Hailing from Australia, Erin Foster’s homegrown bedroom pop is packed with eco friendly glitter, potions and emotions. Writing songs from a young age, the self-taught musician utilises stylistic production to encapsulate the essence of euphoria, glamour and cool girl. Taking influence from pop alumna Ellie Goulding and Lights, Erin manifests a niche blend of heartfelt electronica as a means to dance away your woes.
'Friends' is the third single after 'Birthday' and 'Sometimes' have been released earlier in the year. The new track is about feeling unworthy - ‘I’m punching above my weight, they say you like me, there’s no way’.
Written during a challenging time at university, ‘Friends’ encapsulates feelings of inadequacy and struggling to measure up to your peers - 'my whole life has been lonely, don’t know why you’d want me'. The vulnerable and melancholic lyrics are accompanied by downtempo drums and dreamy soundscapes.
Erin will put out more singles throughout next year 2022. Stay tuned!!
dream eyes releases new song 'heaven', a touching reflection on resisting fantasy and making reality beautiful
If you ask Dream Eyes about his name, you’ll get some insight about who he is, and what makes him special. Born Tadhg Collins, in the village of Monagea, near Newcastle West, in Limerick, the music he makes now, all began with a difficult accident.
“Yeah, all these songs were after the accident, in 2019,” he explains, speaking of his growing discography, of which ‘Heaven’ is the fourth single in just over a year.”
“I grew up in a small village called Monagea – it was good! Away from the noise of the city. And I played guitar and sang since those days.”
“I was in a motorbike accident, and got hit by a car, in 2019. Yeah, it was quite a big change in my life actually.” “My left arm was paralysed for a year and a half,” he smiles, with his characteristic brightness and calm, “It’s slowly kinda coming back to life again…!”
The life-altering accident caused Collins to move towards electronic sounds, “I wasn’t able to play acoustic guitar for a long time, so I played synths.”
‘Heaven’ is a slice of rich reflection on this theme. “The synths in the verses, I think they’re ethereal, and dreamlike – it’s this idea of the sweetness of staying in your head.” Collins’ low vocal melody rides an airy, smooth production like a steady wave.
“Then the hook is harder hitting. I wanted to pull away from that dreamlike place.” Here the production ramps up, with Collins’ vocal picking up, and charging with a healthy frustration at living in a daydream.
All this is quite beautiful to take in, when you consider that this song, is the putting into practice of these ideas for Collins – a young artist who decide to take what was beautiful in his dreams, and make them a reality. With his singles going from strength to strength, on ‘Heaven’ benefitting from co-production from collaborator Kieran Lane, recorded in Sun Studios, and with mixing by Kieran Lane, and mastering by Chris Le Dantec of Draftlab Mastering, the future is bright for the thoughts and fantasies of Dream Eyes.
Irish multi-instrumentalist Abbacaxi has served a long and proper musical apprenticeship. Now
stepping out on his own, he has a fresh and heartfelt sound that brings positive vibrations and good times. It draws on his love of jazz, funk and disco with very modern dynamics.
Abbacaxi contemplates the need for simplicity with his new single 'More Than I Need' which glides from funky 70s Disco to classic House.
"I wrote this track because I was getting tired of the unpredictability of certain things in my life, which had great value. Over time I started to feel that perhaps less is more. Maybe these things weren't as important as I initially thought, and life could be just as good without them."
Hailing inspiration from the wonky feel of old-school disco, Abbacaxi add’s simplistic liquid bass lines with a nod to artists of the 90s like St Germain and Laurent Garnier.
Abbacaxi is an intentional misspelling of the Portuguese word for pineapple. With that fruit's sweet and juicy associations, and the extra 'b' a subtle nod to Abba's sing-song disco sounds, you have a big hint at what to expect from Thomas's music. Though his fun, effervescent character is reflected in his music, he is just as able to break your heart with his melancholic chords and neo-soul vocals. Musicians as versatile as Abbacaxi don't come along too often, so strap in and enjoy the ride.
