Category Archives: TVD UK

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: Nova Twins

Having received acclaim from The Guardian, Clash, Afropunk and even Rage Against The Machine’s own Tom Morello, London duo Nova Twins have been wowing crowds across the world with their explosive live shows for a couple of years now. With support slots for Prophets of Rage, Willow Smith, Ho9909, and Die Antwoord already under their belts, they’ve now blasted back into our ears with new single “Lose Your Head.”

Propelled by a dark intensity, “Lose Your Head” builds to an immense, frenzied climax as the gritty power of Amy Love’s vocals soar alongside Georgia South’s thrashing bass hooks. With this unique riotous energy and fierce spirit that has contributed to their ever-growing reputation as one of the most exciting live bands around, Nova Twins fuse elements of hip-hop, punk, and an eerie industrial force to create something truly spectacular.

Of the track, the duo explain, “Flipping punk rock on its head, ‘Lose Your Head’ is a rejection of off the peg opinions, a rallying cry and a celebration of difference, an invitation to walk your own path. We want to open people’s minds and invite them to the wild side.”

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TVD Live Shots: This Will Destroy You at the Electric Ballroom, 7/6

I’ve never been a big fan of solely instrumental songs or instrumental bands for that matter. Music without lyrics always made me think of movie soundtracks or classical music, two things I wasn’t into at all.

But there was a problem for me as a music lover. As a writer in my day job, I find it nearly impossible to write while listening to songs with lyrics. I needed to find something inspiring and not distracting. I needed to find a band that could create something that could be the soundtrack to my life, representing ups and downs, triumph and tragedy, anger and frustration, while tying it all together with the essence of cool and a touch of mystique. Enter San Marco, Texas band This Will Destroy You and their self-titled 2008 release.

Often compared to Explosions in the Sky, which was recommended by several of my friends over the years which still haven’t dove into yet, this quartet burst onto the scene in the early 2000s and quickly gained notoriety among the most prestigious critics. Their sound has been called “near perfect,” their overall tone referred to as, “it doesn’t get much better,” and one critic, in particular, claimed their debut to be “an astonishingly beautiful work that promises a bright future,” priming the record for many best-of lists that year.

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TVD Live Shots: Run DMC and Slick Rick at the Eventim Apollo, 7/5

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends Run DMC made a triumphant return to London last week marking their first gig in the UK in three years. Taking the stage at the famed Eventim Apollo, MC Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Joseph “Run” Simmons, and Jason Mizell Jr. (who performs as DJ Jam Master J’Son, the son of the late DJ Jam Master Jay) brought the near-capacity crowd back to a time when hip hop was only just beginning to take over the world. I have never seen Run DMC live, and this would be my first time photographing a hip hop show—and it was one for the ages.

The importance of Run DMC cannot be understated. The list of firsts is second to none. They were the first rappers on MTV, the first rappers on Saturday Night Live, the first rappers on the cover of Rolling Stone, the first rappers to win a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. They single-handedly, seamlessly fused two genres to start a revolution and to breathe new life into a rock ‘n’ roll band on a downward spiral. They would ultimately become one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture, and one of the most famous hip hop acts of all time.

Opening the night was British born American rapper and legend in his own right Slick Rick, aka Rick the Ruler. Rick is known for his storytelling abilities and as a pioneer in adding narratives to hip hop. Although he never really broke through to mainstream success as a solo artist, his music has been sampled and interpolated over 600 times, in over 35 songs, by artists including many of the biggest names in hip hop. Rick took to the stage in his signature throne and wowed the crowd with a selection of old school classics that would not only warm up the crowd for the headliner, but set the stage and the mood for an epic headlining set.

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UK Artist of the Week: Thee MVPS

Having already supported the likes of Flat Worms, The Parrots, and Ty Segall, Thee MVPS are fast building a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands around. And now, with new single “American Dreamin’,” they’re set to wow listeners once more with their immense, energy-fuelled offerings.

Emitting a raw, reverb-strewn scuzz alongside impassioned, riotous vocals and blues-infused riffs, “American Dreamin'” races with a thrashing energy—a perfect slice of snarling garage rock with shades of MC5 or The Hives. Fusing good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll with a unique, gritty edge, Thee MVPS is a band that deserves to be on your radar right now.

Set to blow away crowds at DIY’s Big Indie Big Nights this Wednesday, 11th July, Thee MVPS are the exciting dose of new music that your summer warrants.

“American Dreamin’” is in stores now. Catch Thee MVPS live, 11th July, at Two Tribes Brewery, London. Book free tickets here.

