Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Aaron Ward

Sometimes, all you need from a song is simplicity—remove all the bells and whistles and let the lyrics carry the moment, creating something truly moving and poignant in the process. This is what UK newcomer Aaron Ward has managed to do so exquisitely with his debut solo single “I Don’t Mind.”

The track falls somewhere between the realms of electronica and folk, and Ward himself has been already compared to Vance Joy and Bon Iver—not a bad start if you ask us! But what Ward uniquely manages to portray here is a genuine sense of emotion which flows from “I Don’t Mind” by the bucket-load. Ward’s colloquial vocal style renders the lyrics all the more relatable, as does the clever video released in tandem with the single, set in a typical English pub where many a worry can be shared over a pint or two.

“I Don’t Mind” tackles a subject that is more important now than ever, highlighting the importance of friendship and the need to be more open. In a world with so much awfulness at the moment, we think it’s a message that needs to be sung from the rooftops. So sit back, grab a drink, and go have a chat with one of your oldest pals about their problems. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

“I Don’t Mind” is in stores now via Speak Right Records.

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Needle Drop: Sabatta, Misfit Music

With praise from Afropunk, BBC 6Music, and The Punk Site under their belts, London duo Sabatta have just released their immense new album. An epic, energy-fuelled ride from start to finish, Misfit Music defies genres and expectations in all the best ways.

Kicking off with the racing riffs and fierce rap of “Rock Star Shit,” a tongue-in-cheek take on what it means to be a modern-day rock star, the album continues with one intense sonic blast after another. Propelled by riotous riffs and the ferocious power of front-man Yinka’s vocals, “Wicked Right Now” fuses elements of funk, soul, and rock, creating a powerful barrage of sound that grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go.

Whilst the playful interplay of Debbie Dee and Yinka’s vocals stands out on “Always,” “Feel It Too” slows down the tempo a notch, oozing a mellow, ska-punk groove before “Scream Of Consciousness” blasts into your soul with its thrashing hooks and impassioned whirlwind of fury, as the potent force of Yinka’s vocals rages alongside funk-fuelled bass lines. A perfectly angst-driven take on modern life.

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UK Artist of the Week: Superego

Midlands based four-piece Superego have made an immediate impact on the British indie-rock scene through their grunge-tinged debut single “Sleep.” Not ones to be left behind, we’re giddily climbing aboard the Superego bandwagon and are delighted to name them our UK Artist of The Week.

Having already toured with industry darlings such as Black Honey, and supported Pale Waves, The Big Moon, and Dead!, Superego were always destined for great things. “Sleep” is a thunderous opening salvo from a talented young band who have combined the heavy distortion of ’90s grunge with shimmering, shoegaze-inflected soundscapes.

Juxtaposing angular, in your face guitars with a hazy, dream-like vocal expertly delivered by singer Cam Potts, “Sleep” sounds like the bastard child of Mudhoney having a playground fight with The Smashing Pumpkins while Lush watch on like disapproving parents.

Now, with a well of Billy Ryder-Jones (The Coral) produced material already in the bag, and a slot confirmed at DIY’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase on June 13th, we don’t think this’ll be the last you’ll be hearing of Superego.

“Sleep” is available to stream on Spotify. Free tickets for Superego’s Big Indie Big Nights showcase are available here.

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UK Artist of the Week: Catgod

Oxford band Catgod have previously charmed crowds at Truck Festival and Sofar Sounds, and received acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Tom Robinson, Clash, and The Line Of Best Fit. Lead by sibling duo Robin Christensen-Marriott and Catherine Marriott, they’re now ready to release their debut EP “Heartbeat In My Hand.”

Taken from the EP, lead single ‘Keep My Promises’ is a beautiful fusion of sounds interwoven to create something truly majestic. As Robin’s John Martyn-reminiscent languid vocals glide throughout, the track oozes a twinkling musicality as luscious harmonies float across an epic, cinematic soundscape.

