Tag: northants

New Music Friday: Nailbreaker

Digital hardcore artist George Hammond aka Nailbreaker has set the cat amongst the pigeons a little with his early recordings and performances. The Acolytes singer has just released his first…

Digital hardcore artist George Hammond aka Nailbreaker has set the cat amongst the pigeons a little with his early recordings and performances. The Acolytes singer has just released his first EP, entitled Spectrum Songs. New Boots locked him in a basement for a thorough interrogation.

How did you start this project?
I started playing around with the idea of doing something more electronic-centric around August-September 2018, in the downtime of my other band Acolytes not really doing anything. I don’t think there was anything particular in my listening habits that inspired me to start this project. I had just come out of a really difficult period in my personal life, I didn’t have anything interesting to say in Acolytes, I just wanted to make something different and unique and not look back. I put out my first single, ‘Shawn Michaels Circa 1999’, and the reaction was way more positive than I was expecting, so I just kept moving.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
Generally I find it difficult citing main influences for my music; I have a pretty broad taste in music and film so I pick up lots of different things from different places. I think my music fits most accurately under subgenres like digital hardcore or cyberpunk, so I reckon there’s some inherent influence from bands in those styles; bands like Atari Teenage Riot, Death Grips, Machine Girl, Deli Girls, etc. It’s the energy and ethos of hardcore punk put through a filter of industrial, harsh noise, breakcore, power electronics, maybe some rap. I don’t know, it’s very impulsive.

What has the reaction been like to your singles so far? Great to see BBC Introducing behind ‘Friday Aesthetics’.
Yeah it was well weird seeing BBC Introducing be so positive about it. In a good way obviously, it just wasn’t something I expected. I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve received so far from everyone; sometimes I have a hard time viewing my music in a context outside of ‘me dicking around and maybe some people might like it’. So seeing people say all this positive stuff, and seeing how many people have reacted well, has been really reassuring. Had a dude in America send me some anime fan art, which was wild for a project where I mostly work on my phone. But it’s shit like that that’s so cool about doing this project; that people feel inspired to create after hearing this stuff. That’s why I’ve also been really grateful for receiving requests for collabs and remixes and stuff. If I want people to take away one thing from my music, it’s to create their own art and creatively push themselves as much as possible.

Tell us everything about this ‘Spectrum Songs’ EP
I recorded, mixed, and mastered the EP in my house over an eleven day period. I didn’t leave the house, drink, smoke, use social media, or listen to other music until it was finished. As much as those things can help fuel creativity, I thought it was important [especially with a self-imposed deadline] to not put any kind of filter on my ideas so I could be as artistically raw as possible. That probably sounds bare pretentious, but it worked for me.
I wanted to make sure that every song on the EP had its own distinct sound and style, without sounding out of place in the context of an overall piece. When I put out ‘Friday Aesthetics’ as a single, I didn’t want people to take it as a teaser track because [other than being aggressive and noisey] none of the other tracks sound like that. Lyrically I didn’t want to be as message-orientated as I am in Acolytes; I think there are a lot of social and personal things that aren’t addressed in that band that I wanted to address here. On the EP I wrote about internet culture, sexuality, personal issues I face, whatever else. The lyrics are available to read on my Bandcamp page. I’d encourage anyone interested to read them themselves and come away with their own interpretation.

What are your live shows like?
I don’t really put a lot of thought into gigs in terms of things like, I don’t know, particular movements or whatever, I don’t want it be choreographed. I see bands do that kind of thing and it completely takes me out of it. The only thing I think I stay aware of is interacting with other people. I try to talk as little as possible during my sets, so making people feel personally involved in what’s going on is important to me, so physically I’m always as upfront and confrontational with the people there as possible. Other than that I like to climb and jump off of stuff. I bleed quite a lot during my shows. I normally have a drummer playing along live as well, either Marcus [from Acolytes] or Dan [from La Folivora]. I don’t know. Every single set I play is different so describing them is difficult; if anyone wants a better idea of what my shows are like then they should come join the party themselves.

Tell us a bit more about the NN10 Noise Club? Is Acolytes likely to come back at some point?
I’ve been asked the Acolytes question a lot recently and I’ve not really been able to give a proper answer. Right now none of us really have any desire to do anything Acolytes related. That doesn’t mean we’re not gonna play more shows or release more music at some point, but right now we’re all more interested in doing other things. Bewlay’s releasing music under the name Dylon Dean, Marcus has just started releasing his own solo material, Tom is playing bass in his brother band, Dan Pigeon.
NN10 Noise Club was an inside joke that got out of hand. Now it’s a collective of Rushden-based musicians. We use that name to put on shows, as a label name for releases, to shitpost on social media. We’ll figure out what it is eventually.

