Featuring Krystal Klear, Guud Grief, Hotgirl, Touch Excellent, Havvk, Catching Shapes, Lucy Gaffney, Enola Gay, Jossle, Tamara Hall, Rebel Phoenix, Greg Tisdall, Max Zanga.
A lot of music from Ireland and Northern Ireland comes our way and every week, we listen through it all, sift the list down to a manageable list and share the best new tracks from emerging artists and some more established acts that deserve to be heard by you.
Dublin disco boyo Krystal Klear takes in back to basics with a collection of dancefloor weapons of various sensibilities on the new EP Automat Kingsland on Permanent Vacation.
Right now, ‘Americana’ is the one doing it for me most, a whirling neon-tinted near-seven minute excursion in hold and release dynamics, but it could easily have been the synthy rattling opener ‘Endeavour‘ too.
Follow Dec’s excursions on Instagram.
Krystal Klear was on Beats In Space on Apple Music last week too.
Clocking in at 70 seconds long, Touch Excellent’s debut single is like a tune you would hear the band Deerhoof conjur up in its discombobulating rock arrangement.
“Knees to my chest on the edge of a bed”, is how the song sets out, with the protagonist awaiting a medical procedure.
It’s a refreshing brief single, and the song’s medical imagery is inspired by the recent CervicalCheck cancer scandal in Ireland, and the ongoing fight for reproductive rights around the world.
Touch Excellent is a gay, transgender punk-pop band based in Dublin made up of Lenny (vocals/bass), Ló (rhythm guitar/vocals), and Amber (drums).
Hotgirl are a new Dublin & Drogheda alternative band featuring Jake Hurley aka Local Boy on bass alongside vocalist Ashley Abedeen, drummer Nick Stanley and guitarist Sophie Boxwell.
‘Jam’ is the band’s debut track, produced by Hurley, a languid yet bright post-punk song that builds to a full band crescendo.
Follow the band on Instagram.
Havvk take a turn to insistent atmospheric alternative rock with their latest single ‘Daylight Robbery’, with an exoskeleton of ’90s rock at its foundations, which makes sense as Nigel Kenny, formerly of Bitch Falcon, is playing drums with HAVVK, alongside guitarist Matthew Harris and vocalist/guitarist Julie Havvk.
Julie Hawk’s vocal brandishes fervour at the heart of the song’s sentiments.
“‘Daylight Robbery’ is about the safe spaces we create for ourselves, and the exhaustion of feeling scrutinised outside of these boundaries. To us, community is so central to self-expression, but we’re living in a reality where communities and culture are becoming outpriced and fragmented, and where people’s identities and bodies are becoming more politicized and up for debate. What does this mean for us when we leave the house, what does it mean to trust your neighbour? There is something sacred about having four walls or even an online space in which you feel like home – where you feel like yourself. ‘Daylight Robbery’ is about the stress and anxiety of seeing these spaces invaded, even spaces that you call your own, and even the temptation to retreat into yourself or to tone yourself down in response.”
Catching Shapes is a Dublin electronic producer and visual artist who recently a debut album in May called Overscore, which deserves the attention of more ears.
The LP features 10 tracks of bright electronic music, with comparisons to Bonobo, Rival Consoles and the more chilled out organic electronic section of a good record shop.
‘Seek’ is the album’s opening track, and I felt a fine intro to those whose interests are piqued further.
Daydream In Tokyo
Lucy Gaffney has put out the title track of the forthcoming EP Daydream In Tokyo on September 29th via Nettwerk.
The song is an ultra melodic indie pop song from the Belfast artist, brimming with brightness, and inspired by the film Lost In Translation.
“I’ve always adored and been fascinated by its cinematography. There’s so much depth in the mystery and ambiguity of discovering a foreign place. I find it hard not to completely relate to every scene. I can’t write unless there’s something inspiring me visually, so I wanted it to capture the aesthetic of the movie and, in a similar way, translate a relatability in everyday thoughts and relationships between people.”
Belfast-based noise punks Enola Gay continue their assault on the established societal norms with the announcement of a new EP called Casement out September 1st on the label Modern Sky.
‘Leeches’ proceeds the release along with recent single ‘PTS.DUP’, a high-octane buzzing, clattering rock song with a real visceral anger at its core:
“As we lost loved ones who died alone during the pandemic, these inept meat martinets continued and will continue to get away with everything. When their designated spare-dick spearheads are such embarrassments that their actions are brushed off as typical occurrences; you can’t embarrass them more than they embarrass themselves. We watch governmental slapstick playouts daily and still end up the punchline.
This is for the recycled hypocrites elected every round who make it mockingly abundant that we are not their priority. We are their poverty porn. Twisting the knife in us, they spend the millions they haven’t lost yet on monument refurbishment in the midst of an energy crisis. People have suffered this cost of living crisis for years. Only now is it newsworthy with people in the upper echelon also beginning to feel it. Ironically, making the dissociation gap between real people and the likes of Parliament greater than ever”.
All My Plants
Cork-born, London-based artist and producer Jossle impresses with this indie-pop gem of a song. ‘All My Plants’ lives in the pocket of a steady beat, and suspended production that enables the song to amble along nicely.
The song, the artist says “explores the relatable sensation of being consumed by ones problems.”
It was written/recorded in his bedroom in Galway during his last year of college and cites Alex G, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Arlo Parks as inspiration.
“The song is a reflection on how at the time, I was processing things in a very negative way. It’s a metaphor saying that, because I’m so self-obsessed with my own problems, then all my plants are dying and now I’ve created another problem by worrying about it. It was one of the first tracks where I’d moved on to the electric guitar; I didn’t have an acoustic with me in Galway, so I borrowed an electric from Sean from NewDad and it gave the track more of an indie-rock feel.”
The song is on an EP called Nested, coming out this summer and features a video by Cian Wood and Diarmuid O Connor. “The video is a sort of a playful depiction of someone slowly losing their grip on reality. Just as you can get consumed by your own thoughts, the video is consumed by whimsical hand-drawn animations and collage sequences.”
10/06 – Off the Rails Festival , London
30/06 – Workmans Cellar, Dublin
22/07 – Forest Festival, Laois
26/07 – Aras Na Gael Festival, Galway
28/07 – Fairhill Sessions, Galway
What It Means
Limerick electronic producer Tamara Hall has released her first production since 2020, with the dancefloor cut ‘What It Means’ bringing house rhythms to the fore with a minimal style and a nod to garage, that reminds me of early Disclosure.
A vibey aspirational tune from Dublin rapper Rebel Phoenix bringing the summer wavy vibes with lyrical content inspired by more difficult days, helped by reflecting on the journey so far.
Rebel says “acting as your own source of inspiration is an extremely helpful tool to develop both personally and creatively”.
A Rebel P album called Museum is on the way too.
Rebel Phoenix socials
Greg Tisdall, Max Zanga
Another week, another song about the impact of emigration on the young people of Ireland. ‘Alma’ is a song written in the wake of relationships lost, when close ones a move to another country in search of a better life.
Max Zanga (Filmore, Tebi Rex) joins Tisdall on the future R&B pop cut, with a video inspired by Phil Lynott’s video for ‘Old Town’.
Max Zanga’s Filmore project also had a new song recently called ‘Ingrid’s Song’:
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.