Tag: Northampton

Album review: slowthai ‘Nothing Great About Britain’

slowthai Nothing Great About Britain [Method Music/True Panther Sounds] What do you say about slowthai now he’s gone international? He might have ‘NN’ tattooed on a finger, but more importantly…

slowthai
Nothing Great About Britain
[Method Music/True Panther Sounds]

What do you say about slowthai now he’s gone international? He might have ‘NN’ tattooed on a finger, but more importantly it’s splat across every part of his debut album. The self-confessed former drug dealer knew he had to change his world, and music was his salvation. The boy in the corner – of Spring Boroughs, of Lings, of Abington – is now centre stage, catapulted into our ears and our hearts over the past year or so, with a slow drip feed of streaming singles that finally went nuclear once ‘Doorman’ gave him the sort of radio hit that can’t be ignored. His punky guileful sneer at “Great Britain” in this strangulated Brexit landscape is some great timing. The press all want a piece of him: his counter-culture quotes, his tattooed torso and his maniacal smile are all right for 2019.

“Nothing great about Britain/Tea ‘n’ biscuits/Mash, jellied eels and a couple little trinkets”

The opening salvo, the title track, pulls no punches. The video spoofs the mythology of Excalibur, and sees him – gloriously, ludicrously – knighting kids in King’s Heath. Mocking British things like royalty is a very slowthai trait; a great bit of hip-hop détournement to make you question what role things and people play in modern society. And those vivid, HBO-drama, minor chord synth stabs that precede the skittering beats is slowthai’s sound in a nutshell. Mostly recorded with producer Kwes Darko in East London, his Eski grime/00s UK rap style is brought up to date with his own particular delivery that continually fluctuates between mumbling and threatening. His flow often goes out of time intentionally for dramatic purpose, making you focus harder.

The Mura Masa-produced ‘Doorman’ is the one most will have already heard. It’s banging electronic punk attitude lights up a room when on full tilt, and brings to mind The Prodigy and The Streets as much as the grime scene. It’s spoken-word samples about glue-sniffers that begin and end the track is funny rather than cautionary, though his rhymes are more about the culture clash between the rarified west London world he now travels in rubbing up against his NN persona.

“I run my town/But I’m nothing like Boris/Tyron for PM”

‘Dead Leaves’ is pure bravado, a twitchy club bassline over tales of night-time hedonism being an everyday occurrence that doesn’t require a nightclub. ‘Gorgeous’ is a musically-dense number, another semi-autobiographical tale of running around as kids and getting up to the usual nonsense, and looking back with fondness. He quotes all those ShoeTown places that sound somehow elevated with his delivery: Southfields, Toby Fields, Blackthorn, Moulton, Spring Boroughs. Franky it’s all a bit surreal to know people in Mexico City or Los Angeles will be hearing these reference points.

‘Crack’ has an American low-slung gangsta rap/slow R&B feel, and it doesn’t really suit him. It doesn’t even sound like him. Let us move on. ‘Grow Up’ sees a guest spot from Birmingham rapper JayKae, and we’re back in familiar territory [well, the Midlands]. The two of them have different styles, the hyper-speed of JayKae seemingly forcing slowthai to hasten his  patter. They clearly connect in the middle; the track just burns throughout.

“I ain’t about that gang shit/I’m a lone wolf”

The second album collaboration follows immediately: Skepta brings his experience to ‘Inglorious’ with style, delivering with confidence and speaking random things like “directing movies like Gaspar”. The track weaves and ducks throughout, with Darko’s production skills deftly holding it all together. ‘Toaster’, meanwhile, is a little more folky, a clean guitar line backing another ShoeTown story of redemption.

“Walking through the blocks, I see the cracks/Dodge syringes”

‘Peace Of Mind’ has the catchiest hook on the album, and it’s a gem of a track. Hyping up the contradictions between your daily battles and the dreams you have at night, it’s a moment that shows how anxiety and stress can only be released through mindful rest and recuperation. That’s not a person on this planet that wouldn’t relate to that.

The Slaves-produced ‘Missing’ is as thick and pungent as you can imagine from them being involved, with a unsettling cacophonous chorus that elevates the track from the norm. Which brings us to the final song, ‘Northampton’s Child’. It’s the story of his childhood: the home moves, the booze madness, the death of his young brother. And most importantly – the love of his mother, that centred him and gave him hope. She has clearly given him strength to persevere, so shout out to Ma for her role in giving the world the talents of Tyron Frampton.