What has been your favourite Nailbreaker moment so far?
My second ever gig was a highlight. It was a house show in Bournemouth and was probably the most intimate space I’ve ever played in [the address of the house is also the title of the closing track on ‘Spectrum Songs’]. I also played a show at The Library in Oxford last month which was probably one of my favourite shows ever. Honestly I don’t reflect on things a lot, I just keep moving. I think I probably should reflect on things more often but it’s always more important to me to think about the present and the future. Maybe I’d call myself a futurist if I wasn’t so pessimistic.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was a cassette copy of Veteran by JPEGMAFIA, it’s my favourite album from 2018 and I’d been meaning to get a physical copy of it for a while. The last album I streamed was We Choose Pretty Names by Kermes, another one of my favourites from last year. Can’t recommend either of those albums enough. I think Kermes have some new material on the way from what I can tell, so keep an eye out for that.

What is your burning desire for Nailbreaker to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Play as many shows as I possibly can, I wanna bleed in as many venues and houses as possible before the year’s up [so if you’re reading this and you put on shows, contact me via social media. I would call that a shameless plug but this is an interview about my EP anyway, so fuck it]. Other than that, I’m recording new music but it’s not gonna be out for a while. I might be involved with another project this year, but I can’t talk about it yet. I’ll probably keep posting stuff on Acolytes’ Instagram account without having any plans to play or record music. Maybe there’ll be some collabs in the works, who knows.
All I’ll say is keeping watching. I said it was impulsive music and I wasn’t lying.

Spectrum Songs is out now on BandCamp and the usual digital platforms. Feature photo by David Jackson

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 3rd – Apr 9th

GLYMJACK + THE CAMPBELLS + PHIL RILEY Wednesday April 3rd Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby The folk-roots headliners feature award-winning songwriter Greg McDonald, plus appearances from Northampton-based Americana trio and the veteran singer-songwriter. Doors…

Wednesday April 3rd
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
The folk-roots headliners feature award-winning songwriter Greg McDonald, plus appearances from Northampton-based Americana trio and the veteran singer-songwriter. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Friday April 5th
The Black Prince, Northampton
The much-loved alt-rock/ post-grunge quartet from South Yorkshire come to ShoeTown to promote sophomore album ‘I Want The World’. With support from energetic pop-punk/emo gang from Kettering, the four-piece alt-rock band from Northampton, with two EPs to their name, and an MK trio, the brainchild of Sean Grant, who are “heavier, sexier & angrier than Royal Blood”. Doors 7.30pm, £7 tickets

Friday April 5th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The Corby trio return to the Roadmender for a headline show, to support the release of their debut EP ‘Time Alone’. Doors 7.30pm, £5 tickets

Friday April 5th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Return of the Ni Ni Sessions, highlighting great local singer-songwriter talent. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Friday April 5th
The White Hart, Corby
The psych/drone/kraut/space rock band from Kettering continue to promote their excellent debut album The Velvet Night. ShoeTown darkwave legends in support will play highlights from 2018 album Icon, plus local instrumental surf trio. Music from 8pm, free entry

Friday April 5th
The Green Dragon, Higham Ferrers
Kettering’s hardest working rock’n’roll gang head to Higham to provide good times. Music from 9pm, free entry

Saturday April 6th
The Picturedrome, Northampton
The former Prisoner [and not forgetting one of the great Hammond players] returns to a favourite haunt of his to play his rare-groove and jazz-funk tunes. Doors 8pm, £17 tickets

Saturday April 6th
The Lab, Northampton
Party time! Headliners are a four-piece gypsy swing folk band from Bristol; support bring the Gyp-Hop from Leicester, and gypsy-folk from a group of Lab members themselves. Doors 8pm, £3 entry for members, £4 guests

Saturday April 6th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Toyah returns to the Roadmender. This revealing show comes in the form of Toyah performing an unplugged set of her well-loved hits and classic songs, alongside recalling stories from her colourful, thirty-five year career. A talented duo of guitarists, Chris Wong and Colin Hinds, accompany her on meticulous and melodic acoustic versions of the hits. Doors 7.30pm, £22 tickets