Northern Ireland alt indie-pop artist Lauren Ann, who signed with label Faction Records the same day she left school, has just released her first single with the label 'Lucy'.
Having built a following with songs she released herself while still in school, Lauren Ann began working with producer Declan Legge (Jealous of the Birds, Ciaran Lavery), who helped shape her raw songwriting talent into fully realised productions. By the summer of 2021, music was clearly Lauren Ann’s destiny and she put plans to study law on pause and signed to Dublin label Faction (James Vincent McMorrow, All Tvvins, Sorcha Richardson).
A song about a love triangle among friends, ‘Lucy’ reaches new heights in her songwriting in every aspect - from the wider range and deeper emotion of Lauren Ann’s vocal to the gnarly rush of the guitars and a stripped-back breakdown. Lauren explains... “It’s about being in a relationship and then one of your friends is getting involved. You’re not angry at them but you’re also not happy about it and don’t know what to do. There’s also a bit of envy in there too, because they’re cooler than you and you’re scared that they might take this person that you like.”
It’s a concept that’s indicative of Lauren Ann’s wider lyrical approach. Her own experiences are the launchpad for her imagination to take those stories into bigger directions. It’s also about staying true to who she is. “My songs are centred around heartbreak and anger. I didn’t want to write love songs as it’s not who I am. So I ended up doing break-up songs instead.”
The 18-year-old always had a passion for music, her father’s love of classic rock being the impetus that inspired her love for Pixies, Nirvana, Suede and Muse. And she has been a budding musician ever since she hit her teens, when she traded violin lessons for her first sessions on guitar. Then when COVID hit, her family decided to shield to protect her vulnerable father. “I didn’t have much else to do, so I started writing songs,” she recalls. “I was hiding them from my parents because I didn’t want them to know. But then I wrote ‘Don’t Take It Out On Me’ and I was really proud of it. So I showed it to them, and everything started from there.”
With a fiery mix of grunge dynamics, garage rock exuberance and a hooky pop edge, ‘Don’t Take It Out On Me’ feels like a natural hybrid between grunge’s original wave of killer bands, but with a flavour of contemporary practitioners such as Sir Chloe, The Regrettes and Milk Teeth. It’s an even more remarkable introduction when you consider that Lauren Ann recorded it at home on GarageBand, recording vocals, guitar and bass herself and adding programmed drums.
Her second single ‘How It Works’ proved that her debut was no fluke, something that was underlined with ‘Angel Eyes’. The size of the reaction grew in tandem with her confidence. Seeing her school friends share the QR code for ‘Don’t Take It Out On Me’ was a boost, but things kept scaling up. Her first release of 2021, ‘Angel Eyes’, was chosen as BBC Radio Ulster / ATL Introducing favourite track of the month, while the first seeds of critical acclaim came when the new music bible Nialler9 included her in their list of the best new Irish artists.
Having already earned praise from artists including Sir Chloe and Starcrawler, Lauren Ann’s upwards trajectory continues in the coming months with a set at the Ireland Music Week and the release of her debut EP. Between her limitless potential and people like Olivia Rodrigo reintroducing guitar to the mainstream, Lauren Ann’s talent can take her to the top.
“Back at school, most people didn’t understand or like this music. I remember on non-uniform day, I’d turn up in grunge clothing and loads of dark make-up, and people would be like, ‘What’s she doing?’ But I liked it, so I did it. But it’s becoming a lot more popular. Now I want to play music for a bunch of people and become the best I can be.”
Hot on the heels of an RTÉ 2FM Track Of The Week with previous release ‘Breathe Easy’, Limerick four-piece Raging Sons are keeping the momentum with their new single ‘Square One’.
With their debut album ‘20:20’ set for release on 22 October 2021, ‘Square One', mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Sam Fender, Nothing But Thieves) is their fourth recent single, and a fire-starter. “We like to think about the ‘history’ of our songs, their story and musical evolution from one to the next,” explains Adam Reeves, the band’s drummer. “And this song… this is the sound we were striving for, all through the process recording of our album.” Guitarist Colum Kelly nods in agreement. “Yeah. ‘Square One’ is it, the sound we were working toward and a window into our future.” Raging Sons are a band that nearly weren’t.
