Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Be Charlotte

Fronted by teenager Charlotte Brimner, Scottish three-piece Be Charlotte are set to release a brand new single later this month. I’ve no doubt that it’s going to take the world by storm.

“One Drop” showcases just why Brimner is already regarded as one of Scotland’s most cutting-edge songwriters. Skillfully fusing an eclectic range of genres, the track combines elements of hip-hop, electro, and pop, creating a truly infectious and hugely addictive dance-floor anthem.

As Brimner’s Scottish twang alternates between sweeping, impassioned vocal power and gritty beat-boxing loops, “One Drop” races with twinkling melodies alongside throbbing beats and glitchy electro vibes—a vibrant and innovative creation, bound to propel Be Charlotte into the mainstream in no time.

Having already received acclaim from BBC Radio 1 and Radio X, Be Charlotte have also been named as one of The Great Escape’s First Fifty for 2017, and are going to be playing SXSW in March. This year certainly looks set to be a big one for Be Charlotte.

“One Drop” is out 20 January via AWAL/Kobalt Label Service.

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UK Artist of the Week: DYVE

When we first heard Adam Cleaver here at TVD we were pretty impressed. He’s previously released two rather successful solo EPs that fall somewhere between Ben Howard’s chilled acoustic folk melodies and Thom Yorke’s flawless falsetto vibes. Well, fast forward to the present day and Cleaver has teamed up with a host of new musicians to create minimalist, electronic outfit DYVE.

Their debut single “Half Awake” is a real treat for the ears; filled with stunning electronic twists and turns, and of course Adam’s soaring vocal centre stage. It perhaps isn’t all that new to us in a world of James Blakes and RY Xs, but there is definitely some amazing talent here and it’s an exciting first release from the London collective.

Adam formed DYVE after travelling around Europe on his own and some might say “finding himself.” Well, whatever he found, it’s working—we say keep it up!

“Half Awake” is out on 20th January 2017 via Veta Records.

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Needle Drop: Crash Club, “C.C.101” EP

Glasgow’s Crash Club are giving the electro genre a bit of a shake up with their own unique brand of electro rock on their latest EP “C.C.101.”

“Pennydrop” is a track with hard edges and melodic grooves—there’s a touch of Prodigy about the first half but the vocal melody provides a tremendous “come down.” Meanwhile on “Chemicals,” the band opt for a more disjointed approach, but it’s the vocals that let the side down here. There’s something very masculine about the music that would most likely be elevated by more ethereal vocals, something which the band experiment with on “Last Dance,” which is by far the stand out.

There’s a frenetic energy about Crash Club’s music which will no doubt be felt live. However, with the sheer amount of sophisticated electro acts out there at the moment, Crash Club fall ever so slightly by the wayside. Somewhat dated in attack, the band would have no doubt hit it big in the mid ’90s, but unless they alter their approach to fit these more sophisticated times, it’s doubtful whether we’ll see them headlining a big festival anytime soon.

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Needle Drop: Melissa Bel, In the Light

Canadian born, ’50s inspired singer Melissa Bel recently released her latest album In the Light—a collection of flirtatious, feel-good pop songs filled with sass and emotion. Melissa now resides in the UK after she went to friend’s wedding in Las Vegas and met the love of her life, and In the Light was born.

Opening track “Real Tonight” is about that night in Vegas. It has an upbeat, fresh feeling, preparing you perfectly for what’s to come from the album, although title track “In the Light” almost flips this on its head and reveals Melissa’s more emotional side. Her soothing voice transcends the speakers creating a tranquil atmosphere.”In the Light” is followed by the effervescent “Stay Gone” which is a true ear-worm.

The album changes course again with “Dirty Word” which has an amusing, lively feel that seems anything but serious, barring the lyrics, “You say love, like it’s a dirty word…” “Big Boys Don’t Cry” follows in the same suit with melodies that are akin to some of Cee Lo’s wax.

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TVD Live Shots: Biffy Clyro at the O2, 12/8

Having moved to the UK only a few months ago, Biffy Clyro has not always been on my radar, but after an awakening of sorts last night, I have now seen the light. It absolutely blows my mind that one band can be so massive in one country but never quite break through in another. Such is the case with Biffy. Back in the States the band plays 500 or so capacity clubs (and I regret not going when I had the chance), but in the UK they sell out 20,000 seat arenas. It begs the question; what’s the US missing and why does the UK get it?

This is an age old question that’s been haunting record labels for decades. All it takes is one spark to ignite an audience anywhere around the world and for one reason or another Biffy reigns supreme seemingly everywhere but the US. After hearing the band’s seventh album Ellipsis, with my pick for song of the year in “Howl,” you would think that world domination is right around the corner—and that still might be the case.

I haven’t been to an arena show in years. I mean, how many bands can even fill an arena these days? Maybe a handful. Standing in the world famous O2 Arena and watching the capacity crowd sing along to every single word while simultaneously whipping themselves into a frenzy, it’s undeniable that this band has something for everyone.

