Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: Britrock Must Be Destroyed: Reef, The Wildhearts, Dodgy, and Terrorvision at the Eventim Apollo, 5/6

Britrock Must Be Destroyed brings together four of the best UK bands who were flying high in the ’90s, each with their own unique sound. It’s a welcome comeback as these Britrock pioneers execute their mission to exhibit to the world that they can still bring the noise bigger and better than any of their contemporaries. Technically speaking it was a triple headliner with The Wildhearts, Reef, and Terrorvision rotating each evening playing extended sets. The London show would see Reef as the final band.

Opening the evening was power pop trio Dodgy who were added to the bill as a special guest. I remember these guys from back in the day as they had a couple of minor hits in the States. Nigel Clark and company continue to release new music, and they put on one hell of a show—the perfect opener to set the stage for what would be an intense groove filled evening of Britrock history. Funny enough, even the band themselves mentioned between songs that they questioned how they fit on the bill.

Next up was one of West Yorkshire’s most successful bands, Terrorvision. I had never heard of these guys before as I don’t recall listening to them back in the States, but holy shit they were great. Lead singer Tony Wright sounded spot on, and he doesn’t seem to age, while guitarist Mark Yates was melting faces with songs like “Alice What’s the Matter” and “Discotheque Wreck.” Brilliant set from these guys and I’ve been digging on their catalog ever since, especially the surprisingly good “comeback” record 2011’s Super Delux.

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UK Artist of the Week: Raleigh

Initially formed when Clea Anaïs was drawn to Brock Geiger’s voice at a festival in Calgary, Canadian band Raleigh have wowed crowds at Islington’s Union Chapel and have supported indie greats Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Now, set to return to the UK for The Great Escape Festival later this month, they’ve shared an utterly infectious new single.

Taken from their latest album Powerhouse Bloom and featuring Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning on guitar, “Smoke In Our Eyes” is a truly dreamy slice of atmospheric alt-rock that demands multiple listens. As catchy, twinkling hooks are interwoven with luscious harmonies, oozing a captivating, otherworldly splendour.

Treating listeners to a sweeping, psychedelic haze with shades of Bombay Bicycle Club, Raleigh have created something quite wonderful. It’s impossible not to fall in love with “Smoke In Our Eyes” rich, majestic layers of sound.

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TVD Live Shots:
Bryan Ferry at the Eventim Apollo, 5/3

The sheer mention of Bryan Ferry immediately brings to mind the word class. Mention his music and the conversation turns to the seductive, sensual, and most importantly—legendary.

His band Roxy Music had two top ten albums and a number one album in the UK before I was even born. They were the original glam rock band and paved the way for so many, and while Bowie tends to get much of the credit for pushing the genre forward, I would argue that Ferry transformed glam into something no one had ever heard nor seen prior.

Some even go so far as to cite Roxy Music as the “first true band of the ’70s,” and while I’m certainly not the most qualified person to write a brief history of Roxy Music or discuss the legacy of Bryan Ferry, I can tell you that I was incredibly fortunate to see one of his sold-out London performances on his UK tour—and a first for me.

The Eventim Apollo was completely sold out. Every seat in the house was taken, and it was virtually impossible even to find a place to stand in the venue. Bryan Ferry took to the stage with a substantial backing band launching directly into the Roxy Music classic “The Main Thing,” quickly followed by Ferry’s signature tune, “Don’t Stop the Dance.” It was immediately clear that not only was Ferry still at the top of his game, but that his music is timeless.

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TVD Premiere: Desert Clouds, “Under Tons”

We are extremely pleased today to be able to premiere alt-rockers Desert Clouds’ new single, “Under Tons,” exclusively here at TVD.

“Under Tons” builds slowly with lead singer David Land going full Bowie with his eccentric vocals. As the chorus comes into swing, the song turns 360 degrees and bursts into one serious, unapologetic classic rock anthem.

Huge distorted guitar riffs sounding akin to Queens of The Stone Age take over before the second verse comes in and then effortlessly transforms into beautiful blues-infused licks. Desert Clouds are a band who are hard to pinpoint, but one thing’s for sure—you won’t get bored.

