Category Archives: TVD UK

Needle Drop: Emily Magpie, “The Witching Hour” EP

Drawing inspiration from a trip to South America last year, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie’s latest collection of tracks is filled with all the ethereal majesty one could ever desire. Building a reputation across Bristol and with live crowds across the country, having played Green Man Festival and a number of Sofar Sounds sessions, Emily is now ready to unleash “The Witching Hour.”

Opening the EP, the title track does just what it says on the tin; as hauntingly magical as you’d expect, “The Witching Hour” oozes a whirring, glitchy wonder as Magpie’s rich vocals soar alongside interwoven electronic soundscapes and gentle folk-inspired melodies. Inspired by a book about the witch trials, it’s a captivating reflection on the magic of simply being alive.

More traditional in sound, “Leave It To Fate” is filled with the delicate beauty of finger-picked ukulele melodies as Emily’s sweeping, impassioned vocals create a twinkling splendour. Continuing in the same vein, “Angel Face” exudes sparkling ethereal vibes as deep beats resonate, creating a celestial grandeur that’s truly enchanting. Closing the EP is the honey-sweet, fragile allure of “When We Find It.” As sunny melodies float atop driving electronics and pounding beats, it’s a haunting fusion of sounds almost reminiscent of the eerie majesty of Bjork.

Having already received support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, and Clash, Emily Magpie looks set to continue charming listeners with the spellbinding power of this latest offering.

Co-produced by Anuj Robin, “The Witching Hour” is in stores on 24th November.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Magic Lantern

PHOTO: KASIA WOZNIAK | Our Artist of the Week this week is the The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe. Jamie has been making delicate alt-folk for quite a while now and his single, “Holding Hands” is his latest masterpiece.

“Holding Hands” builds slowly with Doe’s soft, warm vocals opening the track. As the saxophones come into play, they compliment Doe’s voice effortlessly, creating something truly mesmerizing and incredibly unique. Jamie’s ability to combine jazz and folk into something ethereal and is undeniably spellbinding. Fans of Grizzly Bear and Chet Baker will feel at home here.

Jamie is originally from Australia but moved to the UK when he was 12. He decamped to London in 2007 where he expanded The Magic Lantern into a collective, and together they’ve pushed their music to new boundaries inspired by Jamie’s keen ability to pen beautiful lyrics with lilting melodies. Since then, The Magic Lantern has gone from strength to strength and Jamie now excites fans with the anticipated release of his third album, To The Islands, from which “Holding Hands” is taken.

“Holding Hands” is in stores now via Hectic Eclectic Records.

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TVD Live Shots: !!!
(Chk Chk Chk) at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, 11/6

Somehow I completely missed !!! (Chk Chk Chk) over the past twenty years. I remember seeing their record on the shelf at Waterloo Records in the mid-2000s during my time in Austin, but I wrote them off as the next big thing for hipsters, which I am not. They were one of those bands for the cool kids it seemed who celebrated Radiohead’s newfound approach to “freeform jazz explorations to festival crowds”—something I was not into at all. But holy hell was I wrong, and now two decades later I’m kicking myself in the ass for not seeing them sooner.

Being a metal guy at heart, I tend to lean towards the heavier stuff, specializing in hardcore and ’80s hair metal (yeah, I’m all over the place). I also have a special spot in that headbanging space for well-written pop with an edge. For example, the first time I saw Scissor Sisters I was blown away, and now they are one of my all-time favorite bands. I never thought I would have another musical awakening like that, but I did—and it was last week in Berlin. The band was called !!! (Chk Chk Chk), and they absolutely blew my mind.

What do they sound like? I’m not sure as I was dancing my ass off with the rest of the crowd (and I don’t even know how to dance) while trying to take some decent photos for TVD. I do remember every single song was a gem and the insane chemistry between Nic Offer and Lea Ratcliffe put the entire show over the top for me. It’s a rare thing to see a band pull off what is commonly referred to as dance-punk in a live environment, but !!! makes it look easy. If you see this show live and don’t immediately jump out of your seat and start celebrating life, then have someone check your pulse immediately.

