Album review: Joe Go Beat

JOE GO BEATAlea Iacta Est[self-released] State-of-the-nation albums are by their very nature hit and miss affairs. Attempts to encapsulate the modern turmoils of the UK usually come off pretty fragmentary….

JOE GO BEAT
Alea Iacta Est
[self-released]

State-of-the-nation albums are by their very nature hit and miss affairs. Attempts to encapsulate the modern turmoils of the UK usually come off pretty fragmentary. But with slowthai sort of doing one last year maybe it’s something Northamptonians feel drawn to; something in the Nene water that Joe Go Beat has been busy supping on too.

Anyroad, Joe Martin has done a 35 minute, lockdown written/recorded solo album that’s not quite full of his usual piss and vinegar in GoGo Loco [and previously The Mobbs], but none-the-less is certainly not the ramblings of a contented individual. Here he utilises some of his previous central influences – The Who, Dr. Feelgood, Billy Childish, The Black Keys – to create an often more restrained version of his usual primitive rock’n’roll displays. Whether mining garage rock, pub rock or something more rootsy, it’s these familiar tropes on which he hangs his delicate barbs at Brexit-loving little England.

Opener ‘Dirty Old Rag’ does little to disguise its target – The Sun newspaper and their ilk. “Dirty old rag/The vomit splash/The xenophobe voice/Filling heads with trash/Dirty old rag/Solely to blame/For every evil/For all our pain”. There’s little room for wiggle in deciphering that message. And it comes attached to rhythm’n’booze barnstormer – the old tactic of getting them dancing and taking it all in subliminally…or something.

“Sold a lie by the tuneless clown”. There’s no let-up on songs two and three, ‘Albion Town’ and the title track. He takes aim with both barrels at David Cameron’s Brexit vote, the public discourse that followed, and where it has all ultimately lead us. If there’s a more prescient lyric around at the moment than “Scrolling up and down on your media feed/Until your inquisitive fingers bleed” this writer has yet to hear it [incidentally if you want the lyrics they are all there to read on Bandcamp].

‘Ipso Facto’ righteously growls along like an update of The Sonics garage punk classic ‘Psycho’, berating how within British narratives it is often the empty vessels that make the most noise [hello Katie, hello Piers]. The firmly tongue-in-cheek exhortations of ‘Jingo Man’, meanwhile, tells of a man who “Will save us all/From the terrors of foreign rule”. Joe’s interest in British wartime culture provides the title of ‘Stand By Your Beds’. An acerbic takedown of small-minded English people, the songs levity is suddenly absent in the pay-off: “Look out at the stars/You stupid blind fools/We are specs of dust/On the universe’s walls”.

Sometimes it can overwhelm with so much bile to ingest; ‘The Hope & The Glory’ is a smashing Berry/Dylan-esque rocker, but it’s like being bashed over the head with one too many concepts. But that’s not really an issue; you don’t come to this album for love songs. The whole album can be neatly summarised as one man’s bafflement at the post-Brexit landscape. The chorus of ‘Walking Backwards’ is thus: “I thought we’d left behind/The blue, white, red and pompous kind/But it seems we’re walking back/Walking backwards [clap clap]”. And that’s quite heartbreaking when you think about it. Final song ‘T.T.F.N.’ is a wave goodbye to the European Union [“Tut ta for now my old friend/Let’s hope we meet again”].

This album is perhaps a cathartic outpouring of resistance to our Brexit betters, a plea for other ways. Either that or he’s just a bloody Remoaner! This album is a sorrowful collection, full of regret and with little evidence offered to stay positive. Yet it remains an enjoyable ride for the spirit with which each note is played, and the intelligence coursing through every hard-written line. You only improve your future by reflecting on your past mistakes, after all.

Phil Moore

Alea Iacta Est is out now via the usual digital platforms


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Step On: the week’s best new music tracks [May 29]

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week. Billy Lockett ‘One World’Northampton lynchpin Lockett is your perfect isolation artist: much of his recordings…

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week.

Billy Lockett ‘One World’
Northampton lynchpin Lockett is your perfect isolation artist: much of his recordings feature just him and his trusty grand piano, so musical life hasn’t changed that drastically for him. But this is something of a left-turn – an instrumental ‘classical’ piece. Before you panic, its actually excellent: his dexterous fingers taking the listener on a moving journey into the recesses of the mind. Or, if you will, the soundtrack to exploring a deserted house filled with half-remembered memories. An album of this stuff is promised.

