- 12 May 23
Listen to some of our favourite new Irish tracks from the week below, featuring Galway indie, Dublin hip-hop and pop from every corner of the country...
NewDad, 'In My Head'
The Galway-formed indie band are back with their first single of 2023. The new single is an epic reintroduction to NewDad following 2021's debut EP Waves and 2022's follow up Banshee. Armed with a dark and stormy sound full of electric guitar fuzz and ethereal vocals describing everything from anxiety struggles, feeling isolated and emotionally unavailable relationships, they're the perfect band for Cure and Pixies fans in their early to mid 20s in particular. "You say you're trying, but I'm not buying it / You haven't even gotten out of bed / When was the last time you left this place? / You're in an awful state," Julie Dawson sings, before a more rock-driven melody kicks in. Written in their Galway rehearsal room and recorded at The Church in London and mixed by Mike Crossey (MUNA, The 1975, Wolf Alice), the song - and their upcoming album - is released via Atlantic Records/Fair Youth Records. The quartet will perform at Dublin's Grand Social on May 24th, 2023.
Christian Cohle, 'Our Last Dance'
The Irish electronic producer and singer-songwriter has shared his second record Wetlands today, with a launch show slated for Whelan’s on Friday, 19 May. Drawing on all sorts of inspiration, from the production methods of Bon Iver, the music of Berlin's Moderat to the atmosphere and aesthetic of modern noir films like Blade Runner, Cohle blends musical styles ambient pop and cinematic electronic soundscapes. Following on from previous acclaimed singles 'Spinning Heart', 'Strength', and 'Another Life', 'Our Last Dance' features a beautifully stark and haunting video, shot and directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Narayan Van Maele. The track opens and closes with a real FaceTime call from his ex partner, reconnecting a year after their breakup for a compassionate, bittersweet moment. A patient, electronic ballad features a stunning vocal performance.
Filmore! and MOTHMOM, 'Ingrid's Song'
"Everybody hates me, it's not fair / I'm the victim, I'm the number one enemy, key witness," Max Zanga, aka Filmore!, begins on new single 'Ingrid's Song, mixed by Irish producer Layen. "You may think that I'm a baby / You my think that I'm a bitch / You may think I'm fucking crazy / but I'm victim to your shit / And I say go to therapy / Call your daddy, don't come crying to me," MOTHMOM lead vocalist Lauren O'Hare sings on the explosive rock chorus. Zanga makes sure to add a gas sample of Sophie Turner's character screeching "I don't DO...coCAINE" from 2022 Netflix film Do Revenge. It's a nostalgia-fuelled meld of hyperpop and 2000s MTV-era pop/punk that uses a good cop, bad cop tactic for Max's return to the school halls. He released his debut single under the Filmore! moniker, 'Where's Your Hall Pass?', in June 2022 using sounds of electronic, punk and drum 'n' bass.
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Keanu the Pilot and cbakl, 'U AIN'T THAT DUDE!'
Starting with samples of audio clips before Keanu's flow kicks in, he seamlessly jumps across the beats with clever wordplay and plenty of pop culture references (from philosopher Socrates to actor Ashton Kutcher). Taken from the rapper's new eight-track mixtape LIFT OFF, the cbakl-featured drill anthem 'U AIN'T THAT DUDE!' is brimming with bravado, hard-hitting beats and addictive rhythms. "My soul can't be bought," he declares, oozing confidence and charisma. The Nigerian-Irish talent has captured an exciting sound across the new mixtape, which follows 2023 single 'YUP THE LADS!' and 2022's triple threat 'BALOTELLI', 'TRIBE' and 'Who's On What?'. Belfast beatmaker cbakl, meanwhile, has been busy becoming one of the most in-demand talents on the island over the last few years. LIFT OFF also sees Keanu the Pilot team up with super-producer Ayomax, TraviS, VSTRV and Malik.
After making a huge impact with his KhakiKid collaboration 'Underbite' a few weeks ago and 2023 single 'FEELATALL', CARSTEN2X returns with 'BoneLESS'. Born in Dubai but raised in Shankill, Dubliner CARSTEN2X is bringing a bold new energy to Irish hip-hop and alternative R&B. The sleek production on 'BoneLESS' fuses electronic flourishes, hip-hop flows and soulful R&B guitar melodies. "Mama did not raise a liar / Bite on my shit, you vampire," he declares on the vocally rich new single, yet another grandiose, addictive statement made by the artist this year. Lyrically bold, multi-talented and ready to take risks; CARSTEN2X is easily one of Ireland's most exciting, potential-filled acts. He's working with all the right people as well; back in 2021, ‘Beaucoup’ waw co-produced by Brockhampton and Burna Boy collaborator Chuks Chiejine.
Alicia Raye, 'Emotional'
The Cameroonian-Irish artist is back with a track exploring female confidence and sensuality, fusing fresh R&B with UK drill. The activist, who released her debut EP Alphabet in 2020, grew up in a direct provision centre near Drogheda, where she attended both primary and secondary school. Seductive single 'Emotional' dives into the complex feelings at play in a relationship, depicting a relatable portrayal of submission from both parties involved. Nevertheless, Raye invites women to embrace their vulnerability, showcasing Alicia's versatility and willingness to challenge gender expectations in the music industry. Catchy hooks, sleek vocals and unapologetic lyrics make up the foundations.
“'Emotional’ is a call out for femininity in a male-dominated industry. Women in hip-hop don’t always have to be portrayed as masculine and rough. We can still make strides without having to step out of their feminine energy to conform to social norms and standards," the artist notes. It marks the start of a new era in Alicia Raye’s career.
Asha Ari, ‘Addicted to Your Love’
Formerly known as AIS, Asha Ari changed her moniker to break free from the constraints of her old identity. The Ghanaian-Irish artist grew up in Blanchardstown, later performing her original song 'Freedom' with The National Symphony Orchestra as well as singing on The Late Late Show with Eleanor Mc Evoy, Mary Black and Pauline Scanlon. Asha's latest single is saccharine sweet, full of yearning and euphoria as she dwells on a romantic connection that she hopes survives into old age. The video takes the viewer on an uplifting journey, expressing the rollercoaster of lust and adoration as Ari begins a new artistic journey: "Two lovers who’ve found their souls."
“Love is simplicity, love is beauty and love is this intoxicating but joyous feeling," Asha remarks. "‘Addicted to Your Love’ is all about celebrating love. This song is also an expression of my self-love and my journey of growth and self-discovery. I found my voice and I am ready for new beginnings and I could not have picked a better song to welcome the new Asha Ari to the world”.
sasha samara, ‘Under My Skin’
The Irish indie-pop artist's new single is taken from her upcoming debut EP Why Am I Still Here, I Never Learn - which is due for release on May 25th. The track follows the Belfast-based act's 2022 introduction 'Problems'. "You used to breathe it out, like a prayer / Now we sit in silence with your hands in my hair / I know it's not platonic / You're not just being nice / Barely fending off these feelings that we're trying to fight," sasha sings on the first first. "You got your claws under my skin / and I know that I shouldn't be letting you." Described as a losing fight against chemical attraction, the single plays with desire in the category of forbidden lust, unbearable tension and crossing boundaries. Wrapping the bleak lessons of our 20s in a brooding, ambient dark-pop package, samara's intense vocals are reminiscent of Hayley Williams and Maggie Rogers.
Sema Tecino, 'Link Up'
Teaming up with Ireland based Jamaican artist King Prezie, Nigerian-Irish act Sema Tecino has been knocking on the door for years. Blending dancehall and hip-hop to create a summer party anthem, 'Link Up' embraces the sounds of Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and Asake. According to Sema, the track "describes the nightlife scene as it is in most cities of the world today where friends link up hoping to also meet new friends then maybe an after party". With playful electronic embellishments and gleaming Afrobeats, it's undeniably addictive. Calling all listeners to the dancefloor, it's packed full of pop culture references and charismatic seduction techniques in clubs. 'Link Up' follows 2022 offering '100%' and 2021 singles 'Yago' and 'CZAR'.
Georgia G, 'Johnny Bravo'
The 22-year-old Malahide singer-songwriter takes heavy inspiration from fellow Irish icons like Roisin Murphy, Soda Blonde, Sheryl Crowe, CMAT and Sister Sledge. After being nominated for our Most Promising act of the year category in the Hotties, Georgia G's new single 'Johnny Bravo' lands today. The track features Jake Curran on guitar, Jamie Burke on second guitar, Derek "doc" O'Connor on saxophone, Paul Flood on bass and Ben Cooper on drums. It was recorded and produced by Stuart Gray in Jealous Town Studios, it's a catchy dose of personality-drenched pop, soul and blues. The Dubliner channels her inner Ricky Lee Jones on the single, transporting us into the summer months of toxic dating.
"Johnny Bravo is a reference to a person who has a hold on you despite the fact that their morals are questionable and every fibre of your being wants to hate them. The song combines soul, pop, and personality. When I was writing it, I imagined myself sitting on the beach with a fruity cocktail in my hand. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked with such talented musicians on this song, and grateful the sound I had for the track in my head has been brought to life. I've always admired Sister Sledge and Donna Summer’s powerful vocal lines. They influenced me big time!"
Maria Petrisor, 'Picky'
BIMM graduate Maria Petrisor is fast forging a pop/R&B sound all of her own, with the help of producer Alex O'Keeffe (Lyra, Bobbi Arlo, Erica Cody, Fia Moon). Following last year's 'Do You' and 2021 debut 'BF', 'Picky' keeps up the potential with slick, brooding vocals and dark-pop lusciousness. The track was penned about “the age-old struggle of finding the right romantic partner, set against the backdrop of popular culture’s influence on modern dating," she told Nialler9. “Writing ‘Picky’ was an opportunity for me to take a different perspective on a love song and the uncertainty of finding someone new.” Starting with a raw vocal performance and intense beats, "I'm too good at this / Feel like I'm emotionless," she confesses. It traces the push and pull desire to feel numb to the emotional pain of dating and yearning for a real connection amongst the toxicity. It sounds a bit like Cork artist Jena Keating's work with producer S P A C E in the best possible way.
Brother Vice, 'Never Change'
Kickstarting the band back in January 2020, the Armagh four-piece have since opened shows for local veterans Red Eye Pariah, Slow the Healer and Scarlet Caviliers, packing out venues like The Empire, The Pavilion, McHughs Basement and Voodoo. 'Never Change' marks the first single from their upcoming debut EP, Another Day On Earth, which arrives on June 30th. The project is described as "songs about reflection, hitting rock bottom, climbing your way up, finding your calling and getting back on the horse", all told from the narrator's view of living in a small town without much opportunity. Vocalist James Feely wrote their new single after noticing the behaviours that were holding both him and his friends back throughout the years, with a distinctive Sam Fender and Van McCann upbeat rock-driven sound.
“Working a 9-5 day job, going home, changing real quick and taking the stage is the norm nowadays for any band. We’ll work all day and practice until midnight sometimes but it’s so worth it when you see an empty floor fill up when you start playing," Brother Vice's James Feely offers.
Conor Miley, 'Thousand Yard Stare'
After Wexford-based songwriter and composer Conor Miley shared his debut single ‘Father’s Day’ in January this year, he returns with 'Thousand Yard Stare'. Spine-tingling layered vocal statements are paired grand, sweeping instrumental for "the final act of a love affair". The new video was Michael-David McKernan-helmed video features performer Dr. Count Evil. Much like his debut single, the diaristic pain and feeling at the core of the deeply personal song bleeds into every note. The song explores the struggles of anxiety and love, with intrusive thoughts acted out within the soundscapes alongside brass segments and gospel harmonies.
"“This song was originally written on a guitar I set about creating a dramatic composition built on 13th chords and orchestrally influenced percussion. Referencing the manic inner talk that anxiety creates, I performed the choruses as a cappella vocal harmonies. The gospel influenced finale to the song provides an optimistic and hopeful conclusion to the emotional turmoil that has come before.”
Landing after previous 2023 singles 'SX5' and 'Dazed & Confused', the carefree-sounding Dubliner has unleashed an electronic alternative hip-hop gem that puts further stamp on his unique sound. According to the man himself, “Trouble” was the product of a long weekend of partying, and seeing family and friends and realising that I might be the black sheep. Never starting problems but simply being one." RÓGAN raps with confidence and conviction over the bouncy WHSPR beat, fused with niche drum pockets and textured harmonies. The single acts as the third and final single before the next step, complete with an infectiously melodic chorus and bridge with old-school rap verses. Stay tuned for his forthcoming album, which RÓGAN hopes to release later this year. The Irish rapper and producer began his musical journey after being inspired by Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo & Youth in 2015.
Far Caspian, 'Own'
The project of Irish singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Joel Johnston, Far Caspian is back with new single 'Own'. The spectacular coming-of-age track chronicles that moment most can relate to if they’ve seen a good friendship fizzle and fade away. Creating the same effect as a nostalgic, poignant movie montage, the new video was also self-filmed and edited by the DIY artist. His anticipated new album The Last Remaining Light will be released on July 14th via his own label Tiny Library & Leeds tastemakers Dance To The Radio. Lofi indie-fuelled tracks 'Arbitrary Task' and the album title track have already been previewed. 'Own' has a quiet melancholy that reminds us of the pain that ageing can often bring, but a compassion and genuine joy for the life development a friend has made. "How does it feel to be out on your own?"
“I wrote Own about a friend who had moved away after we lived together for four years," Joel says. "I had also moved out and I wanted to write a song about that whole situation that is usually inevitable with friends. When I was young I believed the friends I had would be my friends forever but as I grew up I learned that people move into different stages of life and friendship can dwindle. There's a bittersweet thing to it, you're sad they've lost contact but happy that the reason for it is because they're busy with new things. I wanted to write a song that was from the perspective of someone hoping for the best for their friend.”
Bana Rua, ‘Ermoupoli, or Similar’
The five-piece folk rock band hailing are known for their four-part vocal harmonies, placed over an instrumentation of acoustic guitar, fretless bass, drums, violin, banjo and harmonica. The Waterford band have been developing their sound since 2016, performing in pubs and venues in Ireland and abroad, building from a two-piece to a five-member band and arranging rich ncovers of anything from 17th century Scottish folk songs to contemporary pop tunes. Their influences range from American folk artists such as Fleet Foxes, Simon and Garfunkel, and Crosby Stills and Nash; to Irish folk legends Planxty and The Dubliners. As the band expanded and found their groove, they decided it was time to write original music. The band have been writing in GOMA art gallery in Waterford City and recording in Clay Castle Studios, Youghal, Cork since October 2022. They plan to have a full album of original music recorded by the end of the year, with a few more single releases before the final album drops. ‘Ermoupoli, or Similar’ - named after the Greek location - starts with lush acoustic guitar and warm string segments before a conversational narrative sets in. Their sound, dripping in versatile genres, is as rhythmic as it gets.
Lydia Ford, 'Burning Out'
The Berlin-based Mayo native picked up the guitar aged nine, inspired by her love of pop-punk icon Avril Lavigne, and hasn't looked back since. Performing at Other Voices and landing major radio support at home and abroad, Ford collaborates with top producers and songwriters from around the world. Diving into indie, dance, folk and pop, 'Burning Out' is unbelievably radio-ready. "I'm too good at pushing down what I'm feeling," she offers on the glimmering, edgy single. "Broke myself down trying to chill out, I'm still burning out / What's the point in even fighting the words coming out of my mouth? I know that it won't last forever..." The single follows 2023 offering 'Sink or Swim' and 2022's 'Catholic Guilt', 'In My Head' and 'Hailee'. Her debut EP Bad Things arrived back in 2019 - here's hoping another one's coming this year. Clean production that highlights the strength of her compelling vocals marry a strong drum beat and rock-fuelled synths and guitar for a brilliant indie-pop anthem.
