A lot of music from Ireland and Northern Ireland comes our way and every week, we listen through it all, sift the list down to a manageable list and share the best new tracks from emerging artists and some more established acts that deserve to be heard by you.
For more extensive Irish and new music coverage, follow our Spotify playlist or hit up the Irish section for individual track features.
Right Here Waiting
Michael Gaffney aka Gaff is a Roscommon artist I’ve been keeping an eye on with regular singles since 2019, featuring a kind of lo-fi indie pop with beats style that is fairly unique.
‘Right Here Waiting’ is sure to add to the artist’s already big Spotify numbers, yet another a charming bedroom pop song.
Skin Or Swim
Big indie-pop atmospherics and melodies from the returning artist Lydia Ford.on new song ‘Sink Or Swim’, out on Faction Records.
The song came from repeated nightmares about water the Mayo-born artist had.
“I wrote Sink or Swim in a bleak January when I kept having nightmares about water. Every night I fought against the waves and during the day I was sleep deprived, feeling lost and stuck in rut. Ultimately I decided I needed to make a change and the song is the journey to that decision – my only two choices, in the nightmares and in life, were to sink or swim. I wanted the production to be more upbeat than the lyrics, but keeping a glitchy, dreamy, underwater quality in places. The track was co-written with Jess Pascal from Morning Midnight who also co-produced alongside Sam Stevenson. We’re all big MUNA fans so a lot of the inspiration came from there and The Japanese House. I think it’s a great intro for what to expect coming later in 2023.”
Please Stop Mouthing
Dublin rapper Loops Heavy is planning on releasing a song and a video a month in the run up to a debut album. ‘Please Stop Mouthing’ is the second release of the year.
Follow Loop Heavy on Insta and read this old Goldenplec profiler.
When not playing with the band Cable Boy, Niall Sheehan makes music under the name Niallish. ‘Soduko’ is all about the percussive handclaps, bassline and synths underlining the 2-minute ditty. Says Niallish:
“The concept of this song came to me after a session with my band Cable Boy. We were mixing as a group and panning clashing frequencies. At this point I visualised the mix in a 3X3 grid akin to a Sudoku puzzle. Left, middle, right X lows mids highs. You’ll hear two bass lines left and right with the kick drum sat in the middle. Same for vocals and high frequency percussion+synths. For the lyrics I aimed to write words that would be suitable for both chatting to someone in the club or solving a sudoku.”
Niallish previously featured for a song called ‘Indie Niall’.
Cork artist Elaine Malone returned with gauzy psych track ‘Nothing Is Real’ in Dundalk label Pizza Pizza Records. It’s a gossamer howl of a song that Elaine says draws inspiration from The Velvet Underground, Nico and Lee Hazlewood.
And now for something a bit trippy from Dublin-born, London-based artist/producer Michael Orange aka Feather Beds.
‘Really Disney’ is the first single from a third album from the project Softer Measures out this summer on Strange Brew, and there are shades of experimental acoustic Japanese artist Cornelius as a stated influence.
The stylish monochrome video by the artist himsled underscores the song’s discombobulation.
“It’s about what is real and what isn’t,” Orange says. “The version of ourselves we present over reality.”
Other players on the song include Vincent Richard from the band WORKS (additional guitar, tape loops), Ben Shorten from Tomorrows (piano), and Gordon Wyper (trumpet).
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London-based German-Irish singer-songwriter vi0let previously featured here with ‘Peaches and Cream’, and ‘Dreams’ is the followup of a R&B / pop cloth that touches on a night out partying with pals, wanting to be a pop star and the cyclical nature of life.
“Piano pumps for sweaty dancefloors,” from producer/DJ/podcaster/bar owner/comedian/foodie Marcus O’Laoire from his DJ Hollandaise alias.
‘Dress 2 Sweat’ is the second release on Hollandaise’s free Butter Bootlegs series, and it’s on Bandcamp.
Dublin indie 20-year old songwriter Daire Heffernan already has form in writing songs of a melodic indie rock persuasion. ‘Harry’ is the latest in that vein, a more throwback sound to older indie dream pop with Cocteau Twins as a stated influence.
It’s got an innocence to it
“After writing so many songs about men in my life who had hurt me or let me down, it felt so good to sit down and write this one from a place of happiness. It was actually probably the fastest I’ve ever written a song, no metaphors or poetry needed.”
‘Harry’ was produced by Spies’ Hugh O’Dwyer and recorded in Sun Studios, Temple Bar. It was mastered by Ivan Jackman (Gilla Band, Black Midi) at Hellfire Studios.
Essex-based Afro-Irish artist 7th Obi follows up ‘The Alchemist’ with this billowing electronic R&B/rap song, produced by Malaysian producer Joel T.
“This song for me is a continuation into vulnerability in my music, Heartrender is something for my fellow creatives. Our hearts are overflowing with love, and while relationships can be fulfilling, at times it can be a very narrow way to express the love we have in our hearts.”7th Obi.
Dazed & Confused
Formerly featured here as a duo with ØMEGA, Dublin rapper/producer RÓGAN is back with new music. ‘Dazed & Confused’ is a a sweet pop/rap collaboration with vocalist Kyna.
Wicklow electronica duo Manyana, who are David O’Rourke and Aran Sheehy, just released a three-track collection of dance music funded by an Arts Council grant, that is a bit of craic called A.Tripler.
‘Encoder’ is my pick of the three, a big-room dance shaker with subtle acid and synth stabs overtaking the production at points.
Manyana have been played by DJ Sasha, and have had tracks in rotation on US radio network iHeartRadio and SBS Australia. They have also been featured on specialist YouTube channels ThePsychedelicMuse (over 250k subscribers) and SpaceAmbient (over 100k subscribers).
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.