Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Danny McMahon

This week’s Artist of The Week is the UK’s answer to Keith Urban, well in our opinion anyway. Country singer-songwriter Danny McMahon creates beautifully poignant songs that will pull at your heart-strings and stay in your head for days to come (in a very good way).

Danny’s latest release is a gorgeously nostalgic video for his hit single “When I See You.” The single, written by songwriter Dan Evans, is an emotive tale about Dan’s grandfather who had recently passed away. Fittingly, as a result, the video sees Danny with his own grandfather in a number of clips from family footage over the years.

The single is incredibly moving from the offset, filled with twinkling guitar melodies and Danny’s soft, smooth vocal sounding incredibly honest and pure throughout—so get the tissues at the ready.

With “When I See You” having debuted at number 1 in the UK iTunes country charts, there are extremely high hopes for Danny’s forthcoming EP “Boys Cry Too,” in stores this Friday, and we can’t wait to hear it. Keith Urban better watch his back, that’s all we’re saying.

“Boys Cry Too” is in stores on 24th May 2019 via Puzzle Maker Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Pete Doherty and the Puta Madres at the O2 Kentish Town, 5/12

I’m a massive fan of rock stars who genuinely embrace the lifestyle—the ones who make the most noise and piss off a ton of people while rising to the top because they play by their own rules. It’s the punk rock mentality that says, “show up as your true self and take no shit from anyone.” There are those who try to fabricate this mentality, then there are the tortured souls who have no choice other than to channel it in a creative way. Peter Doherty is the personification of all the above.

I’m also a massive fan of the Libertines and Babyshambles since I was living in the States. The Britpop invasion in the US seemed to have evaporated by the time these two bands caught a tailwind before the next big thing took over. However, there was always a buzz around them, and the critical acclaim couldn’t come quickly enough. So why didn’t either band truly break through in the States? Who fucking knows. (I blame the hipster elite who deemed it cool to love these bands and you almost had to be approved by this clique to properly enjoy the music.)

Now, I’ve been living in the UK for three years and looking to catch my first Pete Doherty show in any incarnation but with no luck. I missed the Libertines twice—it’s pretty much impossible to get tickets to their shows in London as they are usually one-offs, private gigs, or part of a huge show in a tiny venue for one reason or another. So when I saw Doherty’s new band plotting a proper UK tour, I thought this was my chance. And it worked out beautifully (…minus the non-existent lights on the stage. It was pretty much pitch black with a couple of backlights—otherwise known as a photographer’s fucking nightmare).

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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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TVD Live Shots: Hall
& Oates at Wembley Arena, 4/26

Hall & Oates bring their unique brand of Philly rock and soul to the UK for the first time in more than five years. Can the biggest-selling duo in music history still pull a crowd in the UK? The answer is a resounding “yes” as Daryl Hall and John Oates packed them in at London’s legendary Wembley Arena. One would never guess that the blonde haired, blue-eyed frontman is going to turn 73 this year. He’s either found the fountain of youth or the gods of pop music are smiling down on him.

Hall is a brilliant example of how to stay relevant as his critically acclaimed Live from Daryl’s house has taken on a life of its own. Continuing the legacy of mixing genres and pushing the H2O songbook, the live jam sessions not only provide a platform for 40 years of hits but also bring in new blood along the way to further celebrate these classics for a new generation. He’s essentially future-proofed the business while staying incredibly relevant.

Oates has to be drinking from the same fountain as this guy is going on 72 and could easily pass for half that age. He continues to weave a welcomed solo song into the set which acts as a nice buffer for the non-stop hits-a-palooza that clocks in just under two hours. On another note, it looks like the most famous mustache in all of pop music seems to be making a long overdue comeback.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Tom Chaplin Sings Queen at the Palladium, 4/22

Reason number 437 on why I love living in London: the number of unique UK only tours. Last year Keane frontman Tom Chaplin joined the acclaimed BBC Radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night show for an extraordinary evening to perform songs from Queen. Blending orchestral music with a mixture of contemporary music, songs from musicals and films, opera and more, Radio 2 each week delivers on a set theme. Friday Night Is Music Night dates all the way back to 1953, but was only televised for the very first time on BBC Four in 2005. Fast forward to 2019, and the series is alive and well bringing together masterful singers to celebrate iconic songbooks.

