Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: oh800

This week’s Artist of the Week is eccentric post-punk trio oh800. With the release of their debut album Character Building imminent, these three guys have been pulling out all the stops to make sure it gets the appreciation it deserves.

The band’s latest release from the album is the undeniably catchy “Melanin.” Filled with jangling guitars, fuzzy synth beats, and the trio’s killer harmonies throughout, this single is a sure-fire hit from the offset. Frontman Eoin Rooney’s vocal style has previously been compared to that of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and we can see why, however what Rooney uniquely manages to do is write poignant lyrics alongside his colloquial phrasing to create something that is highly relatable.

Of the track, Rooney elaborates “We had the music for this song kicking around for quite a while, but the lyrics came after a young black kid was killed by a police officer in our area of London. The officer thought he swallowed a suspicious package and chased him down. You know the rest… Meanwhile on the same streets, middle class white people walk around every weekend with suspicious packages in their pockets, suspicion free. That pisses me off. So I wrote a song about it.” Well said Rooney, well said.

Character Building is in stores on 12th October 2018 via Infinite Jest Records.

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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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TVD Live Shots: LA Guns at the O2 Islington, 8/31

I’ve always loved LA Guns and thought that these guys conjured up their own unique sound during an embarrassing mess of look-alike hair bands from the late ’80s. These guys were a bit more rough around the edges and had a much more raw, sort of lo-fi sound to their debut record that helped it stand out from the slick production and ridiculous lyrics of their peers. That self-titled debut album is an absolutely fucking masterpiece.

While I’ve celebrated several of the other releases from these guys, this is the one that set the bar, the one that all others shall always be compared to. The band sort of lost their way as they would split into two dueling projects and there’s not enough time in the world to discuss that saga. The good thing is that founding members Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis finally did the right thing and came together again. Even better, they made a brilliant record. A return to form for a band that everyone knew had this in them—it would just take a decade or so of bad decisions to get to this point.

The record is called The Missing Piece, and I guess you could consider it a reunion recording, but more importantly it is the first album of new material featuring both singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns in 15 years. Oh, and it’s bloody brilliant. But don’t take my word for it. How about the 77 plus nearly five-star reviews on Amazon, or the critics across the blogosphere praising it left and right.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Fantastic Negrito
at Nell’s Jazz and
Blues, 8/10

I was supposed to be at the Iron Maiden show at the O2 on Friday night here in London. Instead, I decided to check out something from the other side of the spectrum entirely, and I’m so glad that I did. Nell’s Jazz & Blues was hosting a sold-out show by Oakland, California native Fantastic Negrito. No opening act, a capacity crowd, and a venue that was somewhere between a cocktail lounge and a full-blown rock ‘n’ roll venue. I had no idea what to expect, and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be something over the top.

A primarily self-taught musician with a colorful background of dealing and hustling on the streets of the East Bay, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz—aka Fantastic Negrito—is a unicorn upon the current musical landscape. Even the most prominent music labels in the world seem to be confused on what to do with his genre-fusing which he calls “Black Roots Music.” Is it funk, is it blues, is it rock, is it something completely different? That answer is yes to all of the above. The problem continues to be, how do you promote it?

As I squeezed my way up to the front of the stage trying to set myself up for a few good shots I mentioned to the two people next to me that I would only be up in front shooting the first few songs. They replied, “No problem, we’ll be dancing the whole time anyway.” Last time he played London was opening for the late great Chris Cornell at the famed Royal Albert Hall. Xavier asked the crowd how many had seen that show, and several people raised their hands with a loud cheer. What would come next was a full-blown blues and rock ‘n’ roll-fueled jam that at times felt like an underground sermon delivered by a master storyteller (and boy does this guy have some stories).

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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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TVD Live Shots: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
at the O2 Kentish Town Forum, 7/26

Is there a cooler fucking band on the planet than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? I think not.

These guys are the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, and eight albums into a steady and impressive near two-decade career they continue to make brilliant albums as if the digital single had never been invented. Although I’ve always been a fan of these guys, first seeing them at legendary Emo’s in Austin during the tour for their first record, I really fell in love with them on their third release. It’s one of the best records, start to finish, that I’ve ever heard—sixty minutes and twenty-six seconds of pure genius songwriting and production, entitled Baby 81.

Baby 81 was the last album for BRMC on a major label before going independent. “Berlin,” “Weapon of Choice,” “Took Out a Loan,” “Windows.” Holy shit, this record is brilliant. You can tell there’s a major label behind it because it’s too perfect. I would guess that there was a tremendous amount of pressure on these guys to deliver a breakthrough record with every critic in the world raving about them. But that’s a story for another time—on to the show at hand in London.

