This is only a selection of new music – dig into more or follow the Spotify playlists.


Nialler9 Weekly playlist


1.

Tune-yards – Look At Your Hands

Now officially a duo of Merril Garbus and Nate Brenner, tune-yards will release a fourth record called I can feel you creep into my private life on January 19th. The sound of this song ‘Look At Your Hands’ is a nice taster, it’s more focused, danceable and electronic-leaning while retaining some of that Afro looped pop exuberance that is a key part of the Tune-yards identity.

“Thematically, the twelve new songs tackle race, politics, intersectional feminism and environmental prophecies head on. But in the billows of intense subject matter, the album arrives as Tune-Yards’ most immediate and upbeat music yet – this is music to dance to.|


2.

Pink Kink – ‘Munchie Magic’

A Liverpool band whose second single equates a desire for fast food with oral sex, ‘Munchie Magic’ is a gang-shouting slice of glittering shouty neon pop.


3.

Lankum – Déanta In Eireann

From one of my albums of the past week (and a band who announced a Vicar Street show this morning) comes this standout from Between The Earth & The Sky about Ireland. The 8-minute ‘Deanta in Eireann’ that could be about nearly any time in Irish history but are applicable to the now – migration, a government who doesn’t care about the little people and using your Irish charm abroad but it turns the song’s gaze back on the homeland – “if the Dáil are the pimps, then we are the whores” and in the end, you’ll want to stand up and declare the song our new antagonistic national anthem.


4.

Marcus Marr – High Times

THE DFA producer that brought us the absolute dancefloor riproar of ‘Rocketship’ brings the funk and house on this new track. Reminds me of early Daft Punk.


5.

Gorillaz & Little Simz – Garage Palace

An uncharacteristic banger from Gorillaz with UK rapper Little Simz on vocals. This is a fresh thing.


6.

Bibio – ‘Phantom Brickworks III’

Bibio has a new album out Friday called Phantom Brickworks and it’s a collection of mostly improvised ambient pieces that are quite evocative.

Phantom Brickworks is a collection of mostly improvised musical pieces, that for some years now, have provided me with a mental portal into places and times – some real, some imaginary, some a combination of both. Human beings are highly sensitive to the atmospheres of places, which can be enhanced or dramatically altered when you learn about the context of their history. Echoes and voices can sometimes be heard, in some way or another. Places sometimes have things to say.” Bibio


7.

The Cyclist – When We All Break Down

Derry producer Andrew Morrison dropped his new album Sapa Inca Delirium last Friday and his stated aim was to bring some warmth into electronic music. On one of the album highlights, he hooks up with Joni, who recorded her vocals in one take over some percussive synth dance music with a nod to garage and drum ‘n’ bass.


8.

Hamilton Leithauser & Angel Olsen – Wild Hunger

Olsen’s been on fire on the collaboration front lately and here, her turn with the Walkmen singer is a great match as his retro singing style is reinforced when she appears.


9.

Young Fathers – Lord

Glasgow trio Young Fathers have finished recording their third album and so they’ve shared the closing cut from it to coincide with some UK dates. You can’t dance to it they want you to know. It is a slow alt-gospel ballad in their unique style.


10.

Teen Ravine – Steady On

Toronto act Teen Ravine bring the crystallised dream pop vibes from an upcoming album.


3 New Music flavours:

All song added in the past week: Nialler9 Weekly.

The larger three-month New Music Playlist.

New Irish Music Playlist

Check out the regularly updated Spotify playlists.

Posted on November 1st, 2017

Artists: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is only a selection of new music – dig into more or follow the Spotify playlists.


Nialler9 Weekly playlist


1.

LCD Soundsystem – Tonite

This is it. This is the excitement we’ve been waiting for. Ok, it’s a jaded excitement but it’s LCD sonically and lyrically encapsulating their whole deal in one track. Ever the ageing outsider, Murphy ruminates on the current pop landscape’s monoculture that peddles limited edition sneakers before turning it back on himself “And what’s it you do again?
Oh I’m a reminder / The hobbled veteran of the disk shop inquisition”. He’s still losing his edge and recognises he sounds like his mother. The generation gap is stark.

“You’ve lost your internet and we’ve lost our memories / We had a paper trail that led to our secrets / But embarrassing pictures have now all been deleted / By versions of selves that we thought were the best ones
‘Till versions of versions of others repeating / Come laughing at everything you thought was important / While still making mistakes that you thought you had learned from.”

In the end, Murphy suggests the culture prioritises the youthful superstars is a false narrative but offers a hopeful alternative narrative for living.

“You’re missing a party that you’ll never get over / You hate the idea that you’re wasting your youth / That you stood in the background oh until you got older / But that’s all lies.”

It’s not over and Murphy’s own “late era middle-aged ramblings” is proof.


2.

