. ‘Good grief’ I suppose you could call it.
Connor: Very melodic, multi-sectional, fun to play live.

What are your live shows like?
Gabriel: Kinetic.
Connor: Big in sound, lots of emotion.
Tim: For live shows, we have synths, guitar, vocals and a couple of midi controllers to deal with the drums and various samples. The recorded stuff adds piano in to the mix, so we have those on Ableton to drop in for added texture. There’s normally quite a lot going on!

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
Gabriel: We’ve played with Usurp, Rise quite a few times. There’s a lot of mutual respect there I think. Those guys are amazing musicians. I have a side project called Mr Mulvaney with Angus McAlpine (formerly of Adolphus Tips), which is high energy stuff.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Gabriel: Playing at The Garibaldi Hotel earlier this year, no doubt. Our live setup is technically pretty complicated so we’ve been haunted by very distracting issues a few too many times. It was about first gig since Adam got back and motivated us all to keep going!
Connor: Our most recent gig: everything ran smoothly, everyone performed well, it was our most successful gig up to that point and it felt like we’d really nailed it .

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Gabriel: Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
Connor: Khruangbin – Con todo el mundo
Adam: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food
Tim: Djrum – Portrait with Firewood, and Maribou State – Kingdoms in Colour

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Adam: Have bigger gigs with bigger bands and get more releases out on Spotify etc. Work towards an album.
Tim: To get our music out there, really. Its really satisfying to hear positive feedback. Its also incredibly gratifying seeing people dancing when we play live, so more of that. It would be nice to be playlisted somewhere, to get ourselves heard outside of the local scene.
Gabriel: We want to tour off the back of our next release and get some good shows and recognition. I myself want to do more solo live sets (Ableton live) in some different environments. Basically though, play Glastonbury!

‘Stitching’ is out now via the usual platforms

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 26th – Oct 2nd

DEARIST + PUSHING DAISIES + BLOOD-VISIONS + DAN PIGEON Wednesday September 26th The Lab, Northampton Dual tour headliners: alt-rock/emo from Wolverhampton and emo/grunge from Bristol. Plus Northampton hardcore punk and local Lo-fi/weirdo rock to…

DEARIST + PUSHING DAISIES + BLOOD-VISIONS + DAN PIGEON
Wednesday September 26th
The Lab, Northampton
Dual tour headliners: alt-rock/emo from Wolverhampton and emo/grunge from Bristol. Plus Northampton hardcore punk and local Lo-fi/weirdo rock to kick off. Doors 7pm, £5 on the door

P-HEX + ROZISM
Saturday September 29th
UFO Pavillion, Northampton
This is a clothes swap and gig for charity [Epilepsy Society and Narcolepsy UK]. Experimental indie-folk from Rozism, followed by Northampton’s funkiest funk masters P-Hex, with DJs Phil Istine and Alex Novak through til the early hours.Clothes Swapping 3- 6pm, doors for gig 8pm, £3 entry.

MATT KING MEMORIAL EVENING
Saturday September 29th
The Lab, Northampton
Following the death of Matt King last month this is a night for his loved ones to join together for a celebration of his short life and a chance to share memories. There’s an open mike policy for performances on the night. The evening will also be to raise funds with all proceeds going to mental health charities. Doors 7.30pm, pay what you like [or alternatively donate through this link]

QUO VADIS + UNITRA + SOULRIDE + LIQUID BAND
Saturday September 29th
Devonshire Club, Northampton
Legendary Polish metal band celebrate 30 years of frontline action, with blues rock and metal supports. Doors 7pm, price ?

THE RED TRIANGLE + THE MODERN AGE
Saturday September 29th
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Neo-jazz soul headliners and indie rock support at the regular Retro-Beat night. Doors 8pm, free entry

CONFESSIONS OF A TRAITOR + PLACEHOLDER + MUTINY
Saturday September 29th
Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
Metalcore from London and Southampton. Doors 7pm, £4 tickets [MOTD]

BENNETT WILSON POOLE
Saturday September 29th
The Three Horseshoes, Ecton
Danny Wilson (Danny and the Champions of the World, Grand Drive) and Robin Bennett (The Dreaming Spires, Goldrush, Saint Etienne) joins forces with king of the electric twelve-string Rickenbacker Tony Poole (Starry Eyed and Laughing). Doors 8pm, free entry

JORDAN ALLEN + MONARCHS + MUNDAYS
Saturday September 29th
The White Hart, Corby
Yuk join forces with Fightback for a fundraiser show in support of the Music Venue Trust. Allen has emerged from the Manchester indie scene. Kettering alt-rock trios in support. Doors 8pm, £8.50 tickets

