Category Archives: TVD UK

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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TVD Live Shots: James at Royal Albert Hall, 3/9

The last time I saw James was at a radio festival in the States in the early ’90s. The band was riding high on the Brit-pop invasion and celebrating much-deserved success with their breakthrough single “Laid.” While I’ve always considered myself a casual fan, I had sort of lost track of the band before moving to London a few years ago. That all changed last week at Royal Albert Hall—I’m hooked—and I feel like I’ve discovered the genius of James once again in a proper setting.

If seeing a show at the beautiful and legendary space that is Royal Albert Hall isn’t enough, enter Tim Booth and company. James delivered a masterclass in what it means to be considered Brit-pop royalty and how to keep relevant for three decades plus. The band opened for themselves with a short acoustic set of stripped-down deep cuts and fan favorites. That’s quite a bold move, and the only other artist I’ve seen do this is the excellent Noel Gallagher (who admitted that he couldn’t find anyone worthy of the spot). After seeing the full-blown electric set that James delivered, I think they could easily say the same.

James are touring in support of their 15th studio album Living in Extraordinary Times. The Manchester natives blasted through a set celebrating pieces of their impressive catalog while pulling heavily from their latest. In fact, I think they nearly played the entire record, but I was in too much awe to be taking any notes—and trying to keep up with Tim Booth as the 59 years young frontman impressively sailed over the top of the crowd following several stage dives and making his way around the entire venue. This guy has more energy and personality than most punk bands half or even a quarter of his age.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Blue Oyster Cult and The Temperance Movement at the Eventim Apollo 2/22

Blue Oyster Cult returned to the UK for the first time in nearly a decade. This is a very interesting band for me as they wrote one of the most iconic anthems of the ’70s, had a string of brilliant albums, but never really seemed to break through like several of their kindred spirits.

Maybe it’s because BOC is a bit too diverse for their own good. They certainly have the musicianship and songwriting chops to stand out on their own, but their continuous jumping between radio-friendly classic rock pop songs and over the top psychedelic rock put them in the “where the hell do they really fit” category. It’s a nice problem to have for the band and their fans, but it can wreak havoc for any plan to achieve mainstream success and find a steady home at radio.

Either way, Blue Oyster Cult has certainly cemented their legacy, and the live show is where it all comes together regardless of the critics or manufactured radio playlists. Watching the show here in the UK at the legendary Eventim Apollo (the former Hammerstein Ballroom), it’s refreshing not hearing anyone shouting out, “I gotta have more cowbell,” or “I’ve got a fever….” as the band winds up to play “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Saturday Night Live isn’t a thing over here. In addition, classics such as “Burning for You,” “Godzilla,” and “E.T.I.,” comprise a setlist that would make any classic rock fan bust with nostalgia. The fact that the band sounded as good as they did that night is just one of the many reasons why BOC can still pull in a crowd.

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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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TVD Live Shots:
The Dead South and
The Hooten Hallers at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 2/15

Canadian bluegrass punk rebels The Dead South have arrived and their moment is now. Having sold out their biggest UK tour to date, this quartet is primed to take the reins from the terribly overrated Mumford & Sons with a return to the style of the original rowdy acoustic punks, The Avett Brothers. It’s traditional, it’s edgy, the lyrics tell a great story, and you can’t help but stomp your foot and be pulled into the energy that these guys produce on stage.

Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, the band was formed in 2012 and has released two full-length albums and an EP to date. The songs “In Hell I’ll be in Good Company,” “Honey You,” “Boots,” and “Banjo Odessy” are instant classics for the genre and sound even better live than on the records.

Famed London venue the O2 Forum in Kentish Town was jam-packed with 2300 fans, the largest crowd to date for these guys, and it was a rip-roaring ride through the band’s short but celebrated catalog backed by one of the most impressive light shows I’ve seen at the venue. As these guys have just recently appeared on my radar, it became immediately apparent why the buzz and the hype around The Dead South is legit, and it will be interesting to see where the band goes next as they’ve clearly outgrown another London venue.

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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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TVD Live Shots:
The Dandy Warhols
and Swervedriver at
the O2 Brixton, 2/1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a quarter of a century since the debut record from The Dandy Warhols. I missed this record the first time around and instead discovered them on their masterful major label debut The Dandy Warhols Come Down. This is one of my favorite records of all time and one that easily stands the test of time. Often referred to as “the best Brit rock band from the States,” on tour the Dandys are not jumping on the current bandwagon and playing their classic album in its entirety along with a greatest hits encore. Instead, they do a proper celebration by dropping their 10th studio album, appropriately titled Why You So Crazy.

