Here are 10 of the best new songs we’ve heard in the past week, tried, tested and true for you.

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1.

Maggie Rogers

Light On

‘Light On‘ is the latest of a string of singles from Maryland hailing Maggie Rogers. Rogers said that the track is a “a letter to my fans about the last two years of my life” since a video of her with Pharell Williams went viral on the internet catapulting her into the spotlight. The song is well crafted and sees Rogers battle with her own demons and insecurities as she struggles to grasp her new found fame, “everybody’s saying ‘you should be so happy now…'”.  The track came with news of her debut album Heard It In A Past Life, set to be released date next January 18th.

2.

Run The Jewels

Let’s Go

Taken from Marvel’s new Venom movie, Run The Jewels‘ new single Let’s Go is a slice of pure RTJ hip-hop goodness. The song doesn’t compromise itself by being in a major motion picture soundtrack (which is often the worry ), coming complete with a larger than life intro section and gritty verses. Let’s Go was written originally for the Blade Runner 2049 trailer earlier this year but was rejected – we’re glad that Marvel decided to give it a new lease of life.

3.

MAXIM

White Bass

MAXIM is a new hip-hop artist hailing from the suburbs of Paris and ‘White Bass’ is our favourite track from his gorgeous debut EP Sunny Sunday Morning which saw release last week. The song marries classic hip-hop beats with nu-soul and jazzy chords, recalling sounds like those heard in Siren Song by Flying Lotus (but with more French swag). The song is brimming with character, we can’t wait to hear more from this Parisian.

4.

Desire

Tears From Heaven

Desire are back with a bang with their first release in 9 years and it’s actually a reworked version of their song from After Dark 2. Johnny Jewel seems to enjoy revisiting old tunes. We hope the man hasn’t run out of ideas (where IS that Chromatics album) Opening with one of the grittiest sawtooth synths you’ll hear this year, ‘Tears From Heaven‘ is synth-pop at its finest with dizzying chord progressions, textured drum beats and intricate synth-melodies proving that the band have still got it.

5.

Nao

Curiosity

Curiosity‘ is one of the most flirtatious songs you’ll hear today. Nao’s new single sees the singer embrace submission amidst spiralling synths, trapped high hats and her signature textured vocal. The track, co-produced with modern London beat-makers GRADES and Loxe, is the latest cut from the songstress’ upcoming album Saturn due out on October 28th.

6.

John Grant

Tempest


Tempest‘ is full of John Grant‘s signature idiosyncrasies both in the lyrics, “come play Tempest with me – or maybe Centipede, we can hang out in the mall!” and also in the music in the often dissonant analogue synths. The track sees Grant long for a video-game escapism to avoid judgement from the outside world, a narrative that is embodied in video game-esque sound effects towards the end of the track (pew-pew). The song is taken from his anticipated new album Love Is Magic (and he just announced some Irish tour dates here). More on his album out this week.

7.

Little Dragon

Lover Chanting

Little Dragon have proven to be one of the most consistent and persistent bands in the music industry since their inception 22 years ago. When we talked to the Erik Boden of band in the summer, he hinted that new material would be dancier with electronic influences becoming more prevalent in their writing sessions. This is indeed the case with their new single ‘Lover Chanting’, taken from their upcoming EP due for release in September. The track is simultaneously dance-floor friendly and intimate – listen to this on your commute home from work.

 

8.

Hubbabubbaklubb

Et annet sted

Hubbabubbaklub released their debut album last week DRØMMEN DRØMMERNE DRØMMER (The Dream That Dreamers Dream) and while all of the songs are worthy of this list, ‘Et annet stad’ is a stand-out slice of pure dance finery. Sampled brass lines juxtapose bright chimes and airy synths over groovy hip-hop beats, all contributing to an over all feel-good vibe. More on their album out this week.

9.

