Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: Jake Shears at Heaven, 11/14

The first time I heard the Scissor Sisters was at SXSW in 2004. I remember watching the show and thinking that this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen at SXSW—glorious ’70s pop played with an incredible band and two flamboyant singers taking me back to the good old days of AM radio, but with a much slicker, modern production.

During the set, I ask the guy next to me who’s on stage, and he yells in my ear with a heavy British accent, “It’s the Caesar Sisters mate.” After that, I was on a mission to find out who the Caesar Sisters were and how I could get my hands on their record if they even had one. After researching further I, of course, figured out that the guy was yelling “Scissor Sisters” and I ran straight to Waterloo records and bought the album. I put the thing on, and I was hooked from the opening bouncing piano and distinctive vocals of the incredible Jake Shears.

Now the Scissor Sisters have been on hiatus since 2012, and both Shears and his counterpart, the equally brilliant Anamatronic, have been laying low with only a collaboration or two leaking out over the years. Then seemingly out of nowhere I see an ad that Jake Shears is playing two solo gigs, one in New York and the other in London. THIS is why I love living in London—you never know what or who’s going to announce a gig among the many different amazing venues that the city harbours. I immediately bought a ticket.

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UK Artist of the Week: Circumnavigate

PHOTO: KARL MYRVANG | Our Artist of The Week is yet another Nordic gem. Circumnavigate has been creating utterly majestic dream-folk for a few years now and their debut album, When Worlds Collide, lands in shops on 14th December 2017.

The latest single from the album, “Secret,” is absolutely stunning and captivating from the offset. Lead singer Sigrid Zeiner-Gundersen has a voice that could melt butter—it’s warm, soft, delicate and is joined by the rest of the band’s flawless harmonies. Having already been compared to The Cinematic Orchestra and Of Monsters and Men, it’s no surprise really. Circumnavigate’s vocal performance and musicianship is ridiculously tight, infectious, and mesmerizing.

Sigrid met Carl Frederik Kontny (piano/guitar/vocals) at school in Sandvika, Norway. She then moved to London where she was joined by Ross Craib (percussion/vocals) and Charlie Fowler (bass/vocals), and the rest, as the say, is history. They’re busy bees, that’s for sure, having collectively played alongside some of London’s biggest names including Gabrielle Aplin.

Catch Circumnavigate live at The Sebright Arms, London on 18th December. When Worlds Collide is in stores on 14th December 2017.

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Needle Drop: Emily Magpie, “The Witching Hour” EP

Drawing inspiration from a trip to South America last year, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie’s latest collection of tracks is filled with all the ethereal majesty one could ever desire. Building a reputation across Bristol and with live crowds across the country, having played Green Man Festival and a number of Sofar Sounds sessions, Emily is now ready to unleash “The Witching Hour.”

Opening the EP, the title track does just what it says on the tin; as hauntingly magical as you’d expect, “The Witching Hour” oozes a whirring, glitchy wonder as Magpie’s rich vocals soar alongside interwoven electronic soundscapes and gentle folk-inspired melodies. Inspired by a book about the witch trials, it’s a captivating reflection on the magic of simply being alive.

More traditional in sound, “Leave It To Fate” is filled with the delicate beauty of finger-picked ukulele melodies as Emily’s sweeping, impassioned vocals create a twinkling splendour. Continuing in the same vein, “Angel Face” exudes sparkling ethereal vibes as deep beats resonate, creating a celestial grandeur that’s truly enchanting. Closing the EP is the honey-sweet, fragile allure of “When We Find It.” As sunny melodies float atop driving electronics and pounding beats, it’s a haunting fusion of sounds almost reminiscent of the eerie majesty of Bjork.

Having already received support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, and Clash, Emily Magpie looks set to continue charming listeners with the spellbinding power of this latest offering.

Co-produced by Anuj Robin, “The Witching Hour” is in stores on 24th November.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Magic Lantern

PHOTO: KASIA WOZNIAK | Our Artist of the Week this week is the The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe. Jamie has been making delicate alt-folk for quite a while now and his single, “Holding Hands” is his latest masterpiece.