Saturday April 6th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Mancunian slam crew Ingested have built a reputation as one of the most savage death metal acts to come out of the UK. Appropriate support from Northamptonshire. Doors 6pm, £12 tickets

Saturday April 6th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Level Records presents the ‘Big Mike’ EP launch. Expect soulful electonica/house, with chiptune support. DJs too, to give it the party vibes. Doors 8pm, £3 entry [£2 with an NN Card]

Saturday April 6th
The Carriage House, Higham Ferrers
Ferrers fun part two! A night of dirty indie rock’n’roll from the Rushden and ShoeTown boys. Intelligent indie from Leicester sandwiched in the middle. Doors 7pm, free entry

Saturday April 6th
The Prince Of Wales, Kettering
The local metallers are back on stage to entertain. Music from 9pm, free entry

Sunday April 7th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Berlin-based alt-pop trio headline. Support from Swiss singer and songwriter influenced by quirky 60s sounds and modern beat driven production. Doors 8pm, free entry


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New Music Friday: Crybb

Gary Painting and Kate Beresford are Northampton folk duo Crybb, who have just released mini-LP Fortune And Folly. Since 2016 the pair have been very active in Northamptonshire, playing shows and…

Gary Painting and Kate Beresford are Northampton folk duo Crybb, who have just released mini-LP Fortune And Folly.

Since 2016 the pair have been very active in Northamptonshire, playing shows and releasing the album Aubade in 2017, and now return with the Kenneth J Nash-produced follow-up. New Boots asked the pair some searching questions.

How did you guys get together?
We first met around 2010. We were both playing with other bands at the time, and really liked what each other was doing, so discussed collaborating at some point in the future.vGo forward to 2015, we both had young children; me triplets and Kate a little girl. As the stay-at-home parents we both needed a valve/hobby to relax, and so through sheer determination to overcome lack of sleep and a need for folk in our lives, Crybb was born.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences do you feel?
A lot of people tell us that we are unique and we have our own sound. I would say we are warm, melodic, engaging, upbeat and thoughtful. Contemporary folk, but with ‘Traditional Sensibilities’. Our influences are vast and varied between the pair of us, but include Show of Hands, Anne Briggs, All about Eve, Bert Jansch, Suzanne Vega, and The Dubliners.

What was the reaction like to your first album, Aubade? Were you happy with how it turned out?
We were blown away by the positive response Aubade was met with. We garnered some great reviews and gained radio and podcast plays, it still sells well as we reach new audiences. Yes we’re both happy with what we accomplished with Aubade. Playing live at folk clubs and events allows you to establish your sound, so recording the album ‘as live’ gives you a real picture of Crybb, and it is the better for it. There is no way to overstate the personal achievement we feel in completing our first album together.

Tell us about this new release, Fortune And Folly.
It’s produced by Kenneth J. Nash. We owe him a huge debt of thanks for this album for doing such a fantastic job.
It started life as just one song, and pretty soon we had four tracks for an EP. That was our original intention. Kenny said he heard ‘more’ and a fifth song was forthcoming. This was in November, and we were hoping to have the album finished for January when we played at The Great Knight Folk club in Northampton. Kenny was still encouraging us to write more. He said he heard an album at least. He was right! And there’s still more to come!

Lyrically you say you have used Northamptonshire as a source of inspiration. Could you expand on that for us please?
This album is written and inspired by stories and places from within Northamptonshire. The original first song came to us from an interest into our own history and where we came from. Having moved here from Kent around 2008 I [Gary] have fallen in love with the county that I now feel is home. Kate is originally a Finedon girl who was in Dolben House at the village school and so research discovered the extraordinary story of William Digby Dolben, the subject of our song and perhaps Northampton’s first ever sea shanty!
‘Downtrodden’ is based on the shoe industry when mechanisation was brought in to replace most of the home studios that were previously used. ‘Eleanor’ is a love song from Edward the 1st to his wife Eleanor of Castile. It was inspired by the Queen Eleanor Crosses in Northamptonshire and, in particular, the Hardingstone cross that is sadly in such a sorry state of disrepair, as anyone passing it can testify. ‘Lyveden’ is about Lyveden New Bield, an Elizabeth building that was never completed. It is partly where the ‘Folly’ element in the album title came from. We’ve used it as an analogy of best laid plans that, through circumstance, do not play out in the way we intended.

