- 01 Apr 21
Revisit Seán Murphy's stunning multi-instrumental set on the Y&E Series below – supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
After a year of unprecedented turmoil, Cork-born, Dublin-based singer-songwriter Seán Murphy (a finalist in multiple categories in this year's International Songwriting Competition) has crafted a captivatingly raw and emotive response to 2020's volatile reality, in the form of his debut album, The Dark Below & The Isle Of Dogs. Slated to be released under the moniker All The Queen's Horses, the full 14-track project brings together the darkest elements of folktronica and rock, and is expected in September 2021.
Performing alongside backing vocalist Sinéad Murphy, two 'maestro-cellists' and a musician covering drums and electronic beats; Séan himself was focused on creating the ideal atmosphere to portray the meaning behind his haunting tracks from behind the piano. Describing his experience of moving to London 12 months ago with no intention of creating music, he remarked that he decided to create an album after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and became a new father along the way. It sounds fairly productive, if you ask us...
Seán gives his livestream listeners riveting performances of unreleased tracks and recent singles 'The Ides of March' and 'Raised by Wolves', featuring his trademark melancholic vocals, darkly poetic lyrics and biblical-infused imagery. 'The Ides of March' was penned as an allegory for a tense, argumentative relationship - referencing a day in Roman history where death scores were settled. 'While the Angels Sang to Notre Dame' centres around abdicated responsibilities, with beautifully haunting words shrouded by the poignant piano chords that enchant the listener with every note.
'Raised by Wolves' showcases the singer-songwriter's raw vocal prowess, which no other instrument can overshadow. 'Jocelyn', imaginatively written about a figurative woman who ventures to New York only to be disappointed and unsuccessful, serves as a template for Murphy's seemingly endless artistic talents.
Murphy's brand of emotive, guttural folktronica has a cinematic life of its own, touching on themes of death, debauchery, religion, sex, unease, resilience, drugs and resilience in its retelling of 2020. If we can learn anything from Seán's unique livestream performance, it's that The Dark Below & The Isle Of Dogs will surely be something special. The countdown to September begins...
Watch All The Queen's Horses's performance on the Y&E Series below:
Take a look at our spectacular upcoming line-up for the new edition of the Y&E Series – supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media – going live on the Hot Press Instagram (@hotpressmagazine) every night at 7.30pm:
Friday, April 2: LUCY GAFFNEY
Described as "celestial" by Liam Gallagher, Lucy Gaffney has emerged as one of the country's most promising indie-pop prospects. Formerly one half of the acclaimed alt-rock sibling duo MMODE, the Belfast-raised, Liverpool-based artist has powerfully showcased her lushly textured dream-pop sound across her solo singles 'Can't Escape', 'Send Me Away' and 'Star Sign Lover'.
Saturday, April 3: THE FLORENTINAS
A young alternative band from Bangor, Northern Ireland, The Florentinas recently joined forces with Gary Lightbody’s artist development company, Third Bar. They also signed a major publishing deal with BMG, only 16 months after forming. Now, they’re getting ready to take on the world...
Sunday, April 4: WENDY GODFREY
Following previous excursions into R&B and Afrobeat, Drogheda artist Wendy Godfrey took her first steps towards global pop stardom in 2020, with the release of her debut EP, Purple Emotions, produced by Solow The Astronaut. Drawing inspiration from old school jams, as well as modern pop powerhouses like Beyoncé, 2021 is set to be another landmark year for Wendy.
Monday, April 5: N.O.A.H.
Comprised of three lifelong friends, N.O.A.H. released their irresistible debut single 'Shine' in September, which was met with serious acclaim and nationwide radio play – followed by a live performance on Laura Whitmore's BBC Radio 5 Live show. The trio teamed up with Booka Brass for their latest single, 'Darkest Hour', released earlier this year.
Tuesday, April 6: REUBEN HESTER
Enniscorthy-raised singer-songwriter Rueben Hester is on the cusp of international stardom – after signing to Echoism Records and the release his debut single, 'Sold My Soul' on March 19. Formerly known as China Lane, he was one of the breakout stars of BBC One's Little Mix: The Search, and has already built up a reputation as a spectacular electro-pop talent.
Wednesday, April 7: BROOKE
Initially rising to prominence as a finalist on The Voice UK, Northern Irish singer-songwriter Brooke has been tipped for stardom, following the release of her debut single ‘Attention’ in 2020, a recent remix of the track by London-based DJ and producer Movada. The track debuted on BBC Introducing, as well as being featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday and New Pop UK Playlists.
Thursday, April 8: PASTICHE
One of the most exciting Irish pop acts of recent memory, 22-year-old Pastiche has crafted a sound packed with attitude and empowerment. Combining elements of electronic and dark pop, the Dublin singer-songwriter released her latest single, 'Heaven', earlier this year – establishing her as a serious force to be reckoned with on the Irish scene.
Friday, April 9: CHRISTIAN WETHERED
Drawing influence from the legendary likes of Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed, Dublin-based singer-songwriter Christian Wethered is poised for major success on these shores and beyond, with the release of his debut album, Mon Petit Jardin, later his year. His debut poetry book, I Don't Love You, was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Prize in 2018 – and this passion for poetry continues to inform his stunning singles.
Saturday, April 10: NEWDAD
Galway alt-rock quartet NewDad have already picked up lots of attention in the UK – and it's clear why. The hypnotic likes of ‘Blue’ and ‘Cry’ made for a compelling introduction, while ‘I Don’t Recognise You’ and 'Slowly' cemented their buzz-worthy status. With Jack Saunders and Steve Lamacq as fans, they could well be on their way. Their debut EP, Waves, is out this Friday.
Sunday, April 11: BOBBI ARLO
Arriving on the Irish scene with a powerful, arena-ready pop sound and indisputable star quality, 22-year-old Dubliner Bobbi Arlo is tipped for mega success. Bobbi's 2019 debut single ‘Berries’ was a radio smash hit – and following the release of two equally remarkable singles, 'Signs' and 'Breathe', she returned earlier this year with her acclaimed feel-good anthem, 'Feel It'.
Monday, April 12: BABYLAMB
Specialising in high-energy, dancefloor-friendly bubblegum pop, Babylamb are primed to go supernova over the next 12 months. The quartet of self-described "sad, fresh-faced queers" first announced their arrival as a captivating new presence in Irish music with their debut single 'Bodyright' in 2019 – followed by 2020's 'Icky', and their explosive synth-pop anthem 'Mister Magic' earlier this year.
Tuesday, April 13: THE ZEN ARCADE
Rising from the ashes of The Strypes, three former members of the Cavan crew have joined forces once again – with a new emphasis on doing things their own way. Having launched their own zine and podcast series, The Zen Arcade announced themselves as a very serious, smart new force in Irish music with the release of their debut, ‘Don’t Say A Word’, on their own label, Dental Records.
Wednesday, April 14: FINTAN MCKAHEY
A lo-fi indie singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Cork, Fintan McKahey has been releasing music since 2016, and playing support slots for the likes of The Scratch, Junior Brother and Róisín O. His debut EP God Games was released in 2019 to widespread critical acclaim, followed by his 2020 single 'Platinum' – which has clocked up nearly 135,000 streams on Spotify alone.