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The best songs of March 2023

The best songs of March 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 article.


1.

Yves Tumor

Lovely Sewer

Sean Bowie aka Yves Tumor’s music has been moving towards a more ambitious sound with every release. The American Turin-based artist’s music has moved more experimental early work to the psychedelic full band music as heard on fifth album Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds).

The album is beautifully produced, spacious and filling, with production by Noah Goldstein (Frank Ocean, Rosalía, Rihanna, Bon Iver), and mixed by Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and many shoegaze albums).

It’s a sensory rich record I keep returning to since release. The drums stand out for me but all the playing on it feels like pristine proper recorded 21st century rock – detailed and gilded.

Released around the the same time 50th anniversary of Dark Side Of The Moon last week, and Lil Yachty’s excellent psych-hop album Let’s Start Here, it feels like psychedelic rock music is again having a moment.

‘Lovely Sewer’ is a beautiful example of what the record contains, a soaring full-blooded song with a sumptuous melodic vocal from Yves and Canadian artists K.I.D.

Yves Tumor has been announced for a gig at 3Olympia Theatre on 27th November 2023.


2.

Lankum

Master Crowley’s

It’s still early days in the listening stakes for Lankum’s fourth album False Lankum, but expectations are high after three superb albums and press reviews that have compared the album to modern folk’s equivalent of OK Computer.

No-one can quite truly know what that Mojo writer means, but a comparison in the same review to Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, is more apt, as first impressions of False Lankum is an album of world-building doom-folk that sinks into its drone mire on more than one occasion. There’s still plenty of beautiful melodies and traditional music here, but ‘Master Crowley’s’ is the best demonstration of this vibe, as a traditional song gets pulled into black quicksand and an empty void of steel clanks and noise engulf the reverbed song in its entombed pit.

Nialler9 Podcast: The best music of March – Lankum, Lana, JPEGMafia & Danny Brown & more


3.

Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA

Burfict!

Rap album of the year so far? JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown’s collaborative album Scaring The Hoes, is blown out, messy, all over the shop but thoroughly compelling.

It’s erratic, industrial, discombobulating, disorientating and absolutely slaps hard. It’s got a freneticism to it that burst forth from the speakers

Hard to pick a single track from it but ‘Burfict!’ is the one at the moment.


4.

boygenius

Satanist

Boygenius’ releasing their debut album the record, feels like one of the biggest event albums of the year, and on cursory listens, the LP does not disappoint if you’re after robustly melodic and insightful indie rock songwriting and style.

‘Satanist’ feels like a song that Broken Social Scene might have written as a band, and asked Dacus, Bridgers and Baker to jump on with lyrics that draw you in – seeking a like-minded soul. There’s some distant screaming for good measure. I love how the song barrels slowly towards an end.


5.

Róisín Murphy

CooCool

As rumoured Róisín Murphy has an album on the way with revered electronic music auteur and frequent collaborator DJ Koze.

The album is also the first release on Murphy’s deal with Ninja Tune, and ‘CooCool’ is the project’s first single, and easily the best song released this week, a melting kaleidoscopic electronic soul track with a warming emotional effect.


6.

Kneecap

It’s Been Ages

Distilling what makes the Belfast rappers Kneecap so good at what they do, Mo Chara and Móglaí Bap move effortlessly between Gaeilge and English referencing generating controversy and humour, on ‘It’s Been Ages’ featuring a simple piano rap instrumental from Willhouse.

The Irish language raps slap hard.


7.

Slowthai

Yum

Slowthai’s third album Ugly features production from Dan Carey and guests like Fontaines D.C., Shygirl and Jockstrap’s Taylor Skye. The album’s opening track ‘Yum’ is an abrasive one, a stomper of hedonistic synths and industrial beats, that reminds me of Yeezus, and leaves the sense of a breathless claustrophobia that sets up the record nicely.


8.

Benefits

Warhorse

Teesside noise rock spoken word punk band Benefits are set to visit Ireland in May for the first time with the announcement of a debut album.

Lead by Kingsley Hall’s righteous vocals, Benefits announced the debut album NAILS is to be released on Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records (BEAK>, Billy Nomates) on April 21st, along with releasing a new single ‘Warhorse’ that exemplifies the band’s M.O. The album was produced by Barrow after he saw them play in his native Bristol.

