Tag: punk

Ten Of The Best: The Lovely Eggs

Ten Of The Best, with The Lovely Eggs, who play the Northampton Roadmender on Sunday October 21st. Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It) [2011] Have You Ever Heard…

Ten Of The Best, with The Lovely Eggs, who play the Northampton Roadmender on Sunday October 21st.

Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It) [2011]

Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion? [2008]

Fuck It [2011]

Wiggy Giggy [2018]

I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With [2012]

Magic Onion [2015]

People Are Twats [2011]

Allergies [2011]

I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too [2008]

Big Sea [2018]

 

 

 

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Record review: The Hurricanes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phil Istine

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

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New Music Friday: Wishing Wolf

Kettering emo rockers Wishing Wolf have a new single with accompanying video out, entitled ‘As Long As You’re Here Tonight’. The five-piece – Danny Ray Holmes on vocals, Ben Essam and…

Kettering emo rockers Wishing Wolf have a new single with accompanying video out, entitled ‘As Long As You’re Here Tonight’. The five-piece – Danny Ray Holmes on vocals, Ben Essam and Kyle on guitar, Jazza Wallace on bass and James Angelo Moodie on drums – have been tearing up the local hardcore scene these past couple of years. It was time New Boots got the lowdown.

How did you get together?
Danny: We got together early 2017. Wishing Wolf was originally just me and a few acoustic tracks that I threw together, and while I loved doing that, I wanted to take it in a new direction with more energy, I was listening to a lot of pop punk at the time, and really wanted to throw my own take on it. So I asked Moodie, Jazza and at the time Skye to join, who were all happy to jump on. Moodie then introduced me to Kyle, and he jumped on too. After a few member changes we now have Bessie on lead guitar, and Kyle on rhythm after leaving for a short time.

How would you describe your sound?
Bessie: We take a lot of inspiration for a whole multitude of artists and I think that is reflected in our sound. I don’t think there is a single genre we fit into. We speak amongst ourselves about it and people ask us at shows, ‘what genre are Wishing Wolf?’, and we just say ‘our own’.

Who would you say are your main influences?
Danny: We’re influenced by a lot of different bands, being that all of us listen to a diverse range of music. Most of the songs start from me and the guys add in the their own touches at the end. Our most obvious ones are the older post-hardcore/emo bands such as The Used, My Chemical Romance, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, as well as newer bands like Neck Deep and State Champs. There’s a lot of lead parts as well, since most of us have come from metal bands in the past, and I’m also really into the orchestral sounds of music, like strings and pianos, that I like to throw in too.

What was the reaction like to last year’s ‘True Eyes’ EP?
Moodie: We felt that even though we didn’t have much of a following at the time we did have quite a few positive reactions from various people, whether that was from people buying our EP, or just leaving good reviews for us. On the build up to the release we were all quite anxious about whether people would actually enjoy the music we created. However our current rhythm guitarist Kyle wasn’t in the band when the EP was released but was still good mates with us all. So it was helpful to have someone on the other side. As for the feedback from social media it was nice too hear that people really enjoyed it, as well as others giving constructive criticism on certain things the audience would like too hear/see.

Tell us about the new single.
Moodie: We were all nervous and excited about it. The EP had a mixture of different sounds and ‘As Long As You’re Here Tonight’ was the first song we’ve released with much more of an established sound. We decided to go further in the direction of emo rather than the pop punk songs from the EP. From the get go we were nervous about people’s reactions. Thankfully people gave us some great feedback! The reaction was overwhelming and overall made us very proud of the release. We felt this song was the first one to really put us out there and getting gigs and interviews like this off of the back of it only continued the good vibes.

What are your live shows like?
Kyle: We certainly aim to keep a nice balance with our live show, of course as musicians it’s important for us to play to the best of our ability, however as fans it’s important for us to put on a great show. We put a lot of energy into our live show and that’s because we love doing it. We take a lot of inspiration from some of the classic bands of the genre in terms of both music and stage presence – Paramore, My Chemical Romance, The Used – as well as new bands in the scene such as State Champs and Neck Deep.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Jazza: We would say we are part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, although we think we have a unique sound from other pop punk/emo bands from around here. We are very close with a select few local bands including Last Chance and The Young and Restless; we love to play shows with those guys. So far we’ve been lucky enough to work with a few local promoters as well including Metal Wave Promotions, Rocked Up and HOP Events. We also love putting our own shows on: choosing who we want to play with and helping out some of the smaller local bands that are just starting out, for example PT-33, who killed it on their first ever gig!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Danny: It’s hard for us to really say. Just the joy of jamming together at practice and gigs, and just generally hanging out is the best part of being in a band. It’s essentially a second family when you’ve got the right chemistry. Releasing the music that we’ve got and playing all the shows we have up to this point is probably the most exciting things we’ve done, but we love just being a part of Wishing Wolf all the same.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Kyle: My Chemical Romance The Black Parade
Jazza: I Prevail Lifelines
Moodie: Panic! At the Disco A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
Bessie: Polyphia Renaissance
Danny: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Don’t You Fake It

