A lot music from Ireland and Northern Ireland comes Nialler9’s way and every week, we listen through it all and select the tracks from emerging artists and some established acts that deserve to be heard by you.
For more extensive Irish and new music coverage, follow our Spotify playlist or hit up the Irish section for individual track features.
Keith, I Want To Be Everything
Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Rafino Murphy aka Uly follows up ‘Fishing’ with ‘Keith, I Want To Be Everything’, a softly spun song of jazz-funk and singer-songwriter proportions, an intimate song about the frustration of being lost living in Irish society.
“This song is a pretty on-the-nose expression of feeling dissatisfied with my life and wanting more from it – but not really being able to say exactly why I’m unhappy or what that something more is. I point the finger at home a little bit here. These days, it really does feel like Ireland is ‘the old sow that eats her farrow’. More often than not, it feels like there’s nothing for me (or many of my friends, for that matter) here – nothing that is conducive to feeling good about my life or where it’s going anyway. Over the years, I have noticed a tendency to look for anything else to try and relieve this feeling of dissatisfaction – new hobbies, new things, new partners even. The narrator here clearly isn’t one to be present and appreciate what they have in front of them, nor do they understand the fleeting nature of pleasure and satisfaction – they’re guided by what they feel they lack, and is looking for a way to remove that feeling completely, as opposed to just learning to live with it and being okay with it.”
Off-kilter R&B alt-pop from Cork artist Arthur Valentine on Hausu Records, fresh from Ireland Music Week last week.
‘Tom Cruise’ has some 2000s era vibes and is co-produced by 1000 Beasts.
“Tom Cruise was the first track Cian (1000 Beasts) and I worked on together. It was one of the smoothest writing experiences I’ve ever had. Everything came very naturally and we made sure to never try to overthink any step. We captured a vibe early on in the production process and just rode that wave until the song was pretty much finished. The first time Cian and I met was over coffee after a few exchanges on Instagram. Halfway through our coffee a homeless gentleman approached us and we ended up chatting for about 15 minutes. He kept calling me Tom Cruise because I was wearing a baseball cap. I knew right then that had to be the name of our first collaborative track!”
After returning with a fresh sound that moves the band away from straight ahead guitar rock on ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’, Whenyoung’s ‘The Laundress’ is a further sidestep sonically, with a clear inspiration.
|We very much wanted this to be a conceptual song using the visual imagery of a washer woman cleaning stains out of her clothes as a metaphor for washing ones own pain away. Cleaning is something I find very therapeutic as a process. When I’m anxious or don’t want to overthink, I clean the house. When I was twenty and on a J1 Student Visa in Boston, my friend Suzy and I worked as cleaners at a very swanky hotel. The work was extremely demanding and fast paced but the satisfaction of a clean room and the camaraderie between all of us cleaning women was moving, even life affirming. In more recent times, my friend Sinead gave me a book by Lucia Berlin called ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ which became my favourite book for its stories of imperfect women, hardworking women, strength and vulnerability. Cleaning stains and blemishes from clothes reflects my desire to clean up my brain’s anxiety, rumination and self-criticism. The Magdalene Laundries also come to mind, the treacherous workhouses that unmarried, pregnant women were sent to in Ireland to clean tirelessly for their “sins”. And so, maybe my method of cleaning for relaxation is rooted in misogyny and religion but that’s something I’ll explore another day.Aoife Power, Whenyoung
Truth And Desire
The debut single from Qbanaa comes after a collaboration in February with Absentee.
Named after her Cuban heritage, ‘Truth And Desire’ is a bilingual track of neo-soul shades, and comes after time spent in school choirs, as a dancer (salsa was frequent) and growing up in North Frederick Street Flats in Dublin city.
This debut song came after Qbanaa moved to London to pursue music, and the track is produced by Mickzart.
“The song was inspired by 1989 and 2008 movie ‘The Little Mermaid’ – I’m sure people will think ‘oh that’s a bit weird’. But if you look into it, there’s some insane soul and beautiful ethereal sounds in there that I took inspiration from. The movie is all about the unconditional nature of pure love, and the universal power of music, which really resonated with me growing up and carries the theme of Truth and Desire, it was the first thing I thought of when I opened the track.”
Maria Petrisor is the monomous artist Maria, and with her second single ‘Do You’ there are some dark and atmospheric tones in the style of Banks at play from the 22-year-old.
The tune is about “the frustration and fear that surrounds the vulnerability of ‘blindly falling’ for someone.”
The song was co-written and produced by Wexford-based producer Alex O’Keeffe.
Cream and Peaches
vi0let is an R&B artist with one of those tenuous Cascarino-esque Irish connections that I’m including here because she was born in Germany, grew up in Ireland (where her dad’s from), was and now lives in Brighton.
‘Cream and Peaches’ is a melodic soulful song from the debut EP Believe Me When I Cry, out now.
I had this tune on a list for a month and never got to feature it, but it stands up to repeated listening. Some cool, weird, psych pop songwriting from Clara Tracey’s forthcoming album Black Forest out 21st October on Pizza Pizza Records, taking inspiration from the “androgynous nonchalance and freedom she represents in an era where women were just starting to free themselves” of the titular actress and singer.
Clara is Northern Irish-born and currently can be found in Belfast, Dublin and Paris.
“It’s a fantasy about moving through the world with confidence and having the courage to fantasise about whatever you want just as much as it is about that iconic New Wave aesthetic.
Been a while since we heard from the rapper Archy Moor, but true to form of nearly a feature per year, here he is.
‘Beautiful’ is the lead song from forthcoming EP Bonnie Hill, from the London-based Dublin rapper who has a cadence that sounds a bit like Rejjie Snow, and if you hear Loyle Carner in the track, that’s because Earl Saga (producer of the song ‘Hate’), provides the beat, alongside LA producer MIKEWAVVS (known for work with Kaycyy, Jack Harlow, and Kehlani).
Nice to hear Archy come back with a new release.
‘Pink Flowers’ is the third single from the project of 23-year-old Dublin singer-songwriter Rachel Murphy aka Essiray, who like track 2, worked with 1000 Beasts on this track. Saxophone comes from Dan Coyne of Cooks but We’re Chefs.
“This song means alot to me as it’s all about self love and being happy alone. It’s about finding joy in simple things like buying yourself flowers, bringing yourself on a date and not depending on anyone for your happiness.
When I wrote this song I was getting overwhelmed with how hectic life was, especially when you’re trying to achieve your goals, I realised that It is important to work for what you want but it’s also just as important to pause, take a moment for yourself and congratulate yourself for doing your best.”
Where The Marsh Is
Since The Fire is the debut EP from Dubliner Evie, and I dig this atmospheric opener, that draws you in with its hushed tones and faraway synths.
Newbridge, Kildare, artist Jamie D’Arcy comes through with this nice folk track.
Kiss Me Where It Hurts
Northern Irish artist Ciaran Lavery has just released the brilliantly-titled Another
Night At The Self-Indulgence Hotel EP, and ‘Kiss Me Where It Hurts’ is a great brooding track that features the line “Call me Damien Rice, baby / Because I’m sad, but I’m well off.”
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.