New Music Friday: Broken Empire

Broken Empire are rockers from the Towcester and Oxford area. Ieuan Owen is on vocals, Matt Stevens on guitar, Marco Arena on bass, and Ricky Hill on drums. New Boots…

Broken Empire are rockers from the Towcester and Oxford area. Ieuan Owen is on vocals, Matt Stevens on guitar, Marco Arena on bass, and Ricky Hill on drums. New Boots celebrates their recent two singles by asking them what them tick in our patented in-depth conversation/interview.

How did you guys get together?
Ricky Hill: In 2017 Ben [band manager] put out an advert online about starting a new band project and that we require a guitarist, bass player and vocals. Matt got in contact and we had a jam together which just clicked straight away. A few months after that we found Marco and we knew he would fit perfectly. After starting to put together a few complete songs we found Ieuan. His influences on the songs we had roughly written was spot on for what we were looking for.
Marco Arena: I remember it was one day before my birthday! The day before I had a chat with Ben, and he asked me if I was available to join the guys for a jam the next day!

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
Ieuan Owen: I’d describe our sound as hard rock/metal, although we don’t tend to fit into a set subgenre. We’re a very riff driven band!
Matt Stevens: Our sound is modern but with plenty of influences from history. It’s a sweeping range of bands from Killswitch Engage to Alter Bridge, and I personally like throwing in Petrucci and Jason Becker touches.
Ricky Hill: Personally my main influences are Alter Bridge, Disturbed, Periphery, Tremonti…the list could go on and on! I think our sound reflects on all of our influences and creates a great combination of heavy metal and hard rock.

What was the reaction like to your self-titled EP from last year?
Ieuan Owen: The reaction was exceptional. Considering it was recorded quickly just to get it out there, it has exceeded our expectations, and the songs themselves are still largely staples in our set!
Ricky Hill: I was blown away from the reaction that we have received for our EP. It definitely helped having a lot of online radio stations playing it, which gave us a wider audience, and as for the streams on Spotify I think it’s done extremely well for a self promoted and produced EP.
Marco Arena: As a new, self promoted band in the music scene I would say we got really decent feedback from our previous record. Hopefully it’s going to be even better in the future! Fingers crossed!
Matt Stevens: The reaction was awesome as we self promoted, and over several months picked up almost 20,000 streams across the record. Really appreciate the promotions from local radio and online radio stations and Facebook reviewers.

Tell us everything about these new singles, ‘No More Light’ and ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’.
Ricky Hill: ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ is definitely the most commercial out of the two I’d say: quick fast, short and punchy with meaningful lyrics – which of course can be interpreted in different ways and would mean different things to different people. ‘No More Light’ has a touch of our heavy side but still stays true to our sound, both portraying the battle people have with mental struggles.
Matt Stevens: From a music standpoint we wanted ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ to be in your face, make you listen and keep driving all the way to the end. ‘No More Light’ goes through a range of emotions, from steady rhythms to staccato, to minor/major feels and dark dissonant sections to really portray the difficulties people suffer internally.
Ieuan Owen: Both of these singles are fun to play, and to listen to. Both are lyrically coming from the battles people struggle with, a war of the mind as such, and I hope that people who delve into the lyrics can find there own meaning, for whatever hits home for them.

What are your live shows like?
Matt Stevens: Our live shows are all about the music; we focus on making the sound and the tracks as good as possible so people will want to listen!
Ricky Hill: Full of high energy and definitely keeps people interested throughout. We all have a unique stage presence and this definitely comes across when we’re playing live. Come and see us and find out for yourselves!
Ieuan Owen: They are fun, and as a band we pride ourselves on being tight and polished live. We enjoy performing and hopefully it shows.
Matt Stevens: We try as much as we can to have the most similar sound that you can hear when you listen to our studio songs. We also used to add some live intros and some interludes in our live show which you can’t find in the studio songs.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire, playing with like- minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Marco Arena: O2 Academy Oxford is a cool venue for sure! Stormbringer is definitely a band that I would gladly play again with. Which is good as we are playing with them again very soon!
Ricky Hill: We play at a variety of venues with loads of different bands. It’s always good to get gigs with similar bands so that the energy is in the room throughout the night. But equally playing with different bands is just as good. Playing at the O2 Academy Oxford was amazing but I really enjoy playing at small, intimate venues as well – one of my favourites being Fat Lil’s, Witney.
Matt Stevens: Northants and Oxford are doing a lot to support rock music. Of course things could always be better, but there’s a lot of dedication from the rock promoters out there. Dedicated rock venues are always killer.
Ieuan Owen: Some of our favourite venues are The Wheatsheaf in Banbury, Fat Lils in Witney, and Wheatsheaf in Oxford. I personally enjoy going to local and larger gigs as and when I can, inspiration and influence can come from anywhere! Stormbringer were probably my favourite band to play with so far, they are such nice guys, and our music fitted well together. We’ll always enjoy gigs supporting them!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Ieuan Owen: Probably headlining the 02 Academy, because not only was it awesome to do, but we didn’t feel out of place being there!
Ricky Hill: Marco deciding to set fire to someone else’s bass amp on stage – albeit not his fault, but still a hilarious moment.
Matt Stevens: Marco showing us what is under the hood! You won’t see him without a hat.
Marco Arena: Playing the Finals of Metal 2 The Masses was probably my top moment!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Ricky Hill: Of Mice and Men – Restoring Force: Full Circle
Ieuan Owen: Reverence by Parkway Drive – can’t get enough of that album!
Marco Arena: Pantera discography. (I felt a bit nostalgic!)
Matt Stevens: Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Matt Stevens: Download Festival main stage with a three-part harmonised solo with Jason Hook, Mark Tremonti and Matt Stevens!
Marco Arena: Trying to share a stage with Alter Bridge would be pretty good!
Ricky Hill: Would love to play some big festivals and just generally get our name out there a bit more to a wider audience. Would be amazing to record a live session in a world famous studio and if I’m not asking too much, then maybe go on tour with Alter Bridge as well! Loads of gigs coming up and plenty of recording happening though so who knows what the future holds for Broken Empire.
Ieuan Owen: In the future we hope to play further away, as well as bigger local shows. We’d love to do a small tour of some sort should we get the chance. But one step at a time, we’re proud of how far we’ve already come!

‘No More Light’ and ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ are out now via the usual digital platforms

 

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Album review: Thee Telepaths ‘The Velvet Night’

THEE TELEPATHS The Velvet Night [Mighty Fuzz] Here ’tis! The first full length album from the Kettering space/psych/noise rock quartet follows a couple of 12” EPs in 2016 and 2017….

THEE TELEPATHS
The Velvet Night [Mighty Fuzz]

Here ’tis! The first full length album from the Kettering space/psych/noise rock quartet follows a couple of 12” EPs in 2016 and 2017. Those excellent releases has meant no little anticipation has been building amongst the psych/alt community for The Velvet Night.

The band have developed their sound to arrive here; this album came out of a lengthy jam session when an extra track was required. Once the hour-long jam had been poured back over it was abundantly clear to the four that, recorded and edited properly, there was actually an elpee of coherent material right there. So far, so Hawkwind. But what makes this album so fascinating from beginning to end is they have tightened the sonics and the songwriting into something bigger than they had previously achieved. Any prevailing ghost of Spacemen 3 or Neu! or Sabbath has been wholly exorcised; all that comes through is their own unique signal. And it’s one that should put them nearer the front of the current psych revival too.

Pulling the album apart is a very hard job. It is very difficult to separate any part from it’s whole. The band know this, and they have tried to avoid any disjunction by simply creating three acts: ‘Alpha’, ‘Epsilon’, and ‘Delta’. Within those movements you get ‘parts’. ‘Alpha Part 1’, for example, is a heavy krautrock epic, pushing the limits of what the brain can take. Dean’s ethereal vocals ride the wave of the Loop/Suicide style repetitive synth swells. Pummelled by the metronomic drums and bassline from Vincent and Tim, Tom sends stabbing notes of guitar fuzz through the mix. It’s conclusion makes way for a breather, as the calmer, floating ‘Part 2’ bring respite from the onslaught that was ‘Part 1’. The tempo is ramped up for ‘Part 3’, and a Floydian synth line takes charge. ‘Part 4’ is a timestamp, a precursor to the onslaught of ‘Part 5’, which returns to the themes of ‘Part 1’, but this time with even more emotion from everyone involved.

‘Epsilon’ is eleven minutes that sounds a tad more contemporary. The Wooden Shjips/Hookworms pulse of ‘Part 1’ is spirit-level steady, and allows Dean room for some vocal manoeuvres. You don’t ever really catch what he’s singing about, you just feel it in the gut. In ‘Part 2’ the proggy guitar lines send the listener leftfield, whilst ‘Part 3’ pulls things back, and we’re into Sonic Youth or ’90s stoner territory. It’s another peak in a song cycle full to the brim with ideas that gel better than you’d imagine from any description a writer could provide.

