Northern Ireland alt indie-pop artist Lauren Ann has released her new track "Blatant". The blistering new track sees Lauren Ann continue on her upward trajectory, exposing the depth of her song writing and the true grit of her musical prowess.
“‘Blatant’ is about a blunt end to a relationship that you cared about,” she explains. “It's about being let down by someone you didn't think (or rather didn't want to believe) could hurt you. It's about being left out in the cold, yet you still care for them even though they don't care for you anymore.”
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 centered 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.”
Having already earned praise from artists including Sir Chloe and Starcrawler, Lauren Ann’s upwards trajectory continues in the coming months with 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.”
With a fiery mix of grunge dynamics, garage rock exuberance and a hooky pop edge, Lauren Ann's music 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.
A key component of her recent rise was working with producer Declan Legge (Jealous of the Birds, Ciaran Lavery), which helped shape her raw songwriting talent into fully realised productions. By the summer of 2021 she put plans to study law on pause, and signed to Dublin label Faction (James Vincent McMorrow, All Tvvins) on the same day that she left school. It's a phenomenal achievement for someone who only started writing songs a year before.
With performances at Ireland Music Week 2021, and high profile support slots with New Dad and upcoming ones with SPRINTS, Lauren Ann has truly been establishing herself as one Ireland’s most exciting new talents.
Fly the Nest (aka Stephen Cooper) started playing music at a young age, performing in various bands. He started his solo project Fly the Nest two years ago, inspired by a life of moving from place to place. When not writing music for an advertising company in LA, he may be found working on his unique blend of film-inspired anthems, which he calls “cinematic rock.”
“I wrote this quite a long time ago.” So says Stephen Cooper, the mind behind Fly the Nest, of his latest single, ‘Say Hello’. “Now just seemed like the right time for this song.”
Featuring a blend of Fly the Nest’s signature cinematic rock, and a newly intimate subject matter, Cooper explains that this song sees him writing purely from the heart, a departure from some of the more global themes of his discography to date. This song permits a certain sentimentality for both Cooper and listeners. “Something doesn’t work out, and you’re waiting for that person to come back - you could nearly be waiting till you’re an old man. It gets into that.”
The track is built out of a haunting atmosphere, and a fascinating coupling with what Cooper describes as a “90s oasis vibe”. “I like to keep that cinematic vibe going through my songs. The emptiness of the start, by the end, it’s all built up. And yet this song is simple - it’s about the power of someone just saying hello.”
‘Say Hello’ was written by Stephen Cooper, and produced by Pete Doherty. Its artwork was created by Julien Jensen, and seeks to evoke a sense of idleness, and a longing for contact.
Over the course of their two albums to date, Klangstof have earned tastemaker tips from Clash, Complex, The FADER, The Line of Best Fit and Wonderland while also enjoying landmark moments such as becoming the first Dutch band to play Coachella and winning Best Alternative Act at the Edison Awards (the nation’s equivalent to the Grammys).
Fuelled by a rush of creativity, they spent 2021 away from the public eye. It resulted in not one, but two new projects: their eagerly anticipated third album which will follow later this year, plus the new ‘Ocean View’ EP which will be released on March 4th. Klangstof today share the first taste of the EP in the shape of its title track and lead single.
The ‘Ocean View’ single provides that the wait has been worthwhile. Downtempo beats and foreboding beats dictate the initial atmosphere, but the ambience then breaks like sunrise with a dreamy soundscape topped by Koen van de Wardt’s elegantly ethereal vocals. It possesses everything that fans have come to adore from Klangstof, but again evolves their sound in a forward-thinking and streamlined direction.
The song’s roots emerged a few years back during sessions in Los Angeles between Koen and bandmate Wannes Salomé. Initially titled ‘We Tried, They Failed’ - an inside joke referencing how unproductive that session was - it later morphed into ‘Ocean View’ with the help of fellow bandmate Erik Buschmann. Lyrically, it finds Klangstof relishing the uninhibited freedom of creating back music at home in the Netherlands without expectations from outside influences.
As Koen explains, “The feeling of being trapped that we had in LA is now completely gone. ‘Ocean View’ is like looking into an open world, a mirror of ultimate freedom. The song’s story is now the complete opposite of what it was originally about.” Wannes adds, “Where the verses used to be cynical, now they are now sincere.”
