Category Archives: TVD UK

Tommy Victor of Prong on their new Zero Days: “It’s the consummate Prong record.”

The first time I heard Prong was back in 1990 on Headbanger’s Ball. The song was called “Beg to Differ,” and it was pretty much the coolest thing I had heard since discovering thrash metal.

But this was different; it was a new type of thrash. It was hardcore, but also very melodic. I was hooked and instantly became a fan that would hang on every release that followed. Prong would continue to evolve by experimenting with industrial sounds before finding success through MTV and relentless touring, only to be eventually caught up in major label bullshit and drowned out by the unstoppable grunge moment.

Prong founding member Tommy Victor would carry the metal torch forward and continues to deliver new Prong music for over a decade. The power trio is on tour now in advance of the release of the band’s 13th studio album Zero Days, in stores on July 28th. I joined Tommy on his bus in the States to ask him about the new record and a few other burning questions I’ve had as a long time fan.

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UK Artist of the Week: Tom Hale

Barnsley-based Tom Hale may be young, but he is no newcomer to the music scene. Having previously fronted indie-rockers ROOD, he has now made the move to go solo and has just released his cinematic debut EP.

The collection of tracks each contribute to the story of a man who falls in love with a woman in his dreams with each song building to the EP’s climax—title track and lead single “In The Night.” Oozing an elegant grandeur, the track flows with soaring strings and an endearing romanticism as Hale’s deep, rich vocals seduce with their smooth, subtle power.

An indie-rock ballad of epic proportions, “In The Night” may bring to mind the cinematic croonings of fellow Yorkshireman Richard Hawley. And, as with the Sheffield legend, it’s near impossible not to be swept off one’s feet by the swooning emotion and catchy, heartfelt melodies that Hale has to offer.

“In The Night,” the debut EP from Tom Hale, is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Greta Isaac

Now based in London, Welsh artist Greta Isaac has always had an affinity for her folk roots. However, innovative new single “Comfortable” signals a slight change in direction and a fresh new sound for her listeners.

Exploring the destructive human tendencies of apathy and selfishness, “Comfortable” whirrs with a glitchy pulse alongside twinkling melodies and Isaac’s seductive, honey-sweet vocals. With shades of Grimes, the track races with sweeping loops of unsettling beats and soaring electronic experimentation.

Crafting together complex layers of sound, Isaac has created an utterly infectious slice of rich electro pop, marking herself as a hugely promising young artist and a definite one to watch this year. With intrigue growing over her new musical project, Greta Isaac is set to debut “Comfortable” live at a secret show in London on 5th September, followed by an appearance at Festival No. 6.

“Comfortable” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Spoon
at the O2 Kentish Town Forum, 6/30

Spoon is a very special type of band, one that has to be heard just once to recognize and celebrate their genius. Watching this band perform live begs the question, how on earth does any band write such remarkable music over and over again? From its beginnings, Kill the Moonlight forward, each of this band’s records has displayed growth—not just pushing the boundaries, but exploring how far they can take a simple idea and have it blossom into something weird and unexpected, yet remarkably catchy.

The first time I saw Spoon was back in 2005 at the Austin City Limits festival where the band played in front of tens of thousands of attendees. I believe the festival was capped at 55K that year, but I remember seeing the largest crowd I’d ever seen before in downtown Austin. It was surreal. It’s not unusual for a “local” band to be much more popular in their hometown, but Austin is a different story—this was a case where the local band would be playing to the same size crowd as headliner Oasis.

Fast forward to last week in London where Spoon played their second show this year, the first being an intimate gig at Club 100 which I would have killed to get into but couldn’t. So it only made sense that they come back and play a proper show for the rest of us. The venue was the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, and the show was everything you’d expect from one of the most original bands on the planet.

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TVD Live Shots: Bash & Pop at The Garage, 6/29

It wasn’t all bad news when The Replacements split up in the early ’90s—the world of rock ‘n’ roll was given the gift of Bash & Pop. And while the band only delivered one full-length record, it was a righteous debut and birthed the anthem known as “Friday Night is Killing Me.” However short-lived it was, it was great to see Tommy Stinson put down the bass and pick up a six string and step up to the helm.

Stinson has the resume of a seasoned vet anchored of course by his time with alt-rock pioneers The Replacements, but also through his stellar projects in the form of Bash & Pop and Perfect. While both projects were equally short-lived, they showcased an incredibly talented frontman with some serious songwriting skills. Add to that a stellar decade-plus journey with the greatest front man of all time as the bass player for Guns N’ Roses and you have a bonafide rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut.

Fast forward to last week when Bash & Pop dropped into The Garage in North London for a warm-up club gig. The band would be gracing the big stage in Hyde Park the following weekend with Green Day, Rancid, and The Hives just to name a few. Bash & Pop were absolutely on fire and came out of the gates swinging. There’s a certain sense of punk rock-ness that comes alive when Stinson gets going. It starts about 2 seconds in and doesn’t let up until the last chords come crashing down.

