Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Koto Kill

Today’s Artist of The Week is a raucous one-man show whose latest project is blisteringly spectacular. Koto Kill—aka DJ and producer Gabriel Ralls—creates full-throttle electronic rock that is packed with a punch. His upcoming mini-LP “Fight Us All” arrives in stores this week, and we’re extremely proud to introduce him as this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Every track on “Fight Us All” features a different female vocalist, and each one is just as ferocious as the next. Koto Kill’s most recent release is the delicately industrial “Fire Down” featuring smooth sultry vocals from the extremely talented Judith Haustein. Compared to other tracks on the EP, this one feels slightly less industrial but it’s still undeniably mesmerizing nonetheless.

Haustein’s slick, haunting vocals ooze delicately over the twinkling sounds of the sitar, whilst distortion-heavy guitar riffs give the track the urgency it deserves. Think Nine Inch Nails meets Little Dragon and you’re almost there. Also featured on this magnificent EP are B3NDU, Beatrice Bonnano, Anelise Kunz, Emily Magpie, and Dolly Daggerz—each woman using their own authenticity to their advantage, creating fierce sounds over Ralls’ electrifying soundscapes.

“Fight Us All” is in stores on 16th November via Dystopian Disco.

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TVD Live Shots: Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, and Obituary at the SSE Arena, 11/3

Has it really been 37 years? I remember discovering Slayer as a teenager based on the fact that they were the scariest band in the world and I was on a mission to piss off my parents. The satanic artwork that graced their album covers and t-shirts not only looked super cool, but was fascinating to a rebellious young kid looking for his place in the world.

Slayer’s music took you to another world at another time where excess was defined only by how extreme one could push contrary religious views and how heavy music could become.One could argue that Slayer has evolved into a brand, but one that was built around a relentless fan base and one that answered to no one. I spent a tremendous amount of time listening to Slayer in my youth and that time has undoubtedly influenced not only my taste in music but also who I am as an individual—rebellious, curious, questioning everything, and continuously pushing the envelope in everything I do.

So it’s bittersweet that I get to see Slayer live one last time. I’ve seen these guys numerous times over the years, and I guess that I took it for granted as I thought they would go the KISS route and tour for another decade, extracting every last ounce of value out of touring. But they decided to do something that few legacy artists do; bow out gracefully at the top of their game. That’s precisely what this show was about. How does a band wrap up a remarkable career spanning nearly four decades of chaos, ups, downs, tragedy, record label battles and mainstream media backlash? By going out with a bang, literally and figuratively.

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UK Artist of the
Week: All The Luck
In The World

Originally formed in 2011, Irish trio Neil Foot, Ben Connolly, and Kelvin Barr—aka All The Luck In The World—are now based in Berlin. Having previously sold out London venues Servant Jazz Quarters and The Islington and received acclaim from the likes of Clash and Rolling Stone, they have now shared their utterly charming new single.

Flowing with twinkling folk-strewn melodies and luscious harmonies, “Tested & Tried” is a beautifully soothing soundscape. Oozing a whimsical, delicate emotion and sparkling musicality, it soars with rich, honeyed vocals, the passion of which will send shivers down the spine.

Reminiscent of Bon Iver or Iron & Wine, this latest single is a slight step away from previous release A Blind Arcade, whilst maintaining the band’s reflective and poignant songwriting style, resulting in a truly dreamy slice of alt-folk that’ll tug at the heartstrings on first listen. Of the track, the band explain: “Having spent endless hours on our previous record, we want to let things flow a lot quicker from now on… ‘Tested & Tried’ was born out of an acoustic guitar loop, skateboard wheels, and a recurring a dream.”

“Tested & Tried,” the new single from All The Luck In The World, is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week:
Jo Marches

Having just released their incredible new EP “Day In Day Out,” we are extremely pleased to announce this week’s Artist of the Week is Utrecht outfit Jo Marches.

Led by front woman Johanneke Kranendonk, Jo Marches are a force to be reckoned with. Their latest EP, which was released last Friday, is an undeniably infectious slice of synth-laden, alternative pop that undoubtedly deserves all the support its received so far, and then some.