WISDOM OF A SPEAKER
Sunday September 30th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
An intimate afternoon of music live from subterranean surroundings of the Gari cellar. No mics, no amps, just the electricity of human voice and heart. Doors 3pm, free entry

THE VERY LAZY SUNDAYS
Sunday September 30th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Dunc and co bring a blend of slam poetry, acoustic hip-hop, three-part harmonies and catchy songs. Doors 3pm, free entry

DEL BROMHAM’S BLUES DEVILS
Sunday September 30th
The King Billy, Northampton
Bromham is singer/guitarist/songwriter from ’70s rockers Stray. Del is something of a raconteur, often telling stories relating to his career and the songs he performs. Del has just finished recording his new album White Feather. Doors 4pm, free entry

TOM LEWIS
Tuesday October 2nd
The Old White Hart, Northampton
Tom’s repertoire – from traditional shanties to songs fashioned out of his own seafaring background – recruits his audience for a voyage by turns reflective, dramatic and humorous. Born in Northern Ireland, Tom’s Celtic heritage is obvious in his clear, strong voice, evoking quiet sorrow for a fisherman lost to the sea just as honestly as it powers out a shanty “to be heard above the gales.” Doors 8pm, free entry

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Record review: Paul Weller ‘True Meanings’

PAUL WELLER True Meanings [Parlophone] He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as…

PAUL WELLER
True Meanings [Parlophone]

He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as this is his third album in 20 months. It’s a song from the first of those, ‘The Ballad Of Jimmy McCabe’ from his Jawbone soundtrack, which revealed a slight return to Weller’s folk balladeer side, after years of experimenting with the cutting up of rock this way and that. 

It was composing, a few years back, ‘Gravity’ – the lush, orchestrated, melancholic centre of True Meanings – that gave Weller the determination to construct an album in a far more bucolic style. ‘Gravity’ truly is a stunning, delicate 150 seconds of music, with an immaculate and precise string arrangement courtesy of decade-long sideman Andy Crofts. This sideman/woman influence is repeatedly important to this, his 14th solo album, as fairly demonstrated on bubbling opener ‘The Soul Searchers’: a modern string arrangement by the avant-garde musician Hannah Peel, multiple contributions from Villagers’ Conor O’ Brien, and an old-school Hammond solo by Rod Argent.

The album settles in well. Jazzer ‘Mayfly’ has a deft bluesy guitar solo from the former Jam guitarist Steve Brookes to enliven proceedings, whilst ‘Old Castles’ has a soul-stirring strings-assisted group arrangement that recalls his Heliocentric days back in the year 2000. ‘What Would He Say?’ is a lounge-shuffler that seems directed at the importance of keeping positive when bitterness is the easier option. It’s also the sole “The Moons track” on the album, as it unites bassist Crofts with Ben Gordelier on drums and Tom Heel on his Rhodes piano. Though the flugel horn solo means you aren’t mistaken who’s in charge!

‘Aspects’ is a serious piece of rumination, a Buddhist-like realisation of beauty/God coming from within. It’s a nod to Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens, minor-chord patterns facing off with choral harmonies and swooping string lines. It also is, to put it bluntly, gorgeous, and worth the entry price alone. As the second half of the album begins there’s a couple of Erland Cooper [of prog-folkies Erland and the Carnival] collaborations that don’t quite hit the mark, and the album briefly drifts. Nothing to worry about though: here’s folk royalty Danny Thompson and Martin Carthy to breathe life into the ornate melody of ‘Come Along’, with Peel producing a fine Robert Kirby-style orchestral adjunction to some already heavily emotive moments in sound.

The last section of the album is a full of discovery, too. ‘Books’ adds sitar, Tampoura and Noel Gallagher on, er, pump organ to send us eastwards on a kaleidoscopic journey, whilst ‘Movin On’ has a lovely soaring vocal performance from the main man, who clearly still cares about what he has to deliver. ‘May Love Travel With You’ brings things around again: voice, guitar, and some widescreen Disney orchestration. Weller soundtracking your kids bedtime? Why not, he knows quite a bit about parenting. Closer ‘White Horses’ brings back Cooper, Argent and Gallagher for a finale that seals the deal: a fable about generosity directed at a younger audience, it’s a touching finish to an album that surprises throughout.

It was interesting to hear Weller dismiss last year’s well-received A Kind Revolution as merely “alright” in a recent issue of Mojo. Perhaps he knew how good the follow-up was going to be, and felt a moment of guilt. Maybe he was right though: whilst everyone has a different take on what the best Weller album/period is, True Meanings makes a robust case for being his best since his last 22 Dreams/Wake Up The Nation-era highpoint. Certainly there’s little doubt it will score high in many end of year polls.

