Category Archives: TVD UK

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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UK Artist of the Week: Harlea

Birmingham-born songstress Harlea has been receiving some serious attention recently for acclaimed singles “Miss Me” and “You Don’t Get It,” both of which received thousands of radio plays around the world. Well now, she’s back with a brand new single and a new sound and we can’t get enough. As such, she’s our Artist of the Week.

“Beautiful Mess” is certainly “poppier” than her previous singles, but don’t let that fool you. Harlea’s thunderous attitude is still at the forefront, her powerful lyricism and dynamic vocals leading the single every step of the way.

Regardless of genre, “Beautiful Mess” is undeniably catchy and fans of ’90s pop-rock master Alanis Morissette will certainly feel at home here.

“Beautiful Mess” is in stores now via Roxy Princess Records.

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TVD Live Shots: The Quireboys, H.E.A.T, Aaron Buchanan, and Those Damn Crows at
the O2 Forum, 9/14

The Quireboys made a triumphant return to the stage in London to a sold-out O2 Forum crowd. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their landmark record Homewreckers and Heartbreakers, these veteran rock ‘n’ rollers proved that they are still very relevant and that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well on their watch.

This would be a special one-off performance of the Homewreckers album in its entirety. While it may be a cliche these days to go on tour and play a classic record from start to finish, the Quireboys are anything but. These guys have stuck to their guns and their original sound from the beginning—one of the few bands who have a three-decade-plus career who never have to claim that they are “going back to their roots,” as they’ve never left them.

Spike looks and sounds fantastic as does the rest of the band. The songs hold up incredibly well, and that’s because of their dedication to keeping their brand of rock ‘n’ roll fresh. Being from the States, I remember the first time I saw these guys on MTV. I must have played their debut album A Bit of What You Fancy a hundred thousand times. I missed Homewreckers as it wasn’t a hit in the US, but I’m glad I got to see this show and even picked up the 10th-anniversary edition of the record which the band signed for me. (They are all super cool by the way and signed CDs and took photos with fans for hours before the gig.)

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TVD Premiere: Blossomer,

We are extremely proud to share with you an exclusive listen of Blossomer’s brand new single “PREACHER_LEARNER” right here on The Vinyl District.

The single is a gorgeous slice of psychedelic goodness, instantly reminding us of the likes of MGMT or Wild Beasts. As the track gradually builds, you are introduced to an incredible cocktail of celestial tones with frontman Alex Crabbe’s enchanting falsetto leading the way.

Talking about the track, Crabbe explains, “As religion has always been one of my common themes to sing about, this was based around the idea of striving to believe in something that isn’t quite there. A preacher teaching his pupil of something that doesn’t necessarily exist. I find it bizarre but it intrigues me.” Intriguing indeed.

‘PREACHER_LEARNER’ is the first single to be taken off the Sheffield group’s forthcoming EP “HLLW,” in stores on 11th January 2018 via Instant Karma Records. If this track is anything to go by, we certainly are in for a treat.

“PREACHER_LEARNER” arrives in stores on 21st September 2018.

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UK Artist of the Week: oh800

This week’s Artist of the Week is eccentric post-punk trio oh800. With the release of their debut album Character Building imminent, these three guys have been pulling out all the stops to make sure it gets the appreciation it deserves.

The band’s latest release from the album is the undeniably catchy “Melanin.” Filled with jangling guitars, fuzzy synth beats, and the trio’s killer harmonies throughout, this single is a sure-fire hit from the offset. Frontman Eoin Rooney’s vocal style has previously been compared to that of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and we can see why, however what Rooney uniquely manages to do is write poignant lyrics alongside his colloquial phrasing to create something that is highly relatable.

Of the track, Rooney elaborates “We had the music for this song kicking around for quite a while, but the lyrics came after a young black kid was killed by a police officer in our area of London. The officer thought he swallowed a suspicious package and chased him down. You know the rest… Meanwhile on the same streets, middle class white people walk around every weekend with suspicious packages in their pockets, suspicion free. That pisses me off. So I wrote a song about it.” Well said Rooney, well said.

Character Building is in stores on 12th October 2018 via Infinite Jest Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Twist Helix

Channelling some serious new wave vibes, this week’s artist of the week is the magnificent synth-pop trio Twist Helix.

Their latest single “Graphite” is percolating with ’80s inspired electronics, reminding us instantly of Depeche Mode or New Order. Leading lady, Bea Garcia’s powerfully distinctive lead vocal however, gives the single more of a vibrant ’90s feel, sounding akin to Peaches or Ladytron’s colloquial singing style. “Graphite” is undeniably catchy from start to finish and anyone wanting to hear some nostalgic, ’80s synth sounds–with a modern twist–will not be disappointed.

This dynamic trio met as a result of Garcia leaving her home country of Spain due to the economic crisis. She found herself in Newcastle where she met James Walker (drums) and shortly after Matthew “Baz” Baron (bass). Between them, their unique blend of intelligent, narrative driven alt-pop is second to none and we’re certain this won’t be that last we’re hearing from them.

