Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week: Barbarella

Barbarella is the eclectic alt-pop newcomer on the scene, and she’s getting frisky with her new single “Horny” out now.

Produced by Dave Randall (formerly of Faithless), this release oozes with sass and swag from the offset. Barbarella’s distinctive vocal takes centre stage as Dave’s synth-infused soundscapes pulsate vibrantly underneath. Barbarella explains, “I wrote this song after Glastonbury 2022, where I bumped into an old flame who I thought I didn’t like anymore… but I definitely still did. Nothing happened between us, which was probably very wise but also very frustrating. I guess I had a massive build up of libido energy, which was channelled and released into this song.”

Already being described as her generation’s Cyndi Lauper, Barbarella—aka Barbara Pugliese—has become known for her stunning, sensual, and intense live shows. Her band Barbarella’s Bang Bang formed within South London’s queer underground scene and have appeared several times at Glastonbury Festival, Boomtown, Fuji Rock and many more. We can’t wait to see where Barbarella’s fearless artistry will bring us next.

“Horny” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: All Day Breakfast Cafe

Get ready to groove with all female disco collective All Day Breakfast Cafe. Their vibrant new EP “Have You Seen This Queen” is an utter delight for the ears from the offset.

Channelling the likes of Ezra Collective whilst also having a clear love for old school funk and disco, All Day Breakfast Cafe are taking the London jazz scene by storm. Their latest EP is a fun-filled collection of upbeat bangers and dance floor fillers, and we can’t get enough.

Taken from the EP is their latest single “Adrenaline Rush,” a song about that moment of exhilaration. “You might feel it when you’re on the dance floor,” guitarist Jelly Cleaver elaborates, “when you do something new that challenges you or you do anything thrilling. This is your theme tune for that feeling and your reminder to do something that excites you… regularly! The whole EP is a tribute to female friendships and queer joy.”

These “personal hype women” are all about spreading joy and empowerment and we’re here for it. In fact, everyone involved in this project, from the band to the studio engineer, is female or queer. This collective are no strangers to the London live circuit and we hope to see them travel further afield in the very near future.

“Have You Seen This Queen” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Jock

Jock are the new kids on the garage-punk scene, and they’re here to get you moshing with their raucous new single “Moving,” out now.

Encapsulating the claustrophobia of the housing crisis in Ireland, “Moving” is a punk infused single that packs a powerful punch. In their own words they say, “you go to a house viewing in Belfast, there’s a queue of people out the door and at least four of them are your friends. You get to the front of the queue and a man in a suit tells you the rental price has just went up by £300 per month. You try to fill in an application form anyway and before you’ve even done that, they want you to pay £200 just to apply.”

Jock have already established themselves as a captivating live music act, playing with renowned acts such as Junk Drawer, Problem Patterns, and Cherym. With this live reputation and the quality of the music they have released so far, it’s clear that Jock are ones to watch.

“Moving” is in stores now via Veta Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Intervention

Prepare to be mezmerised by London’s latest experimental jazz trio Intervention. Their debut single “Fire” is out now.

The single combines the group’s Latin, soul, jazz, and electronic influences, creating a sound that feels otherworldly. The song reflects the internal fire whose embers are within all of us. Drummer-percussionist Lya Reis Guerrero explains, “the innate drive to uplift our spirits, overcome obstacles, and emerge stronger than before. “Fire” serves as a symbolic anthem for personal reinvention and the courage it takes to embrace change.”

Intervention are Lya, vocalist Plumm, and internationally acclaimed Latinx pianist/producer Eliane Correa. Together they provide a unique journey where energy and euphoria are transmitted through improvisation. Despite this being their debut release, we’re certain we’ll be seeing much more of this eclectic trio in the near future. Watch this space…

“Fire” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week:
My First Time

Bristol-based newcomers My First Time have exploded onto the scene with the release of their raucous debut single “Wind Up Merchant,” out now.

Combining a post-punk energy with indie-pop swag, “Wind Up Merchant” is instantly infectious and packs a powerful punch. Talking about the single, the band elaborate, “we wanted the song to be ‘tongue in cheek’—an anti wind-up anthem. It’s the sort of track you could blast to drown out the ramblings of your annoying sibling or super conservative relative. The track shifts from the perspective of the ‘wind-up merchant’ themselves to the target caught in the crosshair.”

Newly signed to indie tastemakers Submarine Cat Records, we’re excited to see what this exciting young band get up to next.

“Wind Up Merchant” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sean Edwards

Newcomer to the Bristol indie-rock scene, Sean Edwards brings us a breakup song, “Give It Up,” but encompassed in a catchy and energetic rock track to take the sting out of the romance ending.