‘Delta’ feels like a reset button has been pressed, and a bit of intentionally aimless flow opens up. ‘Part 1’ gives you Wah Wah Land, and a vocal seemingly in freefall. Is this where the trip turns bad? ‘Part 2’ suggests not, as we realign our chakras and forge onwards with new energy and renewed belief. The sonic breakdown here is akin to a vortex of sound, a whirlpool to let oneself be lost in. The instrumental ‘Part 3’ brings us firmly out on the other side, the guitar fuzz blurring our vision somewhat as we stand on our musical shore basking in solarized warmth. The final movement, ‘Part 4’, is a brief howl of joy that we have survived the entire thing.

It’s certainly not an album you can get on one listen, but The Velvet Night is surely an early contender for album of the year. There’s no come down allowed here. Just a widescreen, ecstatic, symphonic journey backwards into tomorrow that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Phil Moore

The Velvet Night is out now on vinyl and download

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 6th – Mar 12th

ACOUSTIC-US + WARD & PARKER + RUBY MUSE Wednesday March 6th Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Kontra Roots night: with Northants country act led by Tammy Levy, a new duo who play alternative…

ACOUSTIC-US + WARD & PARKER + RUBY MUSE
Wednesday March 6th

Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Kontra Roots night: with Northants country act led by Tammy Levy, a new duo who play alternative jazz-pop, and a Huntingdon duo who play a rootsy blend of blues, jazz, folk, rock, and alt-country. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

HAZEYJANE
Wednesday March 6th
Kettering Library
The folk-pop quartet will be playing two 45 minute sets. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

ROCKIN’ DAVE
Thursday March 7th
The King Billy, Northampton
Hard rock solo artist. Doors 9pm, free entry

LOIS AMY + HER SONIC FRUIT + GINHOUSE GYPSIES + FOSSILHEADS
Friday March 8th
The Lab, Northampton
An inspiring clutch of excellent musicians, together to celebrate International Women’s Day. All door money will be donated to Northampton Domestic Abuse Services. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

DEAF TRAP + THE SNAKEMEN 3
Friday March 8th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Alt-rock and garage punk ahoy from this pair of reprobates. Doors 8pm, free entry

HUBCAP
Friday March 8th
The King Billy, Northampton
Local blues-rock duo shred hard and get you dancing. Music from 9pm, free entry

LEW BEAR + RAY BECK
Friday March 8th
Olde England, Northampton
The local singer-songwriters perform a night full of originals, classics, singalongs and comedy at the Olde England’s Real Ale Festival. Doors 8pm, free entry

MERRY HELL + CRYBB
Friday March 8th
Silverstone Recreational Association [Church St]
Joyous folk-rock explosion from the North West of England, plus folk-rock duo from ShoeTown. Doors 7.30pm, £12 tickets in advance only [available from the SRA or email/call Jenny on 07738826618/JenJayneMusic@gmail.com]

THE ABRAHAMS + ANTOINE & OWENA + DAN HARTLAND + SHELLY CARE
Friday March 8th
Earls Barton Working Men’s Club
Kettering’s cleverly off-kilter headliners make a rare [and acoustic] live appearance; support from multi-instrumental folk duo, an Americana singer-songwriter, and a local songstress. 8pm start, £3 on the door 

EASTFIELD
Friday March 8th
Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
Birmingham/Northants three-chord punk rock with catchy tunes. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE KEEPERS + MUNDAYS
Saturday March 9th
Club 43, Northampton
Northampton indie-psych quartet, plus three-piece psychedelic garage rock band from Northants. Doors 8pm, free before 9pm then £4

LIFEWRECKER + ATROCITY EXHIBIT + 72% + FERAL STATE + KITTIE SHITTER + NAILBREAKER
Saturday March 9th
The Lab, Northampton
London grind/d-beat/noise, Northampton grind/crust, ShoeTown noise-rock riffs, Leicester d-beat, fast hardcore from Leicester, and digital hardcore noise. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

STEVE HARLEY ACOUSTIC TRIO
Saturday March 9th
Corby Cube
Steve Harley, the original Cockney Rebel, tours frequently with his Acoustic Trio, playing an intimate, unique and atmospheric show. The performance promises subtle lyricism, mingled with great improvisation and rocky rhythms. Steve will be accompanied by his Cockney Rebel band-mates of long- standing, Barry Wickens [violin & guitar] and James Lascelles [piano and percussion]. The set will be built around tracks from any or all 13 of Steve’s original albums. Doors 7pm, tickets £28.50

THE HURRICANES
Saturday March 9th
Coach & Horses, Wellingborough
Long-running indie night Retro-Beat has found a new home, and kick off this run with Northants mod power-poppers who say “Let’s Go!” Doors 9pm, free entry

KOMODO QUARTET
Sunday March 10th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Original swing/Latin/jazz music, as well as some arrangements of good old jazz standards.  Doors 7pm, free entry

KT TUNSTALL
Tuesday March 12th
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Brit and Ivor Novello Award winning singer and songwriter returns to her regular haunt, in order to play songs that inlcude material from sixth studio album Wax. Doors 7pm, tickets from £17.50

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Album review: Shorty ‘The Northampton Underground’

SHORTY The Northampton Underground [ShoeTown Records] Northampton singer-songwriter Shorty [aka Chris White] has quickly followed up his enticing 2017 album Abington Park with a big collaborative effort. It’s an album…

SHORTY
The Northampton Underground [ShoeTown Records]

Northampton singer-songwriter Shorty [aka Chris White] has quickly followed up his enticing 2017 album Abington Park with a big collaborative effort. It’s an album almost thirty years in the making [at least the concept – of a big group effort with strings and brass – is a long held desire of White].

The title is reference to the 2014 spoof that Northampton once had an underground train system in the early 20th century, which has the immediately impact of warmth towards the album. It surely also works as a metaphor for many of the players on the this album and what they represent. And make no mistake, this is a very Northampton album. The inlay artwork has the London Underground map with stations annotated with ShoeTown places of interest to Shorty [everything from ‘Cobblers and ‘Semilong’ to in-jokes like ‘John’s House’].

White, a former member over the years of The Clique, Happy in Heaven, and Abbey Park,  has assembled some of the town’s best talent to bring his vision to life. Some of P-Hex are here, for example. Local cheesemonger Stevie Ward serves up guitar left right and centre. And so on and forth. Musically over fourteen tracks and forty-seven minutes there’s a little something for everyone. Let’s delve in, shall we?

(I’ll Be Your) Plus One’ is a 70s style glamish romp with ELO harmonies. Roxy-style sax solo is a touch too. ‘It’s Alright’ and ‘Out In The Sun’ later on cover similar ground [aural comfort blankets for the winter months]. ‘How Can This Be Love?’ is the first of two performances featuring Californian singer Danie Hollobaugh, who shares leads vocal on this nice, if saccharine, duet. ‘I’ll Find A Place’, the other song, is sadly a flat, rather derivative outing. ‘Feeding the Duchess’ is an alt-country with rasping bluesy harmonica intro from Dom Strickland [The Clique]. It’s melodic and inviting, as it details domestic bliss [“I’ll buy you a Chinese on Friday night”]. ‘I Wish’ contains more Wilco-esque musings, and White has this style down pat. 

‘Caravan’ has Lindsay Spence and Nathan Bundy from P-Hex joining in on the baggy dystopian stomper that is a lot of fun. Stay with Me’ is pure soft-rock with Fleetwood Mac vocals. ‘There Was a Time’ has Andy Orr (drummer with The Scene and Small World) on it. It is Beatles-esque psychedelia on the production side [backwards guitar, compressed Hammond, etc], it’s very charming in its period detail. ‘Ticket by Chance’ brings on the soul-jazz flavours – plenty of flute! – a Weller meets Mayfield sort of thing. Lovely too it is.

‘Thank You’ is gorgeous stringed pop that really needs to be heard by everyone who reads this review. Go stream right now in fact. ‘As I Wait Alone for You’ and ‘I Said a Thing or Two’ finish the album in melancholic balladry style, both featuring Martin Stephenson [of The Daintees fame] on piano and guitar. They are quietly affecting; the mariachi trumpet opening the final song setting the mood just right. 

The Northampton Underground is a sprawling, often very pleasing, piece of work. Dip in and find your version of Shorty that’s suited to you, then spread the good word amongst your NN friends. 

Phil Moore

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New Music Friday: Anonymous

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent…

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent some time getting to know him.

