The Northern Ireland Music Prize Shortlist for this year was just announced. There are 12 albums nominated and the winner will be announced at a live event on November 14 at Mandela Hall in Belfast. Malojian, Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail will play on the night and an Oh Yeah Legend Award will be presented to The Divine Comedy. Neil Hannon will play some songs from his catalogue. Tickets are £12.

The list was made from choices from more than 70 people in the NI music industry and music media. They are:

A Plastic Rose – ‘Flickering Light of an Inner War’
And So I Watch You From Afar – ‘Heirs
Axis Of – ‘The Mid Brae Inn’
BeeMickSee – ‘Belfast Yank’
Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail – ‘Sea Legs
Duke Special – ‘Look Out Machines’
The Lost Brothers – ‘New Songs Of Dawn And Dust’
Malojian – ‘Southlands’
Not Squares – ‘Bolts
SOAK – ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’
Therapy? – ‘Disquiet’
Tim Wheeler – ‘Lost Domain’

10 of the 12 albums are in a Spotify playlist.

Listen on Spotify

Last year’s winner was Robyn G Shields.

The NI Music Prize event is produced by the Oh Yeah Music Centre and supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Photo of SOAK by Museum Magazine.

Posted on September 14th, 2015


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Having started as a rambunctious band playing fast and hard dance-punk, the Belfast trio Not Squares are now firmly making the former with the sensibility of the latter, if their new second album Bolts is any indication.

A hypnotic groove that wouldn’t be out of place at a Factory Floor show kicks things off on a 40-odd minute journey that takes in vocoder-assisted electronic pop sheen on ‘Oops Said Hi’, a few of the recent killer tracks ‘Fall Far’, ‘Simpler Vibe’ and ‘Hey You’ which fill out their space with synths and house-nodding beats matched to poppier vibes on the vocals.

In between the almost-continuous record, there are tracks named after motorways, “junctions” ‘M2’, ‘M4’, ‘M6’ and ‘M8’, pile-driving drum machine-pushing sketches before the ultimate track ‘Beat Below’ ties all of these disparate things together with propulsive aplomb. Not squares, very cool.

The album is released Monday on Strange Brew Records. iTunes.

The band play The Grand Social on June 26th for their album launch w/ DJ Le Michael Galaxie.

Posted on April 23rd, 2015



Not Squares have had a quiet couple of years but they head into 2015 with news that second album Bolts is to be released in Easter on Galway-based Strange Brew Rekkids (holla Gugai).

Thier most recent singles ‘Fall Far’ and ‘Simpler Vibe’ suggested the Belfast trio were distilling their post-punk electronic rock offering into a sound that was identifiably their own.

Essentially, that taut dance live band vibe is very much in evidence on their new single ‘Oops Said Hi’, a vocodered wave of euphoria with some deep pop vocals.

The song was produced and mastered by Tom Fox and the video by keef winter feat ‘zoee’.

The band launch the 7″ single along with Percolator next week at the Seven Quarters 4th Club night at Whelans on the 19th December.

They are also doing an all-ages BEO gig the day before in Belfast.

Posted on December 12th, 2014


Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona have announced its first act for its 15th year. The Strokes are the first on the team sheet on 28th to 30th May next year. Tickets  €145 until the 14th November. and will rise to €160 after that.

Dutch Uncles are back with a new album next year called O Shudder and they hit The Workmans Club on Saturday 25th April. Tickets are €17 on sale now through & usual outlets nationwide.

The ever reliable Homebeat have announced three shows of note:

As part of the Dublin Book Festival this Sunday, Songbook, the series about songwriting returns with Cathy Davey and Homebeats’s Emmet Condon in conversation with Hilary Woods and The Young Folk with music from each. It takes place in the Irish Writers Centre and is €10/BYOB.

Homebeat are curating the next Blue Moon Wednesdays at the RHA. The lineup features little xs for eyes, FeatherParticipant, Somadrone providing an apt soundscape to  artist Karl Burke’s exhibition and live visuals from Le Tissier. DJ sets come from Sleep Thieves, T/A/S/T/E DJs (The Grand Social) & spoken word performances from celebrated slam poets Erin Fornoff and John Cummins. Tickets are €15 with 3 free Beers. Hit to purchase tickets. 

Thirdly, Homebeat present Ryan Vail & Conor Walsh in the The Unitarian Church on Friday Dec 12th. Tickets and more info.

The Staves are moving on up to a show at The Olympia on February 9th 2015. Tickets €25 on sale Friday at 9am from TM.

The Unthanks play The National Concert Hall on 12th March 2015. Tickets €26.

Sam Lee is a Mercury Prize-nominated singer-songwriter who collects music from off-beat places. Most recently, he’s been collecting songs from the traveller community in Ireland. He has an Irish tour coming up this month. Dates:

Moving On Music, Belfast
Wednesday 26th November 2014
8pm Tickets:

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
w/ support from Vanishing Lakes & Brian Mooney
Thursday 27th November 2014
8pm Tickets €20 a/v from
or call 0818 33 32 31

Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Friday 28th November 2014
8pm Tickets

Aiken presents Glen Hansard with a full band at Vicar Street on Monday December 15th. All in aid of the Simon Community. Tickets are €30 on sale  Thursday November 13th @ 9am from www.ticketmaster & outlets nationwide.

Death From Above 1979 play The Academy, Dublin on Friday 20th February. Tickets €27.90 incl. booking fee are on sale this Tuesday at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets and online at

Cloud Castle Lake play a Christmas show on December 22nd at The Grand Social. Tickets €10 (incl booking) from now.

Seven Quarters, the quarterly club that offers a free 7″ with every entry returns for a Christmas show on December 19th with Not Squares and Percolator lined up. €10 in with a vinyl for first 150 people.

