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.
Singer and musician Elaine Howley has a debut album out on Belfast Touch Sensitive Records called The Distance Between Heart and Mouth on August 12th.
When not playing with Altered HoursMorning Veils, Crevice and Howlbux, Howley was keeping an audio diary on a 4-track cassette machine in 2019 and 2020. The self-produced output of which attempts to recreate the intimacy a radio show, through weaving a tapestry of sounds that exist in the Venn diagram between pop music and experimentation.
“I was thinking a lot about the themes of silencing and communication. My voice and a lot of my feelings were buried and I wanted to push that out using music. That is the intention of this album – trying to be brave enough to share and to open up; along with the internal and external barriers that exist when it comes to doing that.”Elaine Howley
A previous Nialler9 Song of 2019 ‘Song For Mary Black’ features on the record.
Of new song ‘Silent Talk’, Howley says it’s “about the urge to run and not share parts of myself but also about continuing to try to do that and about the patience people can show in waiting for me.
Judy on the Roof
Back in 2020, we featured an atmosfolk track from Ellen aka Judy on the Roof. Two years later, and we’ve a new song. ‘In Dreams’ is a shimmering slice of synth-pop sleepiness. It’s from an EP out in August.
‘Little Box’ is the newest song from the songwriter (who has also announced a show at Academy 2, Dublin in September)
“Little Box is a song about trying to get someone to like you, even though you’d probably be better off without them. It’s about making yourself smaller to fit into their narrow expectations of you, and reimagining even their most hurtful behaviour as being an expression of love. By the end, though, it’s more about breaking out of the box than anything else.”
Sports & Tattoos
Dublin artist 22 year old Abdu Huss aka Khakikid is getting his funk on on new song ‘Sports & Tattoos’, a summery R&B track with an Anderson .Paak flavour. It’s from his forthcoming EP Elevator Music on September 1st.
“You know those mates of yours that should be a couple but just won’t accept it? They’ve been friends so long that they think it’d be weird to see each other but it’s obvious they’re both into one another. That’s what sports & tattoos is about. They can’t help but flirt with each other but always play it off as a joke. They’re afraid of making a move in case it’ll ruin everything.”Khakikid
I Want It
We featured ‘Going’, from Molijah last year, and the Tallaght artist is back with a four-track EP of R&B, hip-hop and pop music, and production by Ois. ‘I Want It’ is track two from the release, intro’d by a hushed spoken word verse, with alternatively sung hooks and synth stabs over a jazzy-electronic beat.
Where’s Your Hall Pass?
Tebi Rex’s Max Zanga is here with a new track from a project called Filmore!. ‘Where’s Your Hall Pass?’ is a dramatically-pitched song with rock guitars and drums, ’80s synths, D&B breaks and a cheeky lyric that is giving off triggering school day vibes.
Shee is also one half DJ/production duo Midweek.
The producer, singer and musician Christian Cohle returns with his typically epic-pitched ambient electronic pop music on ‘Wasted’, a song that builds on the repetition of the main vocal line and builds to a crescendo of gauzy electronica with Cohle’s voice breaking like Antony Hegarty.
“Wasted is one of the last songs I wrote in 2020 detailing a relationship that had fallen apart after two years, that myself and my ex had really wrestled with trying to rekindle and save towards the end. It was a heartbreaking period for both of us and a massive shift. I became fixated on expressing my heartbreak and all of the mixed feelings that came swarming in with it, into the music, because that was the only space where I could express it unabashedly. I found it so intensely difficult to see this relationship as a moment in the past. In fact, I still have a hard time fully accepting it. But ‘Wasted’ is when I knew I couldn’t make it work anymore, and I had to step away… However there’s a strength in the discovery of acknowledging one’s defeat, and being ultimately present in one’s own felt senses, and because of that I think ‘Wasted’ has a euphoric element to it and even an uplifting tone”.
Christian Cohle plays live at Whelan’s Upstairs on Friday 22 July
Point Guard NBA MVP
Get this Mac DeMarco-esque song into you. Zuchley brings sunny acoustic harmony-laden lo-fi sounds to this lolling track, which is the third single from a forthcoming album called outside or in a room’.
Drinking Alone in the Moonlight
Patrick Stefan fka Paj has announced a debut album called Wayfare is out on September 23rd. ‘Drinking Alone in the Moonlight’ is a Nick Drake-esque folk number with light orchestral touches from the Irish-Dutch singer.
Stefan’s music is inspired by his travels, and experiences like learning tribal songs in Mali, playing jazz guitar in Boston, folk singing in Helsinki and drumming in north Brazil.
‘Drinking alone in the moonlight’ is the title of an 8th Century poem by Li Bai.
“A fellow wanderer of the world and of the self, the simplicity of the words resonated with the solo experiences that shaped my upcoming album Wayfare. I wrote the song first on a Finnish Kantele – a child’s harp, then brought it to life with a guitar accompaniment & strings that reminded me of Nick Drake in a classic 50’s movie. To a Taoist, Li Bai’s drunkenness would not be seen as a vice: I like to connect the idea of drink & dancing alone with your shadow to Carl Jung’s idea of the ‘shadow self’ – the dance with the part of you that you keep hidden.”Patrick Stefan
‘Head Voices’ is the previous single released from Wayfare.
Olivia Emade is an Irish artist matching foregrounded melodies to ambient pop sounds, as heard on second single ‘Think’ , a track that wanders with spacious intent.
It’s early days for the recorded output of Olivia Emade but she has trained for stages in theatre productions in musicals from an early age, but it was the pandemic which pushed her to create original songs.
I Hope U Think Of Me
Adam Kelly is a producer going by the alias of Poser. On his second released track, ‘I Hope U Think Of Me’, the lofi-house instrumental is all airy synths, soft glow pads, with a reflective repeating sample. Plus, a sample of a clip of Connell from the TV show Normal People speaking of missing Marianne, which speaks to the song’s intended theme.
“I hope U think of me refers to that grief and I hope it’s something that people can relate to and find a bit of themselves in”.
owin, Muttonhead, Max Zanga
Owin teams up with rappers Max Zanga (there he is again, see #6 above) and Muttonhead on ‘Fly Sh*t’, a song that takes production inspiration from Vince Staples’ FM! album.
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.