Interview: Scarlet.

Hotly-tipped north-west quartet Scarlet are currently on a UK tour and finish their run at The Lab Northampton on Saturday October 14th. New Boots speaks to them about alt-rock, feminism and getting to America.Scarlet Pic1

New Boots: For the uninitiated could you let us know a bit of background about who are you as people and how you formed?

Jessie: We are SCARLET, an unsigned DIY band that sounds like if Nirvana, Blondie and The Pixies had a band baby. I’m Jessie, the singer and guitarist, Adam is guitar man, Jake is our drummer and we have a bassist called G.
Adam – We’re a bunch of northerners dotted around Manchester Liverpool and St Helens who are all obsessed with writing and performing live music. Me and Jessie got things going through out our time at Chester uni and eventually we got a band together who could all meet up and rehearse in Liverpool and we’ve kept our rehearsal space there ever since!

NB: How would you describe your sound? It’s pretty anthemic to our ears.
Jake: To me our sound is pretty unique. I feel like we’ve taken the late grunge, alt rock sound from the 90’s (think the Pixies) and really modernised it. We have that same energy and riff driven sound, but with an intelligence and level of sophistication that feels fresh and modern, not just a throwback.

NB: Jessie, you recently spoke out on the difficult experiences of being a female in the music business. Can you elaborate some more for those that didn’t see the article.
Yeah, I wrote a piece for Alternative Press magazine along with some other brilliant girls, about our experience in the music industry surrounding sexism. We literally spoke about the facts, things that have actually happened to us at shows and how we are treated in comparison to how men are treated. The comments on the article pretty much backed up what we were all talking about. Angry men calling us all kinds of names and pigeon-holing us into a criteria that they think fits a woman that has the nerve to talk about her experiences. I was shocked at the response to be fair. The reaction to the word ‘Feminist’ is often a defensive/aggressive one. “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” (Nicole Kidman said that). I never think of myself as different to the boys. I forget I have boobs most of the time. It would be great if
everyone could forget that I have boobs.

NB: What was the last album you bought on vinyl? What was the last thing you downloaded?
Adam: Last album I bought was DAMN by Kendrick Lamar (the GOD)
Jessie: The last album I bought…If were telling the truth on this one, it was Little Mix – haha – them girls can sing! I love how fun they are. But I’m into all kinds of music, the last vinyl album I bought was Enter Shikari’s new one on pre order
Jake: I’ve gotten quite into my vinyl purchases recently. The last albums I bought were Currents by Tame Impala and Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave. Last album I downloaded was More Life by Drake. I love hip hop.

NB: What are your main influences/interests outside the world of music?
Jessie – I’m an animal nerd. I think animals are amazing. I love watching films, I got so into Kick Ass 2 that I literally forgot to breathe and almost passed out, haha. Films draw me in massively, I throw all my emotions into films. I am also really into science… like, specifically the anatomy of the voice… I’ve only recently got into it and its the best thing to geek out over.

Jake – I love reading: I’m a big ol’ nerd when it comes to fantasy books and stuff. I think I’ve read Lord of the Rings about three times, so that gives you an idea! I also love quirky independent films and tend to like the low-budget, coming-of-age type stuff. My biggest soft spot is American comedy shows though, I can’t get enough. Shows like Rick and Morty, Archer, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Bojack Horseman are just brilliant.

NB: What can folk expect from your live show?

Jessie: Sweat… and uncontrollable mashing, haha!
Jake: Expect loads and loads of energy! Our live performances go down really well as we put our blood, sweat and tears into every song.

NB: There’s a lot of great new guitar music around. Who is your ‘tip for the top’?
Jake: There’s a great band who we played with in Blackpool called Seegulls, they’re really great and we loved playing with them.
Adam:- I tip Purple Merlin from Stockport to have a great year.
Jessie: Seegulls all the way, their live energy is something else. I have no idea how they aren’t massive yet. There’s a few incredible bands about right now: Occoeur, Witch Fever, and Seegulls are my faves.

NB: What is your burning desire for the band to do next? What plans do you have for 2018?
Jessie: I want to keep building a team around us. And I want to go to America and get on all the festivals next year. A handful isn’t enough, I want to do them ALL.
Jake: for me I want to get an EP or a single recorded. Promote that. The next year or so will be huge for this band. I can feel it. Something big is coming, I can feel it in my bones!


‘New Midland Sounds’ compilation released

Local artists release compilation album in aid of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance21317714_504065733260720_3472795666816020234_n

The Shoe Town Collective is a collection of independent artists and bands collaborating for charitable causes. All downloadable profits of this album New Midland Sounds are in aid of the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

All 23 original artists are from all corners of the Midlands. “Known for its heritage in shoe-making”, so the collective state, “Northamptonshire has now become a vibrant centre for music-making – the artists here likewise gravitate around this Central Midlands Shoe town. We’ve got together and put together this collection of our works in the hope of spreading our net a little further. We’re representatives for what our humble shoe towns can provide but there’s lots more talent to discover”.

Artists on the compilation are Stevie Jones & The Wildfires, Freebooters, hazeyjane, Will Rogers, Kenneth J Nash, Fatbwoi, Ash Tu-kay, Steve Young, Aldous Pinch, Tim Jon Brophy, Averse Prospect, Autumn Dawn Leader, Mark A. Harrison, Lilith’s Army, Woolford Scott, Duncan Bisatt, Lew Bear, Rogue State Circus, DJ Jeffeak, Dan Hughes, Star Shaped Halos, Andy Griffiths, and Paul Strummer.

Songs are available to download from Bandcamp for 75p per track, or all twenty three songs for £12.99:

All downloadable profits of this album in aid of the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

Music Review

Music Review: Loose Tooth ‘Loose Tooth’

LOOSE TOOTH (Undead Collective Records)

This Northampton band have a biography that states ‘millennial malaise at it’s most morbid’. As sales pitches go it’s unlikely to have people queuing up for tickets. It’s obviously a little bit tongue in cheek. But then again, as the guttural scream of ‘Split In The Hair’ kicks in and lasts an uncomfortable nine seconds, maybe not so. Anyway up, the hardcore punk/grunge/metal trio have turned in a debut [mini] album that’s as confident and fresh sounding as anyone has any right to be.

The pummeling action of Oli Knight (formerly of Of Blue Skies And Youth) on vocals and guitar is capably aided and abetted by Adam Cator on bass and Josh Miller on drums throughout (both formerly of Death Kindly Waits For Me). Eighteen months work has gone on in the background leading up this release, and it’s been time well spent, as the songs give the hardcore/alt-rock scene a sure-shot in the arm.

‘Moodhoover’ has immediate impact, with the juxtaposition between anthemic chorus and the tense light/dark shades on the verses. It loses its shit towards the climax and will leave you rather stunned when it’s suddenly over. The aforementioned ‘Split In The Hair’ plays it relatively straight – the hardcore centre sounding familiar to millions. It moves into screamo territory in the breakdown though: we’re talking less scare-the-horses and more Stephen King shit-the-bed. ‘Roman Nose’ showcases their trademark tempo changes again, shifting effortlessly from frenetic passages to a more grunge-style chorus.

‘Raincoats’ has one foot in the indie/alt-rock world: all well-shaped guitar lines through just the right pedals and a keening, angry melody about love gone wrong. If you want to dip your toe into this album it’s perhaps a good starting point. ‘Snakebites’ repeats the trick, though with a little too much reliance on the pure grunge sound when evidently the strength of the band is the blend of their myriad influences. ‘The Everfall’ is the softest sounding tune here: an effecting minor-chord bruised body that jolts back into life on slash’n’burn punk choruses. They finish with their debut single ‘Pearls’, a powerful song about a dying relative and the anguish that causes. It’s beautiful, haunting, sad, angry, and more besides. Well worth waiting around for, in an album that continually rewards.