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Needle Drop: Sam Brockington, “Peace
of Mind” EP

Having spent time travelling from London to Melbourne and back to the UK again, receiving acclaim from BBC 6 Music, and playing at festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading, and Leeds, Bristol-based singer-songwriter Sam Brockington has now released his debut EP. “Peace of Mind” is a collection of five emotion-strewn indie-folk offerings showcasing the depth of talent of this young songwriter.

The EP’s title track and opener is an impassioned, folk-inspired introduction to the collection, oozing Brockington’s distinctive husky vocals and catchy, uptempo melodies. It’s an instant earworm reminiscent of Paulo Nutini’s early work.

“Follow” proves to be another utterly infectious creation, filled with endearing, heartfelt emotion and charming, twinkling melodies. Next track “Manta Ray” ups the pace of the EP—racing, punchy beats and soulful, reflective vocals in the vein of George Ezra.

Penultimate track “Unstiched” flows with a reflective tone and rich musicality. Exuding luscious harmonies and intricate guitar-picking, it’s a touching indie-folk ballad. EP closer is “Cold Feet,” no doubt a literal sentiment we can all relate to during these frosty times. Showcasing the versatility of Brockington’s vocals—from impressive baritone to impassioned cries—it’s a perfectly heartwarming end to the collection.

“Peace of Mind” is in stores now via Prospect 21.

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UK Artist of the Week: Vigo Thieves

Vigo Thieves have been making waves in the UK for a number of years now. Having previously released a string of singles and two EPs, the Scottish five-piece have just released their first full length album Heartbeats, and it’s a real treat for the ears.

Despite the band being away for a while, Heartbeats feels completely timeless. Each track blends in effortlessly to the next with feel good vibes oozing from all directions. Title track “Heartbeats” is infectiously catchy with frontman Stevie Jukes’ soaring vocals taking centre stage and reminding us of Coldplay’s Chris Martin but with a Scottish twang.

Vigo Thieves met in Wishaw in 2008 and they’ve been busy bees ever since. They’ve played Scotland’s T In The Park numerous times and have also supported huge acts such as The Courteeners. The guys are now ready to unleash their dynamic, anthemic sound on to the world and we’ll be chanting along behind them the whole way.

Heartbeats is out now via HiJacked Records.

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TVD Live Shots: The Damned at the 02 Brixton Academy, 11/26

the-damned-photographed-by-jason-miller_-32

What better way for me to see my first live Damned show than to see the band in their hometown at the legendary Brixton Academy. They’re touring with a two hour set that opens with the classic punk masterpiece Damned, Damned, Damned played in its entirety—which is just ridiculous in a good way.

It’s hard to believe that The Damned are celebrating their 40th anniversary as the band is still going strong. Having been the first UK punk group to release a single AND a full-length album is one hell of a legacy to live up to, but frontman Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible are certainly up to the task.

Having grown up in the US midwest, The Sex Pistols and The Clash were the only UK punk bands on my radar back in the ’80s. While both played their own unique role in the punk rock explosion, you could argue that The Damned were the spark that lit the match. Somehow I completely missed The Damned, so I have a hell of a lot of catching up to do.

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ISLE,
The TVD First Date

“There’s something about vinyl. There’s something about that crackle and just-slightly-out-of-tune quality to it that gives it a warmth and instant charm that no other format manages to replicate.”

“As a kid, I grew up in a fairly musical family and we had a lot of vinyl. I remember my grandpa having a whole set of Pavarotti records that he would play, mostly at night, on an old oak-set record player that could’ve been stolen straight from the set of Mad Men. That sound of Luciano Pavarotti’s voice bellowing from a record player in the next room as you were falling asleep isn’t something you easily forget, and listening to it now instantly takes me back to being about 5 years old in that house.

At our own place, my parents’ tastes were a bit more modern and my dad had a few Police, R.E.M. and Depeche Mode records that we listened to all the time—as well as my mum’s Cyndi Lauper LPs and a heap of new wave stuff. It was these records that really set my attention to wanting to play what I was hearing. All of it just triggered a sense that this was something I wanted to do, every artist’s sound painted a different picture in my head and I wanted to paint my own.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Imagineers

Eclectic Scottish indie rockers The Imagineers formed back in 2011 and released their first EP “See As I Say.” They have since gained exposure through an array of publications as well as making a guest appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. With the release of their debut full length Utopian Dreams imminent and the title-track released as their first single, The Imagineers are well and truly back, sounding bigger and better than ever.

Utopian Dreams is an album full of sonic ups and downs. Their tastes differ from track to track, and quite rightly so, allowing each member of the band to incorporate different styles to create a unique sound. Elements of surf rock, baroque pop, and folk inform the album with a natural cinematic edge.

With the music industry continually in flux, The Imagineers’ diverse sense of songcraft bodes well for a flourishing career. You’ve heard it here—and them—first.

Utopian Dreams by The Imagineers is out on 24th February 2017 via Hit The Light Records.

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