Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime at the
Garage, 1/16

I’ve seen Queensryche about a dozen times over the years. They’re a band I grew up with and continue to celebrate. When they were fractured in two, I was devastated and confused. Always leaning toward wherever Geoff Tate took them, I followed him out of respect for his incredible work and his brilliant solo releases. But whatever happened, I still loved the band and wanted as much music from any incarnation moving forward.

The results were two very different things. Queensryche with a new singer went back to their roots and delivered a brilliant, crushing couple of records. Geoff Tate’s Queensryche focused more on pushing into new territories. The results were two releases that polarized the fan base and to be honest, probably cast a shadow of doubt on the future of both versions of Queensryche.

All that drama and bullshit was cast aside in London at The Garage on Monday night as Geoff Tate brought his band Operation: Mindcrime to perform the remarkable album with the same name in its entirety. Operation: Mindcrime (the album) isn’t just one of the best concept records of all time, it sets the bar for all others to be measured by—and continues to do so. I was a bit skeptical about seeing Geoff perform one of my all-time favorite records without the backing of his original bandmates, but holy shit was I happy that I went to this show. It was flawless, brilliant, sonically stunning—I can’t say enough good things about this show.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bad Mannequins

Channelling the late ‘70s CBGB’s era of New York City’s punk rock scene, Glaswegian duo Bad Mannequins continue to win the hearts (and ears) of a new generation through the release of their single “Double Denim,” and we are delighted to name them this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Having released their debut EP, and first of a three-part trilogy “Deny ’Til U Die Part 1” in the summer of 2017, Bad Mannequins have continued to impress listeners with their high-octane brand of garage rock. Despite the simplicity and raw energy of the drum/guitar set-up, Bad Mannequins have managed to create a sound that packs a punch for just over three blistering minutes.

With tongue in cheek, lyrics such as “You wouldn’t even be here if your momma didn’t rock that double denim!” combined with hook-laden, fuzz-filled riffs, Bad Mannequins’ sound is uniquely infectious. Garnering support from the likes of BBC Radio, as well as being featured on hit US TV show Limitless, Bad Mannequins appear to be gearing up for huge year.

“Double Denim” is in stores now via Triple Denim.

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UK Artist of the Week: Hannah Epperson

Following 2016’s Upsweep, Canadian artist Hannah Epperson has now released the album’s eagerly awaited second half, Slowdown.

Armed with just her violin and a loop pedal, Epperson has created an innovative collection, with two distinct versions of each track, the “Amelia” and the “Iris.” Derived from the idea of two opposing worlds coming together to form a fictional character of a narcissistic and alienated young man, the versions of each song stand in stark contrast with each other.

Combining folk-inspired, sweeping strings alongside pulsating beats and Epperson’s twinkling crystal-clear vocals, the “Amelia” version of album opener “20-20” is a haunting slice of electro, folk-tinged pop. The “Iris,” however, is more stripped back, a gentler offering, relying simply on the power of Epperson’s impressive vocal range and delicate instrumentation for effect.

The album continues in this vein, the two opposing versions of each track contrasting and clashing, in the most effective way. As the throbbing beats and eerie, ethereal layers of sound of the Amelias are juxtaposed with the stripped-back melancholy and delicate emotion of the Iris, Epperson has created a surreal and cinematic soundscape.

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TVD Live Shots:
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes at O2 Brixton Academy, 12/9

My final, final show of 2017 is one that I’ve been waiting all year for. Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes at the legendary O2 Brixton Academy in London.

Frank made a record called Blossom a couple of years ago that is a post-hardcore top ten for me. Falling somewhere between Quicksand, Fugazi, and Refused, this record is solid from start to finish. It’s the kind of album that defines an artist’s career and one that we will all look back on twenty years later as not only a game changer, but as an iconic source of inspiration for those who chose to follow.

I had never heard of Frank Carter until I moved to the UK. The song “Juggernaut” popped up on a Spotify playlist (the predictive algorithms are getting very good) and I was hooked. This track is one of the heaviest things I’ve ever heard, and combined with its message, it makes you feel like you can take on the world and kick its ass twice over. It’s the song you put on at the gym and listen to ten times in a row. Then I heard it live and it was even better.

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TVD Live Shots:
Liam Gallagher at the Alexandra Palace, 12/7

What a way to end the year, Liam Fucking Gallagher at the legendary Alexandra Palace in London. I’ve seen Oasis twice, Noel’s High Flying Birds, and even Beady Eye, but holy hell has Liam found his post-Oasis sweet spot.

Touring in support of his brilliant new record, the critically acclaimed As You Were, Liam came out of the gates swinging with two Oasis classics in a row. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, but “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Morning Glory” were delivered via a wall of sound that would have even Phil Spector contemplating retirement. It was loud, it was brash, it was bloody brilliant—and set the stage for the absolute best show I’ve seen in 2017.

If you’re like me, the first time you heard Oasis you got a chill down your spine. It was a sign of something special. The second Liam started singing the verse of the third song in the set “Greedy Soul,” that long-lost feeling had returned in full force. The big question is why the hell did it take so long for a Liam solo record? We all knew he had it in him, but we also know he’s a “band” guy. Whatever the hell you want to call it now, he’s certainly firing on all cylinders and has a record to back up his ego and the tagline for the release “As Good As He Said it Would Be” which has been plastered across train and tube stations in the UK.

