- 23 Sep 23
Check out the full playlist below!
Celaviedmai, ‘Cool Ya Temper’
Galway star Celaviedmai is entering her newest era ahead of her upcoming EP, which is due to release later this year. ‘Cool Ya Temper’ is a blistering track, complete with her excellent flow and infectious beat that sticks. She created her unique sound by combining elements of electronic, dance and afro-fusion, and has seen some major successes since her debut including performances at some of Europe’s biggest festivals this summer. It’s clear– she can only get bigger.
Due to support shoegaze legends Slowdive at their Belfast and Dublin shows later this year, Gurriers is on the up and up. They released their explosive new track ‘Nausea’ this week, and if it’s a rock song meant to get listeners fired up, it succeeds. It’s gritty, grungy and great– a searing critique of modern capitalism and technology.
“'Nausea' is a ruminating thought on the evolution of modern jobs such as content moderation created as a result of social media and the internet. It examines the impact these kinds of jobs can have on those in that line of work and the potential harm it causes to their mental health.”
Rachael Lavelle, ‘Big Dreams’
Dublin’s Rachael Lavelle has announced the release of her debut album Big Dreams, alongside its title track this week. An inner monologue of a free-floating millennial, the track is a gorgeous piano ballad complete with Lavelle’s emotive vocals and the voice of the Luas contemplating what it means to be alive.
“Big Dreams is an existential ballad; a meditation on love, expectations, failure and the passing of time. When I wrote the melody, it was as if someone was dying. I was thinking about how, when you die, you experience a flashback of your life. I was inspired by this idea. That despite all the stress and attempts at success, to live is to be open to the possibilities of life and connection.”
Sorcha Richardson, ‘Map Of Manhattan’
The curtain is always peeled back with Sorcha Richardson, whose resonant, honest songwriting has garnered the Irish singer-songwriter a massive audience over a short few years. Her latest single ‘Map of Manhattan’ follows this pattern – the indie-pop track is an exploration of the complexities within relationships, delving into the anxieties and intense emotions that unfold over the course of a single night. What began as a demo recorded during a tour stop in New York found its way back to Richardson over the summer, in Belfast. “It was one of those songs that sort of appeared almost fully formed from the start," shares the Dublin-bred singer. The instrumentals are bare and atmospheric, with Richardson’s vocals dazed in tone, somewhat hopeless; evocative of how it feels to stand on the ledge of a cliff that is soon to crumble.
"It's about second guessing yourself, or someone else, in a relationship, and how the intensities and fears of that relationship play out over a single night. It's sort of about bracing for heartbreak, not because you think it's coming, but because it's the thing you fear the most,” says Richardson. With her newest release, the Irish talent once again takes specific moments and crafts their details into a narrative which traverses relatable emotional landscapes. Desires, doubt, confusion, love and the breaking of it are the themes Richardson uses her experiences with to pen tunes which lend a compassionate hand to her listeners. The single arrives as the singer-songwriter prepares to make her solo debut at the National Concert Hall on November 29, as part of her Irish & UK tour.
Lea Heart, ‘Stolen'
Lea Heart is back with yet another infectious single, her third yet this year. ‘Stolen’ is a movingly vulnerable track that delves deep into Heart’s personal life. We see a part of her that we haven’t seen before, to stunning effect– it’s cathartic and impressive, another track out of the singer-songwriter not to miss.
“One of the most important things to me when writing ‘Stolen’ was to create a song that described an experience that other people with similar stories could connect to. Through this shared experience, my hope is that other people will relate to the complex emotions and often unanswered questions that can arise under these circumstances and in turn feel less alone.”
Rachel Mae Hannon - 'INFINITY'
Hailing from Monaghan, Rachel Mae Hannon has captured listeners once again with her stunning new track 'INFINITY'. The soulful vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer has seemingly brought a heap of her talents to this track, with epic soul meeting perfect production. The depth of her lower range of vocals is captivating - it's very rare to see female singers showing that off today - but when she moves from low to her twinkling falsetto, there's glimmers of magic to be heard.
The Scratch, ‘Blaggard’
Anyone familiar with the Irish music scene should recognise The Scratch as one of the biggest names out of the island at the moment. With the vast success of their previous albums, they’ve signed with Sony Music to create their newest one, one that is sure to be bigger than ever before. ‘Blaggard’ is the second single off of the upcoming record Mind Yourself, and it’s hard-hitting and loud in the way some of the best songs are.