Phil Istine

Live photo of Weller/Crofts by David Jackson

 

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KT Tunstall returns to Northampton Derngate

Following her 2017 performance KT Tunstall returns to the Royal & Derngate in Northampton as part of her 2019 UK tour. Her forthcoming album, Wax, focuses on the body and our complex relationships with physicality,…

Following her 2017 performance KT Tunstall returns to the Royal & Derngate in Northampton as part of her 2019 UK tour. Her forthcoming album, Wax, focuses on the body and our complex relationships with physicality, and she will be performing these shows with an all-female band for the first time.

The Derngate performance is on Tuesday March 12th, and tickets are available now, priced from £20.50 right through to £112 for the VIP package. Book here 

The Wax album, featuring ‘The River’, is released October 5th.

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New Music Friday: Ginger Snaps

Northampton pop artiste Ginger Snaps – aka Jay Brook and friends – has been regularly treating us to his three minute ditties since 2016. The latest served up from the…

Northampton pop artiste Ginger Snaps – aka Jay Brook and friends – has been regularly treating us to his three minute ditties since 2016. The latest served up from the former OhBoy!, My Pilot and Bruises man is ‘With Or Without Her’. New Boots ventured into the heart of ShoeTown to meet up with Brook in his natural domain – the studio – and go over the project with a fine tooth comb. Listen in below

 

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Interview: Charlotte Carpenter brings us Babywoman Records

Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has earlier in the summer launched her own record label, Babywoman Records, and today  announces the first release on it from Alessi’s Ark. New Boots Editor Phil…

Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has earlier in the summer launched her own record label, Babywoman Records, and today  announces the first release on it from Alessi’s Ark. New Boots Editor Phil Istine met up for a coffee and spoke to Carpenter all about it, in our first ever audio interview just below. Full single release details are below too.

The Alessi’s Ark single is entitled ‘Devant Moi’, and is released digitally on September 27th. A fresh dreamy, French pop sound comes from Londoner Alessi Laurent-Marke, and is a follow up to her fourth studio LP Love Is The Currency [2017]. Delivered in French (a mother tongue for Alessi), she remarks of the song:
“’Devant Moi’ is the connection felt between true partners, taking that leap and being open to love with another being. I feel such a strong connection to water when swimming, the ground when walking, it’s so visceral, physical, intimate, medicinal… but only to a point. ‘Devant Moi’ is about being ready, at last, to share intimacy after a long period spent alone in connection with nature only”.

Alessi has toured extensively in the UK, Europe, US and Japan: with Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, John Grant, Jenny Lewis and M.Ward amongst others. Her releases have won acclaim from BBC London, BBC 6, XFM, WFMU, DubLab, KEXP and previous LP ‘Love Is The Currency’ was warmly welcomed by MOJO, Guardian, Best Fit, Clash, and The 405. ‘Devant Moi’ is produced by fellow Ark member Jason Santos, and mixed by Jag Jago. 

Alessi heads out on a run of UK & EU shows with Carpenter this November:

Saturday 17th – The Playhouse, Northampton
Monday 19th – The Islington, London
Tuesday 20th – The Castle, Manchester
Wednesday 21st – Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield
Thursday 22nd – Prince Albert, Stroud
Saturday 24th – De Log, Ghent
Sunday 25th – Kulturcafe Lichtung, Cologne
Tuesday 27th – Freundlich+Kompetent, Hamburg
Thursday 29th – Feinkost Lampe, Hannover

Babywoman Records on Facebook. Artwork design by Rogue Ink and CC/AA photo by Wild Sisters

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide, Sep 19th – Sept 25th

LAY IT DOWN Thursday September 20th The Lab, Northampton Open mic/live performance for the urban music scene of Northampton. MC Daddy S, DJ Towner, HarQ, BigG, Tre Ventour, Reality, Anonymous, J-DON,…

LAY IT DOWN
Thursday September 20th
The Lab, Northampton
Open mic/live performance for the urban music scene of Northampton. MC Daddy S, DJ Towner, HarQ, BigG, Tre Ventour, Reality, Anonymous, J-DON, J.P, Troops, Freddie Fred & TJ Easy, RDot, JaiiDee, Ell. MS, E Double U, Torvic, and LBcerti all confirmed to perform. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE BARRATTS + MONARCHS + MIO FLUX & PATCHY, THE ROCKSTAR
Friday September 21st
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Independently-spirited indie rock from the county, plus the great electronic/rap pairing who always know how to start a party. Doors 8pm, free entry

JOHN WISEMAN
Friday September 21st
The Hub, Northampton
The singer-songwriter’s first performance in the Northamptonshire area, showcasing a selection of his music, including previous albums and upcoming songs. Doors 7pm, £7 tickets available to buy directly from the Hub Cafe [ticket includes a refreshment]

