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The best songs of October 2023

The best songs of October 2023

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Nialler9’s favourite songs of the month, all in one place. See the Spotify playlist at the end of the piece.

Featuring Kojaque, CMAT, The Last Dinner Party, Sufjan, Floating Points, VTSS, Boys Noize, Future Islands, Earl Sweatshirt, Lil Yachty, J. Cole, Danny Brown, The Mary Wallopers, Serpentwithfeet, Casisdead, ØXN, Aby Coulibaly, Tandem Felix.


1.

The Last Dinner Party

Lady of Mercy

After announcing Dublin dates as part of their time in Ireland supporting Hozier, The Last Dinner Party released their excellent third single this month.

‘My Lady of Mercy’ cements the band’s guitar pop sound informed by the histrionics of ABBA and classic pop music.

That’s three for three – after the equally excellent singles ‘Sinner’ and ‘Nothing Matters’ previously.

‘My Lady of Mercy’ is great, in that has a slightly histrionic quality, with production from James Ford.

“My Lady of Mercy is about being a girl. A girl looking up at a painting of Joan of Arc for the first time and thinking that she looks so brave and so beautiful that she wants to kiss her. And maybe she also wants to kiss the girl who stands next to her in the school choir.

We are expanding the world of The Last Dinner Party to encompass a darker, heavier atmosphere. The lyrics explore the anguish of a teenage crush that can only be described through the bloody, carnal language of religious experience, as the soundworld takes cues from Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey and Roxy Music.”

First featured here.

2.

CMAT

‘California’

Like CMAT’s debut album opener ‘Nashville’, CMAT’s second album Crazy, Mad For Me ‘California’ opens with a song continues the trope of naming her first song from the album about a mythical American place.

Where ‘Nashville’ was an escapist metaphor for ending it all, ‘California’ is CMAT escaping a relationship and its deluded crescendo where CMAT imagines a life story on celluloid as the strings and chorus rise is truly a heavenly music moment of 2023.

California, oh-woah (I’m writing up a book about us)
California, oh-woah (They’re gonna make a movie of it)
California, oh-woah (They’re gonna cast Jake Gyllenhaal)
California, oh-woah (And I’m Kristen Schaal)
California, oh-woah (They’re gonna do it with a Coen brother)
California, oh-woah (Set it in Wicklow with your mother)
California, oh-woah (Oh no, it won a Razzie)
California, oh-woah (It’s all for nothing, should’ve just tried being happy)

There’s a big Dublin outdoor show to look forward to.

3.

Sufjan Stevens

A Running Start

Sufjan’s new solo album features a clutch of songs that return to his most loved sound – the richly arranged and acoustic music of 2005’s Illinois, as heard on this album highlight ‘A Running Start’, that moves from gentle guitar to full-throated soar.

Sufjan has just been discharged from hospital and is learning to walk again after contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome. He also dedicated the album to his late partner.

4.

Floating Points

Birth4000

Oof. Sam Sheperd is in fully-fledged dancefloor ripper mode on new song ‘Birth4000’.

It follows recent singles from 2022 – ‘Vocoder‘  ‘Grammar’  and ‘Problems’ which are similarly dancefloor-facing.

 

5.

Kojaque, WIKI

Johnny McEnroe

After the release of the breakthrough mixtape Deli Daydreams and debut album proper Town’s Dead, the Cabra rapper Kojaque is back with album two – Phantom Of The Afters.

Johnny McEnroe‘ featuring NY rapper hero Wiki is Kojaque vibing on a highlight from the record.

“I was in New York in May 2022 on my first US tour, and had been trying to collaborate with Wiki for a while. I was booked in to work with Tony Seltzer the day after my headline show, and right beforehand got a text to say Wiki was going to come through. It was a surreal experience cutting the track with two guys I’ve been a fan of for 8 years. I’ll never forget it.”

A full European, UK and Irish tour has also been announced, including Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick and Kilkenny.

6.

Future Islands

The Tower

Classic Future Islands vibes on their new song to coincide with the announcement of a new album People Who Aren’t There Anymore.

7.

Earl Sweatshirt, The Alchemist

Heat Check

The Voir Dire album is officially out today, and this is a highlight on the collaborative album, with a beat that sounds like something MF DOOM would absolutely slay.

It was previously on a Blockchain site thing.

8.

Lil Yachty, J. Cole

The Secret Recipe

It’s a long time since a 14-year-old Lil Yachty was blasting J Cole on the internet.

9.

The Cope

Find Another Way

Berlin/Antwerp-based electronic duo David Anthony Curley and Joe Furlong debuted with a trilogy of music videos for their first songs, and then releasing the grandscale opulence media of ‘Oíche / Back on My Bullshit’.

Last week, The Cope announced their debut album Dancer, to be released on Friday December 8th 2023, and they have shared a new an electro-pop banger and video shot in Antwerp called ‘Find Another Way’,

The Cope will play a full audio-visual show in The Complex, Dublin on Thursday December 7th with tickets going on sale this Friday October 27th.

“Find Another Way” draws inspiration from some of our favourite 90’s dance tracks, in particular it mirrors the themes of heartbreak and desire found in Rui Da Silva’s “Touch Me” and Robin S’ “Show Me Love”. A desire for connection is the most human of all needs. It can be very easy for what was once a deep love to be lost over time, maybe due to complacency, communication breakdown, or just through life getting in the way. It’s in these moments that we’re forced to ask ourselves if the energy required to fix the fractures is worth expending. Memories can be all consuming, which makes it even harder to know when to let someone go, “Find Another Way” asks what can be done to keep a love alive when all else seems to have failed.”

10.

The Mary Wallopers

Madam I’m A Darlin’

Irish Rock n Roll, the second album from The Mary Wallopers, finds the the Dundalk trad seven-piece embodying their youthful take on old trad songs.

‘Madam I’m A Darlin’ is indicative of the new album more raggle-taggle traditional full-band take on things this time out.

Irish Rock N Roll was preceded by the ballad ‘Wexford’, ‘The Blarney Stone’ and live favourite ‘The Holy Ground’ and ‘The Idler’.. 

Irish headline show.

 

11.

Danny Brown

Tantor

The Detroit rapper and now, podcast host Danny Brown announced his seventh studio album Quaranta is out on Warp Records on November 17th.

The Alchemist-produced ‘Tantor’ is among his finest work, a weird psychedelic rock-infused blast.

12.

Serpentwithfeet, Ty Dolla $ign, Yanga Yaya

Damn Gloves

Interesting to hear the alternative R&B artist Serpentwithfeet enlist Ty Dolla $ign for the lead single of new album Grip, out February 16th via Secretly Canadian.

Along with South African artist Yanga Yaya, Ty brings hooks to a still nicely weird R&B song.

“Damn Gloves” reveals the enchanted universe that celebrates and fosters the spirit and magic of Black queer nightlife at the heart of the new GRIP album. The visual directed by Micaiah Carter explores the space that surrounds the deeply intimate moments with a partner and the complex and delightful juxtapositions of physical closeness. Simultaneously, GRIP honors the communities that are nurtured within the walls of these intimate spaces and the monumental impact that they have on the lives of many people on the margins. 

13.

English Teacher

Nearly Daffodils

My dog passed away last year. Her name was Daffodil and she rocked. I already loved UK art rock band English Teacher a lot this year, but that’s an extra personal serendipity tick for me to love them a bit more.

“It’s a song about heartbreak and acceptance of unfulfilled potential. How, no matter how much you may want something, no matter how much effort you may put into something’s growth or development, no matter how beautiful you can envision its fruition; life is a bitch and about as unstoppable as a freight train.”

14.

Casisdead, Desire

Venom

After ‘Matte Grey Wrap’, Desire and Casisdead team up on another highlight from the Casisdead debut record FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

‘Ye Spooky, ye spooky’ has been my mantra this month.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS is London-based rapper, producer and director’s debut album on Warp Records, “as much a sci-fi film as it is a rap record, a labyrinth of vice, crime and faded glamour.” 