After splitting up for a period in 2018, the band reconvened. “Yeah, we split up actually, for a moment,” says Adam. “Then we were like, no, hang on – there’s something special here, something worth fighting for.”
Colum chimes in again, “Yeah, it was silly, we knew we weren’t really done but we were frustrated with ourselves and how things were going. Shortly after we got back together we started working on the album”. Almost three years on, it's hard to believe Raging Sons ever faltered. ‘Square One’ showcases gorgeous synth melodies, roaring guitars, meticulous drums, all forming a hurricane around simply solid four-piece music making. Each of the band’s songs features a rock-solid musical core, with rich ornamentation. ‘Square One’ perfects their method.
Both Colum and Adam speak openly about the bands that have helped them figure out the sound which is gaining them notice, whilst ironically sounding strikingly unique. They are brutally honest. “I hate that bullshit – when other bands and artists repeat the trope ‘it's hard to say what we sound like, our sound is so unique…’” says Colum. “We’re not really afraid to talk about other bands and artists who have influenced us. We're all influenced by something - we're a mix, of course, of who we listen to, both individually and collectively – and that’s good. We’re not entirely unique. How can we be? Everything is derivative of something.”
Despite saying this, Raging Sons remain difficult to place. ‘Square One’ is evocative of bands like U2, Nothing But Thieves, and Muse, all at once. On top of this, the band have more recently steadily increased the incorporation of synth and electronic sounds into their music. “Yeah. It’s an evolution you’ll hear throughout the album.” "We love electronic based music. It's something in all of our tastes, in the band. We’re big fans of The Slow Readers Club, Public Service Broadcasting and Depeche Mode, for example.
There was a time when we were writing music that wasn't really congruent with the music we listened to and loved. We were just writing to write, playing to play. Now we don’t do that. Now we play the kind of music we love. The kind of music that feels authentic." Colum says, contently. It’s a contentment that shows itself in the good health of Raging Sons rich songwriting. Long may they create music which is in harmony with what they love – alt rock, indie and pop listeners far and wide are the ones who stand to gain.
Speaking of ‘Square One’, “a serendipitous, happy-accident moment," is how the band describe its creation. "We didn't have a prolonged amount of time to write, arrange and prepare this song, like we usually do, like many of the other songs on the album" Adam says. In fact, Colum, Adam and bassist Damo hadn't heard the song for longer than 72 hours, when it was brought to them by songwriter and vocalist Fint, before the four of them had it done, dusted and recorded.
"There's a different feeling with ‘Square One’, a rawness, a naturalness which came about on the day. It was a really fresh song when we recorded it – we just had fun in the studio that day - this song is what came of that.”
The lyrical message of the song concerns a call to arms. "It’s partly about challenging those around you to fight for a collective cause, to persevere through conflict and to raise the game for a shared goal,” says Adam. Fint Tynan’s emotive lyrics invite listeners to “choose your side, your side or mine.”
‘Square One’s’ music video further explores this - a devastating, black mirror esque production directed by Shane Serrano of Crude Media which explores how new technologies can destructively influence human behaviour and how the chase for viral moments can lead us down dark paths. A young child discovers a phone at a birthday party, and is driven by an excitement at the possibility of online acclaim for the bloody and brutal. It’s is not for the faint of heart, yet depicts a reality which hides under the surface of the social media services we all use. Raging Sons are using the medium of art they know so well how to wield, to observe the human condition, ask interesting questions and start uncomfortable conversations.
Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club, are back with their latest and most anthemic single yet, ‘Tell No Lies’; a huge synth-driven alternate anthem ready-made in time for the band’s long anticipated – and three times rescheduled – UK Headline tour kicking off on 25 September 2021 at the Foundry in Sheffield. The tour was originally penned for Spring 2019 to coincide with the release of the band’s Top 10 album ‘The Joy Of The Return’.
