- 23 Feb 21
If you can’t make it to the dancefloor, fear not, the dancefloor will come to you courtesy of an extremely dynamic Irish duo.
Elaine Mai joins forces with MayKay on ‘No Forever’, the first taster from the former’s debut album, which follows in the spring. It’s a banger of a ‘90s dance tune that builds and builds and then builds some more. Its equally delicious video is directed by photographer Ruth Medjber who previously served in the Hot Press trenches.
Part of the Irish Women In Harmony lineup that topped the charts with ‘Dreams’, Mai is one of the EU-sponsored Keychange ambassadors promoting gender parity in the music industry. With such heavy-hitters as Imogen Heap, Brody Dalle, Shirley Manson and Emily Eavis also on board, the initiative is really making its presence felt.
Alex Gough builds on the Normal People soundtracking success of ‘Dear SJ’ with the release of the BONUS FEATURES (Live At The Clinic) EP, which was recorded in the analogue-minded D3 studio run by former Otherkin man David Anthony Curley.
It’s another quality hip pop offering from the 21-year-old Dubliner who racked up three million streams last year as the likes of Vogue and Elle sung his praises.
All of this lead to him signing before Christmas with Red Light Management whose transatlantic roster includes Kellis, Kate Nash, Slash, Interpol and fellow Irish rapper Kojaque.
There’s also a whiff of the ‘90s about ‘Angel Eye’, the new tune from Newry’s Lauren Ann who veers towards the 4AD indie end of the spectrum.
Signed to Beardfire Music who also look after Patricia Lalor and RUNAH, she whiled away Lockdown Pt. 2 by covering the likes of Pixies, Britney, No Doubt and Mac Demarco in her bedroom and putting the results up on YouTube.
A look at the posters Blu-Tacked to the wall will tell you more about where she’s coming from.
Kildare singer Megan O’Neill is causing a major stir with her brooding cover of Jim Croce’s ‘Time In A Bottle’, which features in the new smash hit Netflix show, Firefly Lane.
“The reaction has been absolutely incredible,” Megan enthuses. “So many messages rolling in from all around the world and a few of the cast members have reached out with lovely comments. It’s pretty wild to see the show now sitting at #1 recommended on Netflix all over the world – to know that that many people are hearing the song is mind-blowing!”
It’s being included as a bonus track on her Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty album, which is out on March 12.
Having been fawned over in the last issue of Hot Press, Kynsy proves our point with the release of the Things That Don’t Exist EP.
Accompanied by a video shot in Donegal by The Murder Capital man Charlie Joe Doherty, lead track ‘Elephant Room’ is pop of the darkly atmospheric variety and likely to find the 23-year-old Dubliner back on the various Spotify playlists she graced last year.
With BBC Radio 1 tastemaker Jack Saunders also a fan, you imagine it’s ‘when’ not ‘if’ the former BIMM graduate bags herself a deal…
Lovers of baroque pop will adore the joining together under the Gaze Is Ghost banner of Northern Ireland’s Laura McGarrigle, Keith Mannion from Donegal’s Slow Place Like Home and Scottish interloper Casey Miller.
Their two new songs, ‘Wild Geese’ and ‘Feather And Bone’, had us jotting down ‘Mazzy Star’, ‘Enya’ and ‘ethereal yet edgy’ in our notes.
Intrigued? You should be!
Canadian singer and storyteller Elina Filice does an excellent job of covering ‘Thinking Of You’, a lesser-known Chance The Rapper tune that she makes her own.
Arriving in Dublin in 2017, she studied at BIMM (who didn’t?) whilst simultaneously setting up her own Red Vine Records operation, which crosses over into film, digital marketing, creative coaching and photography.
A jack-of-all-trades – and master of many –Elina’s ruminations on sexual politics and the human condition have already earned her a cult following.
Somebody’s Child, displays his rockier side on ‘The Lover’, the latest taster from the upcoming Hope, Among Other Things EP.
“It’s a song against the Status Quo,” says the Artist Also Known As Cian Godfrey, which seems a bit unfair on Francis Rossi & Co. but, hey, it’s a cracking tune and guaranteed to further fuel the record company interest in him.
Meanwhile, Malaki producer Matthew Harris takes centre-stage with his debut solo single, ‘A Difficult Winter’, which addresses in almost whispered tones the tough year he’s had.
“I lost my mother to cancer and I found Christmas under Covid to be incredibly hard; a lot of the lyrics came out of that sense of loss and isolation,” he says of a song that many will relate to. Shot in the Dublin mountains, the accompanying black and white video is simple but highly evocative.
Having amassed 65,000 streams of her debut ‘FUKC FEAR’ track, Halli decamped three years ago to rural Holland where sadly she experienced mental health issues and had to take a break from music. Back in business again after a period of reflection and self-care, the Dublin art popper has picked up where she left off with ‘Body Never Loves’, which nods to Angel Olsen, FKA Twigs and Julie Feeney who also has new music coming out this year and, Covid-fecking-19 permitting, her BIRD opera.
We’re indebted to Ray Wingnut for pointing us in the direction of Screaming Cat, a five-tracker from Galway’s Jimmy Penguin, which is more than a match for Bicep’s UK chart-topping Isles album.
Mr. P, who was a co-founder of the city’s Skratch collective and runs the Alkalinear Recordings label, gets extra marks for titling the last cut ‘Grand Theft Cato’.
If anyone is in need of a pulsating TV or film soundtrack, he’s your, er, penguin.
Conor Clinch serenades, “the most Irish girl I’ve ever met” on ‘Amy’, an epic ballad that will be lapped up by Ed Sheeran and Picture This fans.
It’s a crowded field, but the Leixlip twenty-year-old does it better than most and is starting to get the Spotify plays to prove it.
If radio gets behind Conor, there’s no reason why he can’t start giving the aforementioned a run for their gold discs.
Building up serious momentum at the moment is Fya Fox, a classically trained Dublin singer whose self-confessed influences include Banks, London Grammar and Lana Del Rey. That you could segue her second ‘Body’ single into any of the aforementioned speaks volumes.
Under the mentorship of Choice Music Prize man Dave Reid who also manages Robert Grace, she’s featured on the influential Record Of The Day industry site and been added to BBC Radio Ulster’s Where Music Matters playlist, which often feeds into what gets picked up on the other side of the Irish Sea by Radio 1 and 6Music.
Occupying similar sonic territory is ‘Tidal Waves’, the latest from Nadine Keogh and Tom O’Connor who operate as Lazyrevs.
A real warm duvet of a record, it’s helped raise €3,000 for research into Esophageal cancer, a rare and usually terminal form of the disease which Nadine’s father Paddy has been diagnosed with.
Congratulations to punky Derry trio Cherym who’ve signed to Oxford’s influential Alcopop! Records.
According to singer Hannah Richardson, new single ‘Kisses On My Card’ is “a power pop banger about my hot bisexual self falling in love with a guy for the first time in a long time.”
Clocking in at just a shade over three minutes, it’s a beaut.
Former Tanjier singer Tommy Buckley remerges as Four Nights, a synthpop project that finds him hooking up with Diffusion Lab producer Marcin Ciszczon.
The two tracks debuted last week, ‘Nothing To Say’ and ‘Want You Always’ put us in mind of The 1975 if they were mucking around with a vocoder.