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UK Artist of the Week: Starry Skies

Recorded at Belle And Sebastian’s rehearsal rooms, Be Kind—the sophomore album from Glasgow’s Starry Skies—follows the band’s debut Ask The Animals and countless not-for-profit events that they have organized to give all kinds of bands a stage to play on.

Reflecting their preoccupation with helping others, the new album, as the title would suggest, reflects on the need for more kindness in the world, and will uplift the soul with its refreshing, positive spirit that runs throughout.

Combining a smorgasbord of genres, Be Kind is a treat for the ears as well as the mood. With elements of blues, folk, Americana, and indie rock, each track oozes its own unique energy. From the twinkling, jangly guitars and sweeping sense of romanticism of album opener and title track, to the driving, blues-ridden riffs of “Sugar Cane,” and the angelic, shimmering emotion of “I’ll Be There,” the album as a whole percolates with a sunny, heartwarming zest.

Layering delicate melodies with catchy, uptempo beats, there’s shades of all sorts to be found; from the gritty passion of the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff, to the infectious indie anthems of Teenage Fanclub, and even a hint of Bob Dylan. And tying it all together, the distinctive, raw emotion of front-man Warren McIntyre’s vocals, delivering thought-provoking and inspired lyrics.

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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 Live Shots: Ministry at the O2 Kentish Town Forum, 7/21

The last time I saw Ministry was in 1992 at the second Lollapalooza. They were touring in support of their genre-defining masterpiece Psalm69 while being groomed by their record label as the next big thing.

While Ministry were arguably at the top of their game regarding songwriting and live performances, what was happening behind the scenes would ultimately push the band to the brink of extinction. It’s the classic story of drugs and rock ‘n’ roll but retold in an extreme manner. Ministry founder and frontman Al Jourgensen not only invented the genre of industrial metal, but he also reinvented a mystique and intrigue around an entire rebranding of a band.

How does a group start off sounding like Depeche Mode/ New Order but later find their breakthrough moment pushing the boundaries within an entirely new genre? I think it’s all about timing. Furthermore, you give a musical genius a shit ton of money, an enormous amount of pressure, and some mind-altering substances, and you are likely to generate something no one has ever heard before.

The follow-up to Ministry’s breakthrough is one of the coolest stories of artist vs. major record label. The band was so pissed on drugs and trying to control the chaos of newfound success, that they basically delivered a huge middle finger to Sire/ Warner Brothers called Filth Pig; a noise infested sludgefest that would make the Melvins sound commercial. What could have become the band’s “Thriller” moment brought confusion and alienation to its fanbase. This was sort of the beginning of the end of the beginning of Ministry and begs the question, what would have become if the band did deliver a proper follow-up to their seminal masterpiece?

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Needle Drop: BUNGALOW,
“Loving It”

PHOTO: RAYMOND VAN MIL | Having received acclaim from Noisey and Indietronica, Thomas Harmsen and Camille van de Pavert—aka BUNGALOW—create genre-defying sounds from an underground studio along the canals of Amsterdam. Support slots with big names like Public Service Broadcasting already under their belts, they have now released an utterly infectious new single.

An immense slice of glitchy indie-pop,”Loving It” races with soaring ‘80s-inspired hooks, building to a whirring electro anthem interweaving intergalactic layers of sound. A perfect summer dance-floor anthem, this latest offering will have you grooving all night long to its catchy, synth-filled sonic waves.

So, if it’s sumptuous, danceable earworms you’re after, then BUNGALOW are your guys. Just one listen of “Loving It” and you’ll be doing just that…

“Loving It” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: KOSCHKA

PHOTO: TOM ROELOFS | What an absolutely stunning find we have for you today. KOSCHKA’s “The Flood” is an absolutely exquisite piece of music from start to finish. Get ready to be mesmerised.

Despite being over 6 minutes long, this really is a track that just keep on giving. It was recorded in one take and combines KOSCHKA’s love of experimental and classical music wonderfully. It’s dark, it’s brooding, its emotional. KOSCHKA’s powerful vibrato soars beautifully over the captivating piano-pop melodies, creating something both haunting and dreamy.

It’s clear to see that KOSCHKA is a fan of PJ Harvey with this track, but her love of classical composers also comes through, making this track wholly unique in a world of modern electronic sounds.

“The Flood” is in stores now via Part Du Decor Records.

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