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


1.

Lilla Vargen – Downtown

Northern Irish artist Lilla Vargen has this past few months, burst into life with her live performances and a debut single. It has been a most welcome activity as the song and shows have resonated and she’s not ready to stop there.

Majical Cloudz’s ‘Downtown’ is already a devastatingly effective song in the hand’s of the now defunct Canadian duo. Lilla Vargen’s version doesn’t change much of the original’s as it doesn’t need much work. Instead, she heightens the song’s backing arrangements and sings the song in her own way. She plays for us next Thursday evening in Bello Bar alongside Jafaris and Sleep Thieves at Future Proof.


2.

Molly Sterling – Plain Static

Tipperary singer Molly Sterling, is a 19 year-old who has been trekking her own creative path for a number of years and it feels like it’s now finding a place of resonance.

Her latest single is a piano-lead ballad based wholly in reality and all its flaws, that has intimacy in its construction and one that Sterling sings of her body “is not just feast for eyes / it’s a home / a prison / a craft / all at the same time ” and explores how her mind and body are interlinked in reaction to external forces.


3.

The Lost Brothers – Echoes In The Wind

The finest harmonic folk singers in the style of The Everly Brothers in the country, Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland return to calm our nerves with thee first single from their forthcoming fifth album Halfway Towards A Healing out 26th January next year.


4.

And So I Watch You From Afar – Dying Giants

A highlight from the Belfast band’s fifth album The Endless Shimmering is the sound of them doing what they do best, bludgeoning the competition with big rock moves counteracted with pretty little riffs.


5.

Autre Monde – Leuctra

Autre Monde’s debut EP, which is released today on Popical Island, digs deeper than their first ’80s rock and post-punk references for a “murkier” sound, darker in tone with bands such as Can, Total Control and John Foxx namecheckd. ‘Leuctra’ has that John Maus-esque synth ambience for sure.


6.

Autumns – You’re A Right Useless Cunt Aren’t You

It’s been a number of years since we heard from Derry artist Christian Donaghey and last time, that was more in the vein of jangly noise rock. Now, Autumns sounds like industrial techno a la Factory Floor and has a great title to boot. His Dyslexia Tracks EP is out on Touch Sensitive Friday.


7.

Áine Cahill – Blood Diamonds

The Cavan singer celebrates signing to Warner Music with a track produced by Courage (who has produced Ray Blk). This is the most modern sound that Aine has displayed thus far.


8.

Elephant – Time Will Tell

Dundalk man Shane Clarke has been embracing a more layered sound of late moving away from his debut of finger-plucked music and his new music has more of a starry-eyed celestial vibe in the vein of Bowie at times. The video for new song ‘Time Will Tell’ asked 28 local artists to take one word from each line of the song and represent it how they wished.


9.

Leigh Michael – Cosmic Couch’

From Leigh Michael’s new Cosmic Couch EP produced by Staz comes this tongue-twisting rap track highlight. Leigh has a Youtube channel with rap tutorials.


10.

The Academic – Permanent Vacation

After their looped music video took on a large viral lift (more on that here), the Mullingar indie popper announced their debut album Tales From The Backseat for January 12th 2018 with new single ‘Permanent Vacation’. The album was recorded in LA with producer Tim Pagnotta (Dreamcar, Walk The Moon, Saint Motel). Their gig in Vicar Street this Saturday is a sellout.


New Irish Music Spotify Playlist

Check out the regularly updated Spotify playlists.

Posted on November 3rd, 2017

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Dundalk singer-songwriter Shane Clark aka Elephant is following up his debut album Hypergiant released last October with a new single ‘Stay With Me’ that has come after a period of songwriting frustration and a subsequent realisation.

Clark says that after the debut came out (“an album that took years to come together”), he felt burnt out and “needed to reassess whether I was still enjoying myself or not.”

“I came to realise that though I don’t dislike gigging by any means I get a lot more satisfaction out of writing and recording. Immediately I decided I was going to make a second album but I had a problem, a big problem. When I picked up my guitar to try and write …nothing happened.”

“For the next two weeks I laboriously wrote and rejected words and riffs that I felt no connection too. I became superstitious. Suspicious of my new guitar, that it had “no songs in it”. I turned to my old lyric journals, the new one too clean to house real feelings. I began to think I had exhausted whatever knack I had that made writing the first album so painless. In a last ditch effort I decided to treat myself to a new keyboard. Upon its arrival, I put down my hollow and vacant guitar and plugged in my new synth and all of a sudden…a song.”

“Almost immediately, I had made a proper connection to a simple chord progression. This led to a lyric that spawned an idea. What if a “muse” (or whatever you want to call it) is kept alive by only using it? Ignore it and it weakens and dies.”

“Stay With Me is a story about me in the months after the release of HyperGiant. I have destroyed my muse by resting too hard on my laurels. Now I desperately need her again. I expect things to be just like they were before but she has been fading away whilst I crowingly re-read reviews and interviews about what has already passed. I picture sitting by her death bed asking her not to go…purely selfish in my sincerity.