The single, co-produced by Steven Ansell of Blood Red Shoes and the band’s long-term collaborator Phil Bulleyment is accompanied by a brand-new music video featuring Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson aka DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan. Parkinson plays the extravagant faith healer who meets his match when he encounters protagonist and lead singer of the band, Aaron Starkie.
The collaboration with Parkinson came about through an unlikely meeting between BBC 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess:
“I met Craig at Kendal Calling, he was stood talking to Chris Hawkins and Tim Burgess at the time. It was one of those weird things where you feel like you’ve met before, I think Chris saw me trying to figure it out and then pointed out that I would know him from Line of Duty” Starkie recalls.
“We since got chatting on Twitter and he let us know that he was a fan of the band and kindly offered to be in the video. He’s a top bloke, so generous with his time and brought great energy to the shoot.”
‘Tell No Lies’ provides a step forward for the band, a fresh new larger sound, one that is made for a live audience - yet still stays true to a blueprint that has become synonymous with the band’s success to date.
Speaking of the track, Starkie notes:
“The song is about music’s ability to transport you somewhere else and take away your anxieties for 3 minutes or so. Lyrically it’s a bit of a conscious departure from our more introspective, existential, doom-laden stuff that we are known for. Feels like the world needs upbeat tunes now, as real life has been bleak enough.”
Irish indie pop artist Brí has just released a stunning single and accompanying video for her new song 'In My Head' and is also announcing her highly anticipated debut album 'Hide', which will be released on 22 October 2021.
Following on from her debut track, 'Low Supply', Offaly artist Brí sold-out her Whelan's headline show, received high praise from a multitude of blogs and radio and was selected to perform at Beatvyne's Music X Tech Experience. While 2020 saw performances at Whelan's Ones to Watch, The Ruby Sessions, headliners in The Sound House, Spirit Store and festival line-up announcements such as Vantastival, 2021 has seen Brí building momentum for her anticipated debut album.
About her debut album, Brí says..."'The theme of my debut album grew from my song 'Hide'. I've always held other people's opinions above my own and let fear hold me back both in music and in life. This album embodies the fallout and the resolutions that stemmed from this into many facets of my life. A loud theme that has been reinforced since the album's inception; the entire process of making 'Hide' in itself, has forced me to trust my gut and to honour my vision. '..From now on I won't hide.''
Her new single and video 'In My Head' continue Brí's journey as one of the country's most exciting artists. With each of her previous 5 releases Brí has gained more and more plaudits and more and more fans, as people appreciate a true original artist that mixes stellar song writing with fascinating visual accompaniments to bring the listener deeper into her world of self discovery and awakening that most can relate to.
Cork (Ireland) based singer/songwriter/producer Fintan McKahey returns with a new single “Lost Balloons”. The lo-fi acoustic song is emotive and nostalgic, featuring Fintan’s signature smoky vocals and pristine production. A mellow beat is met with layered guitars and ambient sounds.
In this song, Fintan reflects on how the pressures of modern life can get overwhelming. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that things aren’t always within our control.
Fintan says, “‘Lost Balloons’ is an ode to the slow life, a gentle reminder to take a breath and let life unfold at its own pace. Letting go can be the most liberating feeling there is.”
The song was recorded and produced by Fintan in his newly built space, Ivy Hill Studios. Built by Fintan and his team during COVID-19, the studio offers a variety of audio and visual services.
Fintan McKahey is a low-fi indie singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. An active artist since 2016, his 2019 sophomore EP “God Games” received critical acclaim as did his several 2020 singles, achieving national radio play and press acclaim.
He has performed in major venues across the country, including support slots for the likes of The 4 Of Us, The Scratch, Junior Brother, and Roisin O. Though Fintan loves performing, his true passion lies with creating in the studio. Writing and producing from a young age, Fintan creates music that is spacey, chill, and at times experimental and psychedelic, incorporating influences of bedroom pop and trip-hop.