Marissa Nadler

Said Goodbye To That Car

Marissa Nadler is one of the most prolific songwriters in the music industry and this is no more apparent than in her latest album For My Crimes. The closing track on the album ‘Said Goodbye To That Car‘ sees a reflective Nadler think back on events associated with her old car in the past. It’s delicate and poignant.

 

10.

Kurt Vile

Come Again

Kurt Vile was formerly the guitarist for War On Drugs and this part of his resumé is very apparent in his guitar-driven new solo record, his eighth in total, Bottle It In. Come Again‘ is a lo-fi, leisurely listening track that belongs on the radio while driving down an open road into the sunset; the music is hypnotic with layers of guitars making up most of the instrumentation while Vile’s croons smoothly over the top. More on Vile’s album out this week.

11.

Auntie Flo

Cape Town Jam

‘Cape Town Jam’ does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s syncopated beats and twangy guitar tones render it the kind of track that belongs in narrow, winding streets in South Africa. Sampled drums and cymbals bring the song into modern electronic territory, forming a strange electro-tribal hybrid. We like a lot. More on his album out this week.

Posted on October 17th, 2018

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One of the more surprising collaborations we’ve heard in a while, Canadian nu-jazz group Badbadnotgood and Swedish experimental pop group Little Dragon have teamed up to give us ‘Tried’.

This dreamy track seems to touch back to a time when trip-hop was the freshest sound around. Yukimi Nagano, of Little Dragon, gives an absolutely stellar vocal performance. Despite having two very different discographies and artistic philosophies, the two bands gel together exceptionally well on this superb track.

While you’re at it, check out BBNG’s collaborative album with Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah. It’s one of most underrated hip-hop albums of the past decade.

Posted on September 26th, 2018

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There are few bands that can boast a 22-year lifespan, and there are even fewer who can say they have remained faithful to their sound and style throughout it. By their nature, bands and artists tend to fluctuate between genres and styles as they explore new sonic territories in an effort to offer fans and listeners something new, fresh.

This has almost become a necessity in 2018 when the attention span of the average listener is so short. Hence, it is a true testament to bands who, instead, look for innovative ways to introduce new elements into their music while retaining the core attributes of their original sound. Little Dragon are one of the rarities that have done just that.

In his hometown of Gothenburg in Sweden, drummer Erik Boden has just finished the morning school run and is enjoying some downtime before he collects his three kids from school again in the afternoon, “I’m the housewife when I’m home,” he says in a thick Swedish accent. His routine sounds remarkably normal for someone who’s currently on a world tour with Gorillaz. Priorities shifted for Bodin when he had his first child, who is now 12 (his youngest is 5), “it’s okay if I’m alone – I’m just taking care of myself. I know that I can just I can sleep on a sofa if everything goes to pieces. But this, now, is more of a reality”.

Parenthood brings with it a lot of new responsibilities, many of which are difficult to fulfill when you’re in a busy, touring band; they return to tour in two weeks-time for the remainder of the summer and Bodin will travel home in between shows to fulfill his “housewife” duties.

A lot has changed in the music industry since the Little Dragon’s inception in 1996. They didn’t started releasing music officially until 2006, before Spotify even existed and when Limewire was the biggest problem that the industry faced.

They were part of a mass of bands that signed record deals in the UK in 2006, during what Bodin calls the “big record industry craze”, the results of which meant that care and attention wasn’t evenly distributed to each band on their roster. Despite since boasting a Grammy nomination and collaborations with De La Soul and Flume, Bodin explains that their career was “an uphill climb” from the get-go and that success never came easily (though it rarely does).

There is an evident percipience to Bodin’s personality here that can also be heard in the music; the band’s last album Season High sounded even more careful and considered than earlier ones, with intricate melodies and neat arrangements that contrasted well with Yukimi Nagano’s quirky, sometimes sporadic lead vocal.

The band employ a democratic writing style in that all ideas brought to the table are considered and never immediately dismissed. Bodin believes that this is one of the key factors as to why they have been together for so long, “to say that we always agree would be a big lie, but we always listen to each other… are fair to each other”.