“Graphite” is taken from Twist Helix’s forthcoming album Ouseburn, in stores on 5th October 2018 via Paul Black Music.

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TVD Live Shots: LA Guns at the O2 Islington, 8/31

I’ve always loved LA Guns and thought that these guys conjured up their own unique sound during an embarrassing mess of look-alike hair bands from the late ’80s. These guys were a bit more rough around the edges and had a much more raw, sort of lo-fi sound to their debut record that helped it stand out from the slick production and ridiculous lyrics of their peers. That self-titled debut album is an absolutely fucking masterpiece.

While I’ve celebrated several of the other releases from these guys, this is the one that set the bar, the one that all others shall always be compared to. The band sort of lost their way as they would split into two dueling projects and there’s not enough time in the world to discuss that saga. The good thing is that founding members Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis finally did the right thing and came together again. Even better, they made a brilliant record. A return to form for a band that everyone knew had this in them—it would just take a decade or so of bad decisions to get to this point.

The record is called The Missing Piece, and I guess you could consider it a reunion recording, but more importantly it is the first album of new material featuring both singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns in 15 years. Oh, and it’s bloody brilliant. But don’t take my word for it. How about the 77 plus nearly five-star reviews on Amazon, or the critics across the blogosphere praising it left and right.

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UK Artist of the Week: Majestic Minds

Listen up! There’s a hot new UK dance duo on the scene, so take note. Majestic Minds, featuring producer Haides and singer-songwriter Marlie, are creating refreshingly contemporary dance music, and their debut single “Oxygen” is just the beginning.

“Oxygen” is undeniably addictive from the offset, filled with whirring beats and woozy electronics, 23-year-old Haides—aka Callum Garvey—proving age does not matter in the slightest when you have the talent. Same goes for Marlie—aka Charlotte Haining—whose velvet vocals combine elements of soul and R&B to create something truly hypnotizing.

This is the first single the duo have released as Majestic Minds, their working relationship taking a turn as a result of their mutual love of UK dance music. Their admiration of old school garage, house, and electronica is clearly visible throughout “Oxygen,” however the pair also mange to effortlessly incorporate their own modern twists and turns, making it feel fresh and vibrant. Bravo.

“Oxygen” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week and Video Premiere:
The Starry Skies,
“Starry Skies”

Former UK Artist of the Week, The Starry Skies are back, and today we are delighted to premiere the brand new visual cut for their recent single “Starry Skies.” The single is taken from the forthcoming eclectic sophomore album, Be Kind, with the band exploring themes of benevolence at a time when humanity needs it most.

Fusing elements of indie pop, indie rock, and Americana, The Starry Skies showcase a shimmering, folk-tinged sound on the album’s title track, with the promo a perfect cosmic-inspired accompaniment to the emotional, layered melodies dancing from the speakers.

With the album having been recorded at Belle and Sebastian’s rehearsal rooms and La Chunky studios, then mastered by Geoff Pesce at Abbey Road, it’s easy to understand why Be Kind is such a sonic splendour. Produced and engineered respectively by Glasgow musical luminaries Johnny Smillie (Thrum guitarist) and Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), “Starry Skies” is the opening salvo from a band who deserve to be heralded in their own right.

“Starry Skies” is in stores now and is taken from album Be Kind, out 12th October 2018 via Fox Star Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Fantastic Negrito
at Nell’s Jazz and
Blues, 8/10

I was supposed to be at the Iron Maiden show at the O2 on Friday night here in London. Instead, I decided to check out something from the other side of the spectrum entirely, and I’m so glad that I did. Nell’s Jazz & Blues was hosting a sold-out show by Oakland, California native Fantastic Negrito. No opening act, a capacity crowd, and a venue that was somewhere between a cocktail lounge and a full-blown rock ‘n’ roll venue. I had no idea what to expect, and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be something over the top.

A primarily self-taught musician with a colorful background of dealing and hustling on the streets of the East Bay, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz—aka Fantastic Negrito—is a unicorn upon the current musical landscape. Even the most prominent music labels in the world seem to be confused on what to do with his genre-fusing which he calls “Black Roots Music.” Is it funk, is it blues, is it rock, is it something completely different? That answer is yes to all of the above. The problem continues to be, how do you promote it?

As I squeezed my way up to the front of the stage trying to set myself up for a few good shots I mentioned to the two people next to me that I would only be up in front shooting the first few songs. They replied, “No problem, we’ll be dancing the whole time anyway.” Last time he played London was opening for the late great Chris Cornell at the famed Royal Albert Hall. Xavier asked the crowd how many had seen that show, and several people raised their hands with a loud cheer. What would come next was a full-blown blues and rock ‘n’ roll-fueled jam that at times felt like an underground sermon delivered by a master storyteller (and boy does this guy have some stories).

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