Since the onset of COVID, he has been busy building Ivy Hill Studios. He was also named as a Hot Press Magazine “Hot for 2021” artist, performed at the Hot Press Y&E Series, and did some successful ticketed live streams.
"When I started out, this is what I wanted to do."
Gavin Conway never dreamed he'd be able to play music as a career. But before long, the young Dubliner began receiving attention as a house DJ in his early 20s. "The DJing took off, so I went with it. And don't get me wrong - it's been great. But writing my own songs, as a kid, was always the goal. Now that I’ve done this, these songs that are on the way, it’s really exciting.”
On ‘Throw A Stone’, Conway’s very first song as a singer-songwriter, guitars and his distinctive knife-like tenor are front and centre. ‘00s and ‘90s flavours are present, as well as nods to classic Manchester acts like Stone Roses and The Charlatans. Donal Bowens, long-time friend of Conway and popular drummer on the local Irish music live scene, delivers a stylish performance on the drums, and Conway’s thoughtful and accomplished vocal soars over the top.
The chorus hits lightly, confident in its power. A bright feeling pervades, as Conway invites his listeners to 'throw a stone'. Asked about what this means, Conway is visibly pleased. "One thing I'm proud of on this song - there really is meaning in every line. It's for each person to find their own version of what this song means. Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors." The second verse introduces a reserved but palpable electronic bass line, keeping the track engaging from start to finish.
Conway began his exploits in music in secondary school, whilst playing music with friends, before attending Ballyfermot Rock School.
Once his ability as a DJ was discovered, he began being asked to run his own nights, before going on to play the well-loved Ultrafestival in Croatia, hosting shows on Phever Radio and DriveTime, and setting up the Dublin house music collective, Seshin. Gavin Conway has also become known for his work raising vital funds for Cystic Fibrosis through 5K runs. All the while, a desire to play classically crafted songs on the guitar never left him. "I had loads of songs written. I just never got a band, never got around to doing anything with them. That was until the pandemic hit."
"Dan Cullen came onboard to help with production, and really helped me craft the song, and get it to the finish line. He’s always had my back through the process, and been a good friend to me. We recorded it with Chris Browne in Studio 44, in Swords.”
All this is just the beginning for Conway’s new chapter as an artist, and he bears all the energy of someone with dreams that won’t go away in a hurry. “Playing someone a song you wrote is personal. It's really special, and I’m so glad to be finally able to do this.”
Dublin songwriter and producer Zach James Douglas has just released his third single 'Anyone Else' and with it is announcing his debut EP '6x3' which will be released on 10 September 2021 on ZJD Records via Faction Records. The new single features guest vocalist Manamon, a childhood friend of Zach's and lead singer of their old band Little One.
About the song Zach says "In “Anyone Else” I consider the unexpected feeling of self shame that ensues once you have been broken up with. It is a retrospective comparison of the sentiment felt by both parties in the aftermath, with a focus on the bitterness and resentment that I had to deal with. This resentment is not, as some may presume, towards her new partner, but instead is directed towards how seamless the transition was for her. It describes my struggle to come to terms with how quickly she was capable of moving on and meeting someone new, while to this day, I still struggle to engage in a conversation with a woman without feeling an insurmountable sense of guilt, shame and sadness."
A recurring theme throughout Douglas’ first furor into the moody abyss of a solo songwriter, is the concept of nature versus technology. This is best illustrated through the stark contrast and combinations of natural, conventional instrumentation and synthetic glitchy soundscapes. However, it is also seen through Z.J.D’s desire to dispel the natural feelings of shame, anxiety and depression and instead compartmentalise and methodically process these emotions in a way that humans are generally not capable of.
With the promise of lots more music to come, and the much anticipated return of live music on the horizon, 2021 has been an exciting year for Zach James Douglas, even if the first half of it has been enjoyed through his aging laptop screen, while sitting at his parent’s kitchen table.