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The best songs of June 2023

The best songs of June 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 Peggy Gou, Jayda G, QOTSA, Peter Gabriel, Rachael Lavelle, Django Django, Jorja Smith, Faye Webster, Glasser, Maija Sofia, Squid, Tandem Felix, King Krule, CMAT, ØXN & more


1.

Peggy Gou

(It Goes Like) Nanana

The South-Korean DJ and producer’s ‘(It Goes Like) Nanana’ is the first to be released on XL Recordings.

There’s big ATB ‘Til I Come’ Balearic sunkissed-vibes to the track with the bendy synth throughout the piano-house and Peggy’s own vocal song. It features on a forthcoming debut album.

It is “inspired by the eclectic house and pop classics that defined the Balearic sound, alongside 90s and 2000s dance anthems and Peggy’s own contemporary club production.”

A necessary song of the summer late contender.


2.

Peter Gabriel

Road to Joy (Bright-Side Mix)

June was a month where I went to see Peter Gabriel live in the 3Arena, and it cemented my respect and love for an artist still striving and creating interesting work into his seventies.

‘Road To Joy’ is a case in point, a brand new song to feature on his forthcoming i/o album, which was released in two slightly different mixes – ‘Bright Side’ and ‘Dark Side’.

It’s a brilliant track, just one of a good few released from the album that match it for quality, that bridges his experimental side with his pop sensibility through its big singalong chorus.

‘Road to Joy’ is the sixth song from a forthcoming record I/O, was produced by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, and features the Soweto Gospel Choir.


3.

Rachael Lavelle

Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential

As covered on its own, I doubt you’ll see a more perfect music video this month than this video by Bob Gallagher with art direction by Sarah Flanagan.

A good video is nothing without a great song, and ‘Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential’ is delightfully engaged in its world-building synths and strings crescendo and transportive vocals, spoken and sung, of Lavelle.

Lavelle is a singular talent, whose music isn’t a carbon copy of anyone else, and ‘Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential’ is her first song since her debut single in 2019. It is worth the wait.


4.

Django Django, Yuuko

Don’t Touch That Dial (Earthworks Acid Hip-House Remix)

Django Django’s 2023 album Off Planet arrived in four parts throughout the first half of the year and features some highlight collaborations with Self Esteem, Jack Peñate and Stealing Sheep.

Django Django co-founder and producer Dave Maclean said the album’s open construction was “a way to go beyond”, to bring new voices, new rhythms, new experimentation into play.

I absolutely loved the Yuuko-featuring ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’ but the Earthworks Acid Hip-House remix is one I’ve found myself increasingly gravitating towards.

As I mentioned on this month’s music monthly podcast, I’ve been play a lot of acid music lately when DJing and this fits that mould.

The Djangos play Dublin this December.


5.

Jorja Smith

Little Things (Nia Archives remix)

Big garage beats and Jorja Smith’s voice? A good match.

Jorja Smith second album, falling or flying, comes out on September 29th via FAMM, and singles have been high quality so far.


6.

Faye Webster

But Not Kiss

I loved the Atlanta artist Faye Webster’s recent Car Therapy Sessions orchestral versions EP, and the followup to I Know I’m Funny haha is being teased with ‘But Not Kiss’ a song that punctures its own intimate tautness with a memorable piano line.

“I think it could be a really romantic song or a really anti-romantic song,” explains Webster. “It’s something I’ve looked for but struggled to find in other love songs, for them to describe this conflict or contradiction.”

The video was filed at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in LA.


7.

Queens Of The Stone Age

Paper Machete

Josh Homme’s Queens Of The Stone Age has had a mini-renaissance since the release of eighth studio album In Times New Roman…, for my money, the band’s best record in ten years.

‘Paper Machete’ recalls early Kyuss and Homme’s penchant for writing ballasted rock’n’roll bluesy songs.

Queens Of The Stone Age play 3Arena in November.


8.

Glasser

Vine

It was only last month I was eulogising about an old song from Glasser on the podcast, apropos of nothing, and here with are with a new song anticipating Cameron Mesirow’s third album Crux, out on One Little Independent Records on October 6th.

‘Vine’ unfurls with experimental production, strings and Mesirow’s soaring voice. It’s usually a glib comparison but it sounds analogous to Bjork’s recent work, with an easier accessibility -that is to say, it’s not predictably drawn, jazzy and skittering in tone and also rather beautiful.

“‘Vine’ was written a long time ago. It was like an attempt at making something where all the parts sound like they’re very separated. I was thinking like jazz, actually. It was about getting back to writing music after feeling a bit disconnected from the machinery around making it your profession”.


9.

Maija Sofia

Four Winters

The Galway singer-songwriter and musician Maija Sofia announced her second album True Love, the followup to 2019’s debut album Bath Time, is released on Tulle on September 1st (the label home to Fears and M(h)aol).

Lead song ‘Four Winters’ is a song that explores “destructive relationships and the mysticism of the natural environment” using harp, synths, strings and drums primarily, with the result being a song that feels like it’s whisking you away into its lair.


10.

Squid

Undergrowth

Squid are one of the more interesting of the English batch of wiry post-punk bands, and recent album O Monolith showcases a band colouring outside those lines.

See also: Robocobra Quartet.

Squid for Belfast & Dublin shows this October


11.

