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.
Based in Dublin, pop-rock duo Idle Dream went through a few line-up changes to arrive at its current incarnation. Formed by Chris McGrath (vocals) as a bedroom project, he found himself uninspired and in need of adding a fresh face to the mix. Connor McCabe joined on guitar in January 2020, giving the project a renewed purpose and energy.
Influenced in spirit and sound by pop legends Bowie, Bush, and The Pet Shop Boys, the melodic and arrangement aspects of art pop as an aesthetic are important to Idle Dream in a big way.
Building up a repertoire of new songs during lockdown, the duo are raring for the material to be heard, starting with ‘The First Time’, which was released on 20 August 2021 and captures a wild abandonment tempered by responsibility.
Prior to Connor McCabe joining the once-solo project, Chris had already written and recorded ‘The First Time’ with producer Ben Haynes. The duo then put the finishing touches on the song together in Dublin’s Soundcaster Studios.
The essence of the song is underpinned with far more anxiety than the melody’s hopeful, uplifting feel would portray. It deals with the ideas of young love in its later stages, inspired by the idea of falling for someone wholly as you could when you were younger, but being faced with the push-backs and complications of responsibility and personal history.
On the verse, Chris affirms ‘I wanna know you when you’re sober’, digging into the ways in which we mask our trepidation and anxiety at the beginning of a burgeoning romance. The crashing guitars are powerfully emotive, driving the force of this feeling to peaks and troughs throughout.
The duo is working on a new batch of upcoming singles – and possibly what's shaping up to be an EP. Stay tuned.
irish singer/songwriter ryan sheridan shares new song 'fine wine' no. 1 on itunes chart when it landed
Ryan Sheridan has shared a brand new single ahead of his first gig in two years, and it's as gripping as his back catalogue of gems. 'Fine Wine' beat the likes of fellow contemporaries Dermot Kennedy and Ed Sheeran to No.1 on the iTunes chart when it landed.
The new song is an Americana country-tinged track which heads in a new direction for Sheridan; one which the musician intends to explore further on his forthcoming third album for Rubyworks Records.
Initially finding success as a busker, the multi-instrumentalist has built up a reputation as one of the country's most popular performers – releasing two acclaimed albums, The Day You Live Forever and Here and Now, through Rubyworks.
Despite rescheduling his German headline tour to May 2022, Sheridan has released a concert souvenir 'Live In Dublin' to keep his fans content until then.
Two years of no live music has meant Sheridan has spent most of the lockdown writing and recording from his home studio and with that has found himself delving deeper into his love of some great American songwriters such Chris Stapleton, The Black Keys and Nathaniel Rateliff. His third album, due out in 2022, is a love letter to those greats and a collection of personally curated cover songs that traverse decades and genres. Sheridan makes them his own by his mastery of the acoustic guitar along with his emotive vocals.
About his new song Fine Wine, Sheridan says.."‘Fine Wine’ is about the people that make your life better. The people who pick you up when you're down, listen to you when you need to talk and tell you some hard truths when you need to listen.
It was written on the back of a new Americana covers album that I produced over lock down. It was a new direction I was exploring and this is the first song I wrote in that style."
Hotly tipped as ‘ones to watch’ by CLOUT, Bristol-based rock outfit Little Thief have released their latest single ‘Freak’ today, the leading single from upcoming debut album ‘Under The Patio’, due for release in September.
Formed in 2015 by long-time collaborators Charlie Fitzgerald and Rhii Williams, Little Thief have created their own brand of raw, gritty and soulful alternative rock that defines itself. They have a handful of successful singles under their belts which have seen them play live sets at Glastonbury and Liverpool Sound City Festival, as well as receiving support from the likes of Steve Lamacq (BBC 6), BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio.
With interest in the band quickly growing, they soon began working with independent record label Funnel Records, who shaped them into the band that they are today. With the financial pressures of Covid decimating the arts industry however, Funnel Records sadly are no more, and so as a newly independent band, Little Thief had to turn to Crowdfunder to help to create their debut album, raising a whopping £5,000.
