My Twisted Heart is an alternative genre-blending hip hop artist, and the brainchild of multi-disciplinarian musician Po Ki Ching. in Hong Kong, and whose life journey has seen him live both there and in Ireland, where he studied at UCC, in Cork.
Developing an interest in singing and playing covers from a young age, while listening to canton pop, j-rock, and k-rock, his creativity blossomed when he met fellow Cork creatives Outsider YP and Kestine, with whom he formed ‘Outsiders’, a creative collective, in 2017.
He has gone onto collaborate extensively as part of ‘Outsiders’, contributing to their output over the course of the past few years, culminating now in an upcoming slew of single releases, and the hotly anticipated ‘Heart Leak EP’, due for release in January 2022. My Twisted Heart reflects on relationships, weaving experiences of relationships in Ireland, and injustice in Hong Kong, on the first single off his upcoming debut EP ‘Heart Leak’.
“On the surface, this song is about an individual who feels trapped in a relationship and wants breathing space.” says My Twisted Heart - the moniker of Po Ki Ching - of his new single. “But it has another meaning to me. It reflects my feeling towards Hong Kong – where I grew up, and where injustice was and is still happening.” A collaboration with fellow Cork artist Outsider YP, it sees someone speaking to their beloved, whether person or city, “Sinking to that bottom/You’re not dragging me down”. The pair both contribute vocals, engineering the track together.
Following the release of their debut album, SMALL TALK, Soda Blonde are back with special stripped-back EP, I Still Have Feelings for You, which was released on 26 November 2021 via Velveteen Records. The EP features 4 beautiful, never-before-heard versions of 4 tracks from the album.
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 earlier this year via Velveteen Records, the entirely self-produced album saw 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”.
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 was self-evident proof, different than anything the group had released before, but carrying on its back all the things they’ve learned.
Now, fresh from the release of the album, comes a special EP featuring new versions of album tracks: with strings versions of both ‘Tiny Darkness’ and ‘Choices’, an early demo of ‘Swimming Through the Night’ and the title track to the EP, a single version of ‘I Still Have Feelings for You’.
Between sublimely arranged strings, 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. Undeniably a coming-of-age record, Small Talk was a dazzling portrait of someone who isn’t afraid to hold the messy parts of herself up for questioning, and the ‘I Still Have Feelings for You’ EP is a brilliant extension of this.
1. Tiny Darkness (Strings Version)
2. I Still Have Feelings for You (Single Version)
3. Choices (Strings Version)
4. Swimming Through the Night (Early Demo)
Johannesburg-based singer-songwriter, Lee Cole returns with yet another brilliant power ballad as he releases his brand-new single ‘Cold’ on 3 November 2021 across all digital platforms.
Following the success of a string of hit singles with ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’, ‘Pink Dragons’, ‘Honey, Let Me In’ and most recently ‘Emotional’, Lee has managed to create hit after hit with his music. With a swarm of chart toppers across radio, Lee returns with his latest single ‘Cold’.
The single entangles beautiful orchestral parts, creating added powerful moments within the popular ballad sound that has defined Lee Cole. Produced by Lee, he delves into the development of the song and how the production led to the final version he released, saying “The production of the single started off with the idea of creating something very ghastly and haunting. As I produced the song, I slowly began to play with the idea of creating one big resolution within the song and I thought a string section could best bring that to life. The end string section has 12 different string parts all coming together in the end creating that resolution while still keeping the song haunting and ghastly.”
Lee shares how the inspiration for the single came about, saying “‘Cold’ was a song I wrote while in the USA in 2019. I was there for 3 months and was at quite a low in my life. ‘Cold’ represents change to me. It’s about admitting that maybe you don’t know how to love and that the person you’re trying to love is better off without you. Its bittersweet because on one hand you don’t want to feel lonely; you crave that companionship, but on the other hand you keep hurting the people closest to you because you’re scared to love.”
‘Cold’ is the last single out from Lee Cole’s debut EP and the body of work will be made up of songs such as ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’, ‘Pink Dragons’ and all those released in 2020 and 2021, with the EP available following the release of ‘Cold’.
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.