"We have been working on the idea of this song for a few years. It’s vastly different to anything we as a band have written before. We played it for the two James’s (James Vincent McMorrow – Producer and James Eager -Engineer) and their reaction gave us the confidence to go back into the studio and finish it. ‘Blaggard’ is aggressive, it’s bouncy, and the first of probably many a heavy banger to come in the future so get it right up ye."
Tebi Rex, Main Character
The County Kildare duo Tebi Rex had a big day on Friday – they announced a brand new four-track EP Sitcom alongside a series of new dates around the UK and Ireland, including a Grand Social gig in October. Their lead single ‘Main Character’ is a breath of fresh air, never taking itself too seriously while simultaneously being a solid piece of music. It cleverly pays homage to classic 90s sitcom tropes and throws out references to how the duo first met, and we only want more.
"We don't know if this is the best thing we've ever made. Whoever is kind enough to listen gets to make that call. It's definitely the funniest though. We laughed the whole time while making it. We hope you can do the same while listening."
John Gallen, ‘Miracle Without Shoes’
The lead single from Balbriggan native John Gallen’s upcoming second album has been released, and it’s an electrifying track that showcases his vast musical prowess. His debut record 1970s reaching No. 1 and No. 5 in the independent and official Irish Album Charts respectively, proving that Gallen is one of Ireland’s most promising upcoming artists. ‘Miracle Without Shoes’ takes on a unique direction, and is a glimpse into an upcoming album set to make an impact on the Irish music scene.
“Miracle without Shoes is my take on those I’ve known in life who struggle on a fine line between genius and breakdown, it’s a message that says ‘mind yourself’. I’ve taken a new route with the upcoming second record and look forward to sharing it far and wide on record and through live shows.”
David Holmes, ‘Necessary Genius’, feat. Raven Violet
Returning with his first solo album since 2008, David Holmes is a veritable legend amongst the production world. Having produced for Noel Gallagher and Primal Scream as well as being the go-to composer for acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh, he’s more than established himself in the music industry– but it’s his solo venture that is perhaps his most exciting work to date. ‘Necessary Genius’ is a call to arms suitable for the 21st century, as electronic pulses mesh with a psychedelic, dreamlike soundscape featuring vocals from frequent collaborator Raven Violet. His full record releases this November, and it’s sure to be one not to miss.
DJ/Producer duo Menerva return with a reimagining of R&B classic ‘Hate On Me’ from Jill Scott, adding a house beat and thrusting it into the modern music scene. Newly signed to Warner Music Ireland, the brotherly duo from Northern Ireland are gearing up for a long career both across Ireland and internationally, and it’s not hard to see why after listening to this track. It’s classic and modern, energetic and groovy.
Conchúr White, ‘I Did Good Today’
This January sees the release of Conchúr White’s debut album Swirling Violets, which will feature his latest offering ‘I Did Good Today’. It’s an ambient, dreamy tune that’s anchored by self-aware lyrics about the impossibility of wanting positive feedback while also wanting honesty. With this track, White clearly understands his sound and what he’s trying to achieve with it, and his album will likely follow suit.
“'I Did Good Today' is a song about craving validation but understanding that such approval can come at the expense of honesty or integrity. Musically I reference the likes of Midlake, Aldous Harding and Bleachers. The track was recorded in a Belfast church with producers Danny Morgan Ball and Kris Platt and mixed in London by Matt Wiggins.”
A self-defined “indie pop band put through a broken dishwasher,” Dublin-based CABL has shared the first single off of their upcoming EP, See You in a Year and a Half. With music that deals with very personal themes like addiction and mental illness, their sound is both loud and melodic, and their newest track is CABL set to 11.
Lead singer and bassist Ava Durran says about 'B.1.': “Lyrically, the song starts off as one big sentence from the verse to the chorus, narrating this idea of someone not quite being the person you thought they were. Like in the recurring line “I realise I’m dreaming of, another you”. This idea of dreaming up an image of a person is a common theme throughout the whole EP, it’s represented through a lot of surreal, dreamlike imagery and unsettling, ambient, harsh noise”.
ØXN, ‘Cruel Mother’
It’s baffling, it’s captivating, it’s ØXN. The experimental doom folk band from Dublin have released the second single ahead of their anticipated debut album CYRM, which is due to release via the legendary Claddagh Records next month. It’s a nine-and-a-half minute long traditional track, and in bringing it to the 21st century ØXN breathes new life into it.
“‘Cruel Mother’ is a traditional song, possibly originating from the mid-18th century, intended at the time as a cautionary tale. Women were considered criminals if they had illegitimate children; were considered demonic rather than suffering from mental illness or distress. It’s a song of persecution, abuse, infantilism and guilt based on the version by Andy the Doorbum.”
Offica, ‘Stick To The Plan’
Game-changing Irish rapper Offica, along with his collective A92, dropped another single ahead of his debut mixtape Hokage today, and it’s an energetic eruption of a track. Offica is known for blending both Irish and Yoruba slang and culture into his lyrics and sound, creating a unique representation of his identity through his music. ‘Stick To The Plan’ is peak Offica, sampling an Irish flute, combining it with a slapping afrobeat drumline.
Wild Youth, ‘All Again For You’
Last year’s Irish offering at Eurovision, Wild Youth has only collected even more momentum since then. Their latest track ‘All Again For You’ is their first since the contest, and it proves that they have a long future ahead of them. It’s an anthemic breakup song that is undoubtedly Irish, with coy references to Dublin spots and emotional line delivery from singer Conor O'Donohoe.
Síomha - 'Spéir Rua Reimagined'
The first single from Síomha’s forthcoming EP, Infinite Space Reimagined, sees the Co. Clare artist link talents with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra to breathe fresh life into her original album track, ‘Speir Rua.’ The influence of Latin music creeps into the original version of ‘Speir Rua,’ while the reimagined track broaches on more expansive territory. It is utterly regal and enthralling. ‘Speir Rua,’ which translates to ‘Red Sky,’ is a love song about an affinity for the west of Ireland. Delicate flute tickles the opening melody of the song, before Síomha’s’s vocals (mesmerising even with the language barrier) flow soulfully with the ebb and flow of the orchestra’s jazzy, upbeat arrangement. The collaboration brings this declaration of Irish love into full, majestic, and at times playful form, as Síomha and the instruments engage in an enchanting affair.
Exploring how songs can shapeshift and be reborn in alternate sonic universes, the forthcoming album will feature special guests stripped-back renditions that shine with a new, prismatic sound quality. Her sound speaks to a contemporary ambition whilst calling upon Irish tradition; Síomha pulls from everywhere, at times infusing jazz into folk and then branching off into the territory of neo-soul. The release of the Reimagined album will coincide with Síomha’s upcoming tour, which includes a December 6 show at Whelan’s, Dublin.
Glen Hansard, ‘There’s No Mountain’
Glen Hansard of The Frames fame is nearing ever closer to the release of his latest solo album, All That Was East Is West of Me Now, which is due for release at the end of October. He released the latest single track off of it this week, and it’s a touching ode to simply continuing on, despite the trials of life making that a hard task. He’s a powerful lyricist and he shows it off in ‘There’s No Mountain’, with lines like “when you go without, then you’ll go within” and “there’s no mountain great or small that you can’t climb.”
Kayleigh Noble, ‘Just A Girl’
Kayleigh Noble just be the next big thing. She’s nearing the end of the roll out of her highly anticipated debut album Just a Girl, complete with a sold-out Grand Social headliner and a series of supporting gigs lined up. She released the album’s title track as a single this week, and it takes a different approach than her previous music: a spacey, guitar-laden tune with clear influences from SZA and other pop girlies, she’s unapologetically girly and it’s a refreshing approach.
Jamie Duffy x Peter Sandberg, ‘Eyrie’
Two incredible musicians come together to make magic on this track, the first release from a collaboration between 21-year-old Irish pianist Jamie Duffy and Peter Sandberg. Jamie Duffy had the most streamed debut of any Irish artist in 2022 with his gorgeous piano piece ‘Solas’, and he brings some of its dramatic beauty to ‘Eyrie’, allowing him to reach his full potential with the addition of Sandberg’s sweeping orchestral string arrangement. It’s massive and cinematic, and Duffy and Sandberg are a musical duo for the ages.
Kellie Lewis, ‘Stumble’
Co. Limerick singer-songwriter and The Voice of Ireland 2014 runner-up Kellie Lewis returns with her fourth single release this year, ‘Stumble.’ With intimate lyricism tackling the complexities of a troubled relationship through rose-coloured lenses, Lewis describes the track as “A song of devotion and loyalty.” Through her open-ended questions, Lewis is inviting the listener to reflect on their own human relationships.
The Irish multi-instrumentalist, mentored by The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, says of the single, “It’s a song about those people in your life who wreck your head but who are always there for you, no matter what. To you, they are both the rain and the shelter from it, the shadow and the light, the cure and the cause.” Sharp synth beats hand the ballad with a contemporary sound, while emotive keys drive the track. Her songwriting is honest and unmistakably Irish, asking unavoidable questions with lyrics like, “Is it real or just for show? Are we covering up the cracks?” Mimicking the quickening beat of the heart, ‘Stumble’ climbs until combustion, as Lewis’ ethereal soprano vocals erupt into a stunning, cinematic bridge.
