Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Eliza Shaddad

PHOTO: MEL TJOENG | Autumn is well and truly upon us and what better way to get us in the mood for fall than with a dark, brooding track from a very talented Brit. Eliza Shaddad has been making waves both here and across the pond for a while now and her latest single “Girls” looks sure to break boundaries even further.

Instantly reminiscent of the likes of Julia Jacklin or Daughter’s Elena Tonra, “Girls” soars with rich layers of musicality throughout. Starting slowly with Eliza’s smooth, sultry vocals taking centre stage, the chorus then kicks in with all its dream-pop goodness, creating an undeniably atmospheric sound that can’t help but draw you in. Known for her confessional songwriting, “Girls” is no exception as it tackles what its like to grow up at an all girls school and the relationships you can create—and break—while you’re there.

Having already supported Kate Tempest, Oh Wonder, Lucy Rose, and James Bay to name a few, it looks as though 2020 could very well be Eliza Shaddad’s year, so watch this space.

Catch Eliza live next at Pop Brixton, London on 6th November 2019 in association with TVD fave label Big Indie Records.

“Girls,” taken from Eliza’s new EP, due for release early next year, is in stores on 23rd October 2019 via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Very Lazy Sundays

Don’t let their name fool you, because for us, The Very Lazy Sundays are nothing but on point and ready to rumble if their debut single is anything to go by.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” is a beautifully poignant indie-folk vignette that will give you all the feels from the offset. Combining rich harmonies with intricate twinkles on the piano and gentle strums of the guitar, this single is the feel-good break-up single we all needed. Lead singer Diyar Abdullah’s soft, colloquial vocal style feels instantly familiar, like an old friend you haven’t seen for a while. Perhaps because it also has inklings of the likes of Jack Johnson or Ryan Adams in it.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” feels predominantly folk-esque for the most part, up until Diyar breaks out a simple but apt “rap” toward the end, giving the single an almost The Streets feel. We’re not sure if that’s what they’re going for, but its working.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Alice Cooper, The Stranglers, and MC50 at the O2 Arena, 10/10

The godfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper is alive and well as he delivers one final masterclass in all things horror, rock ‘n’ roll, and stellar musicianship.

He’s 71, but you would never guess it. His band is full of incredible musicians, and the stage show is a theatrical masterpiece celebrating everything that society fears, both past and present. At times it’s undoubtedly comical with the giant inflatable babies and twenty-foot monsters in chains, but the message never gets lost, and it’s incredibly entertaining. On top of all that, you have one of the most celebrated catalogues in rock ‘n’ roll history to pull from as the centrepiece.

Cooper pulled out all of the stops for this one including the guillotine, Frankenstein, straitjackets, an insane mental ward nurse (played by his lovely wife), along with a cast of monsters and ghoulish tricks that ended with a shower of confetti and a full house of fans singing “Schools Out” at the top of their lungs. Joining Cooper on stage for the encore was none other than original Alice Cooper band bassist Dennis Dunaway who looked right at home jamming alongside the newbies.

The setlist that night pulled from Cooper’s incredible catalogue and didn’t discriminate between the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s albums as there were gems drawn from each. “Roses on White Lace” from Raise Your Fist and Yell? Holy shit. I didn’t see that one coming. Not to mention, “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask),” the theme from Friday the 13th.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Frampton Sisters

First there were The Gallaghers, then The Jonas Brothers, and now? Well it’s The Frampton Sisters of course! This fabulous folk duo have just dropped their debut single and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The Frampton Sisters—aka Freddie and Charlie Frampton—are certainly not new to the music scene, but it seems they’ve chosen to take their time with their first official release and it’s definitely paid off. “Birds Of A Feather” is a stunningly intricate piece of folk-pop that will give you all the feels.

Fans of the First Aid Kit and Lily and Madeleine will inevitably draw comparisons to the duo, but what these siblings have acquired so uniquely is an undeniable connection, making their harmonies 100% on point throughout. Utterly glorious. 2020 is looking like an extremely exciting year for this rising duo. Watch this space.

