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The best songs of September 2023

The best songs of September 2023

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

Featuring Rachael Lavelle, The Chemical Brothers, Qbanaa, Super Extra Bonus Party, Soda Blonde, Cleo Sol, Octo Octa, Mitski, Barry Can’t Swim, Odd Numbers, Fynch, The Scratch, Jape, Overmono, Mike, Wiki, The Alchemist, Doja Cat and more.


Rachael Lavelle

Big Dreams

Big Dreams is my most anticipated Irish record of the year.

After releasing her first song in four years – ‘Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential’, the Dublin singer-songwriter will release Big Dreams on November 10th, and the title song comes with a video by Bob Gallagher.

The song features the voice of the Luas announcer Doireann Ní Bhriain “who narrates the inner monologue of the millennial mind; the ever-wondering-ever- doubting, the contradicting and the aspiring, concluding: I am open to the possibilities!”

“Big Dreams is an existential ballad; a meditation on love, expectations, failure and the passing of time. When I wrote the melody, it was as if someone was dying. I was thinking about how, when you die, you experience a flashback of your life. That you are flooded with all the memories of love and people who impacted your life. I was inspired by this idea. That despite all the stress and attempts at success, to live is to be open to the possibilities of life and connection.


Super Extra Bonus Party

The Line Before The Line

The Kildare band Super Extra Bonus Party released their first album in 14 years Late Nite 99 this month.

Like the album’s other singles ‘The Corpse’, ‘Feather Helmet Repertoire’, ‘The Line Before The Line’ is a sound that’s new for the band previously known for a hybrid live band and electronic energy.

The single, sung by Gavin Elsted, Stephen Fahey and Emma Hanlon of Silverbacks, with a galloping dusty beat, glockenspiel, brass, melodica and strings is a plaintive song about a couple overcoming testing times in their shared life.


Soda Blonde


The second album Dream Big from the Dublin alt-pop band features ‘Bad Machine’ and ‘Midnight Show’, but ‘Boys’ is another fine example of the band’s luscious songcraft and Faye O’Rourke’s engulfing voice.

The band have gone independent of late and have started a members club service for fans of the band.


Cleo Sol


Heaven is the third full-length studio album by British soul singer Cleo Sol,  released on Forever Living Originals, announced just before it was released. It was subsequently followed up with album four Gold, a week later

Celo Soul is the singer with SAULT so you can guess what wheelhouse we are in here, excerpt Cleo music is usually gentler and quieter.

The nine-track set, produced by her frequent collaborator Inflo, who I believe is her partner. ‘Self’ embodies her the vibe here – 90s neo-soul, 70s soul and jazz.




O. are the London-based duo of baritone saxophonist Joseph Henwood and drummer Tash Keary will release their debut EP SLICE on Speedy Wunderground on November 24th.

The EP which was recorded live with Dan Carey at his London studio, and is the duo have just released their second song from it so far, and announced a Dublin gig in support.

The band’s sound so far is a combination of sax, drums and a bombastic sonic palette, with the baritone saxophonist driving low-end, making for a raucous rowdy jazz thing going on.

The pair are both veterans of a string of London ensembles, and the music makes use of Carey’s enviable selection of vintage dub production units and effects.

O. play the Workman’s Club on Monday February 19th 2024.


Doja Cat


Spooky szn was heralded with the appearance of ‘Demons’ , Doja Cat’s unhinged rap track that sounds like a Busta Rhymes original and comes with a beastly horror video starring Christina Ricci.

The rap-leaning album Scarlet also features the closing track ‘Balut’ and ‘Paint The Town Red’ which samples ‘Walk On By’ by Dionne Warwick.

Her VMAs performance is a good addendum here.




From Glasser’s much-anticipated crux album, due October 6th on One Little, ‘Easy’ was “written about Noah, my first love who died. And I wrote it in like 10 minutes. And it was about a dream that we were in the same place, and it was a very playful dream. And felt like finally some kind of return to some of the good feelings around knowing someone despite their end.”
“The video was conceived by myself and Amber Schaefer, who brought the jet ski thing to life. I was like, “I’m trying to do an extreme sports video.” And she was like, “Well, what if we can get you on a jet ski?” The reason why that was in my mind was because in the song are these bombastic synth sounds that are like I consider to be a, like, trance music take on Baroque. So, like, I was trying to go for bombast to reflect the feeling. But also I got really into watching these GoPro videos on YouTube of people doing extreme sports, and the thing that I really attached to in those videos was the surrender of the body in mid-air. That felt like exactly a reflection of the euphoric feeling I was trying to express. If you give in, it’s that revelation, and if you freeze up, you’re f*cked because you’re mid-air floating in the middle of a flip. The body is so knowing of grief and of its possibilities and limitations.”

The album features ‘Drift’, ‘All Lovers’ and ‘Vine’.



My Love Mine All Mine 

A gorgeous love song from Mitski’s new album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, which is her finest album in a while, a softer more orchestral album with a 17-person choir throughout.

Mitski wrote these songs in little bursts over the past few years, and they feel informed by moments of noticing – noticing a sound that’s out of place, a building that groans in decay, an opinion that splits a room, a feeling that can’t be contained in a body. The album is full of the ache of the grown-up, seemingly mundane heartbreaks and joys that are often unsung but feel enormous. From the bottom of a glass, to a driveway slushy with memory and snow, to a freight train barreling through the Midwest, and all the way to the moon, it feels like everything, and everyone, is crying out, screaming in pain, arching towards love.




Mundo En Mis Manos / World In My Hands

Irish Cuban singer Qbanaa contimnues a fine run of singles including ‘Shrink’, with ‘Mundo En Mis Manos / World In My Hands’, a song that expands her soulful jazz sound with nods to her Cuban heritage, and West African desert blues music.

Lyrically, the song details her experience of being prescribed antidepressants at a very early age and then falling into a deep addiction that lasted until her early twenties.

Qbanaa plays Ireland Music Week this Friday.


MIKE, Wiki, The Alchemist


It’s a busy time for rap superproducer The Alchemist who is about to properly drop the Earl Sweatshirt collab album Voir Dire. But before that – himself, MIKE and WIKI released the Faith Is A Rock album in September.

Is all about the sampled vibe the music creates, as NYC rappers MIKE and Wiki trade verses over moody sometimes beatless productions, as on ‘Stargate’ with chopped-up strings.



Blow Out

This sounds like Overmono trying to outdo Fred Again.. at his own game albeit with their trademark euphoria intact.

It’s a new song that doesn’t feature on the Good Lies album, that markedthe start of their world tour that touches down in Dublin this week.

“Blow Out was the first thing we made after finishing the album. After that process of being quite methodical, we had an urge to write something that was really out and out lairy and wanted the bass to sound like it was playing out of a blown-out speaker. The track was finished the day before our show at Coachella and we thought there was probably no better place to test it out. It’s become one of our favourite parts of the live show since and we’ll never forget playing it to a packed-out home crowd at GALA just after the album had been released.”


Barry Can’t Swim,  somedeadbeat

Deadbeat Gospel

Scottish producer Barry Can’t Swim’s new album When Will We Land is out on October 20th on Ninja Tune’s Technicolour label.

The musician has already released some bangers from the record in  ‘Sunsleeper’, a Bonobo-Maribou State-esque sunshining stonker and ‘How It Feels’.

‘Deadbeat Gospel’ features the Northern Irish poet Jack Loughrey somedeadbeat, and was recorded in Dublin after a show last year.




The sixth solo album from Richie Egan, is inspired by solo records of the 1970’s ( Paul McCartney, Judee Sill, Robert Wyatt, John Cale ) with modern studio techniques. It makes for a pensive and bright record of which, ‘Tomorrow’ is the one I’m loving the most.

‘Heal These Wounds’ / Bandcamp.


Negro Impacto


It’s been two years since the Dundalk duo emerged and made impressions with with their debut EP of vibey R&B pop music.

Since then, Laurence Kapinga (Strangelove) and Chi-chi have been playing stages and festivals all over the country, with Laurence also DJing regularly in clubs in tandem.

Now returning to the fruitful Negro Impacto project with their first single since 2021, ‘Maybe’ keeps that jangle R&B sound and brings in more textured live band production.


The Chemical Brothers

No Reason

The Chemical Brothers’ tenth album For The Beautiful Feeling comes out. of the gates with the verve and purpose of a packed live set in the style of Alive 97, with this acid funk dance track a welcome addition to the duo’s significant discography.

They play Dublin’s 3Arena on November 1st.


Odd Numbers, Fynch

Uncut Gems

I feel like the Drimnagh rapper Fynch just gets better and better with each track and feature, so hooking up with Cavan producer Odd Numbers on ‘Uncut Gems’ who is also on a roll is just good tune synergy.

The jazzy/hip-hop track features a Dilla-inspired beat with nostalgia-concerning lyrics from Fynch.

“This track is an ode to the basics — childhood wonderment and blissful ignorance to the state of the world. It was written with an underlying desire to return to a time when all I cared about was playing Smackdown Vs. Raw when I got home from school. There’s acceptance of the fact that a simplistic life isn’t in the offing, but we can all dream for a few minutes, can’t we? We still do play the odd game of World Cup though, which is nice.”

Listen to Odd Numbers’ The Golden Éire Tapes Vol. 1 featuring 17 Irish rappers


The Scratch


The Dublin trad-metal band’s second single from their forthcoming album Mind Yourself, due November 3rd on Sony Music Ireland.

‘Blaggard’ is a high-energy track following on from the markedly slower song ‘Trom II (A Slip In The Wind)’, from the James Vincent McMorrow-produced album.


Chris Lake, Aluna

More Baby

Chris Lake is an artist you may be familiar with for his Four Tet ‘Looking At Your Pager’ remix. New track ‘More Baby’ is a tightly-constructed house track with Aluna, their second of the year together.

Aluna’s ‘Runnin Blind’ is a recent favourite.


James Blake

Tell Me

James Blake’s new sixth album Playing Robots Into Heaven strikes a fine middleground between his experimental and songwriting side, the push and pull of which results in interesting results like this.


Octo Octa

Late Night Love

Producer Maya Bouldry-Morrison aka Octo Octa’s latest EP Dreams of a Dancefloor holds the a bleeping tension from the off with the first track ‘Late Night Love’ designed to bring a dancefloor together under a trance house 12 minute sojourn.

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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