Alex Cameron & Angel Olsen – Stranger’s Kiss

A classic-sounding collaboration that has a curtain-closer feel. Olsen is the real star once she appears giving the tune a lift beyond the norm. Nice video featuring Girls actress Jemima Kirke too.


3.

James Holden & The Animal Spirits – Pass Through The Fire

It’s been a while since anything from Mr Holden has grabbed my ears. ‘ Pass Through The Fire’ is a discombobulating building track recorded with his new band The Animal Spirits. Holden will no longer be DJing so this is the new phase of his career and it’s a nu-jazz brass and wind modular synth folk /trance workout constructed live with the band Tom Page (RocketNumberNine), Etienne Jaumet, Marcus Hamblett, Liza Bec and Lascelle Gordon – have shared lead single ‘Pass Through The Fire’.


4.

Confidence Man – Boyfriend (Repeat)

One of those novelty-lite talky songs that would have gone down well at the indie-disco, ‘Boyfriend Repeat’ is a fun and funky pop song from an Australian four-piece.


5.

Julien Baker – Appointments

21 year-old Memphis songwriter Julien Baker’s debut was reissued on Matador earlier this year and now we had news of her newest Turn Out The Lights on October 27th. ‘Appointments’ is a torch-burning hopeful highlight. Baker plays Dublin in November.


6.

Four Tet – the one with a load of random symbols

I’m not sure where I’ve heard this before but it was posted under a load of random symbols on Spotify this week. It’s not the other track on the new limited 12″ release with ‘Planet’ on it, that’s ‘SW9 SSL’ Just don’t ask me what it’s called.


7.

Daughter – Burn It Down

Surprise! Daughter are doing the score for a video game. Not totally expected perhaps but their music is ambient-leaning and Florence And The Machine worked with Square Enix and Final Fantasy before so it’s has precedence. The band’s soundtrack for Life Is Strange: Before The Storm will be released as Music from Before the Storm will be released on September 1.


8.

The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By

The Horrors are at their best when they bring rock textures with more hypnotic elements and this new song from their fifth album V (Sept 22) does just that. It’s a bit New Order, a bit Caribou.


9.

Ardyn – Throwing Stones

After this Gloucestershire duo’s last song had a Fleetwood Mac vibe, their newest continues the trend of sounding like classic artist with Kate Bush being the most obvious touchstone. It was produced by Tourist (they feature on his new single) and the sense of foreboding common from watching Hitchcock’s The Birds.


10.

Anna Of The North – Money

From the new album from the Norwegian-Kiwi duo of Anna Lotterud and Brady Daniell-Smith out September 8, ‘Money’ is a warning to a friend, or ex about a coin-sucking lover.


3 New Music flavours:

All song added in the past week: Nialler9 Weekly.

The larger three-month New Music Playlist.

New Irish Music Playlist

Check out the regularly updated Spotify playlists.

Posted on August 17th, 2017

Artists: , , , , , , , , ,

Angel Olsen will tour in Ireland next year with two dates announced in Dublin and Cork next May.

The musician’s Dublin date will happen at Vicar Street on May 19th 2017 courtesy of promoters Aiken Promotions & Skinny Wolves. Tickets priced €22.90 + fees go on sale this Thursday November 24th at 10am through Ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.

In Cork on Saturday May 20th, Angel will play Cork Opera House courtesy of The G-Man and Low Trees Promotion. Tickets: €22 + fees are also on sale Thursday at 10am.

Olsen plays Empire Music Hall on Sunday May 21st too.


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Posted on November 22nd, 2016

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Artists:

Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. This week’s additions include new songs from Metronomy, Shura, Agnes Obel, Trentmoller, DJ Shadow and Flores.

Check out the Songs of the week Soundcloud playlist.


1.

Blood Orange – ‘Best To You’

Dev Hynes’ ambitious guest-filled Freetown Sound album dropped last week.

The former Lightspeed Champion and recent songwriter/producer of great records from Sky Ferreira and Solange has released some great music under his Blood Orange name but with new album Freetown Sound, Hynes’ moves from liminal to minimal soulful sleek pop that addresses race, class and feminism.

Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, BEA1991, Debbie Harry, Kindness, Ian Isiah, Kelsey Lu, Jason Arce, Ava Raiin, P, Porches, Starchild and Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift all feature but easy standout right now is the Empress Of-sung ‘Best To You’ an alluring melancholic pop record to dance around to against the push and pull of desire in a fading relationship.


2.

Clams Casino & Kelela – ‘A Breath Away’

Clams has largely ditched the cloud for precision production.

Having already given us a grade-A banger with Vince Staples, Clams Casino has turned to his softer side on this collaboration with LA R&B singer Kelela from new album 32 Levels. Kelela is the owner of one of my favourite voices in music and while there are cloudy elements to Clams’ production on ‘A Breath Away’, Kelela punctures it with an emotive soulful beauty that few can match. It’s almost pop.

32 Levels is out on July 18th and also features Alt-J’s Joe Newman, A$AP Rocky, Lil B and Sam T Herring of Future Islands.


3.

Angel Olsen – ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’

A great single from the Chicago songwriter’s new album.

When Angel Olsen really lets loose, she’s at her biting best, as demostrated by songs like ‘High-Five’ and ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ from Burn No Fire For No Witness.

For her forthcoming album, My Woman (September 2nd on Jagjaguar), Olsen is playing a part, in song and video, versions of herself and others. ‘Intern’ dramatically suggested a transition but ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ draws you in to that world with a song that asks yet is in control of the situation. Olsen’s voice is at her most authoritative, expressive and artistic.


4.

James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Rising Water’

New R&B stripes with production from Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ producer.

James Vincent McMorrow’s new album is done and dusted and with some recent teasing, and a European tour announced, James appeared on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio One show last night to debut the recorded version of ‘Rising Water’ as the Hottest Record In The World.

The song is R&B soul-inspired with new textures in the form of throwback synths, a motorik bassline. McMorrow’s falsetto remains but there’s a refreshing vitality to it.

The song was produced by Nineteen85, who produced Drake records like ‘One Dance’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ along with OVO acts dvsn and Majid Jordan.


5.

I Am The Cosmos – ‘Letting It Go’

Dublin synth-lovers come back tougher.
Three years on from the release of Monochrome, the debut album from Ross Turner and Cian Murphy as I Am The Cosmos and the presence of its analogue synthesizer dance music in my regular listening has never diminished.

Where Monochrome was inspired by a single song from the Japanese band Mariah, a band who have inspired and moved crate diggers and music outliers alike, the band’s new material, live in recent shows, had much more muscle.

‘Letting Go’ echoes that difference in their approach. Following the band’s remix of Girls Names last year, ‘Letting It Go’ is all pulsing synthesizer electronics and swallowing Joy Division vocals that itself, start to lose control, echoing the title.


6.

Orlando Volcano Ft. Gemma Dunleavy – “Mixed Messages”

Dublin boy finds his feet in the Big Apple.

After being accepted to the Red Bull Music Academy in New York, the producer Orlando Volcano moved to the city for good three years ago and has spent his musical time exploring global underground dance sounds. His latest EP on London’s Liminal Sounds features the tropical dancehall of Mixed Messages with vocals by the effervescent Gemma Dunleavy (Murlo, White Collar Boy, Clu).

As featured in Irish Times’ New music roundup.


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Posted on July 5th, 2016

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When Angel Olsen really lets loose, she’s at her biting best, as demostrated by songs like ‘High-Five’ and ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ from Burn No Fire For No Witness.

For her forthcoming album, My Woman (September 2nd on Jagjaguar), Olsen is playing a part, in song and video, versions of herself and others. ‘Intern’ dramatically suggested a transition but ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ draws you in to that world with a song that asks yet is in control of the situation. Olsen’s voice is at her most authoritative, expressive and artistic.

MY WOMAN tracklist:

1. Intern
2. Never Be Mine
3. Shut Up Kiss Me
4. Give It Up
5. Not Gonna Kill You
6. Heart Shaped Face
7. Sister
8. Those Were The Days
9. Woman
10. Pops

Posted on June 30th, 2016

Artists:

It looks like Angel Olsen is about ready to kick off a new chapter after her stirring Burn Your Fire For No Witness with the debut of a new song and trailer called ‘Intern’.

The song a full-bodied version of her sound amplified by synths atmosphere and accompanied by a theatrical video with Olsen in a wig singing “it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do / someone in the world will make a fool of you,” before lifting appropriately and angelically into a higher register before coming to a beeping halt, as there may be more to come.

‘Intern’ sounds like Perfume Genius or the start of an alternative Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The song is from an upcoming album (?) called My Woman.

The video was directed by Olsen with input from Ashley Connor and Jethro Waters.

Posted on June 3rd, 2016

Artists:

The first Nialler9 show of 2015 was broadcast last Thursday at 10pm on TXFM. The two hour show leaned forward and featured some of the best new music coming out in the first months of the new year: from All We Are to Emmy The Great; Laura Marling to Jape, Marina & The Diamonds to Lapsley, Dan Deacon to Panda Bear. HAve a listen below.