Formed in London in 2008, Desert Clouds have been honing their sound for the past decade and if “Under Tons” is anything to go by, they show no signs of slowing down.

“Under Tons” arrives in stores on 4th May 2018 via Jiffybag Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Scott Swain

Our Artist of the Week this week is none other than the truly mesmerizing singer-songwriter Scott Swain.

Scott’s latest single “It’s Too Late,” taken from his forthcoming debut EP, “Goodbye Country, Goodbye Home,” clearly reflects Swain’s love for major influence The National, as his powerful lead vocal takes centre stage. The single is also inspired by Swain’s other passion in life—film—and is based on the French movie Irreversible.

Each song on the EP is about a certain film that has inspired Swain’s life, however the main aspect of the EP is about that dreaded word: Brexit. To keep things light, Swain decided to add an alternative dimension to the EP, and quite rightly so! “It’s Too Late” feels beautifully anthemic from the offset, combining indie rock with cinematic soundscapes to create something immensely captivating.

“Goodbye Country, Goodbye Home” is in stores on 20th May 2018 via Resonating Wood Recordings.

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TVD Live Shots: Trivium at the O2 Academy Brixton, 4/21

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a great metal show and the Trivium bill looked too good to pass up. How many other metal bands can maintain a twenty year plus career while keeping with the same label for more than half of that? Eight studio albums, one million records sold worldwide, and a massive international fanbase is the result of consistency, decent marketing, and a frontman who masterfully leverages the world of social media.

Touring in support of what is arguably their strongest record to date, The Sin and the Sentence, the Orlando quartet have been blazing a trail of sold-out gigs across the UK. Critics love the latest album and praise continues to pour in by the leading metal mags including Wall of Sound which has given the album a perfect 10/10 stating “a fantastic album …..you are in for a treat as they’ve taken everything they’ve learned over the years and just thrown it together strategically to please any (if not all) of their heavier music loving fans.” AllMusic also came in with a strong review stating that “the band has never sounded more confident, delivering a positively lethal 11-song set that strikes the perfect balance between unhinged and meticulously crafted.”

So how was the show? Trivium celebrate all of the core foundational properties of heavy metal plain and simple. Dual guitar harmonies, screaming vocals, epic choruses, and riffs the size of mountains brought to life through a mashup of styles including classic thrash, melodic metal, and a bit of hardcore.

I’m digging the trend of band’s opening up their sets with their latest single which in the case of Trivium is “The Sin and The Sentence.” Not only does this allow the band to come out all guns blazing, but it also gives the fans something new that they’ve not heard live before. Why the hell doesn’t every band do this? While the set weighed heavily on the latest record as it should, it left plenty of room for the classics including “Like Light to Flies” and “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” which sounded better than ever.

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TVD Live Shots: Hooverphonic at the Islington Assembly
Hall, 4/18

Hooverphonic continues to be one of the most eclectic and versatile groups on the planet. Hailing from Belgium, the core duo of the group, Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts, are the essence of cool as they blend elements of electropop, jazz, rock, and of course trip-hop.

When I heard that the group would be playing only one UK show in London at the Islington Assembly Hall, I jumped at the chance to see them. The last time I saw a Hooverphonic show was in support of the band’s 2000 masterpiece The Magnificent Tree. Geike Arnaert was the vocalist on this record as well as on the previous record, the critically acclaimed Blue Wonder Powder Milk, and she complimented the sonic landscapes of Callier and Geerts perfectly. I would argue that she had one of the best voices in the electronica scene at this time and it was incredible to watch the band evolve and explore new territory.

Fast forward to 2018 and Hooverphonic returns with new music and a new vocalist, Luka Cruysberghs. Cruysberghs was the winner of Belgium’s The Voice contest, which she won in 2017 alongside coach Alex Callier. While it might sound like a leap of faith to trust a reality TV show winner as the frontwoman and voice of the band with such large shoes to fill, she’s off to a great start. This would be a trial by fire in front of a sold-out London crowd.

