Zach James Douglas is an indie/alternative producer and songwriter, hailing from the South Dublin suburb of Tallaght, but brought up by a pint of Guinness and a packet of crisps in any number of city centre dive bars. Having previously had the pleasure of playing festivals such as Glastonbury and Electric Picnic with former band “Little One”, Douglas now steps out alone for the first time, with his debut single 'Something / Anything' which was released on 28th April 2021 on ZJD Records via Faction Records.
With musical elements reminiscent of Sylvan Esso, Grimes, Maribou State, and The Knife, "Something/ Anything" is a blistering track featuring guest vocalist Kintsuku.
About the song Douglas says..."Something/Anything deals with the bitterness and the anger that began to engulf mine and my Ex’s relationship, as she struggled to come to terms with her own personal demons and issues at home. It documents how my role in her life began to change from one of positivity, comfort and reliability, to the new position of the perpetual scapegoat."
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 is set to be an exciting year for Zach James Douglas, even if the first half of it will most likely be enjoyed through his aging laptop screen, while sitting at his parent’s kitchen table.
Anyone who lives long enough in a country learns that it has its ups and downs. “Ireland Song”, the upcoming debut single from Irish-American indie-folk balladeer Devin Reardon, mesmerizingly navigates finding home in a cold land. It’s about learning to find warmth in a handful of good people around you.
“The song really just wants to wrap you in a blanket of calm,” Reardon says. “That’s how I feel it’s been moving back in with my family in Ireland.” His mother, a native of Rathmines, Co. Dublin, moved back to Ireland from America while Reardon finished college in Florida. “I had a bad break-up after college. I felt I needed to get out of the States, and start over.” He too moved to Ireland, and within a few months, the first lockdown hit. “It was hard. But it also helped me realise songwriting was a way for me to manage my mental health, and reflect. It became a beautiful experience for me.”
The track is a heartfelt and deeply intimate indie folk ballad, about finding home. Reardon crafts a careful cocktail of sleepy-eyed guitars, sweet choral harmonies, and the gentle whisper of birdsong in the distance. Reardon explains, “It began with me just walking around Arklow, and recording random sounds.” Subtle use of synth and organ elements complete a lush, garden-like picture. Reardon’s voice is assured, and conveys a cheerfulness which feels authentic. “I turned all the lights off,” he sings, “and let moonlight into my wounds.”
“People always need more positivity,” Reardon asserts. “I just want to make some art out of this madness, these strange days, and try to find and share the beauty in them. I think this song does that.”
“Ireland Song” was recorded and produced both at Reardon’s home studio in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, and at the home studio of Arklow musician and producer Tristan Howurd.
Devin Reardon is a new Irish-American multi-genre contemporary artist from Florida, now based in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. After studying theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and Florida State University, at one of the top theatre programs in the US, he developed a deep appreciation for the power of sound and stage. Spending his summers working as a white-water rafting guide gave him a love for nature, and writing songs in the wilderness.
In 2020, he moved to Ireland to live with his family. Within a few months, lockdown hit. Turning difficulty into an opportunity for honest reflection and personal growth, the initially difficult time became, in Reardon’s words, “a beautiful experience.” On his upcoming EP “The Untangling of Things”, Reardon wrestles with everything - the struggle for mental health, homesickness, learning to love routine, and seeking to blossom into adulthood.
Reardon’s inspirations and influences are varied – from Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Beck and Queen, to Ben Howard, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jack Johnson and Sara Bareilles. Devin Reardon’s EP, “The Untangling of Things”, will be released in 2021, of which “Ireland Song” is the first of several singles to come.
writing music and singing stories, this is british pop allrounder gallia introducing her new single 'don't go there'
Gallia is pop-culture’s atomic bomb; an explosive combination of a fiery front woman, significant songwriter and punchy producer accounts for her booming reputation.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Gallia’s boundary breaking mindset pushes her to new limits, where 100% is the minimum. With a personality bubblier than gum, Gallia is bursting the bubble of gender stereotypes with her unshakable drive.
With only 5% of music producers being women, Gallia is making a statement with her next single 'Don't Go There' by both writing and producing it.
From songwriting in her bedroom, to writing with a Beatle, Gallia’s songwriting prowess was given a tick of approval in a 1 to 1 session with Sir Paul McCartney. Gallia has received support from the likes of BBC Introducing, Bido Lito! Magazine, SongLink Int. to name a few.
Gallia is a champion of performance, from sharing lineups with names such as Charlie Simpson, Miles Kane and Craig David to dueting 'The Power Of Love' with it's writer (Brian Nash, Frankie Goes to Hollywood) in Liverpools famous Cavern Club.