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Jazza: Play as many shows as we can and try to build a bigger fan base. We’d love to have the chance to play festivals in the future and have fans show up to our set and sing along with us. We’re also looking forward to bringing out a full album, so we would love to have the chance to make a tour or mini tour out of it when released.

As Long As You’re Here Tonight is out now via the usual platforms

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 11th – Apr 17th 2018

BLACKWATER HORIZON + BLACK TREE VULTURES Wednesday April 11th The King Billy, Northampton Pure rock from Mainz, Germany with support from metal rockers from Bournemouth. Either way, fist-pumpingly good [and…

BLACKWATER HORIZON + BLACK TREE VULTURES
Wednesday April 11th
The King Billy, Northampton
Pure rock from Mainz, Germany with support from metal rockers from Bournemouth. Either way, fist-pumpingly good [and black]. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

THE MISPELT + BIRTH RITE + DUNCAN BISATT
Friday April 13th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Yer headliners are ’90s-era Motorhead-esque dark punk rock’n’rollers, then you have some Black Country steampunk in the middle, and the Bushpigs frontman to open proceedings. Doors 8pm, free entry

WE ARE GIANTS + LOOSE TOOTH+ THE MODERN AGE
Friday April 13th
The White Hart, Corby
The second of four heats. A crowd vote at the end of the evening decides who goes through to one final bout on June 22nd with the chance to win the opportunity of playing the main stage at the Rocked Up Hootenanny festival. Doors 8pm, free entry

STEVIE JONES & THE WILDFIRES + YODACLUB + THE TOUCH 
Friday April 13th
The Romany, Northampton
Acoustic-driven rock promoting new album Angels and Sirens. Plus edgy indie-pop from Corby and 80s-style rock from Kettering. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

LUNA ROSA + ODDITY ISLAND + TOUCAN
Saturday April 14th
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
Three of the best alt-rock/indie/psych non-Northampton bands from our county, all on the same bill. The future is bright, the future is now. Doors 8pm, free entry

THOMAS TRUAX + PAT FISH
Saturday April 14th
The Lab, Northampton
On tour in the UK with his signature brand of surreal Americana, promoting his new album All That Heaven Allows Thomas finally brings his Hornicator and ‘band’ of other self-made instruments back to the Lab, supported by his friend and Northampton’s own legendary gentleman and Jazz Butcher Pat Fish. Doors 8pm, £5 on the door

EL CAMINO
Saturday April 14th
The White Hart, Corby
Rockabilly legends bring their own brand of rock’n’roll from their two self-penned albums, plus they’ll throw in a few classics too no doubt. Doors 8pm, price TBA

HUBCAP
Saturday April 14th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Rock/blues/psychedelic two-piece with electric slide and some mean drum beats. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

HOUSES IN MOTION
Saturday April 14th
The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
They play jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, indie, and blues; equal parts covers and originals. Doors 9pm, free entry

KING’S GAMBIT
Sunday April 15th
Open Stage Performing Arts Company, Northampton
Northampton powerhouse folkie quintet perform a special one-hour set at Open Stage [off the Kettering Road], for filming and recording purposes. So you now know what to do after your Sunday roast, yeah? The set is played 4pm-5pm, free entry

THE ROCKET DOLLS
Sunday April 15th
The King Billy, Northampton
Brighton riffing-rockers head out on tour to promote sophomore album DeadHead. The trio have been garnering rave reviews for the album and their live show, so one to catch. Doors 6pm, free entry

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 28th – Apr 3rd 2018

BARBARA BLACK + OVERSEER + RUSTY G’S The King Billy, Northampton Wednesday March 28th Classic and country rock flavours from Madrid’s BB, “post-grunge” from Coventry, and alt-rock from Milton Keynes….

BARBARA BLACK + OVERSEER + RUSTY G’S
The King Billy, Northampton
Wednesday March 28th
Classic and country rock flavours from Madrid’s BB, “post-grunge” from Coventry, and alt-rock from Milton Keynes. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

STEREO SKULL + BACKROADS + REAPERX + DEAD HANDS
Friday March 30th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Stereo Skull bring from Wellingborough some funky and trance-like grooves to their cyber/death/prog metal. Backroads are a lyrically charged melodic metalcore band from Bristol. ReaperX are Corby thrash metallers , whilst Dead Hands [from Birmingham] mix mathcore and high energy riffs. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

SKIRT + LUNA ROSA + DRINSIPA
Friday March 30th
The Everard Arms, Corby
EP launch show for local indie punks who New Boots interviewed last week . A double dose of quality ShoeCounty rabble rousers in support too, of course. Doors 8pm, free entry

BUSHPIGS + THE KEEPERS
Friday March 30th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Trio Bushpigs play a set of their original punk-meets-psych songs, whilst The Keepers continue to entertain with their excellent poppy new single ‘There’s No Going Back’. DJ Alex Novak too. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE TOUCH
Friday March 30th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The pop-rockers, causing a bit of a storm round Ketrin, do the business on home turf. This one goes up to 11. Doors 8pm, free entry

THE WAX LYRICAL SOUND + LITTLE BITBOY
Friday March 30th
Bar So, Northampton
Energetic rap-rock from Northampton’s party starters, plus support from the 8-Bit chiptune dance master. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

YARDS BAR EASTER WEEKEND FESTIVAL
Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st
The Yards Bar and Kitchen, Kettering
The Free Collective take over Yards for a weekend of free entertainment! Bear witness to: Alex Gardiner, Yellow Blues, Skyflood, Birds Eye View, Earbones, Toucan, The Modern Age, King Purple, and Skirt on the Saturday, and  Kieran Smith, Erin Cobain, Wishing Wolf, Last Chance, The Young & Reckless, The Touch, and Home Wrecked on the Sunday. Bands 1pm-9pm both days, DJs afterwards.

AOIFE FOLEY
Saturday March 31st
The Lab, Northampton
‘This Is What Makes Us Girls Pt 2’ showcases art from locals, and the musical entertainment comes from singer-songwriter Foley, with Joshua Judd aiding and abetting on guitar. Doors from 7pm, your donation on the door goes to charity.

THE SULKS + SARPA SALPA + ODDITY ISLAND
Saturday March 31st
The White Hart, Corby
Strokes/Foals-esque Swindon quartet whose songs are so good producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Ian Brown, The Libertines) produced the bands’ debut EP ‘Silence Is Only The Start’. Sarpa Salpa & Oddity Island in tow suggest this will be a BANGER. Doors 8pm, £3 tickets 

WALKWAY
Saturday March 31st
The King Billy, Northampton
Well-travelled and popular classic rock combo from East Anglia, playing songs from their 2017 third album WWIII. Doors 9pm, free entry

INTERROBANG? + EASTFIELD + WRECKAGE
Saturday March 31st
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Headliners – angry motorik loop-driven post-punk from Leeds/Brighton who are touring their new album – feature ex-Chumbawamba member Dunstan. With support from fare-dodging types. Doors 8pm, £5 on entrance

JONNY & THE MENTAL BREAKDOWNS + CRASH INDUCTION + THE MILK SNATCHERS + WAH WAH CLUB
Saturday March 31st
The Red Lion, Raunds
Enjoy a punk bank holiday with a quartet of bands from MK and Wellingborough. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

FRACTURE + FUELED HATE + WAH WAH CLUB + THE CRIMSON BRIGADE + DESTINOVA
Sunday April 1st
The King Billy, Northampton
Easter Sunday alldayer of metal and hard rock [with an acoustic opening section], with acts from the county and beyond. Doors 2pm, free Entry

JONO & THE UKE DEALERS
Monday April 2nd
The Horseshoe, Wellingborough
Finally another Welly show to complete the week from Norfamtun’s favourite uke-wielding quartet. Doors 7pm, free entry

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New Music Friday: Over The Influence

Northampton hard rock band Over The Influence today share their debut video to recent EP track ‘Can’t We Love’, filmed by Joshua Goff. Katie Montford marked the occasion for New…

Northampton hard rock band Over The Influence today share their debut video to recent EP track ‘Can’t We Love’, filmed by Joshua Goff. Katie Montford marked the occasion for New Boots by speaking to the band.

When and why did you form?
James: I went about looking to form the band in 2015; my last band split up from members moving away so I wanted to start a new venture.

What music inspired the band?
James: Too much to put into one list but to name a few: Guns n’ Roses, Motley Crue, Black Stone Cherry, Stone Temple Pilots, Halestorm, Led Zeppelin, Buckcherry, Monster Truck, The Dead Daisies, etc.

Growing up who did you listen to? Has your musical tastes changed?
James: The first band I ever really got into was The Rolling Stones. Their track ‘Brown Sugar’ is the song that turned me on to music, and then, when I discovered Guns n’ Roses my life changed, haha! Been listening to the same kind of bands ever since.

Do you remember your first band gig?
James: The first ever OTI show was held in my back garden – we decided to set the band up under a marquee and invite like 80-odd people over, BYOB. Safe to say we had a few angry people from the neighbourhood interrupt. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Who is on your playlist right now?
Bex – My choices change on a daily basis, but I’d say: Santa Cruz, Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, The Cruel Knives, Massive, and even some heavier bands like Feed the Rhino! To be honest as long as it’s got some killer riffs, a sweet groove and some awesome vocals it’ll usually find its way onto my playlist.
James: At the minute i’m playing a lot of Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, The Dead Daisies, Lynch Mob, Skid Row and Ratt.

What inspired ‘Can’t We Love’?
Bex – ‘Can’t We Love’ is probably our most pissed-off song, because it’s all about being fed up with the way the world is ran and how it needs to change! There’s hints to the government and their decisions to prioritise money over human life, the media and the web of lies they spin around their viewers and audience and just the general lack of empathy we have for one another. We’d just hear about yet another terrorist attack from ISIS and were just so angry and ‘Can’t We Love?’ was born from that anger.

Do you change persona when you perform?
Bex: I wouldn’t say I change ‘persona’ per-say, but I would say that my general attitude and personality is just more exaggerated. There’s always got to be an element of performing, so I think you can’t ever truly be the person you are at work/home etc. But I also think it’s so important to be yourself on stage as that’s who your audience connects with and builds a relationship with.

Do you feel the band has changed with time?
Bex: Absolutely! I think as we’ve matured as musicians, so have our songs both musically and lyrically. If you listen to songs like ‘Take Control’, which is one of our older songs, you get that more classic rock and bluesy feel, whereas ‘Can’t We Love’ is far heavier and meatier and shows influences from modern rock and even some of the softer sides of metal, which is more in the direction of the next EP’s sound.
James: I agree with Bex, we’ve definitely naturally developed a heavier, more ‘modern’ edge to the sound which I think will shine properly on EP #2.

What was the musical process like? Did you have the idea of the whole song? Lyrical content, instrumentation?
Bex: If I’m honest we don’t really have a set ‘process’ for writing. For ‘Can’t We Love?’ James wrote the riffs and set the structure of the song. All that was left were the lyrics, and this was actually the first song I’d had any lyrically input on. The lyrics were written when me and James were sat in his dining room after hearing the news about the most recent ISIS attack and just needed to write this song.

Who writes the music/lyrics?
Bex: Generally speaking, James writes the main riffs, but each instrument takes ownership of their parts. We like to all sit in a room and bounce ideas off one another, as that tends to create the most ‘OTI sounding’ songs. Previously, James wrote all the lyrics too, but pushed me to take over that role from him once I joined the band on a permanent basis.

What made you make ‘Memories’ so different to the rest of your EP? Both vocally and musically.
Bex: This is actually quite a funny story. So I went to Reading festival with James and of course he found himself in a mosh pit at Five Finger Death Punch’s set, and he broke his finger! This meant he lost all real movement and strength in his bottom two fingers, so really struggled to play guitar for a good couple of months. Whilst he was in a cast he was playing around with an acoustic guitar and wrote the chorus for ‘Memories’. Me previously being an acoustic singer songwriter I fell in love with the song, and myself and James wrote the lyrics and finished the song together. We played it to a few of our friends and family and they loved it too, so we ended up gigging it at a few acoustic shows we played and it got such great feedback we knew it had to go on the EP. We love that it shows our softer side, and I love that I’ve been able to bring my ‘lighter’ vocals to the band, and we feel it just shows a different and more vulnerable side of us to our audience.
James: I’m a big fan of bands that can write both a killer, heavy rock song and also tame it to acoustic when needed. Alice in Chains are a great example of this. Like Becky said I’d broken my finger so the chorus was accidentally written, I went to play a power chord and realised i didn’t have enough fingers, this strange inverted sorta sound came out and i played with it for a bit and got ‘Memories’. In terms of the song itself: I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions in my life so I wrote the song about regret, Bex came in and helped write a lot of the lyrics too.