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Needle Drop: East of My Youth, “Go Home”

We’ve previously featured East of My Youth as our Artist of the Week and it’ll be no surprise why after you hear their latest corker of a tune. “Go Home” is another stunning slice of electro-pop underscoring that the Nordics really do do it best.

East of My Youth’s “Go Home” opens slowly with Thelma Marín Jónsdóttir’s smooth, sultry vocals leading the way. Underneath are Herdís Stefánsdóttir’s percolating MicroKorg synth sounds, a funky bass line, and mellow electronic beats that carry the track. This may be a bit of a slow burner but trust us, roll with it. As the layers within the track reveal themselves, the listener is transported into another world where only these pulsating, mesmerizing beats matter.

Thelma and Herdís are without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with. Not only do these Icelandic talents have unique style, their music feels extremely personal, yet completely current and relatable at once. 2018 may well be a big year for them, so watch this space…

“Go Home” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week:
The Little Kicks

This week’s Artist of the Week are Scottish indie rockers The Little Kicks. The band released their latest album, Shake Off Your Troubles, earlier this year and they’re back with a fourth single from said release, “Bang The Drum Slowly.”

At first listen you’d be forgiven for thinking this is just another noughties indie rock remake, but we urge you to listen closer and enjoy. The Little Kicks definitely have an element of fellow Scots Franz Ferdinand about them, but they also incorporate glitchy electronic beats and fuzzy guitar that separate them from the masses.

“Bang The Drum Slowly” is brilliantly catchy from the offset with lead singer Steven Milne’s crisp, sharp vocal taking full control. Milne explains, “The themes of the record would be a feeling of happiness, gratitude, and to be thankful with what you have and not take things for granted. Furthermore, not to let others get you down or let anyone put you in your place.”

The Little Kicks have been core players in the Scottish music scene for some time and have already supported a number of huge bands including The Maccabees and Maximo Park. With “Bang The Drum Slowly,” The Little Kicks hope the rest of the UK (and beyond) will take note of their eclectic indie pop sound.

“Bang The Drum Slowly” is in stores now via Loosen Up Records.

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Needle Drop: Fuzzystar, “Superhero”

Having only released his debut album Telegraphing a mere six months ago, Fuzzystar has returned with another catchy slice of fizzy pop. His single “Superhero” brings back the nostalgic feels of the ’90s whilst incorporating a modern twist into his upbeat indie sound.

The track commences with an vibrant guitar line that exhales exuberance and delivers the buoyancy that makes the track so cheerful. However, when Andy’s vocals enter the song, a wave of contrasting emotions are revealed. His soft, effortless, yet articulate voice chimes in and brings the proceedings back down to earth. The track doesn’t expand much more from there, but it lifts you up and eventually floats the listener back down—a most chilled roller coaster ride.

“Superhero” was written during a tough time for Andy, not knowing what the future held. The songwriter explains, “It’s about trying to make the best of bad times and just getting through it, whilst being aware of your own flaws and failings. Making this into a superhero story added a bit of distance to be able to write about it, rather than trying to tell it directly. ”

“Superhero” and debut album Telegraphing are both in stores now via Satellite Sounds.

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UK Artist of the Week: Reema

Over the past year the UK has introduced us to some amazing new folk artists and singer-songwriter Reema is no exception. Her latest single “What The Whisper Said” is taken from her new vinyl release The LowSwing Sessions, which is a collaboration with composer and arranger Guy Sternberg.

“What The Whisper Said” is a stunning piece of traditional folk, filled with a gorgeous array of instruments that gradually creep in behind Reema’s distinctive vocal. Somewhat akin to Beth Orton or Lisa Hanningan, there’s no denying the folk influences. Reema combines these traditional elements to tell the story of an old man who kept a dark secret that has died with his former lover. It’s her ability to tell this story as an old folk tale while Sternberg’s avant-guarde, jazz influences intermingle that really make this track a stand out.

As mentioned earlier, the single is taken from Reema’s latest vinyl release which was recorded live and analog, reflecting Reema’s honest, brave, and utterly, utterly beautiful songcraft.

The LowSwing Sessions arrives in stores on 8th December 2017 via LowSwing Records—on vinyl.

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Needle Drop: HAWK, “Below” b/w “Can’t Explain”

Fast becoming known for their beguiling, ethereal creations, Berlin-based HAWK  follow the success of singles “Once Told,” “Take It Away,” “Mirror Maze,” and most recently “Sin,” with the release of a brand new AA side.

Steeped in the band’s trademark spellbinding grace, “Below” takes its inspiration from Irish history—the Catholic church and its mistreatment of women—a subject of which front-woman Julie Hawk feels passionately. Flowing with delicate, twinkling melodies and sweeping celestial vocals, gritty undertones start to surface as the track progresses, building to a sudden raging blast of fury. Of the track, Julie explains:

“… as an Irish woman, both looking back at how women were treated in the past and the desperate lack of progress today, I feel betrayed by my country. We’re still fighting for basic reproductive rights for women and seeing an embarrassing response from our government.”

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