Squid ‘Broadcaster’
The London quintet are gearing up for their sure-to-be-a-game-changer debut album, and drop another mini beast to tease us some more. Dystopian jazz sci-fi feels from this one, a slow building pulse of proggy doom that doesn’t really go anywhere, except towards inner space. Not as immediate as some of the previous singles, but still gives the all-important goose pimples.

The Mysterines ‘I Win Every Time’
“Even Robert Johnson said I’d win every time”. And the Liverpool band led by singer/guitarist Lia Metcalfe do just that. Fierce, relentless, filthy; some adjectives to help underpin the sheer excitement that these elemental, stomping, primal songs produce. Their sold-out live shows have been causing some serious palpitations amongst those in attendance. Everything is looking blood-red rosy for them, in fact.

Roska ft. Elle Delaney ‘Give Me Some More’
Londoner Roska deals in funky house moves, and yet his ‘Internal Sunshine’ EP sees him working on a more mellow tip with a trio of female vocalists, including NN’s Delaney. This opening track bears witness to some nice electronic shuffling beats, and her distinctive vocals pine for the old times when we could go out and party til the small hours. It’s also a celebration of feminine energy, as is the whole spacious and progressive EP.

Jamie Lenman ‘The Road To Right’
The singer, guitarist, illustrator, and all-round cult hero has been keeping the quality high this past decade as a solo artist. Taken from forthcoming mini-album King Of Clubs, this second preview single is a shouty little monster, bringing the Pixies/Nirvana loud-quiet dynamic, but with plenty of layered vocals and general drama to have you basking in it quickly. His last single was called ‘The Future Is Dead‘. The man is a sage; listen in.

Maddox Jones ‘Headspace’
The Born Stranger artist is now releasing music under his own name. The title track from his forthcoming EP, he’s worked with Dave Crawford [Kinships] to create a warm, ambient-house winner that takes a spacey opening and builds to that singalong chorus. Perfect for 6am Ibiza sunrises, it tackles head-on the fragile mind state that requires human connection to fix. The same but different, this version of Jones is onto something special with ‘Headspace’, and long may it continue.

Riskee & The Ridicule ‘Blue Jacket’
“I don’t know from who/But I’ve got my country back”. A Brexit song from the Kent rap rockers, it’s spitting pithy truths to have the Daily Mail brigade huffing and puffing all the way to their drawing rooms. “You’re a joke/You ain’t woke/You’ve always been dead” is as about a good a put down as you’ll hear in 2020. Punk rock is safe as houses in their hands; go buy this and then wait for their next tour announcement – it just might change your life.

The Moons ‘How Can I Convince You To Love Me?’
Taken from the Home Demos & Rarities, Vol 1 album hastily compiled as a lockdown stopgap until their fourth album proper hits the streets in the second half of 2020. This one is fully formed; arranged with the full gamut of instruments, it has a vaguely Middle Eastern melodic pull, and a distinct sea shanty rhythm. It’s a quality, catchy number that really shouldn’t have been shelved, so it’s great to finally see it have its moment in the sun.

Thee MVPs ‘A Song For Councillor’
“We only get together when someone else has met their end”. Leeds garage-punks today release their second long-player, Science Fiction. This latest single about a passed relative is them at their most boisterous: fat guitar/bass riffs, muso shredding in the middle section, and memorable “bar ba-ba-ba-bar”s til the cows come home. It’s Thee Oh Sees meets Black Flag, and its fucking glorious, as is everything they do.

Amii Dawes ‘Uninspired’
“I just want to be admired/Is that too much to ask?” Definitely not, for this uber-melancholic slow-burner is a real heartbreaker that perfectly underlines Dawes talent. A voice dripping with hidden depths, these soul-searching five minutes, full of self-doubt, are wrapped in a simple but haunting arrangement. Based around plinky piano and foreboding Hammond, it might just push you to tears. The title is a misnomer; this is beguiling, sophisticated singer-songwriter fare.

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New Music Friday: Naked Next Door

For Milton Keynes quartet Naked Next Door anthemic indie rock seemingly comes easy. With the release of second EP ‘Swerving Out Wide’ New Boots spoke to bassist Corin Schencks for…

For Milton Keynes quartet Naked Next Door anthemic indie rock seemingly comes easy. With the release of second EP ‘Swerving Out Wide’ New Boots spoke to bassist Corin Schencks for the gossip.

