Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week: The Hope State

This week we’re getting emotional with The Hope State’s Taylor Johnson, aka our latest Artist of The Week. He’s just released his wonderfully reflective new album Skeletons, a collection of truly heartfelt songs that deserve your undivided attention.

Canadian artist Taylor Johnson developed the moniker The Hope State originally in Saskatoon. He later moved to Los Angeles before deciding to reside back in Canada, but changing up the pace a bit in Toronto. All the while Taylor has been honing his skills, preparing to release his poignant debut album which he can now share with the world. The latest single to be taken from the album is the incredibly powerful “Butterflies.”

The track combines earthy elements of folk-rock with impressively honest lyricism to create something incredibly immersive and compelling. “Butterflies,” along with the rest of the album, deals with an array of intensely honest subject matters including depression, addiction, and hope. Taylor deals with each of these subjects with dignity and grace, all the while wearing his heart on his sleeve to create something beautifully introspective. Fans of Death Cab For Cutie and Iron & Wine will feel at home here.

Skeletons is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: CHILDCARE

This week’s Artist of The Week are the hotly tipped softcore-psych group CHILDCARE. They’ve already released a number of critically acclaimed tracks and are ending the year on a high with the release of their hugely infectious latest single “Bamboo,” out now via Big Indie Records.

Now, this is where things get interesting; the band is usually fronted by the extremely capable Ed Cares, however, for “Bamboo” the quartet decided to spice things up a bit and instead, bassist Emma Topolski takes centre stage. It’s a gamble that has certainly paid off. Emma’s stunningly majestic voice floats effortlessly over the heavy guitar riffs and pounding drums, creating something that falls between the likes of Everything Everything and The Japanese Breakfast.

The band is also renowned for their utterly flawless harmonies and this is certainly maintained on “Bamboo.” The rich and perfectly executed “ahs” throughout the track deserve your attention, that’s for sure.

CHILDCARE have already supported Bastille and regularly sell out shows in their London hometown, so we’re sure that 2019 will no doubt be a big year for these guys. Not to mention their debut album is tipped for release in February 2019. Its all happening and we can’t wait to hear it.

“Bamboo” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Koto Kill

Today’s Artist of The Week is a raucous one-man show whose latest project is blisteringly spectacular. Koto Kill—aka DJ and producer Gabriel Ralls—creates full-throttle electronic rock that is packed with a punch. His upcoming mini-LP “Fight Us All” arrives in stores this week, and we’re extremely proud to introduce him as this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Every track on “Fight Us All” features a different female vocalist, and each one is just as ferocious as the next. Koto Kill’s most recent release is the delicately industrial “Fire Down” featuring smooth sultry vocals from the extremely talented Judith Haustein. Compared to other tracks on the EP, this one feels slightly less industrial but it’s still undeniably mesmerizing nonetheless.

Haustein’s slick, haunting vocals ooze delicately over the twinkling sounds of the sitar, whilst distortion-heavy guitar riffs give the track the urgency it deserves. Think Nine Inch Nails meets Little Dragon and you’re almost there. Also featured on this magnificent EP are B3NDU, Beatrice Bonnano, Anelise Kunz, Emily Magpie, and Dolly Daggerz—each woman using their own authenticity to their advantage, creating fierce sounds over Ralls’ electrifying soundscapes.

“Fight Us All” is in stores on 16th November via Dystopian Disco.

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UK Artist of the Week:
Jo Marches

Having just released their incredible new EP “Day In Day Out,” we are extremely pleased to announce this week’s Artist of the Week is Utrecht outfit Jo Marches.

Led by front woman Johanneke Kranendonk, Jo Marches are a force to be reckoned with. Their latest EP, which was released last Friday, is an undeniably infectious slice of synth-laden, alternative pop that undoubtedly deserves all the support its received so far, and then some.

