>Happy Mondays (of course) had a guitarist who was, variably, called ‘Moose’ or ‘Cowhead’, and Shaun Ryder himself would sometimes only answer to the moniker ‘X’. The Offspring have Noodles. 60’s band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch had… well, never mind.
Bands, and their select members-club nature, are a breeding ground for mildly stupid in-joke behaviour. Part endearing trait, part eye-rolling japery, this knack for appellative nonsense is part and parcel of rock ‘n’ roll, whether us punters, with mere human names, like it or not. Even The Beatles had a Ringo.
Today’s New Artist, Beth Jeans Houghton, doesn’t need a krayzee-bonkers name to zip hurriedly past the wheat and the chaff. Her songs are shot through with a bizarre, unnerving and dizzy purity – all wrapped up in near-Gothic splendour.
Sweet Tooth Bird soars appropriately, sucking in swirls of beautiful sound and oozing a glorious, unguent sonic syrup back out. Golden is what synesthesiacs hear when they are bathed in glorious orange sunlight – unnervingly warm, bright and cosy. I naively assumed songs like The Garden to be more traditional, but when did you last hear a trad-folk song with such ethereal and angelic whisperings?
Beth Jeans Houghton is a wonderful discovery. Taking sweet and gentle folk music and skewering it with shards of crackling weirdness, her songs clasp you softly, albeit with a worryingly firm grip. You’ll not want her to let go. Listen here!