If you enjoy Refused, Deftones, Soundgarden, At The Drive-In, or Million Dead then there’s something here for you. And really you should be all over this, as Loose Tooth offers some serious dark fun to those bleak Midlands nights.

Phil Istine

Loose Tooth is available to buy on ITunes, to stream on the major platforms, and to buy on CD directly at the band’s shows


Live Review

Flyte, The Black Prince, Northampton, August 13th 2017

After more than two years, from humble support act with flare to headlining a new local festival, the alt-pop four-piece Flyte return to Northampton with an exclusive run through of their upcoming debut album. Back in early 2015 Flyte supported folk artist Lucy Rose at a sold-out Roadmender gig, leaving their first impression on the town…and it was a good one. Since then they have only become tighter as a band and more thought-provoking with their lyrics, and it shows in their set here at Garden Open Mike 2017.

Opening their set with the sharp oscillating guitar rhythm from lead vocalist Will Taylor on track ‘Echoes’ they instantly command the swinging shoulders of the crowd. Like the track suggests the distorted guitar reverb and sublime four-part harmonies bounce off the stone walls that surround the BP garden, allowing the music to envelop the audience. Track after track, Flyte’s faultless set pulls the crowd closer to the stage. The most popular tracks of the night appear to be their new single ‘Cathy Come Home’ with its ever-so-catchy chorus drop, as well as their final two tracks ‘Faithless’ and a stripped-back acoustic version of one of their older tracks ‘Light Me Up’. On the final song sky lanterns are fittingly let off into the night. Well some of them were: a comical “fuck” comes from Taylor’s microphone as one lantern floats just above the stage and briefly nests in a tree behind whilst the band kicked off their final song. A bit of final commotion to a unique experience – and New Boots can’t think of anyone we would like more to round off a great day and night of music.

Tonight Flyte are a truly mesmerising headline, and great things must follow their debut album The Loved Ones, released later this week.

Maxwell Edwards

Live Review

The Red Triangle + Houses In Motion, The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough, July 29 2017

The Red Triangle + Houses In Motion, Retro-Beat at The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough. 29th July 2017

It is just over a year since The Red Triangle’s previous incarnation, the fantastically-monikered Red Triangle Circus Gang, played at Wellingborough’s Retro-Beat night. On that occasion, their festival-perfect gypsy folk soul had the audience up and dancing with abandon as then-vocalist Anya and guitarist Marcus revved up their hometown crowd. A name abbreviation and a line-up change later, vocalist Anya has been replaced by Elle Delaney and with her comes a significant shift in sound. With The Horseshoe rapidly filling up and the crowd for this Retro-Beat looking even more eclectic than usual, the late stage times meant anticipation to see what TRT would show us was simmering away nicely. And tonight patience is a virtue.

The wait is extended by a surprisingly lengthy support set from Houses In Motion, who have had to restructure themselves for the evening to accommodate the absence of their drummer. Their set of blues and soul-tinged original songs and covers (Tom Tom Club, Deee-Lite, Stevie Wonder) suffers from the lack of beats or bass, although there is some standout guitar moments and vocalist Jackie has some real power to her voice, especially on the bluesier songs. A scaled-down performance may have been better suited to their situation, as there are moments when the energy of Jackie’s performance jars against the lack of a rhythm section, leaving you with the feeling that she can hear what is meant to be there, but the rest of us can’t. Like watching people at a silent disco.