Nothing Great About Britain is a tour de force precisely because slowthai’s personalty is forceful, and the beats sharp enough to create a coherent whole. Where he goes from now – he can’t rap about NN life forever, you imagine – is just as fascinating as this piece of work.

But for now, in this game of thrones, we have a new prince in town; one that everyone can fight for.

Phil Moore

Nothing Great About Britain is out Friday / order now, or visit Spun Out on Gold St on Friday at 1pm for an album signing session

 

 

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Live review: Paul Young

PAUL YOUNG / SINEAD BURGESS Royal & Derngate, Northampton May 13th 2019 Putting a decidedly Antipodean twist on Americana is Brisbane born singer-songwriter Sinead Burgess. Accompanied only by an acoustic…

PAUL YOUNG / SINEAD BURGESS
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
May 13th 2019

Putting a decidedly Antipodean twist on Americana is Brisbane born singer-songwriter Sinead Burgess. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar set opener ‘Tennessee Bound’ has a real forward motion, and there’s a lot of variety on display as next cut, ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’, is very Dylan-esque – both musically and in its lyrical astuteness. Interspersing her songs with confessional tales adheres Sinead to the crowd as does the bluesy ‘Momma Raised a Ramblin’ Man’, which segues nicely into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’. In relocating to Nashville Sinead seems to have absorbed some of that environment and it gives her country tinged songs an authenticity, especially on latest single ‘Wild Flowers of Colorado’.

Some albums, perhaps unwittingly, really capture the spirit of the times and that’s certainly the case with Paul Young’s No Parlez. While it’s an album very much of its era it also has a timeless quality and this is due to the wide spectrum of influences it drew upon. As befitting of such a seminal album Paul is here to perform that record in full, and the rocky ‘Behind Your Smile’ is perfect as an opening salvo. Evidencing the wide palette from which No Parlez was painted the reggae influenced ‘Love of the Common People’ follows along with the chanting title track. Taking a few liberties with the original track listing his breakthrough solo smash ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ is welcomed like an old friend by an exuberant crowd, and precedes the funky ‘Iron Out the Rough Spots’. When No Parlez catapulted Paul Young into the mainstream the album was plundered for single after single, and in truth any track on this record would’ve troubled the charts. His cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ still seems a little daring but, by putting his own stamp on it ensures it nestles effortlessly alongside his own ‘Tender Trap’ and ‘Broken Man’. The Jack Lee penned ‘Sex’ brings the No Parlez section to a fitting end.

What follows is a crowd pleasing, career spanning set as Paul cherry picks tunes from his long career. Taking us back to his genesis a raucous run through of The Q Tips ‘Get ’em Up Joe’ gets the audience on their feet, before ‘I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down’ almost takes the roof off the Derngate. Backed by his regular band ensures the songs are faithfully reproduced while simultaneously retaining a live edge. The addition of two female backing vocalists provide a nice foil to Paul’s blue-eyed soul but now oak-aged vocals. Quite fittingly ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ brings the show to a conclusion but, judging by some of the young folk present, this is really ‘hello’.

Peter Dennis

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide May 15th – May 21st

STILL REMAINS + YnT + LOKI Thursday May 16th The King Billy, Northampton A mix of sounds that remind you of Metallica, Thin Lizzy, and Saxon. Songs “that make you…

STILL REMAINS + YnT + LOKI
Thursday May 16th
The King Billy, Northampton
A mix of sounds that remind you of Metallica, Thin Lizzy, and Saxon. Songs “that make you bang your head and sing the chorus”. ShoeTown rock support too. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY + STREET SOLDIER + DJINOVA + MUTINY
Friday May 17th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Norwich deathcore giants tour the new album World Of Sludge, with metal support from the north-west, Coventry, and ShoeTown. Doors 6.45pm, £12 tickets

THEE TELEPATHS + VENUS FLY TRAP
Friday May 17th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
A clash between the heavy hitters. Psych/space/fuzz/noise rock four-piece from Kettering, promoting their 5* debut album The Velvet Night. Northampton post-punk/darkwave pioneers play songs from latest album Icon and the reissued 1988 debut Mars. Doors 8pm, free entry

THOMAS TRUAX + THE ANTELOIDS
Friday May 17th
The Lab, Northampton
American singer/musician, inventor and multi-media artist headlines, who performs with his evolving “band” of self-made instruments including a motorized drum machine made of bike wheels called ‘Mother Superior’ and a pimped-up Dr. Seuss-ian Gramophone called ‘The Hornicator’. Support from the funky, jazzy, freaky, tiki, low-down band from Rugby. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

