Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Redolent

We’re back in Scotland for this week’s AOTW and if you’re a fan of brooding, experimental soundscapes then you’re in for a treat. Redolent’s latest single “I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is out now, so go listen!

Since the release of their brilliant debut Dantercepies, Redolent have gone from strength to strength. Their combination of experimental alt-rock and aggressive electronica is second to none. These guys are making sounds that continuously push boundaries and break the mould—something more bands really ought to sit up and take note of, just FYI.

Their latest single “I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is a prime example of their magnificent songwriting and performance abilities. Robin Herbert’s Thom Yorke-esque vocal steals the show in the song’s second half, but the dark, brooding build up from the rest of the band before that is also hugely impressive.

Talking about the single, Robin elaborates, “I think sonically the song is influenced by the heavier bands we like—Glassjaw in particular. “Lyrically it’s inspired by nightmares about non-fiction horror from the news. Specifically American mass murdering ghouls with guns. I used to have a really vivid one when I was younger, in which my sleeping brain gave the faces of the perpetrators I’d seen on TV bodies, which broke into my house, cackling and marauding, and shot me. It recurred for a while. I felt like they were as close to ‘ghosts’ as you could maybe really find, and I was a wee bit haunted by these dead guys from across the world.”

“I Thought They Were Just Fireworks” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Libertines at the
O2 Brixton Academy, 12/18

My last show for 2019 was one that I’ve waited more than three years to cover. Arguably one of the greatest live bands ever to rise from the UK, The Libertines returned to the legendary Brixton Academy for two sold-out nights of rock ‘n’ roll bliss.

The songwriting partnership of Barât and Doherty is something extraordinary and translates from studio to live show in epic fashion, although sometimes the antics of Doherty overshadow the music. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for rock ‘n’ roll, in fact many times it adds to a mystique and a legacy. I’m not celebrating or encouraging addiction here however, but Doherty’s very public struggles and honest, sometimes outrageous comments, display a vulnerability rarely seen in the music industry today.

Addiction also makes it personal for the fans. We rally around Doherty because we want him to succeed and come out on top as we all love the underdog story. I’m sure there are signs of recovery here and there, but goddamn does the media love it when they catch him doing something silly like eating a breakfast that could feed a small village or riding a Boris bike pulled by his beloved huskies at 4 in the morning. It also begs the question, how far can this relationship be pushed before breaking once again? Have they learned their lessons? For now, it seems that both Barât and Doherty have matured a bit and rediscovered the love they have for one another—and it shows big time.

It’s also hard to believe that a band that makes this much noise on stage—as well as with the critics among the music press—have only released three studio albums. Yet, ninety plus minutes of post-punk, garage rock revivalism (or whatever you want to call it) came across like a masterclass in all things rock ‘n’ roll.

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TVD Live Shots: Sinead O’Connor at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 12/16

No one can argue that Sinead O’Connor is a once in a lifetime talent. When she’s at her best, she has one of the most remarkable voices on the planet and a knack for writing brilliant songs. I received an email from the O2 Academy that O’Connor was playing a one-off gig at the legendary Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, and I immediately jumped on this. A chance to see a living legend play an intimate venue? Count me in. The show quickly sold out, and the wait was on. Being her first UK show in more than four years, what could we expect? After years of O’Connor sharing her personal challenges in the public forum, one wonders if this was indeed a true comeback.

I’m happy to report that this gig greatly surpassed every expectation with a genius musician finding her groove again and truly rediscovering her love for performing. Any question of her emotional state or ability to mesmerize an audience and share the absolute perfection in her voice was immediately quashed within the first song, a stellar cover of John Grant’s “Queen of Denmark.” From then on it was a celebration and a reawakening of sorts as O’Connor proved that she not only still has plenty to say, but that her music is timeless and ready to be introduced to the next generation.

O’Connor now goes by the name Shuhada Sadaqat (Shuhada is an Arabic girl’s name; sadaqat refers to a voluntary sign of faith), but she still performs under Sinead O’Connor. She’s got a new lease on life and career with new management, a memoir in the works, and rumblings of two new albums. The 53-year-old O’Connor dresses in a traditional hijab and takes the stage barefoot, and she still looks as beautiful as ever. There was even a quick moment where she smiled, posed, and gave a wave to the row of photographers in the front—and the moment that I knew this was going to be a show of epic proportions during her only UK date of 2019.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kendama

It’s a new year, a new decade, and what better way to kick-start 2020 than with some undeniably infectious electro-pop to warm ourselves up with. This week’s Artist of The Week—Kendama—hail from not-so sunny Scotland and they’re about to shake your January up, so get ready.