Not only is each track filled with dynamic synths, pulsating electronic beats, and Johanneke’s gorgeously hazy vocals, it also covers a number of relatable topics. These include feminism, politics, and mental health to name but a few. Unsurprisingly, Jo Marches have already been deemed a “feminist Tame Impala” of sorts, and we can easily see why. Kevin Parker better watch his back, that’s all we’ll say.

So what are you waiting for? Jo Marches’ mesmerising EP “Day In Day Out” is in stores now and if poignant psychedelia is your bag, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

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TVD Live Shots: Jeff Lynne’s ELO at the O2 Arena, 10/17

One of the most iconic songwriters of all time is about to turn 71 years old, but you would never guess that based on his touring schedule.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO took to the stage at the O2 Arena in front of a capacity crowd to play the first show of a four-night run at the legendary venue. It’s truly a show for the ages as fans both old and new turned up in droves to see the Birmingham native play the classics with his incredibly talented band. The cross-generational impact of ELO’s music is evident with the diversity of the crowd and even a bit surprising as I saw several millennial hipsters dressed up with fake wigs, beards, and sunglasses in honor of the signature look that has defined Lynne’s brand over the years.

Having seen Jeff Lynne’s ELO last year at Wembley, I was excited to see him in a more “intimate” venue. While the O2 holds a meager 20,000 vs. Wembley’s 90,000, it was a stadium show for an arena crowd, and it was magnificent. Opening the set with “Standing in the Rain” immediately began to warm up the eager audience before launching into “Evil Woman”—then it was game over as the crowd lept to their feet and sang along with every single word.

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UK Artist of the Week: JUNODEF

PHOTO: GIALUCA LA BRUNA | Formed in Sweden in 2015 and now London-based, JUNODEF have recently been receiving praise for their epic offerings from the likes of Louder and The Revue, as well as promoting the cause of women, non-binary, and trans people in music through their work with Girls Rock London. Now, with the release of their latest single “Heights,” the band look set to continue charming ears and spreading their empowering message.

Inspired by the realisation that something is coming to an end, “Heights” exudes the captivating, sweeping splendour of Karin Grönkvist’s vocals, which glide smoothly across glitchy beats and delicate, twinkling hooks. Sparkling with a majestic, soaring emotion, it soon builds to an intense, cinematic soundscape, flowing with a beautifully eerie aura.

Of the track, the band explain: “…‘Heights’ is the moment just before the inevitable happens, the place where everything is still fine and normal; where time has stopped and all your energy is directed towards enjoying important relationships and moments, but with the underlying knowledge that it will soon be gone.”

“Heights,” the new single from JUNODEF, is in stores now via AWAL.

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TVD Live Shots: Suede at the Eventim Apollo, 10/13

I was gutted to find out that Suede and Glasvegas were playing on the same night in London last week. Not that one is the equivalent to the other—although it could be argued that they shared similar stories regarding their debut records—but as an expat living in the UK and the fact that both bands do not tour as extensively as I would prefer, I put them on the same pedestal personally. Thanks to the Brit-pop gods above, Suede announced a second show at the legendary Eventim Apollo which solved the dilemma. I know, I know, first world problems…

If you are a regular reader of my reviews, then you know that I have a special place in my rock ‘n’ roll heart for all things Britpop, especially the standouts from the mid-90s. Suede is one of them. They stood out from the pack with a sound that is all their own. Their fourth album Head Music was supposed to be the one that “broke” them in the States (beyond the hipsters, that is). But it didn’t—and it’s become a cliché, the story of a band that is huge in the UK, yet unable to penetrate the US. The hype almost always outweighs the substance, or in this case, the US just wasn’t prepared for something of this magnitude. Suede is a different kind of beast. This wasn’t Oasis, it wasn’t Blur, it was more Bowie/ T-Rex/ Smiths-esque.

Having never seen Suede before I had no idea what to expect. Holy shit these guys were on fire out of the gates. One would never guess that frontman Brett Anderson just turned 50. The energy, charisma, the passionate crawls, the taunting of the audience, the fucking jump shots—Jesus Christ this guy had more energy than most punk rock singers. You can’t watch Brett and not see a bit of Bryan Ferry, and that’s okay because like all the great musicians in the world, he takes inspiration and makes it his own.