TU KAY & RYAN
Friday May 17th
The Hopmaster General, Rushden
NN musical duo, known for their lush harmonies and heartfelt lyrics. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THEATRE OF HATE
Saturday May 18th
The Roadmender, Northampton
In 1980, Kirk Brandon formed Theatre Of Hate,and their debut double-A-side single, ‘Legion’/’Original Sin’, topped the independent chart. Debut album Westworld, produced by Mick Jones from The Clash and released in 1982, held the number one position for 21 weeks. They split to form Spear Of Destiny, but the band does resurface over the years to play some shows. Doors 7pm, £17.50 tickets

NORTHAMPTON PRIDE
Saturday May 18th
The Market Square, Northampton
Residents are invited to join Northampton’s LGBTQ Forum, to highlight the LGBTQ community, businesses and support organisations. Joe Payne, Sarah-Jayne, Koola, and more provide the music alongside the food and activity stalls. 12pm to 5pm, free 

FAMILY OF NOISE
Saturday May 18th
The Black Prince, Northampton [front bar]
Corby purveyors of post-punk / alternative rock instrumental noise nuggets and advocates of three being the magic number. Doors 8pm, free entry 

CALIBURN + LOUZADA + JACK & SALLY
Saturday May 18th
Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
Heat Three of Bloodstock Festival’s ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ concept, giving unsigned acts the chance to play the New Blood Stage at this year’s Festival. Doors 6pm, £5 entry

HAZEYJANE
Saturday May 18th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The folk quartet will be playing three 45 minute sets, between 3pm and 6pm. Free entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: Kev Minney

Northampton-born artist Kev Minney went to Brighton to find himself; and the process worked if his music is anything to go by. As he prepares for his sophomore album with…

Northampton-born artist Kev Minney went to Brighton to find himself; and the process worked if his music is anything to go by. As he prepares for his sophomore album with the release of new single ‘God Is An Algorithm’ New Boots took the opportunity to get some more of the details of his personal and musical journey.

How did you become a singer-songwriter?
I became a singer-songwriter after turning 30. Before this time I spent almost two decades around the Northampton jam scene. I think I always was searching to do something deeply creative, but never had the confidence, or never knew exactly what it was that I wanted to do. I moved to Brighton around seven years ago. I think I needed the change of scenery, and that change helped me discover that I wanted to play folk music, rather than rock/blues/jazz stuff. I was always in and out of various different bands, but in the back of my mind I was seeking what I wanted to do. It kind of was perfect timing to have this change; a lot of other things changed for me around that time. If I would have stayed in Northampton I would have made this change eventually, even though being in Brighton did help, it was the more the case that I needed to find a new love for music. I was always listening to artist like Nick Drake and co, but was never playing that stuff.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in getting to here?
I like the fact that I sing with my Northampton voice. A lot of folks down here in Brighton think I’m from a small farm or something, because of my accent isn’t as clean as it is down here. I play around with a lot of odd guitar tunings, and like to find various inverted chords. The piece I’m writing needs to interest me first and foremost. I get easily bored, so it has to have something unusual about it. I obviously hope that my sound is interesting to the listener, or at least I hope they can either be inspired or feel something from the song. A lot of influence probably comes from the guitar, though I find it more interesting when it comes from the song. With my songs I try my best to not hide anything and be open with them. The album I have listened to the most is Blue by Joni Mitchell, and for that very reason of being total open, raw and emotive.

Your album Stories Of The Sky from 2017 seemed to go down well. What was the reaction like?
Ah, it is so hard to say. From an artist point of view, you either look too much into it, or kick it under the carpet and try not to look. I was very pleased with it, I learned a million lessons, and I improved. I think this is what artists should always aim for; to always improve, and provide honest, decent songs. To be completely transparent the artist also needs a good level of drive too, as well as good songs. I worked incredibly hard to get it out there and heard, and just hoped that people enjoy it. I felt that Stories of the Sky was a time of establishing myself in the singer-songwriting world. I am happy with it and very happy with the reaction I received. I got played on BBC Radio, in Acoustic magazine, and knocked out a few European and UK tours. Though I am more happy with my forthcoming second album, but I think everyone says that!

Tell us about this new single, ‘God Is An Algorithm’.
First of all, the whole album [to be called Modern Stories] is all about stories of our modern time: technology, mental health or having good friends, it’s very broad. This single is about that algorithms making more and more decisions for us, therefore losing our free will. Book writer Yuval Noah Harari had just released his second book Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow. He was talking on a podcast and he mentioned the words ‘God is an algorithm’ – I thought, that’s a great song title, and listened further to the podcast. A week or so later, and after reading some of his book, I managed to write the song. I am really inspired by technology, astronomy, and general philosophy. I sometimes switch between these subjects and raw human emotions in my songs, or try to link the two.

