Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week:
Kev Minney

Having gained notable press support from the likes of BBC Radio, Acoustic magazine, R2 magazine and Folk Radio, singer songwriter Kev Minney has returned with the pertinent new single “God is an Algorithm.”

Inspired by Yvan Noah Harari’s book Homo Deus, “God is an Algorithm” tackles important themes related to our reliance and addiction to modern technology. As technology continuously advances, and smartphones and computers dominate society as a whole, the impact upon our daily lives has been stark. With AI progressing at an alarming rate, it is difficult to predict what the future holds.

“God is an Algorithm” offers the perfect juxtaposition to the subject matter. The track begins with beautifully picked guitar as Minney’s lush harmonised vocals become the focal point, accented by a stunning orchestral segment produced by a sting quartet. Taken from the forthcoming album Modern Stories, “God is an Algorithm” is a majestic offering from a talented, thoughtful artist.

“God is an Algorithm” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week:
Tia Gostelow

Since releasing her debut album Thick Skin last year, Australian artist Tia Gostelow has gone from strength to strength. Now, gearing up for her first European tour, we thought it about time she got some AOTW recognition.

Despite her young age, this songstress has been honing her craft for quite some time already and boy, does it show. Thick Skin is a beautifully crafted debut filled with soft, sweet melodies and undeniably catchy choruses throughout.

Tia’s silky smooth vocals are like velvet and so, perhaps appropriately, she even has a track on the album called “Blue Velvet,” which is beautiful by the way. Her most recent release is a piano version of said single. Reminding us of the likes of Gabrielle Aplin or Nina Nesbitt, Tia’s ability to create real storytelling charm with simple musicality and poignancy alone is just stunning.

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UK Artist of the Week: Michael Timmons

Glasgow once again proves it’s the home to some incredible talents as we discover Michael Timmons and his beautiful sonic soundscapes.

Timmons’ latest single “The Games Room” is a delicately weaved slice of alt-folk that will have you mesmerised in moments. Intricate guitar plucks twinkle over ethereal vibrations and Timmons’ soft, emotive vocal fits perfectly in between.

The track tackles the difficult subject matter of grief and Timmons’ own personal experience of dealing with the death of his father. The musicality is fittingly sombre, allowing your mind to float effortlessly within the celestial soundscapes, reminding us of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Powerful stuff.

The Glaswegian songwriter is no stranger to the music industry having already released a debut album to critical acclaim and supporting The Twilight Sad at their sold out show at Glasgow’s Barrowlands—he’s not doing too badly. With a sophomore album in the works, we’re excited to see what the future holds for this talented Scot.

“The Games Room” is in stores now via Gargleblast Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: HYYTS

Today we are treating you to some progressive pop all the way from Glasgow. Emerging alt-pop duo HYYTS recently shared their ambient new single “Car Crash Carnivore” and boy, is it impressive.

Inspired by the likes of Scissor Sisters and even Ariana Grande, HYYTS—aka Adam and Sam—really are serving up something special. “Car Crash Carnival” takes the listener on a wonderful journey, as the song’s intricate electronic soundscapes are able to soar effortlessly.

Adam’s remarkable falsetto is at the forefront, oozing confidence and power throughout. The band even appear to have created their own genre; “skip-hop” (that’s Scottish hip-hop to you and me) and we’ve gotta admit, its pretty decent.

Having just embarked on a mini UK tour, we sure are hoping these guys make their way across the pond in the near future. For the skip-hop introduction if not anything else! If you’re a fan of Jungle and MNEK then you should definitely give this a go.

“Car Crash Carnivore” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Alex Bayly

This week’s Artist of The Week is an alt-folk Londoner who sings about love, loss, and commitment. Alex Bayly’s latest single “I’ll Never Leave You” is the first to be released alongside Big Indie Records.

Combining elements of blues, Americana, and indie rock, Alex Bayly is hard to pigeon-hole. His latest single feels as though it could have come straight out of California at times, sparkling with the sound of the summer with his surf-rock style guitar licks taking centre stage.

Bayly’s distinctively gritty vocal sounds instantly reminiscent of Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and we wouldn’t be surprised if Bayly takes influence from the blues-rock duo as well, although he certainly has more of a mellow vibe.

Bayly is the latest signing to Big Indie Records, an emerging London label we’ve been keeping tabs on for the past few months now. Bayly will perform as part of their monthly event, Big Indie Big Nights, on 10th April at Two Tribes Brewery and its all free! What a treat.

“I’ll Never Leave You” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Closet Organ

There’s some great music coming out of Glasgow at the moment and Closet Organ are no exception. Their raucous blend of scuzz-infused grunge-rock is oozing with attitude and their latest AA-side single certainly packs a punch.