How did you guys get together?
We all met in late 2017. Euan [vocals, guitar] and Callum [drums] were originally friends and would jam together, but still needed a bassist and lead guitarist. Tommy and I who had been playing in bands since 12 were introduced to Euan [guitar] and Callum by Paul Rivers, our manager. We rehearsed for a few months and then played our first gig in January 2018.

Who are your main influences in music?
We’re inspired by so many bands it’s hard to pick a few. Definitely Catfish The Bottlemen; then other bands we love are Nothing But Thieves and Sea Girls, to name a few.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘Swerving Out Wide’.
We started the writing of new EP right after we released our first one [‘Stuck In My Mind‘, 2019]. It took us a few months of demos and writing to come to a final decision on what tracks we wanted. We recorded the EP with Larry Hibbitt [Sea Girls, Nothing But Thieves, Sundara Karma] who brought it EP to life. We stayed in London for a week and recorded the entire thing!

What are your live shows like? You must be missing them.
We love playing live the most out of everything. It’s hit us hard as the lockdown has shut venues down and all gigs have came to a stop. We had a lot booked in that we were looking forward to. However we aim to book these gigs again and get out there as soon as we can.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
I think recording the EP was a really fun experience; living in London with each other for a week and recording. What could be better? There was a pub right next to the studio too, which always helps.

How are you coping with lockdown? Helping or hindering your creativity?
We’ve been coping well, focusing on our social media and writing new songs. Euan and Corin having been demoing songs between them as they both have home studios!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The new 1975 album, Notes On A Conditional Form.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We hope that we can take our music all over the world and play our music to thousands. Playing festivals, recording, touring. That’s the dream for us.

‘Swerving Out Wide’ is out now on the usual digital platforms

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Album review: Bushpigs

BUSHPIGSBushpigs[Massive Rodent Records] Regular Northampton gig-goers will recognise Bushpigs as the ultimate party band. Most weekends you’ll find them at weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvah’s playing classic covers with a…

BUSHPIGS
Bushpigs
[Massive Rodent Records]

Regular Northampton gig-goers will recognise Bushpigs as the ultimate party band. Most weekends you’ll find them at weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvah’s playing classic covers with a smattering of original tunes. But between 1994 and 2001 the band recorded a substantial amount of music which, rather criminally, had remained unreleased. Finally the cream of those songs are collected here on their 11-track, debut Bushpigs album.

This album features recordings from the bands original line-up: Tony Riseley, Steve Goddard, Dave Briggs and Keiran McLaughlin, plus their current incarnation which finds Tony and Steve joined by Steve Briggs and Duncan Bisatt. The first thing to note on spinning this album is how well the tracks hang together, despite the intervening years and shifting personnel. The riff that kicks off opening cut ‘Face’ is a thing of beauty and has a circular motif that recalls ‘Eton Rifles’ or ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. Perhaps attesting to its age the recording is slightly flawed; the drums sound empty and hollow, and the overall feel is of a good quality demo. On the plus side it’s raw energy perfectly captures the excitement of Bushpigs in the live environment.

Another groovy riff heralds ‘Indian Song’ which skips like a stone across water, while the addition of synths adds deep, rich textures. Capturing the edgier end of the 1980s (think Orange Juice, or Dub Sex) the track races towards a swirling vortex with cries of “Hare Krishna” and shades of neo-psychedelia. On an album of many facets ‘Sometimes’ has a Merseybeat vibe with a stop/start riff that recalls The Beatles ‘Taxman’ while some sultry saxophone adds a Roxy Music flavour. It’s a combination that works rather well. Gothic inflections, meanwhile, juxtapose a bright, breezy chorus for an interesting tension of opposites on ‘Honest Man’.

The ethereal ‘Vegas’ is the perfect driving song, and evokes images of road trips across desert plains, especially when the guitars are set loose for some bluesy soloing. In another shift of gears the snappy and angular ‘X-Ray Eyes’ has some choice samples, reminiscent of Big Audio Dynamite, while the skating synth brings to mind Phantasmagoria-era Damned. ‘Nervous Breakdown’ arrives with all guitars blazing, before ‘Sweet Thang’ takes a more funky turn. Raunchy rock n’ roll doesn’t get more visceral, or vital, than ‘Little By Little’, a track that simply smoulders with sensuality. However the Bushpigs aren’t all testosterone-fuelled ballsy rock: two ballads intersperse the more raucous numbers ensuring Bushpigs ebbs and flows evenly. Cloudbursts and keys that fall like rain permeate ‘Daylight’s Almost Gone’, whilst ‘Reach Out For The Light’ ends the album on a rather wistful, ominous tone.

The wealth of experience that each individual member brings to the constituent whole means a Bushpigs album wasn’t going to be anything but solid. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them live, Bushpigs let’s you know what all the fuss is about.

Peter Dennis

Bushpigs is out now on all digital platforms. Physical formats will follow after covid-19

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Step On: the week’s best new music tracks [May 22]

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week. Arlo Parks ‘Black Dog’“It’s so cruel/What your mind can do for no reason”. A timely…

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week.

Arlo Parks ‘Black Dog’
“It’s so cruel/What your mind can do for no reason”. A timely sentiment, as its Mental Health Awareness Week. The young west Londoner continues to make incredible, tender songs in the short time she’s been releasing music. This wise-beyond-her-years trippy, cinematic indie-folk will appeal to fans of Laura Marling, Beth Gibbons, and Bon Iver. She is tipped for big things, and its not hard to understand why.

IDLES ‘Mr. Motivator’
One for the moshers, the first single from the upcoming third album by Bristolian post-punks. The band want to “encourage our audience to dance like no one is watching and plough through these dark times with a two-tonne machete of a song”. And there’s no doubt it’s a slaying track. “Let’s seize the day!/You can do it!” After hearing this you will fell like you can pretty much do anything.

Flyte ‘Easy Tiger’
Previewing their LA-recorded second LP, the London folk-rock trio are still as wispy as ever. A band which keeps building their fanbase [you may have caught live at the Roadmender [2015] or The Black Prince [2017]], they weave a chugging guitar motif and warm vocal that’s a little reminiscent of Eliot Smith. Singer Will Taylor said he was “exorcising shame, heartbreak, jealousy” with this one, and it’s bleak realism does a notable job in reflecting such emotional dissonance.

Pottery ‘Hot Heater’
This, on the other hand, is a backs-to-the-wall art-rock attack of which we haven’t really heard in a while. With band members drawn from across Canada and the UK, they mine from the same well of mounting tension and shifting time signatures as the likes of Television and Talking Heads. If it wasn’t so well executed you might shout ‘pastiche’, but it possesses enough joie de vivre to simply be utterly lovely.

CB ‘Tell U’
Charlie Borthwick is a producer possessing much skill, harnessing the club vibes and taking things in whatever direction he feels like. On this garage number it’s a slightly restrained throwback to the classic ’90s sound, with spacey female vocals and plenty of peaks and troughs to take you on a sonic journey.

Ray Gemini x Li-Likeisaid ‘Fake Love’
Another soulful Harlz production, this Northampton three-way is the latest in a working relationship that’s been harnessed over time and now flies. The flow never stops between these two upcoming rappers, and if you can keep up with the pace you’re in for a treat.

Torus ‘The Feeling’
Second official single from the Milton Keynes/N-Town group featuring prolific musicians Alfie Glass and Harry Quinn. Thick and sludgy like the best grunge/stoner rock trios are, there’s no escaping the heavy attack and overwhelming sense of being smothered in hot grease. The small amount of vocals on this one are heavily distorted, with dirty lo-fi garage vibes preferred to diamond-bright melody. Note: you must see live when all the shitness is over.

Hxrmz LB ‘Baddest’
Liam Berry’s third single, another Northampton rapper with great collaborative work with the likes of Napps and Dreadz, and part of the ‘Lay It Down’ scene. A fan of the vocoder and a sexy beat, this one, with production from Mayan, is a full-on lush dancehall club sound.

Teenage Waitress ‘You Ain’t Got It Bad’
Southampton bedroom production from Daniel J. Ash [not the Bauhaus guitarist!], this Colorama Records release is his third single, all from a future album called Mucho Gusto! It’s a sweet, synth-heavy psychedelic-pop winner, using layered sounds and repetitive phrases like a half-forgotten nursery rhyme. You’ll be humming this one for days.

philclarkful ‘Wither’
“Watch the weather outside/While you wither inside”. Born out of a small skit from Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement speech, this first release from Northampton-based Phil Clark is a catchy ode to the fucked up times in which we live. Crisp production and ’90s sensibilities make this a wide jeans wearing, Odelay-style winner.

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New Music Friday: Canyons

Canyons are Northampton’s long players. Edward Mander [bass, vocals], Matthew Felce [guitar, ukulele], Stevie Ward [vocals, guitar], Luke Sherwood [keys, guitar, accordion, cornet, harmonica, vocals] and Mark Thursby [drums] have…

Canyons are Northampton’s long players. Edward Mander [bass, vocals], Matthew Felce [guitar, ukulele], Stevie Ward [vocals, guitar], Luke Sherwood [keys, guitar, accordion, cornet, harmonica, vocals] and Mark Thursby [drums] have much beautiful local history in music, and in Canyons they make Americana. Debut EP now out, New Boots spoke to Ward about the project.

How did you guys get together?
Matthew, Ed, and I formed Awesome Wells in 1991 and have been playing together on and off since then. Canyons evolved from a midweek get-together. It usually involved a few beers, some wine and a second dinner of the evening. But occasionally we would get the guitars out and write some songs. For a while we were Real Live Owls and became Canyons when Mark and Luke joined in our little soirees. Things just seemed to gel and feel more natural. We began to really enjoy playing again.

How would you describe your sound and main influences?
I always find it really hard to answer, as essentially all the bands I / we’ve ever been involved in are just rock and roll in some shape or form. I have always been a bit of a musical chameleon. I get influenced by what I’m listening to at the time; I suppose we all do. I think we’ve all been into the Americana and alt-country thing for years. It’s such a broad spectrum of a genre though. It stretches from the single voice and an acoustic guitar through the deep south rock sound, and ends up with big production sounds like Bon Iver, etc. Personally I have an obsession with music from the early seventies right now, its a real golden age.
We’ve always described Canyons as Anglicana and Country & Eastern! Not sure either make a lot of sense. But were not really a country band, a folk band or a rock band.

Tell us everything about this first release, the ‘Pablo’ EP.
‘Pablo’ developed from a kind of latino jam that we used to do when we hit the rehearsal wall. I remember Ed sent me a link to a news story from some obscure bible belt paper about a travelling clown who had survived not one but two direct lightening hits. I thought, “there’s a song in that”.
The four tunes feature our mate Simon Taylor on trumpet quite heavily. It occurred to us that we could make little batches of recordings with either a different feel or featuring additional players. Simon is a great player and certainly shaped a sound for this first EP. We added sections to the songs to fill with trumpet. The next batch of tunes we’re working on sound quite different.
We were lucky enough to blag a bit of free recording time at Northampton college and the Uni. We put the drums down there with all their sexy mics. Then overdubs were recorded at our own home studios, and we did some vocals at Shorty towers with Chris White. Mark did most of the engineering and mixing. We only actually spent any money on mastering.

What’s your method for writing the lyrics?
I am a very lazy lyricist; they often get left til the last minute. When we’re writing songs I will just push out sounds til I find a melody, then make words to fit. Sometimes we’ll have a tune ready to go and I only have half a verse that I’m happy with. It can slow proceedings down somewhat !  I’m always very humbled by people who can write great stories and fit them into songs. Its a real skill. Jono [him of the Uke Dealers] has it.

What are your live shows like? Will you be getting back on stage after lockdown?
Like every musician I know, we’re going through a very frustrating time. Not being able to gig, or even rehearse is horrible. I really hope there are places to play after all this. I feel for the venue owners right now, they’re at the end of a long waiting list to return to some kind of normality. I worry though that some of our venues may not get back on their feet. We’ve got to stay positive though and I cannot wait to get back out playing again.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite bands/venues to play with/at?
I really enjoy playing at the Garibaldi Hotel, the place just has an amazing band-friendly vibe. We did a show there in the Autumn and it just felt like home. And of course those summer evening Pomfret Arms garden gigs are always fun.
I’ve never really felt part of the crowd in Northampton. Its a very indie scene that has produced some cracking bands over the years. My bands have always seemed to be a bit out-of-step though. We’ve had some fun times with P-Hex, Jono & The Uke Dealers and Bisons recently though. I guess you make your own scene.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
A.A. Bondy Enderness. I’ve been a proper fan boy of his for years, and his new record is a glorious slice of kind of folk/electronica. It is so simple and perfect. If you don’t know him, do yourself a favour and seek him out.

What are your burning desires for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
There’s only really ever been one plan. That is just to make songs. We are now finally focusing on a bit more getting them out into the world. Hopefully some folks will like them.

The Pablo EP is available through all the usual digital channels.

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NN Archives: May – Part Two – 2013-2009

Here’s the second part of our new monthly feature, the ‘NN Archives’. This looks at gigs in the month of May from 2013 to 2019. For anyone who missed Part…

Here’s the second part of our new monthly feature, the ‘NN Archives’. This looks at gigs in the month of May from 2013 to 2019.

For anyone who missed Part One, this a monthly trawl through the thousands of photos David Jackson has taken over the years; mixing national touring acts playing in the county and musicians from the local scene.

Rather than look back a year at a time we’re going to do it month-by-month, to give more of an immediate dive back into NN’s musical past and to tie things into the current month.

The same shameless plug as before, Please head over to https://davidtjackson.com for more music photos from the NN scene and beyond. Most of the content is currently on the Latest Updates page, as the galleries are being redone at the moment.

Lots of local faces on this one.

2012
ACODA / Attention Thieves / Escaping Juliet – The Penny Whistle, Northampton
Misty’s Big Adventure – The Lab, Northampton
The Lovely Eggs – The Lab, Northampton
The Moons – The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton


2011
Brother – Roadmender, Northampton

2010
Ash – Roadmender, Northampton
Futureheads – Roadmender, Northampton
Mr Hudsen / Tinnie Tempah – Roadmender, Northampton
New Cassettes / Parks Dept – The Picturedrome, Northampton
NME Radar Tour – Hurts / Everything Everything / Darwin Deez / New Cassettes – Roadmender, Northampton
Soulfly – Roadmender, Northampton

2009
Cage The Elephant – Roadmender, Northampton
Nine Black Alps – The Picturedrome, Northampton

There’s going to be loads of you out there with other photos. If you’ve got anything you’d like to be included in June’s features, contact us and we’ll include them.

At the moment, we’ll only be using using one or two photos per act per gig – but by all means feel free to submit as many as you like.

All photos Copyright David Jackson unless otherwise specified. No use or reproduction without permission.

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Step On: the week’s best new music tracks [May 15]

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week. slowthai ‘ENEMY’“Have ups and downs like an elevator”. After a rather public down last February…

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new music tracks this week.

slowthai ‘ENEMY’
“Have ups and downs like an elevator”. After a rather public down last February there were plenty of people writing off the Northampton rapper. And to some degree he addresses that on this track, as the simple title pun on NME makes clear. After threatening to kill kids [ironically, calm down] he gives his real message – “I need the revenge, so I made a plan/To kill you with kindness”. It’s not exactly a response song, but there’s enough intrigue there, and it shows he really isn’t someone to take things lying down. As Darko and Sammo dish out the beats to that make you sit up and listen, it’s great to hear him again doing his thing his way, as only he knows how.

Paul Weller ‘Village’
Another preview song from upcoming album On Sunset [as in, Boulevard], Paul now moves into summery pop territory. If it gives you Style Council vibes, well, that might be because Mick Talbot is there on keys, as well as usual NN collaborators Andy Crofts and Ben Gordelier. A string-laden and Fender Rhodes-led ode to appreciating your blessed life as it is, it is self-consciously sickly sweet, and your appreciation will depend on how much of a sweet tooth you have. If we can’t have much of a proper summer in 2020 this goes some way to lifting us up anyhow.

BLOXX ‘Lie Out Loud’
The suburban London indie rockers are causing a real stir with their anthemic rousers, working with a sound reminiscent of noughties-era Manic Street Preachers, or even Republica. The title track from their forthcoming debut album [Aug 14], the trio – led by vocalist Fee Booth – are aiming straight for your heart on this confessional sing-a-long

Sleaford Mods ‘Second’
The single chosen to promote odd and sods album All That Glue [out today]. It was recorded in early 2017, just after the English Tapas sessions. It’s another winner from of aggro-pop from one of the UK’s most interesting acts. Vocalist Jason Williamson bemoans his runner-up status to the brands that he consumes. They’re a Marmite band, yes – but Marmite is lovely, isn’t it. “Full ranking!”

