Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: HYYTS

Today we are treating you to some progressive pop all the way from Glasgow. Emerging alt-pop duo HYYTS recently shared their ambient new single “Car Crash Carnivore” and boy, is it impressive.

Inspired by the likes of Scissor Sisters and even Ariana Grande, HYYTS—aka Adam and Sam—really are serving up something special. “Car Crash Carnival” takes the listener on a wonderful journey, as the song’s intricate electronic soundscapes are able to soar effortlessly.

Adam’s remarkable falsetto is at the forefront, oozing confidence and power throughout. The band even appear to have created their own genre; “skip-hop” (that’s Scottish hip-hop to you and me) and we’ve gotta admit, its pretty decent.

Having just embarked on a mini UK tour, we sure are hoping these guys make their way across the pond in the near future. For the skip-hop introduction if not anything else! If you’re a fan of Jungle and MNEK then you should definitely give this a go.

“Car Crash Carnivore” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Pop
Will Eat Itself and
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 4/6

When Nine Inch Nails were at their peak in the US, their label Interscope records gave frontman Trent Reznor his own label imprint called Nothing Records. One of its early signings was picking up UK electro pioneers Pop Will Eat Itself from a fallout with their North American label BMG. The result is one of the best and most undercelebrated albums of the ’90s, Dos Dedos Mis Amigos.

While it was a departure from the band’s earlier sound, it didn’t matter to me as this was my introduction to the group. I bought this thing on cassette and played it pretty much nonstop through the Brit Pop invasion of the mid ’90s and could not believe my eyes when I saw that the band would be touring the UK this year. The two singles from the record, “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” and “R.S.V.P.” were absolutely brilliant songs and should have elevated the band to immediate superstardom in the States. Instead, they enjoyed moderate success without ever truly breaking out.

The “Love from Stourbridge” tour brings together Pop Will Eat Itself and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, two of Stourbridge’s biggest musical exports, touring together for the first time since 1989. For PWEI they are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their classic 1989 album This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This!. To celebrate the milestone, the band is playing the record in full along with a selection of other tracks.

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TVD Live Shots: IDLES at Vicar Street, Dublin, 4/2

What happens when you take the best of The Strokes, Clutch, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and a touch of Fugazi, mix it all—and then set it on fire? You get the makings of the most exciting band from the UK in the past decade.

IDLES blasted out of Bristol seemingly from nowhere and have answered the same call that punk rock did in the late ’70s. But instead of a fight against disco and inequalities, this time it’s about corruption and satire, all in the face of the looming disaster that is Brexit. IDLES not only provide a much-needed break from the mainstream bullshit, but they have also relit the punk torch and grown it into a bonfire.

If you’ve somehow missed the phenomenon known as IDLES you might think that they are a bit overhyped. It’s a natural response from the mainstream press building our hopes up around the next big thing, only to be let down. I can tell you for after seeing this band live in Dublin last week that IDLES is the real fucking deal. It’s not hype when the hype machine isn’t needed; it’s much more organic. The songs, the live shows, the attitude is all 100% real, and the music scene has embraced the next big thing not because they were told to do so, but because they discovered it on their own.

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UK Artist of the Week: Alex Bayly

This week’s Artist of The Week is an alt-folk Londoner who sings about love, loss, and commitment. Alex Bayly’s latest single “I’ll Never Leave You” is the first to be released alongside Big Indie Records.

Combining elements of blues, Americana, and indie rock, Alex Bayly is hard to pigeon-hole. His latest single feels as though it could have come straight out of California at times, sparkling with the sound of the summer with his surf-rock style guitar licks taking centre stage.

Bayly’s distinctively gritty vocal sounds instantly reminiscent of Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and we wouldn’t be surprised if Bayly takes influence from the blues-rock duo as well, although he certainly has more of a mellow vibe.

Bayly is the latest signing to Big Indie Records, an emerging London label we’ve been keeping tabs on for the past few months now. Bayly will perform as part of their monthly event, Big Indie Big Nights, on 10th April at Two Tribes Brewery and its all free! What a treat.