KENNETH J NASH
Friday September 21st
The Old House, Wellingborough
Renowned local singer-songwriter Nash’s latest album Luna was three years in the making. Tonight he will be running through the whole album, in order, and talking through the songs. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

STRAYLINGS + LUNAXIS + THE ORCHARDS
Saturday September 22nd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
“psych tweaked slice of country-twang-wired folk” from the headliners from London. A double dose of folk-rock support from the Northampton area to open proceedings. Doors 8pm, free entry

GOLDIE LOOKING CHAIN – LEGENDS
Saturday September 22nd
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
Northampton welcomes the finest hip-hop outfit to ever come out of Newport, Wales, Goldie Lookin Chain arrive as part of their ‘Legends’ tour. Expect bangers like ‘Your Mothers Got a Penis’, ‘Half Man Half Machine’, ‘Your Missus is a Nutter’, ‘Straight Outta Newport’ and their top three hit ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers do’. Support from DJ OP1. Doors 9pm,  £10 tickets

LITTLE BITBOY
Saturday September 22nd
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
8-bit wonderment to accompany the “Retro Games Fest” day. Music from 8.30pm [event starts at 2pm], free entry

CONTEMPT + SPRING PARK + EM UENDO + JIMTOM SAY + HELEN VERILL 
Saturday September 22nd
The Lab, Northampton

In honour of the inspiring local activist Lisa Thornton, this is a fundraiser for some of her greatest causes – Hunt Saboteurs and Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary. Doors 7pm, donations to the charities requested.

THE SHED MACHINERY STRING BAND + JONO & THE UKE DEALERS
Saturday September 22nd
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
A night of folk and gentle rock. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THEE TELEPATHS
Saturday September 22nd
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
The hometown cosmonauts playing a rare Kettering show, previewing songs from their upcoming album The Velvet Night. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

SKIRT + WISHING WOLF + EARBONES + LAST CHANCE + ODDITY ISLAND + TOUCAN + BECKI YATES + JACOB BRAITHWAITE + A TIME OF DAY + MORE
Saturday September 22nd
The Yards, Kettering
A Kettering Pride event, with raffle ticket funds going to Mind in Kettering. Bands, DJs, and food throughout the days. Doors midday, free entry

GARSHKOTT + POINT OF EXTINCTION + VENGEFUL  ATONEMENT + LOKI
Saturday 22nd September
Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
Groove metal band from MK, thrash/power metal from MK, hard rock from Coventry, and more Northants-based rock to open. Doors 7pm, £4 tickets

 

 

 

 

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Album review: Gerald Claridge

GERALD CLARIDGE Frisson [self-released] Claridge is a prominent face of the Northants folk scene, who has played with many cohorts in many guises over the years. A cursory glance around…

GERALD CLARIDGE
Frisson [self-released]

Claridge is a prominent face of the Northants folk scene, who has played with many cohorts in many guises over the years. A cursory glance around Discogs shows how he once made a folk-rock album way back in 1975 [with Nick Salomon, no less] as Oddsocks, makes reference to a private press solo album from 1990, and shows him as part of Tickled Pink during the noughties. He plays in a professional Ceilidh band as of now, and has seen fit to release another solo album of his own songs.

It is fortunate enough for us that he has recorded and released Frisson, for the Northampton singer has a deft touch with melody and arrangement that has not withered with age. Yes this is a ‘thin’ record [low production values, keyboard strings, some drum machines in place of actual drums] but it matter not a tot when you’re listening in. On Frisson we witness Claridge’s joie de vivre writ large; his folk spirit of bonhomie rising above any restrictions of time and finance. ‘So Far So Good’ sets off on the path of optimism, that continues on ‘Upside Down’, and indeed is rarely deviated from. 

‘Plain Clothes’ pays homage to McCartney-esque melody and guitar-picking, whilst ‘Rainy Day’ shows off his celtic soul/Kevin Rowland lilt to maximum effect. The middle of the album brings some light relief, with the nursery rhyme style of ‘Ten A Penny’, and an oompah ode to drinking and farting in a ‘Hot Tub’! Later still we get a tribute to the Beach Boys [‘Sound Of The Ocean’], which is a very un-Northampton thing to do, so much respect for that, Gerald. Squelching keys and clomping hooves introduce the lounge goodness of ‘Good Night’, and Frisson is completed with an instrumental ‘Wedding March’, hauntingly played on church organ by John Miller.

There’s a nice touch in the CD liner notes where Claridge gives a little explanation of the song, making the project feel intimate, the warm comfort blanket to accompany a glass of whiskey at the end of the day. For folk fans this is a “must investigate”.

Phil Istine

Frisson is out now on CD, available from Spiral Archive and Claridge directly

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