Her voice is stellar, and she nailed Hooverphonic classics such as “2 Wicky,” “Inhaler,” and the crossover smash “Mad About You,” but there was an element of maturity that might have been missing based on the experience and confidence of the previous singers. That said, I do like the mystique she brings to the group, and it will be interesting to see how she grows and makes the role her own.

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UK Artist of the Week: Leisure Tank

If catchy, nostalgic alt-rock is what you’re after, then look no further: power duo Leisure Tank have just what you need. Since forming in 2014, their debut album Wetsuit has received widespread acclaim and they’ve charmed crowds at of Camp Bestival, Mellow Festival, and London’s Borderline.

Now, back with new single “Higher.” they’re set to continue their success. Inspired by “the twisted feeling one gets when someone tells a one-sided, self-pitying break up story,” it’s filled with catchy hooks and front woman K C McKanzie’s impassioned, soaring vocals, with shades of nineties legends Elastica.

Propelled by drummer Budi’s racing beats and an infectious groove, it’s a track that’ll pack a punch on first listen, leaving you hungry for more of Leisure Tank’s dynamic alt-rock offerings.

Be prepared to hit repeat and be taken higher by the seductive sounds of Leisure Tank; aka your new favourite band. And be sure to feast your eyes on their sparkling new video.

“Higher” is in stores now via Goddamn Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Ivan Moult

Today’s Artist of the Week is confessional lyricist Ivan Moult. His music is beautifully simple and poignant from start to finish, easily making him a worthy contender for this week’s top spot.

Ivan’s latest single “Carried Over Water,” taken from his upcoming album Longest Shadow, is a gorgeous folk ballad where Moult uses his smooth, velvet like vocal to soar over his intricate guitar picking, creating something both captivating and moving. Like the rest of the album, “Carried Over Water” was written as the result of a break up.

This song in particular focuses on the difficulties of a long distance relationship. Throughout the album, it’s Moult’s effortless ability to express his deepest emotions that really catches you off guard. It takes a very brave person to be this honest and expressive on wax, and you can clearly hear Moult channelling his inner Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley.

Now based in Cardiff, Moult has been making waves on the Welsh music scene for some time now. He has also supported artists such as Willy Mason and This Is The Kit and has a number of UK live dates in the pipeline over the summer. Watch this space, Ivan Moult is ready for you.

Longest Shadow arrives in stores on 20th April 2018 via Bubblewrap Collective.

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TVD Live Shots: Macklemore at the O2 Brixton Academy, 4/7

This review should be titled “A metal guy goes to a Macklemore show,” as it’s something that is completely out of the norm for me. Then again, I am someone who can honestly say that I listen to a bit of everything (at one point or another in my life).

The fact is that Macklemore is so huge in the States that I really wanted to see how the world of hip-hop-pop translates to the UK, and it does big time. Two sold out shows at the legendary O2 Brixton Academy turned out to be one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen crammed into the venue. The show was like a giant party—the songs were hook-laden anthems primed for audience sing-alongs, and Macklemore himself strutted across the stage as if he were royalty.

Not being too familiar with Macklemore’s catalog or new album for that matter, I did prep myself a bit by watching video clips from the previous gigs (which is essential for a photographer to get a sense of what to expect). The surprise for me was the second song of the night called “Firebreather,” which is a full on, hard rock explosion. The multi-instrumental genius that is Macklemore guitarist Cinque Kemp was on fire. Man, this guy can shred on guitar, and he makes it look epic at the same time. The energy in the room fueled by the blaring red lights and multiple pyrotechnics looked like a full tilt rock ‘n’ roll party from hell—in a good way, that is.

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Needle Drop: The Magic Lantern, “Lydia”

Having previously received acclaim from The Guardian, BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum and Bob Harris, and BBC Radio 3, Jamie Doe—aka The Magic Lantern—has returned with a spellbinding new single.