Our only cover is ‘Too Close to the Wind’, written by Stuart Marson, which we were introduced to by our friends Cherrington and Ward. It follows the story of the Culworth Gang, a notorious bunch of robbers and thieves who plagued the south of the County, “From Daventry down to the southern byways”, as the song says. ‘Lighthouse’ is an instrumental. Its inspired by the Lift tower, which I [Gary] can see from my living room window. It’s like a beacon for me, it means “I’m home”. ‘I Am’ was written around a John Clare poem. John Clare was known as the Peoples Poet, having not had the formal, private education like many of his contemporaries. He spent a large amount of time in the Asylum at St Andrews in Northampton, and struggled with mental health all his life. This poem was in response to someone corresponding ‘How are you?’ to him.
‘Meadow’ follows the last Abbess of Delapre, Clementina, as she tried to stop Henry the VIII from taking the abbey as part of the Reformation, taking wealth and land away from the Catholic churches as the Church of England came into being. The fact that she held him off for quite some time is remarkable, and deserves to be recognised.

We were very aware that there weren’t many trad/folk songs attributed to our county. We wanted to change that. We wanted to sing and show people; this is your history, these are your stories and they are worth celebrating and being proud of.

What are your live shows like?
Growing! (LOL) Our shows are quite upbeat, harmonious, melodic and personable. We get a great response from people hearing us for the first time, as well as those that regularly attend our gigs. Many people have preconceptions as to what folk music is. Many times it’s because they have never really heard any. Hopefully we leave them wanting to know more.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded acts?
Northamptonshire has a huge repository of talent! You name it, you can find it in the town. We’ve been concentrating more on folk clubs this last six months or more, and are currently a resident band at the Wurzel Bush Folk Club in Rugby every Tuesday, so haven’t been around the circuit for a while. We play at the Great Knight Folk Club in Northampton whenever the opportunity allows, and appeared recently at Kontra Roots in Earls Barton.
Fellow Northants acts that we love are, amongst others, Straw Horses, hazeyjane, Kenneth J Nash, Chris Duckett, Mark Gill, TuKay and Ryan and whatever guise Ross Alexander plays in (Humble Bee, The Abrahams etc.).

What has been your favourite Crybb moment of the past year?
We supported Merry Hell (Folking.com Awards 2018 Best Live Act winners, 2019 Folking.com Awards Best Band nominee) at a couple of gigs recently. Their talent is outstanding and their enthusiasm is infectious. We found ourselves right at home; fantastic audience, and buzzing with energy and achievement.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Ninebarrow Releasing The Leaves on CD. Fantastic musicality and vocal harmonies. I tend to stream an album before purchase, and then continue to stream once purchased. Last one I streamed would be Anthems to the Wind by Merry Hell.

What is your burning desire for Crybb to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We hope to continue to grow and make new friends and fans. We are humbled by how far we have already come, and grown as a band, and we both want to push and see how far Crybb can take us. We want to continue flying the flag to champion Northamptonshire and its stories, and to bring more of our kind of folk music to our county.

Fortune And Folly is out now on Old Hotel Records via Bandcamp

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 27th – Apr 2nd

SLEEPER + LUCIA Friday March 29th The Roadmender, Northampton The Britpop hit-makers reformed in 2018 and have just released their fourth album The Modern Age to generally positive reviews. Louise…

Friday March 29th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The Britpop hit-makers reformed in 2018 and have just released their fourth album The Modern Age to generally positive reviews. Louise Wener and the Sleeperblokes know their way around a catchy tune still. Support from rising Glaswegian bubblegum popsters. Doors 7.30pm, £20 tickets

Friday March 29th
The King Billy, Northampton
To celebrate their debut album the ShoeTown/MK punks throw a party at the Billy. Joining the festivities are the long-time stalwarts of the Northampton punk scene, plus young NN pop-punkers, and Jackwatch playing an acoustic set. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Friday March 29th
The Lab, Northampton
Big punk/ska line-up headlined by the local posse who run this Skankdown. Acts from London, Hinckley, and the north join them. Doors 7pm, £6 entry [guests, or £5 for members]

Friday March 29th
Club 43, Northampton
London metalcore headliners and main support, plus similar ShoeTown and Norwich supports. Doors at 7pm, £6 tickets

Saturday March 30th
The Lab, Northampton
Hatfield is an alt-rock singer from Leeds, promoting his debut EP. He is the man behind ‘In Music We Trust’, the charitable clothing brand. Support from a Northants triptych providing groovy psych-rock, lo-fi avant-gardism, and indietronica. Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 tickets