Did you always want perform rock?
Bex: Not at all! Previously I performed as a solo artist playing self-written acoustic pieces. Although rock music was always a huge passion of mine I never thought I had a ‘rock voice’. I never intended to join OTI but I was asked to fill in some shows on a last-minute basis as James knew I was a singer, and I’ve never looked back!
James: Always have and always will!

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Bex: We’re honoured to be supporting Stormbringer for the second time, playing at our local and legendary venue The Roadmender at the end of April. We love playing with those guys, they’re tight as hell and they’ve got some wicked tunes! In terms of other shows, we’ve got some exciting things booked including some festival slots, but at the moment we’re really focusing on getting some new material written in preparation for our newest EP.

What can we expect next?
Bex: We’re currently in the process of writing the next EP, which we’re hoping will continue to demonstrate that slightly more heavier side that we feel ‘Can’t We Love?’ has begun to show. Think fatter, riffier and more groovy beats that’ll get your head nodding and your heart racing. We might even throw in another acoustic number 😉
James: The majority of the 2nd EP is written and sounding massive now, so it’s just a case of writing the last couple of tracks and then recording it, mixing, mastering and the usual bullshit that goes with releasing an EP.

 

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Raging Speedhorn reunite original line-up for 20th anniversary show

Corby band Raging Speedhorn have announced that they will be regrouping with their original line up on October 6th for a one-off reunion show at the Electric Ballroom in London….

Corby band Raging Speedhorn have announced that they will be regrouping with their original line up on October 6th for a one-off reunion show at the Electric Ballroom in London.

The news comes following on from a successful comeback started in 2014. Since their reformation, the band have tour nationally and internationally, racking up appearances at every major metal festival in the UK and released the comeback album Lost Ritual in 2016. The band see this reunion as a celebration of their twenty-year career. Drummer Gordon Morison had this to say:

“Really happy to announce that we will be celebrating 20years years or Raging Speedhorn on October 6th at the amazing electric ballroom in London with the original band this will never happen again so if you want to see us smash London go get your tickets now.”

Guitarist Gaz Smith, who left the band in 2008, will be returning with original guitarist Tony Loughlin and bassist Darren Smith. Gaz had this to say on the show:

“Starting Raging Speedhorn with the guys twenty years ago changed my life completely. It was and still is a huge part of me. I’ve never really been one for going back, as far as playing music goes, but to celebrate the twentieth anniversary with a special, absolutely one-off show was just too fun a thing to turn down. It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait!”

Support is set to come from NOLA legends Crowbar, returning sludge demons Charger and Northants noiseniks Scurge. Jim Palmer, guitarist for both Charger and Speedhorn’s current line-up, commented:

“We’re excited to be able to bring the Fuzzbastard that is Charger to this show. It’s gonna be a mega celebration of times gone by and I for one am looking forward to reliving all those memories for one night. We may even have a surprise to reveal for our lineup. Volume over talent!”

The band recenrtly signed with Undergroove Records, and a new 7” is set for release later this year. The band are currently hard at work on their follow up to Lost Ritual.

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Record Review: Alex Novak: META 1977-2017

Alex Novak META 1977-2017 (VUZ Records) To celebrate a 40-year career in art and music and tied in with his recent gallery exhibition, VUZ Records release a strictly limited edition…

Alex Novak
META 1977-2017 (VUZ Records)

To celebrate a 40-year career in art and music and tied in with his recent gallery exhibition, VUZ Records release a strictly limited edition commemorative compilation cassette/download to showcase the work of Northampton artist and musician Alex Novak. To sustain a 40 year career in any field is difficult and even more so in the alternative arts. Alex’s secret of longevity is to be something of a musical chameleon. Constantly evolving and shape-shifting he is one of those rare, eclectic musicians (like Killing Joke or PiL) who produce markedly different work yet it has a certain ingredient that makes it easily identifiable.

