Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Hana Piranha

Today’s Artist of The Week is packed with power, as well as some unexpected twists and turns just to keep you on your toes. Hana Piranha are a goth-rock quartet with a difference and razor-sharp violin licks are just the beginning.

Their latest single “Naked Flame,” released last Friday, is the first single taken from their explosive new album, Waiting To Burn, out on 22nd March 2019 via Fourglove Records. It’s instantly reminiscent of Evanescence with its fierce energy and raucous guitar riffs having no trouble holding the fort.

However, these guys mean business and they’re ready to stand out from the crowd. Front woman Hana Piranha has a hidden talent up her sleeve—her ferociously phenomenal violin skills, especially apparent in the incredible violin solo during the middle eight. Hana Piranha manage to combine classical instrumentation with a hard rock setting seamlessly, and for that we are undeniably impressed. If “Naked Flame” is anything to go by, we can expect plenty more ferocity and dangerous beauty where that came from.

Waiting To Burn is out on 22nd March 2019 via Fourglove Records.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Dandy Warhols
and Swervedriver at
the O2 Brixton, 2/1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a quarter of a century since the debut record from The Dandy Warhols. I missed this record the first time around and instead discovered them on their masterful major label debut The Dandy Warhols Come Down. This is one of my favorite records of all time and one that easily stands the test of time. Often referred to as “the best Brit rock band from the States,” on tour the Dandys are not jumping on the current bandwagon and playing their classic album in its entirety along with a greatest hits encore. Instead, they do a proper celebration by dropping their 10th studio album, appropriately titled Why You So Crazy.

“The weirdest thing about it being ‎our 25th anniversary is it doesn’t feel like 25 years. Feels like about six. Or five,” muses frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. I couldn’t agree more—how in the fuck did this happen? Am I really that old? Now that I think about it, I’ve seen the Dandys eight or nine times over the years, and I do celebrate their entire catalog.

While the Dandys have certainly done things on their terms after leaving the world of major labels, they’ve gone in some bizarre directions and never really went back to capture their roots on any later material. Well, that all changes with Why You So Crazy. Yeah, of course, it’s a fucking weird record, but they’ve managed to take a bit of influence from the other nine records and sprinkled that magic across the 12 songs on this gem—songs like “Forever,” “Terraform,” and “Motor City Steel” pulling a bit more from the trio of greatness that is Dandy’s Come Down, 13 Tales, and Welcome to the Monkey House.

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UK Artist of the Week: Ulysses Wells

What happens when you combine blues, psychedelia, and electronica? Ulysses Wells happens, and we can’t get enough. His latest single “Back with the People” is a raucous rock anthem and its oozing with a double dose of attitude.

From the offset, the blues-infused, distortion heavy guitar licks are instantly reminiscent of The Black Keys or Jack White, which is certainly not a bad thing. However, Ulysses also manages to blend psychedelic and electronic elements to create a sound that is undeniably impressive. If Jack White and Kevin Parker were to join forces with The Black Keys, it would probably sound something likes Ulysses Wells and that’s not a poor boat to be in by any means.

“Back with the People” has been released by the fine folk at Big Indie Records as part of their Big Indie Big Nights event. If you’re not aware of them yet, get to know them as they’ve got offices in both London and Austin ready to blast you with all kinds of exciting, emerging new music. Catch Ulysses Wells live at Two Tribes Brewery on 13th February 2019 in association with Big Indie Records—and he’s also currently supporting Bastille on their UK/EU tour, so quite the busy bee!

“Back with the People” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Skid Row at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 1/26

1989, it was a good year. The internet was born, the Berlin wall came down, Seinfeld was introduced, and Skid Row delivered their eponymous debut record. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since I first heard the anthem that would become the soundtrack to my rebellious teenage years. These guys make a fucking brilliant debut that fell somewhere between the bad boy image and the edge of Guns ‘n’ Roses and the glam appeal of fellow Jersey natives Bon Jovi.

The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1995 for shipping five million copies in the United States alone. It generated four singles, “Youth Gone Wild,” “18 and Life,” “I Remember You,” and “Piece of Me,” all of which were accompanied by music videos and received heavy rotation on MTV. The album’s commercial and critical success made Skid Row a regular feature in rock magazines and brought the group nationwide popularity.

