Tag: rock

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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New Music Friday: From Eden To Exile

From Eden to Exile release their ‘Age of Fire EP’ on May 1st [Attic Records]. Peter Dennis reviews, and also speaks to the Northampton band. It’s been quite a journey…

From Eden to Exile release their ‘Age of Fire EP’ on May 1st [Attic Records]. Peter Dennis reviews, and also speaks to the Northampton band.

It’s been quite a journey for From Eden to Exile since their inception in 2012. A solid debut EP [‘Soundtrack to Your Demise’] hit the streets in 2015, preceding 2017’s full length Modern Disdain. In between came a triumphant appearance at the UK’s premier metal fest, Bloodstock Open Air, in addition to some line-up changes. However they’ve finally hit on the right chemistry for their latest EP, ‘Age of Fire’, an explosive effort containing five Molotov cocktails.

Wasting little time on niceties opening salvo ‘Age of Fire’ arrives like a Panzer division sweeping across the Steppes. A twin-guitar attack delivering riffs in tandem combine with drums that fire with machine-gun rapidity to create a brutal, punishing affair. With no sign of redemption From Eden to Exile set about scrawling their sound on every available surface yet, for all the sonic fury, there’s a real groove, a hardcore swing, that underpins proceedings. When the guitar solos erupt they’re short and succinct, which only adds to the intensity, as the band effortlessly pull together different strands of extreme metal with blackened blast beats nestling betwixt grindcore breakdowns.

‘Face of Desolation’ eases up on the throttle slightly for a more measured affair that seems to spiral backwards as Tom Franklin’s guttural growl screams like a daemon sucked into the depths of hell. Joey Jaycock and Tom Kelland give their guitar lines a neo-classical feel, not dissimilar to that employed by Iron Maiden, and the riff heavy outro attacks the cranium like a series of hammer blows. The crushing ‘The Great Disconnect’ is a maze of technical riffs surrounded by a musical maelstrom. Imagine death metal legends Suffocation jamming with LA hardcore crew Rotting Out and you’d have something approaching the monolithic enormity of ‘The Great Disconnect’ which attaches itself to the listener like an anchor to a drowning man.

Sometimes metalcore can sound a bit muddy but producer Neil Hudson has done a great job in giving all the instruments room to breathe. However on ’Inhuman’ he has created a claustrophobic feel by encasing the vocals within walls of sound. A song that’s constantly evolving from it’s chuggy beginnings to an all-out thrasher and the short, sharp sonic shifts are rather dizzying and disorientating. Closer ‘Conspire’ is a contradictory tension of opposites as the guitars blind with a metallic sheen and are overlaid with a throat shredding roar and, as the track stomps like a 900lb gorilla, the acoustic mid-section, with its clean vocals, only acts as a foil to make the crescendo even more thunderous – which in turn makes the silence that follows all the more deafening.

The stark monochrome cover that houses Age of Fire is pretty indicative of the music contained within: leaving little room for indiscretion it’s a collection that demands your full attention. The lyricism, which speaks of a not-to-distant dystopian future, unites the record with an almost conceptual feel, and ensures the record hangs together as a cohesive whole. Stirling stuff.

It’s an exciting time for heavy music in ShoeTown, with Ashborn and Krysthla having released a career-defining albums and From Eden to Exile about to unleash their second EP ‘Age of Fire’. The three long years since their debut album have been a busy time for the band, and here vocalist Tom Franklin and bassist Joey Jaycock speak to New Boots to bring us up to date on all their shenanigans.

Can you give us a history of the band?
We started back in 2012 in Daventry, as a group of friends with a mutual love of heavy music. There have been a few people come and go throughout the years, but primarily we’re just mates who love playing metal music and it’s always been that way. We’ve got a broad range of influences, bands like Sylosis, Architects, Protest The Hero, After The Burial, and a ton more. The name was coined by a former vocalist, but there isn’t really a story behind it.

It’s been three years since your debut album and the new EP. Why so long?
Shortly after the album was released, our old vocalist [Matt Dyne] decided to leave the band. And then after we got Tom Franklin in as our new vocalist, our drummer Liam Turland then left to join our friends in Krysthla, to be immediately replaced by Jake Patrick. Add to that Mike Bell and Joey swapping guitar and bass positions, and there was a lot of groundwork to be done before we got our heads down and wrote some new music.

You’ve had some big career highlights; Bloodstock Festival springs to mind. Looking back can you think of one specific moment where everything fell into place?
Obviously Bloodstock was a huge one for us back in 2015. Entering the Metal 2 The Masses competition, we didn’t even think for a second we would pass through every round to become winners and get the chance to play Bloodstock. After this amazing experience, we feel it gave us an immense realisation of what we could actually achieve, so it gave us all a massive push to get our heads down and get even more creative. UK Tech Fest 2018 is one that we always look back on fondly, even though a few of us nearly got taken out by some major sunstroke!

Metal is an often maligned genre, but Northamptonshire has some pretty cool metal bands at the moment. What is it about the county at present that’s birthing these groups?
We’re not sure why, but we’re happy it’s thriving! There’s always a few Northants bands headed to Bloodstock via the Metal 2 The Masses competition, and it’s a great thing to see. I think it’s down to the camaraderie between the bands, and recording studios like Initiate Audio and Media becoming the central hub of new unsigned music from Northamptonshire.

From the cover to the music within it seems that you’ve taken a darker turn with ‘Age of Fire’. Is that fair comment? If so, why and what aesthetics were you drawing from?
It marks the beginning of a new chapter for the band and in many ways it is a fresh start. We have new faces on board and as a result, the music has evolved too. It’s definitely a fair comment to say that we’re trying to make things darker, and this trend will long continue.

Lyrically too ‘Age of Fire’ seems quite dark by drawing on dystopian themes. Why? The lyrics tend to link all the songs conceptually. Was that your intention?
The lyrics were originally written as one continuous story, then broken off into sections which became songs. Interestingly these stories and themes have become more and more relevant in the past year since we recorded. Although dark in nature, as is the genre typically, we hope people can use our music to see through any rough times as a positive distraction.

I wonder how new vocalist Tom Franklin altered the shape of the new EP.
Tom joined the band under a lot of pressure and with high expectations. He has absolutely delivered the goods with the recording of the new EP, and playing UK Tech Fest 2018 as his second show with us on very short notice. He gave it his all in the studio, crafted some excellent lyrics, and has taken an active role in the writing process every step of the way.

Like a game of musical chairs Joey and Mike swapped instruments. How did this change the chemistry in the group?
It’s as good as ever, really. Mike was looking for a new challenge and was getting into playing bass, Joey was coming up with more and more riffs and it just made sense to swap places and switch things up and it worked out well!

How do you feel now the EP is in the bag and ready to be released?
It’s an exciting time to be on the verge of getting ‘Age Of Fire’ out there finally. There’s always that element of listening back and being critical of our performances, but all we can do is put that energy into the writing process for whatever comes next and keep improving as a unit.

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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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New Music Friday: Kian Russell

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to…

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to stop the study and give us some of his time. He obliged.

Who is in your band, and what do they play?
At the moment, the only permanent member of my band is Andy Doran, who lives in Hemel Hempstead. I am currently looking for a bass player and rhythm guitarist. Fortunately Oli Rumens, from The Comms, has been standing in on the bass. Oli and I have been jamming for a while now and I am grateful that he has been able to join me on stage. Also my guitar teacher and friend, Charlie Shaughnessy, from the USA stands in on the guitar. He is over here on an extended vacation to the UK. Charlie was part of my band in the States and co-produced my EP.

How did you start on your path to music/guitar playing?
My parents have always wanted me to do three things;
1) play a sport
2) speak a second language
3) learn to play a musical instrument.
I started playing rugby for the Old Northamptonians’ RFC when I was 7 and continued playing up until I was 13. I have been learning Spanish, academically, for the past six years. In the States I was learning Mexican Spanish, but now I am back in the UK I’ve been learning European Spanish for my GCSE.
Like Rugby, I started playing the guitar early at 7 years old. However my first love was rugby. At the age of 8, I was diagnosed with a very rare bone disorder in my foot which stopped me playing all sports, even walking wasn’t allowed, for a year! It was during this time that my passion for the guitar truly started to grow. I began to go through “Rockschool” gradings with my tutor, Anthony George at Cutting Edge Guitar here in Northampton.
Whilst I have always loved playing guitar, I really started taking it seriously once I moved to the USA. Seattle has an amazing music scene in general, and is really supportive of youth music and original music. I began to practice and focus my time and creativity in both guitar playing and songwriting. I continued my guitar lessons in the States with my school teacher. He passed me on to Charlie Shaughnessy, and that’s when I started to understand the technical side of guitar playing.
Since my musical journey began, I have been fortunate to be mentored by Seattle’s Ayron Jones and RCA recording artist, Steve Lynch from the band Autograph. These guys have guided me and helped me understand the industry and not just playing the guitar. They have made such a huge difference to the way I look at my music. My big achievement though is getting a full artist endorsement from one of the world leaders in guitar amps, Northampton based, Blackstar Amplification. These guys have been great and encourage me to aim high.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences do you feel?
I like to define my sound as a mix of blues and rock. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, Albert King and John Mayer have all been my major influences. However, I could spend all day talking about the great artists that have inspired them, and have inspired me. In the rock genre its Highly Suspect, Theo Katzman and Foo Fighters.