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UK Artist of the Week: OAKLND

There’s been some great electro-pop artists to come out of the woodwork this year and OAKLND—aka Colin Mckillop—is no exception. His latest single “Hold On” is out now.

“Hold On” is a west coast-inspired piece of pop that combines chillwave, R&B, and electro-pop sensibilities akin to the likes of LANY and Astronomyy. It’s the perfect track to help you forget about the fact that winter is well and truly coming, and instead transports you back to summer and encourages living that Californian dream.

Colin, originally from Scotland, took a trip to LA and thus “Hold On” was born. He was immediately influenced by the city’s carefree vibes and breezy, dream-pop goodness which you can hear throughout his latest single. So, close your eyes, listen to “Hold On,” and feel you’re back on the beach with a pina colada.

“Hold On” is in stores now via AWAL.

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TVD Live Shots: Starsailor at KOKO,
10/26

When I watch James Walsh and Starsailor perform, I think to myself, how can any band in the world create such glorious music? The fact that they not only perform their studio albums perfectly in a live setting but also turn them up a notch is a feat that a lot of their peers can’t accomplish. I’ve seen the band six or seven times over the past two decades, and I would without a doubt say they sounded better than ever before in London.

When I heard that Starsailor would be releasing their long-awaited sixth studio album All This Life, without hesitation I pre-ordered the super deluxe package as James Walsh and Co. can do no wrong in my book. Since its September release, I’ve given this record a few spins hoping that it would bring back the feeling that I had when I first heard Silence is Easy or On the Outside. It didn’t immediately resonate, although the live show brought the record to life for me—as it should have.

The tried and true formula of a band releasing a new record and then immediately, and tirelessly, touring to support it works because it showcases the music as it was meant to be heard—performed live. Positioning this as a “Greatest Hits” tour was probably not the best idea as it makes the band sound like a nostalgia act who is either trying to get out of a long-term deal with a record label that treated them like shit, or a band living in the past. While the set did include some Starsailor “hits,” it should have centered around the new record. Combining both left several gaps in the “hits,” while exiling any rarities that could be mixed into the set.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Deportees

Once again those pesky Scots have produced another musical gem. This time it’s new finds The Deportees who take our Artist of The Week crown.

The band’s latest single “I Lost Her To The Sea” is a catchy piece of melodic folk from the offset and throughout. Hints of Mumford & Sons are certainly there via the band’s feel-good harmonies, but there’s also elements of Idlewild and The Waterboys for those who appreciate that age-old Scottish twang. This is the second single to be released from The Deportees’ debut album The Birth of Industry, out this Friday.

The band formed in rural Aberdeenshire in 2010 after having played in separate bands previously. The five-piece take influence from their Celtic roots as well as Americana and folk-rock, however we feel it’s their ability to write highly addictive melodies and flawless four-part harmonies that will set them apart. If you’re a fan of upbeat, catchy folk, then these guys are certainly for you.

The Birth of Industry is in stores 3rd November 2017.

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TVD Premiere: Permahorn, “Into The Dreams (Slut)”

“Dark, unnerving, and uncomfortable musically, the song tackles themes of isolation, escapism, and fulfilment only to be found in dreams. It breaks free from reality, loneliness, and the cold light of day to escape into dreams, where some human connection can be made. The song is built on hope and self-deception. There are snapshots of parties and backstreets, with nods to Ibsen’s Master builder.”Jelena Pesic

Having been taken under the wing of Shimmy-Disc producer Kramer (Bongwater, Galaxie 500, Ween, Daniel Johnston, Low), Scottish/Serbian London-based duo Permahorn are now ready to release their debut album My Blood Carries My Dreams Away on 1st December.

Taken from the album is new single “Into The Dreams (Slut).” A rich, sonic delight, it oozes its own unique, haunting majesty amongst a swirling, sophisticated musicality. With shades of the effervescent melancholy of Nico, along with the slowcore influences of the likes of Low or Slint, it’s filled with ethereal harmonics and languid, twinkling hooks that’ll captivate on first listen—drawn into the exquisite, mournful haze of Permahorn.

My Blood Carries My Dreams Away, the upcoming debut album from Permahorn, is in stores 1st December via Shimmy-500.

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TVD Live Shots: Dead Kennedys and LOOM at the O2 Islington, 10/14

Punk rock legends Dead Kennedys made a triumphant return to London for two sold-out shows at the O2 Academy in Islington. I was fortunate enough to be at night number two and witness one of the finest examples of the first wave of punk. East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, D.H. Peligro, and Ron “Skip” Greer were in fine form, blasting through a frantic yet tight, no frills 75-minute set that celebrated one of punk rock’s greatest catalogs.

This was my second time seeing the band over the past few years, the first being in LA, and you would never guess that these guys started nearly forty years ago. Struck in the head with two beers from the crowd during the shoot revealed the crowd hadn’t missed a beat either. While I prefer UK punk over that from the US, Dead Kennedys put on a show that proved the San Francisco Bay Area can still hold its own and even surpass expectations.

While we are on the subject of expectations, it’s time to move on from the tired, fruitless comments that “it’s not Dead Kennedys without Jello.” Yes, it is—and it has been for more than a fucking decade so get over yourself and move on like the rest of the music world. Punk is a mindset and an attitude and it’s alive and with Ron Green as the current frontman. He plays the part so brilliantly that the classics not only have a new life to them, but they’ve evolved.

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UK Artist of the Week: Lasse Matthiessen

No newcomer, Danish artist Lasse Matthiessen has been writing songs since he was a child, he’s supported the likes of Suzanne Vega and Anna Calvi, and now hopes to charm listeners with the cinematic grandeur of his upcoming new album.

Inspired by the nocturnal pulse of Paris in the summer, title track and lead single “When We Collided” is the perfect introduction to the heartfelt collection of songs. Filled with Matthiessen’s rich, deep vocals and smooth, twinkling melodies, it oozes a soaring, emotion-strewn splendour.

As the luscious vocal harmonies of Sara Hartman flow alongside Matthiessen’s sweeping majesty, the recording exudes a delicate, sophisticated musicality, making for a truly spellbinding slice of indie-folk. With each track on the upcoming album offering its own unique impassioned grace, reflective lyrical storytelling and subtle, haunting power, it’s bound to captivate on first listen.

With shades of the poignant emotive beauty of José González, When We Collided is in stores on 10th November via Zpektakel Records / The Orchard.

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TVD Live Shots: Igorrr at Razzmatazz in Barcelona, Spain, 10/7

I’m traveling to Barcelona to speak at a marketing conference for my day gig and checking the touring schedules, as I often do, to see who might be playing in town during that time. As this is my first trip to Spain, I have no idea what the scene is like or what to expect, but I see that French musician and producer extraordinaire Gautier Serre’s Igorrr project will be making an appearance at Razzmatazz, the renowned music venue in Barcelona.

I reach out to the publicist at Metal Blade Records to ask for a photo pass to do a feature on the show, and he makes the necessary arrangements and adds an interview. I fly into Barcelona, speak at the marketing conference, then run over to the venue to meet with the visionary behind Igorrr. We find a table and chairs behind the venue in what looks like an industrial park of sorts. Gautier Serre is French and speaks excellent English. He’s unassuming and not quite who I expected to meet after listening to his music and watching his groundbreaking cinematic videos.

I jump right into the conversation and ask the big question: If you had to describe your music in one word, what would it be? He replies without hesitation, “Myself.” He goes on to describe that he created his style of music because there simply wasn’t anything out there that was like it. So he began mashing up very different types of music, including black and death metal, baroque music, breakcore, and trip-hop. Doing so provides him with a “form of total musical freedom.”

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