The duo’s latest single “Closure” is a fully flourished blast of energy from the offset, filled with shimmering synth soundscapes, pulsating drum beats, and gorgeously infectious melodies—complete with a cheeky bit of autotune, Kendama prove they are no stranger to creating perfectly polished pop music.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that these lads were from the States though, as lead singer Stuart Edgar certainly has a bit of an American twang to his voice, which matches wonderfully with the flamboyant and fun nature of the single in our opinion. If AWOLNATION and Passion Pit had a baby, it might sound something like this corker, and if that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

Having just embarked on a Scottish tour last November, here’s hoping they’ll hop over to the USA in the not-so distant future to share their undeniably catchy blend of sparkling alt-pop.

“Closure” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots:
Temples at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush
Empire, 12/8

I’ve always been intrigued by British rock band Temples. They have that perfect mix of nostalgia, mystique, and psychedelia, not only with their late ’60s inspired look but most importantly, with their music. They’ve been on my radar for years, but we’ve never been in the same city at the same time, that is until last Sunday at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Having spent quite a bit of time with their latest album Hot Motion, I was thrilled to finally see the live show up close and personal in one of London’s best venues.

After photographing the standard first three songs in some very challenging light, I grabbed a beer and went up to the balcony to watch the show. I quickly found myself thinking, “holy shit, these guys are good.” Each song was getting better than the first. The only other time I’ve seen this was watching Father John Misty for the first time years ago in San Francisco. The setlist was perfect and flowed beautifully to the end—not a dud in sight.

The same thing happened with Temples. New songs such as “Hot Motion” set up the more familiar classics such as “Shelter Song.” It just worked, and the crowd responded accordingly. At one point, there was even a bit of a mosh pit, which makes zero sense to me. Then again, I saw a vicious mosh pit at the My Vitriol show a few weeks back.

In the mess that is the music industry today, talent no longer seems to be the leading indicator of future success. It’s much more about luck, consistency, and building a strong relationship with your fans and advocates. So the question becomes, what the hell do you do with a band like Temples? It’s not like they are going to have a breakthrough “hit” anytime soon, nor should that be the focus, but I think it would be interesting to pair them in 2020 on some interesting tours.

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TVD Premiere: Generation Dude,
“Radio Pills”

The great thing about rock and roll is that it never goes out of style—it’s absolutely timeless. Artists may come and go, but rock music will always remain one way or another. The newest band on the block are Generation Dude and we are proudly premiering their debut single “Radio Pills” right here at TVD today.

“Radio Pills” is a fun-filled, vibrant classic rock track that will get your toes tapping instantly. Band members Terence Schoshinski (lead vocals and guitars) and Steve Refling’s (drums, guitars, and backing vocals) effortless harmonies are flawless throughout—instantly reminiscent of The Who or The Hollies, but with added blues-infused goodness for extra bite.

“‘Radio Pills’ is a song about reaching a turning point in life where a bonifide personal declaration of independence is made,” Schoshinski explains. “In the tune, the hero wakes up and begins breaking free from the spiderweb of cookie-cutter corporate jive which, up to that point, he’s been participating in and profiting from. Graced with enough clarity and humility to be able to get honest, he is then empowered with the real business of identifying and stomping out the evasive wizard arachnids.”

Generation Dude’s debut EP “Crimes Against Yourself” arrives in stores on 21st February 2019.

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UK Artist of the Week: SUN

Hold onto your hats because this week’s Artist of The Week is taking no prisoners. Franco-German outfit SUN have returned with a blistering new EP, “Brutal Pop”—and it’s certainly not for the faint hearted.

SUN combine elements of metal, rock, and even pop to create a sound that is unapologetically unique. Founder and sole member Karoline Rose’s fabulously distinctive vocal is full of fire from the offset as she swaps regularly on the EP from a melodically gorgeous “pop” singer to intimidating and furious “screamo” singer and back again.

Each track on the EP will appeal to whole range of demographics but be warned, these tracks are packed with a punch and Karoline is not an artist we’d want to mess with. If you’re a fan of pop-infused metal, SUN are definitely the band for you.

Check out the stunning visuals for their latest single “I Killed Your Man” above. “Brutal Pop” is also in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots:
Liam Gallagher at
the O2 Arena, 11/28

There are few genuine rock stars left in this world, but Liam Gallagher is undoubtedly one hundred and fifty percent in that club. He’s got the legacy, the attitude, the adoring fans, and most importantly, the songs. Not shy to say exactly what’s on his mind at any given time, he’s no stranger to controversy—one could say that Gallagher is the personification of “it says what it does on the tin.”

