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Monday 27th April 2015 @ 15:58 by Max Wieland

Stockport-based bands, No Hot Ashes and Strangeways, have made it onto the shortlist in a highly competitive nationwide contest to find the best, new, unsigned music with Manchester Pale Ale (MPA) by independent brewery JW Lees.

STRANGEWAYS: From Tameside Radio Showcase inductees to National contenders.

STRANGEWAYS: From Tameside Radio Showcase inductees to National contenders.

The hotly-tipped acts made it onto the shortlist after standing out from the hundreds of tracks from all over the UK that entered The Refreshing Sounds competition. The Stockport bands are now shouting out for local support from friends and fans, as only the top three shortlisted acts with the most votes will make it to the final and be in with the chance of winning the prize of a lifetime, which will catapult the winning band to the next level.

The winning act will record up to two professionally mastered tracks at state of the art Manchester recording studios, 80 Hertz, which has worked with a number of major and indy acts, including and The Courteeners.

The winner will also record a fully edited behind the scenes music video and play a headline gig at an iconic secret Manchester location. Their professionally mastered track will be available on the MPA website for download and will be played throughout JW Lees outlets across the North West of England and North Wales.

MPA’s esteemed panel of influential music industry judges, including Oldham’s Clint Boon, from the Inspiral Carpets, and music producer George Atkins, founder of 80 Hertz recording studios, picked the acts with the most potential for the shortlist.

The judges were really impressed with the talent from Stockport, which stood out from the crowd of entries from across the UK.

FOUR PIECE: No Hot Ashes of Stockport.

FOUR PIECE: No Hot Ashes of Stockport.

No Hot Ashes is a four piece band which formed in 2012, including band members Isaac Taylor, Luigi Di Vuono, Jack Walsh and Matt Buckley. They describe their music as jaunty pop-rock with a hint of funk.

Luigi Di Vuono, lead guitarist and backing vocals for No Hot Ashes, said: “We were pretty excited when we found out we had been shortlisted for MPA’s Refreshing Sounds Competition. 2015 is going to be our biggest year as a band, with a new single “Easy Peeler” to be released in September and slots at some big summer festivals.

“We hope our fans and friends will vote for us to help us get to the finalist stage – winning MPA’s Refreshing Sounds competition would be a great achievement.”

Strangeways, a four piece band which formed in 2013, includes Simon Collier, Thomas Castle, Alex Jenner and Kris Loughlin. Their sound is described as eclectic and psychedelic indie rock.

Hailing from the Romiley, Marple and Bredbury areas of Stockport, Strangeways first-ever gig came at Ashton’s Witchwood in 2013 as part of the Tameside Radio Showcase.

They told us: “We’ve come a long way from playing the Tameside Radio showcase and we will always be extremely thankful for the opportunity. Another big thank you should go to the Tameside Reporter too, the first ever newspaper to write about us and give us exposure.

“At the moment we’re still buzzing to have made it into the top nine but if we were to make it into the top three it would really validate all of the work we’ve put into push this band forward. Being recognised by such iconic judges and such an institution in Manchester would make an already unreal experience even more out of this world.

“I know a lot of people have voted for us already but we really need that last push to keep us in the top three so we would be even more indebted to our fans and future supporters if you could spare two minutes of your time.”


Managing Director of JW Lees, William Lees-Jones, said: “MPA’s Refreshing Sounds competition is going to give one act a really good start in the music industry. No Hot Ashes and Strangeways have done incredibly well to make it to the final nine.

“If the public like their tracks as much as the judges did, they could make it to the final three. We’ll be proud to know MPA had a part in their success when they’re off on their world tours!”

Friends, fans and members of the public will be able to hear No Hot Ashes and Strangeways, plus the other seven shortlisted tracks via MPA’s website and cast their vote for their favourite. Voting will close on Sunday 10th May, and the three acts with the most votes will become the three Refreshing Sounds finalists.

Follow @McrPaleAle #refreshingsounds for updates or on Facebook and visit for more information.