The second single taken from his upcoming album To The Islands, “Lydia” is a truly stirring creation. Written during a tumultuous return to his childhood home of Australia, it flows with intricate finger-picking and Doe’s beautiful sweeping vocals, oozing a delicate emotive power.

Filled with a folk-inspired musicality and intimate grace, it’s an exquisite offering showcasing The Magic Lantern’s talent for writing truly heartfelt, musically rich songs.

“Lydia” is in stores now via Hectic Eclectic Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: BARQ

Following 2016’s “Gentle Kind Of Lies” and last year’s “Optimus Prime,” Dublin band BARQ, who have previously received acclaim from The Irish Times and Hot Press, and are continuing to build a name for themselves with the release of attention-grabbing double A-side “Sassy Mouth” / “Earthquakes.”

Whilst each track is distinctive in its sound and subject matter, what remains consistent is the immense, overwhelming power of front woman Jess Kav’s vocals. Whereas “Earthquakes” is a thoughtful reflection on an explosive breakdown of a friendship and the sense of acceptance and renewal that follows, “Sassy Mouth” is a politically-influenced anthem, inspired by the courage and resilience of Ireland’s “Repeal The 8th” movement.

Flowing with funk-fused beats and booming bass lines, “Earthquakes” showcases BARQ’s self proclaimed “Agrosoul.” Oozing the soulful allure of Kav’s vocals alongside an infectious groove akin to Hiatus Kiayote or Erykah Badu, it’s a silky-smooth treat for the ears.

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TVD Video Premiere: Nonpareils, “Press Play”

Based in Berlin since 2015, ex-Liars member Aaron Hemphill, operating under Nonpareils, started working on his solo debut Scented Pictures by recording stacks of acoustic instruments while, in his words, “doing the silliest things.”

He played the drums without click tracks, encouraged his engineer to distract him, and played the piano while allowing poorly set-up microphones to fall away from the body of the instrument.

Ultimately the sound palette grew out further, taking in a vast array of virtual instrumentation too, all glitched and processed into off-kilter music. Having sought out new sources of inspiration following a long period of focusing solely on instrumental music, Scented Pictures sees Hemphill’s songwriting take on yet another new form, mutating into something woozier and increasingly abstract—without sacrificing the hooks in the process.

Scented Pictures arrives in stores today via Mute Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Violet Kind

For some, it’s more important than ever to create music with poignancy, and Scottish rockers The Violet Kind do just that. Their debut EP “OXTR” tackles sexual violence head-on, and is yet another example of the current generation standing up for themselves and making noise.

The Violet Kind are a trio from Glasgow who create truly moving and emotional indie rock sounds, akin to that of Paramore and Foals. Lead singer Katya Mansell’s haunting voice mirrors that of Hayley Williams all the while giving her own unique spin on things. Each song on their concept EP “OXTR” battles sexual violence, acting as a reminder of the reality of rape culture that is unfortunately still so prominent in the world we’re living in. The trio tackle the difficult subject with dignity and grace—and their musicality is second to none.

Despite the current line up having only been together for over a year, they have already received critical acclaim in Glasgow, and 2018 is looking brighter than bright for the young trio.

“OXTR” is in stores now via Kindness Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Rebecca Lou

Having only begun writing songs in 2015, Danish artist Rebecca Lou has already been garnering a reputation for her energy-fuelled live shows across her homeland and has supported rising rockers Velvet Volume on tour. Now, she’s beginning to make her mark in the UK with her two latest singles “Bitch U Look Good” and “Under The Moon.”

A tribute to self-love and celebrating your own worth, “Bitch U Look Good” is a riotous offering, fuelled by a thrashing energy and force. With shades of Joan Jett or Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, it’s an instantly infectious and undeniably raucous slice of stimulating rock ‘n’ roll.

“Under The Moon,” on the other hand, veers into a more indie-pop sound. Inspired by poems she wrote when she was just 16 years old, it showcases the sweeping power of Rebecca’s vocals beautifully, as whirring hooks flow with an emotion-strewn splendour and twinkling musicality.

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