The driving power chords and minimal but rhythmic drums make for a stadium ready song which will be sung along to by all who hear it. These simplistic instrumentals make it easy to focus on the lyrics, allowing space for a story to be told which Sean believes is vital to his songwriting.

Sean describes himself as self aware, and the stories that he tells stem from real life experience. His music is a way to give himself advice and express understanding for personal growth. He also sees himself as a fatherly, but dry-humored figure, and seeks to help those who listen to his music to, like him, be introspective with their thoughts and feelings.

Sean is keen to make his imprint on the Bristol scene. With an EP on the way and plenty more music in the works, “Give It Up” is only the beginning for Sean Edwards.

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UK Artist of the Week: Cate

London-based pop newcomer Cate recently released her new single “One Hit Wonder,” but we’re pretty certain this won’t be the case for her…

Drawing influence from early noughties country pop records, “One Hit Wonder” is an end of summer anthem which reflects on a past lover who emulates the same excitement and sudden abandonment as a one hit wonder does. Referencing Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town,” Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom,” Toploader’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” alongside many more, Cate’s lyricism continues to flare with creative artistry.

Talking about the track, Cate explains: “I wrote ‘One Hit Wonder’ with my friends last summer after making a joke that a man that I was dating was one. Then the joke went a bit too far when we wrote a whole song out of a whole bunch of one hit wonders. It’s about someone who only really gives you one good summer of fun, but never anything else. And as much as you want to get the song out of your head—you just can’t.”

We had the pleasure of catching Cate perform live when she supported Maisie Peters in Cardiff earlier this year and we certainly feel like she’s living up to the hype. Cate shows no sign of slowing down, with a support slot for Australian singer songwriter Gretta Ray kicking off this month across Australia and a UK headline tour all happening this year.

“One Hit Wonder” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Katie MF

Idiosyncratic artist Katie MF recently released her powerful debut album False Starts, Open Endings and our inner-anarchist is feeling things…

Having already released two EPs, Katie’s new album showcases her ability to combine a punk-rock ethos with a poignant story telling charm creating something truly special. False Starts, Open Endings is a record that takes no prisoners, exploring a plethora of topics including the dire state of UK politics and patriarchal issues to past relationships and the joy she finds in her DIY community.

Over the last few years she’s become an integral part of the UK DIY punk scene, making friends in all the wrong places with her captivating live performances. Since her first proper punk show at the New Cross Inn in 2018, she’s played with the likes of Frank Turner, Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew, Chris Farren, Lightyear, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, and Lauran Hibberd, whether on her acoustic guitar or with her backing band.

False Starts, Open Endings is in stores now via Lockjaw Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sleep Walking Animals

Get ready to immerse yourselves in the dreaminess that is Sleep Walking Animals and their stunning new single “Rossignol (සිප ගන්නා විට),” out now via Black Sea Music.

Inspired by the answer to a question on University Challenge, Rossignol is an unmeditated confession of idealistic love. Electronic textures are paired with their trademark folk sensibilities, English lyrics are interwoven with Sri Lankan Sinhala, and song form is challenged with a gratuitous rock finale. Fans of the likes of Bon Iver and Radiohead will feel at home here.

Talking about the single, keys player Nuwan Hugh Perera says, “We had collectively spoken about including Sinhala lyrics in one of the songs. I initially translated the whole song into Sinhala. Then I worked on just the chorus and broke it down to two lines to represent what it meant to me. You can hear that the melody too came from the lyric itself. This song was so beautiful and bare in its original conception. It’s come such a long way and has ended up somewhere we never thought it would.”

“Rossignol (සිප ගන්නා විට)” once again showcases Sleep Walking Animals’ unique ability to combine poetic lyricism with wistful, dream-folk sensibilities that are undeniably immersive.

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Needle Drop: A.S. Fanning, Mushroom Cloud

Irish multi-instrumentalist A.S. Fanning recently released his powerful new album Mushroom Cloud and it might make you feel a bit sad at first, but that’s okay.

The album takes us back to those dark, dreaded times we’re all a bit too scared to talk about—the pandemic. It was a tumultuous time for most to say this least and A.S. Fanning doesn’t sugarcoat this, in fact he embraces it. His most vulnerable release to date, Mushroom Cloud combines dark lyricism with soaring orchestration creating something that is beautifully melancholic.

Talking about the album, Fanning elaborates, “I wrote Mushroom Cloud at the beginning of the pandemic, when society had shut down and we had no real knowledge of when, or if, it would start again. As with most people at the time, I became quite isolated and my world grew very small… I haven’t really looked for any silver linings in this myself. I suppose the best I can do is to see it as a document of a low point. A sort of scorched earth that hopefully leads to a new beginning. I found myself laughing at some of the lyrics I had written, which I think is quite a healthy thing, to be able to take a step back from your darker thoughts and see the absurdity in them.”