Don't Go There is a warning song to another woman about an ex-boyfriend - something that Gallia did when at 17, she discovered her boyfriend at the time had 2 girlfriends when she found 2 identical Valentines Day gifts in his car!
Dublin indie folk band Blue Fish Diamond have just dropped their new single ’Free’ across all platforms. Free is a stunning indie folk song that incorporates blues, folk and rock to create an unremitting rhythmic ode to life pre-COVID and a longing for its return.
With influences ranging from Tom Petty, R.E.M and Neil Young, Blue Fish Diamond bring a new delicately harmonic and refreshing take to a staple genre.
Produced by Gavin Glass in Orphan Recording studios, 'Free' holds a mirror to the thoughts of many of us in voicing hopes for a return to normal life. About the song Jim Murphy says … "This last year has been a very challenging time. Thankfully there is hope on the horizon with the roll-out of vaccines, but we are still some months away from enjoying the freedoms of what was once everyday life. Our song 'Free' looks forward to that time, when we can embrace ‘sweet life once again’”.
Formed in 2016 by Jim Murphy, Blue Fish Diamond released their debut album 'From Dark to Light' in 2018, which Hot Press Magazine described as “essential listening for those who like their music powerful and heartfelt”.
Their music has been played on radio stations across Ireland and they're also a staple of the Irish live scene having played Electric Picnic, Whelans, The Workmans Club and The Grand Social to name a few.
With several singles and an album planned for 2021, Jim Murphy (rhythm guitar & lead vocals), Shay Sweeney (drums), Ronan Quinn (bass), Laura Ryder (piano), Axel McDonald (lead guitar), Matilda O'Mahony (backing vocals) and Ella Ryan (backing vocals) are a band to keep a firm eye on as they are sure to rise the ranks over the coming months.
soda blonde release new single 'in the heat of the night', taken from their debut album 'small talk', which will be out on 9th july 2021
The debut album from Soda Blonde may be called Small Talk, but if there’s one thing the Dubliners do not do, it’s mince words. Out 9th July 2021 via Velveteen Records, the entirely self-produced album sees the group reflecting on their twenty-something experiences with refreshingly honest transparency.
“To put it simply, Small Talk is about life in our 20’s,” says Faye O’Rourke, Soda Blonde’s enigmatic front woman. “Every part of us is in here, both subliminally and literally. Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world”.
The second single from the album ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ is hot off the heals of lead single ‘Small Talk’ – and is now available on all major online platforms.
‘The music possessed an attitude that I wasn’t familiar with as a songwriter. It deftly evoked the neon of night and brought Scorcese’s Casino to my mind. Our goal was to create a song that had everything we wanted to hear. It allowed me to write, uninhibited by the labour of self-analysis. It’s a song about conflict - and getting a kick out of it. The thrill of the fight.’ O’Rourke describes.
All four band members (O’Rourke, guitarist Adam O’Regan, drummer Dylan Lynch and bassist Donagh Seaver-O’Leary) are seasoned musicians, despite their youth. They have been playing together since their early teens, with their previous band – the internationally renowned Little Green Cars, whose seminal debut album skyrocketed to number one on the Irish album charts. O’Rourke is the first to admit that when Little Green Cars called it a day, she felt lost. But a career shift for the four musicians wasn’t in the cards – and Small Talk is self-evident proof, different than anything the group have released before, but carrying on its back all the things they’ve learned.
Wholly unafraid to admit her flaws and defiant in the face of the world’s misconceptions, O’Rourke litters the songs on Small Talk with tension, playing with the reliability of personal experience. While examining the intricacies of big subjects – religion versus science; good versus bad; fate versus choice – Small Talk also seeks to unpack O’Rourke’s own conditioning. Self-assuredness grapples with societal pressures, anger battles it out with contentment, and frustration with a divide – between personal relationships and the world at large – is ever-present.
“With feminism on one shoulder and trans-generational Catholic guilt on the other, it’s hard to find your way as an Irish woman,” O’Rourke says. “The truth is, I’ve found that process of deprogramming myself extremely hard, and now I lie somewhere between the past and future.
“Small Talk touches on many things: indulging in the darkness, while also trying to derive some meaning from it; on having no degree; on the way I sabotaged multiple relationships, or let my parents down. It’s about looking for resolution and revolution in sex and politics. It’s about being abused mentally and physically by the people you love the most, and in turn, abusing the people who love you. It’s about my first heartbreak at 14, how it’s still intrinsically a part of me and the shame and embarrassment that it brings. It’s about having something you thought was a sure thing, like your career, ripped out from underneath you. It’s also about the idea of optical virtue over the reality of how we treat those around us”.
