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


Bitch Falcon give us their new track ‘Of Heart’, a Nialler9 favourite. Fans will recognise this one as a stand out from live shows giving a slow dirge of rock that creeps across its running time menacingly.


Paddy Hanna’s father’s illness lead him to write a song inspired by American singer Mario Lanza. A very upbeat and joyful track with an underlining sorrowful tone as it reflects his emotions relating to a illness that left his father in a coma for two weeks.


Sligo producers Brame & Hamo are back two years on from their last release with a new 3 track EP. ‘Hurt You’ off the new EP is a hard-hitting track with trance flavours and vocal samples that deliver a deeper tone in comparison to their earlier work.


4.

Laoise- Rich

Galway electronic pop artist Laoise’s new track is deeply atmospheric and shows off her powerfully haunting vocals. Laoise continues to develop her visual aesthetic too via the new video by Christian Tierney.


5.

Nefera- I Dare You

Egyptian/Irish R&B artist Nefera third single ‘I Dare You’ has a catchy beat with soulful vocals. You may find yourself singing along to this one after a few listens.


6.

Sonja Sleator- Mia

Belfast-based singer-songwriter Sonja Sleator reminds me of a Irish version of Courtney Barnett. This song has a very catchy upbeat melody with narrative lyrics about the titular character.

7.

Darce – Valhalla ft Eve Clague

Alt-hip-hop rapper Darce has teamed up with fellow Cork native Eve Clague on a track that captures the essence of youthful antics in rural Ireland with backing vocals that enhance the song’s emotion.

8.

New Portals – Chasing Shade

The prolific Belfast couple Ruth and Michael Aicken are back with new track ‘Chasing Shade’. They say: “it’s a song we wrote about that one person we all know who is just happy with their lives no matter what happens. We’re off busying ourselves, trying to make the world a better place or build a better or more fulfilling future for ourselves and some people are just happy to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. This song is about how envious we are of those people and how we wish we could just get away from the compulsions that drive us.”

Posted on November 15th, 2017

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


1.

Tribal Dance – Flongo

Math rock makes a return to the Irish music scene! Tribal Dance reminds me of all the Richter Collective gigs, the music of Not Squares and Cap Pas Cap that had a big hold on what was going on in the country 10 years ago. ‘Flongo’ is this Dublin trio’s debut single and features the rhythmic tautness of early Foals with a bassline in a rush to the finish.


2.

Ye Vagabonds – Go Where You Will

Carlow brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn have spent the last few years growing their audience via support slots with Glen Hansard, Villagers, Roy Harper and Lisa Hannigan. Their debut self-titled album was released last Friday and features this gorgeous resonant lilt.


3.

Beauty Sleep – ‘Until We See The Sun’

Belfast dream-pop trio take things up a notch with an indie-disco track that for the second time this week, harks back to indie of another era, this time when Kitsuné reigned the blogosphere.


4.

New Portals – Sober

Ruth and Michael Aicken are a Belfast couple who know how to write a catchy tune. On Sober, they take inspiration from the Sober For October campaign (Ocsober surely?) which advocates abstaining from alcohol for the month and the song is a celebration of the opposite of most pop songs in that regard.


5.

GaniyuTLG x Plant Food feat. Skilyt- ‘Nandos’

The rapper and producer team up again after their excellent ‘Shivers’. Like the chicken restaurant of the title, this is a grimey and experimental joint. Wait, what?


6.

JyellowL – ‘Bulletproof’

The Word Up Collective artist JYellowL impressed with ‘Cold In The Summer’ but ‘Bulletproof’ shows a new artist developing with even more confidence. It’s taken from his new EP launched on Friday.

“The song is a testimony of my own life experiences. Where I’ve shown tenacity and resilience in my everyday struggles and experiences. The EP is intended to inspire strength of will – an attribute I pride myself on. My experiences are a testament to the fact that we will all face hard times, failure and mockery but the way to get through those times is to adopt an bulletproof mentality. It’s not just music, it’s a mindset”.


7.

Laura Ann Brady – Lie

The zither and autoharp-playing musician follows up her tempestuous single Masterpiece with a brighter and beguiling track.


8.

Badhands – ‘Waves’

The solo project of Dan Fitzpatrick came about after the absolution of The Mighty Stef Band last year. Fitzpatrick was previously a member of the Last Tycoons. An album, Predictable Boy is in the can with inspirations drawn from Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Villagers and Leonard Cohen.

The album’s first single ‘Waves’ is a flourishing folk tribute that is inspired by the experience when Dan and brother Jamie swam out to sea to scatter their father’s ashes near their family home in Glastule. Next gig? Workman’s Club on November 11th.


9.

Elaine Mai – When I Go

A new video from Paul Mahon from the Mayo artist’s recent EP arrived the same week Elaine Mai headlined the Workman’s Club. Of the video Elaine says – “This video was shot at a lake about a ten minute walk from where I grew up in Mayo. It’s an amazing place to get some perspective, reconnect with nature and clear your head. It was the perfect place to shoot the video for this track which is about recognising when you’re not okay and then trying to take the steps to make things better.”


10.

Proper Micro NV – Oblivious

Rory Hall continues his neo-soul electronic journey with a track from his recent EP Colours. I’m looking forward to hearing where this Limerick singer and musician goes next.


New Irish Music Spotify Playlist

Check out the regularly updated Spotify playlists.