“I’ll Never Leave You” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Vive Le Rock Awards at the O2 Academy Islington, 3/27

I’ve been a massive fan of Vive Le Rock magazine since moving to London from San Francisco a few years back. It’s the one magazine that is keeping the spirit of punk and new wave alive and well in the UK, and they do it surprisingly well. So when a chance to attend the awards popped into my TVD inbox, I jumped at the chance and brought my camera along.

The bill for the evening was stacked, to say the least, plus they were teasing a special set from a 1977 band who would be reforming for one night only. Headlining the night would be The Stranglers, but before they would close out the night the stage would host a who’s who of punk rock and new wave icons from the glory days or the late ’70s and early ’80s both presenting and accepting awards while jamming away with the songs that defined the two decades.

Opening the night promptly at 7:30 was the house band appropriately named The Vive Le Rockers. While I’m not sure who the lead dude was, he threw down like a proper rock star and pretty much owned the stage while donning a full-on mariachi suit complete with oversized sombrero. The Professionals’ Tom Spencer joined in on the first set which included the songs “Pipeline,” “Green Door,” and “Know Your Product.”

Next, up Vive Le Rock editor, Eugene Butcher jumped on stage to welcome the crowd and to introduce one of my all-time favorite musicians, the legendary Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols. Glen got the crowd going, opening with “Sexy Beast” and “Keep on Pushing” from his brilliant new solo record, and then closing out with a rebel rousing version of the Pistols’ classic “Pretty Vacant.”

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UK Artist of the Week: Closet Organ

There’s some great music coming out of Glasgow at the moment and Closet Organ are no exception. Their raucous blend of scuzz-infused grunge-rock is oozing with attitude and their latest AA-side single certainly packs a punch.

“Smells Like Lynx Africa” b/w “Fat & Die: An Autobiography” is fully loaded, that’s for sure. The alt-rock quartet combine reverb-heavy guitars with pulsating drum beats to create their distinctively heavy sound, reminiscent of the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins. Frontman Stephen McLeod Blythe’s powerfully nasal vocal style reminds us instantly of the one and only Kurt Cobain, an artist we’re sure Closet Organ admire greatly.

The singles also tackle the hugely important subject matter of mental health, having lost a close friend of theirs a year ago. It’s great to see more and more artists approach this subject head-on, unafraid to express emotion and vulnerability, but all the while doing it in their own vibrant way.

“Smells Like Lynx Africa / Fat & Die: An Autobiography” is out now via Cow Tongue Taco Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: XY&O

This week’s artist of the week began their journey in an Exeter dorm room in early 2015. Fast-forward to 2019 and electro-pop trio XY&O have already racked up over 40 million Spotify streams, so you could say they’re not doing too badly…

The lads’ latest single, “Like A Promise” is an ethereal beauty from the offset, featuring wonderfully majestic vocals from Mr. Skip Curtis, reminding us of the likes of Years & Years instantly. Joining Skip are Nick Kelly (guitar, bass) and Tudor Davies (keyboards, percussion), who together create hauntingly good synth-pop bangers that will have you in a dreamy haze for days.

XY&O’s debut single “Low Tide” is equally mesmerizing and definitely worth a listen too, especially since it managed to reach number 6 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart—pretty impressive stuff if you ask us!

“Like A Promise” is in stores now via Electric MVM.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sive

If you’re a fan of intricate alt-folk, you’re in for a treat because Sive—the musical moniker of Sadhbh O’Sullivan—is an undeniable talent who spins widely relatable tales.

Sive’s latest single “Do It All The Time” is a truly enchanting piece of music that is full of colour and emotion. Sive’s velvet-like vocal is at the forefront throughout, complimenting the whimsical musicality perfectly. The lyrics are brilliantly relatable as Sive sings about the struggles we all face when we are forced to look at our weaknesses and admit them out loud to others.

Lyrics such as, “I went to a physiotherapist and I marked my pain as a five / I don’t know why I lied it was probably more like a nine / I do it all the time” is both comical and human and the perfect example of Sive’s ability to write poignant lyrics about tough subjects. Fans of Laura Marling and Lisa Hannigan will certainly notice similar traits in Sive’s songwriting, and we’re so here for it.

“Do It All The Time” is taken from Sive’s forthcoming EP “Sive” in stores on 3rd of May 2019 via Veta Records.

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TVD Live Shots: James at Royal Albert Hall, 3/9

The last time I saw James was at a radio festival in the States in the early ’90s. The band was riding high on the Brit-pop invasion and celebrating much-deserved success with their breakthrough single “Laid.” While I’ve always considered myself a casual fan, I had sort of lost track of the band before moving to London a few years ago. That all changed last week at Royal Albert Hall—I’m hooked—and I feel like I’ve discovered the genius of James once again in a proper setting.

If seeing a show at the beautiful and legendary space that is Royal Albert Hall isn’t enough, enter Tim Booth and company. James delivered a masterclass in what it means to be considered Brit-pop royalty and how to keep relevant for three decades plus. The band opened for themselves with a short acoustic set of stripped-down deep cuts and fan favorites. That’s quite a bold move, and the only other artist I’ve seen do this is the excellent Noel Gallagher (who admitted that he couldn’t find anyone worthy of the spot). After seeing the full-blown electric set that James delivered, I think they could easily say the same.

James are touring in support of their 15th studio album Living in Extraordinary Times. The Manchester natives blasted through a set celebrating pieces of their impressive catalog while pulling heavily from their latest. In fact, I think they nearly played the entire record, but I was in too much awe to be taking any notes—and trying to keep up with Tim Booth as the 59 years young frontman impressively sailed over the top of the crowd following several stage dives and making his way around the entire venue. This guy has more energy and personality than most punk bands half or even a quarter of his age.

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UK Artist of the Week: Night House

Get ready to be transported into a hypnotic abyss as this week’s Artist of the Week, Night House, are undeniably mesmerising and deserve your undivided attention.

Night House was created by singer-songwriter and producer Nick Williams in 2015 as a means to promote his folk leanings. Since then however, Nick’s sound has grown wonderfully and the moniker “Night House” has expanded into a fully-formed band.

Night House now exhibits incredibly impressive orchestral arrangements, creating a sound akin to Bon Iver or James Blake. Combining elements of electronica, alt-folk with pop sensibilities, Night House really are on the brink of something special—mark our words. Their latest single, “Unfold” is the perfect example of Night House’s ability to create beautifully atmospheric soundscapes that ache with emotion.

Having already supported the likes of Ben Howard, Willy Mason, Krystal Warren, and The Magic Numbers, we’re sure Night House are going to be a band to watch in 2019.

“Unfold” is in stores now via Back In The Woods Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: RUNAH

We’re treating you to a bit of Americana-inspired goodness at TVD HQ today, in the guise of Irish singer-songwriter RUNAH.

RUNAH’s latest single “Ground”—taken from her forthcoming debut album Strange—is an otherworldly delight from start to finish. Combining elements of Americana, blues, and baroque-pop sensibilities, “Ground” is undeniably mesmerizing and captivating.

RUNAH’s haunting vocal is reminiscent of Dusty Springfield or Daughter’s Elena Tonra and we can’t get enough! The single is inspired by RUNAH’s love of magic, witches, and nature—which explains the eerie nature of the track and making it all the more magical in the process.

RUNAH’s debut album Strange is due for release on 5th May 2019 and if “Ground” is anything to go by, we’re pretty sure this emerging artist has a lot more tales to tell and a lot more ethereal soundscapes to compliment them with.

“Ground” is out now via Beardfire.

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TVD Live Shots: Blue Oyster Cult and The Temperance Movement at the Eventim Apollo 2/22

Blue Oyster Cult returned to the UK for the first time in nearly a decade. This is a very interesting band for me as they wrote one of the most iconic anthems of the ’70s, had a string of brilliant albums, but never really seemed to break through like several of their kindred spirits.