Through all of this, the band never claim to be role models. Undeniably a coming-of-age record, Small Talk is a dazzling portrait of someone who isn’t afraid to hold the messy parts of herself up for questioning. Between tightly stacked percussion and effervescent, radio-ready melodies sit plain-spoken truths and the hard-learned lessons of a group still at the start of what is sure to be a long journey.
Rising sister duo ‘Khalysis’, have just released their latest single ‘Diablo’. Developing their love of music from a young age, Olivia Crawford and Georgia Fletcher have influenced women’s music with their fresh vibe on modern pop helping them become fast risers in the Music Industry completing over 400 gigs and performing to audiences of up to 40,000 fans.
'Diablo’ is a tropical pop song which brings together the fusion of Spanish and English within its very catchy refrains and beat. The track itself demonstrates a powerful femme fatale who seduces and charms her lovers. It inspires the listener through its hooks that will stick in your head for days and could be the new hit of the summer.
Their upcoming single forms part of their current 2021 campaign ready for the unlocking of lockdown and joins their other song ‘Do It For Me’, released on the 17th December 2020 along with ‘I’m No Remedy’ coming out in May 2021.
‘Khalysis’ are certainly artists to keep an eye on as they cement themselves into the music industry and inspire the next generation of women in music.
The sisters have already achieved successes such as No 4 on the UK Official Top 40 and No 1 on MTV Trending Chart as well as being regularly supported and voted as BBC Introducing Track of the Day.
Irish alternative-rock trio 'Ugly Beautiful' have released a new single “Sunrise”, along with an animated music video.
The guitar-driven track is dynamic and engaging while also melodic and emotional. It is rhythmic and riffy, with thoughtful lyrics.
Kieran says, “The song tells the story of two people trying to help each other through this relentless, confusing, distracting world in which we live.” It’s a conversation - one person caught in their own thoughts, the other trying to help them get out of it. The chorus is a reminder to live in the moment - to acknowledge what’s happening right now in the present.
The music video was created by visual artist and animator Aaron Wiley. Kieran says, “We were excited to get Aaron on board to bring a visual element to the music. Aaron has done an amazing job, taking things to a new level altogether. His story brings a new perspective to the song which is exactly what we were looking for. It's a feast for the senses.” The video features a man working in a factory, going through the grim motions of life. A light shines through the mundane, showing him a different way to see the world, and how to overcome the rut in which he finds himself. The dreamy psychedelic sequences are the sunrise within the music video.
The band recorded the track in Data Recording Studios, Kerry, a few years ago. More recently, the vocals and synths were recorded and the track mixed by Kieran in his home studio.
Ugly Beautiful’s sound blends alternative rock with hints of grunge and indie, and features intuitive songwriting and thoughtful production. The band employs collaborative songwriting between Kieran Lane (lead vocals and guitar), Falender (drums) and Galagher (bass). The band was founded in 2007 and released several successful projects and toured extensively around Ireland between then and going on hiatus in 2013.
The band reunited in 2019, gigging in Poland and planning to follow up with a tour in the summer of 2020. Finding himself with a lot of free time during the lockdown, Lane dug out some unreleased recordings the band had made pre-hiatus. He re-worked and re-imagined the tracks, rewrote lyrics, added layers of guitars and synths, and recorded vocals and backing vocals in his home studio. The band is currently releasing these recordings and looking forward to future projects.
yard arms explore chronic instability while serenading alter-egos in adult swim inspired karaoke video for new single 'hollow ankles'
Quick off the back of their latest successful EP release ‘Sanctuary Lines’, Yard Arms are back again with their new single ‘Hollow Ankles’. By far the Bristol-based melancholic pop duo’s most heart-rending and serene track since formation, bursting with alt-90s indie sensibilities and post-emo lyricism set to soundtrack your spring time.
This record is described by frontman and lyricist Noah Villeneuve as “a musing on the chronic instability of life”. The track battles with themes of self worth, weakness and incertitude, all very fitting for the journey of the last twelve months. Recorded, mixed and mastered with Josh Gallop (Phoxjaw) at Stage 2 Studios in Bath, it is clear that their ever developing songwriting style is mirrored in the production of this track too.
Across three minutes you are taken on an emotional voyage showcasing some key Yard Arms influences, reminiscent of The National, Alvvays or Phoebe Bridgers combined with nostalgic hues of James and Echo & The Bunnymen. Hollow Ankles reverb laden pop atmosphere, coupled with Villeneuve’s lyrical emotional depth and heart on sleeve honesty provides a beautifully dark yet romantic world that Yard Arms love to be housed in.
