By Rowan Gavin and Liam Hawkes
“We break the rules”
So says lead singer Amy MacKown on Simple Tune, the penultimate track of the debut album from Oxford’s current premiere Reggae outfit, ZAIA. We wouldn’t say they break the rules so much as blend and bend them, juggling genres and playing with preconceptions throughout this fascinating and infectious summertime record.
by Chris Jarvis
Hailing from Colchester, eight piece ska band New Town Kings offer a rounded sound drawing influences from across the history of ska and reggae music. Since 2007, they have been sharing stages with some of the bigger names in the scene, from Reel Big Fish to Gentleman’s Dub Club and from The Skints to The Aggrolites. Next week, they will be playing on the same bill as Zion Train and Mungo’s Hi-Fi. The long and varied list of acts New Town Kings have played with demonstrates the diversity in their sound – blending traditional ska, two-tone and reggae with hints of ska punk and the odd hip-hop vibe. Although not necessarily known for their political music, and more so instead for their strong and energetic live performances, New Town Kings recordings, whether it be News Stand, La La World or Change are steeped in political undertones. For this reason, I interviewed frontman Dabs Bonner to discuss his and the band’s political outlook, the relationship it has to their music and how he views it in a wider political context as part of our series Music That Matters.