- 21 Apr 21
Whether you’re in need of some Galway ambience, Dublin grunge pop or Cork shoegaze, you’ve come to the right place!
Having impressed with her debut All My People album, Galway ambient (with a hint of drone) artist Maria Sommerville has signed to 4AD.
The fabled label have already got her to record a cover of Air Miami’s ‘Seabird’ for the Bills & Aches & Blues compilation, which finds 18 current 4AD acts rifling through the imprint’s 40-year back catalogue.
Out digitally now with a 12” vinyl version following in June, it’s a stunning version and finds Maria lining up alongside the likes of Efterklang, Future Islands, Tune-Yards and The Breeders.
The Enniscorthy-born, Manchester-based Reuben Hester has signed to Echoism Music, a Paris label and sync operation who’ve just released his ‘Sold My Soul’ single.
Written in memory of his dad Kevin who passed away last year from a drug overdose, its poppy garage feel is already generating healthy French, Dutch and German airplay.
Reuben’s European breakout follows his participation in The Search, the BBC One talent show fronted by Little Mix who’ve taken a real shine to him.
Add in a Spotify New Pop playlist inclusion and sync placement in Netflix’s Insatiable, and Hester’s star is firmly in the ascent.
HAVVK continue their busy start to 2020 with ‘No Patience’, the follow-up to the well received ‘Home’.
The second taster from the Dubliners’ forthcoming Levelling album, it manages to be as hook-laden as it is emotionally charged.
Capable of generating My Bloody Valentine levels of melodious noise, the grunge pop trio are part of the same artist-led VETA collective as St. Bishop, a BIMM Dublin graduate of the soulful electro-pop persuasion whose debut EP is due shortly and will tackle issues of sexuality, gender identity and radical self-acceptance.
Lucy Blue underlines why she was a Hot Press Hot For 2021 pick with ‘See You Later’, the Ballyfermot Rock School graduate’s new Columbia Records single.
Having recently worked with big name producers like Fred Again (Ed Sheeran, Stormzy), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Jessie Ware), Rob Milton (Easy Life, Holly Humberstone), and Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey, Rihanna), the 19-year-old’s upcoming debut album sounds like it’s going to be an all guns blazing affair.
The Meath outfit who quit their 9 to 5s on the eve of the pandemic, N.O.A.H, have signed a UK management and live agency deal with Mother Artists who also have IDLES, CMAT, The Antlers, First Aid Kit, Goyte and Foster The People on their books.
Having scored the 2fm Breakfast Show Track of the Week and a BBC Radio 5 Live Laura Whitmore Show session on the back of their ‘Shine’ debut, the Ashbourne trio have enlisted the services of Booka Brass on the ‘Darkest Hour’ follow-up.
While they’ve got their own thing going on, we strongly suspect that U2 and Simple Minds fans will love ‘em!
Having been drooled over for the past six years by our man in the North Edwin McFee, New Pagans have finally got round to releasing their debut The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All album.
Comprising former members of Jetplane Landing, Girls Names and Fighting With Wire, the “Goth, indie and rock fueled mongrel” – nice description, Edwin! – has already found favour with 2fm’s Dan Hegarty, BBC Radio 1’s Daniel Carter, Gemma Bradley, Steve Lamacq and Jack Saunders, Live 95 Limerick’s Alan Jacques, Radio X’s John Kennedy, American NPR, The Daily Mirror and, well, loads more of those all important tastemakers.
Meanwhile, Derry popsters Lavengro have cheekily edited the likes of Sam Smyth, Billie Eilish, Ricky Gervais, Boris Johnson and Justin Bieber into the video for their ‘Get Out’ single.
Describing themselves as “Ed Sheeran meets Maroon 5”, it’s one of the tunes they’ve co-written with English duo Billen Ted who’ve transitioned out of death metal to supply hits for the likes of Melanie C, 220 Kid and Hugel. And, yes, that is the most unlikely sentence I’ve written in a long while!
“An absolute banger, this one will not get out of my head,” enthuses BBC Radio One’s Gemma Bradley who picked it as her ‘Best Song In The World’ while depping for Annie
The Song Title of the Month Award goes to Nagam, AKA Orán Magan, for the ‘Snow Flurries Of Don’t Worries’ cut that graces his debut Objectif Lune EP, which is a TinTin reference.
A reflection of life before lockdown, there’s a woozily narcotic feel as he strolls round the Grand Canal after dark.
“David Sylvian fronting Dire Straits” it says in my notes about the new single from Dubliner Dunx and, well, I’m sticking to it!
Currently taking part in writers’ camps with friends James Vincent McMorrow, Soda Blonde, Saint Sisters and Pillow Queens, it finds the Irish-born, Australian-raised singer taking centre stage after years of producing and music supervising the likes of U2, Camilla Cabello, Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon.
Following on from her A&R Department appearance last month, 22-year-old BIMM graduate Pastiche has a management deal with Jawdropper Music whose roster also includes Crybabyamy, Columbia Mills and Robert Grace whose ‘Fake Fine’ single recently went platinum.
Cork duo Arctic Lights debut with ‘Intertwine’, an indie pop anthem with shoegaze-y vocals reminiscent of Ride and Chapterhouse.
It’s second time around the block for Edward Butt who was a founder member in the 1990s of Sony Music signings Emperor Of Ice Cream, and Liam O’Callaghan whose band Bulkhead were offered a major deal but declined because of their disillusionment with the mainstream music industry.
It’s proving to be much more than two old mates having fun together, with the Spotify numbers and international radio plays suggesting the project could be a commercial runner.
“A new name on the block with a great voice,” is Pete Tong’s verdict on Dublin multi-instrumentalist Chaya – real name Charles Frisby – who describes himself as “just a clueless twenty-something kid trying to figure stuff out.”
Currently exciting the likes of BBC Radio One and Apple Music with his jazzy ‘Nevermind’ house anthem, the Warner Brothers signing is a classically trained musician who went to study at the Clive Davis Institute of NYU and discovered the Big Apple’s underground DJ scene.
The visual side of his world has been created in collaboration with Lily’s baby bro Alfie Allen.
HAVVK’s Veta Music stablemate Maria Kelly is back home in Mayo after a spell in Berlin, with ‘Martha’, an exquisite slice of acoustic balladry dedicated to her titular pal who supplies the “It might be the end of the world, but it’s fine” voice message at the start.
Curtis Walsh teams up on his ‘Bend’ single with Anna Pancaldi, a Londoner whose own tunes have helped soundtrack the likes of Pretty Little Liars and Famous In Love.
Written over Zoom, its gorgeous video was directed by well-known Irish artist Morgan.
The Dubliner, who’s amassed 15 million-plus streams, is signed to Paragon Records who also look after Heathers and The Riptide Movement.
If it’s a hard-edged electropop banger you’re after, look no further than ‘Gentrification’ by Dublin duo Nixer whose spat out “Rip down the local/ Throw up a hotel/ Clean these streets of culture/ Give the corporations full control” refrain should be played at excessive volume to all members of the Dublin City Council Planning Department who by the end will hopefully be hanging their heads in collective shame.
Derry DJ, producer and label boss Louise DaCosta will be hoping to notch her fourth successive Beatport No. 1 with ‘All For The Disco’, another banger in desperate need of a dancefloor.
Explaining why she’s set up DaCosta Records, Louise says: “Only two per cent of all music producers are female or non-binary, as such essentially everything we hear is through a patriarchal prism. We want to change this.”
A multi-tasker if ever there was, she’s also working on a film project and scoring a play about the LGBTQ+ experience in Northern Ireland, which will be premiering once this madness is over in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre.