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New Town Kings are a nine-piece Essex based band that combine ska, reggae and rocksteady to create a potent, infectious sound unites both the traditional Jamaican sounds and a more modern UK twist.

This year New Town Kings have been hard at work, performing live and bringing their sunshine grooves to the likes of Boomtown Fair and the Rebellion Punk Festival winning over new fans with their contagious summer vibes.

Four track affair, Pull Up & Rewind is a stunning showcase of the band’s unique and genre straddling vision from the political and socially aware lead track Change to the laid-back groove-laden Grabbed My Hand, New Town Kings prove their equally adept at addressing the nation as they are winning over the ladies. Change is a rousing, fiery ska infused number fueled by a driving bassline, a flurry of horns and frontman’s Dabs Bonner’s chant like vocal urging us to change, the track could be lifted straight out of the Specials song book. whilst in direct contrast Grabbed My Hand is a wonderful soulful reggae love lament with Bonner’s vocals becoming a Dennis Brown like croon, whilst the band create a delicate background of bubbling bass, uplifting horns and choppy guitars.

Between the lovers lament and the political fire of Change, the band also offer up a glorious sub two and a half minute Luna Rosa, a frantic, vibrant, latin inspired, funky ska number complete with rapid fire verses and hook heavy chorus, whilst Cool The Pressure brings the EP to a close with a lovely mild and mellow slice of rocksteady enriched by a brief yet enthralling saxophone solo, and a suitably easy-going, placid lead vocal asking for calm in a high pressured world.

Pull Up & Rewind is a brilliant and addictive affair from start to finish, bringing some much needed sunshine into our lives over the cold winter months ahead, forget the outside world you can now have the sound of the summer inside your homes all year round!!!

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

www.facebook.com/newtownkings

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Your Favorite Enemies maybe something of a new name on this side of the pond but over in their native Canada, the six-piece have managed to hit number 2 on iTunes on the day of release of their previous recording, whilst the band have also shifted 60,000 physical copies of their past releases to date, which is impressive when you think that the band take their musical cues from the likes of Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Mars Volta among others.

The band have already made their first steps in this country with a high profile tour in support of seminal post rock legends ……And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead  taking in Glasgow, Manchester and London during their four date stint.

Listening to this ten track affair you can imagine that Your Favorite Enemies may well found favour with the Trail Of Dead crowd, as they combine lo-fi post hardcore, evocative vocals and dense bouts of feedback to create a gloriously wide reaching racket that should appeal to post rockers and abrasive alternative rock fans alike.

The album opens with a short introduction entitled Satsuki Yami, where the band sharpen their instruments, building up to a howling feedback enriched crescendo before unleashing the first track proper, Empire Of Sorrows, a six minute plus epic that mixes spoken-word lyrics with jarring banks of dense instrumentation, punished drums and waves of guitar abuse to create an unsettling yet compelling introduction to the bands sound.

Following on, the band deliver the stunning A View From Within, with a somewhat serrated and swirling, shoegaze inspired guitar sound that could have been lifted straight from the grooves of Loveless (My Bloody Valentine), whilst Alex Foster’s vocals are more of a refrained hush, adding a welcome, melodic side to the cacophony of sound. Where Did We Lose Each Other is different again, featuring an instantly infectious guitar hook, vocal harmonies and a glorious chorus refrain, as the band impress with a fine slice of shimmering alternative rock.

Under A Stretching Skyline proves to be another highlight, the seven minute track opens with the band creating a storm of driven guitars and crashing drums before Alex delivers a vulnerable touching lead vocal whilst keyboard player Miss Isabel adds barely audible whispers peppering the track to create a softer layer, near hidden beneath the waves of glacial guitar work.

The album finishes with the stunning Muets Aux Temps Des Amours, a brooding melodic number with both male and female spoken word vocals, a delicate crooned lead from Alex and restrained shimmering guitar and keyboard work, completing an intriguing and diverse album on a dreamy high.

Between Illness And Migration may well take it’s cues from the likes of Sonic Youth, Fugazi, My Bloody Valentine and perhaps Shellac, but Your Favorite Enemies have very much mastered their own unique and compelling sound straddling the divide of abrasive post punk and glistening shoegaze, a contagious outing from start to finish.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

www.yourfavoriteenemies.com

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Stuart Woolfenden in a sixteen year old singer-songwriter hailing from Redditch, who  to date has played in and around Worcestershire, taking in a number of venues, whilst honing his sound.

Are You Vulnerable Or Just Insane? is Stuart’s debut EP, a four track affair that combines a love of rock, indie, pop and beyond forming an instantly likable and at times unique sound that belies Stuart’s tender years, he also showcases an impressive ability to craft a catchy melody and an infectious chorus or two.

The EP open’s with The Union Jack, a short yet memorable tune, that should find favour with both fans of edgy pop and breezy rock. The song opens with a crunchy stomping riff, before the vocals join the mix with Stuart delivering a bright melodic croon, whilst the chorus up the ante further with some tasty harmonies and an instantly addictive chorus, as Stuart delivers the perfect introduction to his brand of power-pop.

