Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: HVMM

Worcester’s raucous rockers HVMM will be letting their debut EP “Talk To Me Like I’m Dead” loose on the world on 1st September 2017 via US label ILA. They have been making some strong waves across the UK for the past few months now, which is why we’ve pegged them as our Artist of The Week.

Their latest single, AA-side “Going Postal / Beggars & Thieves,” are two incredibly ferocious tracks from start to finish, filled with blues rock grit and unapologetic power. “Going Postal” builds slowly with a distinctive swagger and lead singer Andy Teece’s signature vocal taking centre stage, sounding akin to Jack White or Brandon Flowers’ colloquial singing styles. “Beggars and Thieves” is equally as hardcore, oozing with thrashing riffs, relentless energy, and pure, unforgiving angst.

These guys mean business, that’s for sure. Having met in a country pub after causing somewhat of a local riot, Andy and Sam Jenkins (drums) formed the band back in 2015. Ebony Clay (lead guitar) and Jack Timmis (bass) followed shortly thereafter and the quartet have been asking for trouble wherever they’ve gone since. We’ve also heard they’re pretty mesmerizing live as well, and they’ll be playing their first headline show in London’s Sebright Arms on 22nd November 2017.

“Talk To Me Like I’m Dead” is out on 1st September 2017 via ILA.

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TVD Live Shots: Blink 182 at the O2 Arena, 7/20

I’m not sure I’ve ever taken Blink 182 seriously, and that’s probably what the band wants. The southern California trio has built an impressive career bringing their unique brand of pop punk to the masses, and it’s a success story built on a band who never take themselves too seriously and pushed the world out of a dark place when grunge had everyone muting their colors and drowning in a giant pool of self-inflicted sorrow. 

Fast forward 25 years—yes, I know you are feeling old right now, so am I—7 records and two-thirds of the “original” band are still going strong. So strong that they sold out two nights at London’s famed O2 Arena. Having not seen the band in 20 years or more, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since founding member Tom DeLonge’s departure and Alkaline Trio’s frontman joining the group full-time.

Those feelings of uncertainty were laid to rest after the first few songs. Matt Skiba is an absolute rock star and an explosive addition to the band. This guy is half punk rock, half Pete Townsend and fits in so well you would have thought he’d been there since the beginning. He brings a certain edge to the band that had been absent over the years, but not necessarily missing. It’s the dawn of a new chapter for the band since the delivery of that first album with the “new guy”—and in this case they hit it out of the park.

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UK Artist of the Week: Stephen McLaren

The world is a pretty weird place right now—both the US and UK are dealing with some difficult challenges, and no matter your opinion one thing is for certain, there’s some great music emerging as a result. One example of this is Scotland’s Stephen McLaren and his new single “No More (Say Yes),” which is why he’s our UK Artist of The Week.

“No More (Say Yes)” is a politically charged song written in support of the ongoing campaign for Scottish independence. Stephen combines these tough subject matters with new wave inspired electro-rock to create something truly anthemic and thought-provoking. The rest of McLaren’s forthcoming album We Used To Go Raving, in stores 29th September 2017, follows in a similar vein filled with ’80s nostalgia and silent nods toward Ian Curtis’ genius.

Stephen McLaren is no stranger to the music industry having already received critical acclaim as part of the Edinburgh-based band Collar Up. Now, McLaren is preparing to go it alone and mesmerize listeners with his own unique blend of electronica and rock.

We Used To Go Raving is out 29th September 2017 via Errant Media.

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Tommy Victor of Prong on their new Zero Days: “It’s the consummate Prong record.”

The first time I heard Prong was back in 1990 on Headbanger’s Ball. The song was called “Beg to Differ,” and it was pretty much the coolest thing I had heard since discovering thrash metal.

But this was different; it was a new type of thrash. It was hardcore, but also very melodic. I was hooked and instantly became a fan that would hang on every release that followed. Prong would continue to evolve by experimenting with industrial sounds before finding success through MTV and relentless touring, only to be eventually caught up in major label bullshit and drowned out by the unstoppable grunge moment.

Prong founding member Tommy Victor would carry the metal torch forward and continues to deliver new Prong music for over a decade. The power trio is on tour now in advance of the release of the band’s 13th studio album Zero Days, in stores on July 28th. I joined Tommy on his bus in the States to ask him about the new record and a few other burning questions I’ve had as a long time fan.

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UK Artist of the Week: Tom Hale

Barnsley-based Tom Hale may be young, but he is no newcomer to the music scene. Having previously fronted indie-rockers ROOD, he has now made the move to go solo and has just released his cinematic debut EP.

The collection of tracks each contribute to the story of a man who falls in love with a woman in his dreams with each song building to the EP’s climax—title track and lead single “In The Night.” Oozing an elegant grandeur, the track flows with soaring strings and an endearing romanticism as Hale’s deep, rich vocals seduce with their smooth, subtle power.

An indie-rock ballad of epic proportions, “In The Night” may bring to mind the cinematic croonings of fellow Yorkshireman Richard Hawley. And, as with the Sheffield legend, it’s near impossible not to be swept off one’s feet by the swooning emotion and catchy, heartfelt melodies that Hale has to offer.