Sarpa Salpa ‘Forwards Backwards’
The seventh single from Northampton’s indie-pop masters, and this one has bought along the robotic funk. The first number to feature the contributions of keys player Meg Amirghiasvand [Future Love, OhBoy], its a smooth neon-lit smasher. Singer Marcus gives himself quite a workout in the chorus, and you can imagine the crowds getting right into this in a field sometime in 2021 [weep]. If they don’t take over the UK soon it will be nothing short of criminal.

Mint ‘Turbulence’
Grimsby. Always hated the place since I witnessed the Cobblers lose to them at Wembley in the play-off final back in the day. But finally I can forget all that as they have an ace garage-punk outfit making waves. Filthy drums, filthier bass, guitars that buzz more than pylons…it’s hard not to get turned on by this primal rock’n’roll noise. Singer Zak has an excellent slashed-throat delivery, and *stop reading this and go and listen below*.

Bugeye ‘When The Lights Go Out’
London disco-punks whack out the barrelhouse piano to aid this bouncy sci-fi glam sacrificial offering to the music gods. Inch by inch Bugeye are building a rich name for themselves with great live shows and killer singles, and luckily for us they should be hitting Northampton once lockdown is over. Kitsch power-pop fun beckons…

Neil’s Children ‘The First Conversation That We Ever Had’
This is a turn-up for the books. The London art-punks were one of the leading lights circa 2004 when decadent rock’n’roll had its moment in the sun again. And for good reason: music connoisseur John Linger was able to shift his talents continually. After adventures that took them more psychedelic and electronic, they went away; Linger is now in Girls In Synthesis. But this reunion is a touch; grasping at that maniacal energy of old that captured so many willing hearts back then. An album of this style would be a pleasant, full-circle outcome.

Evolution ‘Lover’
Northampton/Birmingham whizz-kid Josh Worley-Ebbs brings the club beats for an Ibizan summer that’s not happening in 2020. Your back garden will have to do. ‘Lover’ is a booming house track, with an in-your-face vocal delivery. He’s a unique talent, this one.

Broken Empire ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’
Daventry/Oxford hard rockers have been gaining a lot of critical praise in the right places over the past couple of years. This one is a curveball though, a Bruno Mars cover. It transforms the reggae-pop original into a crunching monster, keeping the strong melody and little else – adding the inevitable double kick beats and guttural screams to complete a smart metallic metamorphosis.

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New Music Friday: Jeana

Bedfordshire-based singer-songwriter Jeana [pronounced Jen-ae] is the talented 20 year-old making sad’n’sexy bangers in a Northampton basement studio. New double A-side single ‘Round N Round’/’808’ takes it to the next…

Bedfordshire-based singer-songwriter Jeana [pronounced Jen-ae] is the talented 20 year-old making sad’n’sexy bangers in a Northampton basement studio. New double A-side single ‘Round N Round’/’808’ takes it to the next level. New Boots went in search of the lowdown.

How did you start this journey into music?
Music has always been a huge part of my family. Being one of four my dad made us all pick an instrument we wanted to learn when we were children, and encouraged us to practice most nights for 10 minutes. Being the rebellious child I was I hated being told what to do, so took no interest at all. Finally when I was 12 I took interest, but in all honesty I just wanted to be Taylor Swift. I discovered her in 2012 as a lost 12 year old and became a bit obsessed. Begged my dad for a new guitar [I think I broke my previous one due to slight anger issues, lol], but he wasn’t convinced that I’d use it due to my previous none interest. He said he’d buy me a new guitar if he could enter me in a local battle of the bands, which naturally my older brother got involved because he was a drummer always in bands. I ended up entering with my brother and sister as a folk-pop trio, and we won! This was the birth of my previous band Healyum. My dad being the music fanatic he is managed us for a few years, getting us into studios, recording demos etc. When I was 14/15 he wanted to get us management because it kind’ve took over everyone’s lives, and not for the better. We managed to get into a studio with producer Kristofer Harris [Bears Den, Ghostpoet, Indoor Pets], which was a massive deal for us! Our first single got on Radio 1, Radio X and BBC Introducing etc., and we had A&R men interested, but that was put off for a while due to my age. The band ended up going our separate ways in 2018. Later on in that year I linked up with Ginger Snaps, and here I am today!

Who are your main influences in music?
A question I never know how to answer. I grew up listening to indie, alternative rock and pop music, which will always be my first love. I love the gig/festival culture as an artist and a fan, but I listen to so much different music that I wouldn’t even know where to start with influences. Some of my favourite female artists are Lana Del Rey, Gwen Steffani, Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, and Lily Allen.