Evil Genius and JyellowL, 'F**k 'Am All'
'F**k 'Em All' and 'Shock Em All' land today after JyellowL dropped his addictive Shades of Yellow EP last week. "I never miss a beat / Don't bother watching timing...It's homicidal when I try to innovate a rhythm / It feels more like I'm hired to assassinate a victim / 'Cause I came here to make a killing, not just make a living," he spits on the first verse before a soulful chorus kicks in. "I never dyed or white-washed my Black genes / some people ain't rising up from bad dreams...It's our time, we're hardly next up / They can throw hate in our direction." The hip-hop star fuses his lauded fast-paced flow with UK producers Evil Genius for a powerful single, featuring a head-bangin' beat that combines rap, electronic, alternative, reggaeton, pop and more. Kildare-based JyellowL's ability to collaborate with pretty much any style of producer should be highlighted, it's one of the many reasons for his success. Give him a challenge and he'll run away with it.
Pigeon Millers, 'Windowsill'
The Irish band have unveiled the first single from their debut album, The Onlooker’s Redemption - which initially landed in 2021. ‘Windowsill’ is about a rebel who forged their own path; looking for something out of life other than ticking the usual boxes, shunning anyone else's approval. “I had people like Sinead O’Connor, in mind, genuine mavericks," songwriter Doug Sheridan affirms. "I admire the guts it takes to do what you do, and risk having people laugh at or scold you.”
The band's debut album is about a person who’s become a darker version of themselves and their journey to get back to being someone they recognise. Lead vocalist Doug Sheridan’s music has been described as a mixture of Neil Young and Jeff Buckley. His songs have recently appeared on TV and films including Love/Hate, Joyride & US show iZombie. Joined by Paddy Lyons (guitar), Ed Kelly (drums) & Steve Walker (bass), all themselves songwriters & multi-instrumentalists, Pigeon Millers' latest single embraces warm, evocative string sections. "But the wings that are melting, they can grow back again / The night's still not over, the wheel is still in spin."
One Flew Over, ‘Maybe In Another Lifetime’
Encased in lyrics by Irene Ní Chuinn with music by Irene and Martin Quinn, the poignant new tune is about losing somebody and processing through the aftermath. The song slows the tempo of previous releases and marks a solemn and raw sentiment, underpinned by an upfront and candid vocal with a stripped back accompaniment. Kells pairing One Flew Over was formed in 2019, evoking a sound full of strong melodies and weighty arrangements containing influences of rock, blues and soul. Martin was previously a member of Little Palace and a live touring musician with acts like TURN, Eimear Quinn, Hail The Ghost and many more. Their latest recording was produced by Martin Quinn (Ham Sandwich, Una Healy, Aine Cahill, Hail the Ghost) and recorded and mixed at JAM Studios, Meath. ‘Maybe In Another Lifetime’ follows 2023 dark rock single 'Rise' and 2022's 'Liar Liar'.
Drew Makes Noise, 'This Matter'
Taken from his forthcoming album Let the Whole Tape Run, enchanting new single 'This Matter' is a comforting statement from the Northern Irish indie act. Expanding on the production from his previous single - the hook-heavy indie anthem 'Lemonade' - Drew Makes Noise raises the stakes with the welcome addition of flutes, marimbas, and timpani. Acting as a gentle earworm touching on themes of teenage angst and curious minds, the hopeful single is a strong taster of what's to come from his debut record.
Ben Reel, 'Hardwired Blues'
The third single to be released from the musician's upcoming 11th album Come A Long Way, out this June, is a blues song at heart. The old school 'Hardwire Blues' has lyrical echoes of Stax' 'Born Under a Bad Sign or Ray Charles' 'If It Wasn't For Bad Luck'. Adding a wailing harmonica and twanging telecaster guitars creates the sound of Bob Dylan going electric in 1965. Mixed and mastered by Ben Reel at Drumill Lane Recording Studios in South Armagh, the rollicking new tune follows 2023 single 'Don't Fight It Baby' and 2022's 'Fish Out Of Water' and 'Isolation Blues'.