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TVD Live Shots: Cheap Trick at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 6/27

I have seen Cheap Trick live more than a dozen times now and they never cease to live up to the announcement that precedes this legendary quartet taking the stage, “The best fucking rock band you’ve ever seen.” This time though was different as it was the first time I would be seeing the band perform in London.

Forty years strong, the band continues to fire on all cylinders. Touring in support of their brilliant new record, We’re All Alright, Cheap Trick brought their latest show to the O2 Forum Kentish Town in north London. The magnetism of Robin Zander, the charisma of Rick Nielsen, the thundering 12 string bass of Tom Petersson, and the bombastic drums of Nielsen’s son Daxx played an incredibly diverse set full of deep cuts, hits, and new material.

It was amazing to see the man of one thousand voices, Mr. Robin Zander decked out in his black leather Dream Police uniform. His voice sounds amazing as well. He’s still got the power and plenty of range to hit all the notes in all the right places—while still enjoying every last bit of leading such an epic band. Rick Nielsen’s personality remains bigger than his collection of oddball guitars, and his quick wit and connection with the audience is second to none.

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UK Artist of the Week: All Flags Are Grey

With their previous musical projects receiving acclaim from the likes of MTV and NME, Andrea Chamberlain and Leon Brown—aka All Flags Are Grey—are now set to impress with their new, debut single.

Addressing poignant issues such as addictive behaviour, vulnerability, and self-inflicted loss, “Bare Bones” flows with glitchy beats and a stirring sense of unease. As the passion of Chamberlain’s unique, beguiling vocals glides atop whirring electronic melodies, the track oozes a sweeping emotive power. Exuding a rich musicality and enchanting grandeur, it’s sure to captivate upon first listen.

With this latest offering, All Flags Are Grey have shown themselves capable of creating something truly majestic; a track that’s simply epic in its intensity.

“Bare Bones,” the upcoming single from All Flags Are Grey, arrives in stores 7th July via Seven Wishbones.

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TVD Live Shots: Jeff Lynne’s ELO at Wembley Stadium, 6/24

Jeff Lynne’s ELO and a sold out Wembley Stadium—are you kidding me? This one had all the makings to be one of the most epic shows on the planet, and it delivered. I’ve seen hundreds of shows in my life and several stadium shows, but I can tell you that this was one for the ages. The handful of rock bands who can even attempt to play stadiums cannot hold a candle to the magic that is Jeff Lynne and his expert band of musicians.

2017 is shaping up to be an epic year for Jeff Lynne. Earlier this year ELO was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017, and now a string of sold out stadium and arena tours of the UK. What’s in store for the rest of the year? Many fans are hoping it’s a US tour announcement.

This show was my first time in a proper stadium (capacity here is 90,000). Walking through the halls as I was heading to my seat, I got a sense of just how much history had taken place in Wembley. From Live Aid back in 1985 to just a few weeks ago with the triumphant return of The Stone Roses who also packed the venue to capacity, to the upcoming four-night run from Adele, this place has—and continues to host—some of the biggest shows on earth.

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UK Artist of the Week: Model Aeroplanes

Previously receiving airplay from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, Radio X’s John Kennedy, and BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson, Dundee band Model Aeroplanes are back with another slice of blissful indie-pop.

An instant earworm, “Lover” races with jangly melodies and uptempo beats, oozing sparkling, summery vibes. Reminiscent of French stars Phoenix, the track is an immensely infectious offering, exuding a shimmering euphoria.

With past support slots including Twin Atlantic and Editors, this is no doubt just the beginning for Model Aeroplanes who now, having shown themselves capable of creating such glistening indie-pop delights, are sure to propel to stardom in no time at all. So, find a garden, grab a beer in the sunshine, and be swept away by the dazzling, uplifting bliss of Model Aeroplanes.

“Lover,” the new single from Model Aeroplanes, is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Idina Menzel at Royal Albert Hall, 6/15

The title of this article should be “a metal fan goes to a pop show.” After taking my wife to numerous metal shows around the world, most recently King’s X and Guns ‘n Roses (within the same week), she asked me to get tickets to a show that SHE wanted to see. She was dead set on seeing Idina Menzel perform live, and I owed it to her. To be completely honest I wasn’t familiar with who Idina Menzel was, although I like to think if myself as that one music fan that does listen to “all types of music.”

I scored third row center seats for us because I thought, if I’m going to see a pop show of this magnitude, I’m going to get the absolute best seats possible—in case I have a miserable time, I’ll at least have a killer seat. Add to it that the show is at the legendary Royal Albert Hall. It’s my first time seeing a show there and it’s starting to get interesting. The stage is set, and after a fantastic dinner I take my wife to our seats and I head back to the soundboard (which is way, way, way in the back) to get ready to take a few shots and try to capture a story within the first three songs (standard photog rules of engagement). Then Idina hits the stage.

Any parent who has a toddler will recognize her voice in about 2 seconds. I have a 2 ½-year-old little girl who dreams of being a princess and can’t stop watching the movie Frozen. I’ve heard the soundtrack so many times I feel like I was its producer—3 to 4 times a day for the past year, I’ve probably heard these songs more than any other rock/ metal classics in my lifetime.

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