“In The Night,” the debut EP from Tom Hale, is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Greta Isaac

Now based in London, Welsh artist Greta Isaac has always had an affinity for her folk roots. However, innovative new single “Comfortable” signals a slight change in direction and a fresh new sound for her listeners.

Exploring the destructive human tendencies of apathy and selfishness, “Comfortable” whirrs with a glitchy pulse alongside twinkling melodies and Isaac’s seductive, honey-sweet vocals. With shades of Grimes, the track races with sweeping loops of unsettling beats and soaring electronic experimentation.

Crafting together complex layers of sound, Isaac has created an utterly infectious slice of rich electro pop, marking herself as a hugely promising young artist and a definite one to watch this year. With intrigue growing over her new musical project, Greta Isaac is set to debut “Comfortable” live at a secret show in London on 5th September, followed by an appearance at Festival No. 6.

“Comfortable” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Spoon
at the O2 Kentish Town Forum, 6/30

Spoon is a very special type of band, one that has to be heard just once to recognize and celebrate their genius. Watching this band perform live begs the question, how on earth does any band write such remarkable music over and over again? From its beginnings, Kill the Moonlight forward, each of this band’s records has displayed growth—not just pushing the boundaries, but exploring how far they can take a simple idea and have it blossom into something weird and unexpected, yet remarkably catchy.

The first time I saw Spoon was back in 2005 at the Austin City Limits festival where the band played in front of tens of thousands of attendees. I believe the festival was capped at 55K that year, but I remember seeing the largest crowd I’d ever seen before in downtown Austin. It was surreal. It’s not unusual for a “local” band to be much more popular in their hometown, but Austin is a different story—this was a case where the local band would be playing to the same size crowd as headliner Oasis.

Fast forward to last week in London where Spoon played their second show this year, the first being an intimate gig at Club 100 which I would have killed to get into but couldn’t. So it only made sense that they come back and play a proper show for the rest of us. The venue was the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, and the show was everything you’d expect from one of the most original bands on the planet.

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TVD Live Shots: Bash & Pop at The Garage, 6/29

It wasn’t all bad news when The Replacements split up in the early ’90s—the world of rock ‘n’ roll was given the gift of Bash & Pop. And while the band only delivered one full-length record, it was a righteous debut and birthed the anthem known as “Friday Night is Killing Me.” However short-lived it was, it was great to see Tommy Stinson put down the bass and pick up a six string and step up to the helm.

Stinson has the resume of a seasoned vet anchored of course by his time with alt-rock pioneers The Replacements, but also through his stellar projects in the form of Bash & Pop and Perfect. While both projects were equally short-lived, they showcased an incredibly talented frontman with some serious songwriting skills. Add to that a stellar decade-plus journey with the greatest front man of all time as the bass player for Guns N’ Roses and you have a bonafide rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut.

Fast forward to last week when Bash & Pop dropped into The Garage in North London for a warm-up club gig. The band would be gracing the big stage in Hyde Park the following weekend with Green Day, Rancid, and The Hives just to name a few. Bash & Pop were absolutely on fire and came out of the gates swinging. There’s a certain sense of punk rock-ness that comes alive when Stinson gets going. It starts about 2 seconds in and doesn’t let up until the last chords come crashing down.

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TVD Live Shots: Cheap Trick at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, 6/27

I have seen Cheap Trick live more than a dozen times now and they never cease to live up to the announcement that precedes this legendary quartet taking the stage, “The best fucking rock band you’ve ever seen.” This time though was different as it was the first time I would be seeing the band perform in London.

Forty years strong, the band continues to fire on all cylinders. Touring in support of their brilliant new record, We’re All Alright, Cheap Trick brought their latest show to the O2 Forum Kentish Town in north London. The magnetism of Robin Zander, the charisma of Rick Nielsen, the thundering 12 string bass of Tom Petersson, and the bombastic drums of Nielsen’s son Daxx played an incredibly diverse set full of deep cuts, hits, and new material.

It was amazing to see the man of one thousand voices, Mr. Robin Zander decked out in his black leather Dream Police uniform. His voice sounds amazing as well. He’s still got the power and plenty of range to hit all the notes in all the right places—while still enjoying every last bit of leading such an epic band. Rick Nielsen’s personality remains bigger than his collection of oddball guitars, and his quick wit and connection with the audience is second to none.

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UK Artist of the Week: All Flags Are Grey

With their previous musical projects receiving acclaim from the likes of MTV and NME, Andrea Chamberlain and Leon Brown—aka All Flags Are Grey—are now set to impress with their new, debut single.

Addressing poignant issues such as addictive behaviour, vulnerability, and self-inflicted loss, “Bare Bones” flows with glitchy beats and a stirring sense of unease. As the passion of Chamberlain’s unique, beguiling vocals glides atop whirring electronic melodies, the track oozes a sweeping emotive power. Exuding a rich musicality and enchanting grandeur, it’s sure to captivate upon first listen.

With this latest offering, All Flags Are Grey have shown themselves capable of creating something truly majestic; a track that’s simply epic in its intensity.

“Bare Bones,” the upcoming single from All Flags Are Grey, arrives in stores 7th July via Seven Wishbones.

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