This would be my second time seeing Liam Gallagher in London and it was arguably his best. The second to last show of the year was a fitting end to confusing time for the UK, but what better music to bring everyone together than this man’s impressive catalogue?

2019 saw Gallagher return with his second UK number one album, the brilliant Why Not, Why Me, and with a subsequent tour that finds Gallagher at the top of his game once again—and the marketing campaign and launch were equally as brilliant. Gallagher has rediscovered how to take control of his brand, changing the direction of his narrative and expressing himself creatively outside of the music itself.

It’s made him the most engaged and engaging of the two Gallagher brothers–and that’s something few people would have predicted when Oasis split a decade ago. Gallagher’s marketing masterplan is a perfect example of how to apply old-school craft and creativity in a world of social media, AI, constant scrutiny, and radical transparency. It shows how modern marketing works best as a balancing act between the old and the new.

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TVD Live Shots: Feeder at the Roundhouse, 11/23

There’s something incredibly special about a band like Feeder. Not too many bands can continue to endure such a rollercoaster ride for nearly three decades—countless peaks and valleys of critical acclaim, tragic loss, astounding highs, and of course, periods of confusion and lost direction. These guys have seen it all, and yet they’re still playing gigs and making arguably the best music of their career.

I remember these guys from the ’90s Britpop invasion in the States, but lost track of them until stumbling upon one of my all-time favorite records, 2008’s Silent Cry. For me, there’s always been a mystique around the band and their atmospheric yet aggressive sound. Maybe it’s because I lived in the States during their peak and never got a chance to see the live show until moving to London three years ago. Touring in support of their new record Tallulah, this would be my second Feeder show in London, and they sounded bigger, bolder—and ultimately better.

Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose make up the core of the band these days, with Nicholas being the prominent songwriter. The album is named for Nicholas’ wife’s best friend’s daughter (yeah, I had to read that a few times back as well) who was in attendance at the jam-packed Roundhouse theatre in North London.

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UK Artist of the Week: MeMe Detroit

If ferocious, female-fronted alternative rock is your kinda thing, then look no further, MeMe Detroit is back and she means business. We featured MeMe a while back when she released energy-fueled EP “Life In The Now” and now she’s back with another raucous release to feast your ears on.

“Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind” is a single that is swarming with attitude from the offset. MeMe—aka Maria Rodriguez—creates fuzz-filled formidable soundscapes throughout, feeling instantly reminiscent of the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Wolf Alice. Distorted guitar twangs are matched with pulsating drumbeats and powerful lead vocals from Maria herself to create a sound that is unapologetic and undeniably powerful.

As far as break up anthems go, this one takes no prisoners, so we recommend turning this one up to full blast and screaming it from the top of your lungs. Trust us, you’ll feel far better afterwards and that heartbreak will soon feel like a walk in the park.

With plans for an album already in the works, 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year for MeMe and her newly recruited team of musicians, so watch this space.

“Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Ghost at Wembley Arena, 11/22

The theatrics, the costumes, the grandiose stage and fire, but most importantly, the songs. Swedish metal band Ghost has it all. The stars, or maybe the burning fires of hell, have aligned perfectly over the past decade to propel Ghost as one of the most important bands in metal today.

Tobias Forge, also known as Papa Emeritus I, II, III, and his latest evolution as Cardinal Copia, is the mastermind behind all things Ghost. Backed by a group of nameless ghouls (literally, as listed in Wikipedia) he’s taken metal to an entirely new level and delivered two remarkable albums while bringing back the evil nature of the genre in the spirit of early Black Sabbath, but with the vocal stylings of ’70s prog rock.

What you get is a sound that has evolved over the years into something that is still as evil as ever in spirit, but surprisingly accessible. It’s metal for everyone essentially, and that statement was solidified further when the band won the much-coveted Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance and Best Metal Album. Not that the Grammys matter anyway these days, but it does feel good when they get it right one out of ten times.

This would be my second time seeing Ghost in London, and the show is bigger and much more refined. Upgrading from the legendary O2 Forum to Wembley Arena makes perfect sense when you see the new design and production. It’s truly over the top and rivals any rock tour that’s hit the arena circuit this year.

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UK Artist of the Week: Dictator

Like it or lump it, there will always be a place for a bit of good old-fashioned indie music here at TVD HQ. Our latest discovery are none other than Scottish newcomers Dictator who have just released their addictive debut single “Anthem For A Doomed Youth.”