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Needle Drop: Emily Magpie, “Be Your Own Light” EP

Having received acclaim from Mahogany, The Line Of Best Fit, and Earmilk, and wowed crowds supporting bands such as Let’s Eat Grandma and This Is The Kit, Bristol-based artist Emily Spetch—aka Emily Magpie—has now shared a brand new EP. Completely self-produced at her parents’ house in Cornwall, “Be Your Own Light” is a wonderfully eclectic collection of ethereal sounds, all tied together by the smooth splendour of Emily’s rich vocals.

Opening the EP is the totally captivating “Last Train.” Rich with heart-wrenching and honest emotion, it exhibits a grittier edge than previous releases, whilst retaining those trademark shimmering melodies that we’ve come to know and love. Propelled by the raw, impassioned depth of Spetch’s vocals, it flows with an utterly engrossing angelic majesty.

“Stranger” fuses glitchy beats with delicate finger-picked ukulele and twinkling keys. Showcasing Spetch’s knack for unique, refined production—it’s a perfect amalgamation of sounds, resulting in something truly spellbinding. Using found natural sounds, the EP’s title track is a perfectly dreamy slice of downtempo electro pop, with shades of folk-inspired musicality. Complete with pulsating beats, Emily’s celestial vocal urges you to “be your own light.”

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TVD Live Shots: Glasvegas at Heaven, 10/12

I can’t believe it’s been a decade since the release of one of the most critically acclaimed debut albums of all time. Glasvegas released their eponymous debut record in September of 2008 and I saw them live the following year as they toured the States. I was working for their record label, Sony Music, at the time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more significant buzz on a band from the UK Stateside since Franz Ferdinand or maybe Editors. The record was celebrated and praised by all the big media outlets in the UK, was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize award, and topped virtually every best album year-end list. So was it overhyped? Absolutely fucking not.

Then again that could be said with 90% of the UK bands who find success in their home country but fail to get traction Stateside. I can tell you this, it’s not because the label didn’t push them, they did. Several folks at the record label were very passionate about this band and rightfully so. The problem I think was that radio (still a big factor for determining success at the time) had no idea what to do with them. I mean, what station would play a band that sounds like The Clash crossed with Elvis and produced by Phil Spector and the Ronettes? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Glasvegas is an important record because it made a statement in a sea of copycats looking for radio play. It was part throwback, part future-forward, and drenched in emotion. From the opening cut “Flowers and Football Tops” to the very end of “Ice Cream Van,” this record has something for everyone. Of course, the highlights were in the meaty center propped up with the brilliant “Geraldine” and “Daddy’s Gone,” but it felt like a single piece of work at a time when the album was under attack. I would even go as far to say that this was one of the last few true albums, or at least the last of the great debuts.

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UK Artist of the Week: Dustin Tebbutt

Bon Iver? Is that you? It’s not, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so. This week’s Artist of the Week is Australia’s Dustin Tebbutt. An indie-folk songwriter who is writing truly mesmerizing tales reminiscent of the aforementioned Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens, but with his own unique stamp.

Gearing up for the release of his forthcoming EP “Chasing Gold”—out 26th October 2018—Dustin has already released a handful of hits off the EP. From the beautifully uplifting “Love Is Blind,” to the intricate finger pickings of “All Your Love,” to the minimalist electronic beats on “Satellite,” each track is filled with crisp musicality and haunting vocals.

The young songwriter has been making a splash in Australia for some time now, with “All Your Love” actually having been co-written by top Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities earlier this year. It was released as a dance track originally, and its safe to say it did pretty darn well. Now, preparing for the release of his upcoming EP, its seems nothing can stop this young Aussie from strumming his way to the top.

“Chasing Gold” is in stores on 26th October via Eleven: A Music Company.

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TVD Live Shots: The Posies at De Helling, Utrecht, 10/11

This is the first time I’ve seen The Posies live, having been a huge fan now for nearly three decades and it was not what I expected—at all. It reminded me of the first time I saw self-help guru Tony Robbins speak live, where every other word out of his mouth was an F-bomb. I was shocked (not offended by any means) because I had always assumed he was pretty clean-cut and conservative. Not the case. The same thing happened in Utrecht last week. I went to see one of my favorite bands from the early ’90s live and was shocked at what I saw. I, of course, expected the incredible songs and the brilliant harmonies, but I didn’t expect it delivered in true punk rock fashion.