You can listen live on Thursdays to the show on 105.2FM, online, the iOs app, Android app or if you missed it, along with all the other shows, via the listen back section

https://soundcloud.com/nialler9/nialler9-txfm-show-jan-8th-new-music-2015

Tracklisting

Tennis – ‘I’m Callin’
All We Are – ‘Feel Safe’
Jape – ‘Seance Of Light’
Laura Marling – ‘Short Movie’
Emmy The Great -‘Swimming Pool’
Real Lies – ‘World Peace’
Purity Ring – ‘Push Pull’
Ibeyi – ‘Mama Says’
Oh Wonder – ‘The Rain’
Jessica Pratt – ‘Back, Baby’
Marina and The Diamonds – ‘Happy’
Hinds – ‘Between Cans’
Girlpool – ‘Blah Blah Blah’
The Drink – ‘Microsleep’

Kanye West – ‘Only One’ (feat. Paul McCartney)
D’Angelo – ‘Ain’t That Easy’
Meltybrains? – ‘IV’
Shamir – ‘On the Regular’
Hayden James – ‘Something About You’
GL – ‘Take Me Back’
KStewart – ‘Close Enough’
Eaves – ‘Timber’
C Duncan – ‘For’
iZem – ‘Sadeo’ (feat. Feather)
Lapsley – ‘Brownlow’
Dan Deacon – ‘Feel the Lightning’
Panda Bear – ‘Boys Latin’

https://soundcloud.com/nialler9/nialler9-txfm-show-jan-8th-new-music-2015

Posted on January 12th, 2015

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Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish Albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


 

Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.

My favourite albums of the year features a sixth album career highlights from a psychedelic mathematician, a fourth album breakthrough for a rubbernecking sweat-drenched band, the return of Aphex Twin, a Wicklow man who seemed to take over the music world, two great Irish rap albums, an album about an imagined trip through China, two very different R&B debut albums, lounge-time electronica from Norway, Annie Clark’s continued ascension through ambition, a collaborative effort from Iceland and the Faroe Islands and a marquee buddy rap album that said more about the state of America than anything else this year and had a brash kick-ass time doing it.

There’s a Spotify playlist available for it all but click down to get some context for each album from 10 to 1. Top 100 songs of the year tomorrow.

Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist


30. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
29. Ratking – So It Goes
28. Shabazz Palaces –  Lese Majesty
27. The Bug – Angels & Devils
26. Lone – Reality Testing
25. DJ Dodger Stadium – Friend Of Mine
24. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
23. Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell
22. Lethal Dialect x Jackknife J – 1988
21. Hozier – Hozier
20. Warpaint – Warpaint
19. The Gloaming – The Gloaming
18. Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch
17. Sinkane – Mean Love
16. Dorian Concept – Joined Ends
15. James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical
14. Fatima – Yellow Memories
13. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time!
12. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
11. St Vincent – St. Vincent


10. Aphex Twin – Syro

AFXRichard D James’ first album in 13 years.

“We know now that the contents of Syro is just some of the material recorded in the intervening years in one of James’ many studios. The oldest track stretch back six or seven years, using a massive 138 pieces of musical equipment (all listed in spiral on the artwork).

“What appears before it also echoes the heavier side of Druqks but repeated listens reveal new textures, new moods, new avenues explored by James. The trademark eeriness of melody and general cheeky humour is still evident throughout but the greatest part of a new Aphex Twin record is that is truly allows you to get lost in its puzzle, a completely different musical terrain even when there are expected imprints of ambient works, electro, acid, jungle and squiggly funk.

“The 10 minute experience of ‘XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]’ feels different every time with environmental listening experiences changing the focus and feel (headphones, outdoors, late-night) as all the best electronic music can do. Syro still offers much to explore, many repeat listens in.

“And that is the key to why Aphex Twin is pored over so minutely, because he goes into such detail in his music. James’ intricate compositional skills remains his biggest asset. While his sounds have been copied over the years, his brain is still peerless.”

Listen: Spotify


9. Angel Olsen – Burn No Fire For Your Witness

Angel OlsenThe American singer dials up the amps and keeps things intimate.

“When you have a voice so striking you could hang a hat on it, it’s probably a good idea to hang your songs on it too. Angel Olsen’s 2012 debut album Half Way Home introduced us to the Missouri singer’s deep country-folk vibrato that sometimes sounded like an entrant in a yodelling competition and musically, was set to throwback acoustic folk. She was an otherworldly attraction.

“The followup, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) still relies on Olsen’s distinctive tones to draw you in but the songs hold you closer and Olsen reveals more of herself in the process, while expanding the arrangements to include a rock band at full tilt, devastating acoustic songs and poignant country-folk.

“If Olsen sounded distant and unearthly before, on Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she is emotionally baring, whispering uncomfortably close in your ear or sometimes dancing around you, a real person, hanging her songs and her voice on relatable and knowable experiences.”

Listen: Spotify


8. Godknows + MynameisjOhn – Rusangano/Family

SBsA brilliant grimey hip-hop collaborative album via Clare, Zimbabwe and Limerick..

“As they describe it, ‘a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea’ with the expressed interest of changing the game.

“What God Knows, the founding member of the Random Acts Of Kindness collective and Ennis-born mynameisjOhn came up with (along with MuRli) is a game-changer in the way it drags Irish hip-hop into a fully-formed album/mixtape format with a confidence and skill that is unfamiliar in this country’s rap output.

“MC God Knows is a fervent presence, an MC with command, as heard on the soulful clip of ‘Standard’, an easy album highlight. MynameisjOhn provides the horn-soul hip-hop backing but doesn’t rest there, the beats bang, the strings stab and God Knows goes double time to the beat slowing to let the soul sample breathe.

“The versatility extends to MynameisjOhn too. ‘Throw The Spear’ reminds me of an MF Doom production – Dangerdoom era, meets Machinedrum. ‘Habbahuk’ is more plaintive, ‘Twentyfourseven’ is psychedelic funk and there are hints of a knowledge of electronic subgenres, even African dance on ‘African Shirts’.

“Aspects of being an African boy growing up in Ireland seeps through the lyrics in details about being black in an Irish school. He’s Joined by MuRli and Guide on ‘Words Of Our Fathers’, a track which, in the short history of Irish-African rap would have never been made twenty years ago, and serves as an aural document of one small thing that multi-cultural Ireland has given us.”

Listen: Bandcamp


7. Kiasmos – Kiasmos

KiasmosIcelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroe Islands’ synth-pop musician Janus Rasmussen’s first album together collides two worlds of sounds to engaging effect.

” Arnalds and Rasmussen explore what happens when contemporary composition that uses stringed instruments, has a classical knowledge and is often written with scores in mind intersects with the sensibilities and practices of synthesizer-driven music structures.

“The pair spent much of the year in Reykjavík working together on this album. The result is a grandiose vocal-less dance album that effectively uses the tactile textures of the former in the arena of the latter.

“Across seven, often long tracks (the average length of about 6 and a half minutes), the opposing worlds of electronic and classical mesh well together and Kiasmos moves in a place that is neither contemporary or classical, house or techno, but that crosses both with a new identity.”

Listen on Spotify.


6. Glass Animals – ZABA

ZABAAn alluring minimal indie R&B album from the Oxford musicians.

ZABA, the band’s debut album pushes their atmospheric agenda into a cohesive release. Their M.O. is slinky minimal pop, not a million miles from Alt-J, but more exotic and worldly than their counterparts. But they do share a common parlance in how they translate their traditional band setup into an otherworldly place.

“Executive production by Paul Epworth with Bayley producing ensures that level of aural consistency, meaning ZABA which is likened to ‘a backdrop of man-made wilderness,’ according to the band directly, is awash with ambient and alluring songcraft.”

Listen on Spotify.


5. Mr Twin Sister – Mr Twin Sister

Twin SisterDark disco and electronic pop on album #2 from the Long Island band.

“The eight tracks on the self-titled second album are definitely night-time grooves, which occupy the same mood without jumping around from genre to genre, and as an album it works wonderfully, because Mr Twin Sister have an attention to the small details that stands to them when they delve deep into genres like disco and funk.

“Andrea Estella’s lyrics suit the vibe, their disco-noir sound is escapism and she often seeks to escape. ‘In The House Of Yes’ she locks herself in her room, drinks to a stupor and dances on her own own til her head is on the ground. ‘Rude Boy’ finds her rejecting the advances of an opposite (“I have all the drinks i can handle”), content to exist in the space. “Is there a real me? Or am I just a series of nights,” she sings on ‘Blush’. The thrilling ‘Out Of The Dark’ has her questioning identity too – “I am a woman / But inside I’m a man / And I want to be as gay as I can.” The Johnny Jewel-esque ’12 Angels’ has someone singing about being in drag to reinforce the theme.

“Despite the album being united in tone, there’s a sense that Mr Twin Sister aren’t settled. It’s in the artwork which is deliberately unfinished and packaged, it’s in the 37-minute running time and it’s in the new name. The altered band have reset and are heading in their own independent direction and making great music as part of the process.”

Listen on Spotify


4. FKA twigs  – LP1

FKA TWigs2014’s magnetic leftfield R&B star.

“Twigs has showed herself in public through artwork and videos which have hyper-realised versions of herself (large eyes, elongated neck, disfigured faces), that she is interested in examining and distorting her identity, including the very name she’s persisted with – Formerly known as.” On LP1, she shares seemingly true intimate versions of herself.

“There is no worry that the separation of the music from the visuals FKA twigs has become synonymous with has lessened the impact of LP1 or that twigs has nothing to say. A longer sustained running time means rather than snatches of character-forming opinion, we get a confidential look at the artist herself talking sex, self-image, desire, loneliness, intimacy, and state of mind, subjects normally guarded from others more vehemently, particularly for new artists.

“The combination of twigs’ alien otherworldliness, her ambient often anguished electronic R&B style and her intimate and lustful portrait of herself, directly or reflected in others, makes for an iconic release and helps form a person who feels human and real. By the end of the album’s 10 tracks, twigs decides that she knows herself best, after all.”

Listen on Spotify


3. Future Islands – Singles

FIThe Baltimore band’s fourth record of melodramatic synth-pop hit a bigger audience.

