Category Archives: TVD UK

Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“I’m back on air as usual! Today I talked to my Dad about dreams. He wanted to be a professional footballer or cricketer. Whats your dream? It can be as big or as small as you like. We’re going to talk dreams…

My ROTW is by the awesome The Wharves, The Bay—gorgeous harmonies and retro tinged indie pop! Three tracks incoming as per… This week’s #Shellshock is by Elderbrook and it’s called “Could.” It’s a lovely slice of electronica forthcoming on Black Butter Records whose vocals recall alt-J. You’re going to LOVE it.” —SZ

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TVD Live: Ex Libras at
93 Feet East, 11/12

It’s a dreary Wednesday night but there’s a buzz in the heart of East London’s Brick Lane—Ex Libras are about to hit the stage.

It’s been four long years since their debut album Suite(s) impressed music fans across the board. These three boys from Hounslow built their own recording and rehearsal space, lovingly called “The Shed” and this is where they birthed their first few releases as a band. Shortly after Suite(s), EP “Cut(s)” was released and their fan base slowly grew and the press had taken notice.

After this short burst onto the scene, they almost disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared. In the time they’ve taken out, they’ve experimented and moulded their sound, smoothed the edges, and that’s very much evident tonight from the new songs and frontman Amit’s performance.

Every word is a bullet now—Amit emotes this power more than ever before on stage, even during their “older” songs. But let’s stick to the new for a second… “Leap Of Faith” is massive, it feels like the venue is being sonically stretched and pitted against the band’s will. The audience is fully engaged and newer fans seem intrigued. “Woe” is another new track that showcases their strength as a live unit—Ross’ drum beats are tighter than ever, Kieran on the keys gives the track a dreamy depth which marries perfectly with Amit’s powerful vocals.

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Needle Drop: HAWK, “Hush”

HAWK are the lucid dream between post rock and indie.

Their video for single “Hush” not only demonstrates Julie Hawk’s exquisite vocals but the band’s wonderfully eerie compositions as the music crescendos into a climactic cacophony of guitars and Julie’s sweet voice threading the song together as if by magic.

Julie and Matt Harris met in 2012, collaborating whilst Julie was still concentrating on her solo work. However, shortly after meeting, the pair was introduced to Chris Handsley (bass) and Sam Campbell (drums) and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Hush” is officially released on December 8th as a free single and only the start of things to come as the band are set to release their EP “Clock Hands” in 2015.

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The Single Girl: Neil McLaren, “Middle Of
It All”

Neil McLaren has embarked upon a strange journey in musical terms. Having been born completely blind, Neil became the first person in the UK to receive pioneering surgery that enabled him to partially see when using special glasses.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, Neil isn’t a trained guitarist. Instead he has preferred to experiment with instruments rather than learn guitar chords—which has created a rather unorthodox playing style. Nevertheless, this has propelled him to produce the kind of acoustic music synonymous with current artists such as Ben Howard and Damien Rice.

McLaren’s vocals are the most intriguing part of his single “Middle Of It All,” with his character shining through like a beacon, taking centre stage aided by choral harmonies. There is a perfect imperfection to his vocals—a gruffness that is eminently appealing—whilst McLaren is able to maintain a link to his hometown of Dundee in Scotland with a twang of Scottish accent seeping through.

“Middle Of It All” is a strong single but it will be interesting to see where McLaren’s sound progresses from here—in order that he doesn’t get lost in a very crowded market of artists who offer a similar experience.

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The Single Girl: Glyphs, “Out To Sea”

Electro-pop duo Glyphs have returned with the release of their EP “Out To Sea,” the London-based band’s fourth release to date.

“Out To Sea” opens with the title track of the EP—a slow burn as the band displays nuances within their repertoire not always prevalent among run of the mill, electro/synth bands. Good old-fashioned pop music shines through here with a nod and a wink to the likes of Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys.

“Shed Skin” has a broodiness to its sound driven by samples, beats, and dream-like vocals, while “The Machine” continues the theme of experimental sounds merged with the moody tones of Mark Walsh.

The most pleasing thing about Glyphs is their willingness to push the boundaries of the genre, showing an ability to work without the usual parameters. Despite creating pop music, their sound is one that highlights their ability to cover a number of spheres, yet the overall feeling is one of introspection often synonymous with Shoegaze bands. This introspection allows Glyphs to stand out from the crowd and I for one am extremely intrigued to see what they produce next.

