Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Best Youth

Having previously played together in the band Genius Loki, Portuguese duo Ed Rocha Gonçalves and Catarina Salinas—aka Best Youth—have over the years topped radio charts, played festivals such as Optimus Primavera Sound, and opened for Father John Misty. Whilst their debut album was a huge success in Portugal, they’ve now decided to re-release it worldwide later this month.

Filled with reflections on love, doubt, and insecurities in the modern world, Highway Moon oozes one dreamy soundscape after another. From the whirring beats and chiming chords of “Red Diamond,” to the twinkling arpeggiated melodies and soaring emotion-strewn power of “Rain On The Windshield,” each track is an alluring electro-pop delight.

Whether you’re being drawn in by the sparkling ethereal splendour of “Sunbird,” gliding along the seductively smooth haze of “Melt,” or tapping your feet in time to the glitchy, climactic beats of “Mirrorball,” and the scuzzy electro soundscape of “Mouth,” there is not a single lull in the captivating charm of Highway Moon. Simply put, it’s impossible not to lose yourself in the delicate beauty and dreamy elegance of Best Youth’s debut.

The re-release of Highway Moon is in stores 26th May via Station 5.

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TVD Live Shots: Living Colour at the Metro Sydney, 5/13

Two-time Grammy award winning fusion, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll icons Living Colour made a triumphant return to Sydney last weekend. The New York natives were eagerly welcomed by a sold out crowd inside of the jam-packed Metro in downtown.

I haven’t seen these guys since the groundbreaking Stain album back in 1993, so when I found myself traveling to Sydney from London the same week they were in town, I opted to get off my 26 hour flight and head straight to the gig on zero sleep, and I’m glad that I did. Here’s a band that seemed to sort of go away quietly after their peak in popularity but now have come roaring back to center stage based on the strength of their impressive legacy and rabid fan base.

Living Colour’s impact on the cultural landscape cannot be understated. The band that broke new ground in so many ways continues to push their message forward. “Tom Morello once told me that he had been thinking about forming a band when ‘Cult Of Personality’ came out—it prompted him to do so,” said guitarist Vernon Reid in a recent interview. He continues, “We were part of a genuine cultural change.”

That cultural change and outspoken commentary continued last year when Living Colour released their take on the Notorious B.I.G. track “Who Shot Ya?” which was recorded to protest the ongoing gun violence across the US. This has set up the release of the band’s seventh studio album, Shade, due to be released on September 8 on Megaforce Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Two Penny Blue

With a playful charisma and youthful energy, London-based trio Two Penny Blue are already building a reputation around London for their enjoyable live shows, and now—with a new single on the way—look set to charm the ears of listeners further afield than the capital.

Reminiscent of the likes of The Lumineers or the quirky folk sounds of Noah And The Whale, “Gypsy” is filled with infectious, uptempo melodies and the distinctive rich vocals of frontman Tommy Gathers.

Oozing a hazy, uplifting charm alongside intricate, folk-inspired guitar hooks and soaring harmonies, it’s a much-needed ray of sunshine—a slice of glistening folk-pop exuding a graceful joy that bodes quite well for Two Penny Blue.

“Gypsy” is in stores 19th May.

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TVD Live Shots: Iron Maiden at the 3Arena in Dublin, 5/6

If I never see another metal show in my life I’d probably be ok after last Saturday night. Iron Maiden made a triumphant return to Dublin, their first appearance in seven years. Touring in support of the band’s 16th album—their first double album—Maiden treated the sold out 3Arena to a juggernaut of a show. It was everything a Dungeons and Dragons loving metal fan could love—and more. Theatrics, ghoulishly epic stage props, Mayan ruins, and a larger than life Eddie getting his heart ripped open set the stage for the undisputed kings of metal.

Three songs in and the band is firing on all cylinders, blasting through the Maiden classic “Powerslave.” One can only wonder, how the hell have these guys been doing this for 40 plus years? They have the energy of a band a third of their age and they never miss a beat. They’ve got the chops, riffs, gallops, fills, stage leaps, and soaring vocals all delivered via brilliant storylines that still make my parents think that I worship satan.

Maiden is one of the handful of metal groups of which I still know every band member by name. How many bands can you say that about in today’s scene? Probably zero. It’s because I grew up knowing these guys as superheros; KISS with the makeup before KISS took off the makeup. Their superpowers were their ability to master their instruments while writing songs that connected with a fantasy world through storytelling and powerful imagery. These guys epitomized everything a rebellious, ostracized, confused teenager needed to escape a world in which they didn’t seem to fit. It was therapy in a sense, and for me this band got me through some very tough times.

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UK Artist of the Week: Emily Magpie

Having received praise from the likes of The Devil Has The Best Tuna and Gigslutz for her debut EP, and with a Sofar Sounds session under her belt, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie has now returned with an utterly enchanting new offering.

“The Witching Hour” throbs with a bewitching energy as whirling effervescent melodies flow alongside Emily’s beautifully rich vocals. Written after reading a book about the witch trials and inspired by the power of femininity, Emily describes the track as a song “about claiming your own power deep from within you,” and it certainly is a powerful creation.

Teeming with delicately twinkling soundscapes, “The Witching Hour” soon builds to something more urgent, more intense. A pulsating fusion of delicate folk with ethereal electro beats, it’s an eerily poignant offering oozing a dark, majestic energy that’ll send chills down your spine without a doubt.

