Category Archives: TVD UK

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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UK Artist of the Week: Alberteen

Experimental alt-rockers Alberteen have put down the guitars that they’re known for and instead have embraced analogue synths, flutes, clarinets, and samples for their latest release. Its their utterly unique sound and ability to create something very much “out there,” which makes them our Artist of The Week this week.

Their latest single, “The Son’s Room” is a truly quirky yet mesmerizing song from start to finish. Its multiple layers of electronica are matched perfectly with the band’s choral singing to create something not far from Metronomy’s early eccentric sound. The single is inspired by lead singer Phil Shaw’s relationship with his father, a bittersweet reflection on memory and loss.

Having already released two critically acclaimed albums, Alberteen are no strangers to hard work. They have performed with artists such as Primal Scream and Field Music to name but a few and show no sign of slowly down as they make their 2018 debut with “The Son’s Room.”

“The Son’s Room” is in stores now via Rhythm and Noir Recordings.

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TVD Live Shots: At The Drive-In and Death From Above at the Brixton Academy, 3/9

At The Drive-In and Death From Above sharing the same stage? Is this reality?

That’s the first question that popped into my mind when I saw the show announcement for the legendary Brixton Academy in London. Two bands that paved their way through a crowded clusterfuck of terrible early to mid-2000s alt-rock radio staples—one of them redefined the post-punk genre, and the other stripping rock ‘n’ roll down to its absolute core. Both have influenced many over the years—one could argue that their legacy is locked in place with neither have anything left to prove—yet none of that mattered this particular evening.

First up was Death From Above. Having dropped the unnecessary 1979 identifier from their name, the duo of Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastian Granger are currently touring in support of their first new record in three years Outrage! Is Now. It’s a bit of a different sound for the band as this time they’ve enlisted hitmaker Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte, Ride) to produce the record. The result is exactly what you would expect—slick production, big hooks, tight grooves, a bit of funk, and several options for keeping the band relevant for their core audience while introducing them to an entirely new one.

When most bands go this route, their live show tends to mimic their polished sound on record. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with Death From Above. In fact, they might have gone the opposite direction just to point out that they are a fucking heavy, heavy band live.

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