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.
Brighton-based Dublin artist Matt Taylor’s new single ‘April 13th’ recounts a painfully awkward post-breakup conversation: the confusion, the frustration, the misunderstanding , the pain, and the melodrama of it all.
It’s all couched in a bright alt-pop song with the chorus letting it all hang out – “why the fuck are you still here?”
About the conversation, Taylor says.
“I was kind of shocked by how dismissive he was of it all… What hurt the most was when he told me that the only reason he had been spending so much time with me was because he had nothing better to do. It hurt so much because it’s so cowardly. He couldn’t even take responsibility for the choices he made. After this conversation, I cut him out entirely and I wrote the track about three weeks later.”
Irish electro-rock duo Nixer’s music is concerned with how singular topics – ‘Gentrification’, feeling apart, make people feel, so it makes sense that their EP which they’ve been teasing tracks from is out on May 27th, is called People Feel EP.
The EP’s concept follows the events of a night out, and ‘Decisions’ is literally about making them and the fallout of others’ making them that affect you. The track’s elemental guitar and synths give the track a nervous energy that recalls The Fall.
Nixer on Bandcamp.
Cooks But We’re Chefs
Dublin seven-piece band Cooks But We’re Chefs come through with a breezy instrumental track, which takes inspiration from the cross-section of music at famous clubs like the Studio 54 of the title, with jazz, funk, disco and house amalgamating on the track.
To Midnight with Love and Questions
You may remember the name Headgear if you’ve been paying attention to the Irish music scene in the last 20 or so years. The project of Limerick artist Daragh Dukes last released an album as Headgear in 2007. The pandemic gave Dukes time in which to explore a followup, which he did with a cast of friends on board. The resulting 10-track album Omphalos is released on May 20th.
Musically, Headgear is atmospheric indie-pop informed by Dukes’ screen compositional work. ‘To Midnight with Love and Questions’ begins with a sample of the announcement of the 2021 Doomsday Clock, and the song is a countdown itself, placing vignette-style lyrics to a contemplative conclusion.
Pre-order the album on Bandcamp.
Tuath, Súil Amháin, Quantum Foam
Interestingly, Tuath’s Rob Mulhern explains the reason why MASI is the beneficiary – as he fell into an alt-right Trump rabbit-hole that he snapped out of in 2018, prompted when “a hotel in Iniseoghain was burned down by fascists, having been earmarked as a direct provision centre.”
“I was upset with myself after having fallen for Jordan Peterson’s mischaracterization of free speech. I fell down the Trump rabbit-hole for a while after Bernie was ousted by his own party. I can’t help but think about all the conversations I had locally that may have influenced others and whether or not it contributed to any damage in society. I can’t just sit down and let my own previous behaviour go unchecked when my experience could be put to good use.”
As for the release, there’s much to recommend here including the flying vista of the late Shammen Delly’s ‘Summer Is Icumin In’ featuring avant garde artist Tara Baoth Mooney (The Clumsy Giantess).
Start with this track ‘Dúchas’, the Kerry rapper Súil Amháin rapping / singing over a large wonky beat by Quantum Foam. Lilt-core they call it.
Keen listeners will immediately recognise the voice of Kieran McGuinness of Delorentos on this track. Driven Snow is the project of McGuinness and his wife Emily (Republic of Loose and Stars On Fire) who have been writing music together between regular life.
‘Trying’ is the project’s debut single on FIFA Records, recorded at Tommy McLaughlin’s Attica Studios in Donegal. The song certainly sounds like an opening statement.
Some day you just want to stay in bed when it’s raining outside.
‘Duvet Day’ from singer-songwriter Katie Phelan is the lilting jam for such an occasion.
The Love Buzz
Cork alt-rock three-piece The Love Buzz are also releasing a new song on Cork label FIFA Records this month.
‘Harp’ is a rockin’ tune from forthcoming EP Here Comes the Scum.
Catch the band live:
Fri May 20th Mike The Pies, Listowel
Sat 21st May Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Thurs 26th May Roisin Dubh, Galway
Fri 27th May Academy 2, Dublin
Sat 28th May The Voodoo, Belfast
Laurie Shaw cannot be stopped. With dozens of albums already under his belt, with four albums this year already, Karen will be the Cork-based artist’s hundredth album.
‘Edison’s Men’ is about Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikolai Tesla and their potentially nefarious life-ending rivalry of industry and invention.
The Dublin trio of Stace Gill and Maria Nilsson Waller and producer Ross Dowling have shown to be adept at creating richly-detailed and arranged ballads of distinct ambiance.
Sounds of System Breakdown
The third album by Dublin/London three-piece Sounds of System Breakdown is described as “DIY, festival tent, ambiguous, alternative dance music.”
The album’s second track ‘Grand’ sounds like Hot Chip dancefloor electro live band shaker.
With the release of We Begin in Darkness just over a week away, Kildare singer-songwriter releases a final single in ‘Dancing Alone’ , a track that brings sweet melodic sounds from Portugese instrument cavaquinho and strings to serve a song drawn from a place of inner criticism, “and the feeling of not ‘fitting in’.
Skull The Pierre, Callum Wall, Fortúne Igiebor
All My Love
A three-way collaboration between Dublin-based Stockholm rapper/producer/singer Skull The Pierre, psych-folk singer Callum Wall and rapper Fortúne Igiebor ‘All My Love’ is a summer roller.
Hurtling towards the release of their Daniel Fox-produced debut album Maelstrom on Friday 13th May, Dublin five-piece Melts bring upbeat skyward synth-rock to your ears, on ‘Signal’, reminiscent of The Horrors.
“Signal is about the relationship between a person and the place they live in. The title refers to the means of how a machine or a system communicates with people, like a language. The song circulates around a couple, that are looking to find the humanity in the world around them in each other.”Frontman Eoin Kenny
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.