While most “hair metal” bands of the time wouldn’t try to fuck with the formula for success and make Skid Row part two, these guys broke the mold and forged new ground altogether. Their sophomore release Slave to the Grind was a game changer and created shock waves across the industry as it became the first heavy metal record to debut at #1 on the Billboard top 100 chart. And boy was it fucking HEAVY. This all happened based on the buzz and without the significant radio airplay that broke the first album. One could argue that it was purely organic and a reaction to the caricature that hair metal had become.

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UK Artist of the Week: ACRYLIC

Already making massive waves in their Scottish hometown of Glasgow, indie-rockers ACRYLIC now prepare to take on the rest of the world with their new single, “I’ve Got Too Many Friends.”

The single begins soft and smoothly, with jangling guitar chords at the forefront, reminding us of the early noughties instantly. As lead singer Andreas Chrsitodoulidis comes in for the first verse, his brooding baritone feels absolutely mesmerising, reminding us of The National’s Matthew Berninger’s distinctively smouldering sound. Some gorgeous harmonies from the rest of the band follow, revealing just how tight and connected these five guys really are.

Despite the slightly arrogant sounding title, the single is actually about feeling as though you’ve found yourself in an ideal situation and knowing that you’re still going to mess it up, something we can all relate to surely.

ACRYLIC have already achieved a great deal up in Scotland. They’ve supported a whole bunch of established artists including The View, Demob Happy, Palace, and The Ninth Wave, as well as selling out Glasgow’s prestigious King Tut’s music venue—so not too shabby! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has up its sleeve for these guys. Watch this space.

“I’ve Got Too Many Friends” is in stores now via Scottish Fiction.

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TVD Live Shots: Architects at Wembley Arena, 1/19

As a US-born metal fan living in the UK for the past three years, I thought I’ve seen the best of the best regarding both progressive and hardcore, then I heard Architects and that mindset was quickly thrown out the window.

Arguably the hottest metal band in the world at the moment, Architects have grown steadily over the past decade, but 2018 leading into 2019 was/ is the year where they are absolutely exploding and quickly soaring past their peers. I’m not quite sure how I missed them the first time around, but there is absolutely no way anyone can ignore the buzz and critical acclaim that is surging this band to the bleeding edge of all things metal with the release of their magnum opus Holy Hell.

But this is a triumph that almost didn’t happen as the band lost its lead guitarist and primary songwriter tragically on 20 August 2016. Founding guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle died at the age of 28, after living for three years with melanoma skin cancer. His condition was previously not made public, though he referenced it in the song “C.A.N.C.E.R.” Tom’s twin brother and bandmate, Dan, would take that pain and channel it into what would become Holy Hell.

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UK Artist of the Week: Jackie Venson

A firm favourite here at TVD HQ, this week we are extremely proud to feature the hugely talented Jackie Venson as our latest Artist of the Week.

Jackie’s most recent single, “A Million Moments” is the first to be released alongside Big Indie Records, a label based in London and Austin who are also the masterminds behind Big Indie Big Nights, a recurring event that showcases their brightest talents completely free of charge. Jackie was proudly part of their US debut at Antone’s in Austin last month where she received rave reviews.

Alas, we digress, back to the single. “A Million Moments” is certainly poppier than Jackie’s previous singles, but it nevertheless showcases Jackie’s incredible guitar skills throughout. The guitar solo at the end in particular feeling instantly reminiscent of one of Jackie’s biggest influences, Gary Clark Jr., of course.

The single is an exciting introduction for what jackie has in store for us in 2019 and we cannot wait. Her ability to combine alt-pop sensibilities with elements of blues, rock and soul is undeniably impressive and will hopefully encourage more artists to blur the lines between genres going forward. Expect big things from this one.

“A Million Moments” is out now via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Indigo Velvet

PHOTO: CAMERON BRISBANE | Having received acclaim from publications such as Clash magazine and The Skinny, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Marsicans, and Honeyblood, Scottish band Indigo Velvet have shared a vibrant new single.

