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.
Can We Just Get High?
Maeve is a Cayman Island (and I’ve been informed has Irish heritage) singer-songwriter and model based in London whose latest song ‘Can We Just Get High?’ comes with a self-directed music video from the artist, that counts The Virgin Suicides, Midsommar, X and the cult 1966 film Daisies as references for the visuals.
Musically, ‘Can We Just Get High?’ comes in with an atmospheric spoken word intro before giving way to a booming orchestral pop song with stabs and whistles.
“It’s a song about the chaos of falling in love, getting high, escapism, and finding someone as twisted as you,” says the artist, who has recently supported Marina and Banks. Maeve is on the up.
David Keenan, Junior Brother
Raving towards Byzantium
The Dundalk singer-songwriter returns to the roots of things with largely just a guitar for his latest album Crude recorded in June this past summer, and for my money, the stripped back style is the best suit for the artist’s craft.
‘Raving towards Byzantium’ enlists the Kerry voice of Junior Brother for a bluesy whistle-featuring duet, and is an album highlight.
Kormac, Jack O’Rourke
The new collaborative album Equivalent Exchange from the Dublin producer Kormac which features contributions from MayKay, Jafaris, Loah, Jack O’Rourke & the Irish Chamber Orchestra was released last week.
I featured a track with Jafaris on Friday, but wanted to shine a light on this beaut of a song which gets rolling instrumentally with tension and release electronica before Cork singer Jack O’Rourke appears with some warm soul vocals.
A live show is happening Saturday in Dublin.
Dublin/London-based twin sisters Roisin and Lulu aka ROOUE have proven themselves as purveyors of a punchy pop chorus on previous songs like ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘What You Want’ and ‘Better Off’ a “a massive middle finger to our exes,” is no different.
The song expresses how much better off we are without them in our lives, reflecting on the brainwashing effects of chasing love. First written after experiencing our first breakup as teenagers and now more relatable than ever this year having gone through what felt like catastrophic break ups. We escaped to London for a fresh start and were reinspired by the concept of being ‘better off.’ With this perspective we revisited this song and
rewrote it as the people we are now.
Guessed It Was About Me
Katie Phelan makes indie singer/songwriter folk-pop music, and the artist’s latest song ‘Guessed It Was About Me’, is a song about the little shy moments between people who clearly have a thing for each other.
Have It In My Hands
Breaking his one track feature a year, London-based Dublin rapper Archy Moor is prolific now after last month’s ‘Beautiful’ track in this column.
‘Have It In My Hands’ is from forthcoming EP Bonnie Hill, a fine laidback rap track with a hook by Nick Mills, who produced the track with Earl Saga.
Disco-ball spinning lo-fi house from the James Donnelly aka Mild. Hit him up on Insta.
ZOiD & Inni-K
‘Strong’ feels like a true collaboration between two different sound worlds, the folk singer-songwriter Inni-K and the Irish electronic jazz producer ZOiD. The song features features a lush string quartet performed by Cora Venus-Lunney, Aoife Durnin and Ailbhe Mc Donagh, with recording and mixing courtesy of Les Keye.
“Strong” focuses on the existential, rug-pull effect, of living during the pandemic and lockdowns of the last two years and how the world looks different on the other side – “You don’t always have to be so strong“ as the song says.
Strong is the third release from ZOiD’s forthcoming collaborative album Internal Space Element.
“A great project to work with over lockdown with ZOiD, to write lyrics and find a melody that’d go over the beautiful string arrangement. It was a lovely challenge.”Inni-K
Dublin multi-instrumentalist Zuchley is channelling the style of artists like Whitney and Alex G on ‘The Deep End’, a bright lo-fi indie pop track that serves as the fourth single in his catalogue.
Zuchley’s ‘Point Guard MVP NBA’ was previously featured.
The artist says the song is “heavily inspired by the recording techniques of the mid 1970’s and has that 4-track cassette tape sound and heavy compression, emulating lofi Zambian Rock records by the likes of Amanaz.”
The trumpet-playing of Jesse Russell from Cooks But We’re Chefs is on this one.
From the London-band trio of singer Demigosh (formerly of Afro-Irish collective Blackfish Collective and indie band The Notas) with Scott Xylo and Adeemus (Adam Martin), comes Shadeemus‘ ‘Reflections’ a reflective soulful jazz track.
The band’s featured here with last year’s under-rated album Atlantis, but there is lots on their Bandcamp to explore.
Midnight 10th Of December
Dark Tropics are a pop-noir duo from Belfast, whose music has variety to it, and therefore is hard to pinpoint succinctly. ‘Midnight 10th of December’ is an easier one – with Florence and Lana Del Rey-esque moods and vocals, that grows from a whisper to an anthem, a call to action for people to enact change in the world.
‘It’s a song that’s hidden in the mist of memories. We piece together what we can. It’s about making decisions in the moment and the implications of those decisions …are there any? Does it matter? We are where we are. It’s about not having all the facts and it not mattering. It’s about one of those few moments in life when you are where you should be and you’re aware of it but know it shall soon pass.’Dark Tropics
Irish jazz punk band Vernon Jane have made good on the promise of ‘Origami’ with the release of the Wifey EP, a four-track release ahead of second album Chestpains And Sidepieces.
About the song, singer Emily Jane says:
A look at how it feels to try and be normal after trauma.
We tend to like the wounded heroine. The woman who gives everything, the perfect care-giver, the empathic healer, the perfect listener, the perfect lover. The woman who gives everything to everyone and asks for nothing in return. The woman who has battled and suffered silently and won. Her prize is the perfect life. She deserves a partner. She is ready to be a wife. Our pain as women is not performative. I am not the perfect woman, I am barely a woman at all. My grief and my pain does not make me more desirable. It does not make me dark and mysterious and a thing to be conquered. My pain is valid. My pain does not determine my destiny to be alone or to be a wife. My choices to be alone, to explore relationships, or to be a wife does not define my worth or value. My pain does not inform what choice I should make. Being with someone does not define my story or anybody’s story and my battles within myself do not make me more or less attractive. And in case anyone missed the memo this is my truth, my journey and my lived experience and everything that we as a band have ever put out has come from a place of authenticity and truth. I won’t apologise for sharing my stor because I exist. I am here, and still standing, it’s been a while since I have taken to the floor as refuge.
Catch Vernon Jane on December 18th in Dublin at the Button Factory with New Secret Weapon on support.
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.