“Holding Hands” builds slowly with Doe’s soft, warm vocals opening the track. As the saxophones come into play, they compliment Doe’s voice effortlessly, creating something truly mesmerizing and incredibly unique. Jamie’s ability to combine jazz and folk into something ethereal and is undeniably spellbinding. Fans of Grizzly Bear and Chet Baker will feel at home here.

Jamie is originally from Australia but moved to the UK when he was 12. He decamped to London in 2007 where he expanded The Magic Lantern into a collective, and together they’ve pushed their music to new boundaries inspired by Jamie’s keen ability to pen beautiful lyrics with lilting melodies. Since then, The Magic Lantern has gone from strength to strength and Jamie now excites fans with the anticipated release of his third album, To The Islands, from which “Holding Hands” is taken.

“Holding Hands” is in stores now via Hectic Eclectic Records.

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TVD Live Shots: !!!
(Chk Chk Chk) at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, 11/6

Somehow I completely missed !!! (Chk Chk Chk) over the past twenty years. I remember seeing their record on the shelf at Waterloo Records in the mid-2000s during my time in Austin, but I wrote them off as the next big thing for hipsters, which I am not. They were one of those bands for the cool kids it seemed who celebrated Radiohead’s newfound approach to “freeform jazz explorations to festival crowds”—something I was not into at all. But holy hell was I wrong, and now two decades later I’m kicking myself in the ass for not seeing them sooner.

Being a metal guy at heart, I tend to lean towards the heavier stuff, specializing in hardcore and ’80s hair metal (yeah, I’m all over the place). I also have a special spot in that headbanging space for well-written pop with an edge. For example, the first time I saw Scissor Sisters I was blown away, and now they are one of my all-time favorite bands. I never thought I would have another musical awakening like that, but I did—and it was last week in Berlin. The band was called !!! (Chk Chk Chk), and they absolutely blew my mind.

What do they sound like? I’m not sure as I was dancing my ass off with the rest of the crowd (and I don’t even know how to dance) while trying to take some decent photos for TVD. I do remember every single song was a gem and the insane chemistry between Nic Offer and Lea Ratcliffe put the entire show over the top for me. It’s a rare thing to see a band pull off what is commonly referred to as dance-punk in a live environment, but !!! makes it look easy. If you see this show live and don’t immediately jump out of your seat and start celebrating life, then have someone check your pulse immediately.

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UK Artist of the Week: OAKLND

There’s been some great electro-pop artists to come out of the woodwork this year and OAKLND—aka Colin Mckillop—is no exception. His latest single “Hold On” is out now.

“Hold On” is a west coast-inspired piece of pop that combines chillwave, R&B, and electro-pop sensibilities akin to the likes of LANY and Astronomyy. It’s the perfect track to help you forget about the fact that winter is well and truly coming, and instead transports you back to summer and encourages living that Californian dream.

Colin, originally from Scotland, took a trip to LA and thus “Hold On” was born. He was immediately influenced by the city’s carefree vibes and breezy, dream-pop goodness which you can hear throughout his latest single. So, close your eyes, listen to “Hold On,” and feel you’re back on the beach with a pina colada.

“Hold On” is in stores now via AWAL.

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TVD Live Shots: Starsailor at KOKO,
10/26

When I watch James Walsh and Starsailor perform, I think to myself, how can any band in the world create such glorious music? The fact that they not only perform their studio albums perfectly in a live setting but also turn them up a notch is a feat that a lot of their peers can’t accomplish. I’ve seen the band six or seven times over the past two decades, and I would without a doubt say they sounded better than ever before in London.

When I heard that Starsailor would be releasing their long-awaited sixth studio album All This Life, without hesitation I pre-ordered the super deluxe package as James Walsh and Co. can do no wrong in my book. Since its September release, I’ve given this record a few spins hoping that it would bring back the feeling that I had when I first heard Silence is Easy or On the Outside. It didn’t immediately resonate, although the live show brought the record to life for me—as it should have.