“These are songs that have the chest-thumping melodramatic new wave pop at the heart of what they do while refining the songwriting and production by Chris Coady make for an overall better album.

“There’s a straight up heart-on-sleeve anthemic lean to all of the songs. Each of them stand on their own, hence the title, whether it’s the yearning synth-pop of ‘Spirit’, the hook-laden chorus of ‘Sun In The Morning’, the bass-funk of ‘Doves’ , the slow epic atmosphere of ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’ or the brilliant album closer ‘A Dream Within A Dream’.

“There’s quite enough eccentricity in Herring’s vocal delivery whether he’s whispering, skulking, brooding, wailing, growling, crooning or delivering a monologue like David Bowie in Labyrinth on ‘Fall From Grace’. His range is beautifully dramatic and spirited and the music doubles down on providing an effective poignant foil for that – focusing on chugging bass, propulsive rhythms and colourful synths. It’s a perfect distillation of Future Islands which just happens to leave a more accessible, hook-laden welcoming impression than before. The band are all on the same powerful page rather than just being “that band with the eccentric lead singer.”

And let’s face it – as Letterman proved, and as this album substantiates, Herring, Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion have a lot more highly-strung emotion and joyful connections to make with audiences.”

Listen on Spotify


2. Caribou – Our Love

Our LoveAffirmative heart-on-sleeve dancefloor psychedelia.

“What a pleasure it is to arrive at the sixth album from an artist to find them at the peak of their music-making abilities. Press play on Our Love and that sentiment is obvious.

“Snaith’s psychedelic imprint and swells of emotion covers everything, through his falsetto and his preference for nostalgic-faced melodies. His lyrics add to the tenderness, chiefly concerned with a slipping, fading love, yet he offers us, and himself, solace in every other way.

“On Our Love, Snaith is now fully immersed in the world of the nightclub but he wears his heart on his turntable. That doesn’t mean that there’s an dumbing down or mindlessness. There is a simplicity to a lot of the tracks that, only comes from putting in the long hours. Snaith’s love of his craft continues to shine. If anything, he’s has just better at making things sound larger with less.”

Listen on Spotify


1. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

RTJBest buddies El-P and Killer Mike made the year’s best rap record.

“The sequel to one of the best rap mixtapes in recent times does what many sequels do not. It improves the dynamic between the cast, it delivers smarter, more quotable lines, it takes aim at larger targets and it adds a whole lot of bang.

Run The Jewels 2 is what happens when a producer-rapper/rapper hit a career high at the same damn time. Because this is El and Mike’s album, they own it. Because even though there are vocal guests: RATM’s Zack De La Rocha, singer/producer Boots and Three 6 Mafia’s Gangsta Boo, they serve the version of a banging lean record, rather than overcrowd it.

RTJ2 is two buddies, operating at their creative peak. It’s more than another chapter, more than a sequel. It’s a sinewy distillation of more than a friendship, it’s a fruitful creative partnership that sounds like it’s been reinforced by steel foundations such is the wicked bulging energy contained within the album’s 40 minutes.”

Listen on Spotify


Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

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The Nialler9 TXFM show airs every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours. You can listen live on 105.2FM, online, the TXFM app or if you missed it, on the listen back function on the site, as per below. The show starts six minutes in,right after the news in each hour. Click the buttons to launch the TXFM site autoplaying links.

Tune back in Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at 10pm for my songs of the year specials.

HOUR ONE

  1. St. Vincent –  ‘Rattlesnake’ (St. Vincent)
  2. Sinkane  – ‘New Name’ (Mean Love)
  3. Angel Olsen –  ‘Hi-Five’ (Burn No Fire For Your Witness)
  4. Future Islands –  ‘A Dream Of You And Me’ (Singles)
  5. Glass Animals –  ‘Hazey’ (ZABA)
  6. Hundred Waters –  ‘Animal’ (The Moon Rang Like A Bell)
  7. James Vincent McMorrow  – ‘Post Tropical’ (Post Tropical)
  8. Alt-J  – ‘Warm Foothills’ (This Is All Yours)
  9. Lykke Li  – ‘Gunshot’ (I Never Learn)
  10. Warpaint  – ‘Keep It Healthy’ (Warpaint)
  11. Mr Twin Sister  – ‘Rude Boy’ (Mr Twin Sister)
  12. Fatima  – ‘Technology’ (Yellow Memories)
  13. God Knows + mynameisjOhn  – ‘Habbakuk’ (Rusangano/Family)
  14. Run The Jewels  – ‘All My Life’ (RTJ2)

Listen part 1

 

HOUR TWO

  1. Todd Terje  – Preben Goes to Acapulco (It’s Album Time!)
  2. Caribou –  Your Love Will Set You Free (c2’s Set U Free RMX)  (Our Love)
  3. Lone  – Airglow Fires (Reality Testing)
  4. Kiasmos –  Swayed (Kiasmos)
  5. Aphex Twin –  produk 29 [101] (Syro)
  6. Dorian Concept –  Ann River, Mn (Joined Ends)
  7. Shabazz Palaces  – Forerunner Foray (Lese Majesty)
  8. Flying Lotus  – Coronus, The Terminator (You’re Dead!)
  9. FKA twigs –  Numbers (LP1)
  10. SBTRKT  – The Light feat. Denai Moore (Wonder Where We Land)
  11. Sylvan Esso –  Play It Right (Sylvan Esso)
  12. Fatima Al Qadiri –  Shanghai Freeway (Asiatisch)
  13. The Gloaming  – Allistrum’s March (The Gloaming)

Listen part 2

Posted on December 19th, 2014

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Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.


 

Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


 

The pairing of music and visuals is something I’ve always enjoyed but the concept of a music video has obviously changed in the last ten years. There are of course, still concepts, themes, ideas, techniques and executions that lift a song into another realm but there’s also so much video content out there now, that there are plenty of live video and TV performances, vignettes, parodies, and short documentaries around music that did the same thing a music video is supposed to do: to put the artist in front of more people. Here are 20 of my favourite “music videos” of this year.

Hit page 3 for a Youtube playlist.


20. DJ Rashad – ‘She A Go’

Video by: Peter Greenless

The world sadly lost the Chicago footwork DJ Rashad this year to drugs. His music existed in a discombobulating place alongside his partner Spinn. This fan-video for ‘She A Go’ used stock video footage of office life to do the same thing constructing a hyper-real experience in the process.


19. Angel Olsen – ‘Hi-Five’

Video by: Zia Anger

The singer Angel Olsen returned with Burn Your Fire For No Witness, her second album, which had a throwback rock feel. Suitably, the video feels like its beamed from another time via its filmic cinematography and Olsen’s movements specifically are inspired by choreographed studio performances from female pop stars of old, of which the director said “were always so wild and psychedelic and humorous from afar. The more you watch them, the more wooden and awkward the performances become. There is a certain loneliness captured. The song ‘Hi-Five’ seems to contain the same sort of duality.”


18. Ibeyi – ‘River’

Video by: Ed Morris

The recent introduction of the Chromecast to the home entertainment system has meant more space and time for music videos on a larger screen. After seeing these girls perform at Other Voices last week, I watched this video again, noticing how the French-Cuban twins are held down by male hands under water, how they hold their breath for long periods of time, the dead-eyed stare and the on-time lip syncing at the centre of all of this deceptively simple concept.


17. Compassion Crew – ‘Masters Of The Gentlemanly Art’

Video by: Simon Landrein

Dance music can be a perfect vehicle for a wide-open music video narrative and Simon Landrein lets his animation and imagination run wild on a stylistic train journey full of suggestion to match the chugging rough house track from the Irish producer.


16. Clu – ‘Mirrors’

Video by: Kevin Freeney

The Dublin duo of Sean Cooley and Kevin A. Freeney, Clu, have always put their electronic music and visual work on a par and on ‘Mirrors’, they’ve nailed both. It’s a complementary collaboration that transcends a typical visual tacked on to music setup. The video directed by Freeney serves as a chassis for a potent mix of music (an amalgamation of bass / garage / post-dubstep) , visual (cinematic sumptuous imagery), interpretive dancing and colour that makes for an impressive display of art in total.


15. Katharine Phillippa – Live at TedX

Video by: TedXStormont

The Belfast-based musician performs two songs with the help of a loop station, a bow, a drum, a keyboard, a laptop and an author’s intensity that leaps through the screen.


14. John Grant – ‘Glacier’

Video by: Jubilee Starter

With the upcoming Marriage Referendum in May next year, single-sex marriage will go to a public vote. It’s an incremental attempt at recognising the rights of the people in this country and should pass because who are you or are I to say to someone – “no, you’re love is not the same as mine” or “no, your love is not valid” or “no, your love isn’t something to be celebrated or recognised.”

In that context, ‘Glacier’, a song from the gentle giant John Grant who has battled with his identity and control and who has been made to feel bad for who he is, eloquently addresses those struggling with their sexual identity – “This pain, it is a glacier moving through you, carving out deep valleys and creating spectacular landscapes,” goes the chorus.

The video serves as a brief history lesson of the journey for that recognition of gay rights over the years juxtaposing chronological footage of the American gay rights movement, newspaper headlines, and pop culture to leave you with a stirring narrative of the journey so far. Here you can donate to the Marriage Equality campaign for 2015.


13. Vic Mensa – ‘Down On My Luck’

Video by: Ben Dickinson at Ghost Robot.

There’s a wrong decision at every turn. This video shows the possibilities.


12. Ratking – ‘Canal’

Video by: Eric K

A video that simultaneously captures the grimey decay of New York City while making the trio look cool as fuck.


