Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

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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Needle Drop:
Verse Metrics,
“The Nightmares Leave
Us All Inoperational”

Post-punk rockers Verse Metrics are certainly giving Interpol a run for their money with latest single “The Nightmares Leave Us All Inoperational.” Despite its slightly tediously long title, the single is incredibly notable.

Combining elements of post punk and math rock, there’s no denying the fact that this single is not only impressive sonically, but also technically. As the guitar’s jangly twang comes in on the off-beat, lead singer Bob Dick carries the melody effortlessly, reminding us a little of Editors’ frontman Tom Smith.

As the song progresses, so does the chaotic musicality, filled with eerie tones, pulsating drum beats, and math rock-inspired guitar chords to create something undeniably unique. With “The Nightmares Leave Us All Inoperational,” it feels as though Verse Metrics may have just found a niche that no one else in Scotland is really doing at the moment. They’re changing it up, playing with genres, and we can’t wait to see what these guys get up to next.

“The Nightmares Leave Us All Inoperational” is out now.

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TVD Video Premiere: Blair Jollands,
“I’ll Remember You”

Today we’re very pleased to be premiering the visually stunning video for New Zealand artist Blair Jollands’ latest single “I’ll Remember You.”

The video was filmed in the picturesque location of Buenos Aires and stars Blair himself, as well as model/actress Aleksandra Ana Spajic. The pair are seen wandering around the sunny streets looking as though they’ve come straight out of a fancy perfume advert and we love it. The song itself is a wonderful homage to songs of the ’40s and ’50s, sounding much akin to Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and maybe even a bit of Frank Sinatra thrown in for good measure.

Of the track, Blair elaborates, “The song was originally written for a movie I composed the soundtrack for called The Mad Axeman, which is about a man called Frank Mitchell who was connected to the Kray twins. I only wrote one verse and chorus for the movie as the scene was only one minute long, but later I decided to complete the song for my new album as I thought it deserved a proper chance.”

“I’ll Remember You” is taken from Jollands’ forthcoming album 7 Blood, in stores on 14th September 2018.

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UK Artist of the Week: Van Common

Having unveiled his heartfelt brand of jangle-pop to the world through the gorgeous debut single, “This Afternoon,” Dutch solo artist Van Common has gone one better on his sophomore release, “Moonlight Blue.”

Written one late night in a secluded beach house, and inspired by the intimate connection Van Common feels to the moon, “Moonlight Blue” beautifully combines simplistic, lo-fi melodies with ethereal hazy vocals that sweep you along on an emotive, almost dream-like journey.

Sebastiaan van Ravenhorst—aka Van Common—had spent years playing in bands before recently making the move to solo artist,with the intention of taking full creative control of the music he made. The decision paid off immediately with “This Afternoon” picking up almost 250,000 streams on Spotify and a number of impressive shows following with the artist wowing crowds at Paradiso Amsterdam, Sofar Sounds San Francisco, and Rockwood Music Hall, New York.

“Moonlight Blue” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Superego

Midlands based four-piece Superego have made an immediate impact on the British indie-rock scene through their grunge-tinged debut single “Sleep.” Not ones to be left behind, we’re giddily climbing aboard the Superego bandwagon and are delighted to name them our UK Artist of The Week.

Having already toured with industry darlings such as Black Honey, and supported Pale Waves, The Big Moon, and Dead!, Superego were always destined for great things. “Sleep” is a thunderous opening salvo from a talented young band who have combined the heavy distortion of ’90s grunge with shimmering, shoegaze-inflected soundscapes.

Juxtaposing angular, in your face guitars with a hazy, dream-like vocal expertly delivered by singer Cam Potts, “Sleep” sounds like the bastard child of Mudhoney having a playground fight with The Smashing Pumpkins while Lush watch on like disapproving parents.

Now, with a well of Billy Ryder-Jones (The Coral) produced material already in the bag, and a slot confirmed at DIY’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase on June 13th, we don’t think this’ll be the last you’ll be hearing of Superego.

“Sleep” is available to stream on Spotify. Free tickets for Superego’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase are available here.

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TVD Premiere: Desert Clouds, “Under Tons”

We are extremely pleased today to be able to premiere alt-rockers Desert Clouds’ new single, “Under Tons,” exclusively here at TVD.

