Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week: Spelks

This week’s Artist of The Week comes from Newcastle and they certainly are packed with a scuzzy punch. Spelks’ debut single “The Happy Places” is out now.

Combining noise-pop and lo-fi alt-rock sensibilities, Spelks has created a sound that’s both heavy and infectious. Distorted guitars buzz in the background as Spelks’ frontman Jonathan Sabiston’s distinctively rich vocal tone is able to soar effortlessly, whilst flawless harmonies chime in underneath. Fans of the likes of Weezer and Surfer Blood will feel at home here.

The lyrics themselves discuss what it’s like to live with agoraphobia and anxiety, making the track all the more relatable and emotive. With another single due to be released later this year, we’re excited to see what Spelks get up to next (even if they are stuck at home).

“The Happy Places” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bengal Lancers

Fancy a bit of infectious indie-pop to get you through the week? Well look no further than London’s Bengal Lancers. The quartet have just released their new single “I’m Still Here,” a thrilling track with a poignant message.

Instantly reminiscent of Frightened Rabbit or The National, Bengal Lancers’ latest single is a classic take on British indie-rock. Some may say the genre is outdated and oversaturated, but we say it’s nostalgic and more popular than ever. Frontman Harry Sullivan’s deep, distinctive vocal soars over the pulsating drums and jangling guitars, conjuring a sound that’s both full of life and lyrically powerful.

“I’m Still Here” is a song about the struggles and the inability everyone can have in seeing the brighter side of life and coming to terms with our own place in the world—something that feels even more important in these trying times, and something we can all learn from.

“I’m Still Here” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Carmody

We’ve been keeping our eye on electronic soulstress Carmody for a while now. She first came to our attention after releasing her debut EP “Out To Sea,” which also featured the equally talented artist Tom Misch. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and quite rightly, she is this week’s Artist of The Week.

Now back with her ethereal new single “More Than I Miss You,” Carmody proves she’s going nowhere and is certainly one to watch. Carmody’s sound harks back to the lyrical magic of songstresses from the ’70s, blending dreamy folk with the zeitgeist electronica of today. The new single reflects just this, as the sweeping musicality soars over Carmody’s effervescent vocal tone perfectly.

Talking about the single, Carmody elaborates, “’More than I Miss You’ is about how words are incapable of expressing the weight of absence. It’s about the distance that comes between you and someone you love. It’s about how to hold to that love and retain that relationship no matter the borders that threaten to divide you.” A message that feels extremely relatable, now more than ever.

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UK Artist of the Week: Carl Street

Johnny Cash, is that you? Unfortunately not, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so if Carl Street’s “Bunking The Midnight Train” is anything to go by. His latest country-tinged single transports you back in time for all the right reasons—and we can’t get enough.

Mental health has been a topic on many people’s minds recently. In the current circumstances, whilst many of us are in lockdown and away from our families and friends, it can be difficult to stay positive, but it’s the strength from our loved ones that allows us to persevere.

Despite having not been written in the light of the current climate, “Bunking The Midnight Train” feels poignantly appropriate for this moment. Inspired by his partner Mandy, it may be sonically upbeat, but lyrically it tackles themes of everyday struggle—something we can all relate to right now. Carl’s deep, rich vocals are at the forefront throughout, clearly influenced by Johnny Cash with hints of John Prine and Mike Plume as well.

“Bunking The Midnight Train” is taken from Carl Street’s debut album of the same name, which is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kev Sherry

We’re back in Scotland for this week’s Artist of the Week in the hope we’ll put a bit of a smile on your face amongst all this madness. Kev Sherry’s “Wasted Days” is an indie-pop delight from start to finish, with poignant lyricism included to make you think, just a little bit.

“Wasted Days” is instantly infectious from the offset. Reminiscent of fellow uplifting indie-pop artists such as Alvvays, gentle guitar twangs and pulsating drum beats soar on the single like a warm, Spring breeze. Kev’s authentic Scottish accent is clear throughout reminding us slightly of Paolo Nutini—and is it just us, or do they kind of look alike as well?

Talking about “Wasted Days,” Kev elaborates, “The song deals with ideas of regret, reflection, and personal forgiveness. After the death of a parent you come to question if you really knew them as a person, as a friend, or merely as a parent. Did they know you loved them? Did they understand you far more than you realised at the time?” Deep stuff.

Kev Sherry is no stranger to the music making world, having previously released music as one quarter of critically acclaimed group Attic Lights and also having collaborated with international artist such as Bjorn Yttling, Cerys Matthews, and La Casa Azul. His songs have also been remixed by Mogwai, Camera Obscura, The Fratellis, Jim Noir and The Vaselines. Phew!

“Wasted Days” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Frans Bak

Given the current climate—what with all the Coronavirus craziness going on—it’s more important than ever to make sure you are supporting musicians by listening to their music. Live music everywhere has drawn to a halt, so what better time than to sit back, relax and enjoy some stunning neo-classical music at home. Danish composer Frans Bak has returned with his latest single “Parting” and it’s absolutely mesmerizing from start to finish.

Taken from his upcoming album Piano, “Parting” is a glorious slice of instrumental music that will absorb you instantly. Combining bittersweet ambience with a truly poignant piano melodies and undeniably captivating string quartet, “Parting” conjures a sound that is both majestic and melancholic. Fans of Nils Frahm and Ludovico Einaudi will feel at home here.

No stranger to the sync music world, Frans Bak is known for his work on Nordic, French, American, and British TV series’ including Disparue, Doctor Foster, Lilyhammer and The Killing to name but a few. He has also scored three Oscar nominated shorts: Ernst & Lyset, Helmer & Son, andSkal vi være kærester?. Pretty impressive, hey?

With both “Parting” and Piano, Frans Bak will once again showcase his incredible ability to create transcendent soundscapes that are minimalistically powerful and unique.

Piano is in stores on 17th April 2020 via Dharma Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Lloyd James Fay

We’re back up in Scotland for this week’s Artist of The Week, so get those winter warmers at the ready! Lloyd James Fay returns with a shimmering new single and EP, due for release in May.

Taken from the upcoming EP “Fake Depth” is Fay’s latest single, “Idiocracy.” It’s a wonderful piece of ambient rock music that soothes the soul stunningly. Fay’s rich, raspy vocal soars instantly over the powerful musicality, creating a sound akin to the likes of Teenage Fanclub or Sun Kil Moon.

You may recognise Fay’s voice if you’re a fan of Scottish rock music in general because he was also the frontman of alt-rock quartet Thula Borah. After the band broke up, Fay decided to concentrate more on his solo work and then, voila, Lloyd James Fay was born. If “Idiocracy” is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat when “Fake Depth” drops.

“Fake Depth” arrives in stores on 8th May 2020.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Peach Fuzz

This week’s Artist of the Week comes all the way from the birth place of The Beatles no less. That’s right—Liverpool. Indie-electro quartet The Peach Fuzz have just released their latest single “Softie” and its pretty darn addictive if you ask us.

“Softie” combines vintage synths, flawless harmonies, jangly guitar twang, and pulsating drum beats to create a sound that is undeniably compelling and infectious. Fans of The 1975 and Pale Waves will feel at home here. Despite its uptempo melodies, “Softie” actually tackles a rather difficult subject, kicking back at conformity and stereotypes whilst also having the ability to get those toes tapping instantly.

The Peach Fuzz will be embarking on their first ever headline tour this week, starting in Leeds and finishing up in their hometown of Liverpool. So you’d better hurry up and grab tickets while you can, it’s bound to be one electrifying show.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kenichi & The Sun

We’re feeling a little bit quirky at TVD HQ this week and what better way to celebrate that quirkiness than with an undeniably unique Artist of the Week. Kenichi & The Sun—aka Katrin Hahner—returns with her most dazzling offering yet.

Taken from her upcoming album WHITE FIRE, due for release on 3rd April 2020, Kenichi & The Sun’s latest single “Splendour” is everything that you could expect and more from the introspective art-pop artist. Combining immersive soundscapes with swirling synths and haunting vocals, “Splendour” is an effervescent beauty to behold from the offset.

To coincide with this dreamy single, Katrin has also provided a stunning video, directed by Adrian Künzel, that perfectly encapsulates Kenichi & The Sun witchy vibe. Think Björk meets Fever Ray. Talking about the video, Katrin explains, “The video for ‘Splendour’ depicts the devotion, love, sacredness and struggle between human beings and the forces that drive us apart or towards each other. It’s a look inside a person’s soul; profanity and sacredness, chaos and harmony, success and failure, human and divine, feminine and masculine. In the end, it’s all one. I wanted create an entity that does not exist alone, but only in togetherness, that reflects the light of feminist movements, of pop culture and art history, of theatre, of literature, poetry, and magical practices, but also the futuristic light of new, awakened society.”

If “Splendour” is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat when WHITE FIRE drops—so watch this space!

“Splendour” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week:
I am HER

Feeling a bit angsty? Well, so are I am HER and they’re definitely not about to apologise for it. Get ready for some ferocious female-fronted alt-rock at its finest for this week’s Artist of The Week.

I am HER’s latest single “Big Monster” kicks off simply enough with just lead singer Julie Riley and an acoustic guitar aggressively strumming at the forefront. As the chorus kicks in however, so does the electric guitar and it means business. This is the first time I am HER have added an electric guitar to their post-punk sound, in the process creating something electrifying and fresh. Fans of PJ Harvey or The Kills will feel at home here.

Julie is no stranger to the music industry, having previously fronted ’90s cult band Rosa Mota and is now breaking away into something vibrant and new, bringing drummer Jeff Townsin along with her. Together the are creating fierce post-punk soundscapes that mean business—and we can’t get enough.

“Big Monster” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Brendon

This week’s Artist of the Week is an oldie but a goodie. Brendon Dunning aka Brendon returns to his first love of folk-rock with his infectious new single “The Hats” leading the way.

Taken from his upcoming album Hold My Hand, “The Hats” perfectly introduces us to Brendon’s full-bodied, folk-rock sound. Brendon’s warm, vibrant lead vocal soars effortlessly over the twinkling guitar strums and pulsating drum beats to create a sound that feels both nostalgic and refreshing at the same time. Think Cat Stevens with a hint of Tom Petty.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a debut of a relatively unknown singer-songwriter, but Brendon has actually been in the music industry for many moons. Brendon worked alongside UK Records producer Jonathan King throughout the ’70s, making a huge impact with his hit single “Gimme Some” in 1977. This success came at a cost however, and forced Brendon into the “disco” genre, which was never his true calling. “At the time of this release, which I had been unaware of, I was in talks with CBS about recording a new folk rock album but in the circumstances it never happened. I never was the pop/glam rock singer as described in Wikipedia,” Brendon explains.

Thankfully, Brendon has found his footing again and if “The Hats” is anything to go by, 2020 in looking like an exciting year for the ’70s star.

“The Hats” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: CHERITON

Counting down the minutes until summer? Well fear not because with CHERITON’s “Parallel” you’ll feel instantly transported into a shimmeringly sunny universe that is guaranteed to warm you up.

The emerging artist—known to his friends as Nick and hailing from the not-so sunny Kent—has made his official debut with the hugely infectious single “Parallel” and its bloomin’ marvelous. Swarming with jangly guitars, twinkling synths, and Nick’s gorgeously uplifting lead vocal, “Parallel” is an instantly infectious ear worm that is bound to get you in the mood for summertime.

Unsurprisingly this indie-pop gem sparks resemblances to a number of fellow feel-good musicians including Fickle Friends and Bastille, who the song’s producer Andy Hall Hall has also coincidentally worked with in the past. Bravo. Keep your ears peeled for more new music from CHERITON as he plans to release his debut EP later this year.

