- 01 Sep 23
Check out our favourites of the week below!
Maija Sofia, ‘Saint Sebastian’
Maija Sofia is a songwriter and artist from the rural west of Ireland, working between the overlapping worlds of music, performance and text. Today, the artist releases her sophmore album, True Love, and along with it comes a bounty of exceptional tracks. 'Saint Sebastian' is one which has captured the hearts of the team at Hot Press HQ.
The dream-like track features beyond beautiful harp, eery synth, powerful selective drum beats, and, of course, Maija's incredible folk-indie vocals.
Announcing the album back in June, the artist shared: "these songs have been with me for a while and I’m so pleased to be able to begin letting them live in the world at last. The time spent making this music was a transformative mystical experience. 10 songs about exorcisms, unknown worlds, manic devotions and various deformations of love."
The Mary Wallopers, ‘The Blarney Stone’
Just before they bring their wild act to the fields of Electric Picnic, The Mary Wallopers have released their new single, their own verison of 'The Blarney Stone'. The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Irish Rock N Roll, which is due out on October 13. Additionally, the band have announced an Irish tour - accompanying this forthcoming album.
'The Blarney Stone' is an upbeat, Irish trad anthem. A mythical piece of Irish history, 'The Blarney Stone' is said to bestow the gift of the gab on anyone who kisses it. Long since the subject of Irish song and myth, The Mary Wallopers’ full throttle version of the traditional folk song made famous by singers like Tom Lenihan and Margaret Barry brings the legend to the music halls and festival stages of the 21st century.
Speaking about the track, the group said: “The Blarney Stone is a famous monument in Ireland. It’s said if you kiss it you get the gift of the gab. More business minded Irish people over the years have made their own blarney stones charging unsuspecting tourists for a kiss, this is their story.”
1000 Beasts x Tomike, ‘Cherry Delight’
Prolific Cork producer 1000 Beasts has finally collaborated with the Dublin-based singer Tomike, and we couldn’t be happier. With previous collaborations under his belt including the likes of Arthur Valentine, April and Orla Gartland, 1000 Beats has made a name for himself as one of the most exciting producers to come out of Ireland in a long time. Similarly, Tomike is no newcomer to the Irish music scene, her jazzy, neo-soul sound gaining international recognition since her debut in 2019. The collaboration between the two Irish artists could not have come any sooner, as 1000 Beasts elevates Tomike’s dreamy, delicious vocals to new heights in ‘Cherry Delight’.
Bobbi Arlo, ‘Ode To Ü’
Back with her second release of 2023, Bobbi Arlo brings forth her epic dance single 'Ode to Ü'. Dripping in nightclub ready vibes, the piece is made exceptional, of course, by the incredible, ethereal-as-ever vocal from the artist. Despite the dance theme running through the track, the lyrical content is still nothing short of fantastic, which you don't usually see in this style of track. A cacophony of '90s inspired techno beats fuel the base of the track, with epic synth beats decorating the track in dribs and drabs.
Whatever incredible trip Arlo is on, we're glad she's bringing listeners with her, and we want more of it!!
Gaff X Alex Gough, ‘Feeling’
Rapper GAFF returns with his cracking new track ‘Feeling’, which along with a catchy melody, has an essential feature from Waterford native Alex Gough. A soulful track that mixes elements of rap and R&B, it’s fresh and summery as the duo take turns ‘chasing that feeling’. Melodic lines about navigating a relationship layer over a thumping beat and pleasing bass make a track in which both GAFF and Alex Gough elevate the other to new heights.
Odd Numbers X FYNCH, ‘Uncut Gems’
A captivating track from Cavan-based producer Odd Numbers, featuring one of Dublin’s rapidly rising Hip-Hop artists, FYNCH, 'Uncut Gems' is a testament to simplicity and the uninhibited joys of childhood, blending a Jazz-Hop and Neo-Soul soundscape reminiscent of the iconic J Dilla.
