- 18 Apr 22
From close harmony things of beauty and super-sultry R'n'B to ass-kicking post-punk and alt-folk gorgeousness, it's another very good month for Irish music!
Delorentos man Kieran McGuinness and Republic Of Loose/Stars On Fire singer Emily Aylmer join forces under the Driven Snow banner for the release of ‘Trying’.
Bonding over a shared love of Neil Young, Beach House, Cat Power, Scandi Noir and fireside beers, they decamped with children, grandparents and all to Tommy McLaughlin’s Attica Studios in Donegal where their musical sketches became the fleshed out, close harmony things of beauty they’re now sharing with us.
FYA FOX ups the ante with ‘Hit Me Where It Hurts’, her new single which is all pulsating synths, lingering basslines and super-sultry R’n’B vocals.
The tune is the result of a Zoom session with Richey McCourt, a Dublin songwriter who’s previously worked with the likes of Will Young, Pixie Lott, Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson, and is part of the Swedish DH MGMT publishing stable.
FYA has also been hosting the Zampas Live Presents New Breed Sessions, which take place every Wednesday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Temple Bar from 7pm and do exactly what they say they do on the tin!
Galway four-piece The Clockworks released their self-titled debut EP on April 1 – no, really! – and cracking stuff it is too.
“We’re post-punk / Post-truth / Post-Europe / Post-youth / Post-modern / Post-faith and God / and Post-post too…” singer James McGregor intones on lead cut, ‘Endgame’, which explains why Alan McGee has signed them to his re-booted It’s Creation Baby label.
Due in Dublin on May 10 for a Grand Social headliner, there’s a Pistols-meets-Joy Division vibe about their music, which should appeal to all IDLES, Fontaines D.C. and Murder Capital fans.
April 1 was also D-Day for See No Evil, the album poet Stephen James Smith recorded during and in between lockdowns in Gavin Glass’ Orphan Recording Studios in Wexford.
Released by independent UK label Nymphs & Thugs, it features musical guest turns from the likes of Conor J. O’Brien, Jess Kav, Cormac Begley and Lemoncello’s Laura Quirke.
It’s a beguiling affair with Smith’s extremely dextrous wordplay to the fore.
Meanwhile, LYRA celebrated Paddy’s Day with the release of ‘Light Me Up’, her ‘Celtic beat’ contribution to Riverdance: The Animated Adventure.
Also featuring the vocal talents of Pierce Brosnan, John Kavanagh, Brendan Gleeson and Aisling Bea, the Netflix hit isn’t the first big sync deal she’s landed, with the West Cork singer’s music also featuring in Teen Wolf, Gray’s Anatomy, The X Factor and The Only Way Is Essex.
You sense that it’s only a matter of time before Ms. McNamara makes her international breakthrough!
“Who wants to be special anyway? Me, fucking me, I’m not ashamed…” is one of the very fine couplets to be found on ‘Delia Smith’, the lead track from Sprints’ A Modern Job EP.
Signed to UK independent Nice Swan Records whose roster also includes Prima Queen, Deadletter, English Teacher and The Rills, the Dublin quartet are fresh back from SXSW in Austin, Texas where serious post-punk ass was kicked.
Also returning victorious from SXSW are Melts whose ‘Waltzer’ single has us eagerly awaiting its parent album, Maelstrom, which drops on May 15.
Fighting the good fight since 2017, the Dublin psych rockers have been making steady progress on both sides of the Atlantic with Seattle’s legendary KEXP radio among their cheerleaders.
Columbia Mills tease their third album with the release of the Heart Of A Nation title-track.
From a mother sleeping with her kids in a Garda station to the opening of yet another bleedin’ hotel, it’s a damning indictment of the housing crisis here and a reminder of the darkly atmospheric noise Fiachra and Uisneagh Treacy and their three bandmates make.
Having garnered heaps of praise – and rightly so – with her Notes For A Maiden Warrior debut, Dani Larkin teams up with the Ulster Orchestra on Between Worlds, a four-track EP of alt.folk gorgeousness.
The treatments really suit Larkin’s rich, expressive voice, which will be further exercised in May when she heads out on tour with Ye Vagabonds.
If it’s beguiling ambient pop you’re after, look no further than ‘16’, the new single from Constance Keane, AKA Fears, whose debut Oíche album was one of 2021’s under the radar delights.
The Enya-esque track is dedicated to her performer and trans activist friend, Sophie Gwen Williams, who passed away recently shortly after her cello parts on it were recorded.
2fm’s Stephen Byrne and BBC Radio One’s Gemma Bradley are among those lavishing love on ‘Somebody Else’, the latest single from 23-year-old Roscommon indie-popper Arlene.
A native of Ballintubber, you can catch her live on June 4 at K-Fest in Killorglin and on September 25 at Night & Day in Clonalis House in Castlerea. See the Summer Festival Guide in the new issue of Hot Press for full details!