So we reach the halfway mark of the year and I present to you a list of my 25 most-played and enjoyed records of the year so far. Songs to follow.


25.

Sir Was – Digging A Tunnel

This debut album from the Swedish musician Joel Wästberg reminds me of Caribou, Bibio and Paul White. Digging A Tunnel weaves hip-hop rhythms, soul, jazz, pastoral folk, bagpipe and harmonica samples, handclaps, clarinets and sax. It’s all in the mix, resulting in an textured album of polychromatic exploration. If Beck was from Gothenburg and still making music in a lo-fi way perhaps.

Listen on Spotify


24.

!!! – Shake The Shudder


Perennial New York dance-punk party band !!! (chk chk chk) can be relied on to bring the looped sample disco punk-funk rhythms and their seventh album recorded at their studio in Brooklyn doesn’t deviate too much from their established pattern, except in the vocal department where a rotating cast of female singers bring the heat including Lea Lea, Meah Pace, Nicole Fayu, Cameron Mesirow (Glasser) and Molly Schnick. Throw shade and shake the shudder away.

Favourite tracks: ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge’, ‘The one 2’, ‘NRGQ’.

Listen on Spotify


23.

Forest Swords – Compassion


English producer Matthew Barnes releases his first Forest Sword album of textured electronic instrumentals (with sampled vocals) in 4 years. There’s a sound world vibe to the release, as if it was constructed to soundtrack to an imaginary place, removed from linear time. Remember that old PC game – Myst? Compassion feels like it could work as an alternative soundtrack to that world. That makes sense, Barnes recently composed music for the Assassin’s Creed game an is planning multidisciplinary projects in dance, performance, film and music to augment this album.

Listen on Spotify


22.

Austra – Future Politics


Katie Stelmanis’ third album as Austra feels looser than her previous work, and despite the title, more human. The operatic synth-pop is still very much there and the politics of the title feels rooted in the personal.

Listen on Spotify


21.

Come On Live Long – In The Still


Arriving four years after their debut, Come On Live Long’s In The Still reaffirms the talent of a band who deserver more public awareness.
The album, recorded mostly, while the band were living apart is a cohesive whole. When they came together, so did the album. So there’s trip-hop indie (‘For The Birds’), heart-beat atmospherics (‘In The Still’), a glacial trip (‘Peak), minimal folk (‘My Love Leaves’) and Radiohead-esque guitar work (‘Slipstream’). In The Still is sonics for the soul. To quote the band themselves on ‘For The Birds’, “stay together, fall apart, move as one?” They chose the latter.


20.

SZA – CTRL


A late addition to the highlights of the year, I’ve been waiting on SZA to release something substantial since that Chance The Rapper feature in 2014. And CTRL far surpasses expectations. It’s an album that feels real, complicated, struggling with self-esteem, a sense of self, making mistakes, cheating, being hurt, wanting to be loved, shunning intimacy, yearning for respect. It’s human as can be and one of the best R&B albums of the year. More time will be spent with SZA in 2017.

Listen on Spotify.


19.

Aldous Harding – Party


This New Zealand artist’s John Parish-produced album for 4AD is a particular weighty listen. There shades of vintage alt-folk, orchestral ballads and intense singer-songwriter confessionals. ‘Party’ lulls you in with a lustful touch and dependence, Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas contributes on subtle torch song ‘Imagining My Man’ while the close-mic finger-pick of ‘I’m So Sorry’ and the outward sustained notes of ‘Horizon’ are highlights. This is an intimate journey from an artist who feels on the cup of something bigger.

Listen on Spotify.


18.

Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness


The New-York singer-songwriter Julie Byrne is known for ethereal folk music and her new second album Not Even Happiness is a calming listen of gentle folk and ambient textures.

Listen on Spotify


17.

Little Dragon – Season High


Swedish electronic poppers Little Dragon have often struggled over full-length albums. There are always killer tracks on their releases but they lacked over a longer running time. Season High, is their most substantial and long-playing album yet.

Listen on Spotify


16.