The tried and true formula of a band releasing a new record and then immediately, and tirelessly, touring to support it works because it showcases the music as it was meant to be heard—performed live. Positioning this as a “Greatest Hits” tour was probably not the best idea as it makes the band sound like a nostalgia act who is either trying to get out of a long-term deal with a record label that treated them like shit, or a band living in the past. While the set did include some Starsailor “hits,” it should have centered around the new record. Combining both left several gaps in the “hits,” while exiling any rarities that could be mixed into the set.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Deportees

Once again those pesky Scots have produced another musical gem. This time it’s new finds The Deportees who take our Artist of The Week crown.

The band’s latest single “I Lost Her To The Sea” is a catchy piece of melodic folk from the offset and throughout. Hints of Mumford & Sons are certainly there via the band’s feel-good harmonies, but there’s also elements of Idlewild and The Waterboys for those who appreciate that age-old Scottish twang. This is the second single to be released from The Deportees’ debut album The Birth of Industry, out this Friday.

The band formed in rural Aberdeenshire in 2010 after having played in separate bands previously. The five-piece take influence from their Celtic roots as well as Americana and folk-rock, however we feel it’s their ability to write highly addictive melodies and flawless four-part harmonies that will set them apart. If you’re a fan of upbeat, catchy folk, then these guys are certainly for you.

The Birth of Industry is in stores 3rd November 2017.

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TVD Premiere: Permahorn, “Into The Dreams (Slut)”

“Dark, unnerving, and uncomfortable musically, the song tackles themes of isolation, escapism, and fulfilment only to be found in dreams. It breaks free from reality, loneliness, and the cold light of day to escape into dreams, where some human connection can be made. The song is built on hope and self-deception. There are snapshots of parties and backstreets, with nods to Ibsen’s Master builder.”Jelena Pesic

Having been taken under the wing of Shimmy-Disc producer Kramer (Bongwater, Galaxie 500, Ween, Daniel Johnston, Low), Scottish/Serbian London-based duo Permahorn are now ready to release their debut album My Blood Carries My Dreams Away on 1st December.

Taken from the album is new single “Into The Dreams (Slut).” A rich, sonic delight, it oozes its own unique, haunting majesty amongst a swirling, sophisticated musicality. With shades of the effervescent melancholy of Nico, along with the slowcore influences of the likes of Low or Slint, it’s filled with ethereal harmonics and languid, twinkling hooks that’ll captivate on first listen—drawn into the exquisite, mournful haze of Permahorn.

My Blood Carries My Dreams Away, the upcoming debut album from Permahorn, is in stores 1st December via Shimmy-500.

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TVD Live Shots: Dead Kennedys and LOOM at the O2 Islington, 10/14

Punk rock legends Dead Kennedys made a triumphant return to London for two sold-out shows at the O2 Academy in Islington. I was fortunate enough to be at night number two and witness one of the finest examples of the first wave of punk. East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, D.H. Peligro, and Ron “Skip” Greer were in fine form, blasting through a frantic yet tight, no frills 75-minute set that celebrated one of punk rock’s greatest catalogs.

This was my second time seeing the band over the past few years, the first being in LA, and you would never guess that these guys started nearly forty years ago. Struck in the head with two beers from the crowd during the shoot revealed the crowd hadn’t missed a beat either. While I prefer UK punk over that from the US, Dead Kennedys put on a show that proved the San Francisco Bay Area can still hold its own and even surpass expectations.

While we are on the subject of expectations, it’s time to move on from the tired, fruitless comments that “it’s not Dead Kennedys without Jello.” Yes, it is—and it has been for more than a fucking decade so get over yourself and move on like the rest of the music world. Punk is a mindset and an attitude and it’s alive and with Ron Green as the current frontman. He plays the part so brilliantly that the classics not only have a new life to them, but they’ve evolved.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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