Tag: indie

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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Album review: The Rogue State Circus

THE ROGUE STATE CIRCUSSongs From The Sea Of Storms[self-released] Northants’ Rogue State Circus have been defiantly avoiding genre categorisation since 2009. Their latest album Songs From The Sea Of Storms…

THE ROGUE STATE CIRCUS
Songs From The Sea Of Storms
[self-released]

Northants’ Rogue State Circus have been defiantly avoiding genre categorisation since 2009. Their latest album Songs From The Sea Of Storms is a delectable smorgasbord, incorporating 12 tracks of indie, power-pop, folk and Americana – and serves them up as a cohesive whole.

The retro keys that introduce opener ‘St Jude’s Blues’ give proceedings a distinctly 1960s feel, and combined with the country twang on the guitar provides a rather sinister tone. The type of song you’d expect to find in a Tarantino film, it’s a walk through the dark side of Americana. John Delaney’s vocals mirror the music’s ululation, and evolve from a gargling growl to falsetto high notes…and all in one line! The multi-layered sound is akin to an octopus’s tentacles that entwine and hold the listener captive. The pure pop perfection of ‘Sunday Driver’ follows, yet its buoyancy is tempered with a dark edge, something indefinable yet ever present. If ‘St Jude’s Blues’ didn’t win you over then ‘Sunday Driver’ will.

Still led by the indefatigable singer-songwriter Jon Delaney, Rogue State Circus have had an ever-changing line-up and perhaps this accounts for their kaleidoscopic output. However eclectic things become though there’s a common lyrical thread that stitches the album together. That’s best exemplified by the following two tracks, ‘London Bridge’ with it’s nod to ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Downhearted In The Uplands Of Love’ which, like Ray Davies at his most expressive, explores the minutiae of modern life. ‘I’ll Be Happy To Stay With You’ picks up it’s feet for a swirling neo-psychedelic sound before the wistful and whimsical ‘It’s All Over Town’ and it’s quintessentially English understated humour.

Adding some female vocals [courtesy of Karen Angela] gives ‘What Are You Waiting For?’ a nice warm texture and brings to mind that lazy summer’s day vibe of Division Bell-era Pink Floyd. In opposition the evocative and cinematic ‘Only A Matter Of Time’, with its soulful 80s vocals, seems tailor-made for a lonely walk through a neon-lit metropolis. The dramatic ‘Red Sky’ carries a lot of Irish folk inflections, and juxtaposes the power-pop of ‘La La Life’. An infectious backbeat and a joyful guitar line carries the song forward and, with Karen Angela again adding her vocal talents, reminds me of an effervescent Blondie.

The short and snappy ‘The Goodbye Note’ is another infectious tune that would have made a perfect album closer but, in a tension of opposites that defines Songs From The Sea Of Storms, that honour goes to the elongated ‘Great Expectations’. Clocking in at over six minutes it gives Rogue State Circus an opportunity to flex their musical muscles and build a substantial sonic structure. Peppered with Eastern flourishes it’s a song that fades to a rather ominous ending that promises more than it concludes.

Songs From The Sea Of Storms is the second album in a trilogy (tentatively titled Lunar Sea) that began with 2011’s Songs From The Sea Of Serenity. This latest opus is a worthy addition to the Rogue State Circus canon and is a tantalising taster for the third instalment…but hopefully they won’t make us wait another 9 years!

Peter Dennis

Songs From The Sea Of Storms is out now via Bandcamp, see below

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Live review: THUMPER | Tragic | Deaf Trap

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes March 2nd 2020 This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin,…

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
March 2nd 2020

This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin, plus two of Northampton’s finest noisy pups. Your reporter did not let it being a Monday night stop the rock, though a sparse crowd reflects other didn’t feel the same way. Your loss, mothers.

Deaf Trap have swiftly become something of a staple amongst the NN scene; admittedly not gigging that often, but always putting in the whole nine yards in their pursuit of sweaty good times. It’s great to see them cross county lines for a change, and they open things magnificently here. With tunes as good as ‘From The Floor’ and ‘Real Nice Night’ it’s always a pleasure to experience their set.

Tragic are very easy to wax superlatively about. The teenagers from Northampton have brought a vigour to the East Midlands music world that could put the energy companies out of business. They positively burst at the sinews to wring every inch of meaning from their instruments, and their manic energy is ever-present tonight. Previewing upcoming single ‘PIG’ alongside last year’s modern-day grunge-punk classics ‘Sloppy Kiss’, ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’ and ‘Walking’. Their melodic skill is perhaps their secret weapon, creeping up on you through the swampy fuzz. And “England is full of scared little boys” feels a very apt lyric for the current state of the nation. Move over slowthai, someone’s coming for your crown.

THUMPER are Dublin’s widescreen screechers of the faith. Never less than fully committed, the six-piece [two drummers and three guitarists, obviously] are treading the noise-pop line of contemporaries IDLES, Fontaines DC, Girl Band, King Gizzard etc but bringing enough of their own personality to proceedings to make them no mere imitators. New single ‘Ad Nauseam’ is a deep rumination on empty ships making the loudest noise. Singer Oisin Furlong is a proper frontman, looking into our very souls for an answer to something, and dealing with mundane broken strings with aplomb. The band never let up for a second, locking into their well-worked groove with motorik precision. Furlong’s foray into the crowd late into the set says “we are you” more than any clever soundbite could. And with ‘In My Room’ and ‘Down’ they’ve started their career with songs others still can’t match after many years of trying. In an increasingly dystopian world we should perhaps let these Irish men lead us to eternal salvation. When music is as joyous as this you can’t help but catch it now and spread it around.

Words: Phil Moore. Photos: David Jackson

 

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Live review: Half Man Half Biscuit

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT + WEST WICKHAMS The Roadmender, Northampton February 15th Originally hailing from Tresco, Isle of Scilly [but now residing in sunny Richmond, Surrey]. the West Wickhams are…

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT + WEST WICKHAMS
The Roadmender, Northampton
February 15th

Originally hailing from Tresco, Isle of Scilly [but now residing in sunny Richmond, Surrey]. the West Wickhams are a rather tasty garage rock/psychedelic noir duo. Attired all in black and white (as if a negative photograph) opener ‘Every Moving Picture’ is the perfect introduction, with vocalist John Othello wrapping his chords in glorious fuzz and Elle Flores pulling a fine retro sound from the keyboard. Like the love children of Patti Smith and The Jesus and Mary Chain, ‘Kick the Habit’ is delivered with foot heavy on the distortion pedal, before ‘Where the Creatures Rule’ captures the sinisterness of early Cure. Each song is a succinct ball of warped sound; but dig to its core and you’ll find a strong melody. Case in point being their debut single, ‘He’s Acquired a New Face’, which is simultaneously discordant and catchy and which will, undoubtedly, ensure we’ll be hearing more from the Wickhams very soon.

Alongside the Clash, Half Man Half Biscuit are surely England’s finest folk group. Exploring the minutiae of modern life and deconstructing current popular culture, they’ve given voice to the sidelined, the maligned and the just plain weird. They tell the tales of the bus station drunk or the Big Issue seller who nevertheless have great insight into the absurdism of the world. But it’s also life’s cruel ironies: it is tending the wrong grave for years [‘Excavating Rita’] or the sudden realisation of tonight’s opener: ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel [is the Light of an Oncoming Train]’. Evolving from their early post-punk roots to incorporate blues and folk tonight’s set includes all stages of their 35 year career, with ‘Venus in Flares’ and ‘Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess’ following in quick succession. The festival nightmare that is ‘Running Order Squabble Fest’ raises a few smiles as does ‘Ode to Joyce’.

Once the rallying cry of students everywhere ‘Fuckin ‘ell it’s Fred Titmus’ is sung by a raucous, near capacity crowd as is a lively ‘The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman’. Slackers anthem ‘Floreat Inertia’ provides a nice change of pace before we arrive at the foil to The Doors’ ‘The End’, ‘Footprints’. Slightly surreal in meshing a biblical tale with Junior Kickstart vocalist [and guitarist] Nigel Blackwell sings with just the right amount of bemused cynicism. It is Nigel’s ability to get under the skin of the character’s that inhabit songs like ‘All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit’ that prevent Half Man Half Biscuit becoming pastiche or a parody. It’s that plus Nigel’s attention to detail, a conscientious proofreader, that give the lyrics backstory and depth. And don’t forget the biting satire and deadpan delivery of songs like ‘We Built This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune’ and set closer ‘National Shite Day’ [“Overhead a rainbow appears, in black and white”].

The band return for four [count ‘em!] well deserved encores, the highlight of which is a brutally heavy reading of Killing Joke’s futurist nightmare ‘Wardance’, on which they capture the monolithic enormity of the original. That stands in marked contrast to closer ‘Everything’s AOR’ which, with its references to leather swivel chairs, Kendo Nagasaki and tennis racquets, sends all home happy.

Peter Dennis

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New Music Friday: Baby Lung ‘Shoetown Blues’ EP

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed…

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed tones all year, and to cap it off a great 2019 with this work is fitting, and should see their star ascend. New Boots editor Phil Moore sat down with Maxx Riley, Mat Day, Harry Dinnage and Matt Willett to talk about the band and EP.

The ShoeTown Blues EP is out now from all the usual digital outlets. Baby Lung play The Black Prince in Northampton tonight, and then again on February 1st as part of Independent Venue Week. Thanks to The Charles Bradlaugh for hosting the filming, and Ryan Johnson for putting it together. 

 

 

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New Music Friday: EarBones

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively…

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively disco-esque backbeat. After a while away they are back with new single ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, so time to get those New Boots questions in!

How did you guys get together?
We actually met on Joinmyband.com, and the first time we met in person was in a practise room at Audioworks. It all started from there really. We started writing in the first session, and it all spiralled from there. We base ourselves in Northampton as it’s the biggest town, plus we love AudioWorks and find ourselves more productive there.

How would you describe your sound?
We’ve always prided ourselves in being loud, once called “the loudest band to practise at Audioworks” by its owner Josh, but our main focus was to create music for people to move to. The guitars are thick, and the the drums are hard. It’s the way we’ve always liked it and comes from a range of influences in both of our musical backgrounds.

Who are your main influences do you think?
Initially the main influence behind starting the band was Death From Above; we absolutely love those guys and they played a huge part in our formation, but our influences are far wider spread. Queens of the Stone Age, The Beatles, The White Stripes, T. Rex, Bowie, all of them have played a huge part in our sound and style. We could list bands all day!

What was the reaction like to your debut, the ‘Key’ EP in 2017?
The Key EP was a way for us to have our music available elsewhere as soon as we started playing shows. I suppose it didn’t garner the support we’d have loved, but looking back it was still us finding our feet. We hadn’t even played a show when we recorded the tracks. We still love it dearly though, and still play all four tracks live, although some of them slightly grown up versions as time has gone on.

Tell us about this new single.
‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’ started out with just the main riff a few months back whilst I was noodling around on my guitar. EarBones was on a break, and when we got back together for the first time in eight months I [Arran] showed Mike the riff and we knew we had to run with it. We wrote 90% of the song there and then, and decided we should record it to coincide with us getting back on the scene. A while back, my friend and pedal builder, Steve Weston of Raygun FX had told me that when we were ready to release something, we could do so under his label, Instereo Records. I got chatting to him about us looking to record and he offered to record the track for us at his space in Southend-On-Sea. We snapped up the opportunity and headed down with one of my best friends, and our unofficial third member Oli who photographed the session for us. We actually finished the track in four hours. It got released on cassette for Cassette Store Day, which was something we never thought we’d ever say. We have a couple of copies left and they’re only going to be available at our shows, so make sure you get down if you want one.

What are your live shows like?
As mentioned before, we like it loud! There’s a running joke that I’m told to turn down my amps at every single show we play. We used to have such a focus on what you heard recorded is what we sounded like live, but we purposely strayed from that, and made a conscious effort whilst recording the new single to have it sound how we wanted, not necessarily what we could replicate live. Instead we focus on giving it more energy, and making it heavier live, to provide a better experience for those in the audience.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
We’ve actually found it a little harder to conquer Northants, as we’ve struggled to find bands that fit our style, and venues who’ll give us opportunities. Don’t get me wrong there are some amazing bands and venues here, we’ve had the privilege of playing a couple and we’d love to play locally more. We’re hoping this new single and change of direction will open up better support opportunities as we widen our sound, as we really do love the home crowd. Anyone reading this who needs a support act, or a band for a slot at a venue, hit us up!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Other than releasing our new single, we played a venue in London the other week called the Lady Hamilton. We were the first band ever to play in the venue as they’ve only just got their live music license. It was pretty cool – apparently it used to be a brothel, which is always odd, but it was cool to be a part of the first live music event in the venue and to be the first band to ever play there was just awesome. We also got to play Woodfest two days in a row due a band pulling out: we absolutely love playing outdoors so it was a great moment for us. And finally working on the new music we’ve got coming up. We’re so happy with ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, and we’ve also been working on a couple of new tracks called ‘Lavender’ and ‘The End’ which we cannot wait to play live and record soon.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt. 2 – and my god what an album it is. Absolutely loving it, ‘Like Lightening is a belter and I cannot wait to see them live again next year. Highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already listened.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We’d love to play some more outdoor events, we absolutely loved playing Woodfest earlier this year and the atmosphere of a festival really fuels us on stage. One day we’d love the be in the position to tour, and maybe headline some smaller venues. We really want to push ourselves and grow our audience and fanbase. We’d be lying if we said the dream wasn’t to play Reading though, we’re not bothered what stage or time, but Reading was the first festival I ever went to, so it holds a special place for me. Generic, I know but I love the vibe there.

Well I’ve Been Here Before is out now via the usual digital sources. The Cassette Store Day release is available via the Bandcamp link below.

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New Music Friday: Red Rum Club

Liverpool sextet Red Rum Club have had a grassroots-led breakthrough year in 2019. Beginning in January with the release of the widescreen debut album Matador, the band are now on…

Liverpool sextet Red Rum Club have had a grassroots-led breakthrough year in 2019. Beginning in January with the release of the widescreen debut album Matador, the band are now on their biggest UK tour to date, and celebrate with a brand new single, ‘Kids Addicted’. Before their Northampton appearance on October 4th New Boots took tea and biscuits with them.

A busy time for you 2019. Can you summarise how your [presumably crazy] year has been? And any particular highlight you can pinpoint?
This year has been very special to us, from our debut Album ‘Matador’ coming out in January and getting to number 1 in the alternative iTunes charts, and charting in the official UK album, and vinyl charts, to selling out shows around the country, having people sing our songs back to us, and playing on stages in festivals all over the county, plus our first European festival in Romania with the likes of The 1975, and Jungle. 
Glastonbury was definitely a highlight; it was the first time going for most of us, never mind playing. A few of the lads hit it a little too hard there so we can’t remember as much as we’d like. We recently got the luxury of going to the Maida Vale studio and doing a live session there, that was a surreal moment, I know some of us were just as excited for that than for Glastonbury.

The album sounds huge. Parr Street Studios and Chris Taylor; have you struck gold there?
Massively, Chris Taylor has been brilliant with us, we’ve done everything with him; in the early days we released singles through his label ‘Rooftop Records’, so when Modern Sky signed us for an album we all knew it made sense to continue with him, and thankfully working with him means we get Parr Street, so we’re very happy with that.

Selling out the 02 Academy is no mean feat. Can you still walk the streets of Liverpool freely, or has the fame bit hard there now?
Selling out five months in advance was amazing, we were over the moon with and a little surprised with that. The good looking members get recognised now and again, but I’ll let you decide who they are! 

What you looking forward to most about this autumn tour?
We’re playing some bigger venues than we have in the past outside of Liverpool, particularly in Sheffield, and playing in cities we haven’t been to be before like Northampton, Norwich and Hull which is exciting! It helps that we love being on tour seeing old fans, meeting new fans, and we’re always up for a drink afterwards, so if you fancy one after one of our shows let us know.

What can you tell us about your 2020 plans?
2020 will be interesting to say the least. There will be more music, more tours and some very exciting news coming your way soon. We can’t give too much away, but have just released a new single ‘Kids Addicted’, so hopefully that’ll keep you interested for the time being!

Kids Addicted is out now. Red Rum Club are on tour now, and play The Black Prince in Northampton on Friday October 4th, with support from Weird Milk and Cusp.

 

 

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New Music Friday: Katie Malco

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’,…

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’, with a chorus that laments “Lose the battle/And then lose the war”. Floored by its aching quality, New Boots shares it below, plus we went to her in search of more answers.

How do you answer when that vague acquaintance asks what “sort of” music do you make?
“Sad lonely girl having a breakdown kinda vibes”.

Bar a Christmas single, this is your first release in six years. What have you been up to in that time?
I spent a long time writing, scrapping, writing, working, hiding….for a long time I didn’t really think I would ever put anything else out. I lost a lot of confidence at one point, and stopped even playing shows. It’s been weird getting back into it all again. To be honest I sort of surprised myself when I ended up with a load of recorded tracks.

After years in London you’re back in Northampton. How you finding the music world here?
To be honest I haven’t really ventured into the Northampton music world much since moving back. I happened upon a Blood-Visions show one time, and decided to start a little label to help them with their EP. But other than that my knowledge of the current Northants music scene is kind of rubbish. I’m actually playing my first Northampton show in ages soon, with Alessi’s Ark at The Black Prince on 11th October!

‘Creatures’ is a bit of a triumph, isn’t it. What can you tell us about the track?
Oh thanks! I recorded it with my friend Andy Jenkin, who also plays drums on it, and my friend Stephen Davidson from Tellison plays bass on the track too. I wrote a whole bunch of songs when I lived in Peckham and this was one of them. I had a week of not sleeping properly because I had a lot going on at the time, and I just felt like I was failing at life. I didn’t see a way forward.

What’s the last album you bought/streamed?
Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Do you still have the cat?
Yes! She sang backing vox on ‘Creatures’. I think the attention has gone to her head though, I’m trying to keep her grounded.

What’s next for you? Is their an album being worked on?
There is an album, there will be news. But I don’t know when exactly yet. What’s next in the immediate future is just playing a lot of shows hopefully….

Creatures is out now. Katie plays Northampton’s The Black Prince on October 11th alongside Alessi’s Ark, Hana Brooks and Mali Mae.

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New Music Friday: Rolling Thunder

West Northampton outfit Rolling Thunder are the fresh-faced assassins come to kick in your ears on the grubby indie dancefloors of 2019 and beyond. Seemingly fully-formed already, New Boots asked…

West Northampton outfit Rolling Thunder are the fresh-faced assassins come to kick in your ears on the grubby indie dancefloors of 2019 and beyond. Seemingly fully-formed already, New Boots asked singer Charlie Smith about how they got here and how music gives them their kicks.

How did you guys get together?
The band was formed in a history class at school in 2015 by Ryan and myself as a bit of a joke. No one took us seriously because only Ryan could play an instrument. We were studying the Vietnam War at the time and that’s where the name came from. We were just a bit obsessed with the idea of being in a band and thought it would be pretty cool, so we have just gone from there really. Joe and Harry were also proper keen to be in a band despite no music background or experience at all, so they learned their instruments from scratch by themselves – which again was another reason I think people didn’t take us very seriously. We’ve only really called ourselves a proper band since 2018 when we started doing local open mics. Harry asked his cousin Josh to drum for us when we got some gigs and has recently become a fully fledged member of the band. He was the missing piece and brings so much experience and level headedness. He holds everything together when the rest of us are getting a bit overexcited and making mistakes and stuff.

How would you describe your sound?
Definitely heavily guitar-driven. The sound is quite varied though, and there’s all sorts coming from different decades. Predominantly like an indie 80’s jangle, a more raw 90’s rock ‘n’ roll sound and then some early 00’s indie. What’s interesting is that when people try describing our sound we get completely different responses. We’ve had comparisons to all sorts, from Mod to post-punk to Britpop.

