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The best songs of August 2023

The best songs of August 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 Turnstile, BadBadNotGood, Kojaque, Citrus Fresh, Actress, Cartin, Noname, L’Rain, Myst Milano, Sufjan, Haley Blais, Becky McNeice, English Teacher, Alicia Raye, Barry Can’t Swim, Kettama, Natalia Beylis, Mitski, Walshy, Luthorist, Jehnova & more


1.

Turnstile, BadBadNotGood

Alien Love Call

A surprise three-track EP release featuring Canadian instrumentalists reimagining Turnstile’s visceral American punk as heard on 2021’s Glow On.

All three work well, but my favourite arrives 2 minutes 20 in on the video above.

2.

Kojaque

Cabra Drive

After the recent new song ‘Bambi’ featuring Gotts Street Park, Kojaque has released another new song called ‘Cabra Drive’, with a video that celebrates the area in Dublin where he grew up.

The video was shot by Conor Bradley on Meath Street, Dalymount Park, Phibsborough and Cabra and features Kevin Smith in prosthetic makeup as the character Jackie Dandelion.

The Kendrick-esque beat switch gives this one extra juice.

Full post.

3.

Cartin

Smasha

Derry producer Cartin’s latest tune ‘Smasha’ barges into August with a rush of euphoria and a Lone-esque synth build. A big fizzy tune for the dancefloors that writes “OOF” in big capital letters as it goes.

4.

Becky McNeice, Alicia Raye

Far Away

Belfast and Drogheda link up as Becky McNeice and Alicia Raye release this slinky afro-pop track ‘Far Away’, the first song from a joint EP Love Letters.

It also comes with a manifesto of sorts, that includes a trip to the US to spread the word and make music videos for the EP.

With“Love Letters” we are not just creating music, we are creating a transformative movement that celebrates diversity, bridges cultures, and amplifies the presence of Irish artists around the world. Our individualities harmonised into something truly captivating, an authentic artistic synergy that mirrors the beauty of our creative partnership, both as artists and as business allies

5.

Noname

Namesake

From Sundial, the first album in five years from the Chicago MC Noname, ‘Namesake’ typifies the tougher questioning lyrics and music that features throughout the recommended album.

Noname become a better rhymer, a more precise rapper, with more depth in switching her cadence and she’s all the better for it. Musically, it’s jazzy live band hip-hop and reminds me a bit of SAULT in its tone with a bit more insistence and presence than before.

She’s an artist who isn’t afraid to throw bombs at Jay Z, Rihanna, Kendrick, Beyoncé for playing the Superbowl, referencing the NFL’s ties to the US Military but she’s also not afraid to throw grenades in the mirror at herself (Noname once declared she wouldn’t want to perform in front of a majority white audience but played Coachella this year).

Go, Rihanna, go
Watch the fighter jet fly high
War machine gets glamorized
We play the game to pass the time

Go, Noname, go
Coachella stage got sanitized
I said I wouldn’t perform for them
And somehow I still fell in line

6.

Walshy & Curtisy

mm mm good (in the cellar)

Two Irish artists with regular features on Nialler9 – Walshy and Curtisy have teamed up on a track that also serves as a teaser for both of the Dublin artists’ debut full-length projects.

‘mm mm good (in the cellar)’ features Curtisy rapping over a soulful-sample hip-hop beat flip by Walshy, who also sings the hook, a song that “treacherous realm of momentary pleasures and their long-term consequences.” It’s out now on  Sleepover Club and features on the debut Walshy album – the “tripped-out tapestry” few beers.

7.

Haley Blais

The Cabin

Vancouver based singer-songwriter and musician Haley Blais does wonderful things with the loud / quiet dynamic on ‘The Cabin’, a song from Haley’s forthcoming second album Wisecraft (September 15th via Arts & Crafts).

The song’s Zia Kalyan-video plays with that contrast too with Blais doing her best Lydia Tar impression conduction a Jekyll and Hyde orchestra.

The song is inspired by the memory of staying in a real cabin – “a sweaty, dehydrated memory of my summers spent in the cabin on the lake. It wasn’t our cabin — my dad’s brother’s wife’s cousin’s friends owned it or something — but it was ours. I had my first sips of beer, first almost kisses. It’s a fluffy recollection until the guitars break through with their overbearing distortion like a roaring tidal wave and I’m thrown back into the discomfort of real time.”

I don’t wanna be the smoke inside the living room / Can you open up the patio door? / I don’t wanna be wet inside your swimming shoes / Can you take me out and shake me on shore?”

8.

Luthorist, Jehnova, Zimback, Sivv

Seethru

From the new mixtape from three Irish-based rappers(Nuxsense’s luthorist from Brazil, Nuxsense’s Jehnova from South Africa, and Zimback, a Japanese native residing in Ireland) with converge under the skilled production of Nuxsense’s Sivv.

‘Seethru’ is my favourite track on the six-track collection, which twists a soul and strings sample as a bed for the rhymes in evocative fashion.

Bandcamp.

9.

Actress

Push Power ( a 1 )

Darren Cunningham aka Actress released a new song called ‘Push Power ( a 1 )’, a discombobulating and edifying track built from minimal bass, beats, interweaving vocal samples and piano lines.

The track was released on Ninja Tune, and is the followup to the Dummy Corporation EP released last November.

