- 13 Jul 21
Joy Crookes, Cherym, Strange Boy and Xona lead the charge on the new Irish music front this month... Words: Stuart Clark & Lucy O’toole
‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ finds Joy Crookes combining that most contemporary of themes; cancel culture with a classic jazzy R’nB sound redolent of Amy Winehouse in her prime.
It’s the first new music in over a year from the young singer who has an Irish dad and a Bangladeshi mum, and topped the very first BBC Asian Chart.
Signed internationally to Sony, she appeared on Later… With Jools Holland with Dublin rapper Jafaris and but for Covid would have opened for Harry Styles last summer at his big London O2 gig.
With U2, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Depeche Mode producer Mark ‘Spike’ Stent sprinkling audio fairy dust on the tune expect copious amounts of daytime airplay. And, yes, that includes you 2fm!
Those “three basic bitches from Derry” – their description, not ours! – Cherym are back with their poppiest and punkiest offering yet, ‘Listening To My Head’.
Freshly signed to hyper-cool English independent Alcopop! Records, Hannah, Nyree and Alannagh also make a mean video, with Netflix’s Dirty John? getting the parody treatment in their latest clip.
Having previously collaborated with Denise Chaila, Moya Brennan also lends her ethereal tones to ‘Beginnings’, one of the standouts from the debut Strange Boy album, HOLY / UNHOLY, which is the rowdiest thing to be recorded in Kilfenora, Co. Clare in decades.
While his themes couldn’t be any more modern, the Limerick rapper has always had a grá for trad instrumentation and certainly makes excellent use of Moya’s talents.
The album is being released by Welcome To The New World, the Berlin imprint that’s also home to HOLY / UNHOLY producer Enda Gallery, Tolu Makay and Willzee.
Another of their recent signings, Xona, debuts with ‘When You’re Not Around’, which the newcomer readily admits was influenced by The Weeknd.
Born in Lagos, the future singer, writer and producer moved to Ireland when he was ten and has two degrees in jazz and popular music.
Also possessing a strong visual sense, he might just be the first Irish R&B-er to gain international traction.
If you like your pop to be of the woozily narcotic persuasion look no further than ‘Let Go’, the latest hook-up between Kilkenny musician and visual artist Paul Mahon and Hot Press favourite Farah Elle.
Currently operating as Tanoki, the former Geppetto man has its parent album, File New, ready to go.
Ruby Ivy ups the ante with ‘Made To Be Yours’, an irresistible slice of summery R&B, which has already caught the ear of Today FM’s Ed Smith.
The Cork singer, who scored Hot Press Track Of The Day with previous single ‘Fault Line’, studied at BIMM Dublin before relocating to London where she’s starting to make industry waves.
Rachel Mae Hannon impresses again with ‘Alright’, a super-chilled pop tune, which she got to perform last year in the Grand Social as part of her US Embassy Sessions set.
Produced by 1000 Beasts, it’s already led to the Monaghan singer picking up iRadio, 98FM, LMFM, WLR FM and BBC Sounds plays.
Spotify are all over the new Maria Kelly single, ‘eight hours’, which has notched up Modern Eclectic, Morning Coffee, Easy, Fresh Folk, Summer Acoustic, Today’s Singer-Songwriters, A Breath Of Fresh Eiré, Folk Arc and New Music Friday playlist inclusions.
Perfect for segueing between Lisa Hannigan and Liz Phair, it’s another tune worthy (hint-hint) of copious amounts of radio airplay.
Also flying the roots flag is Dani Larkin whose Notes For A Maiden Warrior debut was rightly hailed by our woman Tanis Smither as “one of the most exciting folk albums this year.”
RTÉ Radio One, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Tower Records and the Irish Arts Center in New York are among those agreeing with her.
The last on the list hosted Dani’s excellent livestream launch gig, which is available for YouTube and Facebook catch-up.
If we get a summer festival season, she’s likely to be one of the new artists lighting it up.
It’s been eight years in the making but new taster ‘Freedom’ suggests that Cat Dowling’s second album, due in the autumn, is going to be a belter.
The summer vibes are all of the positive variety on ‘Love Tattoo’, the latest from yet another BIMM graduate, Ger, which includes the killer line: “Dance to Dua until we hallucinate.”
“I’ll be honest,” the 22-year-old Lessider confides, “I recorded the idea for the song at 4am, drunk in a bathroom at a party with my friends.”
Underpinned by some gorgeous synth melodies, it’s one of five Top 10 Irish iTunes Chart hits Ger has scored, and explains why Jessie J praised him online for his six octave vocal range.
After signing to Rough Trade’s lauded folk imprint River Lea last year, John Francis Flynn is gearing up for the imminent release of his debut album, I Would Not Live Always – which has already been subject to rave reviews in the UK.
The Dublin singer and multi-instrumentalist – tipped as one of our ‘Hot For 2020’ acts – is the latest homegrown artist to make a serious splash across the Irish Sea with a River Lea release, following stunning projects by Ye Vagabonds and Lisa O’Neill.
Although this is his first solo album, John has already marked himself as a key player in Ireland’s folk revolution. A founding member of Skipper’s Alley, and an acclaimed session musician, he appeared on Ye Vagabonds’ The Hare’s Lament and Lankum’s Between The Earth And Sky.
Following her appearance on the Hot Press Y&E Series back in May, Zeinab is back with a new collaborative single – joining forces with Carlow-based producer Hawk Jupiter on ‘Oasis’.
Bursting with bright, summertime energy, the track cements Zeinab’s reputation as a remarkable emerging force in Irish R&B, ahead of the release of her upcoming EP in September.
The Dublin-born singer-songwriter, who is of part Sudanese heritage, previously won the Glen Hansard Bursary for her song ‘Dream Come True’, and has showcased her captivating charisma as a presenter on Christmas FM.
‘Oasis’ is the fourth release in less than a year from Hawk Jupiter (aka Eoin Mulvihill). As well as picking up airplay across the country, the video for his previous release, ‘Intoxicating Seas’, was featured on Discover
Ireland’s YouTube channel, alongside some epic aerial footage.
As if the release of his eagerly anticipated fifth studio album, Grapefruit Season, isn’t keeping him busy enough, James Vincent McMorrow is continuing to expand his musical horizons with a new collaborative project,
Co-Living Culture, alongside David Anthony Curley (Otherkin) and Cody Lee.
Their first single, ‘Renegador’, released on Faction Music Group’s new imprint Lost Decay, is an ode to dance culture and Dublin, while also highlighting the housing crisis and the destruction of venues in the capital. Combining a socially conscious stance with an unapologetically joyful sound, ‘Renegador’ already sounds like the unofficial anthem of 2021’s ‘outdoor summer’...