Saturday March 30th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The nine-piece from Leeds return with new album Lost In Space. The band continue their mission to discover the ultimate bassline. Plus DJ Kuryakin. Doors 7.30pm, £17.50 tickets

Saturday March 30th
The Picturedrome, Northampton
Rockin’ Cotton brothers trio return to the Drome. Advance tickets advised, as the event normally sells out. Doors 7.45pm, £12.50 tickets

Saturday March 30th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Psych/space/fuzz/noise rock four-piece from Kettering, promoting fantastic new album The Velvet Night. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday March 30th
The White Hart, Corby
Back by popular demand, the former Jim Jones Revue frontman brings a hefty dose of voodoo to produce “slow burn narco rock”. Support from psychedelic rock preachers from Leicester, and a garage band from the Black Country. Doors 7.30pm, £12.50

Saturday March 30th
The Castle, Wellingborough
London bluesman fronting one of the most exciting bands to play white-boy Chicago blues. The many awards Lamb has received from magazines such as Blueprint represent recognition of Lamb’s position at the forefront of British blues. Doors 8pm, £15 tickets

Sunday March 31st
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Rutland singer-songwriter. BBC Folk Award winner and BBC Later…with Jools Holland performer. Promoting new album How The City Sings. Doors 7pm, £10 tickets


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New Music Friday: Beth Munroe

Wellingborough-raised, Northampton College [and BIMM] graduate Beth Munroe is back with her second EP of intensely personal indietronica. New Boots couldn’t wait to hear it, nor the story behind the…

Wellingborough-raised, Northampton College [and BIMM] graduate Beth Munroe is back with her second EP of intensely personal indietronica. New Boots couldn’t wait to hear it, nor the story behind the artist. So here’s a little history and more from our conversation.

How did you first begin writing songs and performing?
I remember writing songs as soon as I picked up the guitar, before I could even play, honestly. I pressured myself to get better every day, but as soon as I would touch the neck my first instinct always was to just muck about and write and sing. I wrote heavier stuff and performed in rock bands when I was 18, searching for the right band members who were dedicated enough. When I realised I was going to have to go it alone I rethought my sound, and took my rock influences into a darker pop/indietronica sound.

How would you describe your current sound? Who are your main influences?
Someone called my music “indietronica” and I’ve been rolling with that ever since. I took my early guitar influences of Muse, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro and pushed into a more modern electronic dark-pop sound – more influenced by CHVRCHES, Billie Eilish or Tash Sultana.

You moved to Brighton for a while to continue your artistic pursuits, was that a useful learning curve?
Yes. I studied guitar and songwriting for four years, but I think I learned my most useful lessons just as a human being. When I came back I had a whole new world of experiences to write about; I wasn’t a naive nerdy kid holed up in my room anymore. I had my heart broken, I sank a boat, I was homeless for a while, I was fired, I made lifelong friends, I pissed other people off, I grew up, and I messed up so many times the ego-driven perfectionist in me was hammered out, failure by failure.

What was the reaction like last year’s University of Northampton-assisted debut EP, ‘The Euphoria Of Losing Everything’?
It’s nearly a year on and I’m still overwhelmed by the response. Especially at gigs: when I played the EP live there was such an incredible reaction. I remember the first time I came offstage and people were queuing to buy the EP I had to fight so hard not to cry. It meant to much, and still does.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘i amok’.
This couldn’t have been done more differently than the ‘Euphoria’ EP. Everything you hear was recorded in a different place. Some of it was recorded in my home; the backing vocals were recorded lying down in bed under the duvet! Some stuff was recorded in different studios, some at friends houses. It was absolute chaos. I produced and mixed some parts, other parts were done by three different talented friends of mine. The songs themselves changed constantly, and entire songs were scrapped and replaced twice. Each song ended up being about something completely different, meaning running themes and cohesion went out the window. It was all over the place and an absolute nightmare to keep on top of, and keep the momentum going. It was supposed to be released last September!
My personal life couldn’t have been more chaotic either, punctuated by an awful few weeks when my mum became so critically ill we really thought we were going to lose her. Of course everything else was dropped, and when finally I came back to the EP it was with the addition of the song ‘Brave’, in honour of her, and the moments that I absolutely begged the universe to let her live.
The feeling of absolute hopeless, endless chaos ended up being quite an inspiration for the name, artwork, and overall vibe of the EP. Ambitious projects can get messy very quickly, and life is messy enough as it is. More than anything else it just becomes a test of character to just carry on, even though everything’s imperfect and feels wrong and frustrating, and there’s just endless setbacks and obstacles. That’s how life just is, and in the end I absolutely love the fight this EP has been, and the fact that it represents standing in a hurricane inferno of complete mess and know that everything is OK. I am OK.