FYNCH’s laid-back delivery paired with delightful character, beautifully adds to Odd Numbers' killer groove and driving drums. A part of Odd Numbers' forthcoming EP Colours, 'Uncut Gems' brings a deeper view of the artist's exploration into Jazz-Hop and Neo-Soul. Skillful lyrics and further talent in bringing a vision to life are the real key players on this track.
Reflecting on the creation of the track, Odd Numbers shares: "'Uncut Gems' was a remote collaboration between myself and FYNCH. I had just finished the Dilla Time book, which chronicles the life of J Dilla and his monumental influence on the music industry. I was feeling super inspired and tried emulating some of his production techniques. This beat was one of many that came out of that session, and I immediately heard FYNCH on it. We never got to hit the studio together for this one, but he completely understood the assignment."
FYNCH added: "This track is an ode to the basics — childhood wonderment and blissful ignorance to the state of the world. It was written with an underlying desire to return to a time when all I cared about was playing Smackdown Vs. Raw when I got home from school. There’s acceptance of the fact that a simplistic life isn’t in the offing, but we can all dream for a few minutes, can’t we? We still do play the odd game of World Cup though, which is nice."
Galway’s alt-folk queen Reylta returns with a rich, complex track, complete with soaring strings and boundless vocals dripping with emotion. The fifth single off her upcoming debut Everything Unsaved Will Be Lost, a record she describes as a “macabre lullaby”, ‘Holy’ truly showcases her songwriting abilites. She channels a bit of Hozier as she waxes poetic about sex and anxiety about being the dominant partner in a relationship: “And I’m sure I’m bittering his sweetness.” Critical to Reylta’s sound is accompaniment by an eight-piece band, one she’s been playing with since 2017, and it delivers the finishing touches on this track contributing to its shimmering folk-pop vibe.
Reevah, ‘Time To Breath (Midnight Remix)’
Derry’s Reevah is back and armed with a new remix of her track ‘Time To Breathe’, naming it as the ‘Midnight Remix’. Created by Stephen Doherty of Scension and Riot Code, the remix breathes (haha) new life into the track, reimagining it with a different vibe altogether. It builds off of the original’s emotional core and creates a glimmering sonic landscape that manages to enhance the track’s message of being sure to cherish time spent with loved ones while you still can. Reevah is set to play a series of headline shows around Ireland in the run-up to the release of her upcoming album Daylight Savings, out on 6th October, an achievement that she wholeheartedly deserves.
Crying Loser, ‘Wet Grip’
With the release of their EP, Oaf Milk, Crying Loser have brought forth a slew of new tracks - including 'Wet Grip'. The experimental-punk track mixes shouty vocals with intense guitar and powerful drums. A build up of instrumentalism leads to a crescendo of manic sounds, oddly completely complimenting each other. The track makes you want to move! In fact, listening to the entire EP brings you back to teen years, wanting to thrash around and headband where-ever possible. Get us into a mosh pit with this track ASAP!
Annika Kilkenny, ‘Look Mom I Made It’
Kilkenny has produced its newest singer-songwriter, who wears her hometown proudly on her sleeve- and in her name. Annika Kilkenny’s debut indie track ‘Look Mom I Made It’ channels influences of supporters Laufey and Matt Maltese, as she sings about change and self-growth. She’s undoubtedly got lots up the road, and this week’s single is a great start to what is shaping up to be a solid career.
She described writing her debut single as “as a way of leaving what’s passed behind me whilst also being content with that. It’s a tribute to the moments that are more difficult than others and a farewell to the tunnel vision experienced during these times. It was really important to me to include my mum in the artwork because she really is my rock and always has been since I was little (love you too dad). This song is for her and every mum that loves largely. ‘Look Mom I Made It’ is a deep breath after chaos - and I hope it acts the same for its listener…”
Mick Flannery, ‘Young’
One of Ireland’s most prolific and hardworking songwriters, Mick Flannery released the third single from his forthcoming eighth studio album, Goodtime Charlie. Ahead of next week’s opening performance at the Cork festival Sounds from a Safe Harbour, the Blarney native has put out a richly strong track that combines Flannery’s powerful voice, layered instrumentation and impressive production to create its haunting sound.
Flannery shared his inspiration for it: “One of the ideas is that we don’t really have free will. You aren’t the author of your own thoughts. Also, I was taken by an interview of Tupac Shakur’s, which appears on a Kendrick Lamar album- to pick your fights when you’re young, when you have the energy.”
Walshy, ‘A note to all my friends, family and very few enemies’
Dublin artist Luke Walsh, known under the moniker Walshy, released his debut album few beers this weekend. A genre-defying collaborative effort, he combines elements of teenage indie, hip-hop and dream-pop to create a record that continues his distinctive sound. One of our favs, 'A note to all my friends, family, and very few enemies', a seldom-found solo track on the album, has released alongside the collection.
Drum and keys heavy, the track builds up a delightful base, with echoing vocals and recorded conversations propping up the backdrop. The artist's accent comes through with his exceptional vocal performance, bringing a lot of character to the track. The slow build throughout the track results in a fantastic ending, with added background vocals and different instruments building up the cacophony of beautiful sounds.
Scattered Ashes, ‘Homeowners’
Dublin band Scattered Ashes return with 'Homeowners', the group's most vulnerable offering yet. Dealing with adult themes of making difficult choices, losing out on love, and having to do the best thing for both parties, it's all wrapped up in a neat bow of - "it doesn't matter now we're homeowners."
The track is defined by a yearning vocal melody, ethereal guitar harmonics, and bounding rhythm.
Speaking of the new single, singer Rob says: "'Homeowners’ deals with the concept of ‘right person, wrong time.’ An unspoken romance between two people destined to ponder what could have been. Fate dealt a different hand, two individuals who are inextricably connected are now passing ships in the night. Tied up in the trappings of adulthood and family life they simply have too much to lose to ever act: ‘It doesn’t matter now we’re homeowners.'"
Ciara Lawless, ‘I Am Your Healer’
Florist by day and songwriter by night, 24-year-old Ciara Lawless has released her second single ahead of her debut record, set to release next May. ‘I Am Your Healer’ is a steady, alluring track that explores themes of healing and self-discovery, as she implores the listener to help themselves and “let the love in”. Lawless has a great voice, her warbling vocals floating above the track and delivering a long-lasting melody. “I am your healer/I am your goddess/your medicine woman/so why won’t you let me in?”
Ultan Conlon, ‘All Sewn Up’
Armed with a bobbing melody and his signature superb lyricism, Ultan Conlon’s newest tune is endearingly catchy, inviting the listener to bob their head to the clapping beat. The seasoned Galway songwriter is gearing up to release his fifth studio album later this month, with the whimsical title of The Starlight Ballroom. The record, which is produced by the acclaimed Los Angeles-based David Garza, is highly anticipated by those familiar with his work, and Conlon is celebrating the release with a series of live performances around Ireland. ‘All Sewn Up’ is sure to be a crowd pleaser, filled to the brim with charming vocals and hip-swaying instrumentals.
One Morning in August, ‘Those Days’ feat. Oliver Cole
Southeasterner's One Morning in August have paired up with Oliver Cole, lead singer/songwriter of Turn, to release the stunning offering 'Those Days'. Taken from the group's forthcoming album to be released later on in 2023, the track features Cole on electric guitar and bass as well as backing vocals and production.
A lament to the passing of time and people, the track has been releasd in honour of both One Morning in August's John Phelan's dad and Oliver's father who both died in the past few months. Featuring incredibly beautiful lyrics, easy, paired back instrumentalism, and dreamy vocals - the track is a perfect tribute to the two men, in the most emotional way.
Owen Alfred, ‘Whine’
Half of a double single drop, Owen Alfred’s ‘Whine’ is an electronic, catchy tune that’s sure to get your hips moving. A reggaeton dancehall tune that showcases the Limerick singer-songwriter’s Nigerian roots, it follows the narrator as he finds a love interest in a mysterious individual within a crowded club. It’s infectious and unique and proves Alfred’s musical versatility. The track, alongside sister single ‘Flowers For Your Grave’, is taken from his forthcoming third studio album The Chronicles of Niko PT3: The Final Chapter, the last in his ‘Chronicles of Niko’ series. From what has been released so far it will be a fitting end to the project, and we’re eagerly looking forward to its release later this year.