Posted on November 12th, 2014


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This week’s playlist features new music debuted in the last seven days or heard for the first time this week. The result is a roundup of 20 new music tracks.

This week’s playlist includes new tracks from Lightning Dust, Boards Of Canada, Fuck Buttons, Chvrches, Gold Panda, Disclosure, Booddha, Austra, Pure Bathing Culture, Not Squares, The Bullits, Ikonika and more.


Posted on May 31st, 2013

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SV NS COVER 1000X1000

Not Squares have taken their time following up their excellent debut album Yeah OK! but last year’s two singles ‘Fall Far’, and ‘Hey You’ pitched the Belfast trio as a pulsating dancefloor-friendly band. Newest track ‘Simpler Vibe’ which was originally released in limited edition as part of the Start Together Singles Club is now online for public listening and it’s a reverberating synth-driven vocoder electronic track with big dancefloor possibilities. I’ve been waiting a few months to share this track. An absolute beast.

Not Squares have some Irish dates coming up…

Tour dates →

Posted on May 27th, 2013




After their rip-roaring return with ‘Fall Far’ (one of my favourite tracks of the year so far), Not Squares‘ ‘Hey You!’ appears ahead of the band’s Electric Picnic appearance. Where ‘Fall Far’ was a band cutting loose under the mirrorball, ‘Hey You’ is the end of the night set closer, when the DJ drops that tune with a big robotic electro synth breakdown and everyone goes a bit nuts.

Catch them at Electric Picnic on Saturday.

Posted on August 28th, 2012


Wallpaper by 400 Facts. Click to enlarge.

In which Aoife and I play a plethora of amazing tunes from the last few months, remind ourselves why Purity Ring is a weird band name, why bands need to stop releasing demos as finished tracks, take a brief exploration into ’80s fanzine-assisted electronica, and inadvertently insult loads of people throughout the podcast. Oops. Enjoy.

MP3: Nialler9 Podcast #40

See the full podcast tracklisting →

Posted on June 17th, 2012

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Nicole Miglis
Nicole Miglis

35 tracks from 35 countries. Every month, MAP (Music Alliance Pact) asks music bloggers to represent their home country and to pick a track that represents a nation. The results are posted on all of those blogs on the 15th of each month, downloadable in one file or playable one by one on each blog.

Ireland is represented by Not Squares.

Hear the complete selection of MAP tracks….→

Posted on May 15th, 2012


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Not Squares

When Not Squares dropped into the Button Factory in Dublin a couple of weeks ago, they played a set that consisted almost entirely of new songs from a forthcoming release. The new material was notable for being a 180 from what had come before. Apparently out was the high energy cymbal crashes typified by ‘Asylum’ and ‘Release The Bees’ on Yeah OK and in its place was slower-moving electronic songs that sound like they were made for building tension on a dancefloor.

While it’s not always the ideal scenario to go to a gig expecting one thing and getting another that’s completely unfamiliar, ‘Fall Far’ was a standout of the night. In recorded form, the song sounds more like a record that would be released by Kitsuné, a “mirrorball ecstasy” electronic song with synth pop tendencies that would be pretty unrecognisable from Not Squares past. They’re moving on it seems and judging by ‘Fall Far’, despite the initial ‘WTF?” feelings, this is always a good thing.

Download the track.

Posted on April 27th, 2012



Not Squares‘ debut album Yeah OK comes out through Richter Collective today and the band’s meaty electro-tinged punk sound has been fully realised with the help of The Vinny Club on production. Fans of the live show and the singles ‘Asylum’ and ‘Aye Yo Pa’ might be surprised but fans of ‘Release The Bees’ may not be. The Belfast band have pushed themselves fully into electronic freak out mode here and the result is yet another late contender for Irish album of the year.

Pre-order the album and get a free remix by a fellow Belfast legend David Holmes.

Posted on November 25th, 2010


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bats All this week, we’re having guest posts from various people involved in different strands of Irish music – record shop owners, writers, bloggers, promoters, radio presenters, bands and more, telling us what Irish bands or artists they are really into right now.

Barry Bracken presents Wired for Sound on 2XM along with Lauren Murphy and Jan Ní Fhlanagáin. The show goes out on Thursday 7pm, repeated Saturday 6pm. Here’s his top 5.

1. New Amusement

After a big splash in 2008 their recent relative scarcity last year has done little to mute anticipation (for me anyway) of their impending debut album – due this Summer. Their first EP Any Other Port In A Storm gained plenty of radio play, led to some Steve Lamcaq name-checking and landed them support slots with Vampire Weekend, The Macabees & Nada Surf. Not bad for a first release. Will the debut long player be worth the wait? I think so.

Posted on April 22nd, 2010


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Cathy Davey
Cathy Davey

Cathy Davey by Zoran Orlic

All this week, there will be guest posts from various people involved in different strands of Irish music – record shop owners, writers, bloggers, promoters, radio presenters, bands and more, telling us what Irish bands or artists they are really into right now.

Jim Carroll is a music journalist for the Irish Times and runs the ever-popular On The Record blog, but you knew that. You can catch his radio show – The Far Side every Tuesday night from 10pm to midnight on Phantom 105.2.

1. Villagers

I know, I know….talk about stating the bleeding obvious, but it’s years since I’ve been as impressed as much as this by an Irish debut album. In fact, the last time I was so smitten with a debut record, chief Villager Conor O’Brien was also involved as one-quarter of The Immediate. Here’s an album and a songwriter head and shoulders above his peers here and elsewhere. We will all want to be Villagers by year’s end.
[Buy from Road]


Posted on April 20th, 2010


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