Benefits’ songs are agit pop music, informed by Brexit, and the divisive nature of modern Britain. About ‘Warhorse’ , Hall says:

“At some point if the boot continues to stamp on us, we’re going to react. Things bug me. They start as little irks and become fiercer. It can take days, sometimes minutes. The phrase “cost of living” being blurted out by an MP when confronted with the poverty of their constituents. Simpering and grovelling to decrepit hierarchical systems. Pageantry and pomp in a time of austerity and cuts. ‘Warhorse’ is a battle. It’s about being tired of being told there’s no options left – being told to bow and courtesy and to shut your face. ‘Warhorse’ is about the need to push that boot back from our faces, raise our heads, stand up and fight.”

Irish dates include:

May 4 – Belfast, NI, Deer’s Head Music Hall
May 5 – Limerick, IRE, Dolans
May 6 – Dublin, IRE, Workmans


9.

baby___asl

Hostile City

The sparse opening track from Londoner baby___asl’s Snakeskin EP, ‘Hostile City’ immediately recalls and channels the alternative electronic vocal vibe of Tirzah, and that’s a great thing, that’s hard to replicate through inspiration, and make your own.

The EP is on a label more known for drill – AP Life (ran by Bok Bok, a sister label of Night Slugs), so this is a curveball all round.


10.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The Widow

Fans of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s lo-fi alt-rock style will love the fifth album V, as it doesn’t really deviated from their established sound, but with new influences informed by time spent in Hawaii, where the largely New Zealand-based musician Ruban Nielson grew up and with Palm Springs, California also a source, there’s a palpable sense of Yacht rock, West Coast AOR and jazz vibes at play for the first times. Take ‘The Widow’ a instrumental jam that sounds like something from Ill Communication.


11.

Debby Friday

So Hard To Tell

I had copped this song two months ago but sometimes songs fall through the cracks between release and reaching your ears but the album from the Nigerian/ Canadian artist Debby Friday’s debut album Good Luck  was released last week so perfect time for inclusion. ‘So Hard To Tell’ was produced by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh. ‘So Hard To Tell’ has a magic alt R&B pop alchemy to it.


12.

Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble

The Boyne Water

A master of tradition and the contemporary fiddler Martin Hayes and his new band The Common Ensemble’s new album arrives with a poignancy to it. Hayes had made much from the creative well with his musical partner Dennis Cahill who died last June aged 68, and Dennis’ mother Peggy.

With this new band, featuring Hayes, Cormac McCarthy (piano), Kate Ellis (cello), Kyle Sanna (guitar) and Brian Donnellan (bouzouki / harmonium / concertina), marks a new chapter in his work, that can’t ignore the immediate past creatively and personally.

Peggy’s Dream is dedicated to Dennis and his mother Peggy, and there are songs here, like ‘The Boyne Water’, that undoubtedly are indebted to The Gloaming supergroup that the pair were central to, creating both a duality of sadness and recognition that they will never play together again.

Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble play Dublin’s Vicar St on October 20th.


13.

Nabihah Iqbal

Sunflower

Ahead of the release of the London-based artist, DJ, lecturer and broadcaster Nabihah Iqbal’s new album Dreamer (Ninja Tune on April 28th), ‘Sunflower’ is a billowy synth track inspired by shoegaze music, and a William Blake poem “about those who die young and leave their art behind.”

The video was shot in South Africa by Luh’ra.

A genuinely interesting story behind the album: Iqbal’s studio was burgled in early 2020 and she lost all her work (I have to ask: why no backup?). Already with burnout and a broken hand, and with police looking for fingerprints in the studio, she got a call – her grandfather in Pakistan had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

The next day she went to Karachi, and the distance from the burglary, gave her a new perspective on music, which lead to a back to basics approach of returning to an acoustic guitar and a harmonium.

Nabihah  has recently collaborated with artist ZhangDing, been commissioned to compose music for the Turner Prize, collaborated with Wolfgang Tillmans as part of his Tate Modern exhibition and was recently involved in a group performance at the Barbican as part of its major Basquiat retrospective. She has also contributed to Serpentine’s recent book ‘140 Artists’ ideas for Planet Earth’ and has given guest lectures at the Royal College of Art. In 2022 Nabihah was announced as a guest director for England’s largest multi-arts festival, Brighton Festival.

Hear also: ‘This World Couldn’t See Us’ 


14.

Sabrina Bellaouel

Jah

The French-Algerian producer Sabrina Bellaouel’s debut album Al Hadr  arrived In March and displays a sound that moves between R&B, neo-soul, North African sounds and club dynamics.

