Tag: psych

Album review: Maps

MAPS Colours.Reflect.Time.Loss [Mute] James Chapman, aka Maps, is an East Northamptonshire songwriter, producer and remixer. He started his electronic shoegaze efforts back in 2004, and he was picked up by…

MAPS
Colours.Reflect.Time.Loss
[Mute]

James Chapman, aka Maps, is an East Northamptonshire songwriter, producer and remixer. He started his electronic shoegaze efforts back in 2004, and he was picked up by Mute Records. His 2007 debut album We Can Create was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. These basic facts are worth restating, as one suspects that most folk under 30 in Northants would probably not be au fait with his output. Which is understandable: he’s an outskirts type of guy after all, not a fame-hungry media whore.

Now on to his fourth album, Chapman has substantially rethought his usual working process [i.e. sitting in his bedroom, endlessly tinkering] and brought in a whole range of outside players, most notably Berlin’s Echo Collective, to help with strings and things. A more collaborative approach has bought its just rewards, as this is easily his most engaging work since that leftfield debut that took the Earls Barton boy on a quite remarkable journey around the world.

The album immediately brings to mind fellow Midlanders Spiritualized, mixing the ethereal psychedelic rushes he’s always conjured from his synths and guitars, but adding the warmth of brass and a drummer [Matt Kelly] who’s loud enough in the mix to push everything eternally onwards in propulsion. The sound is a natural progression of the previous album’s approach – it’s still unmistakably Maps, right from the breathless vocals of ‘Surveil’ that kicks things off. Maps has always been about miniature symphonic pop songs, but experimenting with the form. The songs are more suites, and Chapman rarely goes for the jugular. However ‘Both Sides’ here has enough accessibility to actually be a radio hit. ‘Howl Around’ is the sound of an animal trying to escape a cage, elegantly. ‘Wildfire’ captures a very specific emotional state that is both simultaneously euphoric and melancholic. You might need a lie down after hearing it.

Such heightened themes continue throughout, and unlike most modern albums there’s no flagging towards the end. ‘Just Reflecting’ is as huge as the buildings in the accompanying video [see below]. ‘She Sang To Me’ shows he can be more serene, sedate; bucolic even. Wait for the closing ‘You Exist In Everything’: with it’s sci-fi other-worldliness it could be the soundtrack to a peculiarly English documentary film on BBC Four. Certainly it’s splendour deserves quadraphonic speakers, not tinny smartphone devices.

Colours.Reflect.Time.Loss is as bold, grand, and wholly sparkling with ideas as you could hope for. It’s great to have him back.

Phil Moore

 

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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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Video premiere: The Keepers ‘You’re All I Need’

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fifth single ‘You’re All I Need’ tomorrow, Friday October 26th. New Boots is the place to exclusively see the accompanying video first. Shot by Alex…

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fifth single ‘You’re All I Need’ tomorrow, Friday October 26th. New Boots is the place to exclusively see the accompanying video first.

Shot by Alex Bass [and with single artwork by Nallie Simpson], there is a limited edition 7” version of the single available by contacting the band themselves on social media [£7 plus postage and packaging].

We asked singer/guitarist Jordan Jones about the song. “‘You’re All I Need’ was written back in February and we added it into the setlist that same month. We really knuckled down with releasing music this year. We recorded it in June and decided to do it properly and release it on vinyl.” 

He continues: “2018 has been a fantastic year for us so far. We’ve still got a few more months to go until we can crack open a bottle of wine and put our feet up for a few weeks. We always make a list each year of things we want to achieve and so far they’ve all been ticked off – I’m really quite exciting for what we’re planning for next year!”

You can catch the band play a hometown show at The Roadmender on Friday December 7th.

The Keepers on Facebook. Cover photo by Neil McCarty

 

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New Music Friday: Orange Clocks

East Northants collective Orange Clocks have decided to release the audio from their appearance from the Sonic Rock Solstice festival this year, and this seemed like a good opportunity to find…

East Northants collective Orange Clocks have decided to release the audio from their appearance from the Sonic Rock Solstice festival this year, and this seemed like a good opportunity to find out a bit more about them.

How would you describe the Orange Clocks sound?
It’s psychedelic at heart but it can go in any number of directions, depending on who’s pulling it. All of us bring different biscuits to the barrel. Everything apart from techno biscuits.

What was the reaction like to the Tope’s Sphere 2 album from 2017?
It got a reaction way beyond our expectations; the album received great reviews online and in print. Everyone we’ve met has said they loved it, with the exception of the inflatable slide operator at Leeds Town Show, who made it quite clear that he didn’t.