Letterbox Kid, ‘Let’s Talk About The Weather’
The first of four singles ahead of a larger EP fittingly titled Let’s Talk About The Weather, ‘Let The Forecast Be White Please’ is a pop-rap celebration that's both witty and melodic. Based in Cork City, Letterbox Kid is the artistic project of 23-year-old Isaac O’Sullivan and blends multiple genres to create a unique fusion of Hip-Hop, R&B and Soul. Supported by his friends, which include some of the most promising musical acts in Ireland including rising pop star Darian June and Automatic Blue, Letterbox Kid’s upcoming music has us on the edge of our seats.
Dylan Crampton, ‘Butterfly’
The Wicklow guitar man is back with a new single this week, a charming tune called ‘Butterfly’. Filled with varying, rolling tempos and quick fingerpicked banjo, it’s a quick-paced love song filled with heart and clear musical prowess. Crampton’s first official release since 2020, it’s a rousing return from an artist that knows exactly what he’s doing. ‘Oh Butterfly/you send me to the sky every night/every time I close my eyes.’
Amerik, ‘Nevermind’, feat. Wilfie Gilbert
Joining forces with Northern Irish talent Wilfie Gilbert, ‘Nevermind’ arrives today as the second instalment in a trilogy of singles by Amerik, the moniker for groundbreaking artist/producer Adam Booth. Funded by the Arts Council NI and the National Lottery, Booth’s project aims to shine a spotlight on talent pulsing through the Northern Irish music scene. Of the project, Booth shares, “Each artist brings a unique perspective and energy to the table, and our collaboration has resulted in something truly special.”
Fusing Wilfie’s captivating songwriting and rich vocals with Amerik’s enthralling production skills, ‘Nevermind’ is an otherworldly sonic experience. Amerik takes the bare bones of a sombre piano ballad and builds a study home through his masterful production and innate understanding of chord progression. Enthralling synths and dark piano chords lend the track a ghostly ambiance, while Wilfie’s voice is deep and weighted with rich textures, journeying from a velvet baritone to an edgy, raspy gravel. From sombre to delicately hopeful, the chorus of the track bursts completely open; the clouds pull apart. Ghostly vocal layering leads the track retreating to the shadows as the song closes out, ripping the listener in half with the kind of raw, human emotion a voice like Wilfie’s has the power to evoke.
Conor Furlong, ‘Undo The Past’
After the release of three powerful singles, Dublin songwriter Conor Furlong’s new album Undo The Past was released this week and it features the haunting title track, complete with ‘Lies’ and ‘Can I Make You Realise?’ ‘Undo The Past’ includes delicate guitar and vocals reminiscent of Radiohead, before its second half swells with a string section and electric guitar you can feel in your gut. It’s orchestral and melancholic, and as ambitious as it is successful.
Ben Cutler, ‘Break The Ice’
Belfast-based Ben Cutler reinvents his sound with his newest single ‘Break The Ice’, embracing the gorgeous sounds of bluesy rock. Guitar-based and vulnerable, its lyrics dive into the feeling of uncertainty that comes with taking risks in order to achieve your dreams. It’s a meta offering ahead of his debut EP, which is set to release this October.
“I wrote the song based on the classic rule, 'Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.' I believe 'Break the Ice' meets this test and it is my favourite release to date. It captures the thought process that sometimes there’s no substitute for jumping in at the deep end and not looking back.”
the bones below, ‘Retail’
West cork band the bones below have undergone a revamp since their reformation in 2018, tacking on keys and harmony vocals to their already dense sound. Now leading up to launching a new album of remastered previous releases, the bones below deal a heavy hand with their latest single, ‘Retail.’ From rock and death metal to blues and folk, there is no area off limits when it comes to this four piece’s musical expression. Their amplified rock, high energy sound makes them a force to be reckoned with and a reckless riot to witness at live performances, which the band is soon to be showcasing at Clonakilty International Guitar Festival on Saturday, September 23.
‘Retail’ jumps in with alarming distortion and quickly spirals into a doomful track with thrashing drums, relentless guitar, insistent lead vocals and high-flying choral harmonies. The track breaks off into audio clippings of news presenters discussing the effects of false news on democracy, until the vocals come crashing back in to drown out all the noise. The song climaxes in full force, topping off with a heavy metal-driven guitar line that screeches to a final, restless halt.