What are your live shows like? Why should people come see you?
Sometimes it is just me, sometimes with Andy who plays keys, violins, mandocellos and other instruments. Sometimes it’s with Steph who plays keys and provides backing vocals. And for my next gig I have hired a string quartet! I much prefer playing with others when possible. I try my best to engage with the audience, and try my best to just be myself.

Best thing about moving to Brighton? Worst thing about leaving Northampton?
Leaving Northampton was really hard. I have a lot of good friends there, but it was a decision I had to make, as I was desperate for a change. I recently recorded a video with AudioStage in Northampton [for series 3], and was chatting to Marcus and co. They mentioned how the Northampton scene music is growing, which is amazing. We have always had so many great musicians and bands, and it is great to hear it is growing. When I moved to Brighton in 2011 it wasn’t purely for music reasons, it was more-so for needing a change, I was 29 when I left and it was the first time I left my hometown. Brighton has a great music scene: it’s lively, every night there is something happening, and I have managed to become friends with a lot of folks in the music scene here. I still keep in touch with people in Northampton, and they also support me a lot with my music. I am really appreciative of this.

What has been your favourite moment of the past 12 months, career-wise?
Quite a few! Recording the ten songs and making the music videos were all enjoyable. I have really enjoyed playing shows with Andy and Steph. We have been having a great time playing live, and this last year I have felt that I have much more confidence on stage. That’s a big thing, as it took me a while to get over nerves, which I still have, but I feel more at home. Those who know me know that I stutter a bit, and sometimes stuttering whilst talking live is a bit of a pain in the arse. But I’m used to it; sometimes I just can’t always get my message across clearly.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
As I writing this I am listening to an artist called The Miserable Rich – I’m loving their music [chamber pop]. Also the classics, I have been playing a lot of Beatles stuff recently. I kinda purposefully pick songs to sing along with, so I can improve my voice. Recently I have been trying to learn the cheesiest song ever written, ‘Unchained Melody’. It’s beautiful, but so hard to sing!

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Mostly to carry on what I am doing. I feel I have found a really nice balance of being creative and getting stuff done. I am already writing the third record, so that’s on the cards for sure. Steph and I are currently setting up a European tour, and then will do another UK tour. So, yes, write, record, tour, love it!

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Album review: The Venus Fly Trap

THE VENUS FLY TRAP Mars [Glass Modern] Last year Northampton’s gothic darkwave pioneers [theoretically] called time on their recording career with their eighth studio album, Icon. Whilst a strong finish…

THE VENUS FLY TRAP
Mars
[Glass Modern]

Last year Northampton’s gothic darkwave pioneers [theoretically] called time on their recording career with their eighth studio album, Icon. Whilst a strong finish to proudly rank alongside any of their previous output, it now has also cleared the decks to allow the band to return to the source, and reissue the first run of albums from the 1980s and 1990s. It begins here, the debut from 1988.

Indelibly linked to Bauhaus [through art-school connections] and the ShoeTown scene in general [he helped shape what it became], Alex Novak trod a singular path in the post-punk era, sending out snappish, gothic pulses as part of Religious Overdose and The Tempest, before settling into his long-term project, The Venus Fly Trap. Formed initially in 1986 with brother John and bassist Tony Booker, line-up changes saw Booker moving across to guitar to replace John, with Chris Evans and Dave Freak coming in on bass and percussion.

Early forays into France were received well enough to bag a recording contract with local label Danceteria, and a vinyl album was cobbled together from their first two singles. This was quickly expanded in length for a CD version a few months later, and this is what has been remastered for 2019. Ten stories high, Mars came at a time when spiky lo-fi guitars merged with experimental electronic desires; the slipstream of Pil, Joy Division, and New Order allowing folks to lap up this record as part of what we now collectively call the “alternative 80s”.

Ebullient pop this is not. Mars is more akin to weeds coming up through the Midlands cracks, and breathing new life into a guitar music scene that had reset all notions of ‘limitations’. Where anything not only seemed possible, but contractually obligatory. Novak’s pithy vocals have always reflected his film and scholarly interests, and you really need to visualise a copy of freshly-released comic The Watchmen under one arm amongst the cognoscenti to fully appreciate it’s cultural refractions. The mid-80s was a pretty dire time for many, and radical ideas in Britain were manifestly offering another viewpoint as she headed towards a Hazy Future.