I hope you enjoy it.

The concept of the album is coming together. I think I’m writing a break-up record.”

Here is the affecting ‘Stay With Me’:

Posted on June 28th, 2016

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Breathe is a new charity album in aid of Pieta House featuring in aid of the Irish charity, Pieta House, a centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide.

Among the contributors to the album’s 10 tracks are Pine The Pilcrow, Maria Kelly, Elephant, Orchid Collective and In Their Thousands.

A gig The Workmans will launch the album took place last night.

A €5 purchase goes to Pieta House – buy it from Bandcamp. Today is also One For Ireland day so get donating.

Posted on April 29th, 2016

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Win free entry:

How to enter free entry comps – Email [email protected] with the gig above in the Subject line you’re entering for along with your full name and phone number (for late contact) in the body of the message. Full info on each show below. Draw closes at 6pm the day before the gig or Friday 1pm latest for weekend gigs.


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Tuesday December 1

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Wednesday December 2

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  • Marina + The Diamonds, Wyvern Lingo @ The Academy (SOLD OUT)
    [Pop] Welsh pop star. Frooty. Blue
  • The Magic Numbers @ Whelan’s (€21)
    [Melodic pop] They have a Trim connection.
  • Kaleidoscope Night @ Bello Bar (€10)
    [Contemporary/experimental] the music of Berio, Brian Eno, an Austrian yodeling fiddler, Telemann with recorder and bodhran, and music inspired by Irish artist George Vaughan.
  • Ye Vagabonds @ The Grand Social (€12)
    [Folk] Old-fashioned folk duo.
  • Miles Graham @ Whelan’s Upstairs (€11)
    [Pop]  Sligo-based soul pop musician 
  • Mumford and Sons @ 3Arena (€52)
    [Pop]  so that’s happening.  Also Thursday.

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Posted on December 1st, 2015

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Dundalk man Shane Clarke has been making a reputation for himself with his gentle falsetto-laden singer-songwriter music under the name Elephant, particularly live where he’s accompanied by a friend on keys.

His debut album though, largely chucks out that stripped-back tag. From the Bon Iver-esque ’80s light-synth-channeling opener of 14 Crows to the the triumphant folk pop of Overgrown to the sharp rock of The Lightning And Breeze, Hypergiant embraces larger sonic textures and full-band arrangements. But embedded throughout is Clarke’s brittle falsetto coagulating the album into a cohesive and endearing whole.

Have a listen to Hypergiant in full. It’s on sale on iTunes.

Posted on October 29th, 2015

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This year’s Hard Working Class Heroes lineup of new bands is a tough one. Primarily because there are so many new bands to see for the first time and secondly, because the quality of those unseen is greater than in previous years. This year, the tracks on the Breaking Tunes profiles are well-produced and suggest that there are more bands and artists more clued in to How Music Works than ever.

So for three days, from Thursday to Saturday, HWCH returns to seven venues featuring 100 bands playing to music fans and industry delegates.  There are free daytime gigs, a convention in the Liberties featuring speed sessions, panels, talks and more. There’s a special Banter with Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper on the Sunday. There’s also a special Nialler9-curated afterparty with Dublin Theatre Festival in The Grand Social on Saturday night late with the debut live performance of R.S.A.G. and French producer Cosmo Vitelli as Teleoke.

Here are 20 new bands to see this weekend, I capped it at 6 bands per day. Some of last year’s picks are also playing the festival for further investigation so they weren’t featured here (Rusangano Family / Dear Desert  / Buffalo Woman and more).


Thursday | Friday | Saturday


1. Hare Squead

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These Dublin rap soul pop dudes are just getting better.

Thursday October 1 – 10.15pm @ The Academy

It was only last year at the festival where Hare Squead really became known at their Meeting House Square gig. Since then, the Dublin trio have been expanding their sound of rap, R&B, soul and pop music with a full live band show that’s really starting to hit home and gel. With a couple of years more experience, these guys could be huge. On a similiar style-tip, Stay Gold in the same venue are a band following a similar path. 


2. 13

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Years & Years style-pop

Thursday October 1 – 8.15pm @ The Academy

A new Kildare duo,  David “Monty” Montgomery and Conor Cuffe only formed less than a year ago but with a tropical dance track called Waiting hanging around, they are doing something decidedly more pop than a lot on this list and are worthy of further investigation.


3. Tiz McNamara

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Cork/Liverpool singer-songwriter with atmosphere

Thursday Oct 1 – 8:50pm @ The Grand Social

With over 90,000 plays on Spotify for just two songs, the Cork-born, Liverpool-based singer-songwriter has the metrics on his side. It’s the songs that matter though and his most recent single ‘Take It In’ impresses with its production by Scandinavian duo Boxes that takes a singer-songwriter style in a more atmospheric direction.

