With the anticipation and excitement for the upcoming Marvel film Black Panther, in cinemas next month, seemingly rising with every passing day, CTD Tiles have launched a fantastic, fan-art inspired range ideal for those individuals who have a passion for superheroes and an array of popular culture characters.

This new Pixel Pop range allows members of several fandoms to recreate their favourite heroes, with Thor, Hulk, Yoda and Flash designs among the many available. With the help of Callum Pearson, a student from Leeds College of Building, they’ve also recreated one of the most popular designs; that of the Night Vigilante, inspired by Batman.

The full list of available characters is as follows:

●        Green Galactic Genius

●        Green Giant

●        Magical Baby Horse

●        Night Vigilante

●        Red Italian Plumber

●        Sir Superspeed

●        Space Soldier

●        Thunder Warrior

Each pack has a blueprint of the easy to follow design and contains all the tiles needed to create each superhero or fandom icon. The tiles are part of the Reflections by GEMINI tiles collection, which are ceramic and glazed to help protect against staining while giving a high-class, pristine and glossy finish to each project.

Speaking about the range, CTD team member Tracy Hildreth said:

“Fan art has become increasingly popular over the years and we believe that everyone will enjoy our whimsical take on nostalgia. We wanted to create something that would delight and excite our customer base and we believe our customers will quickly fall in love with these characters.”

The Pixel Pop range is available from the CTD website and prices start at £39.99.


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With support from the likes of Guitar Player Magazine who call their music “synth-heavy with lead singer’s Kimi Shelter’s witchy voice dripping with 80’s glam”, Atlanta-based quartet StarBenders have had a rather good year, thanks in large part to the release of their album Heavy Petting. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Kimi to find out more about the background to the band, their dream show line-up and their ultimate career ambition.

TITL: How do the four of you know each other/how did you come together?

Kimi Shelter: Katie and I met when we were in middle school at a camp that was somewhere between Alabama and Georgia. We didn’t get an opportunity to play music together until StarBenders, but stayed on each other’s radar until the conception of the band. Aaron and I have played in other bands together and knew one another from the local scene. We caught Kriss playing at a house party in the middle of nowhere one night and the rest is history.

TITL: What would you say each of you brings to the band?

KS: Musically, we’re pretty traditional when it comes to being a 4 piece rock band. We rely on one another’s strengths and weaknesses intuitively. I build the skeleton of the song and the band puts on the meat. Everyone plays and writes their parts, respective to their instrument. We don’t do the ‘musical chairs’ thing where everyone switches instruments, we just play.

All of us sit more on the ‘shy’ end of the spectrum personality wise, with myself being the most outgoing. Aaron is really amazing with talking to other people and getting them excited and interested in things. Kriss is very caring, he likes to make sure everyone is taken care of. Katie is really funny and has a goofy side to her that you get to see if you’re lucky.

TITL: Can you recall the moment/time when you knew you wanted to make music a career?

KS: I think we all knew from inception.

TITL: Which band or artist would you say most similar to?

KS: We have a pretty healthy mix of influences ranging from Blondie to Fleetwood Mac to The Rolling Stones…the list goes on and on and on.

TITL: How would you sum up your album Heavy Petting? Could you each pick your favourite track from it?

KS: The album was a really exciting milestone for the band, seeing as how it was our first full length. We really got to shine and push the boundaries of what “rock” music is. My favourite track is “Blood.”

Aaron – “Powder.”

Katie – “Public Transit.”

Kriss – “U Like Me Now?”

TITL: Who or what are you most influenced/inspired by when it comes to song-writing?

KS: Life in general, love is my moving emotion.

TITL: Which four songs (or one, if you happen to all agree!) would you say are the greatest ever written and why?

KS: How about we all pick one? Mine would be “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys.

Kriss: The Beatles – “Across the Universe.”

Katie: The Band – “Atlantic City.”

Aaron: Black Sabbath – “Symptom of the Universe.”

TITL: If you could, which venue, anywhere in the world, would you most like to play?

KS: It would be a dream come true to play at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

TITL: Please put together your dream show-line up for me. It can feature four bands or artists, who can be living or dead.

KS: That’s a doozy, but off the top of my head… The Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis and The Rolling Stones

TITL: How do you feel about social media? Do you believe it’s had an entirely positive impact on bands and artists/the industry or like most things, do you believe it to have a darker side?

KS: Social media can be frustrating at times because you can feel like you’re shouting into the wind. But, it’s really incredible that you have the ability to reach people from all over the world. Just last week a fan came all the way from Belgium to see us play in Charlotte, NC. It’s pretty incredible.

TITL: Finally then, which band’s career would you most like to emulate and what would you like your legacy to be?

KS: I mean, The Rolling Stones have had an incredible career. A run like the one they’ve had certainly wouldn’t be too shabby!

For more information on StarBenders, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their album Heavy Petting is available now. Header photo credit: Ian Vegas-Giovanni Benboe.


Continuing to share a powerful and deeply important message, especially to the younger generation, via her debut single “Wasted”, Ally Ryan has earned herself a growing following across several social media platforms with fans on both sides of the Atlantic drawn to her feisty and funny personality, and her music that holds a lot of meaning. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to find out more about her musical influences and future release plans.

TITL: Who Is Ally Ryan?

Ally Ryan: Hah! I ask myself that every day! All I know is that I am a young, passionate and mighty stubborn artist who wakes up every-day and tries to navigate through this crazy life with as much poise and ease as possible. I am still learning and still growing every day.

TITL: When did you start making music?

AR: My first time in the studio was around the age of twelve! It was my first full fledge writing and recording session, and I became obsessed with the process from then on.

TITL: Who are and have been your favourite artists over the years?

AR: Eeek! Such a hard one! It’s impossible to choose just one, so a few of my favorites are Prince, Frankie Valli, Chris Martin and Bon Iver. I could go on…

TITL: Who inspires you to accomplish your musical dreams and ambitions?

AR: Other than my musical influences, my family and friends inspire me the most i think! Their constant love and support motivates me more than anything!

TITL: You also have a rather comical side to you and a great sense of humour. Where does that come from?

AR: I am an absolute goof to put it lightly. Even at a young age I was always willing to make a complete fool of myself if it meant getting a laugh out of someone. My parents are some of the funniest people I know, so that probably has a lot to do with it. My mom used to tell me not to take myself too seriously, and I think I took that advice and ran with it!

TITL: How has living in LA helped boost your career?

AR: Los Angeles as a whole has changed and inspired my music in so many ways. I went from writing sad ballads in New York City, to writing fun dance pop records in LA. The energy and the creativeness that flows through Los Angeles has definitely impacted me in a great way.

TITL: What is the meaning behind your debut single “Wasted”? What did you want the song to stand for when you recorded it?

Wasted” is essentially about a love or relationship that is so intense that it becomes toxic. It’s easy to lose a part of yourself when in a relationship, and that’s kind of what this record touches on. The song was written by myself and some really talented writers as well as one of my favorite producers Andrew Underberg.

I wanted – and want – it to become somewhat of an anthem, especially for the younger generation. I think it’s important we realize how similar we are as humans and how similar our situations are that we go through.

TITL: Are there plans or an EP or album?

AR: There is!! We have no release date as of now, but it’s for sure on its way!

Check out “Wasted” below and for more information on Ally Ryan, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.