Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week: tameBERSERK

Prepare to enter the odd-pop world of London-based multi-instrumentalist tameBERSERK who takes up the mantle of our UK Artist of the Week.

Initially started as solo project by James Pain with the aim of working with a multitude of singers and performers in the London music scene, tameBERSERK grew into a two-man operation with singer Dominic Rose taking up a more permanent role. The result of their collaboration is a debut album, Super Thinking, that ranges from psychedelia to the experimental as tameBERSERK play with sound, samples, and genre, taking an organic, unorthodox approach to songwriting in the process.

One of the album highlights is current single “Favourite Years.” A quirky, lo-fi indie-pop gem that is both challenging and playful, “Favourite Years” is a hallucinogenic, wistful piece of music transporting the listener into a sonic daydream. Accented by Pain’s cerebral, often bizarre, lyrics centered around a maniacal doctor experimenting on someone with supernatural powers, tameBERSERK enter a territory that favourably recalls artists such as Why? and Animal Collective.

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UK Artist of the Week: LUNIR

There’s a lot of forward-thinking electronica on the scene at the moment, thank goodness, and a prime example of this is German-Scottish duo LUNIR. They may have only released two singles officially, but its clear to see from both “Wadidi” and “Cubs” that they will be around for a while.

“Cubs” is a wonderfully addictive slice of alt-pop from the offset. Vibrant electronic beats are combined with melodic guitar twangs to create a sound that is entirely their own. Becky Sikasa’s soulful vocal tone is instantly reminiscent of the likes of Solange but with David’s flawless production expertise, the song takes on a life of its own. Get ready to have this song played on repeat because it’s a hugely infectious ear worm, mark our words.

Having recently played Scotland’s Tenement Trail festival and Cologne Music Week along with a whole bunch of other Summer festivals, its seems clear to us that 2020 could be an even bigger year for the elusive duo. Watch this space.

“Cubs” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Eliza Shaddad

PHOTO: MEL TJOENG | Autumn is well and truly upon us and what better way to get us in the mood for fall than with a dark, brooding track from a very talented Brit. Eliza Shaddad has been making waves both here and across the pond for a while now and her latest single “Girls” looks sure to break boundaries even further.

Instantly reminiscent of the likes of Julia Jacklin or Daughter’s Elena Tonra, “Girls” soars with rich layers of musicality throughout. Starting slowly with Eliza’s smooth, sultry vocals taking centre stage, the chorus then kicks in with all its dream-pop goodness, creating an undeniably atmospheric sound that can’t help but draw you in. Known for her confessional songwriting, “Girls” is no exception as it tackles what its like to grow up at an all girls school and the relationships you can create—and break—while you’re there.

Having already supported Kate Tempest, Oh Wonder, Lucy Rose, and James Bay to name a few, it looks as though 2020 could very well be Eliza Shaddad’s year, so watch this space.

Catch Eliza live next at Pop Brixton, London on 6th November 2019 in association with TVD fave label Big Indie Records.

“Girls,” taken from Eliza’s new EP, due for release early next year, is in stores on 23rd October 2019 via Big Indie Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Very Lazy Sundays

Don’t let their name fool you, because for us, The Very Lazy Sundays are nothing but on point and ready to rumble if their debut single is anything to go by.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” is a beautifully poignant indie-folk vignette that will give you all the feels from the offset. Combining rich harmonies with intricate twinkles on the piano and gentle strums of the guitar, this single is the feel-good break-up single we all needed. Lead singer Diyar Abdullah’s soft, colloquial vocal style feels instantly familiar, like an old friend you haven’t seen for a while. Perhaps because it also has inklings of the likes of Jack Johnson or Ryan Adams in it.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” feels predominantly folk-esque for the most part, up until Diyar breaks out a simple but apt “rap” toward the end, giving the single an almost The Streets feel. We’re not sure if that’s what they’re going for, but its working.

“Sometimes A Broken Heart” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Frampton Sisters

First there were The Gallaghers, then The Jonas Brothers, and now? Well it’s The Frampton Sisters of course! This fabulous folk duo have just dropped their debut single and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The Frampton Sisters—aka Freddie and Charlie Frampton—are certainly not new to the music scene, but it seems they’ve chosen to take their time with their first official release and it’s definitely paid off. “Birds Of A Feather” is a stunningly intricate piece of folk-pop that will give you all the feels.

Fans of the First Aid Kit and Lily and Madeleine will inevitably draw comparisons to the duo, but what these siblings have acquired so uniquely is an undeniable connection, making their harmonies 100% on point throughout. Utterly glorious. 2020 is looking like an extremely exciting year for this rising duo. Watch this space.

“Birds Of A Feather” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Dani Sylvia

We’re all guilty of self-sabotage sometimes, whether we want to admit it or not. Dani Sylvia gets it and her ethereal new single “Lithium” hits the nail on the head.