Assembled by the guys at VUZ Records this compilation features a host of rare, remixed and unreleased tracks that make the collection a veritable treasure trove. Thus this offering has that ‘mix tape’ feel, like the kind of tape a friend would dub for you back in the day. Kicking things off we have two tracks from one of Northampton’s first punk bands, Isaws. On a subconscious level the original punks knew their tenure was going to burn brightly but briefly so there was a real urgency to make their mark with haste. ‘No Admittance’ and the rarity ‘Nightlife’ are typically fast, furious and powered by a youthful enthusiasm. Imagine The Ramones meeting The Clash.

With Religious Overdose Alex moved onto post-punk, perhaps the most, for awhile, unshackled of musical genres. Post-punk was often angular and brittle mirroring the fragile state of society, and Religious Overdose captured something of that zeitgeist. Like much of their work ‘Control Addicts’ has a hypnotic feel, reeling in the listener before landing a surprise punch. In that respect the band foreshadowed electronic trance (albeit played organically) and like much of the music contained in this collection Alex and his cohorts seem to be ahead of the musical curve uncannily anticipating the direction of alternative music.

Alex’s tenure with UK dark wave pioneers Attrition proved very fruitful and it could be argued that they’re the missing link between Killing Joke and Godflesh. Here ‘Feel The Backlash’ shows the band influenced by their surroundings: it’s cold and monolithic like brutalist architecture, crushing the listener beneath its enormity. Both Spore and The Den took the raw energy of punk and fused it with electronica, two musical genres that at one time were diametrically opposed. It took a mad scientist to fuse them and the effect was literally electric. The Den in particular are like PiL filtered through The Covenant, The Sword…-era Cabaret Voltaire, offering a disturbing glimpse of a dystopian Orwellian future.

In an age when popular culture was accelerated The Tempest perfectly captured that shift from post-punk to gothic and like all the bands on this compilation they stand apart in their originality yet are still connected by thin gossamer threads: the hypnosis that was pioneered with Religious Overdose is evident here in ‘Low Ebb’ and was later transferred to Alex’s Nova State Conspiracy. The two tracks here from the Conspiracy, ‘Definitive Item’ and ‘Life in the Basement’, feature electronics with surgical precision overlaid with organic vocals and the effect is quite disarming. Like all good art it is the tension of opposites that makes it so intriguing.

Like PIL before them Venus Fly Trap had a constantly revolving line-up, more through necessity than design, but unlike PiL the VFT was a democracy and this flux resulted in an ever-changing sound as evidenced by the three tracks presented here. From the bruising rock of ‘Moscow Menagerie’ (again with that hypnotic riff) to the electronic enthusiasm of ‘Achilles Heel’ what did remain constant was the cinematic nature of the music: the combination of music and lyrics combine to imprint a powerful image on your mind. Each track plays out like a ’60s French film noir or Tarantino flick in your imagination. Of course if I assembled this tape I’d have included ‘Pulp Sister’ but maybe you’d pick ‘Morphine’ and that’s the whole point – and fun – of mix tapes.

With a new Venus Fly Trap album tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2018 release there is still more to come from Alex Novak, but ‘META 1977-2017’ is the perfect way to celebrate the closure of one volume just as another begins.

Sargent

META 1977-2017 is available here.

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New Music Friday: Parliaments, Blood-Visions, Puppet Rebellion

The shops might be heaving right about now, but these bangers are the only presents you need to concern yourselves with. A-grade fuzzy, hypnotic rock from Parliaments, courtesy of their…

The shops might be heaving right about now, but these bangers are the only presents you need to concern yourselves with.

A-grade fuzzy, hypnotic rock from Parliaments, courtesy of their new single ‘Red Sun, Dead Moon’. The video was directed by Northampton film-maker Jacob Austin-Lavelle and gets quite unsettling as it unfolds over its dark and brooding six and a half minutes. Anyone who enjoys Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, or King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard should hit play right about now. The song is out now on the usual streaming/purchase music sites. There’s a launch gig at The Roadmender on the 15th too.

Not to be outdone in the growly stakes anytime soon are Blood-Visions. Their new EP is out now on Bandcamp and on CD directly from the band at their shows (like The Garibaldi one this evening). One of the tracks is this lovely raucous blaster, ‘Ed Reckless’.

Finally a shout out for Puppet Rebellion, the Manchester band who include Northamptonian guitarist Craig Gibson. The new single/video ‘Dark Thoughts’ is a track from their just released debut album Chemical Friends.

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