If you’re a fan of the likes of The Courteeners and Kasabian, then you are in for a treat. “Anthem For A Doomed Youth” (we’re assuming they’re Libertines fans?) combines elements of both indie and electronica to create a sonic soundscape that will instantly mesmerize.

Despite having only just released a single, Dictator are no strangers to the Scottish live circuit and they will be playing next on 29th November at Dreadnought Rock, supporting Luke La Volpe. Indie rock may not everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re into it, Dictator are definitely a band for you.

“Anthem For A Doomed Youth” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Yungblud at Le Trabendo, 11/17

PARIS, FRANCE | Paris is such a magical city, especially when it comes to its fantastic music scene and unique venues. Last time I was in town, I caught Foals playing an “intimate” gig at Le Bataclan, and was blown away by one of the best shows I’ve seen all year. But last week, that show was topped by Doncaster born Yungblud when he played two nights at a very intimate venue called Le Trabendo.

It was easily the hottest ticked that evening (although Tropical Fuck Storm was playing that evening as well, and I would have loved to catch both). It took me a while to find this place as it’s a bit hidden, and once I got in, I was impressed by its cool and unique layout. This place is literally a stage and then a bunch of different levels of platforms, so pretty much every place you can stand has a great view.

Believe it or not, there was a tiny photo pit to which I managed to climb over the jam-packed room to get in. Then it was off to the races as Yungblud launched himself onto the stage and immediately set the room in a frenzy. The energy this guy has is astounding. Yungblud lists among his influences Arctic Monkeys, Eminem, and The Clash, and that’s precisely what’s coming out of him.

And you really do have to admire this guy for not only his ability to write one hell of a hook but also to bring the crowd along with him and make them all feel comfortable in their own skin. While his song titles don’t necessarily reflect positivity, the overall message is resonating with a new generation of youths who are always under pressure to look cool on social media. Yungblud is helping these kids to not only be okay with imperfection but to celebrate it and build it into confidence.

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TVD Live Shots:
Jon Spencer and the HITmakers at Bar Brooklyn, 11/13

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN | The last of three trips of the year for me and my day job find me in Stockholm for the first time at the Swedish Search Summit where I’m the second speaker of the day. My topic, creativity for marketers, and what better way to get my head in the right place for an early morning speaking gig than to head down to Bar Brooklyn for the original king of garage punk—the one and only Jon Spencer. He’s taken a break from the Blues Explosion to bless us all with a solo record of sorts called Spencer Plays the Hits and taken to the road as The HITmakers.

He’s brought together an all-star group featuring the talents of Sam Coomes (Quasi, Heatmeiser) and M. Sord, but the real highlight here is the legend that is Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore). Bert was on percussion, but it looked more like parts from a junkyard, including an industrial-sized coil and trash can that he played with a hammer. At first glance, it’s a pure what the fuck moment, but when it gets going, it works. While the HITmakers are not a massive departure from the noise rock genius of the Blues Explosion, they have a similar formula—loud, aggressive, groovy, and in your face.

Every time I see Jon Spencer live in any capacity, I can’t help but think he’s got to be the hardest working man in garage rock show business. This guy doesn’t stop moving the entire set. He’s like James Brown crossed with Stevie Ray Vaughan in the bizarro world. Bar Brooklyn filled up very quickly to witness the blistering 90 minute plus set that weighed heavily on the new record. But Jon and company threw us a few bones and a curveball with selections from his vast catalogue including a few Blues Explosion numbers that got the crowd going bananas. I swear I saw “Bellbottoms” on the setlist. It never transpired, and it didn’t need to.

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UK Artist of the Week:
St. Bishop

This week’s Artist of the Week comes all the way from Dublin, Ireland and he’s a humdinger, if we do say so ourselves. St. Bishop—aka Stephen Bishop—has just released his shiny new single “Sleep It Off” and its undeniably addictive in all the right ways.

Making his 2019 debut, it seems St. Bishop has been a busy bee this past year, collaborating with a number of exciting new producers in order to hone his sound. For the release of “Sleep It Off’” he has teamed up with the Veta Music (who we are firm favourites of here at TVD).

It seems the latest collaboration has paid off because “Sleep It Off” is all sorts of majestic from the offset. Think Years & Years mixed with Troye Sivan and a bit of Aquilo thrown in for good measure and you’re nearly there. It’s atmospheric, cinematic. and ridiculously infectious.

“Sleep It Off” is out now via Veta Records.

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