The music zig-zags from the speakers, a series of dizzying, unsettling and occasionally polemic mantras. Feedback sets off ‘Shadow Whisper Mecca’, before the discotized punk-funk groove kicks in. The verve encased in the “Everybody happening” refrain gives off the confident – and very accurate – manifesto for what follows throughout ‘Mars’. Second track ‘I Get Flowers’ takes on the mantle and delivers perhaps the album highlight. It’s a pleasure to argue which is mightier over it’s five minutes – the huge R.E.M.-ish vocal harmonies, or the Cure-ish spidery guitar solo that gloriously jolts above the insistent bassline.

The two single releases became live favourites, to this day. ‘Morphine’ sees Novak being both decadent and threatening at once, deeply intoning about a desperate character over the top of their most garage band moment. ‘Desolation Railway’ meanwhile took things in a completely different direction. Seven minutes of psychedelic swirl that brings wavering synths to a morse code melody, ducking and weaving as it goes, adding explosions and film samples to ratchet up the tension even higher.

On ‘How The Mighty’ they misdirect with a soft Del Shannon-style opening minute, before the drum machine turns on and panic sets in. “Nothing remains the same” goes the chorus, which considering the twists and turn of the band over the next three decades feels rather apt. ‘Catalyst’ is some twisted dark pop that would sit happily on a Jesus & Mary Chain album. And you have to mention the experimental ‘Violins & Violence’, where the funeral pace reflects the desolate mood of a song concerning the JKF assassination and how it blandly encapsulates society’s continual bad news bulletins.

At the time Melody Maker said The Venus Fly Trap make “despair infectious”. It’s still true. Mars affects you in the gut, like all good music should. It is a sublime piece of that “alternative 80s” the industry likes to harp on about. This 2019 re-release gives us a chance to take stock and truly give them the credit they deserve.

Phil Moore

Mars is reissued by Glass Modern on May 31st

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide May 8th – May 14th

PIQUED JACKS Wednesday May 8th The Lab, Northampton Alt-rock band from Italy. With a secret support act…Doors 8pm, free entry SONARS + SAD DRONE Thursday May 9th The Lamplighter, Northampton…

PIQUED JACKS
Wednesday May 8th
The Lab, Northampton
Alt-rock band from Italy. With a secret support act…Doors 8pm, free entry

SONARS + SAD DRONE
Thursday May 9th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Two-piece electro-psych outfit from Brighton/Italy, plus improvised ambient soundscapes from the team of Joshua Ryan, Joel Harries and Joe Brown. Doors 8pm, free entry

NORTHAMPTON FOLK FESTIVAL
Friday May 10th – Sunday May 12th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Three days of acoustic strumming and real ale. Perfect for these Game Of Thrones end days. Times vary, £2 per day

SECRET AFFAIR + SQUIRE
Friday May 10th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Glory Boys 40th anniversary tour for the mod revivalists, whose debut single ‘Time For Action’ reached number 13 in the UK chart. Squire released the first single of the genre, ‘Get Ready to Go’, in March 1979. Doors 7pm, £20 tickets

CAPTAIN ACCIDENT & THE DISASTERS + THE BIGHEAD + JIMMY PIKE & THE REDSTARS
Friday May 10th
The Lab, Northampton
Cardiff ska/reggae headliners come to Northampton for the first time to get people up and dancing. Support from Northants pop-reggae group, and the left-leaning political dub/reggae instrumentalists. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

MONARCHS + BLOOD-VISIONS + NAILBREAKER
Saturday May 11th
Club 43, Northampton
Loud and heavy Kettering three-piece headline the ‘Rebel Waltz’ night. Support from ShoeTown “technicolour hardcore” band and the NN10 digital hardcore man of the moment. Doors 8pm; free before 9pm, £4 after

ORANGE CLOCKS + TRIPSPACE
Saturday May 11th
Windmill Club, Rushden
A night of psychedelic delights, with all proceeds going to Rushden Mind, a local charity. Doors 7.30pm, donations

EXPETYA + PRIMAL HOLOCAUST + THE CREATURE WITHIN + WOVENLUNG
Saturday May 11th
Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
Bloodstock Festival’s Metal 2 The Masses gives unsigned acts the chance to play the New Blood Stage at the festival. Doors 6pm,  £5 tickets

THE ELECTRIC SIX
Tuesday May 14th
The Picturedrome, Northampton
One of the best live bands around, the band have a range of influences from new romantic to metal and a bit of disco thrown in for good measure. The Jack White-featuring breakthrough single ‘Danger! High Voltage’ was a disco-laden indie club banger that thrust the band into international acclaim and MTV stardom. The band followed up with one of the most quotable songs of all time, ‘Gay Bar’, and it’s tongue-in-cheek video took the band into another stratosphere completely. Doors 7.30pm, £16.50 tickets

