- 05 Oct 21
Limerick’s Shane Davis has come up with a landmark spoken word piece, while there are cracking new efforts on the way from Pillow Queens and Maria Kelly.
Limerick poet and rapper Dyrt first came on to the Hot Press radar a few years back when we saw him perform at the Ana Liffey Drug Policy Town Hall meeting in the city’s Hunt Museum.
His description of the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter that’s mobilised whenever somebody jumps into the Shannon as “the mechanical banshee” struck a deep chord with everybody there that night.
Always inspired, his work went up another gear during lockdown when, as part of Ireland’s Edge 2020, the Artist Also Known As Shane Davis assumed the form of the Irish god of poetry, Ogma, for a thirteen-minute piece which left us with our jaws on the floor. Rarely has Irish wordplay been so dextrous.
You can watch it below, and then click through to the podcast in which Shane, who’s appeared recently alongside the likes of Kneecap and Felispeaks, talks about his fascination with Irish myth and the power of spoken word. You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more of Dyrt now that lockdown is easing.
Pop-punk quartet Pillow Queens have signed to Canadian indie label Royal Mountain Records — it was only a matter of time before the big leagues scooped up the Dubliners, whose debut album In Waiting garnered praise from the likes of The Guardian, NME, and more. Hot Press called it “a stunning debut” and “a barefaced rejection of the various labels critics have attempted to pin on the group since their inception.”
To celebrate the signing, the Queens released a rework of their early single ‘Rats’, a hugely popular staple in their live shows – oh, how we miss them!
Mayo alternative folk star Maria Kelly is finally about ready to share her long-anticipated debut album The Sum Of The In Between, which arrives not a moment too soon via VETA Records on October 15. Blowing us away with her intimate songwriting style and her feather-light vocals, the album is – you heard it here first – a strong Choice Prize contender.
Speaking of VETA Records, Kelly’s labelmates HAVVK have recently released their sophomore LP Levelling. An album about growing up and shifting perceptions, it follows all those formative moments in life: forming friendships; navigating societal expectations; managing your mental health; realising your identity and values; accepting loss; and letting go of regret.
What’s more, the Dublin alt-punk band, who have built up a loyal following over the years, are kicking off the album launch with a sold-out show at The Workman’s Club. Irish-French dream-pop band A Ritual Sea, who have also recently dropped their self-titled album, will play support at the September 29 show.
Dublin indie-pop/rock outfit Somebody’s Child are clinging to sanity with new EP Staying Sane, written in the West of Ireland and encapsulating frontman Cian Godfrey’s last 18 months in Ireland. He explores a side of his sound we haven’t quite heard before, and trust us – it’s cracking stuff.
Perhaps one of the most exciting collaborative efforts to come out of Irish music in the last few years, HousePlants – aka Choice Prize-nominated electronic DJ Daithí and Bell X1 frontman Paul Noonan – have been working away together on Dry Goods, a record combining Daithí’s knack for an immaculate beat with Noonan’s unorthodox-but-brilliant songwriting mind.
Twenty-two year-old April was recently announced as the latest artist to sign to Atlantic Records UK, and dropped her first single of 2021 last week. After collaborating with Soft Boy and Irish rap superstar Kojaque for her sophomore EP Luna, the euphoric ‘Piece Of Me’ positions the young Dubliner as one of Ireland’s most enthralling and fastest-rising talents.
Acclaimed producer Elaine Mai’s new album is all about home, belonging, and collaboration. That said, the record certainly sees her stepping into the spotlight. Considered collaborations with the likes of Ailbhe Reddy and Sinéad White are perfectly matched with club tunes that are made for festival season.
If you’re craving a little bit of smooth R&B to play out the tail end of summer, try Zimbabwe-born, Kildare-raised singer-songwriter Shiv’s ‘Where Are You’. It’s another soulful gem, full of honey-toned vocals and diaristic lyrics about a lover. Introducing synths and hip-hop beats, she integrates them with piano melodies and harmonies for a gorgeously rich track.
Read the full A&R Department in the current issue of Hot Press: