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.
London-based Donegal artist Rosie Carney has announced a second album, with a title like a statement of intent – i wanna be happy (May 27th via Color Study), and as the artist has displayed before, her work interrogates personal mental health struggles against the backdrop of navigating a musical career in 2022.
Eschewing the more acoustic style heard on 2021 single ‘Party Dress’, ‘Dad’ finds Carney bringing buzzing guitar atmospherics to her sound on a slow-diving shoegazing song a marked contrast to 2019’s Bare and her covers album of Radiohead’s The Bends.
Carney felt inspired by the release of Taylor Swift’s Folklore during lockdown, as it reminded her that you have to stick to your own creative sound, pandemic or no.
“Initially it felt like the music world had given folk the cold shoulder during the pandemic. Everything became lo-fi bedroom pop – which is fine – but I was afraid that if I continued to make the music that came most naturally to me, no one would be interested in what I had to say or sing. When Folklore was released, it was like a ‘holy shit’ moment because it just really reinforced the fact that I’m allowed to write the music that I want to write, I’m allowed to be a storyteller in my lyrics if I want to. It was like oh shit yeah, being authentic is way cooler.”
The video features actor John Bell, known for his roles in Outlander, The Hobbit, and most recently the revival of the Off-Broadway one-man show The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.
Another A-grade dreamy soulful banger from Dublin artist Tomike. ‘Another Life’ was produced by Jack Suddaby, wand it is their second collaboration.
See you in the next one.
With the success of Gilla Band, The Murder Capital, Just Mustard and Idles have inspired younger projects to lean on post-punk and heavier industrial sounds, as heard on the Belfast’s four-piece Chalk new song ‘Them’, all wailing sounds, big kick drum and screaming vocals, recorded with producer Chris Ryan (Robocobra Quartet, NewDad, Just Mustard)
Accompanying the single is a finely-pitched monochrome music video directed by Benedict Goddard underscoring the eerie atmosphere.
I Dare You
Derry artist ROE has returned with one of her most anthemic songs to date. ‘I Dare You’ has a big indie-pop vibe (or “existential indie-pop”) with brass arrangements in the chorus.
“The inevitable drives between shows and home are so ridiculous and difficult and new every time. This song is about every unpredictable emotion that stems from adrenaline and exhaustion on the road and the parts of our lives as musicians that nobody ever gets to see.“
The Morning Dew / An Buachaill Caol Dubh / Johnny O Leary’s / Tá Dhá Ghabhairín Bhuí Agam (Reel / Slow Air / Polkas)
One of Ireland’s finest and most singular artists, Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley has announced a second solo album called B, out on May 14th.
The release, as Cormac puts it, sets out “to explore the sound potentials of the Bass and Baritone concertina range,” and the B also stands for “‘Bass’, ‘Baile’, ‘Beaglaoich’, ‘Begley’, ‘Blueprint’ and a list of insults in both the Irish and English language.”
The hexagonal cover features a custom designed concertina, by Kerry artist Dómhnal Ó Bric
“[I asked] Dómhnal Ó Bric to design the fretwork on the front cover of the album. With help from Denis Powell and Pat Lawless, the design was cut into wood and engraved into metal. This fretwork contains a number of images and stories from Baile an Rua Bhroic, Paróiste Mordhach and Corca Dhuibhne (i.e., the Dingle Peninsula).”Cormac Begley
One Of These Days
England-based Irish disco duo Noden drop a fine trailer for summer days on holiday with ‘One Of These Days’ on the Spa in Disco label.
Fine indie pop from Big Sleep, who are Dublin-based duo Rónán Connolly and Florence born, Matteo Poli, which is giving me Libertines vibes with the vocals.
The band say musically, ‘Tutti Frutti’ was inspired by The Drums, The Jam and Molchat Doma, which I think you can also hear.
It’s from a forthcoming EP Feel Something Someday out in June, which was recorded in Hell Fire Studios, Dublin and produced by James Smith (formerly of Gypsies on the Autobahn and currently J Smith).
Former Little Green Cars frontman Stevie Appleby continues his acoustic solo forays with ‘Welfare’, which tells sweet little vignettes of every day life, as it grows gently in instrumentation with piano and Gareth Quinn Redmond playing violin.
The song, also like the Big Sleep track, features production from James Smith aka J Smith, and takes inspiration from songwriters Daniel Johnston and Elliott Smith.
Stevie play Whelan’s tonight, the 5th of April with support from J Smith.
Life On Pause
Strabe are a new duo recently signed to PIAS, with Scottish singer Angelica Black and Irish producer Emmet Carey, who met at the Cork Jazz Festival in a smoking area and struck up a musical friendship that began months later in Dublin student bedrooms.
‘Life on Pause’ is a throwback-style indie pop song that serves as the band’s official debut after a DIY dance pop song called ‘Best Worst Year’ took off thanks to its catchy nature.
One to watch.
1000 Beasts, Arthur Valentine
A focus single from Cork producer’s collab-heavy album Naruda, released last Friday, pairs fellow countyman Arthur Valentine for a fizzy R&B electronic jam.
Catch 1000 Beasts live:
Bello Bar, Dublin – May 21st
Winthrop Ave, Cork – May 27th
I Am The Main Character
GOLD (I Die At The End)
Do you have main character syndrome? You might listening to this.
Meltybrains?’ and Sim Simma’s Ben Bix hasa new project with members of Acid Granny and Spudgun. Industrial sounds and metallic post-punk experimentalism is the vibe, as heard on this track featuring Sophia Malaikia.
From the main character’s mouth:
I Am The Main Character is a postpunk, solopsism-core band from Dublin, Ireland.
Sensational Dublin DJ superstar Ben Bix, boundary-melting street-drumming octopus Jay MacNamara, and Sam Burton, a normal man with the voice of an angel, furious about his banal problems! But when combined, which of them is truly THE MAIN CHARACTER?
Their music consists of chaotic, highly-compressed sonic spasms that combine angular post-punk with glitchy electronics, anchored together with frenetic drumming and lyrics that describe mundane daily grievances through a bizarrely furious prism. Live performances are high energy, aggressive bursts, with improvised jams woven into the set.
Enthusiasts of artists like Gilla Band, Lightning Bolt, The Locust, and The Knife should find something here to like.”
The Village Vandals
C’est La V
It’s not every day you hear a weird rapping Irish/French duo, and The Village Vandals are channelling old school rap and promise a collision with “contemporary folk fables deal with the harsh realities of 21st century rural existence.”
The duo are producer, musician vocalist Ruby Mae Shiels, daughter of Ewan and Tracey Shiels (Sons of the Desert, The Shiels) and producer rapper Kevin Donnelly nephew of the legendary Finbarr Donnelly (Nun Attax, Five Go Down to the Sea), who are both of Irish origin with time spent in France.
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.