A lot of 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 songs that pass our writers that deserve to be heard by you. For more extensive Irish, and Northern Irish coverage, follow our Spotify playlist or hit up the Irish section for individual track features.
Somehow, ‘Sunblock’ is Farah Elle’s debut single. Written in the campsite at Knockanstockan Festival, it’s the first song from her forthcoming album Fatima, a song about consciously taking in the positive parts of live in a negative time.
“The truth is: There will always be sorrow in life. There will also always be joy in life.
Sometimes, the state of the world has us falling into the habit of protecting our
selves so much so that we forget to let in the joy around us too. Happiness can even
feel painful to experience for some people, so it’s essential that we exercise it.”
The charm of AE MAK’s self-produced music on new EP how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world is self-evident on the playful songs ‘I Dance In The Kitchen’ and ‘Forevermorereplay’. Both songs sing with buoyant memorable melodies.
Sara Al Badawiya
Atla3 3ala Lebnan (Moving Still Edit)
Moving Still is back at it again infusing Arabic tracks with big electro vibes for a recent compilation called Grief Into Rage: A Compilation For Beirut, for which, all profits will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross and the Beirut Musicians’ Fund.
“The track was introduced to me by my Lebanese brother in law and the song is about going to Lebanon to drink whisky, smoke hash and chill. I really wanted to shine a light on Sara Al Badawiya as she has so many amazing tracks. This song is very dear to me and reminds me of all my Lebanese family and friends. I am glad that everyone on this comp joined forces to help our brothers and sisters in Beirut.” – Moving Still
The West Cork artist Míde Houlihan teamed up with Mick Flannery for this co-write. It’s a confident and textured folk song, which was made possible by a new songwriting initiative established during lockdown by IASCA (Irish Association of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors). The song was made over a video call service.
Idle Words is about taking someone for granted. Someone who’s not around anymore. You know when someone is in your life every day, and you start getting annoyed by little things they might say or do; it’s about wishing you could have those things back. What you once considered ‘Idle Words’, you’d give anything to hear again.
Thinking of You
The Dublin-based Canadian singer-songwriter Elina Felice imbues her latest song with a bright spoken-word style that heightens the jazz-blues pop song’s charm.
From an impressively establishing debut 7-track release from Dublin-based rapper Mitchel Manning aka Absentee, with production by Cameron Steele and Michael Ward (D12 Inc). ‘Love Letterz’ leans into the Dublin accent and makes the colloquial timbre its defining characteristic on a piano-lead beat.
Love You Anyway
Northern Irish queer pop artist Susie Blue turns on the synths for a sweeping song about her home.
“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.”
Gareth Quinn Redmond
An Fhuaim is Caoine
There’s a very moving and particular background to this new Gareth Quinn Redmond minimal piece that informs its creation that involves a music box, given to him by his parents 15 years ago, that he rediscovered over lockdown, and made music from it.
In 2005 my Mum and Dad went to New York City for their anniversary. One of the gifts they brought back for me was a small music box that played John Lennon’s Imagine. This trinket sat idly on my bedside table for many years until it was eventually lost to time. During the lockdown, like a lot of people, I found myself clearing out the shed of my family home. While doing so, I happened upon the aforementioned music box after years of having believed it was gone for good. Now, placed on my writing desk, it came to inspire An Fhuaim is Caoine. I recorded specific notes from the music boxes’ cycle, pitched some of it down to round off the range of the instrument and eventually came to add sparse synth lines and static strings…after spending a few weeks mixing and too after a delicate mastering Ben Rawlins, An Fhuaim is Caoine was finished.
Written conceptually as Environmental Music, this piece is designed to drift like smoke around the listener and imbue their chosen environment with an added depth. My hope is that during these trying times one can use this music as an agency for reflection and mindfulness whilst also strengthening the bond between the listener and their surroundings.
Throughout quarantine, I tried as often as I could to spend time outside even if only for a short while. When writing An Fhuaim is Caoine, I kept these short excursions in mind and decided that it should be an environmental music designed for these brief moments of repose. It’s hard to know what will come of the next few months but I hope this piece can gift the listener some sense of peace and help them escape their busy mind and life if only for a moment.
Antrim artist Amy Montgomery dropped this grunge-leaning rock song inspired by mental health and depression, specifically her mother, whom she lost to suicide. It’s taken from a debut EP also called Intangible, due out November 20th.
A producer to many others in Ireland (jYellowL, Sia Babez, Tebi Rex) Chris Kabs is also no slouch when it comes to his own output. ‘Fly Away’ is an uplifting afro-dance pop tune. An album called Therapy is forthcoming and Kabs says: “I was married and had a big wedding and walked away the day after, parts of this album are based around the experience that can lead to that type of action.”
An impressive debut from Chósta, a new project from Conor Kelly (pronounced Coast-ah). ‘Alone’ is an evocative electronic tune with euphoric moments and has a video shot on Donabate Beach, near where Kelly grew up and got his moniker from. Video directed by Adam Kelly
The latest preview from JYellowL’s forthcoming album 2020 D|Vision, produced by Chris Kabs.
“The song is about prioritising what and who really is important to you after a tiresome experience of trying to please everyone. It’s about giving roses to your role models, inspirations and loved ones while they’re around to smell them”.
Attilla The Hun
Big bassy trap banger from 21-year-old Jordan Wilson aka RunOffBroke produced by Ninety7Hertz. Love the little piano-roll diversions.
“Me and NINETY7HERTZ were discussing a festival we went to in Berlin where they played artists like XXXTentacion and Ski Mask the Slump God. As much as we loved the music, what we really loved was the reaction of the crowd. They responded to the music with this insane energy and forty-foot-wide mosh pits. It was cool to
see that kind of crowd at a hip-hop gig.”
We wanted to re-imagine that energy through our music: the punk/metal energy mixed with heavy hip-hop beats. NINETY7HERTZ made a beat based on those influences, and the lyrics are inspired by a ruthless character, Attila the Hun. It’s basically me trying to stay the most stupid and messed up things that I can, in a nonchalant way. Kinda like someone bringing up being involved in a bank robbery in the middle of a normal conversation.”
A laidback neo-soul beat serve as the basis for Belfast-based Egyptian artist Dena’s empowering message and ” standing for unity and justice in troubling times.”