This new release is the recording of your 2018 Sonic Rock Solstice gig. Tell us about the show. Why release it?
SRS was the first festival we got to take Tope’s Sphere 2 to, and it was the perfect home for it; it’s a festival packed full of psychedelic space cadets and the sounds to match. We were lucky enough to be filmed by a crew on site – Howling Mad Productions – who sent us the tapes after we’d played. Right out of the blue a few weeks later, the sound guy from the festival (Pete Wibrew) gave us the full audio from the show in 16 tracks for us to mix. After we’d pieced everything together as a full video, it just seemed like a good idea to let everyone else see and hear it. Bad Elephant Music [our label] were good enough to promote it for us.

Are your live shows what spur you on?
It’s a really fun part of what we do, especially having a slightly theatrical element to the performances – but we love the creative part just as much; jamming, writing and recording…

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Not really. We’d been confined to a shed for about eight years, until Tope was born, when we decided to come out for some fresh air. You could say we’re part of the ‘#RushdenBeat scene’ – coined by James Turner at Bad Elephant, due to several of our labelmates originating in Rushden and the surrounding area.

Aside from Sonic Rock Solstice, what has been your favourite band moment of the past 12 months?
Occasionally being able to get the whole band together (eight of us) in one rehearsal room at the same time for a three hour practice.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Chas and Dave – Gold

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We’ll make something new soon… but we don’t make firm plans, just let it happen naturally and record it when it’s ready. We’d also like to play at Glastonbury, then be abducted by aliens…

 

 

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Founder member of Brian Jonestown Massacre plays Northampton

A founder member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre is set to play Northampton this September. Matt Hollywood spent 16 years over two stints in BJM, being one of the guitarists…

A founder member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre is set to play Northampton this September.

Matt Hollywood spent 16 years over two stints in BJM, being one of the guitarists when the band formed in 1990. His latest project is Matt Hollywood & The Bad Feelings, which blends blues, country and psychedelia into a Lee Hazlewood/Serge Gainsbourg-style mould. Hear ‘Ghost Ghost’ below.

Matt Hollywood & The Bad Feelings play The Lab on Sunday September 2nd. Tickets are now on sale.

https://www.matthollywoodandthebadfeelings.com

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New Music Friday: HubCap

Two-piece Northampton garage blues unit HubCap – Dave ‘Badbones’ Harker on guitar and vocals, Dan Foolme on drums – have released Too Little Too Late, an eight-track mini-album/EP. New Boots asked them…

Two-piece Northampton garage blues unit HubCap – Dave ‘Badbones’ Harker on guitar and vocals, Dan Foolme on drums – have released Too Little Too Late, an eight-track mini-album/EP. New Boots asked them all about it.

How/why/what/when did you guys get together? 
Dan used to have house parties/jam nights and Dave was up from Bristol. We had a jam and instantly clicked by laying down some dark psych blues grooves. Later the following year Dave moved to Northamptonshire, so getting together was a must.

How would you describe your sound? 
The darker side of blues, having a feel of voodoo with a thread of psychedelic funkiness. The songs quite often tell a story of delusion, with Dave’s vocals reminiscent of root blues singers.

Who are your main influences?
Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Walters, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Tell us everything about ‘Too Little Too Late’.
Being unsigned and a little tight for cash we wanted to get something down that was honest and captured our energy. This mini-album/EP was mainly recorded in a four hour session at Brickworks Studios in Market Harborough. We had the pleasure of Martin Whitehead from The Lo Fidelity Allstars as engineer and recording the session. This allowed us to crack on and get the session down. Martin knew exactly what we were after – ‘no thrills’ – being a lo-fi guru himself. The session was recorded through some great analogue pre-amps and some repro vintage mics which complemented the session. We mixed the tracks ourselves and had it analogue mastered to digital. The opening track takes you on a journey of a woman’s betrayal and a man’s twisted expectation of forgiveness, his mind clouded by anger and jealousy leading to irrational thought. ‘Sugar Pt1’ – experimenting with LSD to shift the blues.

Has “LSD set you free”?
Wow! An incriminating question. The mind is always free; doors can be opened with or without help, although some approaches are a quicker path. However, often when you do go down the quicker path of hallucinogenic experimentation there could be someone darker behind the door – hence ‘Sugar Pt2’, the darker side. ‘RedLady’ is about the path where the middle part opens into a soundscape that offers the listener a guitar riff that is influenced by Buddhism – to hopefully open some of the more enlightening doors.

Back into the lighter side, ‘Fuckin With My Head’ is a Beck cover – a classic of our youth and a great interpretation.
‘Backdoor Woman’ intros with a harmonica and slide guitar piece that is the blues, swiftly progressing to a guitar stomp and a reverse sounding drum thud pounding like a dysfunctional train. Lyrically it’s a twist on the traditional ‘Backdoor Man”. Interestingly this track is being used for a film due for release in the USA featuring stars from the Netflix series Ozark.