Both Latex, Glitter & Flesh and Blood On Your Hands both straddle that rock/pop divide effortlessly, with each track featuring the obligatory hook-laden chorus, the former is a more melodic affair, with Stuart weaving acoustic strums into an already potent mix, whilst Blood On Your Hands is a more bombastic affair with its use of pounding drums and buzzing riffs, each of the two tracks have their individual charm, whilst both contain that all important allure that urges repeat spins.

No-One Ever Has Ambition Anymore is somewhat aptly named as Stuart pulls out all the stops with a stunning take on near chamber pop, beginning with a solo piano and an aching vocal combination before developing into a sweeping, majestic number complete with strings and chiming guitars, whilst Stuart’s lyrics are both stirring and compelling proving himself to already be a writer of depth and passion on his first tender steps in the world of music.

This EP genuinely took me by surprise, its well crafted, it shows ambition and Stuart already knows how to pen a memorable hook, this is a seriously impressive debut from start to finish.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

www.facebook.com/stuartwoolfenden

 

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Andy Fairweather Low has done it all in music, a guitarist (and frontman with Amen Corner) with a CV that includes stints with the likes of Eric Clapton, Roger Waters and Bill Wyman, sessions with everyone from Dylan to The Bee Gees via BB King and Kate Bush to name but a handful, as well the sessions and countless tours with a who’s who of rock royalty Andy also finds time to regularly perform and record with his own band The Lowriders, so just how he’s still managed to remain under the radar of most music fans is one of the modern mysteries of the world.

Zone-O-Tone is Andy and the aforementioned Lowriders latest album and once again showcases Andy’s varied musical loves from upbeat rock n roll to slow jazz and 50’s styled crooners. The album is a varied affair but the quality never once dips with Andy and his band on top form throughout despite their advanced years.

The album opens with the wonderfully spirited Dance On, a glorious slice of infectious rock n roll complete with an instantly memorable riff and a spritely vocal delivery as the extended band kick up a storm propelling the number onwards. From there the band deliver a couple of slower number in the shape of Deep River Blues and the jazzy Let Me Be Your Angel with Andy’s warm weathered croon (think modern day Nick Lowe) shining brightly before returning to their early rock n rolls roots with the brilliant hook-laden Roll Ya Activator.

The album continues in much the same vein with highlights coming thick and fast in the shape of the ballsy blues rock of Breakin’ Chains with its combination of hard hitting riffs, parping horns, driving rhythms and a gloriously ragged lead vocal, La La Music is a swinging rock number with pulsating horns, crunchy rock n roll riffs and a suitably bolshy vocal that could have been lifted straight from the pages of The Blues Brothers script. Whilst You’ll Never Beat The Devil combines an infectious blues riff and Paul Carrack’s addictive Hammond organ to create a brilliant, blustery blues number featuring the devil himself on backing vocals!!

Zone-O-Tone continues Andy’s rich legacy as one of the nations most underrated hard working blues/rock n roll crooners out there, the intoxicating varied mix of genres compels throughout, Andy’s voice is as strong as ever whether he’s delivering a delicate croon or a full throttle rocker, whilst the musicianship on offer from Fairweather Low and The Low Riders is second to none. Perhaps Zone-O-Tone will finally help Andy Fairweather Low receive the recognition he so richly deserves.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

www.andyfairweatherlow.com

Competition: I have three copies of Zone-O-Tone to give away for those of you that can answer the following question:-

What was the name of Andy’s first solo album released in 1974?

Email your answers and name and address to will@wjmunn.plus.com (before Nov. 30th) winners will be picked at random

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Thea & The Wild will be a new name to pretty much one and all unless you happen to be reading this from deepest, darkest Norway, where Thea Glenton Raknes is known in the music industry as a songwriter, lyricist and front woman.

Strangers & Lovers is Thea’s debut album, following on from a handful of successful singles and a recently completed a tour across Norway in support of Sivert Hoyem and performing a couple of festivals in the summer.

The album sees Thea combine infectious synth pop melodies with 80’s retro guitars to create a collection of short concise blasts of alternative pop covering all the typical and well worn subjects of love lost and life struggles, all hand-crafted to contain a catchy, winning hook that’ll have the listener humming along gleefully despite the subject matter.

The album opens with the title track and instantly sets the mood with those aforementioned nagging synths before Thea delivers a wonderful pop croon lifting the song to another level, from there Thea delivers a masterclass of aching pop, from the sow burning Cry Sometimes to the strummed acoustic guitar intro and twinkling synths of the harmony enriched, Mourning Song.

Further highlights include the stripped down Heartattack with it’s panting backing vocals, floating chorus and chiming guitars, the stunning Roy Orbison, a track that begins as a downbeat ballad with piano and percussion clicks before blooming into a beautiful, seductive cooed chorus. Whilst in direct contrast, but no less impressive Murderous blends driven guitars, bubbling bass, striking synths and icy cool vocals as Thea lives out her inner alternative indie pop fantasies, bringing to mind fellow Scandinavians, (and criminally underrated) The Sounds.

Strangers & Lovers is an infectious, energetic debut from Thea & The Wild that should help introduce Thea & The Wild to a larger audience across Europe and beyond. If you’re rather partial to a slice of alternative hook-laden pop Thea & The Wild are well worth investigating.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 7

theaandthewild.com/

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