Not only is each track filled with dynamic synths, pulsating electronic beats, and Johanneke’s gorgeously hazy vocals, it also covers a number of relatable topics. These include feminism, politics, and mental health to name but a few. Unsurprisingly, Jo Marches have already been deemed a “feminist Tame Impala” of sorts, and we can easily see why. Kevin Parker better watch his back, that’s all we’ll say.

So what are you waiting for? Jo Marches’ mesmerising EP “Day In Day Out” is in stores now and if poignant psychedelia is your bag, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

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UK Artist of the Week: Humble Braggers

Get ready to get ethereal with Humble Braggers. Our latest Artist of the Week’s new EP “Cycles” is all sorts of majestic and undeniably addictive, so prepare yourselves.

If you’re a fan of ’80s inspired synths, celestial vocals, and pulsating drum beats, then look no further, because Humble Braggers are the band for you. Their latest EP “Cycles” is absolutely oozing with addictive soundscapes from the offset.

Previously released single “Reckless” and “Am I Okay” are obviously stand out tracks, but this really is an EP you can enjoy from start to finish. Frontman Tom Burtless’ glistening vocals remind us instantly of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker but with a poppier edge, making the sound completely his own. Fans of Empire of The Sun and Passion Pit will also feel at home here.

This Buffalo-based quartet are certainly making waves for all the right reasons and we can’t wait to see where they go from here.

“Cycle” is in stores now via Admirable Traits.

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TVD Video Premiere: Vive La Rose, “Schiehallion”

“Schiehallion is a mountain that overlooks a family home, and is Gaelic for “Fairy Mountain.” It was the site of an 18th-century experiment to determine the density of the Earth, using a pendulum to measure its gravitational pull. The song looks at the effects of being too close to or too far from family, the push and pull of that dynamic, and the wisdom of pulling on those threads.”David Luximon-Herbert

One of our favourite Edinburgh artists is back with a brand new video and it will give you all the feels. We are extremely pleased to premiere Vive La Rose’s wonderfully nostalgic video for “Schiehallion” right here at TVD. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

The video is delightfully simple, featuring old footage of Vive la Rose, aka David Luximon-Herbert, in which we are able to watch him grow from a wee Scottish lad into the man he is today. Apparently Schiehallion is one of Scotland’s best known mountains and if you give it a quick Google (as we just have), the views really do look exquisite and we can understand precisely why David has chosen to write a song about such beauty.

The song itself is equally stunning, filled with lush cinematic soundscapes and David’s signature rugged vocal style making it undeniably unique. This really is an absolutely delight to listen to—and watch.

“Schiehallion” is taken from Vive la Rose’s forthcoming album For She Who Hangs The Moon, out on 12th October 2018 via Gestation Records. Pre-order here.

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UK Artist of the Week: Harlea

Birmingham-born songstress Harlea has been receiving some serious attention recently for acclaimed singles “Miss Me” and “You Don’t Get It,” both of which received thousands of radio plays around the world. Well now, she’s back with a brand new single and a new sound and we can’t get enough. As such, she’s our Artist of the Week.

“Beautiful Mess” is certainly “poppier” than her previous singles, but don’t let that fool you. Harlea’s thunderous attitude is still at the forefront, her powerful lyricism and dynamic vocals leading the single every step of the way.

Regardless of genre, “Beautiful Mess” is undeniably catchy and fans of ’90s pop-rock master Alanis Morissette will certainly feel at home here.

“Beautiful Mess” is in stores now via Roxy Princess Records.

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TVD Premiere: Blossomer,
“PREACHER_LEARNER”

We are extremely proud to share with you an exclusive listen of Blossomer’s brand new single “PREACHER_LEARNER” right here on The Vinyl District.

The single is a gorgeous slice of psychedelic goodness, instantly reminding us of the likes of MGMT or Wild Beasts. As the track gradually builds, you are introduced to an incredible cocktail of celestial tones with frontman Alex Crabbe’s enchanting falsetto leading the way.