How did you start this project?
I started my music journey when I was around the age of 12, so eight years ago back in school. It started of as a joke at first, until I had a few of my friends and family members telling me to take it more seriously. At the start I never had much confidence in myself and I wanted to make sure nobody knew who I was, that was how I came up with ‘Anonymous’. From there it stuck and has remained the same.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences? 
I’ve tried many different types of genres so my sound can often vary. I’d say I stay firm and get my point across very well within my music. For example the track I recently released in memory of my Dad – ‘R.I.P’ – I had a story to tell and I feel like I told my story very well – and can’t wait to finish part 2!
My main influences are 100% Eminem, Ghetts and Tupac. I love their realness and how effortless they make it look.

What was the reaction like to your early work, did it spur you on?
During my early days of music I never really got much support, I had close friends and family members sharing my music on to their Facebook pages. However I wasn’t getting any feedback, but that only made me want it that bit more! If I am being 100% honest it was L30 Robinson who made me want to take my music more serious after I seen him doing his thing in and outside of school. After he told me to just follow my dreams and do what I wanted to with my career.

Who have you been collaborating with? What draws you to working with them?
I have been collaborating with artist both inside and outside of Northampton. I have tracks released with the very talented likes of Impact, Troopz, Rdot, L30 Robinson, M0ch0, Jaiidee, and King D, but I have plenty more work coming with other majorly talented artists. I can’t wait for my supporters to hear and see the things I have lined up.

Tell us about these new songs from the last month.
My first single of the year entitled ‘Believe Me’ came about after I decided I wanted to make a track to showcase my lyrical abilities and the way my brain works and some of the crazy ideas I have. For example in ‘Believe Me’ there are certain parts where I’ve thrown in vocals from well known tracks just to add that extra bit of spice. My second single of 2019 ‘Hoes’ came up rather randomly after Impact was chilling at my house and having problems with females. We went outside for a cigarette and I came up with the idea of writing a song about ‘hoes’. I went through YouTube searching for beats and as I soon as I heard the instrumental we used the hook just popped in to my head without even thinking. We knew many people could relate to the feeling of heartbreak and generally the feeling of being used, so after making the track we believed it had quite a lot of potential and decided to release it.

You’ve been performing at the Lay It Down night in Northampton, hows that going? Do you perform elsewhere?
As of yet I haven’t really performed at many places as I’m still focusing on finding who I really want to be as an artist. Since first performing at Lay It Down I have came a very long way and can easily say they’ve helped to further my career and I have gained a lot of confidence through being part of the team. However I will be more than happy to take any shows/opportunities that may come my way.

What has been your favourite Anonymous moment of the past year?
Definitely hitting 1000 views on mine and Impacts track ‘The Roads’. We had so much fun making that track and surprisingly it only took us the space of an hour to get it written and recorded with the help of producer and engineer Theo Chanetsa aka Xmorosi.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
A Boogie’s Hoodie SZN. I love the diversity he brings to the table and every track on the album is a pure vibe!

What is your burning desire for to do for the rest of the year? What plans do you have?
I would like to further my career and reach out to channels such as Link Up TV and GRM Daily. To be honest my sole focus of 2019 is to show people more of me, more of who Liam Berry is. I want to tell my story and be heard. I will also have an EP dropping some time this year but have not yet confirmed a date.

You can subscribe to Anonymous on YouTube here

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Feb 27th – Mar 5th

THE ROVES + LUNAXIS Thursday February 28th The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton Jangly guitar rock and roll springing from the suburbs of North London. Chief songwriter James Wing along with his…

THE ROVES + LUNAXIS
Thursday February 28th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Jangly guitar rock and roll springing from the suburbs of North London. Chief songwriter James Wing along with his little brother Tom and a hard grafted rhythm section in Luke Evans and Brendan Monahan released their self-titled first album on One Man Movement Records this year. Local folk-rock support. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE WAX LYRICAL SOUND + THE BOPHINS + KATIE PATON
Friday March 1st
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
A charity night, where between the bands heads will be shaved! Money raised will be going to Charing Cross Cancer Research and hair will be going to The Little Princess Trust Charity where it will be turned into wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment. Musical delights of the rap-rock, punk, and folk form. Donation page link. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

KENNY THOMAS + SOPHIA RIPLEY
Friday March 1st
Barratts Club, Northampton
’90s soul singer from London, who enjoyed eight Top 40 singles and two Top Ten albums. Support from Cambridge soul-jazz singer-songwriter. Doors 8pm, £15 tickets

THE VICES
Friday March 1st
The White Hart, Corby
Brand new Dutch indie trio with their refreshing take on rock, surf and garage [think of The Growlers meets The Strokes]. Doors 8pm, free entry