Throughout the EP, Catgod fuse together an eclectic range of influences—from folk to trip hop—as each track flows with a sweeping, spellbinding grandeur. From the delicate, emotion-strewn splendour of title-track “Heartbeat In My Hand” and the effervescent grace of “Let Go,” to the more abstract musicality and shimmering harmonies of closer “Owing You,” the EP showcases the band’s ability to create inspired, genre-defying offerings. It’s an innovative debut collection that captivates on first listen.

“Heartbeat In My Hand,” the debut EP from Catgod, is in stores 22nd June.

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TVD Live Shots: Foreigner at the Royal Albert Hall, 5/16

Foreigner’s Records was released on November 29, 1982, the compilation spanning the band’s first four albums through 1981. Along with their second album, Double Vision, the release is the group’s best-selling record. I must have played this one a thousand times when I was a kid. Mind you, I was ten at the time, yet every song on that record is a bona fide global smash hit, and the music still holds up today. It would go on to become certified seven times platinum, something most of us will never see again in our lifetime.

Fast forward almost four decades and a new Foreigner led by founding member Mick Jones (who let’s not forget joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013) is alive and well and arguably sounding better than ever before. Sure they’re missing their original vocalist, the almighty Lou Gramm, but holy shit does Kelly Hansen play the part well. He’s been part of the band for more than a decade now and not only is he a stellar vocalist, he adds a new dynamic to the group. Anyone who sees the band live can’t deny the unbridled talent and charisma Hansen brings to the band.

Add to that Dokken bass master Jeff Pilson, Big Country’s Bruce Watson, former Whitesnake drummer Chris Frazier, sax man Thom Gimbel, and keyboardist Michael Bluestein, and you have a group of musicians who not only recreate the legendary songs live, they add a welcome and slight modern twist. The show was a non-stop hits-a-palooza that featured all the classics. “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,”—I could go on for a while here, but the real highlight for me was how incredible “Urgent” and “Juke Box Hero” sounded live—two of my favorites.

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UK Artist of the Week and Video Premiere: Tuesday Syndicate

Following their last single “Hourglass,” Devon band Tuesday Syndicate have returned with a brand new video for latest offering, “173.”

An instantly infectious uptempo slice of vibrant indie-pop, “173” races with catchy hooks and impassioned, pop-inspired vocals. With a chorus that’ll stick in your ears on first listen, the track offers an immense outpouring of emotion alongside a hurtling upbeat energy; the perfect combination for that reviving summer anthem you’ve been waiting for.

Having formed five years ago, Tuesday Syndicate have wowed crowds at Isle Of Wight Festival and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and are now set to continue charming fans with this rousing new single.

Watch the new video for “173” above.

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TVD Live Shots: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the 3Arena, Dublin, 5/10

I’ve seen the Gallagher brothers shows individually over the past few months and let me tell you that they are two very different experiences. Liam opens with Oasis classics right out of the gate, while Noel focused on his new material and peppers in a few Oasis numbers in the middle and end of his. I don’t think it says anything about the strength of either brother’s solo material as both of their current records are equally brilliant, but I do think Liam is making a statement while Noel is a bit more seasoned on the “solo” road at the moment.

Opening with a one-two (three, four, and five) punch from 2017’s Who Built the Moon?, Noel blasted into “Fort Knox” directly into “Holy Mountain.” It was as if he’d be playing his new record in its entirety as the first five songs of the set matched his latest album in running order. Who Built the Moon? is a bit of a progression for Noel and his High Flying Birds. They’ve dirtied up their sound, injected a punch of soul, and dialed up the volume and aggression which made for a proper Britrock arena show.

It’s interesting to me that Noel’s albums are evolving much like the Oasis catalog—starting out very Beatlesque, then growing darker, adding a touch of soul, and finally going full-on bombastic with the wall of sound fueled by real-time drum loops played by an actual human. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of all the greatness of Oasis and The Beatles, but the first few songs set the tone for each of Noel’s records, and that tone is very different each time.

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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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