- 13 Sep 23
From alt-rock queens and sonic cathedral builders to hellfire punk preachers and old skool soul groovers, there’s an embarrassment of Irish musical riches to be had this month.
The mischievously monikered Meryl Streek follows up his excellent 796 album with the equally impressive ‘If This Is Life’, a modern punk anthem that’s as scabrously scathing as it is melodic with Big Country-style rifferama towards the end.
“It’s written about the current state of Ireland and how the housing crisis is affecting families across the country on a massive scale,” offers Streek who’s accompanied on the track by long-term collaborator Molly Vulpyne. “The ban has been lifted and landlords are evicting families onto the streets once again, with 11,754 people living in emergency accommodation at the start of this year and no sign of it getting any better.”
On tour recently with Kneecap – kindred spirits if ever there were – the Dublin producer is signed to “genre fluid” London label Venn Records and is also going to be special guesting in the UK with PIL.
Around since 2018 but only now reaching the point of critical mass, Dublin psych-noise rockers Sun Mahshene – I’d love to hear Liam Gallagher say their name! – have just released their new single, ‘Reverie'. We thought it sounded a bit Ride-esque and then clocked that it’s been mastered by none other than Mark Gardener in his OX4Sound studio. While, yep, they can be filed under shoegaze, the six-piece also bring lots of their own to the party as anyone who caught ‘em at Electric Picnic will attest to. The even better news is that there’s an album primed and ready to explode before Christmas.
Lovers of woozily narcotic guitars should also check out ‘s l o w l y, l o n g’, the new 45 from Belfast sonic cathedral builders Virgins which sounds absolutely ginormous. Singer Rebecca Dow is a star, but that name of theirs could get you into trouble if you Google it on a work computer...
Out on September 8 is A Litany Of Failures: Volume IV, the latest in a series of compilations showcasing Irish acts that are worthy of your immediate attention. Available along with its predecessors from litanyoffailures.bandcamp.com, the tasty 2 x vinyl collection includes Naoise Roo, Junior Brother, Myles Manley, icebear, K I T C H E N, Mantua, This Ship Argo and Licehead among its bumper twenty-one cuts.
Slowly gaining a toehold on London’s always bustling indie scene are Fizzy Orange, a Dublin six-piece whose ‘Busy By The Bay’ single is a summery soul delight redolent of ‘60s Van The Man. Coming hard on the heels of ‘Surf’ and ‘Rise And Shine’, it marks them out as serious ones to watch.
Playing at Electric Picnic as part of the Three City Stages Collective, Waterford quintet 2Time Charlie are causing quite the Suirside stir with their old skool soul grooves which are deployed to great effect on new single, ‘Movin’ On’. Following on from the equally funky ‘Levitate’, it sounds a bit like Jamiroquai without the Jay Kay annoyance factor and an even more impressive falsetto.
Big Sleep slow it down deliciously on ‘All Of The Pretty Things’, which is equal parts JJ Cale, Richard Hawley and Pete Doherty at his most melancholic. Also doing their thing not once but twice at Electric Picnic, it was recorded in Hellfire Studios with Gypsies On The Autobahn and J Smith man Pete Maher who helms the EP of the same name. With Spotify, BBC 6Music, Amazing Radio and 2fm already championing them, these are exciting times for the Dubliners.
The same can be said of James Keegan, the singer of immensely powerful love songs that would segue perfectly between Lewis Capaldi and Ed Sheeran on the radio. Like fellow Leesider Cian Ducrot, there’s a gravelly quality to new single ‘Love Grows Easily’, which suggests a life fully lived.
From Kilkenny come The Donnys, a raucous rhythm ‘n’ booze five-piece who also received a late call to join the Picnic bill in Stradbally and aquited themselves admirably. Ranging in age from 16 to 19 – damn them and their youth! – these guys can really play with new single ‘Back And Forth’ redolent of The Strypes, Dr Feelgood and early ‘60s Rolling Stones. It’s high octane stuff which has already caught the ear of KCLR96fm locally and earned them supports with The Undertones, The Stunning and Marble City heroes Kerbdog.
Meanwhile, 2fm, Today FM, Spin, Spotify and BBC Radio 1Xtra are flying the flag for Melina Malone, the Irish-Greek singer of super-slick R’n’B tunes. Just out is ‘Naive’, a radio-friendly (hint, hint) taster from her debut Aphrodite album, which will be with us on October 6.
Read the full Student Special in the current issue of Hot Press – out now: