Tag: r&b

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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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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New Music Friday: Dreadz

Smooth Northampton Afro-dancehall man Dreadz brings the goodness wherever he goes, and latest single ‘This Wave’ is no different. With momentum building for him New Boots took a moment to…

Smooth Northampton Afro-dancehall man Dreadz brings the goodness wherever he goes, and latest single ‘This Wave’ is no different. With momentum building for him New Boots took a moment to get to the man behind the music.

What’s your Northampton story?
My family is actually from Northampton, born and bred; my grandmother [rest her soul] moved here in the 1950’s, she was secretary to former prime minister of Jamaica Alexander Bustamante. My mum lived up here the majority of her younger days, before moving to London where she had my two older sisters and then me , so since I was young I’ve always been in-between London and Northampton. At 14 I moved up to Northampton to live and which is where I reside currently with my girlfriend. I always said to my mum that I wanted to experience the town for myself and so I did. I put on for Northampton so much because of my family being from here and is my second home.

How did you start on this musical journey?
Musics always been in my blood: literally, as my dad was a sound technician and worked with many artists while he was alive, from Toots & The Maytals to Bob Marley & The Wailers to Dennis Brown. His music journey was legendary. My dad passed away when I was three so I don’t remember much of him, but the stories I hear of the man he was is who I aspire to be and that’s brought me onto the musical journey which I embark on today. I always had a love for music, but never really knew what my talent in it was like what would I do. It was when I was 14 when I discovered I could spit a few lyrics having always liked poetry; I used to always go to a Benjamin Zephaniah book when in the library. My friend Eli, our families are very close, he brought me to his uncles studio hussla d, and that’s where it all started.

How would you describe your sound ? Who are your main influences?
I would describe my sound as a Afro Dancehall, pop, rap, R&B style. I’m very versatile in what I do, and can switch up my style at any given moment. It’s hard put me into one category as I can do the majority. My main musical influences…I would say number one is Wretch 32 without a doubt. I could listen to Wretch all day – slick lyricism, different flows, but the bars they’re deep and that’s what always catches me about Wretch. So he definitely influenced me to apply to my work them killer lines that make you think. Vybz Kartel also on the dancehall side for me someone I listen to – just straight raw with it, what can I say his the worldboss, innit. Growing up I listened to a lot of music at family parties; you hear it all and I just stuck with whatever stood out to me. I’m not really fussy when it comes to music as long and I can bop and nod my head I’m nice.

‘Magnet’ and ‘Fever’, your 2018 singles, got a lot of traction, which really set you up for what followed. That must have been very satisfying, to get that immediate audience…?
2018 was actually my first year doing music properly in terms of actual music videos. My friend Ridwan who I went school with in Northampton hit me up and said “I’m doing a few music video projects bro like what you saying you want to work on a project together?” And me at the time I was like “well boy I haven’t put out a video before so why not trial it now”, so I sent him a few songs with ‘Magnet’ and ‘Fever’ being amongst that. Those were the two which stood out to him the most. I decided to go with ‘Magnet’ first and that got very good reception; I dropped it on my own channel and the views shot up within the hour. I couldn’t believe it – just goes to show that people will really support you when they know you got talent. ‘Magnet’ is now on 10k views on my own channel, which I’m very proud of due to the fact that in that year I had no YouTube channel. I made it so I could put the video on there to test the waters, and it worked since creating my YouTube channel I am now on over 500 subscribers and just aim to keep getting more. ‘Fever’ was my favourite song all the while then, and when I dropped that I wanted it to be heard so I dropped it on Linkup TV to appeal to a audience different from my own with all my views on my channel being a majority of people I knew mainly. With both them tracks being dropped within a short time span of each other helped grow my social media, also I had new people reaching out to me to tell me I’m good and keep up the work it will pay off. It also opened doors to new opportunities and new collaborations with artists. For people to just love the music I make is enough for me, I don’t need anything else; that alone makes me happy.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘This Wave’.
My latest single is a vibe I created one day when I was having a smoke – I put the beat on and it came to me. This track just describes how I’m going to take over, hence the words “but you might drown tryna get on this wave” and how I want to grow in life and prosper, but we all know that comes with hard work. “But to be a king got to work like slave” and that’s the seed I’m planting in ‘This Wave’. I got to give a big shouts to the video director Witness his artistry and smooth edit really brought the video to life. Got to give him big props for that the beat producer as well -daniyelbepo who reached out to me through Instagram sent me a few beats and I use one for ‘This Wave’. Eli San: goes without saying never a complain when he mixes and masters my track, perfection always.

You sometimes perform at the Lay It Down nights locally. How is playing live for you, does it teach you more about what you can do artistically?
Yeah I support the Lay It Down movement, I respect what they’re doing so whenever they got an event I’ll come and support, whether that’s in the audience or on the stage. Doing events like that help you build your stage presence and confidence and that’s the main reason I do it, because practice makes perfect. I love interacting with the crowd and making them sing my song back to me; that’s one of the few techniques I’ve picked up since performing live – just making the stage yours. We all have one chance to step up on there and perform, so when you do you have to make sure you leave an imprint on the crowd. Big up the Lay It Down crew for showing me love, also they can shout me whenever the weather.

How do you see the ‘scene’ in Northampton currently? Are we truly building something here?
The scene here in Northampton is amazing, so many talented artists of all ages and being up here for a while I’ve got the chance to see the growth in them too . I would say we’re building a strong musical platform for sure; the only thing we’re lacking right now is the support from outside, and sometimes for one another too. We’re all gonna win, just at different times.

Favourite Dreadz moment of the past year?
I would say is performing at my cousin J Kaz headline show [in London last July]. It was a memorable moment for me, because I was performing to a new crowd and a big one too so the nerves did kick in. But when I got on stage they just drifted. I performed one of my unreleased songs called ‘Moonlight’ and it just went off the feedback was amazing. Out of my many memorable moments last year that’s one of my favourite.

What was the last album you bought or streamed?
Stormzy Heavy Is The Head; a wicked body of work from start to finish.

What is your burning desire for to do in 2020? What plans do you have?
My plans is just to kill it. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’m just gonna show you. We have a lot planned.

This Wave is out now on all major platforms

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Record review: Greg Coulson

GREG COULSON What’s New [self-released] Coulson is still only in his mid-20s but he’s crammed an awful lot in so far. He joined local Northampton band Danny Connors and The…

GREG COULSON
What’s New [self-released]

Coulson is still only in his mid-20s but he’s crammed an awful lot in so far. He joined local Northampton band Danny Connors and The Ladders at just 17, he hooked up with Two-Tone legends The Selecter at 19 – and stayed there for five years. He’s toured America, playing both South by SouthWest and Coachella festivals, and he even did a stint in a Burt Bacharach-themed West End show. Even now he’s gone solo, he is still called upon by The Blockheads to fill in on guitar when needed. Talk about paying your dues off early…

Finally the multi-instrumentalist has fulfilled the dream of a debut album. It’s full of vim and blues-funk energy, as demonstrated on the jive-tastic opener ’10/10′ [Adam Gammage’s drums propelling the whole thing to its peaks]. Follow-up ‘Girls’ sees the Flat Pack Horn Co give it some Daptones swing, plus Coulson lets loose on his Hammond to great, Stevie Winwood-esque effect. The pop melody vocal is so spot on it could give most of the Stax singles a run for their money.

‘Stitch Me Up’, a co-write with Danny Connors, is their idea of Stevie Wonder if he roamed The Mounts. The rhythm playing is as steady as a metronomic beat, though the feel of the lead instruments is a little on the wild side. Coulson runs through a ’60s reggae-styled Farfisa solo in the middle – completely changing the feel of things for a minute – before relaunching into that soulful groove chorus. The words are a treat too. It’s a seriously impressive five minutes, and should be the first thing you listen to on the album if in a rush. ‘Love Nest’ is the only really cheesy moment on the album, the ’80s blues-rock sound a tad too close to function band for comfort [nice guitar lines though]. All is quickly forgiven though as the title track roars into view, with it’s modern rock’n’roll feel [Jack White, Black Keys] and great call-and-response chorus. The fuzzy guitar from Staurt Dixon practically launches out of the speakers, such is his enthusiasm. And New Boots isn’t sure if there’s a word that could sufficiently sum up the outrageous Hammond solo.

The second half of the album is more of the same, and the quality never lets up. ‘Someone To Be There’ swaggers over the horizon with a great [or should that be Wonder-ful] soaring chorus in it’s back pocket. ‘End Of The Line’ introduces Coulson’s ability with a Michael Jackson-mimicked falsetto. It’s perhaps the most emotional song on the album, a plea to return to the past glories of love. Indeed it’s a song that seems to effortlessly amalgamate the last 50 years of blues rock into a coherent whole; and that’s no mean feat. ‘Ran Out And Ready’ is a slice of staccato Hammond-funk that would have been issued in 1968 on some obscure mid-Western label. In other words, very special. Great percussion movements on this too, muso fans.

Closer ‘Sick Note’ returns the horns to the fore, and is a fun-if-familiar number to sign off with. And there you have it: 40 minutes of blues-funk bliss from one of its newer exponents. Greg takes on the often unfashionable R&B sound and makes an album with personality, finesse and fine songs. We should all get behind him.

Phil Moore

What’s New? is out now on CD and the usual downloading/streaming sites

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