An anthemic slice of infectious indie-pop, “Nineteen” is propelled by a buoyant, driving energy and swirling, spiraling hooks. Oozing a colourful charisma and funk-fused beats, punctuated by the luscious soaring harmonies of Darren Barclay and Jason Tucker, it’s an instantly catchy and immediately danceable offering, marking this young band as definite ones to watch.

With experience playing to no less than 13,000 adoring fans at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, and with over 1 million plays on Spotify already under their belts, it seems Indigo Velvet are headed for big things. And just one listen of the catchy, tropical allure of “Nineteen” and you’ll hear why.

“Nineteen” is in stores now via IV Records.

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Needle Drop: MeMe Detroit, “Life In The Now” EP

Returning to our ears following her 2016 debut album, Birmingham singer/multi-instrumentalist Maria Rodriguez—aka MeMe Detroit—has now released an energy-fuelled new offering in the form of an EP “Life In The Now.”

An ode to the power of positive thinking, “Life In The Now” is a pure sonic delight, fusing a classic rock musicality with a fresh, impassioned energy. Kicking things off, opener “Churchside Inn” oozes a scuzzy, raw grit as the gravelly power of Rodriguez’s vocals soars over infectious riffs. As eerie undertones build back up to a frenzied climax, shades of rock legends Foo Fighters blast into the ears, making for an immense start to the collection.

Continuing with just as much propulsive energy, “Soc Med Junkies” seethes with an uptempo spirit and catchy hooks, reflecting upon society’s unrelenting addiction to social media, whilst current single “De Moe” races with intense thrashing beats alongside soaring sultry vocals and fuzzy, ferocious riffs—an instant ear-worm, fueled by a fierce, yet understated, power.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bellhouse

Ethereal songstress Bellhouse is most certainly one to watch. Having already released a stream of acclaimed singles, we’re certain 2019 will bring the Swedish artist even more success, and we can’t wait to watch her glow.

Bellhouse’s latest single is the stunningly evocative “Coping.” The sparkling track feels instantly majestic, as gorgeous piano notes introduce the song, before Bellhouse—aka Emma-Lee Andersson’s—celestial vocals take over.

The single deals with the undeniably relatable subject of the hopelessness we can all feel sometimes, and the fact that, even if you can’t feel it right now, everything will work out in the end—something we all need to remember from time to time. These wise words from this young artist are yet another example of her mature musicality and poignancy. “Coping” is an absolute beauty to behold.

“Coping” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Richard Ashcroft at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 12/22

One thing that I’ve learned after living in the UK for nearly three years is that the rock stars here are much different from those in the rest of the world. They’re more opinionated, more resilient, more passionate about their fans, and they don’t take shit from anyone.

Case in point, Richard Ashcroft. This guy has had one hell of a ride over the past number of decades—from being in one of the most influential and successful UK bands, to being sued by the Rolling Stones in a landmark case that stemmed from a sampling matter. So what does one do almost three decades into a career? You make yet another bold statement through your music and release arguably your best solo album to date.

Natural Rebel is the fifth solo record from the former Verve frontman. It’s 1970s symphony-infused rock, combining the best elements from George Harrison, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty—and a warning to the next generation (along with a dose of humor). It’s a brilliant record from start to finish, and the more I listen to it the more I become interested in who Richard is as a person at the moment. The media loves to tear this guy down for one reason or another, and if you watch any of his recent interviews, he isn’t having it.

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TVD Live Shots: Adam Ant at the Roundhouse, 12/20

It’s one of my favorite stories from the early punk scene here in London. The year is 1979. Adam Ant approaches the Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren and asks him to manage his band. McLaren steals the band, The Ants, away from him and introduces them to 14-year-old singer Annabella Lwin giving birth to Bow Wow Wow and ultimately a successful charting act. Malcolm would try to find a role for Adam in Bow Wow Wow, but it never worked out.

The legendary manager did provide Adam with some career changing advice however. According to Adam, Malcolm flat-out asked, “Look, what do you want?” Adam said, “I wanna sell millions of records,” to which McLaren replied, “Well, you’re going the wrong way about it. This [The Ant’s debut album Dirk Wears White Sox] is the kind of esoteric stuff you do when you’ve done eight albums, you’re living on a yacht, and you can do what you want.” That was a turning point which lead to 16 hit singles and sales of more than 15 million records in the 1980s.