You’ve been collaborating with the supremely talented, Northampton-based producer and songwriter Ginger Snaps. Tell us about your working relationship.
Ginger Snaps is my musical right hand. I have weekly sessions with him to work on new bops, and he is such an important mentor to me! He also plays guitar in my live band, and is just one of the best people I’ve ever met.

‘Round N Round’ / ‘808’

Tell us everything about this new double A-side single.
‘Round N Round’ was written four days after I’d gotten out of a relationship. It’s safe to say I won’t be getting into a relationship any time soon, and hopefully this will be the last of the breakup bangers for a while, lol. Being able to collaborate with Billy Lockett on this song and get these words out with such emotion was amazing for me. ‘808’ was written at the heart of my material – the Ginger Snaps studio. We started it at a time where we were writing new material every week, so ended up finishing for the next single. As ‘808’ was getting mastered I wrote ‘Round N Round’ with Billy, which resulted in me making the decision to hold ‘808’ back and continue with ‘Round N Round’ as the next single. With ‘Round N Round’ being a more mainstream vibe I wanted to still release ‘808’, for that alt touch.

Describe your live show in five words.
fun, alcohol, vibes, fuck, and SAS.

Lockdown

How are you coping with lockdown? Is it helping or hindering your creativity?
Lockdown is definitely getting to me a lot more now. Being a new artist and not being able to gig is a lot harder that I would’ve expected. Gigging is where I get rewarded with music at the moment. It’s always an amazing feeling hearing everyone’s feedback and meeting people face to face, and it’s usually where I get/meet new supporters.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence (fitting to my sad isolation vibes).

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
My burning desire is to play music festivals, and I would love to go on a sold-out tour. I love making music and it really is therapy for me, but my favourite thing about music is the live experience. I love being an artist in the UK because I live for British music culture – my favourite nights out are gigs and my favourite holidays are music festivals.

‘Round N Round’/’808’ is out now via the usual digital places

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Album review: hazeyjane

HAZEYJANEAnima Rising[Tu-Kay Records] Three years in the making, this is the sophomore album from the Kettering-area musical collective fronted by singer-songwriter Chris Brown. Recorded and produced by Ash Tu-kay, Anima…

HAZEYJANE
Anima Rising
[Tu-Kay Records]


Three years in the making, this is the sophomore album from the Kettering-area musical collective fronted by singer-songwriter Chris Brown. Recorded and produced by Ash Tu-kay, Anima Rising presents ambient folk moodpieces that touch on mythical subjects in highly poetic form.

The title is a Jungian concept, denoting a rising of feminine energy. It’s used by Joni Mitchell on ‘Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow’, which, as a key touchstone artist for hazeyjane, is probably where it came from. ‘Inside Out’, the opener, is a lovely mix of Mitchell’s mid-70s experimentation, and the similarly inclined explorer of inner space, John Martyn. It’s a beautiful, mature song; multiple voices weaving the story, a prominent and hypnotic bassline, and attacks by a string quartet occasionally penetrating the stoned vibes.

The album proceeds in similar fashion, ‘Trade Winds’ being a Floydian meditation on uncertainty [“the cracks between wrong and right may never seal”]. Brown’s rich voice delivering an unmistakable message of fear and regret. The title track brings piano solemnity into the mix, and it’s not unwelcome.

‘Haunting Hands’ delves a little into prog, a lengthy instrumental opening passage before the reverberating guitar and voice of Brown brings it back to earth. ‘Gwendolyn’ brings acoustic guitar to the fore, whilst ‘Alraune’ ruminates on unholy love.

The back end of the album ties everything up nicely. ‘Lost’ is fronted by Corinne Lucy and her luxurious tones; an old folk voice from a forgotten time re-emerging with new tales to tell. Closer ‘Hush, Little Sister’ has a strong emotional pull; it says as much in its spaces as it does through its’ crashing waves of guitar and percussion.

Alongside fellow traveller Kenneth J Nash the hazeyjane troupe bring spiritual, otherworldly vibes to the NN music scene, and we are deeply indebted to them for conjuring such spaces. Anima Rising is a rich and beguiling piece of work: an intoxicating, immersive experience which brings much reward on repeat listening.

Phil Moore

Anima Rising is out now on streaming platforms, and CD direct from the band

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