Holy shit these guys were on fire! I was expecting a laid-back singer/songwriter-styled power pop show. What I got instead was nothing short of beautiful, heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll chaos. It was a roller coaster ride that very quickly became one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, indeed top 5. There were crashing guitars, spot-on harmonies, double jumps, a drummer climbing on top of his kit, and most importantly the songs and the chemistry of two of the world’s most undercelebrated songwriting teams.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me take you back to 1993 when I first heard The Posies. It was a confusing year for music as grunge continued to dominate, hip-hop’s east coast vs. west coast feud was taking shape, and Whitney Houston was breaking records with the release of The Bodyguard soundtrack and a single that would redefine her career. But there was something else happening in the background; Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, better known as The Posies, would release a power pop masterpiece that would redefine the genre.

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Needle Drop: Megan Airlie, “Mother Whale”

Having received acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC Radio Scotland for previous singles “After River” and “Honey,” Scottish artist Megan Airlie is back with another heartfelt creation.

With inflections of jazz-inspired syncopated rhythms, “Mother Whale” percolates with a sunny, uptempo energy and soulful spirit as Airlie’s deep swooning vocals soar. A step away from the delicate emotion of previous tracks, it’s a perfect fusion of sounds new and old, creating something truly spellbinding.

As Airlie’s rich voice glides alongside the nostalgic musical soundscape, her vast impressive range is evident, as is the versatility of this multi-talented songwriter. “Mother Whale” marks Airlie as a unique and innovative artist—a mystical, musical force who deserves your attention immediately.

“Mother Whale” is in stores now via Bloc Music Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Humble Braggers

Get ready to get ethereal with Humble Braggers. Our latest Artist of the Week’s new EP “Cycles” is all sorts of majestic and undeniably addictive, so prepare yourselves.

If you’re a fan of ’80s inspired synths, celestial vocals, and pulsating drum beats, then look no further, because Humble Braggers are the band for you. Their latest EP “Cycles” is absolutely oozing with addictive soundscapes from the offset.

Previously released single “Reckless” and “Am I Okay” are obviously stand out tracks, but this really is an EP you can enjoy from start to finish. Frontman Tom Burtless’ glistening vocals remind us instantly of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker but with a poppier edge, making the sound completely his own. Fans of Empire of The Sun and Passion Pit will also feel at home here.

This Buffalo-based quartet are certainly making waves for all the right reasons and we can’t wait to see where they go from here.

“Cycle” is in stores now via Admirable Traits.

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UK Artist of the Week: DAZE

Fuzz-fuelled indie-rockers DAZE have just released their latest single “Reformation,” and it’s a humdinger. As a result, we’ve decided to make this London lot our next Artist of The Week.

“Reformation” combines elements of indie, math-rock and experimental sounds to create something that is undeniably unique. From the offset, the single is pounding with fuzz, pulsating drum beats, and passionate vocals from impressive frontman Sam Hong, creating a sound similar to that of Foals or Bloc Party.

If you’re looking for a bit of noughties nostalgia, DAZE can offer it by the bucket load, all the while bringing their own authentic twists and turns to their dynamic sound—making it completely their own.

Catch this full-throttle quartet performing next at The Finborough Arms in London, supporting Liberty Ship, on 15th November 2018. “Reformation” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Spiritualized and YAK at the Eventim Apollo, 9/21

If I never see another live show in my life after watching Spiritualized last week in London, I think I’d be ok with that. This was one of the most incredible musical performances I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen thousands. Start with one of the best songwriters on the planet, add a live orchestra alongside the band, top that off with a full choir, and you have the makings of a once in a lifetime gig.

Spiritualized is best known for the critically acclaimed 1997 release of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, which NME magazine named as their Album of the Year, besting Radiohead’s OK Computer and The Verve’s Urban Hymns. This not only put them on the map but instantly secured them as one of the most important artists of the 1990s with We Are Floating in Space acclaimed as one of the best albums by virtually all the major music press around the world.

The Eventim Apollo was the perfect setting for this sold out extravaganza which was led by the man behind Spiritualized, Jason Pierce, directing the two dozen-plus musicians across the legendary Apollo stage. One would not be wrong to compare the wall of sound to the sort of experience you’d get from seeing a Pink Floyd show during their peak. It was a perfect combination of brilliant songwriting alongside stellar musicianship, with the icing on the cake being the orchestra and the choir.

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