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.
Could This Be Love
Irish dance producer Sharpson dropped this neon-shaking banger last week on his record label Choki Biki Records (distributed by Lobster Theremin).
The vocal serves as a hook for this 132 BPM breakbeat ravey track. Big tune.
Sharpson is also known for DJing backwards.
The X Collective member DeCarteret comes through with a slice of unexpected neo-soul that utilises trad instrument sounds (fiddle via Tadhg Griffin) to give ‘Trip Me’ a idiosyncratic atmosphere.
The track is taken from DeCarteret’s forthcoming debut EP Cumming and Crying On The Bathroom Floor, released at the end of May.
From The Everyday in Bloom, the debut album from ambient trio Dirty Dreamer (Louise Gaffney, Daithí O’Connor and Ken McCabe) comes this highlight.
‘Downhill’ is immediately demanding of your attention with an industrial beat that gives way to Gaffney’s sweet vocal and a stop-start arrangement, which blossoms sonically, in a way that the band have shown to be adept of repeatedly since their inception.
Dirty Dreamer play The Workman’s Cellar on Thursday 2nd June.
The Everyday in Bloom is an album four years in the making; the accumulation of hundreds of hours of recorded material taken from the band’s weekly improvised and recorded practice sessions. After each session, producer Ken McCabe would choose the best 2-3 minute concepts and ideas, which the band would review and develop further upon a week later.
“When we all started getting excited about the same moments of the recordings we knew there was something there that was worth crafting into a track,” Ken McCabe explained of the process. “We had a running start, we had it all figured out.”
Irish jazz punk band Vernon Jane are back with a new single from a forthcoming second album called Chestpains And Sidepieces, this catchy soulful ditty called ‘Origami’.
“You only have to look at a piece of origami to see you shouldn’t crush it, to crush it would be really cruel. It would be destroying something beautiful and unique. But aren’t our hearts and souls a lot like little tiny delicate pieces of origami and we so readily crush each other.
Our hearts and our souls deserve to be cradled and nurtured and folded up into beautiful pieces of art. I don’t want to crumple people up and throw them away, I’d never do that to a piece of origami and I’d never do that to a person’s heart and soul. If I love you, I love you for life.”
That’s not how the world really feels anymore… It’s a big bad world out there and we all deserve to be treated so delicately.”
New Girls Every Night
Northern Irish producer Cbakl has released a fine run of beat productions on his own Class Craic Records. This latest, ‘New Girls Every Night’ spins a soul sample and adds up to a head-nodder.
“I often find myself gravitating towards topics of love and relationships when creating singles. It’s something I’ve had my fair share of experiences with and it’s a topic that everybody can relate to in some form so it’s immediately relatable to the listener. I came across the sample for the song a few months ago when I was crate digging on YouTube and immediately knew I could turn it into something special. It’s got that soulful sound that I’ve become known for over the years so I think it’s a track my fans will be really into.”
Catch Cbakl at our Output Belfast showcase with Word Up Collective on April 21st. Skinner, Bobbi Arlo and Bricknasty are also playing live.
Paddy Hanna can be a purveyor of Scott Walker esque songwriting or he can be found writing odd songs about cannibalism or Italian-American crooners.
‘Yoko Ono’ is one of the latter, a follow on from ‘New York Sidewalk’ , a name-dropping trip of a song, about imposter syndrome and having an identity crisis.
“The song started as an improvised rap about Mike love from The Beach Boys, and over time it mutated into a cheerful bop about an identity crisis. There isn’t a day where I don’t feel like an imposter, so why not write a catchy tune about it,” says Paddy.
Paddy Hanna has also announced his fourth album will be called Imagine I’m Hoping and will be released this autumn, and Hanna plays The Workman’s Cellar on Friday, 15th April presented by Foggy Notions.
I Am Old Enough
Antrim singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery’s new song is a philosophical one about the cyclical nature of humanity and existence, and you know what? It has something genuine and open to say on a big topic.
I believe we are repeating everything that has gone before
I’m not sure exactly what a soul is
Or what is worse – to have less, or to have more
I don’t think all opinions are valid
Or that each problem should be met head on
And to keep pursuing a point after it’s made is like putting underwear over a thong
GOLD (Fall With The Gun)
West Cork duo Les SalAmandas are Julie O’Sullivan (Ballydehob, West Cork) and Colyne Laverriere (Hostun, France) who met in late 2018 and played live together for the first time in Levis Corner House in Ballydehob.
The pair have been songwriting and recording since and the fruits of their industry are heard on the moving ‘Gold (Fall With The Gun)’.
A debut album in forthcoming and you can hear other singles here.
The song is about growing into a different place where it can be beautiful and rewarding, but also hard to settle in,” says Colyne Laverriere.
Red Corn Poppies
‘Red Corn Poppies’ is a song that does a lot with a little – it’s only voice and guitar making an impact here. It was written while living in Glasgow.
‘Find Her in the Grass’ was the previous track. Zajac’s EP of the same name will be released on May 20th. The songs were originally written as poems.
“I learned how to play guitar. I found some old poems. I turned them into songs. This is the second of those four. ‘Red Corn Poppies’’ was recorded in my flat in Ibrox, Glasgow 2020, immediately after I’d finished writing it. Calm in my bedroom, while the world went mad. See if you can hear the clang of kitchen pots.“
The song is the second single Zajac has released this year, on Edinburgh label Post Electric Artists, named after the Post Electric Studio, which is run by Rod Jones (Idlewild).
Stereo Magik, Sea High, Citizen Black, Sarah Jane Walsh
Happiness on Tick
Willzee, Tolu Makay
Limerick rapper Willzee is a man using music as a cathartic process, bringing spoken word and social commentary on direct songs that speak to hurt, gratitude and perseverance.
The much-buzzed about singer Tolü Makay adds some light to this stirring song, ahead of Willzee’s debut album on April 29th, on the Welcome to the New World label.
“My Light is a story of a couple’s journey through the highs and the lows, the loss of 3 angels and how love held together the strings of a relationship worn thin through self-blame, alcohol and drug abuse. This is based on a true story I’ve experienced, focusing on the love of another and the support given when trapped in your own self-pity.”Willzee
You Look Like You’ve Been Up All Night
Irish electronic artist lullahush is gearing up for the release of his debut album A City Made of Water and Small Love on May 27th. After ‘When I’m Not Awake I’m Dreaming Of You’, comes the album’s opening track, which sets the scene.
Following on from January’s grime and drill mixtape 21 and the single ‘6 Years’, comes the video for the title track from the release by Wexford rapper.
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.
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.