The band’s ever-expanding synth collection also contributed to much of the writing process of the new album as well as their live set; keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode around the time of recording, and this can be heard in the analogue synths and bass saw tooth lines.

The band’s sonic evolution has clearly been a very organic one, spurred by natural interest and taste. New material will be even more dancey he thinks, with the synth and electronic influences showing no sign of stopping, “that’s the kind of music we always end up making anyway”.

Most bands revel at being nominated for an award for this work, let alone a Grammy, but Little Dragon are not most bands; at the very mention of the prestigious award ceremony, Bodin’s tone changes and he explains his dislike for award shows in general – he doesn’t believe in grading and comparing music, “I feel like it’s tough enough for creative people already. I’m sure there are a lot of people who constantly doubt what they’re doing… It’s not that the Grammys make it worse for everybody but I just feel, in a wonderful, utopian world, that everybody would be sitting at home with their synths making music that would make them happy – I wish there was like a gold medal for everyone”.

I think that that’s a philosophy the whole music industry could get on board with.

Little Dragon play Beatyard this August.

Posted on July 12th, 2018

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Eight new acts have been announced for this year’s BBC Biggest Weekend in Belfast which takes place from May 25th to 26th.

Acts added include:

  • Orbital
  • Young Fathers
  • The Breeders
  • Ash
  • First Aid Kit
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Little Dragon
  • Goldie

They will be joined by Beck, Courtney Barnett, Manic Street Preachers and Public Service Broadcasting.

Four-weekend shows in four UK and NI cities of Perth (Scotland), Swansea (Wales), Coventry (England) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) from May 25 – 28th this year under The Biggest Weekend.

Tickets for Belfast go on sale on Monday February 12th at 10am and are available from Ticketmaster.

Posted on February 7th, 2018

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The Beatyard have announced some big names for their 2018 edition. After already announcing Orbital, they have now announced:

  • Little Dragon
  • Kamasi Washington
  • John Talabot
  • Modeselektor (DJ set)
  • The Skatalites
  • Joy Orbison
  • Sugarhill Gang
  • Le Boom
  • Bad Bones
  • I Am The Cosmos

Tickets are available as 2 for 1 on their site at the moment.


Posted on December 14th, 2017

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With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Albums Spotify playlist, updated weekly.



1.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.


Full info on production credits, fan theories and guests here, but DAMN. is the number one release of this week.

Favourite tracks: ‘Humble’, ‘xxx’, ‘Love’

Listen on Spotify


2.

Little Dragon – Season High


Dropping your album on the same date as Kendrick Lamar isn’t the greatest idea but a lot of artists had pre-planned their release before hearing of it. Swedish electronic poppers Little Dragon did enough with two songs released in advance of their fifth album in singles ‘High’ and ‘Sweet’ that suggested they were going to deliver something you’d come back to. I’d always struggled with Little Dragon’s albums, there are always killer tracks on it but they lacked overall. Season High, on first listen mind, sounds like it might be their most substantial and long-playing yet.

Favourite tracks: ‘Sweet’, ‘Celebrate’ , ‘PUSH’

Listen on Spotify


3.

Overcoats – Young

One of my favourite discoveries of the last few years are now streaming their album on NPR a week out from release. I’m surei’ll be writing about it again so I’ll leave the words up to NPR’s Bob Boilen and the news that they play here next month.

It’s thrilling to know that one of the best albums of 2017 is made by two of the best friends you’ll ever witness on a stage. Overcoats’ Young is a record driven by ambition and passion, not craft. That’s not to say Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell aren’t terrifically talented singers and songwriters: What sets them apart is that I believe them. That the emotion in their harmonies and the space they give each other is filled with compassion. I believe their songs of loneliness and doubt.

Favourite tracks: ‘Leave A Light On’, ‘Hold Me Close’, ‘Smaller Than My Mother’

Listen on NPR


4.