ASHBORN + REAPER-X + LEST WE FORGET + TAKE REFUGE
Saturday March 2nd
The Black Prince, Northampton
Hometown heavy metal headliners: Corby riffsters, Oxford proggy metallers, and MK metalcorers complete this banging line-up. Doors 6.30pm, £5 tickets

JIMMY PIKE & THE REDSTARS + JONO & THE UKE DEALERS + DUBSKA MURPHYS
Saturday March 2nd
The Lab, Northampton
A triple whammy of live dub and ska music. Left-leaning political dub/reggae band, hard-working ShoeTown indie-folk heroes, and The Lab’s own Irish dub outfit. Doors 8pm, free entry

SHAKIN’ STEVENS
Saturday March 2nd
The Derngate, Northampton
An 18 date tour stops in ShoeTown. The platinum-selling entertainer and performer will be joined by his band to perform fan favourites, surprises and his hits including ‘Oh Julie’, ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘This Ole House’. Doors 7.30pm, £41.55 tickets

LUNAXIS
Saturday March 2nd
The Old House, Wellingborough
After months of rehearsals, Northants folk-rock group Lunaxis are back gigging. A genuine treat for the ears. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

EMPYRE + TAROT RATS
Saturday March 2nd
The Red Lion, Raunds
Midlands rockers Empyre perform intense, atmospheric rock, with a dark and introspective edge to their writing. Kent-based blues rockers in support. Doors 8pm, free entry

PAUL WALKER & KAREN PFEIFER
Tuesday March 5th
The Old White Hart, Northampton
With their unique onstage-chemistry and their widely praised harmonies, the Anglo-German duo combine their original material with a fine choice of folk favourites. Pfeifer adds her voice and alto recorder, tin whistle and percussive instruments to Paul’s voice and guitar. Supported by local super guitarist and singer Andrew Loake. Doors 7.45, free entry

 

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: SkyFlood

Northampton rock quartet SkyFlood have been on the edges of the music scene for a bit of time now, but firmly seem set on making a name for themselves in…

Northampton rock quartet SkyFlood have been on the edges of the music scene for a bit of time now, but firmly seem set on making a name for themselves in 2019 with a revised line-up and a series of singles, starting with the marvellous 70s-style rock-pop of ‘Destiny’. New Boots spoke to the band about how they got here and where they go next.

How did you guys get together?
Craig O’Donnell: SkyFlood started about two years ago and not long after we released our first single ‘Flawless’. Since that time we’ve played many shows in and around Northants, but we’ve only recently began to gain some momentum as our current line up. We had a couple of band member replacements, but now it’s the strongest as a group it’s ever been. Rob and Lewis joined in November after advertising online, and Oli and I met through our old bass player over a year ago. With Oli it was love at first sound for me; he really kicked some of the songs up the backside and got them moving.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
Craig O’Donnell: I would say it’s upbeat and colourful, as well as being quite dark at the same time. One of my main influences over recent years is Hans Zimmer – there is so much feeling in his scores and sometimes it’s nice to hear music without lyrics to make your own world up in a piece of music. My other influences include Radiohead, London Grammar, and Muse.
Oliver Law: Our sound is very different to anything up-and-coming. We have a wide variety of influences and sounds which all mash together to make something unique. My main influence is Queen which hopefully shows through my style of playing a little.
Lewis Else: Some stand out drummers for me are Jon Beavis [Idles]. He has such an driving and relentless sense of energy. Of course Players like Stewart Copeland too, filled with feel without overplaying ever.
Robert Hughes: Music taste? I like to keep it varied. As much as I love spag bol, I wouldn’t want to eat it every night and I try to keep it that way with music too – a nice varied diet. As players I like John Mcvie and John Deacon because they both focus on serving the song, but both are capable of adding some of the most memorable touches. Think ‘The Chain’ or ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ – in both cases simple but trademark bass lines.

What was the reaction like to ‘Flawless’ single, from 2017?
Craig O’Donnell: ‘Flawless’ was strange just because we released the song before playing any gigs and also had it played on BBC Introducing, so for anyone who listened to it that would have been their first time hearing it before they had even seen us perform it. The initial reception was great; we managed to get a few gigs just from that song alone, and it really helped us to build a platform to progress.

Tell us about this new single, ‘Destiny’.
Oliver Law: ‘Destiny’ was the first track I jammed with Craig. It started off very Supertramp, but it gradually became more dynamic and stronger to get the live shows going with a bang. It’s probably my favourite track.