“Birds Of A Feather” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Dani Sylvia

We’re all guilty of self-sabotage sometimes, whether we want to admit it or not. Dani Sylvia gets it and her ethereal new single “Lithium” hits the nail on the head.

The young singer-songwriter has already gained quite the Spotify following and she’s sure to gain more if her latest cut is anything to go by. “Lithium” is a gorgeously celestial slice of electro-pop that soothes the soul. Dani’s soft, smooth vocals soar effortlessly over the ambient musicality, creating a sound akin to the likes of BANKS, or VÉRITÉ’s brooding melodies and atmospheric soundscapes.

As mentioned above “Lithium” goes deeper that a stunning shimmering melody, it also battles emotions we’ve all dealt with one way or another in the past and accepting the negative aspects of ourselves. “Lithium” reminds us we’re not alone, and above all, we’ll be fine.

“Lithium” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Keane and Marie White at Royal Albert Hall, 9/28

Keane made a triumphant return to London’s famed Royal Albert Hall for a two-night stint which sold out almost instantly—one week after the release of their new record Cause and Effect and six years since their last studio record. Strangeland came out to mixed reviews back in 2012, but I would argue it’s the crown jewel of the band’s catalogue, a clear indicator that the band was at its creative peak both musically and visually. I saw them twice in the States on that tour, and both shows were above and beyond anything I had seen that year.

A few years into Keane’s hiatus, Tom Chaplin answered the question on everyone’s mind—can he write the songs and go solo? The Wave was a swift and masterful response and a resounding yes; this guy can pretty much do it all, even when sober, when many musicians often lose their creative edge and fail. Throw in a Christmas album and a tour of the UK where Chaplin brilliantly performed the songs of Queen, and one would think that this would be a set up for Strangeland part two: bigger, bolder, braver. But was that even necessary?

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, Keane returned after seven years with the much-anticipated Cause and Effect. In true Keane fashion, it’s another curveball of a record for the hardcore fans. All the elements that make this band so great are here but they’re stripped down a bit—the experimentation and theatrics that made Strangeland so daring and perfect are missing. And that’s OK because the songs, the stories, and most importantly the voice are all there. It’s as if the band wanted to go back to basics. Make no mistake, this is a pop record, but with a level of substance that’s missing from the overproduced garbage dominating the radio today.

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UK Artist of the Week: IYEARA

Ready for something dark and ominous to get you going on this fine Tuesday? No? Are you sure? Because IYEARA are certainly a band you need to sit up and take note of, even if they are rather intimidating…

The trio have just released their debut EP “Consequences,” which includes the brooding single “Exhale,” a track that is swarming with haunting soundscapes and driving synths, along with vocalist Paul O’Keefe’s distinctive tone sending shivers down one’s spine instantly.

The single also comes with an equally disturbing video directed by Sam Dixon and featuring footage taken from the short film Old Mate. IYEARA combine dark wave and post-punk sensibilities throughout this dynamic debut, creating a sound that is both accomplished and forward-thinking.

The trio is composed of The Duke Spirit guitarist Toby Butler, as well as producer Malcolm Carson and not forgetting Paul O’Keeffe. Together they have created somewhat of a super group and right now it seems like the sky is the limit for IYEARA. Throughout the EP, the trio are joined by a select batch of guests including The Duke Spirit’s leading lady Liela Moss covering Tears For Fears’ hit single “Shout.” What more could you ask for?

“Consequences” is in stores now via TrES-2b Recordings / Ingrooves.

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TVD Live Shots: The Pixies at the O2 Academy Leeds, 9/17

They’ve influenced an entire generation, created an iconic signature sound, and nearly forty years later they still have plenty to say. The Pixies are seemingly more popular today than they were at their peak in the late ’80s early ’90s, especially here in the UK as it’s near impossible to land a ticket to one of their gigs across the country. I found myself on assignment for my day gig with an evening free in the Northern UK. The O2 Academy Leeds is one of the highest-rated venues in all of the UK so what better chance to check it out than to see the Pixies. 

