A lot music from Ireland and Northern Ireland comes Nialler9’s way and every week, we listen through it all and select the tracks from emerging artists and some established acts that deserve to be heard by you.
Van Der Sar
Straight out the blocks with a sample of the famous “I’ll tell ya who wrote it..” Dunphy line, Aaron Lawlor goes full kit and full clip on a woozy tune inspired by the legendary Dutch keeper and references South William Street and Panti Bar.
‘Van Der Sar’ was written after Lawlor first moved to Dublin city centre and noticed the duality of living in the city, it’s an imaginary night out where the fun is pin-pricked by the social inequality evident on the streets – “it’s about things I noticed as I walked around the city centre like homeless people, depression and people just struggling with their everyday lives.”
“It’s about calling out people pretending to be something they’re not. I stand with those who express themselves the way they want and not to be part of a group just because of the fear of being slagged or looked at differently. That’s why I wrote this song.”
The Belfast electronic producer Max Cooper dropped his sixth album Unspoken Words last week and this track ‘Spectrum’ is a focus song indicative of Cooper’s gently-morphing undulating art.
Cooper says he has been exploring the difficulties of communicating with words as part of the Unspoken Words project, with the title of the song , a reference to what Cooper says “created a melting pot of feelings for me. It’s carries a lot of hope and happiness, but also sadness and reflection, without there being any conflict. It’s a simple example of how language is a poor tool when it comes to describing an internal state succinctly and accurately, where music can do so, far more effectively and directly. “
The album is also released as a Blu-ray of 13 films by a range of visual artists commissioned and directed by Max Cooper, and mixed in Dolby Atmos surround sound. See unspokenwords.net
Hit Me Where It Hurts
“This song came from my experience of people expressing their opinions and doubts of me as an artist in the music industry,” says Fya Fox of new song ‘Hit Me Where It Hurts’, which is evidently a pop banger that leaves little doubt of its pedigree.
The track was written with Richy McCourt over a zoom call during lockdown and produced by Matt Weir & Si Fransis.
Fya Fox is pronounced like Fire not Fia – don’t make the same faux pas as I did IN PERSON recently. Oops).
Whatcha Gonna Do
Nicole Lyons, Ruairi Forde, Noelle Duffy and Gregory Kearns are new Dublin indie band Still Blue impress with their second single. ‘Watcha Gonna Do’ is a melodic indie track that bursts with energy and verve.
Catch Still Blue live at The Workman’s Cellar in Dublin on April 7th.
RÓGAN X ØMEGA
Alt-hip-hop duo RÓGAN X ØMEGA dropped a 3-track release last Friday, lead by this urgent banger.
“These three records are an extension of how we were feeling at the time. This internalized rage, anger and just overall sense of freedom of expression drove us to create these 3 records.”
The Fizzy Orange five-piece are back with a song called ‘Oh Carling!’ that is giving me blog indie circa 2007 vibes and I am not mad. If this was released 15 years ago, Fizzy Orange would be the next Vampire Weekend.
Of the track, the band say, the song came about while recording in Leitrim, where Carling was on offer in the supermarket, and confirm my suspicion.
“This song is basically our effort at one of those mid 2000’s pop rock tunes. Didn’t really turn out that way… At the time we were listening to lots of XTC, R. Stevie Moore, Beach Boys’ ‘smiley smile’ album and a few other more home production sort of bits, we were happy with how it turned out, short, sweet and to the point.”
The song, was produced by Dan Fox (Gilla Band), but doesn’t have his typical industrial rock vibe.
Go Away and Come Back Hither
“This song is about the ebb and flow of longing and fulfilment. When someone we love is kept from us, we want them more. It’s like inverse magnetism, the further away they are the stronger the pull. It’s an old romantic theme, so I wanted it to have some of the feel of romantic era poetry. The first line and the melody had followed me around for a while until the first lockdown of 2020 when the rest of the song came together.”Diarmuid of Ye Vagabonds
Nine Waves was recorded in the Dublin Mountains at Hellfire Studios with John ‘Spud’ Murphy and features Kate Ellis (cello) and Caimin Gilmore (double bass) and Ryan Hargadon (piano and saxophone), Cormac Begley (concertina) and Alain McFadden (harmonium).
Ye Vagabonds play their biggest show yet on June 9th at Vicar Street in Dublin. They’re also playing Doolin Folk Festival in June.
Calling Out At Sea
Brendan Bailey is a London-based, Irish musician who just released a solo album Tales from the Sea. I’m told you may remember him as the guy who played Coke bottles on Grafton street which doesn’t ring a bell (or bottle) for me.
Anyway, I’m really enjoying the release’s opening track, as an introduction to the nautical-themed album. It’s a funk-starry harmony-laden guitar song.
God Is An Astronaut’s Jamie Dean has started releasing solo music under his own name. ‘Alaska’ is a track that builds from pleasing interlocking piano notes to a swirling electronic production with a wider vision.
Roscommon 23-year-old artist Arlene is channelling a couple of recognisable touchstones of pop music on ‘Somebody Else’ – from the zeitgeisty verse delivery to the classic indie-pop switchup of the chorus.
The Last Embers Of Us
Waterford producer Peter Vogelaar’s first release since 2020’s Inner Creatures album is The Last Embers Of Us’ is a moving slice of ambient electronic music.
“The Last Embers Of Us is to suggest the melancholy and resolve and more positive aspects of moving from one chapter to the next, and looking at a bigger picture. It’s not a whiny or nihilistic statement, I mean, who the f*ck needs that these days?!”
For more extensive Irish and new music coverage, hit up the Irish section for individual track features
For this and more Irish songs, follow the Nialler9 New Irish Spotify playlist.