Maybe it’s because BOC is a bit too diverse for their own good. They certainly have the musicianship and songwriting chops to stand out on their own, but their continuous jumping between radio-friendly classic rock pop songs and over the top psychedelic rock put them in the “where the hell do they really fit” category. It’s a nice problem to have for the band and their fans, but it can wreak havoc for any plan to achieve mainstream success and find a steady home at radio.

Either way, Blue Oyster Cult has certainly cemented their legacy, and the live show is where it all comes together regardless of the critics or manufactured radio playlists. Watching the show here in the UK at the legendary Eventim Apollo (the former Hammerstein Ballroom), it’s refreshing not hearing anyone shouting out, “I gotta have more cowbell,” or “I’ve got a fever….” as the band winds up to play “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Saturday Night Live isn’t a thing over here. In addition, classics such as “Burning for You,” “Godzilla,” and “E.T.I.,” comprise a setlist that would make any classic rock fan bust with nostalgia. The fact that the band sounded as good as they did that night is just one of the many reasons why BOC can still pull in a crowd.

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UK Artist of the Week: Safe To Swim

This week’s Artist of the Week comes all the way from sunny Brighton, UK! Indie quartet Safe To Swim have been making waves over there for some time now and with their debut EP “Boyhood” due for release in the Spring, it’s about time the rest of the world were introduced.

Their latest single “Make Things Like They Used To Be” takes the listener on a trip down memory lane as frontman Jim Filippides sings about the universal fears of adulthood and all the difficulties being a grown up can unfortunately bring.

Despite the melancholic subject matter, Safe To Swim are renowned for creating uplifting, infectious melodies and “Make Things Like They Used To Be” is no different. The single is oozing with addictive guitar riffs, swirling synths, and an undeniably vibrant chorus that is bound to move you.

As mentioned, Safe To Swim’s debut EP is due for release very soon and we can’t wait to hear it. Having already supported the likes of The Night Cafe, Anteros, and BLOXX, it’s safe to say that Safe To Swim are onto something pretty good.

“Make Things Like They Used To Be” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Dead South and
The Hooten Hallers at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 2/15

Canadian bluegrass punk rebels The Dead South have arrived and their moment is now. Having sold out their biggest UK tour to date, this quartet is primed to take the reins from the terribly overrated Mumford & Sons with a return to the style of the original rowdy acoustic punks, The Avett Brothers. It’s traditional, it’s edgy, the lyrics tell a great story, and you can’t help but stomp your foot and be pulled into the energy that these guys produce on stage.

Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, the band was formed in 2012 and has released two full-length albums and an EP to date. The songs “In Hell I’ll be in Good Company,” “Honey You,” “Boots,” and “Banjo Odessy” are instant classics for the genre and sound even better live than on the records.

Famed London venue the O2 Forum in Kentish Town was jam-packed with 2300 fans, the largest crowd to date for these guys, and it was a rip-roaring ride through the band’s short but celebrated catalog backed by one of the most impressive light shows I’ve seen at the venue. As these guys have just recently appeared on my radar, it became immediately apparent why the buzz and the hype around The Dead South is legit, and it will be interesting to see where the band goes next as they’ve clearly outgrown another London venue.

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UK Artist of the Week: Gypsy Circus

We know full well that the Scots are more than capable of producing some top-notch artists, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when we stumble upon a new one here at TVD HQ. This week’s Artist of the Week are Edinburgh-based Gypsy Circus, a raucous quartet who are about to take 2019 by storm.

Fresh from releasing their effervescent new EP “Holy Lights and Shadows,” Gypsy Circus have gone from strength to strength. The EP was produced by Idlewild’s Rod Jones and boy, does it show. Each track feels fully formed and wonderfully executed throughout, even reminding us of fellow Scots Biffy Clyro at times.

The band’s latest single and title track “Holy Lights and Shadows” is the perfect introduction to the band’s full-throttle sound, combining elements of classic and alt-rock to create Gypsy Circus’ signature blend.  Currently on tour around Scotland, we’re sure this is only the start for these local lads and the rest of the world will come knocking soon enough. Only time will tell!

“Holy Lights and Shadows” is in stores now.

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