“The Witching Hour” is in stores 26th May, and Magpie is currently putting the finishing touches on an upcoming EP with the help of producer Anuj Robin.

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UK Artist of the Week: Coltana

Sitting comfortably somewhere between the raucous, rawness of Bikini Kill and Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner’s uncanny ability to make colloquial lyricism feel absolutely effortless, Coltana could very well be your next favourite UK rock group.

Their energetic new single “Break Her” tackles the subject of how women are seen within society and how they are often forced to compete with each other as a result of other people’s opinions. The single is oozing with racing riffs and infectious hooks that are a welcome comeback from the early ’00s. Lead singer Catherine Martindale’s London accent adds an extra lovely layer to this already addictive piece of alt-rock.

Having originally formed under the alias Poeticat, founding members Blake Kenrick (guitar) and Catherine decided to re-form under the new name Coltana alongside members Hugo Tevra (drums) and Gordon Duncan (bass) and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Break Her” by Coltana is out on 19th May 2017 via Poetical Presents.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Nickajack Men

Mainstream alt-country artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and even Alabama Shakes have been paving the way for a new generation of musicians to embrace the genre with open arms. Scottish four-piece The Nickajack Men are some of these said musicians—and they’re our Artist of The Week.

These four young lads are pushing all the boundaries with their debut EP “Wasting Away,” a record filled with sonically alluring twists and turns from the outset. The first single from the EP, “Running” is a feel-good blend of good old-fashioned indie rock tinged with appropriately placed snippets of Americana. Lead singer Lewis White’s vocal carries the song effortlessly, sounding quite akin to The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.

The Nickajack Men have also recently shared free download song “Marilyn,” an infectiously catchy track which offers insight into what Oasis might have sounded like were they to go country. Needless to say, these guys are ones to watch—they’ve become regulars on the Scottish live circuit and are now ready to take their sound down south and beyond.

“Wasting Away” by The Nickajack Men is out on May 26th, 2017.

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TVD Live Shots: You Me at Six, Tonight Alive,
and Black Foxxes at the Alexandra Palace, 4/15

English rockers You Me at Six are one of those bands that has been on my radar for several years, but I’ve somehow managed to miss them every time they toured the States (back when I lived there). So when I saw that the band was playing at London’s famed Alexandra Palace and the buzz seemed to be at an all-time high, it was the perfect storm for me to grab my gear and check this one out. Throw in the opening band Black Foxxes who’ve just released one of my favorite records of the year so far and things could get very interesting.

To say that You Me at Six are huge in the UK is an understatement—numerous Kerrang awards and several gold records all-leading up to a new album called Night People that just debuted at number 3 on the UK charts. Having lived in London for less than a year as an expat from San Francisco, it continues to blow my mind how different the levels of popularity there are between bands in the US versus the UK. You Me at Six have a respectable fan base in the US, but in the UK they are bona fide superstars.

With a sound falling somewhere between Taking Back Sunday and Royal Blood, these guys continue to make solid records. It’s a step above the cookie cutter bands of the current movement and these guys have the songs in place on the new record to break them worldwide. It will be interesting to see how the States embrace the upcoming tour along with radio and all the other essential elements to break a band these days. I’d say they have the UK conquered at the moment.

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UK Artist of the Week: Maria Kelly

Irish singer-songwriter Maria Kelly has been a favourite at The Vinyl District HQ for quite some time, and as a result we felt it was high time she was featured as our UK Artist of the Week.

Maria’s latest single “Far Below” is yet another delicately weaved piece of indie-folk—a style quickly becoming Kelly’s signature. The track tackles Maria’s battle with self-expression whist still managing to anchor itself with strength and wisdom. Stunningly performed from start to finish, “Far Below” spotlights Maria’s fragile and honest vocals perfectly. Fans of Lucy Rose and Billie Marten will certainly not be disappointed, that’s for sure.

Maria has been writing music since the age of 10 and is currently a student at the well-known music college BIMM in Dublin. Since the release of her previous singles “Before It Has Begun,” “Black & Blue,” and “Stitches,” Maria has gone from strength to strength. Having previously supported James Vincent Mcmorrow and Orla Gartland and set to perform at the prestigious Great Escape Festival in May, it’s safe to say Maria is definitely one to watch.

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TVD Live Shots: My Vitriol at Scala, 4/12

Photographed by Jason Miller-2

The doors are opening at London’s famed Scala for one of the most anticipated shows of the year, but it’s a show that almost didn’t happen.

My Vitriol has launched into full backup mode due to an unforeseen issue that has left the band’s touring van in Wales from the previous show. Frontman Som Wardner is racing to program the lights for tonight’s sold out show and he’s finished just as the doors open. As if all of this wasn’t enough pressure, the band is one lady down as Tatia Starkey is still away on maternity leave. She’s disappointed to be missing out on all the shows, but family comes first and the band couldn’t postpone touring any longer. She gave them her blessing to carry on without her.

To say that I was excited is an understatement. Finelines is one of my favorite records of all time and to be honest, I never thought that I would have the chance to see the band again live, especially in their hometown. Having never been to Scala before this was a new adventure for me as both a photographer and a fan. The venue is sort of a choose your own adventure for watching a show. Several different levels accompany several different stairwells in which some lead to what seem to be secret bar locations.

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