“The weirdest thing about it being ‎our 25th anniversary is it doesn’t feel like 25 years. Feels like about six. Or five,” muses frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. I couldn’t agree more—how in the fuck did this happen? Am I really that old? Now that I think about it, I’ve seen the Dandys eight or nine times over the years, and I do celebrate their entire catalog.

While the Dandys have certainly done things on their terms after leaving the world of major labels, they’ve gone in some bizarre directions and never really went back to capture their roots on any later material. Well, that all changes with Why You So Crazy. Yeah, of course, it’s a fucking weird record, but they’ve managed to take a bit of influence from the other nine records and sprinkled that magic across the 12 songs on this gem—songs like “Forever,” “Terraform,” and “Motor City Steel” pulling a bit more from the trio of greatness that is Dandy’s Come Down, 13 Tales, and Welcome to the Monkey House.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Skid Row at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 1/26

1989, it was a good year. The internet was born, the Berlin wall came down, Seinfeld was introduced, and Skid Row delivered their eponymous debut record. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since I first heard the anthem that would become the soundtrack to my rebellious teenage years. These guys make a fucking brilliant debut that fell somewhere between the bad boy image and the edge of Guns ‘n’ Roses and the glam appeal of fellow Jersey natives Bon Jovi.

The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1995 for shipping five million copies in the United States alone. It generated four singles, “Youth Gone Wild,” “18 and Life,” “I Remember You,” and “Piece of Me,” all of which were accompanied by music videos and received heavy rotation on MTV. The album’s commercial and critical success made Skid Row a regular feature in rock magazines and brought the group nationwide popularity.

While most “hair metal” bands of the time wouldn’t try to fuck with the formula for success and make Skid Row part two, these guys broke the mold and forged new ground altogether. Their sophomore release Slave to the Grind was a game changer and created shock waves across the industry as it became the first heavy metal record to debut at #1 on the Billboard top 100 chart. And boy was it fucking HEAVY. This all happened based on the buzz and without the significant radio airplay that broke the first album. One could argue that it was purely organic and a reaction to the caricature that hair metal had become.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Architects at Wembley Arena, 1/19

As a US-born metal fan living in the UK for the past three years, I thought I’ve seen the best of the best regarding both progressive and hardcore, then I heard Architects and that mindset was quickly thrown out the window.

Arguably the hottest metal band in the world at the moment, Architects have grown steadily over the past decade, but 2018 leading into 2019 was/ is the year where they are absolutely exploding and quickly soaring past their peers. I’m not quite sure how I missed them the first time around, but there is absolutely no way anyone can ignore the buzz and critical acclaim that is surging this band to the bleeding edge of all things metal with the release of their magnum opus Holy Hell.

But this is a triumph that almost didn’t happen as the band lost its lead guitarist and primary songwriter tragically on 20 August 2016. Founding guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle died at the age of 28, after living for three years with melanoma skin cancer. His condition was previously not made public, though he referenced it in the song “C.A.N.C.E.R.” Tom’s twin brother and bandmate, Dan, would take that pain and channel it into what would become Holy Hell.

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UK Artist of the Week: Jackie Venson

A firm favourite here at TVD HQ, this week we are extremely proud to feature the hugely talented Jackie Venson as our latest Artist of the Week.

Jackie’s most recent single, “A Million Moments” is the first to be released alongside Big Indie Records, a label based in London and Austin who are also the masterminds behind Big Indie Big Nights, a recurring event that showcases their brightest talents completely free of charge. Jackie was proudly part of their US debut at Antone’s in Austin last month where she received rave reviews.

Alas, we digress, back to the single. “A Million Moments” is certainly poppier than Jackie’s previous singles, but it nevertheless showcases Jackie’s incredible guitar skills throughout. The guitar solo at the end in particular feeling instantly reminiscent of one of Jackie’s biggest influences, Gary Clark Jr., of course.

The single is an exciting introduction for what jackie has in store for us in 2019 and we cannot wait. Her ability to combine alt-pop sensibilities with elements of blues, rock and soul is undeniably impressive and will hopefully encourage more artists to blur the lines between genres going forward. Expect big things from this one.

“A Million Moments” is out now via Big Indie Records.

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