‘Love To You’ is our interpretation of the Etta James classic – always a crowd pleaser we just had to get down. Then we finish with ‘Drop Deed’, which tells the tale of jealousy and what it can drive someone to do, the middle guitar and drums piece takes you on a journey and then dumps you back in to the consequences. This track already has label interest, as this could definitely be a movie soundtrack.

What are your live shows like?
Each one is different, they are fluid and enchanting. We try not to stick to a set list and try to respond to the crowd to capture them in the experience. We may throw in mind bending riffs, we may play a track differently. Being a two-piece that can play their instruments well we are able to fold and manipulate the tunes to fit its audience and our mind set at the time.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northampton? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Not really part of a Northampton music scene, but we appreciate the local musical talent. The opportunity to play with like-minded bands has never really presented itself. We have a good rapport with GoGo Loco so watch that space! We are playing the Northampton festivals this year (the County Beer Festival, The Umbrella Fair on the Racecourse, Northampton Town Festival). We love the Umbrella Fair Organisation, the work they do and their support. Our favourite venues have to be The Pomfret Arms and The Lab. They have always supported us and there is such a good buzz there.

What has been your favourite band moments so far?
The biggest sense of achievement is Too Little Too Late. When you listen to many albums the artists would have spent hundreds of pounds on them, hours and hours of overdubs, editing and manipulating the music to something, that is not necessarily achievable live. This album is an honest, well-recorded, produced and mixed recording that sounds almost on par with high-end produced material from other renowned two-piece bands. The artwork and mixing is also our own creation – and managing to get such a good engineer working with us was great. Thing is we still have loads left in us, we just need time to write. We seem to get a lot of gigs which can be time consuming, but always a good thing!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Probably Junior Kimbrough material or RL Burnside

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We would like to be playing to larger audiences, larger venues and earn a living from our something we love sharing.

Too Little Too Late  is out now: via the Soundcloud stream, or on CD directly from the band at a show

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New Music Friday: Phantom Isle

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom. How…

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom.

How did Phantom Isle get together?
Myself and my brother Matt got together in 1991 when I was born, and we started playing with Sam back in 2012 when I was writing and performing under my own name, as some in Northampton may remember. We then started writing music together and relaunched ourselves as a band. Last year we got together with our keyboard player Josh who me and Matt knew from primary and secondary school.

How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
Psych Pop Disco Inferno™

Who are your main musical influences as a band, do you think?
Queen, Led Zeppelin, Tame Impala and maybe The Smiths

Tell us about new single, ‘Focus’.
The lyrics existed before the music if I remember right. Our drummer Sam had written them about a ‘friends with benefits’ kind of thing he’d had that got a bit full on. We then started jamming around with this chord pattern, and the rest was history! I met John Harbison from RYP Recordings at a Fox Chapel gig in Camden and ended up recording ‘Focus’ at their studio, and releasing it with them. They’ve been ace and have invited us to perform on their stage at The Great Escape.

It’s great that you get to play Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival on May 19th.
We can’t wait; it was one of the things we set out to achieve around this time last year. I went to the festival in 2017 for the first time and was spellbound by such as acts as Flamingods, Husky Loops and Bad Sounds. Seeing our name up on the line up is a massive step for us, we’ve got RYP Recordings to thank for including us on their stage alongside some great artists that they’ve worked with recently.

Bassist Matt recently suffered serious ill-health. How is his recovery going?
My brother’s courage and determination in the face of his brain tumour has been nothing short of heroic. Considering we nearly lost him to a brain haemorrhage in February on the day shot the video for ‘Focus’, the progress he has made since then has been amazing. He’s been really active: going to fitness classes, doing yoga, bowling, walking and eating well. He’s just about to start radiotherapy to try and reduce the tumour, so we’re all praying this will make a difference on top of what he’s already doing. He’s my biggest inspiration – we’re endlessly proud. We have an incredibly talented bassist called Esmeralda Edwards filling in who has been truly amazing in learning our songs at such short notice. She’ll playing with us at some of our biggest shows yet, so no pressure!

Best and worst thing about being in a sibling band situation?
Best thing, we get to be like Oasis. But better. Worst thing, Matt’s heard all the sh*te recordings I was making when I was 10. There’s always a slight risk he make set them loose on the world. Joking aside, I love playing in a band with my brother.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Paul White Rejuvenate. Great producer from South London for those unfamiliar. Heard ‘Spare Gold’ on 6 Music and haven’t stopped listening to him since.

What is your burning desire for the band? 
To keep things progressing and bring out some more psych pop disco classics for humanity to enjoy.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
To welcome Matt back in the band and to enjoy life without cancer getting in the way.

 

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