Who are your main influences in music?
The likes of Oasis, Kings of Leon and The Strokes influence the songwriting and guitars. The guitars are also influenced by Harry’s love of early Arctic Monkeys and obsession with Interpol. Joe on the bass idolises Peter Hook [Joy Division/New Order] and Bruce Foxton [The Jam], so there’s definitely some older new wave and post punk vibes there. Josh on the drums is influenced by Radiohead and Counting Crows, which is different again, and then my main influences in terms of vocals are people like Bernard Sumner [New Order], David Byrne [Talking Heads] and Damon Albarn [Blur].

What was the reaction like to the first single, ‘Break In At The Nachtwinkel’?
It’s been mental; we were completely taken aback by the positive response we got. People had only ever heard us live, so we weren’t sure how they’d take to the studio version of the track. But they seem to love it, and it means so much to us. We were on holiday the night it came out and so things got pretty silly. We were just so overwhelmed that something we had made was now out and available on the same platforms we all get our favourite music from, it was unreal. Josh has been in lots of other local bands and said he’s never seen such a quick online uptake of a track, so that seems really promising and gives us the confidence we need.

Tell us about this new one, ‘John Doe’.
At the time Ryan was struggling to write any songs, he wanted to try and write in a different way. He was listening to a lot of Paul Weller and the Kinks so he wanted to write a song in a more observational way. He looked at some of his neighbours and saw how well kept their gardens were and how clean their cars were, and that gave him the idea of writing a song based on people we’ve seen out in Northampton and Nottingham [our uni location]. The idea of a bloke who has all these outward possessions and a seemingly perfect life, but on the inside their life is a bit of a mess. We’re not saying his neighbours are actually like that either, before they try and kick his door down.
From this general idea the whole track has grown into what I suppose you could call almost a concept piece with the artwork, promotional pictures etc…all elaborating on the lyrics and initial idea. Things escalated when I even wore John Doe’s tattered suit and tie on stage. Sound wise it’s pretty big: definitely heavier than ‘Break In At The Nachtwinkel’, with a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Especially with the lyrics and vocal delivery the whole track has a lot more attitude. It also has a groovy bass line, driving drums and the usual big guitars. The recording of it was a good laugh, and the overall sound is massive thanks to the great work of Jon Martin at Stalker Studios.

Describe your live show in five words?
Energetic, Entertaining, Endearing, Exciting and Sweaty.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
We’re definitely becoming more and more integrated, our first gig in town was supporting The Keepers and we’ve supported them again since. They’re really good guys and we’re big fans of them. We recently played at TwinFest which was an awesome experience, and it meant we got to meet a lot of the other bands from Northampton and we got a really good reception which was cool. The more we play the more connected we feel which is really promising, so hopefully the scene will continue to reveal itself to us or grow around us. In terms of venues Peggotty’s Lounge in Towcester is our Cavern Club; an awesome place for us to do our own thing, as its proper local, so we get silly.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Playing live is our favourite thing, the best reception we’ve had was at a local gig at Peggotty’s Lounge. The place was totally packed and there was mosh-pits and pints going everywhere. To have people singing and screaming our own words back to us was really special. We loved every second of it.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Charlie: It was a 12” single rather than an album – ‘Life During Wartime’ by Talking Heads
Ryan: Dogrel by Fontaines D.C.
Harry: Part 1: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost by Foals
Joel: Joy as an Act of Resistance by Idles
Josh: The Fall of Hobo Johnson by Hobo Johnson

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The ambition is just to be as big as possible. Ideally we want to be on tour supporting bands and playing festivals as soon as possible. Hopefully in the not too distant future a gig at the Roadmender will be on the cards. An ultimate dream of ours would to be become proper successful and do a big homecoming gig either at Sixfield’s Stadium or Franklins Gardens. As well as big live gigs we want to push ourselves technically and develop the songwriting. Even though we think the current songs are pretty awesome we’ve only just got going and think it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

‘John Doe’ is out there now on the usual digital shelves

 

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