The accompanying music video, inspired by their love of Tim & Eric, David Lynch, dive bars and 80s game show hosts, sees the duo serenade their alter-egos during an awkward yet endearing karaoke session.
While living in Singapore, Jason O’Toole met up with an old friend, Danté, to buy a t-shirt from him in a flea market. They began talking about music, and what began was a musical collaboration that would continue for years to come. Jason rapped and sang; Danté produced. Now Jason is back in his native Ireland, and in demand after the success of his single ‘Come Over When You’re Sober’, which received national airplay on Newstalk in 2020, and continuing his work with Danté.
“Amnesia” is a song which borrows equally from contemporary emo trap and from 90s heavy rock and punk. “All my favourite artists are dead,” he explains starkly. Having grown up listening to the likes of Juice Wrld and Mac Miller, as well as Nirvana and Sex Pistols, “Amnesia” is a self-described ‘average kid’ trying to find his way. A suddenly increasingly popular young artist, J.F.O is wise enough to see the difficulties inherent in learning to create music in a space which has not always succeeded in championing the mental health of its practitioners.
“It’s a big thing in hip-hop. Death. So I’m trying to navigate that, seeing the complications.”
The result is three minutes of authentic and vital soul-searching. There is a feeling of constant pressure in “Amnesia”. “When I die, I’ll try to rest/Until then I’ll do my best/Cause I know that I’m up next” J.F.O’s lyrics evoke the expectations placed on young people to succeed, and the poor personal health and mental well-being seemingly required for success. “I don’t wanna die but I think that I have to”.
The song was produced and recorded by Marlon Dantè Ingle (@13lacklisted) at House of Axe, 138 East Coast Rd, Singapore.
J.F.O (Jason O’Toole) is an 18-year-old emo trap artist from Dublin, Ireland. Since his debut single, “Come Over If You’re Sober” in 2019, he has reached over 135,000 streams across Spotify and Soundcloud, and been played on national radio. Most notably, J.F.O gained the support of Tom Dunne on The Tom Dunne Show (106.0FM Newstalk, Ireland), as well as Across the Line Introducing (92-95FM BBC Radio Ulster) with Gemma Bradley.
J.F.O’s sophomore mixtape, “love the way u hurt me” is set for release in April 2021. It will be the first of a series of ‘moodtapes’ crafted to portray key moments in Jason’s life, detailing the life of a young and aspiring hip-hop artist in Ireland. He is fast gaining a reputation for his refreshing sincerity, and his heartfelt approach to hip-hop.
This brand new EP from Rap and RnB singer-songwriter Kestine is the culmination of a life-long journey. Enchanted by artists like Michael Jackson at a young age, with the dance moves, beats, and swagger, Kestine knew that music and performance were the future for him. Combined with a Gospel Music influence from his parents, and the big impression made by the sounds of hip hop, reggae, and soul, Kestine began designing his own sound.
When he was young, other children would sometimes tease him about his musical aspirations. This only worked to push Kestine further into the world of learning piano, writing songs, rehearsing, and training for the stage. Soon after this, Kestine began to find a niche with rap as the rhymes and words would flow to the music. For the first time in his life, Kestine began to feel included in something and treated with respect.
A former chorister, with a background in piano, Kestine releases Reflection EP. Adapting a soulful influence with an orchestral composition style, the music draws on works by artists like Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. Utilising modern electronic technology and producing material that nods to the classics, 808 beats and cutting edge drum mixing walk with the traditional sounds of soul. As a Black Irish person, Kestine looks into the history of his culture through the lens of the modern BLM movement. Reflection EP opens a window on the past and lets the air in, the aromas and melodies bringing back all kinds of feelings. Growing up with a sense of wanting to be good enough, and now standing as an international talent, merging the two perspectives takes good leadership.
This EP has been engineered by Outsider YP. As someone who identifies with the outsider himself, working with this talent enriches the meaning behind the record even more. Designed to be a moment of looking back and appreciating where we are now, Reflection EP takes a good look at Kestine's interesting life through a diverse set of tracks.
The record includes U.N.I.T.Y. which is a direct address to the Black Lives Matter movement. As a black artist with a platform, it seems the right thing to do to use it for good. He asks his community whether they are looking out for all black people or just themselves. It's something many people have feelings on and this track will bring the conversation to the front.
Including more intimate works about wanting to be good enough and a good role model, this EP is personal, deep, and carries a universal message. Opening up the universe within himself for all people to explore, Kestine's Reflection EP is now available on all major platforms.