Alot of Irish and Northern Irish music comes Nialler9’s way and there’s little time to feature everything we think is worthy of a thumbs up or more ears. Every week, we collate the new songs from emerging artists that deserve to be heard by you.
The Burner Records co-founder Local Boy has been cultivating a bright-sided form of bedroom pop and ‘Al Bundy’ is his cheeriest, funkiest and happy-go-luckiest even when addressing self-help culture that breeds online.
Director Daragh Goan of the video says: “I wanted to use the Sitcom Dad character because we grew up watching men on screen, from The Simpsons to Al Bundy in Married with Children, work meaningless unfulfilling jobs and be sad as a result of it, and I wanted to ask what it would be like if one of them had a creative outlet or pursued something that made them happy.”
‘Sueño’ is an evocative track of ambient electronic instrumental proportions from the Waterford Barcelona-based musician David Duffy. It’s the first song from an upcoming album called Aperture out in June and the video matches the song’s brooding, dreamy yet cerebral vibe with Catalan choreographer and dancer Aina Lanas Cartes featuring in a clip directed by Barcelona filmmakers Los Coleccionistas
“Sueño is about awakening or birthing in many ways, which also follows the narrative path the album will take. This low pulsating track was born from this space with a continuous gradual opening and expansion into the light towards the end. This album is also about me exploring linear forms in music, and sonically anchoring the tracks in solid driving foundations, to allow me to go a little further out with the textures I can build around that, while in general, allowing me to enjoy and combine my passion as a composer, sound designer and musician simultaneously”— David Duffy
I Heard His Scythe feat. Maija Sofia
Robocobra Quartet’s Chris Ryan recently released an excellent EP under the name Sorbet, and he’s enlisted Maija Sofia for backing vocals on ‘I Heard His Scythe’ a track from the forthcoming debut album This Was Paradise with the video by Rian Lennon.
“I Heard His Scythe was inspired by a guy I had been seeing for a while who just stopped answering my messages one day and seemed to disappear. I had this sense for a few weeks that I would eventually run into him; it’s an uneasy feeling. It made me think about all the things we avoid and that avoid us, leading to the album’s themes of the impending reaper’s scythe of climate change. The music video borrows from the paranoia of 1970s film and feels like some weird cross between a thriller and a hip-hop video.”Chris Ryan
“The video was initially inspired by the surreal landscapes of artist Giorgio di Chirico. We wanted to show Belfast from an angle it isn’t usually seen, show it in a nightmarish light that fit the paranoia of the song’s lyrics. We also had to pick something that could be shot during a covid lockdown so the idea of someone being watched through various windows seemed appropriate. Thomas, the DP, suggested 1970’s thriller The Conversation as a reference and we started to build the visual language from there. The silhouette lighting was a late addition that helped tie the paranoia of the lyrics into the visual style and gave the whole thing a more ominous energy. It really helped bring out the cinematic quality that was already in the song. Joe – our actor – recorded over 15,000 steps on his fitbit from all the running around we made him do. It was a good team effort.”Rian Lennon
Olive On Da Beat
From the just-released Bandersnatch EP from the Irish producer Olive On Da Beat, ‘Nights’ leans on the interplay between dark tones and bright instrumentation with Daryl Bengo on vocals. It’s got a bit of a Jacques Greene vibe to it.
Olive On Da Beat runs the label Hidden Hill Records. I’m digging ‘Random Memories’ too.
I love the spacious and meandering intent in ‘Melt’ from the Cork producer Blakkheart. The room allows an otherworldly quality to drift in to the track that reminds me of the work of Welsh producer Kelly-Lee Owens.
‘So Melt/ Caramelize / Burn yourself back to life’ is the song’s main hook, in answer to living in a way that isn’t true to yourself.
One of the artists chosen for Oh Yeah Centre’s Scratch My Progress programme, which mentors new artists (and is now in its ninth year), Lemonade Shoelace’s ‘Autopilot Paradise’ delivers widescreen indie pop with panache.
Mitchel Manning aka Absentee’s music stands out for leaning into his Dublin accent and the music’s chilled R&B vibe. ‘Greener Views’ continues on that quest with a vocal hook sung by Niara.
Love You Anyway
‘Love You Anyway’ is the standout track from the North Irish queer artist Susie Blue’s Boys Boys Boys EP, and the artist says of the song:
“Love You Anyway is a love letter to the North of Ireland, my home. There are things I love but many things I want to change. It’s about being somewhere and feeling the need to flee to bigger and better things but realising you also want to improve your home, to make it better, to make it the beautiful place it can be, however you can. The beauty of the song can be interpreted in many ways, it’s a love song in general and touches on mental health issues and addiction. It was an important song for me to write and I poured my heart into it.”Susie Blue.
Jaysis, this pandemic ha? Since March 2020 there has been nearly double the amount of Irish music sent my way but there are loads of artists who have struggled with their mental health and creativity. Awkward Z knows what’s up and has pushed through it and released a new song ‘Trapped’ addressing exactly that.
The song is pretty much my experiences during the first and second lockdown and how it impacted my mental health. I wanted people to know that they’re not alone being trapped in their own head and basically trapped inside with the pandemic, sometimes things get tough that can set you back during these times but it was important for me to keep moving forward past it. Through reflection so far I’ve used the time to improve on myself and kick out all the things I didn’t like about myself to see positive changes in my life, so it’s been a personal learning experience all 2020 for me. A rebirth almost.Awkward Z
With a bright dayglow look that matches the four-piece’s unabashed electronic pop, Babylamb are Ireland’s answer to Alphabeat, albeit 15 years later but still. No one really makes hyper-melodic pop like this so Babylamb stand out.
Babylamb are Tobias Barry on lead vocals, saxophone, synths; Rían Stephens on backup vocals, production elements; Laoise Fleming on backup vocals; and Cian King on electric and bass guitar.
Ronan Lynch was formerly one-third of the band Tanjier. When the pandemic hit, the musician moved into a caravan on the coast of Donegal and began writing music again. Akilo was born and on ‘Going Nowhere’, Lynch enlists the talents of the dark electronic pop duo Sylk for the release.
“My life had abruptly changed overnight, having to leave Dublin and move into a mobile home temporarily, off the coast of Donegal. This was when I began to write Going Nowhere. The lyrics describe the situation I was in, the free time on my hands and having nowhere to go. I got in touch with SYLK to collaborate on the production and vocals and fortunately they agreed.”Ronan Lynch aka Akilo
The Irish-born and Berlin-based producer Brian Ring has released a new 4-tracker and I really dig the upbeat chugger of ‘Night Tribe’. I’d also recommend ‘Stargazer’, which premiered on the great music site LaGasta from it but it’s all worth a go.