How are your live shows going in London and around the UK?
They’re incredible; every gig feels like the best night of my life, and they keep getting bigger and better and more terrifying. Not going to lie: touring the UK as a solo artist is exhausting, especially working a full-time job as well. I remember playing Eastbourne one night, Edinburgh the next night and then rushing back to London for work at 7am (poor tour management on my part). The feedback and support from the tour was more than anything I could have asked. I can’t explain how grateful I am to everybody who came, and everybody who bought an EP to support this.

Any favourite Northamptonshire acts and/or venues to you wanna give a shout out to?
I’ve been keeping an eye on Kilamojo for a long time. I love that they’re unique, and I’m super honoured to be playing with them at the end of this month. [sane] are another; a beautiful Northampton ambient-electro act that deserve more recognition. I went to college and university with Ashe O’Hara from Voices from the Fuselage, so I root for them as a friend but I’m also blown away by them as a fan. Their new album [Odyssey: The Founder Of Dreams] came out last year and it’s just stunning.
I’ve had a lot of help from people in Northampton, and for that I’m super grateful. Particularly SBD Promotions, Northampton University, WMTH Records, Audio Works and NLive Radio for all their help getting me where I am now.

What has been your favourite musical moment of the past year?
I would say one of the tour dates, but I’m not sure which one! Otherwise probably when my single ‘Masochist’ was played on BBC Introducing. That was a really surreal moment to hear myself on the same radio station I listen to every day on the way to work – till the day I die I won’t forget that night.

What was the last album/EP you bought/streamed?
Been listening to Paradise by [Canadian punk band] White Lung the last couple of days. They’re such unique and talented songwriters, they deserve so much more recognition.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I do my best to run everything on my own but I do really need help, whether it’s a manager, record label, or another musician. I need to keep climbing the ladder and get to a point where I can earn a living as an artist and musician. If I have to do it on my own I will, I just need to reach the biggest audience possible so I can carry on doing what I’m made to do. I pour so much of myself into this, I have no doubt I can get a lot further, with the right people.

Beth’s UK tour runs from March 27th to June 6th, and the EU leg June 8th-22nd.


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

DEAD RESTLESS + SEVEN STORIES HIGH + LOOSE TOOTH + THRIFT STREET Thursday March 21st The Black Prince, Northampton Northampton quartet The Young and Restless have slightly changed their name…

Thursday March 21st
The Black Prince, Northampton
Northampton quartet The Young and Restless have slightly changed their name and embark on a brief tour with fellow heavy hitters from Swansea. Expect pop-punk and hardcore from all concerned. Doors 7.30pm, £4 tickets

Friday March 22nd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Two London boys making hardcore noise, Herts/Beds quartet doing similar, and our own NN Kings of Noise opening up the night [and your ears]. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 22nd
St Mary The Virgin Church, Stoke Bruene
A special Audio Vendor night in a church! A quartet of top local singer-songwriter talent on offer. The event will be recorded, and the subsequent resulting videos will be made publicly available after the event. Doors 6.30pm, £10 tickets [or call  on 01604862428]

Friday March 22nd
Earls Barton Working Men’s Club
Northampton’s accomplished good-time folk band, plus a critically acclaimed acoustic roots musician and virtuoso guitarist, plus multi-award winning Woosey. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

Friday March 22nd
The White Hart, Corby
Stoner trio release trippy new single ‘Fantasea’ and celebrate with a hometown show. Kettering alt-rockers and DIY-punk Brum trio come along for the ride. Doors 8pm, £3 tickets

Friday March 22nd
The Harlequin, Kettering
Gut-busting classic rockers headline, local pop-punkers play first show of the year, and fellow Leicester types also rock up with mid-noughties sound. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Friday March 22nd
Bradden Village Hall, Towcester
Respected singer-songwriter comes to the sticks for your entertainment. £10 in advance [email hillyanne@btinternet.com or call 01327 860800]

Saturday March 23rd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Rushden’s digital hardcorer releases his debut EP ‘Spectrum Songs’, and throws a little party to celebrate. Featuring support from hardcore Oxford punks, ShoeTown noise rockers and the NN10 punk-rapper. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday March 23rd
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Full band live set from the catchy electronic collective, joined on the bill by the trip-hop solo brainchild of Zachary Bullock. Doors 9pm, free entry