Rhoshi, ‘COLISIÓN’ feat. VATICANJAIL
He’s unique, he’s chaotic, he’s ambitious– he’s Rhoshi. The Dublin producer dropped his highly anticipated debut album IMAGE this week, the culmination of a two-year-long project. One of Ireland’s most exciting producers, Rhoshi has cemented his sound as a unique blend of electronic, ambient and cinematic influences. This release is his first solo venture in two years, and the featured track ‘COLISIÓN’ is an ambitious, epic rollercoaster of a tune. It features longtime collaborator VATICANJAIL’s ethereal vocals, with a massive soundscape that hits all the right spots.
The Boofs, ‘Part of Me’
‘Part of Me’, the latest song from Waterford indie band The Boofs, is a fast-paced number with glam-rock lead guitar over an instead folky-rhythm. Lyrically, the track deals with the inner conflict brought upon by toxic relationships. Formed in 2020, The Boofs quickly built somewhat of a cult following.
Upon releasing their warmly received self-titled debut ep in June of this year, The Boofs completed their headline “Shabby Alonso Tour" of Ireland in August, playing to jam packed venues in Galway, Limerick, Cork, Belfast and Dublin's Whelan's.
Sun Mahshene, ‘Reverie’
Dublin alternative rock outfit Sun Mahshene’s latest offering ‘Reverie’ is a shimmering indie tune featuring shoegaze guitar lines and ambient synthscapes, with shades of The War on Drugs. Formed in 2018, the band have released a series of singles and EPs, culminating in the release of Space Echoes: The EPs on vinyl in 2022, which sold out in a single day.
Sun Mahshene will celebrate the release of 'Reverie' at a special show on 31 August at the Workman’s Club in the capital. Their upcoming debut LP, A Place We’ve never Been, is due early next year. "Reverie is a great taster for the album as it'll show people what we've been up to and where we are going next," said the band.
Dream Wav, ‘Around The House’
Dublin DIY musician Dream Wav’s new song ‘Around the house’ is an emotional and sombre lo-fi track, with unnerving guitars, a steady beat and heavy bass reflecting the artist’s isolation.
“The song is about loneliness and the effects of grief and the feeling of abandonment,” said Dream Wav. “Whether your parents weren’t there when you were a kid, or you lost friends along the way or someone close to you left; we all feel alone sometimes, or all the time. The lyrics of this song came so naturally. This song encapsulates my feelings of grief. For my cousin, summer and birthdays just aren’t the same. For my friends, I should have been someone better and I miss them everyday. And for my mum. We are so alike. You are beautiful and I love you.”
The 21-year-old KAR has only recently officially released music, but she’s already established a solid, distinct sound for herself. Releasing her first single ‘TIME’ in May, her sophomore single is a lush slice of pop, KAR delivering vocals as she sings about rejecting an ex wanting to reconcile. It’s relatable and empowering, with a solid production quality that elevates the song to new heights. With her new track, KAR has clearly levelled up, which only leaves excitement for what will come next from the Cork artist. “I locked the door and lost the key/You’ll find your ecstasy but it won’t be me”.
Woodsmen, ‘Listen To Me Now’
Dublin-based folk-rock group Woodsmen have released their debut single ‘Listen To Me Now’ this week. Emulating the folk-rock excellence of the late 60s and early 70s, the track layers both electronic and acoustic instrumentation and wavers between genres: rock, folk, and even some elements of country make up their sound, one that Woodsmen have managed to feel out for themselves already. They wrote the track about “the rise of drug use amongst the youth in Ireland,” valiantly imploring listeners to reconsider their choices through soaring harmonies and fiery guitar riffs.
“Listen to me now/make yourself proud/come down from your high/before we’re left to cry”
Listen to the playlist in full below!