I have featured some tracks before, and am loving this atmospheric trap club R&B song that you could hear the likes of Kelela in the vibe.


15.

Fever Ray

Even It Out

Swedish avant electronic provocateur Karin Dreijer released their first album in five years with Radical Romantics, and there’s a clear marker of the murkier things featured within on ‘Even It Out’ a track which features co-production by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (they also worked on the song ‘North’ on the record)

‘Even It Out’ is a clash of new wave, electro, synth pop and industrial textures with a video that takes influence from Susan Sontag and John Waters’ films specifically – Divine’s portrayal of Dawn Davenport in Waters’ cult classic Female Trouble.

It’s basically the audio equivalent of that scene in Tár when Lydia berates the small schoolchild for bullying her daughter, as it features the lyrics “This is for Zacharias / Who bullied my kid in high school / There’s no room for you / And we know where you live.”

See Also

It comes from a real life situation where Dreijer ended up moving her child to another school because the bullying wasn’t being addressed.

Dreijer told The Fader:

 “We were in meetings and meetings and meetings, talking about how to take care of this, how they were trying to solve this situation, but they never did. So it ended up that my kid had to change schools. That’s something I still feel very bad about. That’s something you feel as a parent: that you’re never doing enough.

“So this [song] is a bit like going back and trying to make things right,” they continued. “I think it’s so important to take back your self-respect when you have been wronged. It’s a very tricky thing: How do you overcome a situation like this? When will you ever feel okay about it? There has to be some punishment for a person who behaves like this, for a bully, and it didn’t really happen.”

The video also features cameos from Reznor and Ross.


16.

Tyler, The Creator

Sorry, Not Sorry

Tyler released an expanded version of last year’s Call Me If You Get Lost that adds 8 tracks to the album, along with features form Vince Staples, YG and A$AP Rocky.

‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ is Tyler in apologetic reflective mode to family, friends and those he was messing with romantically as he was figuring out his sexuality – “Sorry to the guys I had to hide / Sorry to the girls I had to lie to / Who ain’t need to know if I was by the lake switchin’ tides, too.”

He then flips it and gets defensive and dismissive at pretty much everyone, his fans (“Sorry to the fans who say I changed / ’cause I did
Sorry you don’t know me on a personal level to pinpoint what it is), people he’s just met, the Earth (“These cars ain’t gonna buy and drive themselves”), it’s a fun switch.


17.

Overmono

Good Lies

Norwegian act Smerz provide the Aluna-sounding vocals on the new one from Overmono.

‘Good Lies’ is a softer two-step-pop sound for the duo known for big clanking future beats, with euphoria spilling out of its production.

The brothers’ debut full-length Good Lies is out Friday May 12th on XL Recordings.

“Good Lies was the first track we wrote that we knew was going to be part of the album. The range of influences we were feeling at the time, the type of sounds we were messing around with in the studio – it felt like the type of track that brought together everything we wanted the album to be in our heads. It was actually in demo form the whole time we were working on the rest of the music and It was only once we had the other tracks, that we knew how to finish it…actually, on the morning we had to master the album”

Previous Overmono features on Nialler9.


18.

TXPE_EATER, Curtisy

Italia90

Part of a double-single with ‘Memphis Tea’ which features Uly, TXPE_EATER and rapper Curtisy team up on the glistening vapourwave beat of ‘Italia90’ from the pair’s short recent EP BLCKMGC*.


19.

Léa Sen

Luv Him (About U)

Joy Orbison collaborator Léa Sen has shown some significant adeptness in creating intimately-spun ASMR songwriting as heard on last year’s ‘I Like Dis’.

‘Luv Him (About U)’ is a brittle beauty from a forthcoming You Of Now, Pt. 2 EP is out 21st April on Partisan Records, from the London-based Parisian.

“Love songs are not my favourite thing to write to be honest with you. This one is not exactly your typical love song tho, I hope you don’t relate lol cuz that’s sad”


20.

Adi Oasis

Get It Got It

In what is possibly a first for me, I heard Adi Oasis’ ‘Get It Got It’ from aggressively autoplayed ads on Youtube. I can’t count the number of times I played a video on the platform and a video short of New York French-Caribbean artist playing the bass along to this song or a clip of young children singing along to the bridge from this song autoplayed. It worked and lead me to check out the soulful album Lotus Glow it came from.



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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