The rest of the four-song ‘Ocean View’ EP offers an exciting and candid glimpse into the band’s current direction. It’s informed as much by open-ended experimentalism as it is by the inspiring connection of simply being able to again perform together as a band. The result is a natural, almost laid-back approach which allowed the album’s sonics and emotions to fully flourish.
The entire ‘Ocean View’ EP was quickly put together after their next album had been completed. The songs were written in two months, and then recorded in just five days with producer Thijs van der Klugt in Studio Kabaal in Haarlem. It was subsequently mixed by Sam Petts-Davies (Radiohead, Frank Ocean) and mastered by Heba Kadry (Björk, Big Thief, Deerhunter).
Koen recalls, “Since we hadn’t been able to play live together for a while, we felt the need to record these tracks sitting in a room together, playing the songs from start to finish as a group. Most of the tracks have been recorded in just one or a few takes. The whole process was very refreshing, the energy in the room was incredible. We honestly think we’ve never sounded as much as a band as on this recording.”
Klangstof will follow the EP’s release by embarking upon an extensive European headline tour, which commences with a London gig at The Lexington. They are also confirmed to play a series of summer shows with the legendary Pixies. Find out about their upcoming tour dates here https://www.facebook.com/klngstf/events
Cork (Ireland) based singer/songwriter/producer Fintan McKahey has just releases a new single “Amber” on 11 February 2022. The delicate indie/folk song features Fintan’s signature sincere, brooding vocals, panned wide for an intimate listener experience, as well as slick production and reflective ambient sounds.
Fintan describes it as, “A love song through & through.” He says, “I was stuck in a rut for months, until my partner and I got the unexpected news that we’re going to have a baby.” He goes on to say, “After that everything just started flowing, it felt like I finally had something to say again, intensely inspired by awaiting our baby boy and writing this song for the woman I love.”
The song features Kealan Kenny on pedal steel and Fintan himself on drums, giving it a more folk feel than his recent releases. The song was recorded and produced by Fintan in his newly built space, Ivy Hill Studios.
Fintan McKahey is a low-fi indie singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Cork, Ireland. His EPs and several singles have achieved national radio play and press acclaim. He has performed headlines and showcases in major venues across the country. Though Fintan loves performing, his true passion lies with creating in the studio. He creates music that is spacey, chill, and at times experimental and psychedelic.
Since the onset of COVID, he has been busy building Ivy Hill Studios. He was named a Hot Press Magazine “Hot for 2021” artist, performed at the Hot Press Y&E Series, and did some successful ticketed live streams. Recently, Fintan made it to the final five of Hot Press’ radio initiative, ‘Irish Music Month.’ Out of 125 artists shortlisted, he was selected by Cork’s 96fm, which resulted in an outstanding performance at the final showcase in the Academy.
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.
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.
Co. Down artist CeeV (pronounced like 'leave') is releasing her new single 'Twenty Three'. CeeV, who's real name is Caoimhe McAleavey, is based in Newry but began her music career in Manchester studying songwriting at BIMM. Although immersed in music in one of the most creative and music rich cities in the world, CeeV was reluctant to showcase her own songs and instead took a more backseat role while playing in several bands in some of the most recognisable venues in the city. Although she didn't perform her own songs live while in Manchester, CeeV plucked up the courage and shared her work with real live people on Soundcloud and was astonished when her music reached over 30,000 listens.
With her confidence growing, CeeV moved home to Newry and began performing her own songs, slowly building a loyal following. Now with her craft as a performer and songwriter improving, CeeV decided for an adventure away from the safety and security of home and moved to another city rich in music and creativity, Ottawa, Canada. Determined to improve her craft she performed in every bar, cafe and restaurant that she could, learning every time she stood on stage.
Now back at home CeeV is finally releasing her songs to the world. About her latest release, Twenty Three'. CeeV says... "Twenty Three is a story. But it’s also a lesson. It shows two different perspectives of leaving a relationship. One might think it’s the end of the world but the other knows there is a future out there for both of you even though it’s apart.
I wrote this song as a lighthearted reflection. With influences from musical storytellers like Picture This and The Jezebels, I felt this meaningful story was best told alongside uplifting melodies and heartwarming lyrics.".
This year will see CeeV support Liam Ó Maonlaí, Lisa Hannigan and Gloria Gaynor on Irish stages.