Actresss – AZD

The UK electronic producer and former West Brom football trainee, Actress nearly retired apparently but here he is with his fifth album, released on Ninja Tune. Fans of the producer will be well aware his gift for weaving complex hypnotic electronic rhythms, born from techno, garage and ambient soundscapes and AZD is no different, except with a notable coat of compression (at least on the Spotify stream).

Favourite tracks: ‘X22RME’, ‘Fantasynth’, ‘Falling Rizzlas’

Listen on Spotify


5.

Fionn Regan – The Meetings Of The Waters


Five years since his last full-length and it sounds like time away has left Fionn Regan with a renewed sense of purpose. The Meetings Of The Waters feels like a stepping stone to a new path for Regan. Ditching the Dylan-influence completely, the album largely features meditative spacious folk music that sustains quietly like smouldering embers and a centrepiece of three songs with more layered rock music-style songs.

Favourite tracks: ‘The Meetings Of The Waters’, ‘Wall of Silver’, ‘Babuska Yai Ya’

Listen on Spotify


Posted on April 14th, 2017

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This is only a selection of new music – dig into more.

3 New Music flavours:

All song added in the past week: Nialler9 Weekly.

The larger three-month New Music Playlist.

New Irish Music Playlist

Check out the regularly updated Spotify playlists.


1.

Veronica Fusaro – ‘Pluto’

I can’t decide if Veronica Fusaro’s vocal likeness to the rekindled Lorde is a bad thing but it makes for a flattering comparison as it’s no easy task writing great pop music with authenticity as Lorde does. ‘Pluto’ is some intro to a new artist who has been working with some top producers and was on Switzerland’s version of The Voice. It’s a confident single from the Swiss artist with modern pop and electronic R&B in its DNA.


2.

Overcoats – ‘Leave A Light On’

It’s an absolute pleasure to hear the progress of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell’s music as Overcoats. Two years ago, the New Yorkers spent the summer in Ireland and made a dent on the scene with their minimal harmonic-lead songs. Now with an Autre Ne Veut-produced album due on Arts & Crafts on April 21st, the duo have bolstered that folk harmony magic with some technicolour magic. ‘Leave A Light On’ adds some urgency to their craft that was missing through its beats and arrangements. It’s the closest these two will come to a banger.


3.

Little Dragon – ‘Sweet’

Two for two from the new album from the Swedish electronic pop group. ‘High’ was a slow reintroduction but ‘Sweet’ has that Little Dragon wonky magic thing going on.


4.

Soulwax – ‘Missing Wires’

From DeeWee, the Soulwax album recorded in one take will be out on March 24th and the Dewaele brothers have shared a second helping from it after ‘Transient Program For Drums & Machinery’. ‘Missing Wires’ is a live playful tune that recalls Soulwax’s earlier guitar-free song-based work.

Here’s the personnel and gear list for the album:

Playing on this record are Stephen and David Dewaele, Stefaan Van Leuven, Iggor Cavalera, Victoria Smith, Blake Davies and Laima Leyton. The instruments used are two Staccato drumkits, one clear crystalline Meazzi Wooding drumkit, one set of Rototoms, various Hofner bass guitars, a Macbeth M5n, an Oberheim Two-Voice Pro, a Two Thousand Six Hundred copy built by The Human Comparator, one Oberheim OB-Mx, an EMS Synthi AKS, an Arp Odyssey, a TB-303 clone, a Mellotron M4000D, a Sequential Prophet 6, a Waldorf Streichfett, a Burns Sonic guitar, a Vox Phantom guitar, one Syncussion clone built by Loudestwarning, various solid state Roland, Peavey and Acoustic amplifiers and a wide range of effects, all going through three Trident Fleximix consoles, straight into Pro Tools.


5.