With time rapidly becoming an issue, the six members of The Red Triangle are ushered onstage, introductions are quickly dispensed with, and they launch into their opener ‘Cosmic’. Immediately, the contrast with their previous incarnation is clear: with much more of an acid jazz/neo-soul sound that instantly harks back to bands like Brand New Heavies and a unleashes a real 90s R&B nostalgia, with Elle’s light and sweet vocals trilling over the solid, polished sound of the guitar, bass, drums, keys and violin behind her. This is boosted further when Marcus’ backing comes in, their voices working perfectly together to bulk out her delicate sound. TRT’s relaxed, natural vibe runs through their set, with lyrics touching on the metaphysical and spiritual just this side of the full patchouli. Trippy ‘Eden’ feels like the perfect festival soundtrack, leading you down an urban Alice’s rabbit hole. The intricate but strong ‘Had About Enough’ evokes memories of Massive Attack and Madonna’s version of ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’. There are even hints of the old Circus Gang in the violin-led ‘Wooden Heart’. Tribute to mothers, ‘Momma’, is the only number that feels unworthy of the set, conforming to my long-held rule that you should always skip the cheesy album tracks where any band start getting saccharine about their parents or their religion. As Retro-Beat overruns its allotted time slot, no one is complaining as the final songs treat us to a variety of chilled-out soul, touches of drum & bass beats, and seemingly effortless flights of musical fancy that are definitely best experienced live.

With the name and line-up so similar, comparisons were always inevitable, but in this incarnation The Red Triangle are very different but no less impressive. They are a collective of musicians who are going to constantly evolve their sound with the ebb and flow of their varied influences, so I don’t think they do permanence. Whilst their current direction may lack the immediate impact of the warm, high-energy originality of the Circus Gang era, it is sincere, crafted, and well worth a little patience.

Kat Fiction

The Red Triangle, July 2017

Live Review

DTF#5, The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton, July 12

If you are going to go out midweek in Northampton and get a good gig in you then chances are it’s going to be hosted by either The Roadmender [expensive ticket, 500+ people] or The Garibaldi Hotel [free ticket, 50+ people]. And so it goes again this warm July evening, with another Destined To Fail evening in this backstreet boozer.

Served up are a twin serving of Brighton, sandwiched between a more immediate ensemble in the shape of Blood-Visions. New Boots had been led to believe the locals were one of Northampton’s finest. That report, it unfolds, is pretty bang on the money. The quintet [4x guy, 1x gal] oscillate between hardcore punk and pop-punk/emo, and it is not immediately clear whether they are a “message band” [in the time-honoured tradition of Black Flag, Fugazi, etc.], or simply in it for shits and giggles [as they’re named after a Jay Reatard album let us assume the latter]. Regardless of intent the performance is carried to another level by the ferocious-yet-witty presence of frontman Joss. The songs lock into a simple riff-based groove and batter you into submission. If you like your music literally in your face you’ll find plenty to love with these visions.

Before that though the evening opens with The New Tusk, the Brighton trio that look quite like Husker Du and Soundgarden. Their sound is lot more indie though, with Cribs-style jittery guitar patterns sprinkled liberally throughout. Doomy bass lines propel the whole thing forward, and you can appreciate the live arena is their natural domain. It’s imperative to nod your head on this journey their on. It’s a solid rather than world beating start to the evening, and do definitely keep an eye on the name for future releases as they have all the classic makings there.

Headliners Birdskulls – Jack [guitar and vocals], James [normally/formerly Rory, bass] and Sam [drums] – are our second Brighton band tonight. With one solid album under their belts tonight they share their Lemonheads/Nirvana-indebted grunge pop with the uninitiated, and the audience and New Boots are ever so pleased they did, for they got it going on, as ably demonstrated on new song ‘Over It‘. There’s a self-titled EP released this autumn via Art Is Hard Records [and recorded with Theo Verney, no less]. Do check it out when it drops.

Reportage by Phil Istine

Bird Skullsbirdskulls setlistBlood Visions

Live Review

Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles gig, photos


Former Catfish and The Bottlemen guitarist/song-writer Billy Bibby brought his new band to Northampton’s Charles Bradlaugh last weekend, and he didn’t disappoint. Playing recent singles including ‘Are You Ready?’, ‘Substitute’, ‘Always Something’, and new one ‘Hamburg’ his band are a tour de force of good time guitar rock’n’roll. The support wasn’t too shabby neither, with locals The Barratts and Kettering’s Monarchs up to their usual high standard.

Photos by David Jackson [http://davidtjackson.com]