“Parallel” is in stores now via So Good So Good.

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UK Artist of the Week: Approachable Members of Your Local Community

Our hearts and thoughts have, of course, been going out to Australia recently whilst they continue to deal with the catastrophic bushfires that are eating away at their homes. It’s times like these that we all need to put aside our differences and come together, which is exactly what Approachable Members of Your Local Community are asking for in their vibrant new single “Small Change.”

Taken from their upcoming debut EP “Love Thy Neighbour,” “Small Change” is a feel-good slice of colourful indie-pop, filled with anthemic hooks and insatiably addictive melodies. Fans of Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot will feel at home here.

The story behind the track itself however, has a much more poignant meaning, especially in the light of Australia’s ongoing bush fire tragedies. “‘Small Change’ is ultimately about empathy—for places, for each other, and for our environment. It’s about our generation’s hope and optimism to create a better future. This summer has been challenging for so many we know and love, and especially for many whose experiences have been unimaginably traumatic and devastating,” bassist Micky Fisher tells us. “In the face of a national crisis, the country has galvanised to take back tomorrow. With an outpouring of support for our firefighters and affected communities, it’s clear that small change can have a big impact.”

Approachable Members will be raising funds for the bushfire relief efforts at all shows. “Love Thy Neighbour” is out on 14th February 2020 via AntiFragile.

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UK Artist of the Week: Chloe Foy

We’ve got the perfect winter warmer for you this week so sit back, grab a blanket, perhaps mug of hot chocolate and get comfortable. Singer-songwriter Chloe Foy has just shared her poignant new single “Callous Copper” and its bloomin’ gorgeous.

Taken from her upcoming EP of the same name, “Callous Copper” is a mesmerisingly impressive slice of indie-folk from the offset. Swirling with a continuous beauty, the single also features a stunning string quartet that is undeniably breathtaking. Paired with Chloe’s soft, warm, velvet-like vocal, “Callous Copper” feels like the perfect ballad to get us through these cold winter months.

Talking about the single, Chloe elaborates, “‘Callous Copper’ is an unabashed love song. It’s not common for me to be quite so open in my imagery, so I surprised myself with how I laid myself out quite so openly. It has imagery of love in all its seasons. Taken from simple acoustic guitar beginnings and composed with Joni’s Both Sides Now orchestral version in mind, it’s the softer side of me.”

Chloe’s EP “Callous Copper” is in stores on 21st February 2020 via AntiFragile and if this single is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. Fans of Julia Jacklin and Laura Marling, take note.

Chloe Foy’s single “Callous Copper” is out now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Redolent

We’re back in Scotland for this week’s AOTW and if you’re a fan of brooding, experimental soundscapes then you’re in for a treat. Redolent’s latest single “I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is out now, so go listen!

Since the release of their brilliant debut Dantercepies, Redolent have gone from strength to strength. Their combination of experimental alt-rock and aggressive electronica is second to none. These guys are making sounds that continuously push boundaries and break the mould—something more bands really ought to sit up and take note of, just FYI.

Their latest single “I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is a prime example of their magnificent songwriting and performance abilities. Robin Herbert’s Thom Yorke-esque vocal steals the show in the song’s second half, but the dark, brooding build up from the rest of the band before that is also hugely impressive.

Talking about the single, Robin elaborates, “I think sonically the song is influenced by the heavier bands we like—Glassjaw in particular. “Lyrically it’s inspired by nightmares about non-fiction horror from the news. Specifically American mass murdering ghouls with guns. I used to have a really vivid one when I was younger, in which my sleeping brain gave the faces of the perpetrators I’d seen on TV bodies, which broke into my house, cackling and marauding, and shot me. It recurred for a while. I felt like they were as close to ‘ghosts’ as you could maybe really find, and I was a wee bit haunted by these dead guys from across the world.”

“I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is in stores now.

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