What are your live shows like?
Craig O’Donnell: I would say, energetic and emotional. Our set starts off quite energetic and we try and carry that through the whole set but with the lyrics of some of the songs it balances out quite nicely

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Craig O’Donnell: Yeah, my favourite place I think is probably The White Hart in Corby. It can be quite an intimate but explosive venue and when everything is just right it can make for some amazing shows there. My favourite band is Sarpa Salpa: we played our very first gig with them, and they were so lovely and kind to us and ever since I’ve been a massive fan of them, and their music is great too. My other close favourite is definitely King Purple – we haven’t played with them but really want to, they’re again so lovely and make amazing tunes.
Oliver Law: I’m more familiar with the Northampton venues than local bands. We’ve played a few local venues. I Always love the King Billy because it’s quite well known. Hopefully we can move up to the Roadmender before the year is out.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Craig O’Donnell: My favourite moment is actually hearing ‘Destiny’ on BBC Northampton, because there was nearly a point it wasn’t going to see the light of day and to top it off Lal had very lovely words to say about it, which I was ecstatic with.
Oliver Law: Favourite moment of last year was finally getting ‘Destiny’ and a few of our other tracks recorded. We went through a couple of producers because we were very picky about the mix, and we drove them out of the country. But we eventually got there with a company called Damage Audio, who has absolutely knocked it out the park

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Craig O’Donnell: Mine was an Icelandic Artist called Olafur Arnalds, called Re:member
Oliver Law: The last album I bought…25 copies of our unreleased EP, because it’s that good.
Lewis Else: The last EP I bought was Flamingods ‘Kewali’. It’s a crazy mix of eastern folk mixed with psychedelia and electronic music

What is your burning desire for the band to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
Robert Hughes: To play some gigs, write some anthems, entertain the masses and have some excellent fun.
Craig O’Donnell: Destiny is going to be the first release of 2019 and definitely not the last from what we’ve got lined up.

‘Destiny’ is out now across the usual digital platforms. Photo credit: Hana Smith

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Feb 20th – Feb 26th

LASTELLE + LOOSE TOOTH + 72% + EX-PETS Wednesday February 20th The Lab, Northampton Atmospheric hardcore from Oxford, and three of NNs finest hard hitters: hardcore-y grunge rock, the three-piece…

LASTELLE + LOOSE TOOTH + 72% + EX-PETS
Wednesday February 20th
The Lab, Northampton
Atmospheric hardcore from Oxford, and three of NNs finest hard hitters: hardcore-y grunge rock, the three-piece instrumental noise rock, and no-compromise noise rock to really get you started on the right foot. Must see. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

NIGER BARKER
Thursday February 21st
The King Billy, Northampton
Barker has just released his first solo album The album, in addition to his three albums with Cowboy Hat and That Fuzzbox Voodoo. A mix of fired-up blues rock and alt.country. He plays solo in front of six video screens, as he is an international award-winning filmmaker as well as a musician. 8.30pm start, free entry

BUSHPIGS + VENUS FLY TRAP + DUNCAN BISATT
Friday February 22nd
The Lab, Northampton
The twenty year career of Bushpigs sees some original material being tried out, plus some Marabar Caves songs to get nostalgic over. Support from ShoeTown’s iconic electronic goth pioneering duo, and singer-songwriter Bisatt to open proceedings in melodic style. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE OCCASIONAL ORCHESTRA + PHIL DOLEMAN + ODETTE MICHELL + THORNFIELD
Friday February 22nd
Earl’s Barton Working Men’s Club
A Kontra Roots night: rousing six piece band to headline, a ukulele virtuoso, a new English folk singer, and the latest incarnation of the legendary Thornfield play the warm-up. Music from 8pm, £3 entry

THE MISPELT + SPRING PARK + BUCHA EFFECT
Saturday February 23rd
The Lab, Northampton
Punk times in Earl St! Two Northampton bands of much disrepute, plus London mates up for the crack too. Doors 7pm, price TBA

THE KEEPERS + THE BARRATTS + DUNCAN BISATT
Saturday February 23rd
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Twinfest: The Road to MaNo. The traditional send off gig for the bands playing in Germany. Featuring acts you know and love. Give the chaps a good old fashioned proper send off now! Doors 7.30pm, free entry

SANE + ZIZANY
Saturday February 23rd
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Ambient electronica from a band that is swiftly appearing on everyone’s lips.  Joined by the solo brainchild of Zachary Bullock – experimental trip-hop is promised. Music from 9pm, free entry