Recorded with heavyweight producer Stew Jackson (Massive Attack) at Rockfield & Invada Studios, Freak, taken from the album, was written for “that wild-card lover. We wanted to capture the feeling of excitement and fear that comes with those explosively beautiful people. We all know that person or group of people that have the ability to bring out our “fuck it” side. I’ve had a load of people like this in my life, Rhii being one of them. They are magnanimous and that knock on the door on a Friday night always feels like the beginning of a superhero film", explains lyricist Charlie Fitzgerald.
From the get Freak sees Little Thief’s unmistakeable soulful swagger shine through, blending crunchy, jagged guitars with Fitzgerald’s cathartic, raw vocals, visceral lyricism and Williams’ signature groove in a potent encapsulation of alternative-rock; taking the listener on an exhilarating journey through the protagonists “wild-card” encounter.
Lurgan based indie alternative artist BECAH has just released her stunning single and accompanying video 'Reminders'.The second single from her upcoming debut EP 'Freak', due out later this year, 'Reminders' uses BECAH's hypnotically tender vocal, backed up by electronic synths, electric guitar and vulnerable lyrics to tell of her experiences, digging deep and drawing into those darker parts of us we like to keep hidden away.
About the song BECAH says "I wrote ‘Reminders’ in the aftermath of a very toxic relationship with a past girlfriend. The coinciding music video, filmed by Chris McCann and directed by John Dynes and Chris McCann, presents a glimpse into that story - the good times I had with her in the beginning, to its violent turn. The lyrics speak of the struggle I had to feel like myself again, and how all my attempts to push away all the little details and memories of that time felt futile."
Having cultivated her art playing the local scene over the last number of years, BECAH has in that time secured support slots for renowned acts including that of Aslan, The Four of Us, and Brian Kennedy, most recently playing on the same bill as Brian Houston, Sam Wickens and Amy Montgomery. With inspiration drawn from the likes of Jeff Buckley and MUSE, BECAH has found her own unique sound - with a hypnotically tender vocal backed up by loud electronic synths and electric guitar. Lyrically vulnerable, BECAH sings of her life experiences, digging deep and drawing into those darker parts of us we like to keep hidden away.
‘Venus’ is about indulging in being in a whole different world when you have a special connection with someone. The lyrics portray you seeing the world in a different perspective when you’re content, especially with that certain person.
“‘Venus’ came about in the studio as my producer, Solow The Astronaut, was creating the beat. I was just freestyling the melody with a few lyrics here and there, then when the beat was done, I started writing to the beat. I came up with the second part of the chorus first, then the first verse, then the rest of the song,” Wendy comments on the track.
Wendy Godfrey is a young recording artist, singer-songwriter, and performer born and bred from the beautiful town of Drogheda.
Inspired by performers such as Beyonce and Michael Jackson, she has been singing and performing from the age of seven. At her early age, Wendy has written, recorded and performed some originals she wrote as a young girl practising and living her passion.
The RnB/AfroSwing artist, launched into the pop scene in July 2020 with the release of her debut single ‘How Far’. She later released the follow-up afro swing track ‘Bad Guy’, taking a big step towards global pop stardom in 2020, with the release of her debut EP, Purple Emotions.
Wendy was LMFM’s Artist of the month in August 2020 and performed on DCUFM’s Wavelength in aid of Doras. She was in the top 10 artists on the 2nd Annual Snow Globe Awards 2020 by Hot Hits. She is featured on the HotPress Magazine’s ‘HotFor21’. Lastly she was one of the nominees for HotPress’ Most Promising Act for 2021.
Over the last couple of months, Wendy has been working on collaborations with some up and coming artists like Evans Junior, Andre Fazaz, IK3. She is now embracing live performances as the country opens up gradually with her recent electrifying performance at Rhythm Encore. She aspires for her music to impact people in a very positive way by giving others the encouragement, support from what she learns in the music industry to build and empower.
“It’s indie rock’n’roll. But I’d like to believe it’s different to anything else out there right now.”
These are the words of Lloyd Lock, guitarist for Novacain. The band officially formed in 2020, but these four friends have been playing venues together in various bands across Portsmouth and beyond, forming part of the fabric of their local rock scene for more than seven years now.