A comforting constant throughout this album is Fanning’s beast of a baritone quelling a gloomy symphony of instruments, harnessing them into something strangely hopeful.

Mushroom Cloud is in stores now via K&F Records/Proper Octopus Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Coolgirl

You may already be aware of Irish trio Bitch Falcon, but what you may not know is that their front person Lizzie Fitzpatrick also makes synth-soaked songs that pack a punch. Her latest release “High Altar” is out now, taken from her upcoming EP “Failed Reboot,” out on 8th November 2023 via Veta Records.

The EP will also be released on cassette, harping back to dungeon sci-fi collector tapes. A warped and deep sound that delves deep into reverb while bouncing back to a steady dance beat, the tracks melt into each other with an extra ambience that can only appear on cassette.

Talking about “High Altar,” Lizzie says, “‘High Altar’ was created by sampling the sound of knocking a radiator. The synth sounds are a mix of analogue synths in my bedroom studio and some modellers. It was written to demonstrate the emotional aspect of dance music and how an upturned bass melody and rolling cutoffs can display an intense sadness.”

”Failed Reboot” is in stores on 8th November 2023 via Veta Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Erica Nockalls

PHOTO: JEAN CHARLES VERSARI | Vocalist and violinist Erica Nockalls has released the brooding visuals to her ethereal alt-pop song “Build Me a Ship.” The video was unveiled as part of the France-based artist‘s announcement that she will be touring the UK alongside iconic band Echo And The Bunnymen. We were so excited here at TVD HQ, we couldn’t resist naming Erica our UK Artist of The Week.

Erica Nockalls has been a mainstay on the UK music scene having made a name for herself playing and performing with renowned bands such as The Wonder Stuff, Echo And The Bunnymen, and The Proclaimers. Her distinctive style of off-kilter pop music is more akin to the likes of Cocteau Twins and Lykke Li, with Erica’s use of gritty drum machines and shimmering synths coming to the fore.

“Build Me a Ship” is a blissful slice of electronica, with its reflective, dreamy sonics matching the cinematic visuals. As well as the video, Erica has unveiled a stellar reworking of Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache (feat. Jean-Charles Versari).”

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UK Artist of the Week: HUNNY BUZZ

Bristol newcomers HUNNY BUZZ are back and they’re slowing down the pace with their latest indie-pop tinged single “Deli Man,” out now.

Speaking on the essence of the track, HUNNY BUZZ express that “”Deli Man’ is a song about strength and acceptance of the little things in life. It reflects on mental health and dealing with people who don’t thoroughly understand, or at least try to. Its motivating and powerful chorus is captivating with comforting and heartfelt lyricism.” “Deli Man” continues to incorporate those classic British indie influences which have shaped them, whilst taking it a step further by experimenting with a flavor of country folk on the track.

The past two years have been packed with writing, performing, and recording. They are in their early stages as a group, yet already have a loyal fanbase of individuals in the local area and southwest. These guys are definitely ones to watch.

“Deli Man” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Gold Fever

Get ready to groove with dance-rock quartet Gold Fever and their sun soaked new single “Leather (Wish I Felt The Same),” out now via HUBB Records.

Oozing with synth-infused goodness, this vibrant new single with have those toes tapping in no time. Frontman Oscar JD Sault’s undisputed lyrical prowess and the band’s feel good sound brings an instant classic to the emerging band’s catalog.

Talking about the single, Oscar elaborates, “it’s about transition and how that was applicable to many aspects of my life at the time of writing. I felt stagnant while things around me changed. My perspective on my home city of Bristol became suffocatingly melancholic. Ultimately, I realised it was me who was losing myself. That kind of nostalgia is intoxicating, it’s surreal and numbing and almost feels sentient. ‘Leather’ is a song about forgetting who you are.”

“Leather (Wish I Felt The Same)” is in stores now via HUBB Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sonotto

Get ready to immerse yourselves in Sonotto’s weird and wonderful world. His kaleidoscopic new single “Casual Sex” is out now via HUBB Records.

Sonotto—aka Otto Neckel’s—latest cut is a five minute slice of experimental electronica at its best. He’s been hailed as “Bristol’s answer to Ziggy Stardust” and it’s not hard to see why when it comes to “Casual Sex.” Otto’s unique falsetto soars effortlessly over sensual synths, creating a celestial splendour.

The single was created as a result of Sonotto creating sounds for an upcoming short film and resonating in a moment with one of the loops. Sonotto elaborates, “the element of ‘Casual Sex’ that started it, was the intro bleeps and bloops that I made using a DX7 Synth emulator. I knew what was happening felt right because all of a sudden, I wasn’t doing it. I became a channel for creative energy that wanted to express through me in that moment”.

“Casual Sex” is in stores now via HUBB Records.

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