 Touring in support of their seventh studio record, Beneath the Eyrie was recorded in an abandoned church near Woodstock, NY with producer Tom Dalgety. What in the hell is an eyrie? Yeah, I had to look that one up as well. According to Dictionary.com, it’s “a high or inaccessible place from which someone can observe what is below them.”

There’s no doubt that the atmosphere contributed to the darkness of this record. Some say it’s a return to form and that Black Frances finally caught lightning in a bottle once more after mediocre reviews for the past two records. I think the band is just pissed off and made a record fuelled with the current bad dream we all hope to wake up from. Either way, Eyrie is undoubtedly worthy of taking its place alongside the greatness and mystique of the first two albums.  

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UK Artist of the Week: Mipso

PHOTO: KENDALL BAILEY | Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, Mipso are about to take the plunge and hop across the pond as they embark on a UK/EU tour in October. In the run up to the tour, Mipso have shared with the world their stunning animated video for single “People Change,” in stores now.

The single, taken from Mipso’s album Edges Run is a gorgeously rich and emotive ballad that tackles the difficult subject of loss and the impact of an absence in someone’s life. Its delicately weaved musicality is undeniably ethereal from the offset, reminiscent of the likes of Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver.

Frontman Jacop Sharp’s soft yet gritty Americana-esque vocals are just glorious, fitting the song perfectly. We could listen to it for days. The single’s video is equally mesmerising, with art and animation created by Jake McBride. Simple yet effective, the images reflect the song’s meaning perfectly and incredibly powerfully throughout.

We’ve not had the pleasure of catching these guys live yet, but if Edges Run is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sun Bloom

Summer may be over but thankfully London trio Sun Bloom are here to give us another sprinkling of sunshine before the year is up.

Their latest single “Take It Away”—from their debut EP of the same name—is instantly warming, so warming in fact that its actually pretty surprising this sound has come straight out of London and not California.

Sun Bloom’s sizzling surf-rock sound feels instantly reminiscent of the likes of Alvvays or Best Coast—but British. Their surf-inspired dream-pop sound is undeniably addictive and clearly a strong start for this budding band.

If you happen to be in London on the 27th September you can catch Sun Bloom performing live—and free—at The Constitution, Camden.

“Take It Away” is in stores now.

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Needle Drop: Dudley Benson, “We Could’ve Been Gods”

New Zealand avant-pop artist Dudley Benson weaves beautiful electronic soundscapes, effortlessly marrying challenging yet uplifting sonics, with deeply personal lyrical themes.

Exploring concepts of nationhood, decolonisation, and our relationship with nature, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is the latest cut from his ambitious new album Zealandia. Featuring a full symphony orchestra, 50-person choir, and beats made from samples of rocks and minerals, Dudley defies genre by combining alt-pop, choral, classical, and electronica, producing a record that is as unique as it is captivating.

Shot by Miranda Bellamy and Solomon Mortimer, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is a semi-improvised pulse of love, sex, and earth that reflects and bounces off the song, and the three filming locations around Auckland, New Zealand.

Collaborating with respected avant-garde dance artists val smith and Tru Paraha, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is the centrepiece of a an album that tackles hard-hitting themes surrounding New Zealand culture, history, and identities.

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TVD Live Shots: Pete Doherty and Carl Barat at Hackney Empire, 9/6

My quest to see The Libertines live in the UK since I moved here three years ago got a bit closer to completion. Earlier this year I saw a spectacular show from Pete Doherty and the Putra Madres, and now I can check Pete and Libertines frontman Carl Barât off the list.

It was billed as an acoustic gig, so I accepted the invite thinking two dudes, two guitars, one stripped-down acoustic set. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As part of an event series called SOMEWHERE, which is known for hosting a series of unusual shows around the world, somehow figured out how to light 1001 candles to illuminate the stage in one of the most beautiful venues in London, Hackney Empire.