The young singer-songwriter has already gained quite the Spotify following and she’s sure to gain more if her latest cut is anything to go by. “Lithium” is a gorgeously celestial slice of electro-pop that soothes the soul. Dani’s soft, smooth vocals soar effortlessly over the ambient musicality, creating a sound akin to the likes of BANKS, or VÉRITÉ’s brooding melodies and atmospheric soundscapes.

As mentioned above “Lithium” goes deeper that a stunning shimmering melody, it also battles emotions we’ve all dealt with one way or another in the past and accepting the negative aspects of ourselves. “Lithium” reminds us we’re not alone, and above all, we’ll be fine.

“Lithium” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: IYEARA

Ready for something dark and ominous to get you going on this fine Tuesday? No? Are you sure? Because IYEARA are certainly a band you need to sit up and take note of, even if they are rather intimidating…

The trio have just released their debut EP “Consequences,” which includes the brooding single “Exhale,” a track that is swarming with haunting soundscapes and driving synths, along with vocalist Paul O’Keefe’s distinctive tone sending shivers down one’s spine instantly.

The single also comes with an equally disturbing video directed by Sam Dixon and featuring footage taken from the short film Old Mate. IYEARA combine dark wave and post-punk sensibilities throughout this dynamic debut, creating a sound that is both accomplished and forward-thinking.

The trio is composed of The Duke Spirit guitarist Toby Butler, as well as producer Malcolm Carson and not forgetting Paul O’Keeffe. Together they have created somewhat of a super group and right now it seems like the sky is the limit for IYEARA. Throughout the EP, the trio are joined by a select batch of guests including The Duke Spirit’s leading lady Liela Moss covering Tears For Fears’ hit single “Shout.” What more could you ask for?

“Consequences” is in stores now via TrES-2b Recordings / Ingrooves.

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UK Artist of the Week: Mipso

PHOTO: KENDALL BAILEY | Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, Mipso are about to take the plunge and hop across the pond as they embark on a UK/EU tour in October. In the run up to the tour, Mipso have shared with the world their stunning animated video for single “People Change,” in stores now.

The single, taken from Mipso’s album Edges Run is a gorgeously rich and emotive ballad that tackles the difficult subject of loss and the impact of an absence in someone’s life. Its delicately weaved musicality is undeniably ethereal from the offset, reminiscent of the likes of Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver.

Frontman Jacop Sharp’s soft yet gritty Americana-esque vocals are just glorious, fitting the song perfectly. We could listen to it for days. The single’s video is equally mesmerising, with art and animation created by Jake McBride. Simple yet effective, the images reflect the song’s meaning perfectly and incredibly powerfully throughout.

We’ve not had the pleasure of catching these guys live yet, but if Edges Run is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sun Bloom

Summer may be over but thankfully London trio Sun Bloom are here to give us another sprinkling of sunshine before the year is up.

Their latest single “Take It Away”—from their debut EP of the same name—is instantly warming, so warming in fact that its actually pretty surprising this sound has come straight out of London and not California.

Sun Bloom’s sizzling surf-rock sound feels instantly reminiscent of the likes of Alvvays or Best Coast—but British. Their surf-inspired dream-pop sound is undeniably addictive and clearly a strong start for this budding band.

If you happen to be in London on the 27th September you can catch Sun Bloom performing live—and free—at The Constitution, Camden.

“Take It Away” is in stores now.

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Needle Drop: Dudley Benson, “We Could’ve Been Gods”

New Zealand avant-pop artist Dudley Benson weaves beautiful electronic soundscapes, effortlessly marrying challenging yet uplifting sonics, with deeply personal lyrical themes.

Exploring concepts of nationhood, decolonisation, and our relationship with nature, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is the latest cut from his ambitious new album Zealandia. Featuring a full symphony orchestra, 50-person choir, and beats made from samples of rocks and minerals, Dudley defies genre by combining alt-pop, choral, classical, and electronica, producing a record that is as unique as it is captivating.

Shot by Miranda Bellamy and Solomon Mortimer, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is a semi-improvised pulse of love, sex, and earth that reflects and bounces off the song, and the three filming locations around Auckland, New Zealand.

Collaborating with respected avant-garde dance artists val smith and Tru Paraha, “We Could’ve Been Gods” is the centrepiece of a an album that tackles hard-hitting themes surrounding New Zealand culture, history, and identities.

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TVD Premiere: Chloé Caroline, “Forgive Me”

2019 may have been a bit of a nightmare year for us so far, but one great thing to come out of it is the rise in mental health awareness, especially within music. So many artists have been incredibly open in their songwriting, encouraging people from all walks us life to open up. Californian native Chloé Caroline is one of these artists and we’re incredibly pleased to be premiering her new single “Forgive Me” on The Vinyl District today.

It’s happened to all of us, some days you just wake up feeling rubbish and you can’t shake that feeling of anxiety. It’s completely normal to feel this way and talking about it is incredibly important, not just for yourself, but for loved ones around you to understand and accept. Chloé evokes this beautifully in her latest ballad “Forgive Me,” a song that shines the light on mental health struggles, perfectionism, and societal expectations.

Not only is the narrative incredibly imperative, it’s also stunningly written. Chloé’s powerfully distinctive vocals, reminiscent of Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow, ooze emotion as they soar over the warm, piano-led melodies. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, or even a bit of a cry, “Forgive Me” is the song for you. Chloé has hit the nail on the head here in so many ways and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

“Forgive Me” arrives in stores on 13th September 2019 via AWAL.

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UK Artist of the Week: Living Hour

PHOTO: ALLY GONZALO | We’ve got something extra special for you today, so get ready to be all kinds of mesmerized. Canadian five-piece Living Hour are about to embark on a European tour and to celebrate, they’ve shared the stunning visuals for their brooding album track “Most,” in stores now on Kanine Records.

The video mirrors the hypnotic stylings of the song perfectly as textured, static-like images fill the screen, cinematic soundscapes also soar. “Most” feels instantly reminiscent of Beach House or Slowdive’s ability to create wonderful sonic vignettes with minimal fuss and yet, at the same time, are also undeniably complex. Front woman Sam Sarty’s ethereal vocal sits subtly in the background as she allows the enchanting musicality to take centre stage and whisk her into the ambient abyss. It really is a breathtaking piece of artistry from all angles.

As mentioned earlier, “Most” is taken from Living Hour’s poignant latest album Softer Faces. The five-piece are also due to start their European tour imminently, so be sure to catch them if you’re in the area. It’s guaranteed to be a truly majestic experience.

A full list of live dates can be found here.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kaiit

We’ve been obsessed with Kaiit ever since we caught her at The Great Escape earlier this year, so we felt it was high time we express our love for the neo-soul songstress right here at TVD.

Kaiit’s latest cut “Miss Shiney” is yet another example of this Australian artist’s ability to pen bright, colourful tracks with a serious groove. Taking inspiration from her time away in her homeland of Papua New Guinea, “Miss Shiney” radiates the sweet sound of soul and empowerment through unreserved vocal charm. If Amy Winehouse were still around today, we’re certain she’d be singing this girl’s praises from the rooftops. It’s jazz for the modern age and we just bloody love it!

Talking about the track, Kaiit explains “‘Miss Shiney’ is about going through writer’s block due to self-doubt and not trusting myself and the process. This track is more of a reminder for me, something I listen to when I’m trippin’ and need something to remind me that I got this! You that girl, and people heal from my words!”

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UK Artist of the Week: Mexican Radio

If you’re a fan of Berlin-based synth punk (and who isn’t?), then you’re in for an almighty treat. The formidable trio Mexican Radio will be releasing their undeniably determined sophomore album Deconstruction / Reconstruction on 20th September and to give you a little taster, they’ve just shared their brilliant new single “Night of Nihilist” with the world.

“Night of The Nihilist” is a wonderfully sharp and meaningful introductory track that showcases Mexican Radio’s potential perfectly. The production is undoubtedly impressive—they’ve recorded everything live to tape in an analogue studio with no overdubs—pretty serious stuff. Fans of The Fall and Atari Teenage Riot will certainly feel at home here.

Talking about the track, the band elaborate, “The song was inspired by the Russian nihilist movement from the 1860s and makes reference to their assassination of Tsar Alexander II. The narrator of the song also takes influence from the nihilist character Bazarov from Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons.

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TVD Video Premiere: CAFOLLA, “1985”

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, there must be something in the air up in Scotland because the talent coming out that tiny country right now is palpable! Our latest discovery is indie-electro artist CAFOLLA and we’re pleased to announce we’re premiering the brand new single and video for “1985” right here at TVD.

If you didn’t guess by the name, “1985” is brimming in all things ’80s—from the synth-infused soundscapes, to the political lyricism, right through to the VHS-inspired visuals in the video, “1985” is a powerful time machine that deserves your attention. The distinctively soulful vocals remind us of a cross between Jamiroquai, Prince, and even Michael Jackson in parts—and we can’t get enough.

It’s an undeniably addictive debut with an important message that we should all take note of. Talking about the single and video, CAFOLLA elaborates, ““1985” is a blaring commentary on consumerism, greed, and a reminder of what it has led to. It asks the question, “Have we truly grown from this over indulgence or is it as rife as ever?” Some serious food for thought there folks.

Check out the vintage-inspired visuals above, created by videographer Danny McCormick and produced by McCormick, Gordon Beveridge, and CAFOLLA.

“1985” arrives in stores on 22nd August 2019 via Dusty Reel Records.

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