- 19 May 21
Whether you prefer your new Irish music to be of the rap persuasion, conceived in a bedroom or salami obsessed, you won’t be short-changed by this month’s round-up.
Kojaque ups the ante with ‘Town’s Dead’, a rallying cry for his fellow Dublin creatives to take back their city from the property developers and planning departments who are intent on turning it into a giant hotel.
Sounding not dissimilar to Slowthai with whom he’s previously toured –and, yes, that is a cheeky Girl Band sample he’s managed to weave in! - it’s his most ambitious track yet and has already garnered support from BBC Radios 1, 1xtra and 6Music and Pat Kenny who’s not adverse to a spot of biting social rap commentary on his Newstalk show.
It’s the title-track from Kojaque’s debut album, which drops on June 25 on the Artist Also Known As Kevin Smith’s own Soft Boy label.
Covid and Nphet permitting, there are live shows to look forward to at the Dublin Olympia (November 19) and Black Box, Galway (20).
Hot Press fave Smoothboi Ezra doesn’t disappoint either with ‘Stuck’, the first taster from an EP that follows in June and was recorded under the influence of Soccer Mommy, Angel Olsen and Haley Heynderickx.
Delving into the intricacies of relationships from an autistic non-binary gender perspective, it will hopefully get a live airing on September 22 when the Blessington 19-year-old plays Whelan’s as part of the Eastbound festival.
With millions of streams already notched up, we’d be extremely surprised if a substantial detail isn’t imminent.
From Wexford come The Freaky Gypsys, a romantically dark troupe fronted by charismatic singer Steven Hamilton.
Their new single, ‘Ocean’, sounds like a rootsy Catfish & The Bottleman and will, we imagine, take the roof off the gaff when it’s played live.
Recorded under the watchful ear of Gavin Glass in his Orphan Recording studio, it sounds right up RTÉ Radio 1’s alley.
We’ve a burgeoning love affair with Pretty Happy, a Cork trio of the experimental post-punk variety who sound at time like a deranged Pixies – which is an entirely good thing!
Following on from ‘Salami’, which explored the complexities of processed meat (that old trope again), new single ‘Sea Sea Sea’ will hopefully enjoy the same BBC Introducing and 6Music support as its predecessor. Word has also spread across the Atlantic with the hugely influential KEXP Seattle radio taking a shine to them.
Guitarist Abbey Blake is a founder member of Angry Mom, a collective set up to address Irish music industry gender disparity.
BBC Radio One’s Phil Taggart and Steve Lamacq have both been doing their cheerleader bit for Scattered Ashes, a Dublin quartet whose Parallel Lines EP drops digitally on May 21 with an additional limited run of blood red 12” vinyl.
Its three tracks were recorded in Darklands Audio studio with Fontaines D.C. producer Dan Doherty at the helm.
Taking their cues from Bauhaus, Gang Of Four, Interpol and Joy Division, they’re another band we can’t wait to check out when these things called ‘gigs’ return.
If you’re of the Girls Aloud and/or Pussycat Dolls persuasion you’re going to love ‘WB’, which features the combined might of Chloe Agnew, Zapho, Senita, Toshín and Gemma Bradley.
They’re part of the X Collective, which started two years ago when Zapho, AKA Ele Breslin, and Chloe met at a songwriting retreat and will later in the summer also spawn a self-titled album.
A doff of the A&R Department’s headphones to Will Cagney Murphy, the former O Emperor man now trading as Blank Screen TVs, for assembling the European Endless: 12 compilation which is benefiting the Irish Refugee Council.
The music is as scintillating as the cause is worthy with new recorded in lockdown contributions from ArvoParty, Cynthia Access Point, This Ship Argo, Phil Christie from experimentalists The Bonk, Roly, L.C.F., Homoterriblis, Julia McConway, Kopfkino, Fixity and Whozeyerman? who is Paul Savage, also ex-O Emperor.
Bag yourself a copy at europeanendless.bandcamp.com/releases.
A growing trend is the number of buskers who’ve built their followings up on the street rather than by playing conventional gigs,
They include Dubliner Paul Jenkinson who we really hope is working on a follow up to his excellent A Smile And A Wave, which has a Van-esque Caledonian soul vibe to it; Galway 14-year-old Mia Black who has close to 150,000 YouTube and Insta followers, a celestial voice and serious star potential; Leesider Mel Maryns who makes both edgy pop and a mean video; and Sam Clifford, another Dub whose rabble rousing Grafton Street rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle On The Hill’ just passed the million views mark.
They all started off performing covers but are now transitioning into writing their own material, which doesn’t seem to be phasing them one bit.
What the quartet also have in common is that they took part in the latest run of our Y&E Series Lockdown Sessions, which were kindly supported again by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media.
Irish publishing and management company, The Nucleus, has signed a deal with the world’s largest independent music publishing organisation, peermusic.
Run by Hamlet Sweeney who used to make music himself, they’re currently working with the likes of French singer-songwriter Lucas Cozy whose collaboration with German production duo Gamper & Dadoni has been clicked onto 70 million-plus times; Dubliners Sarah Rebecca & Searching For Survivors whose ‘Lights’ single is an emotional rollercoaster ride ballad; and Dunboyne tunesmith JJ Bloom who’s just had one of his songs synced by Adobe France.
If you like your R&B super smooth and chilled, look no further than ‘Going Home’, the latest single from Caleb Kunle who was born in Lagos, moved to the Irish countryside when he was eight and is now making serious waves in London.
His music is a glorious stew of Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Fela Kuti, Angelique Kido and loads more good stuff.
The cool summer vibes continue with ‘Hanging With Trees’, a collaboration between self-confessed Derry ‘grumpy electro popper’ ROE who supplies the words and Maynooth alt. hip hoppers Tebi Rex who chip in with the aural sunshine beats.
With the former including Gary Lightbody among her musical admirers, expect this one to garner lots of attention.
Having adopted the new moniker of rvstless, Steven McCann releases ‘wanna be free’ – these crazy lowercase kids! – which is jazzy in a soulful sort of way and confirms why the Jawdropper Music crew are so keen on the young Dubliner.
Meanwhile another of their charges, 1000 Beasts, is getting lots of Spotify love for his ‘For You & I’ colab with Alex Tierney.
Operating at the poppier end of the electro spectrum, the former is from Cork and has also previously hooked up successfully with Ryan Shaughnessy, Shiv, Lenii and Kayleigh Noble while the latter is responsible for last year’s gorgeously strummed ‘Painkiller’.
Ollie West comes out of seemingly nowhere to release We Can See Blue, a ten songs in under twenty minutes debut, which is only made more impressive by discovering that the Dubliner is just sixteen.
Recorded in (guess) his bedroom, it’s a thoroughly charming piece of lo-fi alt. pop, which variously reminds Team Hot Press of Jonathan Richman, The Pastels and Sufjan Stevens. Yep, it’s that good.
Fresh from being raved about in the A&R Dept., Keeley has signed to Dimple Discs, the London indie imprint that’s also home to Cathal Coughlan, Eileen Gogan & The Instructions, Baby Shakes, Dragon Welding and Damian O’Neill when he’s not in Undertones mode.
Bringing down the A&R Dept. curtain this issue is Sven, a writer and multi-instrumentalist who’s been picked up by Diffusion Lab who also look after the likes of Soulé, Jafaris, Flynn, Rushes and Nealo.
As much into Bon Iver and Jerry Zucker as he is hip hop, the Kildare man has spent time songwriting in both LA and London where he penned previous radio ready pop song, ‘Shoreditch’.