Category Archives: TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Lexie Carroll

London-based singer-songwriter Lexie Carroll hits us right in the feels with her delicately weaved new single “we’re not lonely anymore,” out now. The budding young artist is definitely one to watch.

Sixteen-year-old (yep, you read correctly) Lexie Carroll shines bright on her wonderfully charming new single “we’re not lonely anymore.” Lexie’s bittersweet vocals are complimented by gentle guitar strums and subtle percussion, creating something undeniably celestial. Fans of Maisie Peters and Gabrielle Aplin will feel at home here.

Talking about the single, Lexie explains, “I had this image in my head of a very movie-like scene of meeting someone at a party you don’t want to be at with people you don’t like and then heading outside to chat under the stars where it’s quieter but still with the distant sounds of the party fading in and out of the background.” She continues, “It’s about connecting with someone and it just being really easy to talk to them even though you’ve only just met. It’s very exciting because you know there could be something really special happening and you don’t have to be lonely anymore.”

“we’re not lonely anymore” is the first single from her forthcoming EP, “when the sun came up,” produced by Al Mobbs, Jamie Amos, and Dan Swift (Aqualung, Snow Patrol, Ash, British Sea Power, Biffy Clyro, Kasabian) and is due in stores in early 2022.

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UK Artist of the Week: Toby Corton

Ease yourselves into the working week with Toby Corton and his jazz-infused soundscapes that are bound to soothe the soul. Toby’s latest release is AA-side “Lost In You / Wide Lined Eyes,” and both tracks are absolute treasures to behold, trust us.

Toby Corton is a queer creative based in London who is definitely one to watch. Over the past few months, Toby has dropped a string of celestial singles showcasing his distinctive vocal style and equally distinctive fashion sense (hello Dalston). Toby’s newest singles “Lost In You / Wide Lined Eyes” are both quintessentially Toby where soul-tinged soundscapes are met with jazz and R&B-infused sensibilities creating a sound that even Amy Winehouse would be proud of.

If shaking up the music scene isn’t enough, Toby is also known for his photography of the already legendary Drag Queen from Rupaul’s Drag Race UK Bimini Bon Boulash, London Trans Pride Founder Lucia Blayke, as well as emerging artist Sophie Faith. Toby has also directed videos for other musical artists such as Jessica Wilde and Emilia Anastazja, and he has recently produced music with and for other visual artists including Adam Frost—busy guy! We can’t wait to see what Toby gets up to next and we’re sure 2022 is gonna bring even more good vibes (only).

“Lost In You / Wide Lined Eyes” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots:
OMD at Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 11/2

With concerts coming back full swing, choices must be made as they begin to pile on top of one another. Nearly two years of concert dates being rescheduled in a short amount of time is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have more choices than ever before from some big names across the UK; on the other, when you have a day job in tech, moonlight as a photographer, and have a family on top of that, you can’t possibly see all the ones that you want to. Trust me; I’ve tried.

Ironically, I had tickets to see Scotland’s finest rock band Biffy Clyro in London at an “intimate venue” but found myself at a tech conference in Edinburgh that evening after that show moving dates more than once. But what was first disappointment turned into an opportunity as I discovered synth-pop icons OMD would be playing that same night at the legendary Usher Hall just next door to said tech conference.

Being a massive Biffy fan and having seen them a few times since moving to London, I slowly shifted my mindset from one genre to another. OMD has always been on my list of shows to see, but sadly the stars never aligned in terms of being in the right place at the right time. What turned out to be a scheduling conflict turned out to be an epic once-in-a-lifetime evening with a legendary band.

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark returned to Edinburgh for the first time in nearly three decades to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark album Architecture & Morality. Co-founders Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals) have always enjoyed success. Still, you could argue that they are riding a second wave as they celebrate the early days that solidified their place in music history.

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UK Artist of the Week: Robin and The Goblins

This week we are immersing ourselves in the experimental electro-pop goodness of Robin and the Goblins. They recently released their cosmic new single “Future Angel” and its spookily good if you ask us…

Robin Romo is a non-binary artist originally from Spain. Their latest cut is an eerily atmospheric song that combines both pop, synth, and indie sensibilities creating something wonderfully weird. Inspired by the likes of Kate Bush, it’s not hard to see the comparison when it comes to the visuals for “Future Angel”—the ruffles alone should give it away really. But what Robin also brilliantly accomplishes on this single is the ability to make it both tragic yet playful and we can’t get enough.

Talking about the single, Romo explains, “I wrote ‘Future Angel’ from the point of view of a guardian angel that comes to warn a kid about the dangers of isolating yourself; of course the child was me. One night I was walking home after a night out and went into a snowed-in graveyard. I fell asleep for a couple of hours and when I woke up to the sound of crows and white all around me, I thought maybe I’d died. Turns out I was just hungover, but that inspired the imagery in the song, which I like to describe as ‘Dickens meets synth-pop’.”

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UK Artist of the Week: Dyan Valdés

The world can be an evil place sometimes, and in light of the recent attacks on Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa over here in the UK, it seems more important than ever to keep the conversation of women’s safety going and growing. Cuban-American artist Dyan Valdés released her powerful single “Fade Away” recently and its time to listen up and take note.

“Fade Away” is the first single to be released from Dyan’s compelling forthcoming album Stand. It’s a song dedicated to anyone who has ever felt trapped, marginalised, or silenced. The single is oozing with synth-infused soundscapes, channelling the likes of Bat For Lashes and PJ Harvey.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Dyan was attacked by a man on the streets of her home in the middle of the day in Berlin. Overwhelmed by the horrific experience and aware of increasing reports of domestic violence, Dyan felt the need to stand up and fight for women everywhere. “Fade Away” is about looking around and saying to yourself “this isn’t good enough.”

Dyan is no stranger to the music scene, having been founding member of indie-rock band The Blood Arm (2002-2017), synth-punk trio Mexican Radio (2017-), and plays keyboards in German Hamburger Schule legends Die Sterne (2012-). Stand is her debut solo album. All production, engineering, post-production, design, styling, film, photography, and promotion for the album has been done by women.

“Fade Away” is in stores now.

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TVD Live Shots: Rufus Wainwright at the London Palladium, 10/19

He’s one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters in the world, and although Covid wrecked his original tour plans two years ago, three rescheduled year later the stars aligned, and it was worth the wait. Rufus Wainwright continues to be a creative force, pushing boundaries while injecting his passion for the arts into everything he does. He’s got the charisma, the charm, and the songbook backed by rave reviews. He consistently walks the line between ego and confidence—yet this was going to be a different kind of show, one that separates the casual fans from the devoted.

If you were expecting a greatest hits tour, he’s not there yet. This show would be a celebration of his stunning 9th studio album Unfollow the Rules. The entire record was played, along with a few cherry-picked selections from his catalog which fit the mood.

What was that mood? Elegance, art, storytelling, and a stripped-down band that laid a foundation and propped up on a pedestal the very reason everyone was there—that voice. Rufus has one of the most unique voices in the world, and it continues to evolve as he reinvents himself again and again through his love of opera and the fantastic Judy Garland songbook. But he always comes back to where he began, and that’s what Unfollow the Rules is all about.

Conceived initially for a full band, Covid had other plans, so we were treated with an almost full band. All the essentials were there however;  guitar, standup bass, keys, and of course Rufus on guitar and his grand piano. He opened the show with a string of his newest material, including my favorite song from the latest record, “Damsel in Distress” (which is the closest thing to classic Rufus we’ve heard in years, by the way). It was starting to look like the album would be played from start to finish, only to be interrupted by a few cover songs.

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TVD Live Shots:
Sea Girls at Brixton Academy, 10/15

Imagine this. A new band sign a deal with a major record company, records a brilliant debut album, releases it, is praised by critics, then a pandemic hits. The tour is canceled, the record release party is postponed, and the world shuts down. That’s precisely what happened to UK indie-rock darlings Sea Girls. Now, as live music gets back on track across the country, fans who have waited patiently for the tour dates to get rescheduled for a second and third time are ready, and with the pressure on, Sea Girls delivered big time.

The band is playing tour dates initially scheduled for 2020 while their sophomore record waits in the wings with a January 2022 release. These are the types of scenarios that bands have to deal with as the world opens back up—fulfilling previous tour obligations while setting up the release of their new album. One would think that maybe the fans could have lost interest, but it’s had the exact opposite effect. The shows are bigger, and the excitement is peaking, and a sold-out Brixton Academy welcomed Sea Girls back with open arms while singing every song at the top of their lungs.

Due to the unique situation of one tour celebrating two albums, the setlist was a mix of pre-pandemic favorites and a handful of brand new songs. Sea Girls have a bit of an ’80s new wave sound to them while also reminiscent of the early 2000s Britpop movement; songs dripping with emotionally intelligent lyrics. These guys are smart songwriters, and frontman Henry Camamile writes some of the best lyrics of the past decade.

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UK Artist of the Week: Darling Darling

We’re getting woozy this week with Darling Darling and his infectious new single “Cut To The Chaser,” out now.

Based in South England, Darling Darling—aka Matt Bisgrove—is serving up his own take on noughties nostalgia with his latest vibrant single “Cut To the Chaser.” At first listen you can’t help but feel an immediate comparison to fellow Brits The Stone Roses, but upon further investigation, this song is so much more than its influences.

Matt combines indie rock sensibilities with psychedelic soundscapes, creating a sound that is wonderfully infectious. If you’re missing festival season, you’re gonna miss it even more after “Cut To the Chaser.” Hopefully next year we’ll see Darling Darling performing this live with a cold beer in hand in a magical field somewhere…

“Cut To the Chaser” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: GARGALO

This week’s Artist of the Week is Spanish-American songwriter GARGALO. He recently released his debut single “Out of Sync” and it’s an ethereal delight from start to finish.

GARGALO—aka Bruno G. Roth—is an emerging indie-pop artist whose sound definitely deserves to be on your radar. His debut EP “King of Dark Waters” is out on 26th November 2021 and taken from it is this wonderful opener “Out of Sync.”

Channelling the likes of Grizzly Bear and MGMT, Bruno combines indie and electronic elements creating a sound brimming with colour and oozing with celestial moments. Bruno’s distinctive vocals are at the forefront throughout, whilst shimmering synths and jangling guitar twangs bring the whole indie-electro package together. This may be GARGALO’s debut release but we’re pretty sure we’ll be hearing plenty more from him in the months to follow.

“Out of Sync” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Let’s Set Sail

This Irish quartet are creating something pretty incredible if their latest EP “Enzo” is anything to go by. Let’s Set Sail create mesmerising ambient soundscapes throughout this release and it’s a true delight for the ears.

Channelling the likes of Sylvan Esso and Grizzly Bear, Let’s Set Sail combine subtle electronics with intricate folk elements creating a completely compelling sound. A personal favourite from their new EP is previous single “Toledo,” which even has a hint of Metronomy to it.

The single combines woozy synths from Iain Dunphy with soft, celestial piano notes via Rob Molumby. Frontman Warren McCarthy’s impressive lead vocal is of course at the forefront, and he’s joined quite beautifully by Marian Hughes on backing vocals.

The EP feels like a love letter to Dublin, making it all the more special. Talking about the EP, the band explains, “The negative aspects in Dublin were influenced by current social and economic issues in the country, particularly the housing crisis. The positivity and hope contained in both songs, “Our Collective Brain” and “The Vee,” is formed from an unshakeable attachment to home, and considering there to be a beauty in that.” Lovely stuff.

“Enzo” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Brian Mackey

Get the tissues ready because this one will definitely make you weep. Brian Mackey recently released the touching new video for his single “Saturday Night Sleeping,” and it’s as poignant as it is powerful.

American singer-songwriter Brian Mackey’s son very sadly died of a heroin overdose on a warm Saturday night and thus, “Saturday Night Sleeping” was born. It’s an extremely emotive single that is bound to pull at the heartstrings and the message it sends is incredibly fitting.

With this release, Brian’s hoping to raise awareness for mental health, opioid dependency, and addiction which has continued to grow exponentially during the Covid-19 pandemic due to isolation, loneliness, loss of work and global normalcy. Channeling the likes of Keith Urban and even R.E.M., Brian combines Americana, indie rock, and country-tinged sensibilities creating something truly special and unique.