“Smells Like Lynx Africa” b/w “Fat & Die: An Autobiography” is fully loaded, that’s for sure. The alt-rock quartet combine reverb-heavy guitars with pulsating drum beats to create their distinctively heavy sound, reminiscent of the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins. Frontman Stephen McLeod Blythe’s powerfully nasal vocal style reminds us instantly of the one and only Kurt Cobain, an artist we’re sure Closet Organ admire greatly.

The singles also tackle the hugely important subject matter of mental health, having lost a close friend of theirs a year ago. It’s great to see more and more artists approach this subject head-on, unafraid to express emotion and vulnerability, but all the while doing it in their own vibrant way.

“Smells Like Lynx Africa / Fat & Die: An Autobiography” is out now via Cow Tongue Taco Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: XY&O

This week’s artist of the week began their journey in an Exeter dorm room in early 2015. Fast-forward to 2019 and electro-pop trio XY&O have already racked up over 40 million Spotify streams, so you could say they’re not doing too badly…

The lads’ latest single, “Like A Promise” is an ethereal beauty from the offset, featuring wonderfully majestic vocals from Mr. Skip Curtis, reminding us of the likes of Years & Years instantly. Joining Skip are Nick Kelly (guitar, bass) and Tudor Davies (keyboards, percussion), who together create hauntingly good synth-pop bangers that will have you in a dreamy haze for days.

XY&O’s debut single “Low Tide” is equally mesmerizing and definitely worth a listen too, especially since it managed to reach number 6 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart—pretty impressive stuff if you ask us!

“Like A Promise” is in stores now via Electric MVM.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sive

If you’re a fan of intricate alt-folk, you’re in for a treat because Sive—the musical moniker of Sadhbh O’Sullivan—is an undeniable talent who spins widely relatable tales.

Sive’s latest single “Do It All The Time” is a truly enchanting piece of music that is full of colour and emotion. Sive’s velvet-like vocal is at the forefront throughout, complimenting the whimsical musicality perfectly. The lyrics are brilliantly relatable as Sive sings about the struggles we all face when we are forced to look at our weaknesses and admit them out loud to others.

Lyrics such as, “I went to a physiotherapist and I marked my pain as a five / I don’t know why I lied it was probably more like a nine / I do it all the time” is both comical and human and the perfect example of Sive’s ability to write poignant lyrics about tough subjects. Fans of Laura Marling and Lisa Hannigan will certainly notice similar traits in Sive’s songwriting, and we’re so here for it.

“Do It All The Time” is taken from Sive’s forthcoming EP “Sive” in stores on 3rd of May 2019 via Veta Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Night House

Get ready to be transported into a hypnotic abyss as this week’s Artist of the Week, Night House, are undeniably mesmerising and deserve your undivided attention.

Night House was created by singer-songwriter and producer Nick Williams in 2015 as a means to promote his folk leanings. Since then however, Nick’s sound has grown wonderfully and the moniker “Night House” has expanded into a fully-formed band.

Night House now exhibits incredibly impressive orchestral arrangements, creating a sound akin to Bon Iver or James Blake. Combining elements of electronica, alt-folk with pop sensibilities, Night House really are on the brink of something special—mark our words. Their latest single, “Unfold” is the perfect example of Night House’s ability to create beautifully atmospheric soundscapes that ache with emotion.

Having already supported the likes of Ben Howard, Willy Mason, Krystal Warren, and The Magic Numbers, we’re sure Night House are going to be a band to watch in 2019.

“Unfold” is in stores now via Back In The Woods Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: RUNAH

We’re treating you to a bit of Americana-inspired goodness at TVD HQ today, in the guise of Irish singer-songwriter RUNAH.

RUNAH’s latest single “Ground”—taken from her forthcoming debut album Strange—is an otherworldly delight from start to finish. Combining elements of Americana, blues, and baroque-pop sensibilities, “Ground” is undeniably mesmerizing and captivating.

RUNAH’s haunting vocal is reminiscent of Dusty Springfield or Daughter’s Elena Tonra and we can’t get enough! The single is inspired by RUNAH’s love of magic, witches, and nature—which explains the eerie nature of the track and making it all the more magical in the process.

RUNAH’s debut album Strange is due for release on 5th May 2019 and if “Ground” is anything to go by, we’re pretty sure this emerging artist has a lot more tales to tell and a lot more ethereal soundscapes to compliment them with.

“Ground” is out now via Beardfire.

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UK Artist of the Week: Safe To Swim

This week’s Artist of the Week comes all the way from sunny Brighton, UK! Indie quartet Safe To Swim have been making waves over there for some time now and with their debut EP “Boyhood” due for release in the Spring, it’s about time the rest of the world were introduced.

Their latest single “Make Things Like They Used To Be” takes the listener on a trip down memory lane as frontman Jim Filippides sings about the universal fears of adulthood and all the difficulties being a grown up can unfortunately bring.

Despite the melancholic subject matter, Safe To Swim are renowned for creating uplifting, infectious melodies and “Make Things Like They Used To Be” is no different. The single is oozing with addictive guitar riffs, swirling synths, and an undeniably vibrant chorus that is bound to move you.

As mentioned, Safe To Swim’s debut EP is due for release very soon and we can’t wait to hear it. Having already supported the likes of The Night Cafe, Anteros, and BLOXX, it’s safe to say that Safe To Swim are onto something pretty good.

“Make Things Like They Used To Be” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Gypsy Circus

We know full well that the Scots are more than capable of producing some top-notch artists, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when we stumble upon a new one here at TVD HQ. This week’s Artist of the Week are Edinburgh-based Gypsy Circus, a raucous quartet who are about to take 2019 by storm.

Fresh from releasing their effervescent new EP “Holy Lights and Shadows,” Gypsy Circus have gone from strength to strength. The EP was produced by Idlewild’s Rod Jones and boy, does it show. Each track feels fully formed and wonderfully executed throughout, even reminding us of fellow Scots Biffy Clyro at times.

The band’s latest single and title track “Holy Lights and Shadows” is the perfect introduction to the band’s full-throttle sound, combining elements of classic and alt-rock to create Gypsy Circus’ signature blend.  Currently on tour around Scotland, we’re sure this is only the start for these local lads and the rest of the world will come knocking soon enough. Only time will tell!

“Holy Lights and Shadows” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Hana Piranha

Today’s Artist of The Week is packed with power, as well as some unexpected twists and turns just to keep you on your toes. Hana Piranha are a goth-rock quartet with a difference and razor-sharp violin licks are just the beginning.

Their latest single “Naked Flame,” released last Friday, is the first single taken from their explosive new album, Waiting To Burn, out on 22nd March 2019 via Fourglove Records. It’s instantly reminiscent of Evanescence with its fierce energy and raucous guitar riffs having no trouble holding the fort.

However, these guys mean business and they’re ready to stand out from the crowd. Front woman Hana Piranha has a hidden talent up her sleeve—her ferociously phenomenal violin skills, especially apparent in the incredible violin solo during the middle eight. Hana Piranha manage to combine classical instrumentation with a hard rock setting seamlessly, and for that we are undeniably impressed. If “Naked Flame” is anything to go by, we can expect plenty more ferocity and dangerous beauty where that came from.

Waiting To Burn is out on 22nd March 2019 via Fourglove Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Ulysses Wells

What happens when you combine blues, psychedelia, and electronica? Ulysses Wells happens, and we can’t get enough. His latest single “Back with the People” is a raucous rock anthem and its oozing with a double dose of attitude.

From the offset, the blues-infused, distortion heavy guitar licks are instantly reminiscent of The Black Keys or Jack White, which is certainly not a bad thing. However, Ulysses also manages to blend psychedelic and electronic elements to create a sound that is undeniably impressive. If Jack White and Kevin Parker were to join forces with The Black Keys, it would probably sound something likes Ulysses Wells and that’s not a poor boat to be in by any means.

“Back with the People” has been released by the fine folk at Big Indie Records as part of their Big Indie Big Nights event. If you’re not aware of them yet, get to know them as they’ve got offices in both London and Austin ready to blast you with all kinds of exciting, emerging new music. Catch Ulysses Wells live at Two Tribes Brewery on 13th February 2019 in association with Big Indie Records—and he’s also currently supporting Bastille on their UK/EU tour, so quite the busy bee!

“Back with the People” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: ACRYLIC

Already making massive waves in their Scottish hometown of Glasgow, indie-rockers ACRYLIC now prepare to take on the rest of the world with their new single, “I’ve Got Too Many Friends.”

The single begins soft and smoothly, with jangling guitar chords at the forefront, reminding us of the early noughties instantly. As lead singer Andreas Chrsitodoulidis comes in for the first verse, his brooding baritone feels absolutely mesmerising, reminding us of The National’s Matthew Berninger’s distinctively smouldering sound. Some gorgeous harmonies from the rest of the band follow, revealing just how tight and connected these five guys really are.

Despite the slightly arrogant sounding title, the single is actually about feeling as though you’ve found yourself in an ideal situation and knowing that you’re still going to mess it up, something we can all relate to surely.

ACRYLIC have already achieved a great deal up in Scotland. They’ve supported a whole bunch of established artists including The View, Demob Happy, Palace, and The Ninth Wave, as well as selling out Glasgow’s prestigious King Tut’s music venue—so not too shabby! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has up its sleeve for these guys. Watch this space.

“I’ve Got Too Many Friends” is in stores now via Scottish Fiction.

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