Fast forward almost four decades and the importance of Adam Ant cannot be understated. Not only did he become a singular force pushing the limits of new wave, early punk, and crossover pop, he was a fashion icon as well with a specific interest in costumes from a bygone era which he donned proudly and still does. He ushered in the age of MTV and became their poster child—he was a visionary. Many artists are content with being one-dimensional but not Adam Ant. He forged new ground and paved the way for musicians to not only create something outlandish, but taught them how to package it for an unsuspecting audience.

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TVD Live Shots:
Def Leppard and Cheap Trick at the SSE Arena
at Wembley, 12/17

I was nine years old, and Def Leppard was the coolest band on the planet. The first record I ever bought with my own money was 1983’s classic rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut Pyromania. It was one of those rare albums where you could put it on from start to finish and never have to skip a song.

Back then you could expect a new record from your favorite band, like clockwork, every two years. But tragedy struck Def Leppard when, on New Year’s Eve 1984, drummer extraordinaire Rick Allen lost his arm in a horrific car accident. Many of the fans, including myself, thought the band might be done. There certainly wasn’t a new record coming anytime soon. That could have been the kiss of death for many groups, but the decade was in full glam metal phase so it would give them the extra time they needed to regroup and reload—which is precisely what they did.

Hysteria was released on August 3, 1987, almost four years after the monumental success of Pyromania. The lead single “Woman,” a favorite track of mine, seemed to bomb in the States and the band and their label were starting to question themselves. But it would only be a matter of time as they had seven hit singles in their back pocket and they were determined to make history. Hysteria hit No.1 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the US chart for over three years, during which time Def Leppard became one of the biggest bands on the planet.

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TVD Live Shots:
Hank Von Hell at
The Garage, 12/15

Somehow I completely missed Turbonegro in their prime. It was only during a six-hour setting with a tattoo artist in London where I heard their music for the first time. I thought, what is this pure rock ‘n’ roll explosion with the insane lyrics and undeniably catchy riffs? It was like a punk rock band had sex with an ’80s hair metal band while listening to Iggy Pop. It had humor, huge hooks, and gigantic riffs, but most importantly, it didn’t take itself too seriously.

While sitting in the chair at the tattoo shop having my arm devastated with multiple needles and black ink, the only saving grace was the loud music. I pulled out my phone and Shazammed the songs, and there were several from Turbonegro, and I was hooked. I would quickly learn that these guys have been on and off for over the past decade, but their most prominent member Hank Von Hell departed from the band back in 2011. Would I ever get to see these guys perform live? Probably not, but as luck would have it while searching through upcoming gigs in London, I saw that the former frontman would be playing a show at The Garage in north London to celebrate the release of his new solo record.

I had to see this show and I was not disappointed. The new record is called Egomania and it’s quickly becoming a late addition to many of the year-end best-of lists, including mine. Hank Von Hell has gone back to the basics. A stripped down glam rock spectacle perfectly balancing the visuals and the songs. A cornucopia of the best of glam and punk from the ’70s glossed over with wit and sonic superiorness. The set focused heavily on the new record and of course, Van Hell didn’t disappoint by leaving out any Turbonegro classics.

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UK Artist of the Week:
M. Rexen

Born in the United Arab Emirates and now based in Copenhagen, multi-instrumentalist M. Rexen has been fast building a reputation for his immense live performances, wowing audiences with his vivacious spirit, and a full 10-person band. Now, having received acclaim from the likes of Noisey, he’s shared another unconventional alt-pop gem.

Propelled by fast-paced funk-fused beats and uptempo blasts of brass, “Henrï” was written as an ode to his best friend, bandmate, and muse Henrï Gibbs (known for his work with Mellah). Flowing with Rexen’s soulful, impassioned vocals and a gritty edge, we’re treated to a colourful performance, building with a sweeping vibrant power to an anthemic, theatrical cacophony.

Fusing together a vast array of eclectic elements—self coined as “Wildstyle”—Rexen has created a truly uplifting sonic delight, unique in its quirky charm.

Watch the poignant new video for “Henrï” above and make sure you catch one of M. Rexen’s charismatic live shows as soon as possible!

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