Forest Swords – ‘The Highest Flood’

Forest Swords, aka acclaimed Merseyside-based producer Matthew Barnes returns to his Forest Sword s project with ‘The Highest Flood’, a song that takes his MO of electronic ambient textures with beats and presents it in the most pristine way. It has an epic sweeping quality that is maybe informed by Barnes’ recent composition work for the Assassin’s Creed game. It’s out now on Ninja Tune and an album is coming.


6.

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’

Surprise! Frank dropped his first it of new material since Blonde over the weekend and let’s be honest, any Frank Ocean is good Frank Ocean. After this and the Calvin Harris and Migos’ ‘Slide’, that’s two Frank Ocean tracks in a month.


7.

Peaking Lights -‘Little Flower’ (feat Chloë Sevigny)

A companion piece to Chloë Sevigny’s spoken word appearance on Soulwax’s ‘Heaven Scent’, this is Peaking Lights’ version of the project that puts Prayer to Sainte Thérèse to music, which was also done by Johnny Jewel and JD Twitch among others.

Posted on March 13th, 2017

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Saturday picks | Sunday picks | Stage Times | Spotify playlist


Forbidden Fruit is upon us. As requested by some, here are my 10 tips for bands to see to get the most out of your weekend in Kilmainham. Plus, stage times and a Spotify playlist. Enjoy your weekend and check the gig guide for the weekend’s FF afterparty details.


Saturday

1. Flying Lotus 3D Show / Thundercat & Captain Murphy

The Undergrowth Stage: 9:15pm – 10:45pm / 7:45pm – 8:45pm
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Stephen Ellison’s music has always had a visual imaginistic quality to it. His jazz-inflected electronic beats conjure up shapes and forms on its own so for him to push it forward into an actual A/V show makes sense. Forbidden Fruit will be the Irish debut of the 3D Show, which is pretty well explained in the video below.

As for Captain Murphy, Flying Lotus’ alter-ego showed he can rap too, as heard on 2012 mixtape Duality, a cult-leader pitched-down collection of Quasimoto-style hip-hop. He’ll be joined on stage by his good friend Thundercat, presumably in his role as a bassist first and foremost rather than a singer or solo performer.


2. Lisa O’Neill

Original Stage, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Lisa O Neill acoustic

One of the most original, idiosyncratic and Irish voices we have in music at the moment, it’s good to see O’Neill get such a prominent slot at an Irish festival. Her second album Same Cloth Or Not, was filled with the Cavan lady’s personality and her colloquial mannerisms. Her folk voice is scrappy yet lilting, tinny yet commanding; that’s to say it’s not for everyone. As a performer though, O’Neill is also commanding, and very funny; she knows how to spin a story or two.


3. Fuck Buttons

The Undergrowth Stage, 6:15pm – 7:15pm
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Brutal in its mechanism and industrial in its rhythms, Slow Focus, the third album from Bristol duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power was as uncompromising as the pair have got. Previous albums relied on an ambient strain of repetitive euphoria that saw that track ‘Olympians’, wisely enough, used in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. In a live context, they combine all of that in a barrage of low and high frequencies that leaves you elated and bruised.


4. And So I Watch You From Afar

Original Stage, 6pm – 7pm
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Surely you’ve seen ASIWYFA live by now? They’ve been on constant tour since they began that it had to happen. So you’ll know you’ll be at this to witness a set from one of the best live bands in any country – the Belfast lads rip through the instrumental rock rulebook with a fervour that is only matched by their latest album’s sunny uplift – perfect for a festival so.


5. Girls Names

The Undergrowth Stage, 9.45pm – 10.45pm
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Also from Belfast, Girls Names’ took a step towards a bolder, more gratifying sound on their album The New Life last year eschewing the jangly surf-rock of previous releases for a more distinctive and thematically unified sonic palette of post-punk, kraut and new wave. It means the band’s live set is a head-nodding mood-piece of some of the most evocative guitar sounds drawn from the late ’70s/early ’80s period of rock music.