Saturday March 23rd
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Northampton’s No.1 R&B band play originals and vintage material to dance all night to. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday March 23rd
Kettering Arts Centre at St Andrews Church
Ward and Parker are John Parker [previously of’ JCB song’ fame in Nizlopi] and Cliff Ward, founding member of folk super group The Willows. The combination of JP’s soaring double bass and beatboxing style accompanying Ward’s songs and guitar playing is a strong mix. Rushden-based Nash brings his smooth, emotive voice to the songs he has released over five LPs. Doors 7.30pm, £12 tickets

Saturday March 23rd
Windmill Club, Rushden
Acoustic tour  from the the man better known as the fronting Terrorvision will be playing songs from his solo albums and Terrorvision. This is a up close and personal show with tales of the life on the road. Special guests are two talented singers from Bedford and Rushden respectively. Doors 7pm, £12.50 tickets




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New Music Friday: Joe B. Humbled

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with…

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with his Joe B. Humbled solo project. His new single might be his best song yet, the melancholy widescreen retro-pop of ‘To Be True’. New Boots gets the lowdown on the Northamptonians latest movements.

Please give us a bit of background to your solo project.
Playing as a solo artist came way before The Mobbs. I have a wide musical taste, so my solo projects have usually been an aside to experiment with lots of different styles. I started writing, playing and recording folk acoustic songs in my bedroom in 2003. From there I became obsessed with perfecting a finger-picking style. I was very interested in keeping everything as basic as possible. I’d try to write songs that wouldn’t need any other instruments or musicians – just my acoustic guitar and my voice. It remained like this for a long time. The Mobbs became the real backbone for my songwriting, but I continued to perform and record occasionally as an acoustic act. Right now I am in a sort of songwriting haven. I suddenly have the technology to multi-track properly, and can record and perform everything myself. I have been on quite a personal musical journey since The Mobbs finished last year. I’ve gone back to the music I grew up listening to, and have also opened myself up to a lot of contemporary music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences for this solo work?
I’ve found myself back in love with 1960s soul and the funkier side of rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve also been highly influenced by the work of Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and his record label Easy Eye Sound. Due to my love of analogue recorded sounds I’ve got into artists on Daptone Records, and most recently a label called Big Crown. Traditional and contemporary American roots music has always been something that I get excited about. I’m digging everything from Sam Cooke to Alabama Shakes at the moment. My new experiments in sound are quite soulful, I would say, and there is still a blues influence in some of the songs too. I’m perhaps showing off my ability to sing and do harmonies as oppose making a two minute rock ‘n’ roll noise. Although I still have that outlet with GoGo Loco.

What was the reaction like to the Ten Odes LP of 2015, and also the more recent EP from last year?
Ten Odes was a quick demo collection of the acoustic folk/blues songs I had been performing from 2010 to 2015. It was just a stage in time where I thought I’d better record something. It was nice working with Nick Ellison (on fiddle) and doing a vocal duet with Leila Jane. I didn’t push Ten Odes too much so the reaction was as small, as I intended it to be. This was also the case with the How Did The Folly Begin EP. It was just a point where I needed to make a record of the songs I had been working on. I lost interest pretty quickly with that EP to be honest.

Tell us about this new song, ‘To Be True’.
‘To Be True’ is quite an old song that I hadn’t been able to use for anything previously. This was the first thing I recorded toward the end of last year. When I had finished recording ‘To Be True’ I kept on writing and recording fresher material spurred on by the success of how it had turned out.

Any plans for Joe B. Humbled shows?
I am hoping to put a Joe B. Humbled band together this year. I can just say [at the moment] I have some very talented musicians interested – which is very exciting. We shall see what happens!

Any favourite bands and/or venues in Northamptonshire?
I’ve had a lot of fun playing percussion and knocking about with The Keepers. Those guys have the lust for music that I had at that age and it’s a tonic to be around them and feel inspired by their enthusiasm for it all. For this reason as well as their brilliant songs these guys are probably my favourite band at the moment. I do also like seeing Kilamojo live. The thing about Northampton music is that there has always been a sea of genres and something for everyone, everywhere – long may it continue. I like The Pomfret Arms as a venue, and The Lab. There’s masses of positivity around and plenty of support for Northampton music – same as ever. There’s always new music popping up all the time too!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
American Love Call by Durand Jones & The Indicators

What is your burning desire for this project in the future? What plans do you have?
I want to perfect some aspects of the recording side of it. I’m always working hard to get the right drum sound. Now that I am a drummer and obsessed with rhythm I realise that the drumming is really the most important part! My desires and plan is to have a fully rehearsed and tight backing group so I can perform my new songs to an audience with a full band. There are more songs ready and I will be releasing these online over the next couple of months.

