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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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).
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.