“Under Tons” builds slowly with lead singer David Land going full Bowie with his eccentric vocals. As the chorus comes into swing, the song turns 360 degrees and bursts into one serious, unapologetic classic rock anthem.

Huge distorted guitar riffs sounding akin to Queens of The Stone Age take over before the second verse comes in and then effortlessly transforms into beautiful blues-infused licks. Desert Clouds are a band who are hard to pinpoint, but one thing’s for sure—you won’t get bored.

Formed in London in 2008, Desert Clouds have been honing their sound for the past decade and if “Under Tons” is anything to go by, they show no signs of slowing down.

“Under Tons” arrives in stores on 4th May 2018 via Jiffybag Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Scott Swain

Our Artist of the Week this week is none other than the truly mesmerizing singer-songwriter Scott Swain.

Scott’s latest single “It’s Too Late,” taken from his forthcoming debut EP, “Goodbye Country, Goodbye Home,” clearly reflects Swain’s love for major influence The National, as his powerful lead vocal takes centre stage. The single is also inspired by Swain’s other passion in life—film—and is based on the French movie Irreversible.

Each song on the EP is about a certain film that has inspired Swain’s life, however the main aspect of the EP is about that dreaded word: Brexit. To keep things light, Swain decided to add an alternative dimension to the EP, and quite rightly so! “It’s Too Late” feels beautifully anthemic from the offset, combining indie rock with cinematic soundscapes to create something immensely captivating.

“Goodbye Country, Goodbye Home” is in stores on 20th May 2018 via Resonating Wood Recordings.

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UK Artist of the Week: Ivan Moult

Today’s Artist of the Week is confessional lyricist Ivan Moult. His music is beautifully simple and poignant from start to finish, easily making him a worthy contender for this week’s top spot.

Ivan’s latest single “Carried Over Water,” taken from his upcoming album Longest Shadow, is a gorgeous folk ballad where Moult uses his smooth, velvet like vocal to soar over his intricate guitar picking, creating something both captivating and moving. Like the rest of the album, “Carried Over Water” was written as the result of a break up.

This song in particular focuses on the difficulties of a long distance relationship. Throughout the album, it’s Moult’s effortless ability to express his deepest emotions that really catches you off guard. It takes a very brave person to be this honest and expressive on wax, and you can clearly hear Moult channelling his inner Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley.

Now based in Cardiff, Moult has been making waves on the Welsh music scene for some time now. He has also supported artists such as Willy Mason and This Is The Kit and has a number of UK live dates in the pipeline over the summer. Watch this space, Ivan Moult is ready for you.

Longest Shadow arrives in stores on 20th April 2018 via Bubblewrap Collective.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Violet Kind

For some, it’s more important than ever to create music with poignancy, and Scottish rockers The Violet Kind do just that. Their debut EP “OXTR” tackles sexual violence head-on, and is yet another example of the current generation standing up for themselves and making noise.

The Violet Kind are a trio from Glasgow who create truly moving and emotional indie rock sounds, akin to that of Paramore and Foals. Lead singer Katya Mansell’s haunting voice mirrors that of Hayley Williams all the while giving her own unique spin on things. Each song on their concept EP “OXTR” battles sexual violence, acting as a reminder of the reality of rape culture that is unfortunately still so prominent in the world we’re living in. The trio tackle the difficult subject with dignity and grace—and their musicality is second to none.

Despite the current line up having only been together for over a year, they have already received critical acclaim in Glasgow, and 2018 is looking brighter than bright for the young trio.

“OXTR” is in stores now via Kindness Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Alberteen

Experimental alt-rockers Alberteen have put down the guitars that they’re known for and instead have embraced analogue synths, flutes, clarinets, and samples for their latest release. Its their utterly unique sound and ability to create something very much “out there,” which makes them our Artist of The Week this week.

Their latest single, “The Son’s Room” is a truly quirky yet mesmerizing song from start to finish. Its multiple layers of electronica are matched perfectly with the band’s choral singing to create something not far from Metronomy’s early eccentric sound. The single is inspired by lead singer Phil Shaw’s relationship with his father, a bittersweet reflection on memory and loss.

Having already released two critically acclaimed albums, Alberteen are no strangers to hard work. They have performed with artists such as Primal Scream and Field Music to name but a few and show no sign of slowly down as they make their 2018 debut with “The Son’s Room.”

“The Son’s Room” is in stores now via Rhythm and Noir Recordings.

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