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TVD Live Shots: The Adicts at the O2 Islington Academy, 6/28

One of the many things I love about living in London is the fact that I get to see so many of bands from the original punk movement play live in their native environment. The story of punk in London is littered with stories of the best of the best; the Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Ruts, The Slits, and of course The Adicts.

A staple of the early ’80s London punk scene and indie charts alike, The Adicts set themselves apart from the onslaught of punk bands by focusing not only on the songs but also on their image. The group wears all-white clothing with black boots and black bowler hats. Frontman Keith “Monkey” Warren sports equally comical and frightening joker makeup, flamboyant checkerboard and polka dot suits, flared trousers, along with the bowler hat and gloves. Their live show quickly became a spectacle of its own as the band complimented their visual style with the likes of novelty items such as streamers, confetti, playing cards, joker hats, toy instruments, and glitter.

I’ve never seen the band live, so when the chance came to catch them at the very cool O2 Islington Academy I jumped on it. The Adicts were recently signed to Nuclear Blast (kudos to NB for being such a fresh and forward thinking label, by the way) and released And it was So!, their tenth studio album, and it’s garnered a slew of positive reviews.

Not a lot of punk bands, or any groups for that matter, can have a 40 year plus career and still look to be in their prime. The Adicts somehow discovered the punk rock fountain of youth which is not only showcased in their recent videos to support the new record, but even live I thought to myself, how old are these guys? They looked fantastic on stage. Maybe it was a couple of drinks impairing my vision a bit, but these guys not only had the energy of their prime in the ’80s, but their Clockwork Orange style dress makes them appear ageless.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Hollywood Vampires, The Damned, and The Darkness at SSE Arena, 6/20

The history of the Hollywood Vampires originates in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the world-famous Rainbow Bar & Grill. The upstairs bar is where the original Vamps formed a drinking club that included legends Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, and just about any other rock star who found themselves passing through.

While the club would lay dormant for a couple of decades, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp would breathe new life into the Vampires in 2015. Since then, a band has consisted of the core of Cooper, Depp, and Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry. They’ve played gigs and festivals, released an album, and finally made their way over to the UK for a tour in 2018. This is the first time I would see the band live—and they were spectacular.

I’ve read a few recent reviews that claimed Depp was “staggering” across the stage but I’m not sure what the hell they’re talking about. The Vampires looked and sounded great. And anyone who’s asking the question of whether or not Depp deserves to share the stage with rock ‘n’ roll royalty should listen to what his conspirators have to say.

Joe Perry has praised his actor friend’s musical skill, saying he was as “good as anybody I’ve worked with,” and “I don’t think he’d be up on the stage with Alice and me and the other cats if he wasn’t holding his own as he does.” Cooper’s praise is equally flattering, adding, “He’s really a good player. He’s a musician through and through I don’t think of him as an actor. He’s a guitar player.” If that’s not enough credentials, then move along and find another supergroup to bitch about.

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UK Artist of the Week: Megan Airlie

This week’s artist of the week, Megan Airlie, transports us back in time with her absolutely stunning new single “Honey,” and it will give you all the feels.

Every now and again a truly unique artist comes along, and Airlie is one of these artists. Her voice is second to none, regularly drawing comparisons to the likes of Billie Holiday, and its clear why from the first 30 seconds of “Honey.”

She manages to combine her love of jazz and blues to create something that feels both modern and old school at the same time, and the latest single is yet another example of this, reminding us of cool summer evenings and forgetting the world around us. Think Holiday and Etta James as well as more modern Joanna Newsom, and you’re almost there.

Airlie first gained attention after releasing her debut single “After River” earlier this year, and it’s no surprise why. There really is no one doing what this Scottish songwriter is doing right now—and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

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Needle Drop: Kid Cupid, “Unholy Ceremony” EP

Following the success of last year’s cinematic single “Easy,” London’s Kid Cupid have now shared their impressive and immersive debut EP, “Unholy Ceremony.”

A euphoric fusion of sounds based around conversations you’d have with a friend in pain, the EP kicks off with the whirring hooks and tribal beats of “Low.” Addressing the theme of codependency and the effect this can have on someone, the track flows with a majestic, sweeping emotion.

Continuing the blissful atmospherics, “Better” is an instantly catchy, feel-good anthem. Celebrating all the qualities we love about someone we care about, it exudes a twinkling grace; showcasing front-woman Laura Shaw’s vocals at their richest, as they soar with a subtle, soulful power.

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UK Artist of the Week: Aaron Ward

Sometimes, all you need from a song is simplicity—remove all the bells and whistles and let the lyrics carry the moment, creating something truly moving and poignant in the process. This is what UK newcomer Aaron Ward has managed to do so exquisitely with his debut solo single “I Don’t Mind.”