 


4. Saint Sister

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Self-proclaimed atmosfolk duo

Thursday Oct 1 – 9.20pm @ The Workman’s Club

Celtic-influenced harmony folk world or “atmosfolk” as Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre call it. Their debut EP is released next month and the music so far has had a pleasing ethereality to it with harmonies to the fore alongside harp tones.


5. Maud in Cahoots

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Thursday Oct 1  – 10.50pm @ The Grand Social

The kind of sophisticated pop music that Maud In Cahoots make has a lot in common with Scandinavian pop music, The sisters Maud and Zoe Ní Riordáin and band have also showed some interesting initiative by placing their songs in a theatrical show context. The new single ‘Cure For The Crazy’ is their career best track.


6. Elephant

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Dundalk singer-songwriter

Thursday Oct 1 – 7:30pm @ The Grand Social

Dundalk musician Shane Clarke’s sweet vocal tones are what makes his elemental guitar and keys music work so well, lending his songs a delicate disposition. A debut album is on the way shortly.


Thursday | Friday | Saturday


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Posted on September 28th, 2015

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Having recently revealed some of the smaller goings on at the festival on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle including Wonderlust, Myles O’Reilly’s Arbutus Yarns Theatre, Body Holidays 1970’s style holiday camp, Pagoda Stage, Port Royal Jamaican village and more, today Body & Soul revealed Tree Haus, a new stage curated by Homebeat for the festival on the summer solstice weekend of June 19th to 21st.

Focusing on the best of contemporary Irish music and culture, you can expect performances from My Tribe Your Tribe, Buffalo Woman, Carriages, Planet Parade, Liza Flume, Ghosts, Slowplacelikehome, Hilary Woods, Skelocrats, Little Xs For Eyes, Elephant, Hare Squead, Bantum, Nubus, Justin Grounds & Pearse McGloughlin (Idiot Songs), Sea Legs (Ciaran Lavery x Ryan Vail), Hare Squead, Nova Collective, Feather and Ben Bix, Participant, I Have A Tribe, Nubus, Margie Lewis, SignA, Idiot Songs, Skelocrats, Tomorrows, Taste DJs, Somadrone, Lyttet, Leo Drezden and Lasertom.

Also featuring on that stage, kicking off the Saturday and Sunday will be Vinyl Love, where DJs and musicians alike will be playing selections from their 7″ collection.

Posted on May 28th, 2015

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Homebeat and Happenings’ Another Love Story was a small festival success story last year so it’s back this year from August 21st to 23rd in  the indoor spaces, ballroom, woods and parlour rooms of Killyon Manor, Kinnegad Co. Meath.

Announced so far are:

VERY SPECIAL GUEST, Loah, Leo Drezden, Come On Live Long, I Have A Tribe, Valerie Francis, Attention Bébé, Buffalo Woman, Margie Lewis, Ye Vagabonds, Tandem Felix, Paddy Hanna, Elephant, Tomorrows, SignA, Sun Collective, Anna Mieke, Kiruu & More tba.

DJs :

David Kitt (Permanant Vacation), Neil Flynn (Lossless), Sally Cinnamon, Andrew Kearny, Tim O’ Donovan, Nialler9 , T/A/S/T/E , Dj Hula Hoops , Glammo, Chuck & Will, ALS Djs , Vinyl Love

Occurrences and Corners :

Talks , Walks , Yoga , Qui Gong , Theatre , Roland’s Cinema D’amour , Glitteration Station by The Cat’s Meow , Guerilla Aerial , The Love Summit , The State & Of The Nation , The Deepest Darkest Woods Stage , The Teenage Crush Bar , The Library , The Parlour Room & MORE!

Weekend tickets start at €85+fee and there are limited day tickets. Dogs go free too. More info.

Artwork by Steve McCarthy.

 

 

Posted on May 25th, 2015

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weekly

New songs you should hear this week…

This week’s instalment of new music in the last seven days is a busy one: it was a prolific week or so. There’s new Korallreven with Japanese hero Cornelius, Le Galaxie’s new single ‘Lucy Is Here’, The Cast Of Cheers meets Adebisi Shank members and make tvvins, synthtastic Sleep Thieves, discotastic Fort Romeau, reprisetastic Gold Panda, groovetastic Policy, collab-tastic James Blake with Chance The Rapper, game-tastic Flying Lotus (hear his entire GTA station here)

There’s Darkside, Letters to Fiesta, 3epkano, Samaris, Girls Names, Elephant, Blood Orange, Movement and Son Lux too. Something for all. Happy weekending.

Posted on September 27th, 2013

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The dimly-lit atmospherics touchstones of Beach House are all over this track by London duo Elephant. It can be heard in the dreamy indie sleepy rhythm section and cascading guitar twinkles. But Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck transcend those characteristics through the employment of a faraway choral noise that rises up to greet the track throughout and a more obvious but still gentle funk. The result is still dreamy indie-pop but with extra elements that could turn this track into a psychedelic rap backing track if someone was listening.

From the Skyscraper 7″ /download on Memphis Industries.

Posted on February 7th, 2013

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