Jam City, Wet

LLTB

A highlight from Jam City’s long-form mixtape Jam City presents EFM. Alongside the Empress Of collaboration, this Wet-featuring vocal track is a fuzzy-feelings loved-up beauty.


12.

Aoife Wolf

A Ringing In The Ear

Belfast-based Offaly psych-folk artist Aoife Wolf’s ‘A Ring In The Ear’ takes the idea of tinnitus of its title, and accompanies its with discombobulation, and a sludgy primeval instrumental bog of a song, and video featuring mummer masks on rainy streets, and late-night venues.


13.

Jayda G

Scars

Jayda G’s debut album Guy is inspired by her father William Richard Guy, who passed away when she was 10 years old. His voice is heard throughout the record, in archival recordings, and informs the highlight ‘Scars’.

‘Scars’ was inspired from when her dad was dealing with bullies in school. 

“These guys would wait outside of his school, to just beat him up for no reason whatsoever, other than that they could. So my dad would try to avoid them, or would wait hours after school ended or leave through different entrances so that it was safe for him to walk home. But these people were just not letting up. Eventually, he realised he had to face them in order to move forward… and he got the shit kicked out of him! But then they left him alone.”

“I think of how terrified my dad must have been to stand up to these guys, and by putting myself in his shoes it makes me think about what we all carry with us, as we go through life. What do these kinds of situations mean in terms of how you see yourself, and how you interact with people, how you deal with conflict, how that informs you as you move through life. How if you don’t know your worth and you don’t have self love, this world can really beat you down, especially if you’re a person of color or you look different or sound different, you have to be really strong and have conviction of yourself to move through this world”

Guy was co-produced with Jack Peñate.


14.

Tandem Felix

There’s a New Sheriff in Town

As featured recently, the returning song from Dubliner David A. Tapley and Tandem Felix is a world-leaning reintroduction that hangs with a certain heaviness. It teases an album out in October.

See Also

“The songs on There’s a New Sheriff in Town are a lot more embittered, more jaded. I wanted to make the songs world-weary. That’s how it came together initially, although lyrically nothing was intentional, so to speak. I tend to save that for the music-side of things instead of the words. The words just happen, or at least, I let them happen.” David A. Tapley


15.

King Krule

Pink Shell

I don’t think Space Heavy, the fourth album from King Krule is any form of radical of a departure for the record from Archy Marshall but it is his best for a good while.

Marshall recently became a father four years ago and a lot of these songs were dreamt up travelling on trains between Peckham and a place Seaforth, (which is a song on the record but also ,the name of a seaside town outside of Liverpool) where city where Marshall has been living part time for the past two years.

Where most of the songs have a pensive daydreamy quality to the songs, there are blasts of the post punk energy he has shown before with ‘Pink Shell’ and ‘Hamburgerphobia’.


16.

Róisín Murphy

Fader

The third single from Róisín Murphy’s forthcoming album Hit Parade, which is produced by DJ Koze and is released on September 8th on Ninja Tune.

We’ve previously heard ‘CooCool’ and ‘The Universe’, and ‘Fader’ arrived with a music video shot in Murphy’s Irish hometown of Arklow, County Wicklow, featuring the Arklow Silver Band. The song itself is a mid-tempo slow soul disco sample-hook Murphy track.

If you were hoping for a big DJ Koze-assisted dance album, Hit Machine doesn’t sound like it’s that so far, with all the songs being melting psychedelic dancefloor-adjacent music.


17.

Killer Mike, Andre 3000, Future

Scientists & Engineers


Killer Mike collabs with André 3000 & Future on James Blake co-produced ‘Scientists & Engineers’.

Killer Mike released his first solo rap album since 2012’s R.A.P. Music, with Michael in June taking a break from Run The Jewels for a personal album.

The first single from the album, ‘Don’t Let The Devil’ did indeed feature El-P, and was followed up with ‘Motherless’, in a two-part video. Previous singles ‘Run’ and Talk’n That Shit’ also feature.

“RTJ is the X-Men, this is my Logan,” said Mike of Michael.


18.

CMAT

HAVE FUN!

CMAT announced her second album CrazyMad, For Me, is set to be released on October 13th 2023, the followup to the Choice Music Prize-winning album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead/

It’s billed as a reinvention of what came before, “the mainstream indie that CMAT loved as a teenager, filtered through 20th century country music, amplified by knowledge of 80s and 90s pop hits with a slide guitar and a camp twist.”

‘Have Fun!’ is part of the new era, a country-music pop hoedown with CMAT’s omnipresent vocal hooks.


19.

Sweeping Promises

You Shatter

Sweeping Promises are the Kansas duo of Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug, who just released their second album Good Living Is Coming For You on Sub Pop in June.

The band make 80s-indebted new-wave post-punk with a lo-fi tone that sounds like it’s playing off a cassette at times and it’s a lot of fun, as heard on ‘You Shatter’.

The band will make their Dublin debut with Foggy Notions on October 26th at The Workman’s Club.


20.

ØXN

Love Henry

ØXN is the name of the experimental doom folk project from the foursome of Radie Peat (Lankum), Katie Kim, Eleanor Myler (Percolator) and John ‘Spud’ Murphy (Percolator and producer with Lankum, Black Midi, Katie Kim, Junior Brother among others).

The band’s first single ‘Love Henry’, and a video, is released on Claddagh Records today, and showcases a sound parallel to the dark drone edge of Lankum not too dissimilar to ‘Go Dig My Grave’.

More on the band and track.



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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