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.
Blue Is The Eye
Folk brothers Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn are back with a new song from their forthcoming album Nine Waves on Rough Trade’s River Lea label. The band’s second album gets released on May 13th and ‘Blue Is The Eye’ is a comforting and sumptuous song that features instrumentaton from Kate Ellis (cello), Caimin Gilmore (double bass), Ryan Hargadon (piano and saxophone).
Brían Mac Gloinn
“This song started as a poem I wrote for an old friend on Arranmore who passed away in late 2020. He used to bring me out fishing as a kid, and later when I got into singing we bonded over songs even more. When he was younger he knew Róise Rua, a well-known singer from the island. He often told me of when he used to visit her, and how she would give him a coal from the fire to light his way home at night. In his last few years he would sit and watch boats come and go across the bay all day. We’d always be happily aware of his eyes on us when we’d be out on the sea. The week he died, his son Jerry took myself and Diarmuid out fishing, and we half-wondered if he was watching still. A minke whale breeched next to our boat that afternoon.”
Nine Waves was recorded in the Dublin Mountains at Hellfire Studios with Lankum and Black Midi producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy.
I Hope You Sleep Tonight
The followup single ‘I Hope You Sleep Tonight’ is a brooding song heavy with emotion, and growing in intensity over its running time, “about how we offer up our support to loved ones experiencing grief and tragedy.”
Big Love play Whelan’s on Saturday and it’s sold out.
Kendall Bousquet is actually a Texan-born Belfast-based songwriter who makes music as Heart Shaped, but you know, ‘No Contact’ is a fine indie-dream-pop song that fits perfectly in this column. Look out for a video in the coming days.
Google Your Symptoms
Irish singer-songwriter Qwerty Mick comes through a quirky lo-fi jam with spoken lyrics, light guitar funk and distant soft drums. It’s from a forthcoming EP.
“‘Google Your Symptoms’ details my frustration at the time of the recent Irish General Election, particularly when I scrolled through Twitter. I found the more attention I paid to the election, or the more I would educate myself on Irish politics, the worse I’d feel about the state of the country. It feels the same as googling your symptoms, where you already feel sick enough as it is, and in googling things, it only piles on layers of anxiety. Reassurance is never offered, especially when the organs that you’re stressing over are the failing Irish institutions around you.”
Released on Valentine’s Day on Pizza Pizza Records, Fermanagh musician Clara Tracey is enamoured with one of the titular artist’s stained glass windows, particularly the Eve of St. Agnes “so the lovers may be reunited ‘just for one night’.”
The song is from a forthcoming debut album called Black Forest, produced by Daniel Fox (Gilla Band), who also plays on the track.
“I would visit the Eve all the time when l was living around the corner from the Hugh
Lane in Phibsboro. The little room where she hangs is a quiet meditative space almost like visiting a church, only in there you find yourself face to face with a darkly romantic/erotic fairytale. Someone once pointed out that to think of melting it down is abit sacrilegious, they are not wrong…”
Gave It Away
Not to be confused with non-fungible tokens, NTF are a Wicklow three-piece who we featured here with ‘Severance’ and ‘Far Out’. ‘Gave it Away’ makes it a confident hat-track of atmospheric electronic pop music for the band.
Ultra indie-pop from Drogheda up-and-comers Modernlove, a fizzy song dropped on Valentine’s Day.
Worry About You
Anomaly Collective producer Evan Miles’ latest song has a Jacques Greene vibe to it. I dig.
Having a distinct visual aesthetic to match every release is something that’s becoming more and more important to me and I feel like it’s a huge thing for an artist to own and to set them apart – acting like an extra layer to the overall release and creating like a little world around the releases rather than just popping them out and letting it be just another song, ygm? Not saying every song has to have a rly deep meaning or anything but I feel like it’s a way for people to connect with what you’re doing in another way, another way for them to consume your art, rather than consume your “content”.Evan Miles
Dublin rock band Melts announced their debut album Maelstrom this week, also like track number 5 above, produced by Daniel Fox (who clearly has great time management or doesn’t sleep).
As it stands ‘Outlier’ is a good encapsulation of the band’s synth rock music to date. The album is out on Friday May 13th on Mother Sky, and the video is by A Parkes. They play Button Factory, Dublin on March 25th and are SXSW bound.
“Outlier is about the imaginable distance between objects in space and how leaving one way of life and moving on to another life falling into space, into the void. The title refers to an object or person existing at a distance from the centre of the system.”Eoin Kenny, singer with Melts.
“We’ve got so many colourful people who are doing their best / to make colourful things happen / but they’re told to give it a rest / this colourful industry will fade with midnight curfews and shame / our best efforts go to waste cos all they want is Dublin to be grey.”
If you want to know what the young people of Dublin think of what’s going on, you can hear it in the frustration heard in the countless songs I’ve heard lately which essentially say something to the effect of ‘Dublin is becoming a cultural wasteland.”
20 year-old artist Orán ‘Nagam‘ Magan’s ‘Grey Dublin’ may have been written during lockdown and restrictions late last year but the point still stands. Young people are emigrating again, the cost of living is too high, we’ve been here before.
Tipperary’s Bog Bodies beat a bodhrán for a rousing folk song about access to clean water on ‘The Regime, and the followup is a paean to rising up and breaking out of the mire. A debut album Reclaim The Ritual comes out later this year on Invocation Records.
Time & Time Again
And finally, can we have a moment (or 4 minutes and 22 seconds) for this vista that opens up former O Emperor-er Paul Savage’s new Whozyerman? album Blink.