To Be True is out now via Bandcamp [see below]

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Sarpa Salpa single ‘Casanova’ picked as Tune Of The Week on Radio 1

Northampton indie-popsters Sarpa Salpa have had something of a result: they’ve been chosen for the Radio 1 ‘Tune Of The Week’ slot! Latest single ‘Casanova’ was picked out by BBC Introducing and…

Northampton indie-popsters Sarpa Salpa have had something of a result: they’ve been chosen for the Radio 1 ‘Tune Of The Week’ slot!

Latest single ‘Casanova’ was picked out by BBC Introducing and put forward for rotation on the flagship BBC station. Starting this Saturday, March 16th, ‘Casanova’ will be played on at least one show every day for seven days. Radio 1 has over 9 million listeners each week.

“Honestly it’s crazy!”, reacted Bassist Ethan Whitby. “It came as a big surprise to us and it still hasn’t fully sunk in. Getting Radio 1 airplay means so much as it will help get our music to a whole new audience. We’ve put in a lot of hours over the last few years, so for this to happen makes feel even more worthwhile!”

Since 2016 Sarpa Salpa have been gigging regularly in the UK and have built an excellent reputation. ‘Casanova’ was preceded by singles ‘Smith’ and ‘She Never Lies’.  The quartet play London’s Camden Assembly on April 15th. There is another Northampton show to be announced soon; check their social media for all their latest news.


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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 13th – Mar 19th

DIRTY SOUND MAGNET + WAX LYRICAL SOUND Thursday March 14th The Lab, Northampton Psychedelic rock power trio from Switzerland with multi-faceted compositions and virtuosity, playing songs from their album Western Lies….

Thursday March 14th
The Lab, Northampton
Psychedelic rock power trio from Switzerland with multi-faceted compositions and virtuosity, playing songs from their album Western Lies. Support from energetic ShoeTown rap-rockers. Doors 7pm, £4 entry

Friday March 15th – Sunday March 17th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The bi-annual psychobilly festival  is upon us. #27 is headlined by Restless on Friday, Nekromantix on Saturday, and Batmobile on Sunday. Local interest on the Friday courtesy of GoGo Loco. Friday opens at 7pm and is £15 on the door. Saturday and Sunday begins at 12.30pm, £30 tickets [or £60 for the whole weekend]. After-parties at The Bear too!

Friday March 15th
The Lab, Northampton
The usual crew perform at the urban night, now on a Friday[!] with special guest local garage MC Champagne Bubblee. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Harmonising singer-songwriter duo play a live set. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Formally known as Fugues, CC are a local electronica and trip hop trio. Now featuring multi-instrumentalist songwriter Yoshe Watson! Electronic wizard Makobi of [sane] provides the suitable support. Doors 9pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
The White Hart, Corby
A set from the main man from West Yorkshire rap crew Flame Griller, which will feature tunes from the critically acclaimed debut album, Remarkable/Unremarkable. Joining EXP on stage is veteran turntable technician Versatile aka DJ Leach, who will be providing first-class turntablism. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £4

Saturday March 16th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Two of the most criminally underrated bands with an NN postcode, get some psych into you at t’Horse. Doors 8pm, free entry 

Saturday March 16th
The Old House, Wellingborough
Local blues-rock singer-songwriter returns to performing live in NN after a short break. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Saturday March 16th
The Old Forge Tea Room, Cranford
Shrewsbury singer-songwriter Quinn has been receiving glowing reviews in the  music press for his debut solo release Across The Divide. He has carved his trade for over a decade touring worldwide, and had a stint as the opening act for the Jools Holland Orchestra. Support from Kettering folk duo. Doors 7pm, £10 tickets [call 01536 330014].

Tuesday March 19th
Old White Hart, Northampton
Accomplished Cambridge-based guitar player, Fox’s songwriting is centred on contemporary stories reflecting life, love, loss, and humour, as heard on debut album Parallel Crossing and follow-up Loose Ends. Supported by the chart-bothering local singer-songwriter. Doors 7.45pm, free entry










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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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