Kelly-Lee Owens – Kelly-Lee Owens

Taking her cues from her label boss Daniel Avery in one hand, the UK producer Kelly-Lee Owens’ album’s sound is dominant with pulsing synths and techno percussion on songs like ‘Evolution’, ‘CBM’ (colour, beauty and motion as a schematic feels apt) and ‘Arthur’. On the other hand, there’s a deep ethereality in her songs a her repeating vocal lines work like mantras across the tracks including ‘Arthur’ and the slow synth-pop of ‘Keep Walking’. Elsewhere it’s the methodical chug of John Talabot that is conjured on ‘Lucid’ and ‘Bird’ and Jenny Hval guests on ‘Anxi’.

Listen on Spotify


15.

Syd – Fin


The debut album from The Internet’s Syd. It feels like a long time since she was behind the decks at Odd Future gigs. Continuing the intimate sensual modern R&B feel of The Internet, Fin is the beginning as opposed to a logical end. Syd steps out in front and while she’s been downplaying the album’s status in her career (“This album is not that deep, but I feel like this is my descent into the depth I want the band to get to.”), there are few people making tender close-up R&B that swings low and stays high as this.

Listen on Spotify


14.

Bonobo – Migration

A recent album of the week, Bonobo’s sixth album is nomadic & intimate, open-minded and expansive drawing on his ambient chill trademark and tougher almost clubbier sounds with guest vocals from Hundred Waters, Nick Murphy, Rhye and Morrocco’s Innov Gnawa.

Listen on Spotify


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Posted on June 30th, 2017

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


Nialler9 Weekly playlist


1.

Arcade Fire – ‘Creature Comforts’

After the relative jolt of ‘Everything Now’, Arcade Fire get less dreamy and a bit dirtier with ‘Creature Comforts’ which kicks off like an electro-clash single from 2002 before the AF ‘vista’ comes in to play. Vocally though, both Win and Regine are addled new territory and it reinforces the track’s synth-waving arrangement. The lyrics about self-image, self-esteem and suicide counteract the sonics with a pure heaviness. “She dreams about dying all the time / She told me she came so close / Filled up the bathtub and put on our first record.”


2.

Daphni – ‘Tin’

Classic Dan Snaith dancefloor business. A soft-focus yet percussively tough track full of euphoria and emotion.


3.

Lorde – ‘Writer In The Dark’

Melodrama is a great followup record for the New Zealand Onion Ring-loving musician. After two full listens, it’s clear that with the album’s deft production details (coproduced with Bleachers lead singer Jack Antonoff), the vocal adlibs and the songwriting is top class. ‘Writer In The Dark’ is an immediate highlight, cemented when Lorde does her best Kate Bush reach on the line ” am my mother’s child, I’ll love you ’til my breathing stops / I’ll love you ’til you call the cops on me.” I’m also loving ‘Sober’ in particular but the entire album is high class Melodrama.


4.

Washed Out – ‘Hard To Say Goodbye’

Ernest Greene is truly back. This is a light house-inspired electronic song that recalls summer vistas and afternoons by the beach.


5.

Laoise – ‘Shooting’

Laoise’s Halfway EP dropped on Friday and ‘Shooting’ is the only song from it we hasn’t really heard from the Galway electronic pop artist.

“Shooting is probably my favourite track off the EP. In comparison to the other songs, it’s quite bare and raw. When writing it, I feel I got to delve into new territories and emotions, which is echoed in the song’s lyrics. I wrote this song with a friend of mine, and we were both going through similar experiences where no matter what we did, we felt we couldn’t grasp and take hold of the things we wanted – be it a relationship or a career path. ‘Shooting with no ammo’ explains the effort you go to finally reach something, only to realise you messed up on the first step, and starting again doesn’t always feel worth it. It’s that moment when you feel so trapped and lost, going around in circles over and over and wondering if you’ll ever break the cycle.”


6.

Bicep – ‘Aura’

From an album of all-new material on Ninja Tune out in September, ‘Aura’ is another example of Bicep’s percussive and technical precision for dance music.


7.

Queens Of The Stone Age – ‘The Way You Used To Do’

Mark Ronson was brought on board to produce QOTSA’s new record and ‘The Way You Used To Do’ is classic tight rock riffs with an addled day-glow brain driving it. They play Dublin in November.


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 June 19th, 2017

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Emily Eavis today tweeted out the first big lineup for Glastonbury’s Worthy Farm this year and it includes names we already know (Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran) and names we don’t: the xx, Katy Perry, The National, Chic, Barry Gibb (Bee Gees), Stormzy, Lorde, Alt-J, Solange, Boy Better Know, The Jacksons, Run The Jewels, Anderson .Paak, HAIM, Dizzee Rascal, The Avalanches, Lisa Hannigan, Angel Olsen, Ride and eh, Shaggy among them.