Dark Tropics, ‘Carnival’
Irish singer/songwriter duo Rio and Gerard come together to make Dark Tropics, one of the most promising musical acts out of Ireland. Their signature pop-noir sound is prevalent on their newest single ‘Carnival’, with its dramatic, larger-than-life soundscape that catches you off guard. Fans of Florence + The Machine will enjoy its stylised, fantastic vision, and should pay attention to what next comes from Dark Tropics.
“Carnival was written and demoed really quickly and felt completely effortless. The groove seemed to have an immediate swagger and the lyrics danced onto the page. It's about an intense but fleeting holiday romance; one that stays ingrained in your mind forever.”
Cascando, ‘Trip Over Train Tracks Red’
Limerick-based roots rock collective Cascando combines strong 1960s-era country and blues roots with modern folk and soul to create their uniquely eclectic sound. Their latest track, after last month’s ‘A Few Blue Words For The Wise’, is a dreamy, vulnerable song that feels authentic and intimate, proving they have more than just hard-hitting commentary up their sleeve. October sees the release of their debut EP along with a headline Irish tour, and based on this single and those that came before it, it’s sure to be a great success.
ADT, ‘Stars In A Broadway Sky’ feat. The Bones Below
The highly anticipated second solo album Volume Two from ADT (full name Alan Daniel Tobin) was launched this week at the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival. Also a member of Irish band LOWmountain as well as an honorary member of Interference, ADT is a talented songwriter whose solo work is a wonderful addition to the Irish music scene. This summer he did a series of performances at various lighthouses around Ireland, and the new ‘Stars In A Broadway Sky’ shines just as brightly as one.
VENUS GRRRLS, ‘Liar Liar’
The ‘UK queens of riot’ return in crowning, rebellious fashion with their latest single, ‘Liar Liar.’ A departure from the Leeds-based girl band’s previous release ‘Lidocaine,’ which chronicled frontwoman GK’s recovery from Leukaemia, this new track is a panic-struck saga. The lyrics detail the parasitic relationship formed with a manipulative partner, sung in a crystal-clear incandescent tone. Venus Grrrls are supremely tuned into their Riot Grrrl influences as they weave with conviction through a touchy topic while holding a fire-lit torch, resulting in a guitar-heavy, anger-fueled hybrid of punk and modern rock.
The same singer who slams down the lines, “The games you play to feed her pain / You take away all that she craves / Each word you say is a cliche,” GK clearly isn’t prone to mincing words. The frontwoman shares of the track, “The topic, often very personal and contextual, was something I wanted to make sure was adequately represented despite its vast nature. The idea was that the 'narrator' of the song has become aware of the dynamic of another relationship, and that it isn't necessarily a good dynamic. Spotting patterns of emotional manipulation and abuse, the narrator seeks not only to empower the victim but to let the perpetrator know that they've figured out what's happening despite the 'games.’”
Oscar Blue, ‘Skeletons’
“I’ve learned about you through my vices and I’ve come to know you through my crisis,” sings 24-year-old Irish songbird Oscar Blue on his recent release, ‘Skeletons.’ The newest track from the Co. Clare native deals with the tough challenge of examining Irish intergenerational trauma, from Catholic guilt to stigmas surrounding mental health, all through the lens of an elder suffering from addiction. With hard-hitting lyrics and a nostalgic piano melody, Blue says of the track, “As I've grown older, I've noticed that us younger generations thankfully seem to have a deeper and more empathetic understanding of mental health and addiction. Personally, I've been able to shake off the ‘hangover’ of Catholic guilt which consumed the Ireland I grew up in. I have learned to relate to the person who inspired this song in a much deeper way than I was ever able to as a child."
‘Skeletons’ is a mindful, ponderous piano ballad soaked with the pain of Blue’s emotive vocals. Light, clashing drums create a wall of sound around the keys as the song builds in intensity and power. Blue lets out a belt, delivering memorable lines, tinged with a melodic Irish accent, like, “I still see myself in you, I guess it’s generational, I guess it’s best under the rug.” It’s a track about compassion and understanding, about what it takes to be the one to end a handed-down pattern. Since his debut in 2018, Blue has gained steady momentum, with his previous single 'Second Nature' earning the young Irish voice a feature on Spotify's New Music Friday editorial playlist. He is gearing up to play The Grand Social in Dublin on October 27 as part of his upcoming Irish & UK tour.
Check out the playlist in full, below!