15.

Nailah Hunter

Finding Mirrors


Los Angeles-based harpist and composer Nailah Hunter has signed to to Fat Possum, and introduced her new album Lovegaze with this gorgeous alternative R&B pop song.

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It’s stilll got elements of Hunter’s ambient and folk sound from before, but will in focus elements contributing alongside for more immediate songwriting.

“This song began with a bass line, which is not usually how I approach writing. Of all the tracks on the record, it is the most purposeful departure from the comfort I found in making ambient music in the past. Letting the song exist in the form that it came to me was a healing reminder that I can make anything I want to. The song is about seeing yourself without warning.”

“The video explores the concept of being haunted by our own unspoken truths and the catharsis that is to be found in being seen. It asks what kind of power we unlock when we surrender to our true desires.” 

Lovegaze is out out January 12, 2024 on Fat Possum Records


16.

ØXN

Farmer In The City

Whereas the pre-release singles from the Dublin doom folk band of ØXN has featured more of the sound of member Radie Peat’s other band Lankum, ‘Farmer In The City’ from the album CYRM out last week, takes it queue from Katie Kim’s atmospheric songwriting, and across nearly 13 minutes brings the synthy sound of Samhain noise-rock magic to proceedings.

More from ØXN.

 

17.

Tandem Felix

The Kitchen

After David Tapley provided us with a track-by-track for his new album There’s a New Sheriff in Town, it’s time to spotlight one highlight from it.

The album features textured and layered songwriting with a fog of alt-rock atmospherics, with nods to country and guitar music forebearers like Grandaddy, Sparklehorse and Wilco. ‘The Kitchen’ is a exemplar of that.

Says Tapley of the song:

A lot of this record was about trying to set a mood rather than just tell a story. This was one of my first attempts at doing this, painting a picture of this decrepit kitchen where everything is falling apart and the chef is losing his mind. Think The Bear, but if it was taking place in a houseshare in Rialto.

Yes, the video is shot in the now-closed Lord Edward restaurant.

18.

VTSS & Boys Noize

Steady Pace

Big dirty stinking bass.

19.

BadBadNotGood, Charlotte Day Wilson

Sleeper

Charlotte Day Wilson and BADBADNOTGOOD are always a good match, and this recording was committed to analogue tape at the noted Los Angeles studio Valentine Recording Studios.

The Canadian alt-jazz band played on Wilson’s 2021 album Alpha.

Charlotte Day Wilson says “Sleeper wrote itself…we were in the studio just messing around and the guys came up with the colorful instrumental while I freestyled the lyrics. The song portrays someone who chooses the path of least resistance and finds themselves in a lifeless, loveless relationship.”

20.

Aby Coulibaly

Fighting 4 Luv

The Irish R&B artist’s new EP At The End Of The Day…It’s Night is actually nine tracks and 26 minutes long so close to an album vibe. ‘Fighting 4 Luv’ might be the singer’s most sonically interesting song in the catalogue to date, bringing dual vocals and a minimal electronic soul production to a heater effect.

‘DYWS?’

“I once heard this analogy by Aaron Doughty that really stuck with me. He said imagine you’re a tree that produces fruit. The tree doesn’t care if you eat the fruit and enjoy it, eat the fruit and hate it OR if you throw the fruit at someone’s head. The tree will still be a tree and bear fruit no matter what you do with it. The same applies to you and your art whatever it is that you do. Like a tree you should continue to bear your fruit regardless of who likes or dislikes it. Once you like it yourself external validation shouldn’t matter. That’s what I’m on because it’s never that deep. At the end of the day, it’s night.”



Every week, the Nialler9 Spotify Weekly Playlist is updated with new music, and in this corner, we share the playlist and highlight some some select songs from the list below.

Want access to the archived weekly playlists too? Support Nialler9 on Patreon.

See the homepage for all Spotify playlists: New Music | Irish | Monthly



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