Onion Boys, 'How To Grow Up (on Tik Tok)'
Following their show at the Workman's Cellar back in March, Dublin-based band Onion Boys are back with a bang. Rapidly gathering acclaim and notoriety across the country for their infectious, raw sound and raucous live sets, their latest single takes aim at decision-paralysed millennials as they try to ‘grow up’ and face their fear of losing relevance in a social media dominated world. The music video was directed by long-time collaborator Katie Freeney, featuring a cameo from the band's lead singer. Having burst onto the Irish live music scene only last year with a string of festival appearances, Onion Boys recently played sold out shows across Scotland and Germany. The band includes Johnny Dublin and Leadpipe Dan, who joined forces in 2021, plus Sharky Steamers, Al Always Want Moore, Bad Bernie B, Rig Marolé, Brendan the Bricks and Cillian ‘Me Softly’ (we're presuming those are their "Government names") who contribute to the noise.
Ken O’Duffy, 'The Willow Tree'
The Dublin singer-songwriter has unveiled the third single from his new album, Sing The Songs - which arrived on April 14th with a sold out show at Whelan's. The song features ex-Saville/Pugwash drummer Joe Fitzgerald, and was recorded by Mark Healy (Skanger, The Josephs) at his Sound Yard Studios in Dublin. Sing The Songs was written and recorded during lockdown and is the follow up to Ken’s 2019 critically acclaimed debut solo album The Last Night At The Gentlemen’s Club. New track 'The Willow Tree' goes back to the bare bones of songwriting and forging narratives.
“My first musical memory is of Ronnie Drew singing ‘Weile Weile Waile’ and The ‘Willow Tree’ is in the tradition of a story song with a beginning, middle and end," Ken O'Duffy notes. "I wrote three different endings for the song including a murder ballad dénouement, but this less melodramatic version sees the lovers in the song using the knife to scratch their names in the Willow Tree."
The Bonk, 'The Blueshirt Shuffle'
The Irish experimental band shared their debut album The Bonk Seems To Be A Verb back in 2017, and they're still having fun. "And when the kerfuffle ends / Time for a reshuffle, friends / Kick your partner in their shins / Adjust your tie and dust your hands," they croon over a retro-sounding electric guitar riff on 'The Blueshirt Shuffle'. Last year saw the band release 'Trying On Oblivion' from their new album, but the textured, layered vocals and mish-mash genre-blending on the new single is next level. It feels as though they've got about 14 instruments involved, with a rockin' drum solo and plenty of lofi harmonies keeping it in the '60s territory. "Do the Blueshirt shuffle, fool."
Taylor Byrne, ‘Alexandra’
21-year-old Dubliner Taylor Byrne has shared his brand new single today, accompanied with a vibrant video. Following Taylor’s debut single 'Flashback Polaroid', 'Alexandra' was written for a close friend after hearing about their recent heartbreak. The heartwarming, joyous tune focuses on platonic love in the aftermath of romantic turbulence. Produced with artists such as Paul McCartney and Laura Marling in mind, the dynamic arrangement of the song compliments its clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and its quirky melody. A sonic shoulder to cry or laugh on, 'Alexandra' is a testament to enduring friendship and a reminder to treasure those who have been, and always will be, ‘right by your side.’ Taylor takes his talents to The Crowbar Terrace on May 17th for the single release show.
The Burma, '23'
The Cork-based indie rock outfit have released a brand new single today ahead of the release of their sophomore album later this year. Blending retro-filtered synth stabs with their usual rock-driven melodies, the track opens with a touch of the psychedelic. Reminiscent of the sonic elements of Beach House, Real Estate, and Beach Fossils; the single captures the longing for what could have been dabbed with a touch of nostalgia. Their debut album, Sucker For Stars, was the No. 3 best-selling independent Irish album the week of its release, landing on the Irish charts and placing in both the Irish Homegrown Top 20 Singles and Top 5 Irish iTunes Singles.
“‘23’” is the first song we wrote and recorded for our second album," The Burma explain. "It’s one of those songs that came together really quickly. The song you hear now has barely changed from its initial conception, which is a rare thing for us!” Vocalist Tony O'Donovan, Peter Piggott (lead guitar) and Clare drummer Cian Doherty will be performing their first-ever live show in the UK on Saturday, August 19th in London.