What sets them apart? “Everyone is trying to be different, now more than ever. We aren’t different.” Lock is not unaware of the paradox of standing out by not trying to stand out. He insists on it. “We’re just classic. Classic rock. Classic pop. And… we think we’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
The band’s newest single, ‘Shine On Me’, is their fourth since the group’s formation in 2020. Featuring shades of everything from blues to 2000s pop-rock, the track is a system of cheeky upbeat riffs, and is laced with a crafty beat, a gorgeous vocal, and a lot of fun. ‘Shine On Me’ strikes a personal chord, while touching on universal themes, arriving as it does right now – as the nation looks forward to moving into some sort of new life, looking for reasons to hope.
“I need a resurrection for my pride/I’m like a treasure chest hidden at the bottom of the sea, so shine on me,” Daniel McTaggart sings in the chorus.
The voice is reassuring, without being preachy. ‘Shine On Me’ has rebellion in its veins, but doesn’t feel like conscription to a cause. This is a catch-free celebration of freedom. Novacain have put together a proper summer anthem for those ready for good weather - not just for the body, but for the heart and soul too.
The hard work of these four Portsmouth locals is paying off. Jokers in everything except dedication to their craft, they say, “We do it because we just love it. Working, holding down jobs, and making music together,” Lock explains, summing it up. “We muck about, yes. But when we make a song – we really go for it.”
Their bassist, Andy Sharp, pauses, hesitating.
“Is this a bad time to say I’m quitting the band?”
PRAISE FOR NOVACAIN’S PREVIOUS RELEASE:
“Extremely riff-driven, fast-paced, and utterly catchy.”
- Words For Music
“Wearing their influences on their sleeves and taking cues from pop music, Novacain have created an incredibly fun track that’s one of the catchiest I’ve heard in a while. Track of the day.”
- Mix It All Up
“Will leave you singing along within one listen… making it easy to envisage a crowd going mad for the release.”
- Love Music Love Life
“McTaggart’s smooth vocals add a degree of sexiness to the single, making it even more enticing.”- The Other Side Reviews
Indie-pop/folk songwriter Partland has just released his single, ‘After The Movie’, which is a sonic telling of untold endings, about the reality of love that maybe movie magic doesn't completely dictate.
Recorded a year ago and delayed due to Lockdown, the more time that the artist was left to sit with the song, the more it evolved. Its original mood was indie, but with valuable input from producer Dave Skelton (Amy Dillon, Conor Ward), a more upbeat, modern rock sound took form.
Borne out of Partland’s musings on the fairy-tale story arc of romantic films, ‘After The Movie’ considers what happens after the couple overcome their struggles and get their happy ending. Once the credits stop rolling, do they stay together?
The full, cinematic production carries the powerful emotions attached to these unanswered questions as the songwriter’s lyrics fill in the blanks: ‘Please don’t let this be your final act… / Oh darlin we could just pretend / Or is this how It ends?’
In keeping with its movie origins, the single is as much about the visuals as it is the sound. Lockdown gave the musician the time to focus on other aspects of the art – he hand-created a stop-motion video for each and every song on the forthcoming album, ‘The Empty Atlantic’. The accompanying visuals for ‘After The Movie’ illustrates the couple’s trajectory, their movie-based expectations and the sometimes painful reality.
Based in Galway, Thomas McPartland has been writing and performing for over 15 years. Gigging all over Ireland and further afield, he has supported the likes of Damien Dempsey, Ham Sandwitch, Picturehouse, and Heathers. His debut full-length release as Partland, ‘Sing Me to Shore’ received critical acclaim featuring on Charlie McGettigan’s radio show as his Album of the Month.
McPartland’s artistry has stretched from the sonic elements into new creative realms, thanks to the time bestowed by Lockdown. His next full-length will be a visual album, each track accompanied by a stop-motion music video put together by hand by McPartland himself. Originally only intended for the four singles, the artist then decided to go all out, spending roughly 80 hours on the resulting venture.
Currently putting the finishing touches to the album, Partland’s sophomore album ‘The Empty Atlantic’ will be released toward the end of the year.