I was gutted to miss the first gig where Tom Chaplin performed a night of Queen songs back in November of last year. That show was so incredibly well received that it would become a six-city UK tour in 2019, and I was not going to miss it this time. While I was incredibly excited to see this show, I had a few looming questions. Is the beloved frontman biting off more than he can chew attempting to perform some of the most ambitious and celebrated songs of our time? Can anyone on this earth match the dynamic range and charisma of one of the greatest singers of all time?

I should note that I’m a HUGE Keane fan. I think Strangeland is one of the most stunning albums I’ve ever heard in my life and Chaplin’s solo record that followed was equally as brilliant. So I’m going in with a bit of bias, but still, this is going to be a huge challenge to pull this off. The reviews of the original show were over the top, however I find it incredibly difficult to trust reviews that are so consistently and overwhelmingly positive.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Pop
Will Eat Itself and
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 4/6

When Nine Inch Nails were at their peak in the US, their label Interscope records gave frontman Trent Reznor his own label imprint called Nothing Records. One of its early signings was picking up UK electro pioneers Pop Will Eat Itself from a fallout with their North American label BMG. The result is one of the best and most undercelebrated albums of the ’90s, Dos Dedos Mis Amigos.

While it was a departure from the band’s earlier sound, it didn’t matter to me as this was my introduction to the group. I bought this thing on cassette and played it pretty much nonstop through the Brit Pop invasion of the mid ’90s and could not believe my eyes when I saw that the band would be touring the UK this year. The two singles from the record, “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” and “R.S.V.P.” were absolutely brilliant songs and should have elevated the band to immediate superstardom in the States. Instead, they enjoyed moderate success without ever truly breaking out.

The “Love from Stourbridge” tour brings together Pop Will Eat Itself and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, two of Stourbridge’s biggest musical exports, touring together for the first time since 1989. For PWEI they are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their classic 1989 album This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This!. To celebrate the milestone, the band is playing the record in full along with a selection of other tracks.

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TVD Live Shots: IDLES at Vicar Street, Dublin, 4/2

What happens when you take the best of The Strokes, Clutch, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and a touch of Fugazi, mix it all—and then set it on fire? You get the makings of the most exciting band from the UK in the past decade.

IDLES blasted out of Bristol seemingly from nowhere and have answered the same call that punk rock did in the late ’70s. But instead of a fight against disco and inequalities, this time it’s about corruption and satire, all in the face of the looming disaster that is Brexit. IDLES not only provide a much-needed break from the mainstream bullshit, but they have also relit the punk torch and grown it into a bonfire.

If you’ve somehow missed the phenomenon known as IDLES you might think that they are a bit overhyped. It’s a natural response from the mainstream press building our hopes up around the next big thing, only to be let down. I can tell you for after seeing this band live in Dublin last week that IDLES is the real fucking deal. It’s not hype when the hype machine isn’t needed; it’s much more organic. The songs, the live shows, the attitude is all 100% real, and the music scene has embraced the next big thing not because they were told to do so, but because they discovered it on their own.

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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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TVD Live Shots: Vive Le Rock Awards at the O2 Academy Islington, 3/27

I’ve been a massive fan of Vive Le Rock magazine since moving to London from San Francisco a few years back. It’s the one magazine that is keeping the spirit of punk and new wave alive and well in the UK, and they do it surprisingly well. So when a chance to attend the awards popped into my TVD inbox, I jumped at the chance and brought my camera along.

The bill for the evening was stacked, to say the least, plus they were teasing a special set from a 1977 band who would be reforming for one night only. Headlining the night would be The Stranglers, but before they would close out the night the stage would host a who’s who of punk rock and new wave icons from the glory days or the late ’70s and early ’80s both presenting and accepting awards while jamming away with the songs that defined the two decades.

Opening the night promptly at 7:30 was the house band appropriately named The Vive Le Rockers. While I’m not sure who the lead dude was, he threw down like a proper rock star and pretty much owned the stage while donning a full-on mariachi suit complete with oversized sombrero. The Professionals’ Tom Spencer joined in on the first set which included the songs “Pipeline,” “Green Door,” and “Know Your Product.”

Next, up Vive Le Rock editor, Eugene Butcher jumped on stage to welcome the crowd and to introduce one of my all-time favorite musicians, the legendary Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols. Glen got the crowd going, opening with “Sexy Beast” and “Keep on Pushing” from his brilliant new solo record, and then closing out with a rebel rousing version of the Pistols’ classic “Pretty Vacant.”

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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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