Posted on March 30th, 2017

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Skott is a new artist out of Scandinavia (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) whose debut single ‘Porcelain’ was featured as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World and was approved by Lorde. Grand job.

Her second single, ‘Wolf’ is a finger-clicking-assisted composition of bright pop proportions with orchestral maneuvers intact. The song references that forest she grew up in.

“Sometimes you can’t control what you feel – no matter how we change ourselves on the surface, there’s an instinct inside of us we can’t ignore. ‘Wolf’ is about not giving up on what your heart truly desires. “I see the woods where I grew up when I hear the song. I recall something pure, natural and wild, it makes me feel empowered in some way.”

https://soundcloud.com/skottpeace/porcelain

‘Wolf’ features on Skott’s forthcoming debut double-sided 7″ single set to release July 29 via Chess Club Records (UK) and B3SCI Records (U.S.)

Skott Live:

13th September – Way Out West, Gothenburg
28th September – Notting Hill Arts Club, London (New Shapes Presents..)
29th September – Birthdays, London
26th October – Pitchfork Music Festival, Paris

Posted on July 27th, 2016

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It’s hard to muster anything more than a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ for Disclosure’s new album Caracal. Like, it’s grand, unimaginative and lacking in dynamics, a bit too polished to love, the songs never quite jumping out quite as much as their thrilling debut.

The Lawrences have been having better luck on the remix front, via Gus Pirelli, Julio Bashmore, themselves, A-Trak and now Jon Hopkins who has turned their Lorde collaboration into an unrelated tower of sonic magnitude. This could be one of those “I had an existing track, I stuck a sample in” to justify the remix fee but it’s still a lot better than 90% of Caracal.

Posted on November 24th, 2015

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Special shoutout to the ever-brilliant Stephen Maurice Graham for his illustration. This one, he says, is down to that Psychemagik track and the film Dazed and Confused. Please enjoy 15 tracks in under an hour. A bit less talking, a bit more mixing on this one than usual.

Track list

  1. Mo Kolours – ‘Mike Black’
  2. Gary Low – ‘I Want You’
  3. Psychemagik – ‘What A Funky Night’ (edit)
  4. Chvrches – ‘Lies’ (Lxury remix)
  5. Kaytranada – ‘At All’
  6. Saint Pepsi – ‘Mr. Wonderful’
  7. Isaiah Rashad – ‘Soliloquy’
  8. A$AP Mob – ‘Trillmatic’ feat. A$AP Nast and Method Man
  9. Tinashe – ‘Black Water’
  10. Fatima Al Qadiri – ‘Knight-Fare’ (Post-War dub)
  11. Mssingno – ‘XE2’
  12. Lorde – ‘Ribs’ (Ryan Hemsworth Let’s Have A Sleepover remix)
  13. Burial – ‘Rival Dealer’ (excerpt)
  14. Twigs – ‘Hide’
  15. Lapsley – ‘Station’

Direct MP3 Download: Nialler9 Podcast #45

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Posted on February 4th, 2014

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December was all about End of Year lists so there was still lots of music I didn’t feature on the site last month. Most of it, you’ll find below…

The 30 tracks:

  1. Tev’n  – ‘Callous Heart’
  2. Marika Hackman – ‘Cinnamon’
  3. Sunken  Foal – ‘As Hot As Fresh Milk’
  4. Chrystyne – ‘Time Is An Arrow’
  5. St. Vincent – ‘Birth In Reverse’
  6. Flying Lotus – ‘Flotus’
  7. Burial – ‘Come Down To Us’
  8. Grimes x Four Tet – ‘Human Once Again’
  9. Warpaint – ‘Biggy’
  10. Run the Jewels – ‘Pew Pew’ (feat. Q-Bert)
  11. We Cut Corners – ‘Every Thief’
  12. Major Grave – ‘Keep On’
  13. Con Vos – ‘Coast’
  14. Laura  Groves – ‘Waterfall’
  15. Gardens & Villas – ‘Bullet Train
  16. Clu – ‘Jade’
  17. French Horn Rebellion & Savoir Adore – ‘The Fire’
  18. Young Fathers – War’
  19. Njena Redd Foxx – ‘Needful Things’
  20. Py – ‘Swimming Slow’
  21. Lorde –  ‘Ribs’ (Ryan Hemsworth remix)
  22. No Monster Club – ‘Damn The Weather’
  23. Bondax – ‘Fires’ feat. Josh Record
  24. Burial – ‘Endorphin’ (Bodwan remix)
  25. Mmoths – ‘Untitled’
  26. Jape – ‘Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon’
  27. Niia – ‘Generation Blue’
  28. Graphics – ‘I Know You’re Ready’
  29. Rejjie Snow – ‘Nights Over Georgia’
  30. Disclosure – ‘January’ (Kayatranada remix)