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Goldie Thorn,
The TVD First Date

“As we’re a duo, we each had a different ‘first time’ with vinyl… and interestingly enough, they were from completely different genres, and Henry’s features a personal connection.”

“My first experience of vinyl was when I was four in the Eighties, and my eldest brother pressed his first record, a jazz record with his band Neon Penguin (yes, that was their real name). My proud mother relentlessly played his record to various folk, leaving such an indelible impression on me that as a teenager. When I made my first track on my new Akai sampler, I sampled the vocals from that very record. So, it’s stayed with me… and my mother still plays classical and jazz records, and I can’t wait till she plays our first record.”

“I remembered rummaging through my parents vinyl collection around age 11, and being drawn to the dark, simple and broody cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

“Their tastes usually ran to fairly innocuous Seventies folk artists, with record covers featuring wholesome looking women with long corn-coloured hair, flared jeans and daisy chains, clutching an acoustic guitar and looking pensive. Black Sabbath’s sleeve stared up at me from amongst the folk records like an angry bruise—dark, a little bit psychedelic, and slightly evil looking. I couldn’t get that record out of the cover fast enough and straight onto the record player.

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The Single Girl: Copper Lungs, “Cloud Nine”

Dundee band, Copper Lungs are back—and they are back with a bang.

After a year that has seen them release their second EP to critical acclaim as well as make appearances at a number of Scotland’s biggest festivals, the band have now released their free download single “Cloud Nine.” This pretty much picks up where the band left off on their self-titled EP as they continue to produce up-tempo pop-rock which wouldn’t be out of place on any indie dancefloor the UK over.

Harmonies belt out from the speakers and guitar solos rock and pop to entice the listener to move and groove, shake your shoulders and wobble those hips. It really is a well compiled song and illustrates the abilty of this band to create listenable guitar music which also manages to simultaneously have a bit of depth to it too.

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Feldspar: The Compass Tour and navigating
the challenges of simply getting heard

“Though it’s not an original thought, it’s worth reminding everyone: being in a band today is tough. The democratisation of music is fantastic in many respects, but does mean people are used to hearing music free, on Spotify, YouTube, and so on. For bands, shunning these platforms is not an option, so the challenge is really to find new ways to get music across to people without being purely digital (which lacks the personal touch) or physical (lots of people don’t even have the ability to play CDs or vinyl).”

“So, the Compass Tour in its infancy was an idea to address that. We recorded four tracks earlier this year, and rather than releasing them as an EP (‘Band Releases EP’ doesn’t make a good headline), we decided to release four singles in four months with a mini-tour supporting each track. These tours have taken us to the North, East, and South of the UK, with the final West tour coming up in early December.

This has been great, but didn’t solve the problem of actually selling our music—for this, we recruited the genius designer Wayne Pashley from The Little Inkwell, who made postcard designs for each single based on the mineral feldspar at a crystalline level. At a gig if you buy the four postcards, you also get a download code which gives you access to the four singles, meaning you get physical artwork but digital music—sort of the best of both worlds. Of course, it is also possible to use the artwork as postcards which is really old-school viral marketing.

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The Single Girl: Cara Mitchell, “Afraid Of The Dark” EP

Enchanting nineteen year old singer songwriter, Cara Mitchell has released yet another beautiful EP with the arrival of “Afraid of the Dark.” This release follows her last EP, “Have You Ever Wondered” and highlights how the young songstress has grown.

Despite her tender years, one gets a sense of an artist who is very much au fait with her sound. There is a self-awareness present on this record that many older, more seasoned artists just do not display. Mitchell’s songwriting is far beyond her years and is a welcome insight into how bright her future promises to be.

The first track released from the EP was the free download of “Suspended Motion,” which is an absolutely beautiful song where Cara’s vocals and ability to write poignant lyrics stand out.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“Well, Sunderland has been a mecca for cool eclectic music releases over recent years and the aces Hyde & Beast are back to demonstrate why! New second album, Keep Moving is therefore this weeks ROTW and I’ll be spinning three tracks from it.

Also on the show, I’ll be spinning my #shellshock from Bear In Heaven for you to feast your ears on. It’s going to be all kinds of amazing.” —SZ

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