Saturday picks | Sunday picks | Stage Times | Spotify playlist


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Posted on May 28th, 2014

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Everything we’ve heard from Little Dragon’s new album Nabuma Rubberband, the Swedish band’s fourth album has sounded like the band at their best. There was the dizzying synth pop of ‘Klapp Klapp’ with its two videos: one of which was an interactive personalised phone call, ‘the mighty ‘Paris’, currently my favourite Little Dragon song of theirs and then the suave slow-down of ‘Let Go’.

The singles are the most upbeat tracks here. Much of the record’s songs are slow jams which were inspired by Yukimi Nagano’s headphone listens to Janet Jackson while walking around her hometown of Gothenberg. So ‘Underbart’ has a clear R&B influence but matches it with a hazy synth electronic feel while the draggy atmospheric ‘Cat Rider’ Yukimi has a very clear close timbre in her singing to Ms. Jackson, which is a style that is all around at the moment in the deluge of electronic R&B around.

Nagano has one of the best voices in music right now, so much so, that it completely embellishes the quietly haunting taut ‘Only One’ and similarly dominates the slow numbers.

Having seen Little Dragon live in the last two years, it was clear they had turned into a formidable sinewy synth-pop beast and Nabuma Rubberband is further proof.

The album is out Friday. Pre-order / download.

Nabuma Rubberband tracklist

  1. Mirror
  2. Klapp Klapp
  3. Pretty Girls
  4. Underbart
  5. Cat Rider
  6. Paris
  7. Lurad
  8. Nabuma Rubberband
  9. Only One
  10. Killing Me
  11. Pink Cloud
  12. Let Go

Posted on May 6th, 2014

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Since seeing Little Dragon at Body & Soul just under two years ago, it was clear that the Swedish band had exceeded the parameters and musicianship of their recorded material. It’s something that’s been increasingly evident through the band’s showing of versatility: working with Big Boi, their new single ‘Klapp Klapp’ and now ‘Paris’, the latest track from Nabuma Rubberband.

Really looking forward to that album now out on May 9th/12th/13th.

Posted on April 10th, 2014

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I broadcast my first show on new Dublin station 1052 TXFM last night and had a blast. You can tune in every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours of new music at 105.2FM, via the TXFM.ie site, the TXFM app in the iTunes Store or on your TV if you’re on UPC.

Hour 1

Jungle – ‘Busy Earnin’
Future Islands – ‘Spirit’
Ships – ‘The Space Inside’
Shamir – ‘If It Wasn’t True’
Shit Robot – ‘Do That Dance’ feat. Nancy Whang.
Metronomy – ‘Boy Racers’
Fight Like Apes – ‘Crouching Bees’
Ben Khan – ‘Youth’
Talos – ‘Tethered Bones’
Banks – ‘This Is What It Feels Like’
Little Dragon – ‘Klapp Klapp’
Hundred Waters – ‘Cavity’

Hour 2

Todd Terje – ‘Delorean Dynamite’
Frankie Knuckles – ‘Your Love’
Sylvan Esso – ‘Coffee’
Glass Animals – ‘Gooey’
Shlohmo & Jeremih – ‘No More’
Kelis – ‘Jerk Ribs’ (Mount Kimbie remix)
Ratking – ‘So Sick Stories’ featuring King Krule
Cornerboy Musik – ‘Pull up’
Kelela – ‘Bankhead’
How To Dress Well – ‘The Words I Don’t Remember’

Soundcloud playlist

Posted on April 4th, 2014

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Yesterday, Forbidden Fruit announced the first names for its Saturday lineup. Today it’s Sunday’s turn. They have:

2 Many DJs, Warpaint, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Public Enemy, Little Dragon, Gold Panda, Klangkarussell (live), Brian Deady

Ticket prices:

Early bird: 1 day €49.50 | 2 day €99.50
General: 1 day €59.50 | 2 day €110.00

Tickets plus fees available from Ticketmaster.

Posted on March 13th, 2014

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