Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
King’s X at the Islington Assembly Hall, 6/14

The first and last time I saw King’s X live was back in 1994 at Mississippi Nights in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. I was 19 years old and thought I knew what amazing musicianship looked like, but I was wrong. Doug Pinnick and company were touring in support of their landmark album Dogman, and it was one of the most incredible musical spectacles I’ve ever seen. These guys make a hell of a lot of noise for a three-piece, but furthermore, their musicianship is unmatched.

Pinnick is known for playing a 12 string bass live. If you’ve never heard one of these beasts live, it pummels your chest and rattles your soul, laying the groundwork for one of the most precise (and animated) drummers on the planet, Jerry Gaskill. The rest comes to life by Ty Tabor’s vivid calm-to-roar style guitar playing. It’s the type of music that the metal heads love as well as the prog folks—and even the Beatle-maniacs.

So why was it the band never broke through to the mainstream? I haven’t a clue, and neither do the majority of critics and fans alike. Eddie Trunk takes a stab at solving this mystery on his radio show which you can listen to here. The pieces were all lined up many times over, but while lightning certainly did strike on stage, it never equally struck the charts.

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TVD Live Shots: Slo Burn at The Garage, 6/14

When legendary stoner rock band Kyuss split up in 1996 after releasing 4 genre-defining albums, their future was unwritten. Guitarist Josh Homme went on to form Queens of the Stone Age while frontman John Garcia would experiment with several musical projects. Arguably the best was a short-lived band called Slo Burn. Even though they technically only released a 4 song EP more than 20 years ago, the legacy and appetite for the band lives on—big time. (There is an album recorded for Red Ant Records in 2001 that is incredibly difficult to find.)

Fast forward to last week at the Garage in London. It was hotter than hell in 600 capacity venue and it was jam-packed. I managed to squeeze my way into the photo pit about 30 seconds before the band hit the stage. I think I saw Kyuss once on the Sky Valley tour and I remember seeing Unida in NYC years ago, but Slo Burn was sort of a mythical band that no one thought would resurface.

From that point on it was a heavy-duty, high-voltage riff-a-palooza for 90 minutes straight. Even though I didn’t recognize every song, it all sounded familiar. The first thing that you notice is that this band is incredibly fucking tight, the second is that Garcia’s voice is one in a million. Furthermore, his knack for melody is unmatched. This guy can write and sing over the top of pretty much any riff in the world and make it his own, and that’s something that very few singer-songwriters can achieve at scale. When you hear Garcia, you know it’s Garcia—period.

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UK Artist of the Week: Circe’s Diner

This week’s Artist of the Week is Bristol-based duo Circe’s Diner. The pair’s captivating blend of alt-folk is both enchanting and powerful, and their new single “Who Dares” will easily find a place in your Summertime “chill” playlist.

Beginning completely a cappella, Rosina Buck’s sweet, husky tone and Bronte Shande’s warm, colourful vocal blends together effortlessly, immediately filling you with an undeniable sense of joy. Their minimalist style and mesmerizing harmonies are simply all you need for this soft, intricate hug of a song.

In tandem with the beautiful musicianship the song also pushes a strong message of being brave, despite all the sorrows that life can throw at you. This empowering message feels all the more moving combined with their twinkling alt-folk melodies and relatable lyrics such as “So drink wine with me, until it turns light and who knows, this time it might turn out alright.”

Having met whilst studying at BIMM Bristol in 2014, Circe’s Diner has gone from strength to strength. They have supported the likes of Let’s Eat Grandma and On Pop! as well as playing Glastonbury and Boomtown Festival previously. This year, they are on the road again, playing an array of UK festivals including Arctangent, Smoked and Uncut, and Boomtown to name but a few.

“Who Dares” is in stores now via Rough Kitchen Records.

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Needle Drop: DYVR, “Viridian”

Previously our Artist of the Week, London-based artist DYVR is back with another hauntingly captivating new single. “Viridian” is a spectacular piece of emotional electronica that deserves your attention.