Posted on January 3rd, 2014

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The 30 tracks that made the month of music awesome in a Soundcloud playlist with links to where you can find the track.

The 30 tracks:

  1. James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Cavalier’
  2. Chromeo – ‘Sexy Socialite’
  3. Nadia Ksaiba – ‘Virtual Lover’
  4. Ali Love – ‘Another’
  5. Wave Racer – ‘Rock U Tonite’
  6. Polica – ‘Chain My Name’
  7. Kelela – ‘Guns ‘n’ Synths’ 
  8. Lorde – ‘Royals’
  9. Squarehead – ‘2025’
  10. Arcade Fire – ‘We Exist’
  11. The Juan Maclean – ‘Feel Like Movin’ 
  12. Darkside – ‘Paper Trails’
  13. Lasertom – ‘All The Time’
  14. Spies – ‘November Sun’
  15. Wiley – ‘And Again’
  16. Movement – ‘Us’
  17. Contour – ‘Change Your Ways’ (feat. Anna Doran)
  18. CON VOS – ‘Central Park’
  19. Ensemble Eriu – ‘3 College Square’
  20. Daniel Avery – ‘Drone Logic’
  21. Tiger & Woods – ‘Bash At Jacks’
  22. Gilligan Moss – ‘Choreograph’
  23. Ménage à Trois – ‘White Noise’
  24. Gentry – ‘Not Like Me’
  25. Lxury – ‘Jaws’
  26. Dioscó Na mBó – ‘Brassanova’
  27. We Cut Corners – ‘YKK’
  28. Danny Brown – ‘Dope Song’
  29. Emakousma – ‘Can’t Reach The Pedals’
  30. Mark Pritchard – ’1 2 3 4′ feat. Ragga Twins

Posted on November 6th, 2013

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lorde

Every Friday, I’ll publish my new tracks and artist picks of the week as featured in the Irish Independent’s Day & Night Magazine in print. Follow Day & Night on Twitter and Facebook.

Lorde – ‘Team’

A sixteen year-old New Zealand teenager shouldn’t really be making music this addictive. She impressed on Jools Holland last week and Team, her new song from her forthcoming debut Pure Heroine continues her kicking against the clichés in pop music (“I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air”). Like Dizzee Rascal before her, the drums ape Billy Squier’s ‘The Big Beat’ and comes across as Lana without the Summertime sadness.


Bouts – ‘6.0’

Bouts image
Dublin-based band Bouts’ music is unashamedly melodic guitar rock. As a taster from the band’s debut album Nothing Good Gets Away, out on October 25th, ‘6.0’ is the band at their memorable college-rock best.

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Posted on September 27th, 2013

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The best new music/artist picks of the last two weeks. As published in today’s Day & Night Magazine. Follow Day & Night on Twitter and Facebook.

Ellery James Roberts

elleryjamesroberts
The former WU LYF singer’s howl is as raspy as ever on ‘Kerou’s Lament’, his first solo track which samples Lil B and brings a life-affirming vibe with those big orchestral sounds.

“to the powers of old/
to the powers that be/
you have fucked up this world/
but you wont fuck with me”

All new artists/music →

Posted on July 8th, 2013

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kwabs

The best new music/artist picks of the last week. As published in today’s Day & Night Magazine. Follow Day & Night on Twitter or Facebook

Kwabs

We can forgive this London singer for having a name that conjures up something most would rather forget as his voice has an unforgettable bass-heavy timbre to match his neo-electronic soul. Wow.


Woman’s Hour

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Posted on March 1st, 2013

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