Let me start by saying that I was there for the second night of two sold-out performances in what one would consider an “intimate” venue for the primary two Libertines. It’s also worth noting that you have to live in London to appreciate how much this town loves Mr. Doherty. From the infamous breakfast photo in Margate which would later become a full-on work of art as a mural, to just last week when the tabloids reported Pete on a Boris bike riding through central London with two huskies. There was one Tweet that captured this fascination with the musician perfectly, “It’s Pete Doherty’s world, we just live in it.”

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TVD Premiere: Chloé Caroline, “Forgive Me”

2019 may have been a bit of a nightmare year for us so far, but one great thing to come out of it is the rise in mental health awareness, especially within music. So many artists have been incredibly open in their songwriting, encouraging people from all walks us life to open up. Californian native Chloé Caroline is one of these artists and we’re incredibly pleased to be premiering her new single “Forgive Me” on The Vinyl District today.

It’s happened to all of us, some days you just wake up feeling rubbish and you can’t shake that feeling of anxiety. It’s completely normal to feel this way and talking about it is incredibly important, not just for yourself, but for loved ones around you to understand and accept. Chloé evokes this beautifully in her latest ballad “Forgive Me,” a song that shines the light on mental health struggles, perfectionism, and societal expectations.

Not only is the narrative incredibly imperative, it’s also stunningly written. Chloé’s powerfully distinctive vocals, reminiscent of Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow, ooze emotion as they soar over the warm, piano-led melodies. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, or even a bit of a cry, “Forgive Me” is the song for you. Chloé has hit the nail on the head here in so many ways and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

“Forgive Me” arrives in stores on 13th September 2019 via AWAL.

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UK Artist of the Week: Living Hour

PHOTO: ALLY GONZALO | We’ve got something extra special for you today, so get ready to be all kinds of mesmerized. Canadian five-piece Living Hour are about to embark on a European tour and to celebrate, they’ve shared the stunning visuals for their brooding album track “Most,” in stores now on Kanine Records.

The video mirrors the hypnotic stylings of the song perfectly as textured, static-like images fill the screen, cinematic soundscapes also soar. “Most” feels instantly reminiscent of Beach House or Slowdive’s ability to create wonderful sonic vignettes with minimal fuss and yet, at the same time, are also undeniably complex. Front woman Sam Sarty’s ethereal vocal sits subtly in the background as she allows the enchanting musicality to take centre stage and whisk her into the ambient abyss. It really is a breathtaking piece of artistry from all angles.

As mentioned earlier, “Most” is taken from Living Hour’s poignant latest album Softer Faces. The five-piece are also due to start their European tour imminently, so be sure to catch them if you’re in the area. It’s guaranteed to be a truly majestic experience.

A full list of live dates can be found here.

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TVD Live Shots:
Laura Jane Grace and
the Devouring Mothers at Liquid Rooms, 8/27

It’s like the time that I was at SXSW years ago before it became a bloated corporate mess. You could see a band play a set to an unassuming crowd and you just had a feeling that this was something special—music with a fucking purpose that’s going to make a difference. It’s remarkably well written and story-driven with the perfect balance of wit, angst, and emotion.

This is how I felt during and after watching Laura Jane Grace with her latest project The Devouring Mothers in Scotland last week at the Liquid Club. Touring in support of my new favourite record of 2019 Bought to Rot, she had the audacity and sheer confidence to play the record in its entirety and then say goodbye. No encore, just a simple thank you. And that was enough.

This isn’t Laura Jane’s usual forte in terms of musical genres. She’s trading in her punk rock roots for a mix of Springsteen, The Old 97’s, and The Sex Pistols for Bought to Rot and it works remarkably well for a live club gig. “Amsterdam Hotel Room,” “The Hotel Song,” “The Apology Song,” and the climax of the album in the form of “Valeria Golino” and the masterpiece closer “Manic Depression.” It plays like a concept album even though it’s a bit schizophrenic at times. The storytelling, the crescendos, the highs and lows—all take the listener on a journey.

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