Talking about the track, Crabbe explains, “As religion has always been one of my common themes to sing about, this was based around the idea of striving to believe in something that isn’t quite there. A preacher teaching his pupil of something that doesn’t necessarily exist. I find it bizarre but it intrigues me.” Intriguing indeed.

‘PREACHER_LEARNER’ is the first single to be taken off the Sheffield group’s forthcoming EP “HLLW,” in stores on 11th January 2018 via Instant Karma Records. If this track is anything to go by, we certainly are in for a treat.

“PREACHER_LEARNER” arrives in stores on 21st September 2018.

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UK Artist of the Week: oh800

This week’s Artist of the Week is eccentric post-punk trio oh800. With the release of their debut album Character Building imminent, these three guys have been pulling out all the stops to make sure it gets the appreciation it deserves.

The band’s latest release from the album is the undeniably catchy “Melanin.” Filled with jangling guitars, fuzzy synth beats, and the trio’s killer harmonies throughout, this single is a sure-fire hit from the offset. Frontman Eoin Rooney’s vocal style has previously been compared to that of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and we can see why, however what Rooney uniquely manages to do is write poignant lyrics alongside his colloquial phrasing to create something that is highly relatable.

Of the track, Rooney elaborates “We had the music for this song kicking around for quite a while, but the lyrics came after a young black kid was killed by a police officer in our area of London. The officer thought he swallowed a suspicious package and chased him down. You know the rest… Meanwhile on the same streets, middle class white people walk around every weekend with suspicious packages in their pockets, suspicion free. That pisses me off. So I wrote a song about it.” Well said Rooney, well said.

Character Building is in stores on 12th October 2018 via Infinite Jest Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Twist Helix

Channelling some serious new wave vibes, this week’s artist of the week is the magnificent synth-pop trio Twist Helix.

Their latest single “Graphite” is percolating with ’80s inspired electronics, reminding us instantly of Depeche Mode or New Order. Leading lady, Bea Garcia’s powerfully distinctive lead vocal however, gives the single more of a vibrant ’90s feel, sounding akin to Peaches or Ladytron’s colloquial singing style. “Graphite” is undeniably catchy from start to finish and anyone wanting to hear some nostalgic, ’80s synth sounds–with a modern twist–will not be disappointed.

This dynamic trio met as a result of Garcia leaving her home country of Spain due to the economic crisis. She found herself in Newcastle where she met James Walker (drums) and shortly after Matthew “Baz” Baron (bass). Between them, their unique blend of intelligent, narrative driven alt-pop is second to none and we’re certain this won’t be that last we’re hearing from them.

“Graphite” is taken from Twist Helix’s forthcoming album Ouseburn, in stores on 5th October 2018 via Paul Black Music.

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UK Artist of the Week: Majestic Minds

Listen up! There’s a hot new UK dance duo on the scene, so take note. Majestic Minds, featuring producer Haides and singer-songwriter Marlie, are creating refreshingly contemporary dance music, and their debut single “Oxygen” is just the beginning.

“Oxygen” is undeniably addictive from the offset, filled with whirring beats and woozy electronics, 23-year-old Haides—aka Callum Garvey—proving age does not matter in the slightest when you have the talent. Same goes for Marlie—aka Charlotte Haining—whose velvet vocals combine elements of soul and R&B to create something truly hypnotizing.

This is the first single the duo have released as Majestic Minds, their working relationship taking a turn as a result of their mutual love of UK dance music. Their admiration of old school garage, house, and electronica is clearly visible throughout “Oxygen,” however the pair also mange to effortlessly incorporate their own modern twists and turns, making it feel fresh and vibrant. Bravo.

“Oxygen” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week and Video Premiere:
The Starry Skies,
“Starry Skies”

Former UK Artist of the Week, The Starry Skies are back, and today we are delighted to premiere the brand new visual cut for their recent single “Starry Skies.” The single is taken from the forthcoming eclectic sophomore album, Be Kind, with the band exploring themes of benevolence at a time when humanity needs it most.

Fusing elements of indie pop, indie rock, and Americana, The Starry Skies showcase a shimmering, folk-tinged sound on the album’s title track, with the promo a perfect cosmic-inspired accompaniment to the emotional, layered melodies dancing from the speakers.

With the album having been recorded at Belle and Sebastian’s rehearsal rooms and La Chunky studios, then mastered by Geoff Pesce at Abbey Road, it’s easy to understand why Be Kind is such a sonic splendour. Produced and engineered respectively by Glasgow musical luminaries Johnny Smillie (Thrum guitarist) and Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), “Starry Skies” is the opening salvo from a band who deserve to be heralded in their own right.

“Starry Skies” is in stores now and is taken from album Be Kind, out 12th October 2018 via Fox Star Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Nick Wilson

Wow, what a voice. Young singer/songwriter Nick Wilson proves he’s definitely an artist to watch with his latest single “Get Up,” and we absolutely love it.

Combining elements of folk and electronica, “Get Up” is a truly mesmerizing single from the offset. Wilson’s incredible vocal range is second to none, full of raw emotion and an incredibly powerful falsetto that will both astound and amaze upon first listen. “Get Up” is one of those songs that will get stuck in your head for all the right reasons.

The sweeping electronics alongside the gentle strum of the guitar fit together perfectly and Wilson’s captivating voice soaring over the melody is undeniably addictive. Talking about the track, Wilson explains “I guess it acts as an inspirational kick up the back side. It’s so easy to dwell and stay stuck in a feeling of helplessness, but it’s almost always easier than you think to dig yourself out of that hole, you just have to try.”

Wilson has already supported the likes of Gabrielle Aplin and Martin Luke Brown, as well as gaining a staggering 400,000 monthly Spotify listeners. We’re not quite sure how as we’re only just discovering Wilson, but we’re extremely excited to see what he gets up to next.

“Get Up” is in stores now.

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TVD Premiere: Jack Ellis, “The Barrel of Your Gun”

Cardiff’s Jack Ellis has returned to our ear drums with an even fuller sound than before, and this time he means business. Here at The Vinyl District, we’re extremely proud to be premiering the latest single, “The Barrel of Your Gun,” taken from his forthcoming EP “Out Of Luck” in stores on the 7th of September 2018 via District South Records.

Ellis’ latest cut is a powerful slice of grit-fuelled blues-rock from the offset. As the chorus comes into full force, you can’t help but stomp to the beat and hum along with the free-flowing, choral backing vocals. At the centre of all this, of course, is Ellis’ rough and ready emotional lead vocal that compliment his impressive blues-infused guitar. And that guitar solo at the end, wow.

Of the song Ellis explains, “It’s a track that was loosely inspired by the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart. Crazy lovers on the run from an angry mother, a private detective, and a hit man tracking them down. What more do you want? So yeah, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde where everything is risked in the name of love.”

“Barrel of Your Gun” is in stores on 10th August 2018 via District South Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: ST.MARTiiNS

This week’s Artist of The Week is Dundee duo ST.MARTiiNS with their celestial new single “ur so pretty,” out now via Big Indie Records.

The pair have been making music together for some time now and that becomes very clear within the first few bars of their latest single. Katie Lynch’s gorgeously tender lead vocals compliment Mark Johnston’s jagged guitar riffs and a wonderful backdrop of woozy electronics effortlessly. The end results are truly hypnotising, reminding us of fellow UK indie-electro artist Tom Misch and his regular collaborator Carmody.

The duo have been making waves up in Scotland for a while and with “ur so pretty” it looks likely they’ll be taking the rest of the UK and beyond by storm in no time at all. Catch ST.MARTiiNS at the next installment of Big Indie Big Nights at Two Tribes Brewery on August 8, 2018. Sign up for free tickets here.

“ur so pretty” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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