11. We Are Shining feat. Eliza Doolittle – ‘Killing’

Video by: unknown. Knife thrower: John Taylor. Dancer: Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus,

Can you watch this without losing your shit?


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Posted on December 17th, 2014

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Last week’s album of the week Burn Your Fire For No Witness will surely be among the the best records of 2014 so good news today that Angel Olsen will return to Ireland to play some shows after last year’s quite superb run of shows.

The dates thus far are:

Friday June 6th:
Skinny Wolves presents Angel Olsen @ Whelan’s Dublin.
Tickets: €14

Saturday June 7th:
The G-Man & Triskel present Angel Olsen @ Triskel Christchurch, Cork
Tickets on sale 9am Wednesday: €13 (early bird)/€15

Sunday June 8th:
Angel Olsen @ McHugh’s, Belfast
Tickets TBC.

More tour dates at the Angel Olsen site including a current US tour with Cian Nugent on support.

Posted on February 17th, 2014

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When you have a voice so striking you could hang a hat on it, it’s probably a good idea to hang your songs on it too. Angel Olsen’s 2012 debut album Half Way Home introduced us to the Missouri singer’s deep country-folk vibrato that sometimes sounded like an entrant in a yodelling competition and musically, was set to throwback acoustic folk. She was an otherworldly attraction.

The followup, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) still relies on Olsen’s distinctive tones to draw you in but the songs hold you closer and Olsen reveals more of herself in the process, while expanding the arrangements to include a rock band at full tilt, devastating acoustic songs and poignant country-folk.

Burn Your Fire For No Witness is an intimate record but it does not remain quiet and reserved. The title comes from ‘White Fire’, Olsen’s darkest moment yet, a desolate ember of a song in which, over seven minutes, she advises “if you’ve still got some light in you then go before it’s gone / burn your fire for no witness / It’s the only way it’s done,” after recounting her attempts to shake her despair.

The song’s depths are new for Olsen who lyrically, is at her most revealing and musically at her most convincing and honest. There has been heartbreak, that much is clear. When she high-fives a stranger on the stomping glam rock of ‘Hi-Five’, she’s revelling in her loneliness and a relationship breakdown. ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ is the loudest song on the album and works as a defiant punch about relationship absolution and resolution – “I’ve made up my mind / I’ve wasted my time.”

Production by John Congleton helps the feeling of intimacy (her first one was self-produced) and provides some range to the songs, exemplified by ‘Dance Slow Decades’ which shifts from taut electric guitar accompaniment into a lonely comforting swirl that lifts with the words – “I dance because I know this one”.

‘Windows’, the album’s last song is a neat amalgamation of Olsen past and present that hoists things above a couple of less memorable tracks in ‘Stars’ and ‘Iota’. Olsen’s screechy tones of old are intact but somehow more sensual and truthful. There is a greater attachment to the sentiment matched by an arrangement that builds to match it. “Won’t you open a window sometime? / What’s so wrong with the light?”

If Olsen sounded distant and unearthly before, on Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she is emotionally baring, whispering uncomfortably close in your ear or sometimes dancing around you, a real person, hanging her songs and her voice on relatable and knowable experiences.

The album is streaming on NPR for a limited time.

Posted on February 13th, 2014

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The vintage rock sound that Angel Olsen seems to be pursuing on her new album Burn Your Fire for No Witness out in two weeks on Jagjaguwar is spilling over into her latest video for the Hank Williams-referencing ‘Hi-Five’ by Zia Anger where the clip clearly references filmic old cinematagraphy but specifically choreographed studio performances from female pop stars.

“They were always so wild and psychedelic and humorous from afar. The more you watch them, the more wooden and awkward the performances become. There is a certain loneliness captured. The song ‘Hi-Five’ seems to contain the same sort of duality.”

– Zia Anger

Posted on February 3rd, 2014

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angel olsen_custom-477514e5ff58367516c1b2eb392566ef7c7ec33c-s6-c10

For those who like their folk music, expressive and a little off-kilter, Chicago’s Angel Olsen might be the one for you. With a voice that combines a breathy country-blues vibrato and a quick-changing range, the Bonnie “Prince” Billy touring member’s  Half Way Home album was much lauded last year and now she’s over on an Irish tour this May on the following dates.

Dublin: May 2nd // Skinny Wolves presents Angel Olsen & Guests @ Whelan’s (€10)
Cork:  May 3rd //  The G-Man presents Angel Olsen @ Half Moon Theatre (€10)
Kilkenny: May 4th // Kilkenny Roots Festival (Tickets)
Kilkenny: May 5th // Kilkenny Roots Festival (Tickets)
Belfast: May 6th // The Black Box (TBC)
London: May 8th // The Cinema Museum (TBC)

Listen to Half Way Home via Deezer…→

Posted on January 29th, 2013

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