Singer Adam Cleaver’s powerful falsetto grabs you immediately, and mixed with dissonant synths, subtle guitar, and repetitive drum beats, “Viridian” is a true musical delight. The song’s dark nature reflects upon the difficult subject matter of depression, rendering the track even more poignant and profound. Cleaver explains, “Emotional landscapes can feel impossible to navigate.”

“One of the most difficult things is finding the right way to speak about the issue, or whether to say anything at all. If there is a negative outcome, there is always a feeling that maybe you could have done more.”

Fans of SOHN and James Blake will certainly hear similarities, but there is something extra special in DYVR. Cleaver’s vocal definitely steals the show and the combination of producer Matt Harris (Hawk, Maria Kelly) and the soaring musicianship takes “Viridian” to the next level.

“Viridian” is in stores now via Veta Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Milburn

There seems to be something in the air at the moment. Maybe it’s to do with the current struggles that are facing all corners of the world, but musicians seem to be giving everything they can to give something back. This certainly is the case for Northern indie-rockers Milburn who, as a result of overwhelming popular demand, have just played a 12,000 capacity show in their hometown of Sheffield with support from Reverend & the Makers and Cabbage. After ten years, these guys are back and better than ever, which is why they’re our Artist of The Week.

In addition to their most recent live show and selling out four huge anniversary shows, Milburn have also released a new single “Take Me Home.” The track feels refreshingly modern despite its noughties indie sound, falling somewhere between The Strokes (that guitar solo), We Are Scientists, and Blossoms.

For a band who have unfortunately been living in Arctic Monkeys’ shadow for the past decade, this comeback single means business—and clearly their fans are behind them all the way. Milburn will also be releasing their third studio album soon with a little bit of help from The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones, no less.

“Take Me Home” is in stores now via Red Essential.

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TVD Live Shots: KISS
and The Dives at the O2 Arena, 5/31

This is the sixth time I’ve seen the self-proclaimed “hottest band in the land,” and for me it really does get better with each show. I would go see these guys every night of the week if it were possible, and what better place to host such an epic event than London’s legendary O2 Arena. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer took to the stage in front of a capacity crowd to display exactly why they are the kings of the nighttime world.

Opening up the evening with a blistering version of “Deuce,” the entire band descended from a steel platform gliding through an enormous cloud of smoke from the opening fireworks. Within seconds Gene and Paul were front and center interacting with the crowd (and the photographers) in classic form. These guys don’t miss a beat and they have the energy of a rock ‘n’ roller half their age.

Midway into the set, Paul Stanley asked the crowd “How many of you are seeing KISS for the first time?” I was astonished to see more than half the crowd raise their hands and begin screaming, to which Stanley replied, “This is a night you will never forget.” A bold statement—but one that would ring true by the evening’s end.

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UK Artist of the Week: Stalagmites

Manchester has been known to deliver some incredible talent over the years and those talents have gone on to influence countless others. Our latest Artist of The Week has the potential to be one of these bands, and in all of the best ways possible. Falling somewhere between The Stones Roses and Interpol, Manchester’s Stalagmites are ready to introduce their alt-indie, dark-pop waves to the world.

Their debut single “Binary” has already received support from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Radio X’s John Kennedy as well as having just signed to London’s Veta Records—all onto something good. The track is about “coming from a dark place and finding a way out, hoping it might be a simple switch but knowing it’s much more than that,” lead singer Bradley Lynch explains—something that feels even more poignant in the light of the recent events in their hometown. Combining elements of ’90s indie rock and dark electronic sounds, the single feels nostalgic and forward thinking all at the same time.

Having formed at school in Salford, Bradley and Alex Hardman (guitar) later found Nick Toft (drums) making the trio complete. “Binary” feels as though these guys are completely comfortable in their own skin, embracing snippets of their influencers whilst still their almighty selves.

“Binary” is in stores on 9th June 2017 via Veta Records.

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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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