Brian has partnered with the US Grammy charity MusiCares to donate 100% of the track’s proceeds this summer and fall in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month through National Addiction Recovery Awareness Month.

“Saturday Night Sleeping” is out now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Ed Patrick

English singer-songwriter Ed Patrick takes the prize as this week’s Artist of the Week and you’ll see why once you give “Nothing Personal” a few spins, mark our words.

Channelling the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine, Ed Patrick’s latest cut is a stunning slice of indie-folk that it bound to pull on your heartstrings instantly. Ed’s delicately weaved vocal is complimented perfectly with gentle guitar strums and soft piano keys, creating a sound that is undeniably intimate. If you’ve recently had your heartbroken, you may need to get the tissues out…

Ed left school at the tender age of sixteen and worked in his local guitar shop earning enough money to buy a one way ticket to North America. Ed’s journey to developing his intimate songwriting was only just beginning. Watch this space…

“Nothing Personal” is out now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Sophie Mahon

We’re travelling back to the eighties this week with Sophie Mahon and her new-wave infused single “Bogart’s Eyes.” The single is taken from Sophie’s upcoming album of the same name and we can’t wait to hear more from this exciting new artist.

If you’re wondering where the song title “Bogart’s Eyes” comes from, then unsurprisingly we are pleased to inform you its because Sophie seems to be a little bit obsessed with Humphrey Bogart. Each song on her upcoming album is inspired by one of Bogart’s films and features guest musicians Emily Dolan-Davies (Bryan Ferry, Kim Wilde, The Thompson Twins) and Martin Dobson (Eurythmics, Jimmy Sommerville, Siouxie & the Banshees).

“Bogart’s Eyes” takes inspiration from his film Dark Passage which features Lauren Bacall (Bogie’s wife). “The lyrics are as if I am having a conversation with Lauren, who he adored with all his heart up till the day he died. I felt lonely that night and the only way I felt better was to imagine asking her what it was like to be loved that way.”

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TVD Live Shots: Mew at Royal Festival Hall, 9/4

“Absolutely fucking magical,” is what I heard over and over again as the crowd left the Mew show at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

After being rescheduled several times due to the ongoing pandemic, Mew took to the stage to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the landmark album And the Glass Handed Kites. In an era when albums are quickly becoming irrelevant, and music itself is treated as an “add-on” instead of the centerpiece, it’s more important than ever to recognize and celebrate the ones that “should have been bigger.” While the theater was full that evening, it begs the question, what place does this genre-defining masterpiece hold in the continued evolution of experimental pop?

Anyone present can immediately tell you that the music holds up like it was released yesterday. The fact that there was no opener and that the band played the record straight through nearly without interruption speaks volumes. The music becomes a soundtrack, and the visuals projected take you to another world—a strangely beautiful world that doesn’t make sense outside of the immediate space. Is it art or music? It’s both. Singer and guitarist Jonas Bjerre’s a bit older, a bit grayer, but his voice sounds as perfect as ever.

I’ve listened to this album hundreds of times over the years. It’s tough to get tired of this one as I seem to discover something new with each listen. The layers and complexities of the songs are stunning, and the melodies find a delicate balance between an earworm pop hit and progressive shoegaze. They did what Radiohead failed to do in their later years—push the boundaries but keep the hooks in place.

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UK Artist of the Week: Zed The Dreamer

Immerse yourselves in Zed The Dreamer and his smooth, sultry new single “Comfort (Not Love),” out now.

With a voice like velvet, Zed The Dreamer—aka Zé Pedro Viveiros—certainly proves he’s one to watch and we’re loving his low-key vibe. Zed’s latest single “Comfort (Not Love)” is taken from his EP “The Life and Death of McKenzie Kane,” which is also out now, and it’s made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Channeling the nu-jazz stylings of Tom Misch whilst bringing in the brooding sultry elements of the likes of Gus Dapperton, Zed isn’t messing around. “Comfort (Not Love)” is the perfect fusion of indie, soul, and jazz—and we can’t get enough.

Zed moved from studying in Portugal to London in 2019 and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Comfort (Not Love)” is in stores now.

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