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: EGO

Milton Keynes/Northampton trio EGO is the new brainchild of Sean Grant, the man behind growly rockers S.G. Wolfgang. Joined by Phill Andreas on guitar and Darren Stephens on drums, the…

Milton Keynes/Northampton trio EGO is the new brainchild of Sean Grant, the man behind growly rockers S.G. Wolfgang. Joined by Phill Andreas on guitar and Darren Stephens on drums, the band are on a mission to get down and dirty with your rock’n’roll desires. Their new eponymously-titled EP, featuring lead single ‘Gurl Is Gunna Kill U’, is a real treat, and New Boots went and got all the background titbits from Mr Grant.

How did you guys get together?
EGO was born from a love of heavier music and boredom. It was an inbetweeny moment of having some free time and throwing together some music which I really enjoyed. Originally it was me and Mark, but it had no future unfortunately, so I recruited some mates that just so happened to play the required instruments. Three mates playing in a band having a laugh, just like when we all aspire to start our first band with starry eyes.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
Angry sexy shouty punky rock. Definitely if Jamie Lenman had a gangbang with Idles and Frank Carter.

What was the reaction like to your ‘Social Media SUX’ single last year? It seems the social media backlash is in full effect these days…
Yeah it was good; I think people were digging it as it was a bit different. BBC Introducing gave it some love, which we’re always appreciative of. Ah social media, we all love and hate you. It’s still a great platform to reach a fan base, although now you mainly have to pay for advertising to reach that fan base. Although I can’t see it going anywhere.

Tell us everything about this new EP
It is mind blergh from my brain. Whatever’s in there comes out in my writing. It’s heavy, but it’s melodic and screamy – but hopefully in the right places. It’s angry and it’s cheeky, but it has its sombre moments. It’s the whole flipping spectrum in five tracks. It’s fundamentally EGO. It’s not taking itself too seriously, it’s having fun. It’s remembering why you want to make music, and loving it again. I fundamentally write all the tracks with embellishment from the lads, and in the same way I record and produce all of it too. It’s something that I’ve played at before, and with this project wanting to to have complete control it just made sense to to do it myself. That’s why we’ve birthed Alt:Disco Records too; it’s all our vehicle and we’re looking forward to being at the steering wheel. ‘Gurl Is Gunna Kill U’ was from Friday nights DJing the club night Alt:Disco [at The Craufurd Arms]. Seeing the endless pursuit by men of the women on the dancefloor, and thinking “man that girl is going to kill you”…or “that girl is literally going to kill you”. I love a play on words, a double-edged sword… And a song was born.

What are your live shows been like so far?
Amazing noisily horribly fun. It definitely has a more interesting stage dynamic with myself just screaming / singing, a guitarist guitaring and a drummer drumming. We have our own little bubble, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the freedom of just being a frontman.

What has been your favourite EGO moment of the past year?
Mark and I did a northern tour which was pretty cool and 100% laughs, and I’m just looking forward to this new release and unleashing the new live setup for the world to see!

Are you part of a wider scene in Northants/Bucks, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues you wanna give a shout out to?
Definitely; I’m always open to collaboration and helping each other out. Definitely The Craufurd Arms in Wolverton, and the most recent band who’ve jumped on the bill at our EP show Loose Tooth – SICK BAND.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’m a big fan of local music, so it was actually the new release from Big Loss! Bloody lovely stuff by three lovely people. Apart from that then the new Crows album Silver Tongues is colossus.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
All we aspire to is to be bigger than Ginger Snaps.

The EGO EP is out now on Alt:Disco Records via the usual download and streaming platforms

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide May 1st – May 7th

CORDWAINERS + THE SECRET MAGPIES + HUMBLEBEE Wednesday May 1st Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Kontra Roots present the highly accomplished Earls Barton-based folk band, a multi-instrumental prog-folk duo from Loughborough, and delicate,…

CORDWAINERS + THE SECRET MAGPIES + HUMBLEBEE
Wednesday May 1st
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Kontra Roots present the highly accomplished Earls Barton-based folk band, a multi-instrumental prog-folk duo from Loughborough, and delicate, quirky songs from the Kettering harmony duo. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

