A lot 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.
For more extensive Irish and new music coverage, follow our Spotify playlist or hit up the Irish section for individual track features.
Dublin-based singer-songwriter Rebecca Locke’s ‘Manic Energy’ is a song which explores mental illness and coping post-breakup and Locke says its energy was inspired by Car Seat Headrest and Hobo Johnson – I hear the indie lo-fi of the former with the heart-on-sleeve of the later on the song.
“I wrote ‘manic energy’ a few months after a big breakup. I was recovering from mono and incredibly depressed, just going through all the motions. I didn’t have a lot of friends, so most days I’d just go home and write songs.”
Production comes from Conor O’Boyle and mixing from Search Party Animal’s Ciarán Byrne. ‘manic energy’.
After two plus years away, the Monaghan band Sun.Set.Ships returned last month with two songs in quick succession. ‘Truth’ kicked things back as reminder of the band’s emotive indie electronic style, while last week’s ‘Sonder’ , the trio bring pulsing dynamics to their eight minute ’80s throwback track.
Inspired by the hyperactive day-glow productions of Sophie (RIP) and PC Music, new Irish artist Apollo Monroe is a BIMM graduate whose solo music is has all the hallmarks of those forebearer’s EDM / trap / pop / electronic music. It’s a hard genre to embody when others have already blazed a trail so this is an intriguing beginning. The production has a lot going for it.
In Two Minds
17-year-old Waterford musician Sean Ward drops an impressive third single pitched somewhere between jazzy R&B and a hip-hop beat. Ward is inspired by acts like Dominic Fike, Still Woozy and Rex Orange County.
My friend and I were remarking last week about the proliferation of “Fi” artist names around here lately. We’ve got Fia Moon, Fi and Fya Fox, who has dropped this brooding electronic textured pop song ‘Body’, which is a bit of an earworm.
It’s Alright Hold On Tight
Former Hot Sprockets singer Wayne Soper continues his foray into establishing his own vibe with his solo music. ‘It’s Alright Hold Tight’ is a self-produced track with warm synths and a floating retro vibe to things. Soper has taking inspiration from Prince and Connan Mockasin of late, so think sprightly lo-fi bedroom pop.
“The song is inspired by life in the “new normal” and the toll this past year has taken on everyone….I also wanted it to sound like something from a cheesy 80’s movie, as that era captures a real optimism and wholesomeness that people could do with right now”.
Dublin filmmaker Myles O’Reilly has spent much of lockdown making ambient music as [Indistinct Chatter], the third volume of which is called My Mother’s Star and is out on March 23rd.
Being a visual artist, O’Reilly has put the song to a video he made documenting the eerily quiet streets of a Dublin on lockdown.
“Due to the pandemic lockdown measures of January 2021 I found myself in the studio again. The process of making myself create a new sound every day was a routine that was key to nurturing my mental health and well-being at that time. I did a lot of experimenting with generative modular patches, looking to create happy accidents.
Increasingly through the process, there would form thoughts and memories of my mother. Inside the notes, scales, and sounds, her presence became ever more pronounced. I would then start each day with a meditation on her and begin creating sounds informed by the feelings that surfaced.
During the lockdown, some days were uninspiring and revealed nothing to me at all, but it was the practice of trying that always meant I was closer to hitting on something positive. A total of 8 times the energy and warmth of her love would shine through the sounds I was generating like a gap in the clouds, and it’s those moments that have resulted in the upcoming album, ‘My Mother’s Star’.
Another new artist name Vale‘s ‘All Rise’ does indeed reach for heights in its vocals of the chorus, which sits neatly in a song that is built on sparse percussion, organ, synths and bass which drops in and out of the song.
“All Rise for me is a couple of different messages, to myself, strung together in one piece of writing. It’s a song about patience, about fear, and loneliness in a time where the entire planet was, if nothing else, communal in a shared isolation.”
The musician known for his work with Skelocrats Land Lovers has made a solo record, forthcoming, for which this song was the impetus. As Cooney says “it came as a kind of complete palette: central arpeggio, idiotically simple drum machine, synth pads, string samples, sparse guitars, clear melodies and psychological licence to follow my own lyrical interests.”
Packed My Bags
Bróna Keogh is a new artist brought to my attention by my podcast cohost Andrea Cleary on a recent Patreon episode. Having moved home from New Zealand recently, Keogh has released a four-track EP of lilting folk music of which ‘Packed My Bags’ was the song which caught both our ears.
Limerick and PX Music associate Aswell dropped a new languid rap track produced by 40hurtz.
Dream About You
Cork label Hausu are back at it again with their R&B artist in residence from the artist’s upcoming Splitscreen EP. It’s a sweet slice of bedroom alt-pop from Arthur Valentine.
Johnny Bourke, Saige
‘Be Someone’ is a direct and immediate dance funk pop collaboration between producer/ singer Johnny Bourke and Wexford-born singer-songwriter Saige, and considering last week’s news, it has Daft Punk vibes.
Cork artist Patrick Hatchett and his chosen name Kʒːlu (pronounced curlew after his favourite bird he sees locally in West Cork) has an album due on vinyl and digital on 26th March. ‘Luciferin’ is light funk electronic jam that suggests a global outlook and Hatchett’s story bears those cultural experiences:
“Reflective tales from late night afrobeat jams, to early Sunday Gospel duties. Exhaustive travel and touring with legendary Jamaican artists, to intimate jazz gigs in a cosy South London pub.”
The album features collaborations with UK Bengali musician Idris Rahman on flute, Seán Mac Erlaine on bass clarinet and Justin Grounds on violin.
The sunny outlook of ‘Luciferin’ was inspired by “a night swim in Lough Hyne, Skibbereen, with my young family in search of the ‘sparkles’ (bioluminescence). Wide eyed, cheesy exhilaration, childlike elation. Bit like a rave, part ‘80s soul, part psychedelic wig-out. Part post-sea warming glow.”