London’s TV Priest arrived in the Spring of 2020 with their debut single, House Of York. They were immediately picking up international press attention and seeing support from BBC 6 Music, including multiple plays from Steve Lamacq and the mercurial Dan Carey on his Recommends show.
Their second single, Runner Up, and then a third in This Island, followed soon after and saw the band go straight onto the 6 Music playlist.
Last month they announced their debut album ‘Uppers’ (out November 13th via Hand In Hive) and were confident enough in the rest of their songs to leave their first two singles off the track listing. The buzz was significant, with the first run of limited vinyl through Recordstore selling out in just over 24 hours.
All of this for a band who have played only the one show, ever.
You can pre-order ‘Uppers’ here
All TV Priest’s artwork is designed by their own front man Charlie Drinkwatwer, a visual artist also responsible for the recent cover artwork for Fontaines D.C. among others, and their music is self-produced by the band’s own Nic Smith and is tantamount to the dual power of both their in-house DIY ethic and immediate, incendiary songs. Their third single, This Island, debuted last month as Jack Saunders’ “Next Wave” on Radio 1 and was the first to be taken from the album – it saw them not only pick up further UK support at press and radio but also start to break into international support, where the likes of KEXP, Paste, Brooklyn Vegan and more played and wrote about the band for the first time.
The band now shared their new single and video for the track Slideshow. It is a further satire on the here and now and our near universal habit of staring at our screens all day, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling…
Watch the video clip for Slideshow via YouTube below or listen here.
People will have to wait a little while longer to catch the band live again, but will be able to do so in 2021, where their headline dates have now been rescheduled for April.
Catch TV Priest live at the following dates next year:
20th April – Bristol – Rough Trade
21st April – Southampton – Heartbreakers
22nd April – London – The Shacklewell Arms
23rd April – Brighton – Prince Albert
29th April – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach
30th April – Yes (Basement) – Manchester
More about TV Priest?
It’s tempting to think that you have all the answers, screaming your gospel every day with certainty and anger. Life isn’t quite like that though, and the debut album from London four-piece TV Priest instead embraces the beautiful and terrifying unknowns that exist personally, politically, and culturally.
Posing as many questions as it answers, ‘Uppers’, which comes out via Hand In Hive (Blackaby, A.O. Gerber, Wyldest, Swimming Tapes), is a thunderous opening statement that continues the UK’s recent resurgence of grubby, furious post-punk music. It says something very different though – something completely its own.
Four childhood friends who made music together as teenagers before drifting apart and then, somewhat inevitably, back together late in 2019, TV Priest was borne out of a need to create together once again, and brings with it a wealth of experience and exhaustion picked up in the band’s years of pursuing ‘real life’ and ‘real jobs’, something those teenagers never had. “The process of making music had always been very cathartic for us,” they say, “and we probably didn’t realise that until we stopped doing it for a while and realised what was missing.”
Last November, the band – vocalist Charlie Drinkwater, guitarist Alex Sprogis, bass and keys player Nic Smith and drummer Ed Kelland – played their first show, to a smattering of friends in what they describe as an “industrial freezer” in the warehouse district of Hackney Wick. “It was like the pub in ‘Peep Show’ with a washing machine just in the middle…” Charlie laughs, remembering how they dodged ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia and deep fat fryers while making their first statement as a band.
The gig might’ve seemed innocuous – not to mention humorous – at the time, but it remains their only live gig to date, and may well end up going down in legend. Having pencilled in gigs for the rest of 2020 and readied debut single House Of York, a searing examination of the Monarchy set over wiry post-punk and fronted by a Mark E. Smith-like mouthpiece in Charlie, the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a precedent for launching a band during a global pandemic, but among the general sense of anxiety and unease pervading everything at the moment, TV Priest’s entrance in April with the release of House Of York served as a breath of fresh air among the chaos, its anger and confusion making some kind of twisted sense to the nation’s fried brains.
It’s the same continued global sense of anxiety that will greet the release of ‘Uppers’, and it’s an album that has a lot to say right now. Taking musical cues from both post-punk stalwarts and the mechanical, pulsating grooves of krautrock, it’s a record that moves with an untamed energy. Over the top of this rumbling musical machine is vocalist Charlie, a cuttingly funny, angry, confused, real frontman. “I found singularity at the bottom of the Mail Online comments section / HAHAHA, laugh it up,” he deadpans on new single ‘This Island’, and the tales he weaves across the new album feel plucked straight from the country’s collective consciousness right now.
A song Charlie wrote in response to “a parochialism that feels rampant in the UK,” This Island addresses creeping nationalism in the country. “It’s a howl of frustration, and is a bit incoherent,” the frontman says. It’s a word that could easily seem like he’s putting himself down, but the incoherence here, and across the entirety of ‘Uppers’, is one borne of trying desperately to seek enlightenment, while also basking in the unknowability of things. As incoherent as a good old fashioned debate down the pub, it’s a brave and honest admission of not having all the answers, something that will undoubtedly connect widely in 2020.
According to Nic, ‘Uppers’ sees TV Priest “explicitly and outwardly” trying to avoid narrowmindedness and avoiding conflicting points of view. “There will never be a solution if it’s just heads banging together,” he adds. ‘Uppers’ sees TV Priest taking musical and personal risks, reaching outside of themselves and trying to make sense of this increasingly messy world. It’s a band and a record that couldn’t arrive at a more perfect time.