The track falls somewhere between the realms of electronica and folk, and Ward himself has been already compared to Vance Joy and Bon Iver—not a bad start if you ask us! But what Ward uniquely manages to portray here is a genuine sense of emotion which flows from “I Don’t Mind” by the bucket-load. Ward’s colloquial vocal style renders the lyrics all the more relatable, as does the clever video released in tandem with the single, set in a typical English pub where many a worry can be shared over a pint or two.

“I Don’t Mind” tackles a subject that is more important now than ever, highlighting the importance of friendship and the need to be more open. In a world with so much awfulness at the moment, we think it’s a message that needs to be sung from the rooftops. So sit back, grab a drink, and go have a chat with one of your oldest pals about their problems. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

“I Don’t Mind” is in stores now via Speak Right Records.

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Needle Drop: Sabatta, Misfit Music

With praise from Afropunk, BBC 6Music, and The Punk Site under their belts, London duo Sabatta have just released their immense new album. An epic, energy-fuelled ride from start to finish, Misfit Music defies genres and expectations in all the best ways.

Kicking off with the racing riffs and fierce rap of “Rock Star Shit,” a tongue-in-cheek take on what it means to be a modern-day rock star, the album continues with one intense sonic blast after another. Propelled by riotous riffs and the ferocious power of front-man Yinka’s vocals, “Wicked Right Now” fuses elements of funk, soul, and rock, creating a powerful barrage of sound that grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go.

Whilst the playful interplay of Debbie Dee and Yinka’s vocals stands out on “Always,” “Feel It Too” slows down the tempo a notch, oozing a mellow, ska-punk groove before “Scream Of Consciousness” blasts into your soul with its thrashing hooks and impassioned whirlwind of fury, as the potent force of Yinka’s vocals rages alongside funk-fuelled bass lines. A perfectly angst-driven take on modern life.

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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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UK Artist of the Week: Catgod

Oxford band Catgod have previously charmed crowds at Truck Festival and Sofar Sounds, and received acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Tom Robinson, Clash, and The Line Of Best Fit. Lead by sibling duo Robin Christensen-Marriott and Catherine Marriott, they’re now ready to release their debut EP “Heartbeat In My Hand.”

Taken from the EP, lead single ‘Keep My Promises’ is a beautiful fusion of sounds interwoven to create something truly majestic. As Robin’s John Martyn-reminiscent languid vocals glide throughout, the track oozes a twinkling musicality as luscious harmonies float across an epic, cinematic soundscape.

Throughout the EP, Catgod fuse together an eclectic range of influences—from folk to trip hop—as each track flows with a sweeping, spellbinding grandeur. From the delicate, emotion-strewn splendour of title-track “Heartbeat In My Hand” and the effervescent grace of “Let Go,” to the more abstract musicality and shimmering harmonies of closer “Owing You,” the EP showcases the band’s ability to create inspired, genre-defying offerings. It’s an innovative debut collection that captivates on first listen.

“Heartbeat In My Hand,” the debut EP from Catgod, is in stores 22nd June.

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TVD Live Shots: Foreigner at the Royal Albert Hall, 5/16

Foreigner’s Records was released on November 29, 1982, the compilation spanning the band’s first four albums through 1981. Along with their second album, Double Vision, the release is the group’s best-selling record. I must have played this one a thousand times when I was a kid. Mind you, I was ten at the time, yet every song on that record is a bona fide global smash hit, and the music still holds up today. It would go on to become certified seven times platinum, something most of us will never see again in our lifetime.

Fast forward almost four decades and a new Foreigner led by founding member Mick Jones (who let’s not forget joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013) is alive and well and arguably sounding better than ever before. Sure they’re missing their original vocalist, the almighty Lou Gramm, but holy shit does Kelly Hansen play the part well. He’s been part of the band for more than a decade now and not only is he a stellar vocalist, he adds a new dynamic to the group. Anyone who sees the band live can’t deny the unbridled talent and charisma Hansen brings to the band.

Add to that Dokken bass master Jeff Pilson, Big Country’s Bruce Watson, former Whitesnake drummer Chris Frazier, sax man Thom Gimbel, and keyboardist Michael Bluestein, and you have a group of musicians who not only recreate the legendary songs live, they add a welcome and slight modern twist. The show was a non-stop hits-a-palooza that featured all the classics. “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,”—I could go on for a while here, but the real highlight for me was how incredible “Urgent” and “Juke Box Hero” sounded live—two of my favorites.

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