VELVET ENGINE + AMII DAWES
Thursday May 2nd
The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton
A night of acoustic storytelling. VE is the brainchild of Latina Northamptonian San-D Godoy, who plays yearning alt-folk. Dawes is a singer-songwriter from Northampton, inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. Doors 7pm, £5.50 tickets

DEEP SEA MOUNTAINS + THE BOPHINS
Thursday May 2nd
The King Billy, Northampton
Art rock and new wave sounds from a pair of Northampton’s unsung heroes. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THE BIG DIRTY + THE DRUNKEN MANDEM + KRANKHEAD + WE ARE GIANTS
Friday May 3rd
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
‘Swine’ music video fundraiser, with some rock, rap and a little bit of trap. Help the Northampton team of producers, directors, musicians and more create an explosive music video for The Big Dirty. This show is notable for the return to the live scene of The Drunken Mandem, so shake a leg folks. Doors 7pm, £7.50 tickets

DAN PIGEON + BABY LUNG + BRAZEN FOXES
Friday May 3rd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Local music to set your 2019 to. Lo-fi art-rock from Rushden way, ShoeTown’s jazz-inspired indie-pop, and the Daventry-area indie rock trio open proceedings in the basement. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

KING PURPLE + THE BARRATTS + ODDITY ISLAND
Friday May 3rd
Our Lady’s Catholic Social Club [aka the KK Club], Corby
‘Time Alone’ EP release show from the fast-rising local blues-grunge trio, with indie support from the towns of Northampton and Kettering. Doors 8pm, £5 tickets

THE VINCENT VEGA BAND + NAKED NEXT DOOR + BABY LUNG + HUBCAP
Saturday May 4th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Bank holiday beer festival time at the Pomfret. Stellar Northampton and MK rock and indie music to accompany the process. Doors 7:30pm, free entry

LUNAXIS + TOM ROSE & THE HEATHEN ORCHESTRA + HUMBLEBEE
Saturday May 4th
The Lab, Northampton
Lunaxis are a local indie-pop band with influences of folk and blues, fronted by Carly Loasby. Rose conveys his twisted brand of good-time rock and blues. Harmony duo openers offer delicate, quirky songs. Doors 8pm, £3 members/£4 guests

THE FILTHY TONGUES + FAMILY OF NOISE + SPIKE THE POET
Saturday May 4th
Our Lady’s Catholic Social Club [aka the KK Club], Corby
“Country Goth”/post-punk from Edinburgh. Featuring ex members of Angelfish and Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. Elements of Bowie and Nick Cave, but very much doing their own thing. Support from excellent local instrumental trio, and local poetry to begin with. Doors 7.30pm, £8 tickets

MIA & THE MOON
Saturday May 4th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The Ratcliffe sisters Laura and Mary are a harmony folk/pop duo from Leicester. 3pm to 6pm, free entry

THE ROCKET DOLLS + RYDERS CREED + EMPYRE
Sunday May 5th
The King Billy, Northampton
The ‘RPM Take Over Tour’ involves three killer bands from the Rock People Management stable.  Post-grunge from Brighton, hard rock from Staffordshire, and powerhousre rock from ShoeTown. Music kicks off 6pm, free entry

KOMODO QUARTET
Sunday May 5th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
More beer festival entertainment, with original ShoeTown jazz band. Time TBA, free entry

GINA PULBOS + CIARAN REDMOND + JD BLUES + CAMERON GRACE + JACOB BRAITHWAITE
Monday May 6th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Acoustic music from a variety of sources. Again, do drink beer. Time TBA, free entry

CHRIS CLEVERLY + STAINED GLASS BLUEGRASS
Tuesday May 7th
Old White Hart, Northampton
The alt-folk songwriter offers an exposé of new material. Cleverly has four years of extensive touring under his belt, and follows the blueprint of heroes Nic Jones and John Martyn. Support are a lively bluegrass quartet based in Warwickshire. Doors 8pm, £8 entry

 

 

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: Harry Mockett

Harry Mockett is a 20 year-old singer, songwriter, and producer from Northampton, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to wow us with his first two singles. ‘Circles’ was quickly…

Harry Mockett is a 20 year-old singer, songwriter, and producer from Northampton, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to wow us with his first two singles. ‘Circles’ was quickly followed by new one ‘Into Night’, and New Boots had to find out more behind his journey so far.

How did you develop your music to this point in 2019?
I started playing the guitar at quite a young age, 5 or 6 I think, and singing just went hand in hand with that as time went by. As a teenager I gigged a lot, and sang in a band for five years, but it wasn’t until college I really found my love for music production and having total control over how my music sounded. It changed the way I write music, and it became a big part of the creative process for me.