MARTIN CARTHY
Sunday February 24th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
’60s folk legend of much repute, making albums often alongside fiddle player Dave Swarbrick. Has also played with The Watersons, Steeleye Span, Albion Country Band, and the Brass Monkey ensemble. Doors 7pm. Ticket link says ‘unavailable’, so perhaps phone venue to see if tickets are available

SAD DRONE
Sunday February 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Live improvised ambient soundscapes from some local musicians including Josh Ryan and Joel Harries, using a mix of guitar, synths and loops. An intimate show in the basement. Doors 8pm, free entry

 

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Happy Mondays to headline Roadmender in December

The Happy Mondays will bring their Greatest Hits Tour to the Roadmender in December as part of a mammoth 29 date UK tour. The band’s classic line up of Shaun…

The Happy Mondays will bring their Greatest Hits Tour to the Roadmender in December as part of a mammoth 29 date UK tour.

The band’s classic line up of Shaun Ryder, Bez, Rowetta, Gary Whelan, Paul Ryder, Mark Day and Dan Broad will be playing all of their hits such as Step On, Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, W.F.L., Loose Fit, Judge Fudge and 24-Hour Party People among many others.

After signing to Tony Wilson’s Factory Records, the late 1980s saw the Happy Mondays become the pioneers of the Madchester sound as they blended their love of funk, rock, psychedelia and house with the sounds of the UK’s emerging rave scene.

The band’s third album, 1990’s platinum-selling Pills ‘n’ Thrills And Bellyaches, led to the Happy Mondays crossing over into the mainstream to become icons of Britain’s biggest cultural phenomenon for a generation.

In 2016, the Happy Mondays won the Ivor Novello’s Inspiration Award, further cementing their reputation as one of Britain’s most influential and loved bands.

The tour begins on October 23 in Inverness and ends on December 21 in Lincoln, stopping off along the way London’s Roundhouse on October 31.

Happy Mondays bring their greatest hits tour to the Northampton Roadmender on Friday, December 13.

Tickets cost £35 in advance before fees.  There is a pre-sale on Wednesday, February 20, at 10am via the Roadmender website before tickets go on general sale on Friday, February 22 at 10am.

For more details, visit www.alttickets.com/happy-mondays-tickets

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New Music Friday: Poetic Horror

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic…

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic Horror creates instrumentals washed in reverb and erratic rattling hi-hats. Third tune ‘Blue Light’, featuring that man again L30 Robinson, just dropped, and we took this celebratory moment to ask some questions to Price.

How did this project begin?
I started getting into beat making and production. I’ve always had a love for hip-hop and electronic music. The idea that I could just sit in my room, make music on a computer, put some vocals on top and just release it to the world really just fascinated me.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
I guess the sound is kinda lo-fi and homegrown. It’s heavily influenced by hip-hop. I have a massive love for producers like Madlib and Swedish producer Whitearmor, he is insane. I also have a lot of love for dream pop and post-punk, so some influence from those genres may also carry through.

You’re studying at BIMM London music college right now, alongside fellow Fox Chapeller Johnny, correct? How’s it all going? 
Yeah London is great. Just exploiting the student maintenance loan for music equipment and trying my best to get the work done amongst all the madness.

What was the reaction like to to the first two Poetic Horror songs you put out, ‘City Air’ and ‘Astronaut’?
Yeah it’s been good. I’ve had so much love and support from the hip-hop community in Northampton, and yeah it seems a lot people rate what I’ve done so far.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Blue Light’.
‘Blue Light’ is a little collaboration between me and the super talented L30 Robinson. I just do a little sing and he goes in hard with some bars. It’s nice.

Will this ever be a live project too?
Yeah 100%. I’ve just bought a portable sampler from eBay, so I shall be hitting the road very soon.

Is Fox Chapel simply on a bit of a break now? Will there be new sounds and shows in 2019?
I’m not sure, everyone’s just doing their own thing. I hope that we can maybe bring it back and play some shows. We have a lot of unreleased music and it’s depressing me.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Them A Mad Over Me by Yellowman.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
After I throw a couple more tracks out I really want to make a mixtape or an EP of some kind. Just sit down and focus on something bigger, and make something I’m proud of. So far I’ve just been making songs in one day and throwing them out and not really thinking about songwriting or anything. So yeah, just get something real good out and play some shows.

Blue Light is out now via the usual digital platforms

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