You spent some years in the States. Tell us about that experience in regards your musical development.
The States allowed me to define myself further as a musician, learning about different styles to which I wasn’t familiar with. As mentioned I am very lucky to have been mentored by some amazing musicians in the United States. They’ve helped guide me through both music as a performer and music as a business to try and become the best version of myself. In the US I had the chance to play with great musicians such as Travis Larson, Ayron Jones, and Dudley Taft, plus many other touring artists.
Outside of performing, I also began a journey on music production. One of the local venues which I frequented, Louie G’s, allowed me to run the lighting and sound for them every Friday and Saturday. Through this, I met many more like-minded musicians but also became exposed to many different styles.

Tell us about this EP, ‘Off The Ground’.
The EP was a way to wrap everything that I was leaving in the States in musical form. Recorded alongside my bassist and drummer, we had total creative control over how we wanted the songs to sound like in the finished product. ‘Off The Ground’, the title track of the EP, was the first song ever written for the project. With an indie/pop vibe, it is a juxtaposition of the rest of the EP.
It was recorded over five months and finished about one week before I left the USA permanently. Through Cakewalk [a DAW software] we weren’t restricted to the trio setup (which we used live) and could experiment with other instruments and sounds. The last track on the EP, ’I Don’t Need You’, is the most experimental.
With over 80 different audio tracks, it was the most taxing song to write. However, as a musician, it is one of my favourite songs to listen to. The chorus is packed with harmonies, both vocally and compositionally. Charlie Shaughnessy [bassist and producer] and I would work from 12pm to 2am on various parts of the songs; focusing on minute details to make sure they were tight and effective. We made sure that along the way, we used each others ideas to ensure that everybody could be heard.

What are your live shows like, in five words or less?
Energetic, shred-tastic, dynamic, fun, soulful.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Obviously being from Northampton, I want to play local venues. Up until recently, with exception to the Northampton Music Festival, the majority of my gigs have been in and around London plus some other cool places around the UK. I am a newbie on the Northampton music scene and still making friends and getting to know some awesome bands like Baby Lung [who I think are awesome], the guys from Tragic, The Big Dirty and Naked Next Door…. so much cool stuff coming out of Northampton at the moment. I think we have some cool venues here and I’m gradually ticking them off.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Definitely opening for Jared James Nichols at The Craufurd Arms! He has been a major influence for me, and to be able to meet and perform alongside him was a dream come true. We were all so pumped for the show and to perform as one meant all the preparation was worth it. We obviously impressed Jared and his management as they have invited us to support them again on his 2020 UK Tour. But I have also enjoyed playing on the same bill as Brian McFadden, supported Steve Rodgers and soon I will be supporting The Quireboys. So these are all favourite moments for many different reasons.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was the Purple Rain vinyl. For me, it is one of the best albums. However the last album I’ve streamed has to be (What’s the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis. It’s one of those albums that you just have to listen to.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I am currently writing for the next album. I want to try and get more songs written and composed before the end of the year to hopefully head into the studio next year. With some exciting shows coming up, as mentioned, like The Quireboys, Jared James Nichols and a few other bands, we are very excited to get a fresh set list going and to perform more locally. I am blown away by how well things have gone so far and I am excited for what is to come for the band and with incredible musicians behind me, there is no end to what we can achieve!

The Off The Ground EP is out now. The Kian Russell Band play Northampton twice this month: The Lab on November 22nd, and The Garibaldi Hotel on the 30th.

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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: We Are Giants

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with…

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with new single ‘Respond’. Time to ch-ch-chat…

How did you guys get together?
We first started in mid-2015, originally connecting through adverts on joinmyband.com. Our first gig was on NYE of that year. We started off as a four-piece playing softer rock and practising in Griffs lounge, but soon found our heavier sound and transitioned into a trio. Alex came on board as a WAGlad [and drummer] last summer. We play together as good friends and because of our passion for writing and playing original rock music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
This is the question that usually throws people off! Our sound is heavy modern rock but with gritty vocals rather than any screaming. That being said….Griff can sing quite beautifully as well. Our influences range from Alexisonfire, old-school Biffy Clyro, Don Broco and Press to Meco and we certainly think that you can hear a little bit of each of those bands in our tunes.

What was the reaction like to The Empire?
Lee’s Nan loved the artwork but not so much the music. Being serious, it’s tough being a small unsigned originals rock band, and unless you’re pumping money into pushing your stuff it’s difficult to get heard. That’s why it’s always fantastic when people grab a CD from us at gigs or stumbling across us on the streaming platforms. BBC Introducing has also played some tracks off of The Empire, which is cool! We’re proud of the songs that we’ve created and recorded together, and if nothing comes from it then at least we’ve had some good times doing it all and have something for our grandkids to listen to [and hate].

Tell us about this new song, ‘Respond’.
‘Respond’ was written by all three of us pretty much as soon as Alex came on board. Griff came up with the riff at 1am when we were all pissed, and we never looked back. We recorded the song at the WAG studio and had a great time adding all of the layers….especially the ukulele in the breakdown! When it was time to release the song, we thought about ideas for a music video and being the lazy bastards we are, we decided to stand in front of a green screen and shoot a one take dancing video…..but it turned out great! It seems that when we run out of ideas we always turn to the comedy, crazy costumes, green screen video approach. We probably did the main video in one take but also created five or six bonus clips that we released before the launch and those probably took the most time because we were laughing so much! Recording and shooting videos is the most fun part of being in a band for us because we get to have a laugh and record whatever idea pops into our heads.

What are your live shows like?
We like to have fun and bring energy to the stage, it’s usually a weekend so why would we want to be all serious and moody? Crowd wise, it’s always hit or miss. We’ve played some absolutely insane gigs, and also played to practically no one on many occasions. Our proudest moment has to be when we were runners up in MK11’s battle of the bands competition, but we won the best bassist and guitarist award. We also got a cool support slot for a CJ Ramone gig from that show.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We’ve had the opportunity to play with 100s of bands in 10s of venues in our brief history. We’ve made great friends playing shows in Northants and always enjoy playing at The King Billy, The Roadmender and the cool pubs in Daventry. These days there are a lot of gigs where the majority of the crowd is the bands that are on the line-up, so it’s important to drop the egos, have a beer and enjoy each other’s show.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Shooting the music video for our next single…coming out soon! The video was soooo much fun to film and we hope that comes across on camera. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details soon on that.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Lee – Biffy Clyro Balance Not Symmetry
Alex – Press To Meco Here’s To The Fatigue
Griff – Acoda Truth Seeker

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We have a new single coming out soon with an awesome video to match. We think that this is possibly our best work to date so we’re excited to release it! After that we’re just going to focus on having a good time being in a band: whether that’s working on new tracks, jamming or recording and shooting video content. We’re not ruling out the odd live show but we live busy lives and the rewards for the time, effort and money that you put into playing shows is slim, but that’s cool….we have a laugh together and do what we want, when we want.

Respond is out now

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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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Album review: Empyre

EMPYRE Self Aware [self-released] The opening track ‘My Bad’ sets out the template for the debut by this Northampton quartet and their wrought, minor-chord melodrama of a debut album. Solid…

EMPYRE
Self Aware [self-released]

The opening track ‘My Bad’ sets out the template for the debut by this Northampton quartet and their wrought, minor-chord melodrama of a debut album. Solid and thick rhythms; crunchy blues-metal riffs, intense-yet-introspective lyrics sung by front-man Henrik Steenholdt. Self Aware is not something that’s ever going to wash over you in the background.

Taking their cues from the likes of Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, with occasional forays into Muse-like bombast, Self Aware is a thrilling and atmospheric ride to be on. Recent single New ‘Republic’ is the first heads-down rocker to come along, cruising confidently on those Soundgarden-style verses and Metallica vocal workouts. 

A band that’s no stranger to accomplished and almost progressive songwriting ideas, they aren’t afraid to be bold when they need to, as ‘Just A Ride’ with it’s gentle feedback passages, ably demonstrates. But then ‘Too Close’ shows they are able to be just as melodic as any classic band you care to name. Steenholdt’s wail on the latter is something to truly behold too, holding long notes with aplomb.  

‘Drive’ perhaps sees them coming too close to aping their heroes, not offering the originality that’s clearly evident elsewhere on the album.  It’s the mid album dip I guess; same applies to ‘Only Way Out’. ‘Cut To The Core’ though has a touch of the pop-punk in its rhythm, and it suits them well. The previous single, the catchy and hard-hitting ‘Too Little Too Late’, is the one to ease yourself into their world; the drums cut hard, as do the lyrics. By the time the finale, the atmospheric and epic grunge workout ‘Homegrown’, finishes you do feel emotionally exhausted, but in the best way possible.

A hard-working band, the general buzz around Empyre is there for good reason. They come alive in the gig environment, and they’ve done a great job of getting that energy in the studio across these eleven tracks, whilst still adding enough texture to warrant repeat plays. If you like your hard rock with some proggy bites then Self Aware really should be happy nestling in your collection very soon.

Phil Moore

Self Aware is out now

 

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