How would you describe your sound? What are your main influences?
I’ve always been a big fan of old school hip-hop and disco music, and I feel like that shows in my music in that I like using nice chords and some busy guitar parts. But at the same time I make sure not to overdo it, and keep things simple. A less-is-more kind of thing. I think that’s important, production wise; to have everything in its own pocket. More importantly, what I write needs to feel good to play.

What was the reaction like to first single ‘Circles’?
The reaction to ‘Circles’ was amazing. As my first single I was nervous about how it would be received initially, especially after having not released any music for so long. But when it made the national ‘BBC Introducing Hot List’ [on April 9th] it made it sink in how well it’s going down. It’s definitely given me some confidence that people will like my EP that comes out in May.

Tell us about this new one, ‘Into Night’.
‘Into Night’ all grew from a bass line I’d been messing with for a while, you can hear a part of it at the start. That bass originally played throughout the verse, but I decided to strip it back and have it come in more infrequently. I’d had the idea for the chorus vocal melody for a long time as well, and this just turned out to be the perfect track to use it on. After I first recorded the song, in my shed/studio where I make all my demos, I knew I wanted to make the arrangement bigger. So when I was recording this along with the rest of my EP at Numen Studios we tracked some keys [from Joe Nix], percussion [Matt Brettle], and female vocals/harmonies [Lauren Dejey], which really brought the chorus to life. It was a great place to be creatively. We were all throwing ideas into the mix, and I’m really happy with the finished product.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
I’ve been out the loop recently due to getting diagnosed with a brain tumour last May, so nearly a year ago now. It was quite a hectic year, seven weeks spent in the John Radcliffe in Oxford, and then seven weeks receiving Proton Beam Therapy in Essen, Germany. At one point I was given a 50/50 chance of making it through the night, so it definitely wasn’t a smooth ride. Despite all of that going on I was still making music throughout my recovery, and it was a huge relief that I hadn’t lost my ability and drive, post neurosurgery.  Whilst it has been the biggest challenge imaginable, my music has been a driving force of positivity, and has really given me something to look forward to and focus on even when times were tough.

Whilst the tumour has left me with lifelong damage, I am now back to my old self and have a changed outlook on life. This experience has really shown me how powerful music can be in healing, and the importance of always looking forward and never giving up on what you want to do. Amazingly I got the all clear at the end of February just after I released ‘Circles’, and now that I’m putting music out again I’m excited to get gigging later this year and seeing more local artists.

What have you been digging recently? What was the last album you streamed?
I really love stuff from the likes of Vulfpeck, Anderson Paak, Jamiroquai to name a few. Anything with groove. I’m a big fan of Tom Misch; he also has a love for disco/jazz/hip-hop kind of stuff. I came across him when he was just a beat-maker on Soundcloud, so it’s crazy to have seen him get to where he is now. It’s so great seeing other songwriter-producers blow up, it really motivates me to just make the music I want to make and have faith in it. Last album streamed was Fantastic, Vol. 2 by Slum Village.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’m dropping a new single called ‘Windows’ in early May. It’s without a doubt the longest I’ve ever spent on a track, especially on the production front. I’ve been excited about this one for a while, so I’m very happy to finally be sharing it. I’m looking forward to releasing an EP in May, and following that I’m planning to start gigging it which I can’t wait for. It’s been way too long. That’s the goal for me really. Of course it’d be amazing if more opportunities came my way and more people hear my music, but as long as I’m recording music and playing shows I’ll be content. Anything else that comes along with it is just a bonus.

Harry Mockett on Spotify

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Twinfest organisers reveal the acts visiting from Northampton’s twinned towns

The organisers of Twinfest have revealed the bands which will be visiting Northampton from Germany and France when the annual festival returns in July. There will be three acts from…

The organisers of Twinfest have revealed the bands which will be visiting Northampton from Germany and France when the annual festival returns in July.
There will be three acts from Marburg and two from Poitiers joining other musicians from across Northampton for the four day festival.

Visiting from Marburg will be:
Oclairewww.facebook.com/oclairemusic
Cressy Jawwww.facebook.com/Cressy.Jaw
Bazooka Groove Clubwww.facebook.com/bazoukagrooveclub

Visting from Poitiers will be:
The Arieswww.facebook.com/lesariesmusique
Full Fictionwww.facebook.com/fullfictionband

Organisers are currently finalising the acts from Northampton which will be playing Twinfest.
Twinfest is from Thursday, July 25, to Sunday, July 28, and will include performances at venues across Northampton.

For more details, visit www.fb.com/twinfest.northampton

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