Posted on October 23rd, 2017

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Belfast electro-pop duo New Portals are making some of the brightest music in their field in Ireland right now and they’ve just announced a new EP called Stereo, due out on March 10th, to followup singles like ‘Cage’, ‘Winterskin’, ‘Groove Boy’ and ‘Do It Right’.

‘Stereo’ packs an EDM-leaning dayglow punch and swings on the line “I don’t care what you’ve done, just keep on doing it with me.”

New Portals play Nialler9 and PRS For Music’s Output showcase in Belfast next Thursday 16th.

Posted on February 9th, 2017

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Nialler9 & PRS for Music are team up to cohost four of Ireland’s brightest new bands at the evening showcase at Output Belfast Conference & Showcase with Generator NI on February 16th in Belfast’s The Dirty Onion. The show is free in and a part of the evening showcases of gigs featuring lots of new bands around the city.

Our night at The Dirty Onion features:

LE BOOM

Rising electro party-starters. 8.45pm


New Portals

Belfast Electronic pop duo. 9.45pm

Photo: Leah Carroll


Beauty Sleep

Dreamy indie pop trio. 10:45pm

Photo: Olga Kuzmenko


Jealous of the Birds

Indie-rock and folk-pop music from Naomi Hamilton and band. 11.45pm


Facebook event

Bands lined up to play the free showcase around the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast also include Silences, Chanele McGuinness, Hot Cops, Brash Isaac, Callum Stewart, Ryan Vail, Gross Net, Junk Drawer, Malojian, Robyn G Shiels, Autumns, The Wood Burning Savages, David C Clements, Carriages, Robocobra Quartet, Sullivan & GOld, Making Monsters, Touts, Larks, Susie Blue and more.

Hosts include Nialler9, Smalltown America Studios, The Thin Air, Chordblossom, The Greedy Pig, Homebeat, State, Voodoo, Help Musicians, Quiet Arch, PRS, IMRO, Sentric, The Nerve Centre, The Oh Yeah Centre, Primitive Sound and many more.

More info on the daytime and schedules.

Posted on February 6th, 2017

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Ruth and Mike Aicken aka New Portals have made a fine line of electro-pop songs in the last two years, when they’re not working as The more folk-pop band Jepettos.

‘Winterskin’ is their newest single (released December 2nd), a song with a lot of tense electronic atmosphere. Musically, it’s the most confident and commanding they’ve sounded thus far.

Posted on November 10th, 2016

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Having recently released a reworked collection, VCR & Chill of their electro-pop project New Portals’ songs on an EP in the style of the alt-folk pop band The Jepettos, Ruth and Mike Aicken are back focusing on New Portals‘ music.

The Belfast couple continue their run of fine electronic pop with ‘Cage’, a song influenced by two disparate but linked things.

“We had been talking about human trafficking, prompted by a local news story about it happening in Belfast. We had also just bought a pet Guinea pig.

“Suddenly, while writing one day, we realised the parallel between the issues surrounding both. Taking a living creature away from its parents, against its will. The feeling of resentment that must develop, but also the dependence on someone else for all of your needs and the feeling of being expendable.

“It’s a messy set of mixed feelings that led us to the lines ‘I’m not yours to keep’, ‘you owe me, but you own me’, and ‘don’t tell me how to feel’. So it’s not a love song and it’s not an angsty Taylor Swift / Katy Perry theme – it’s something different hopefully!”

Posted on July 25th, 2016

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After ‘Groove Boy’ and ‘Do It Right’, Belfast duo New Portals have posted a superb alt-pop song called ‘Skyline’.

Ruth & Mike Aicken’s have been dropping promising electronic pop for a while now and ‘Skyline’ is another indication of their one-to-watch status. It was produced by Matt Weir & Peter McCauley. More to come from them this year.

Posted on January 21st, 2016

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Madonna’s ‘Into the Groove’ begins with the pop star flaunting her moves in her bedroom, wishing and hoping she can find someone else to dance with outside that sanctuary.

Belfast-based duo New Portals explore a similar theme with their new song ‘Groove Boy’ so much so that the lyric intentionally or unintentionally echoes Madonna’s line “get into the groove / boy you’ve got the prove / your love to me.” ‘Groove Boy’ is very much the aftermath of that initial dance dalliance where hope and excitement has been replaced by regret and rejection.

Ruth Aicken clearly enamoured and by the guy’s energy – “makes me want to run and take your attention” and the song has a magnetising hypnotising arrangement to suit such a sentiment. Except, New Portals take the story further: “Take your moves and throw them all away … you took my love and you gave it away.”

New Portals is the new project of Ruth and Michael Aicken of the band The Jepettos. ‘Groove Boy’ gets an official release on October 12th.

Posted on September 14th, 2015

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The Belfast duo New Portals, appeared on my radar, as Northern Irish bands often do, through BBC NI’s Across The Line‘s New Tune Disco, which I contribute to about once a month (this week’s New Tune Disco is here).

New Portals are a new project from  Michael and Ruth Aicken who make folk/pop music as The Jepettos, who do well enough to hit 10 million Spotify streams on their profile which obviously, ain’t bad at all.

Their debut single as New Portals, ‘Standing Over Here’ (below) has a Young Wonder/ EDM feel to it but it’s their new single for me which stands out, which is the first song that came as a result of their collaboration with producers Matt Weir (Blue Tree / Mika) & Pete McCauley (Rams’ Pocket Radio).  It’s to be released on August 14th with a video.

‘Do It Right’ features a chasmic backdrop of percussion and synths that move beneath Ruth’s honey pop tones.

Posted on July 30th, 2015

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