“Push Power ( a 1 )” mirrors an intricate game of chess. With each thoughtful move the game grows and develops over time – something we can hear reflected in the textured and delicate layers of the track. “( a 1 ) The first move”

Darren Cunningham

10.

L’Rain

New Year’s Unresolution

Brooklyn experimental genre-fluid artist Taja Cheek aka L’Rain has a third album on the way called I Killed Your Dog, out on Mexican Summer on October 13th.

This beaut of a track closures the record, which thematically “considers what it means to hurt the people you love the most,” or an “anti-break-up” album. The LP was made with Andrew Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz.

11.

Myst Milano

Ring Ring

Toronto DJ and musician and vogue scene artist Myst Milano released a new album called Beyond The Uncanny Valley, and ‘Ring Ring’ perfectly encapsulates the artist’s hip-hop / house clubby vibe.

12.

Sufjan Stevens

So You Are Tired

Sufjan Stevens’ new album called Javelin is to be released on October 6th on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

A new song ‘So You Are Tired’ proceeds the album, which will be Stevens’  first solo album of songs since 2020’s The Ascension, and his first in full singer-songwriter mode since 2015’s Carrie & Lowell.

Javelin features 10 songs promising “four-minute bursts of choral, orchestral, and electric wonder,” and features – adrienne maree brown, Hannah Cohen, Pauline Delassus, Megan Lui, Nedelle Torrisi, who sing harmonies, and Bryce Dessner, who plays guitars on Shit Talk’.

Original Post

13.

English Teacher

The World’s Biggest Paving Slab

One of the best bands I saw at this year’s Great Escape were the Leeds four-piece English Teacher, and they announced a UK tour in October, and released this vibey indie-rock song to boot last month.

14.

Virgins

s l o w l y, l o n g

The Belfast shoegaze band Virgins come correct with this “gaze-pop” single released today, that certainly has some hook to it.

Production is by Jonny Woods (Wynona Bleach) and Virgins are Brendy McCann (bass), Michael Smyth (guitar), Dave Sloan (guitar) James Foy (drums) Rebecca Dow (vocals).

The band play Gazefest this month.

15.

Citrus Fresh

Chinese Airmax

Limerick rapper Citrus Fresh released a new album entitled Good Grief.

Executive produced by 40hurtz and Citrus Fresh, with production also by Rory Sweeney (‘Wrastling’) and godw1n (‘Commital’), it’s an 18-minute release that features Citrus’ trademark colloquial rap style, and guests Curtisy and Strange Boy.

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The sparse switchup of ‘Chinese Airmax’ is just one of the highlights on this short release.

16.

Barry Can’t Swim

How It Feels

In the lead up to Barry Can’t Swim’s new album When Will We Land out 20th October on Ninja Tune, the Scottish producer released ‘Sunsleeper’, a Bonobo-Maribou State-esque sunshining stonker.

‘How It Feels’ is a little more subdued, and it was made originally as an interlude.

“When I first started this song it was intended to be a segue between tracks, more of a breather on the album that helped the overall fluidity, but when I handed the album in I realised it was one of my favourite songs on there and I wanted it to be a single.

The whole thing was started and finished in about two hours. Sometimes the best tunes are the ones that feel the most effortless and you’re just channelling something you’re not even that aware of and then you listen back and you’re like, ok I actually think that’s done!”

Barry Can’t Swim plays the Button Factory, Dublin on November 10th.

17.

Kettama

Fly Away XTC

You can almost hear Olive’s You’re Not Alone coming in under this one.

‘Fly Away’ is from Kettama’s new EP of trance-inspired high BPM tracks with alt-mixes and extended mixes from the Galway producer. Bandcamp.

18.

Mitski

Star

After the recent ‘Bug Like An Angel’ single, Mitski released two songs this week from The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, out September 15th on Dead Oceans.

There’s the acoustic almost-country of ‘Heaven’ and my personal favourite – ‘Star’, a stirring orchestra l song. Both were recorded in collaboration with arranger/conductor Drew Erickson.

Mitski also announced some acoustic solo dates in UK and Europe entitled Amateur Mistake: A Night of Intimate, Acoustic Performance From Mitski Previewing Her New Album. Three’s unlikely to be an Irish date until 2024.

19.

Natalia Beylis

Afloat In Fog And Feathers

The Irish musician and sonic artist Natalia Beylis released Mermaids on September 1st, an album inspired by a CRB Elettronica Ancona keyboard salvaged from a Leitrim recycling centre and an old family photo of her mother and two friends (which is also the cover for the record and informs the title).

‘Afloat In Fog And Feathers’ is the record’s opening gambit, a transportative slow dive into a subaquatic ambient world, rich with detail and tone.

“The sounds that come from her when I play always move me like water; swimming in rivers and floating in the murk beneath the surface,” Natalia said.

20.

Eyedress, Mac DeMarco

The Dark Prince

Perfect alt-weirdo synergy here singer-songwriter / producer Eydress teames up with Mac DeMarco on a vibey little indie-pop ditty.

It’s the first of two Eyedress singles featuring DeMarco to be released before year’s end. It’s got ’70s psych-rock and breezy bedroom pop in its DNA, with a silly video to accompany it.

Eyedress signed to RCA Records this year, and has released a number of once-off singles including a Kevin Shields remix.

Mac DeMarco’s latest releases include the instrumental album Five Easy Hot Dogs and One Wayne G, a collection of 199 pieces of music that clocked a run time of close to nine hours.



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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