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Derek Ellard is an indie folk artist based in Galway influenced by Sufjan Stevens, Villagers and Frank Turner. The Tipperary born musician started his musical career in post hardcore band Set On Black. After the breakup of the band, Derek moved to Barcelona and started recording his solo music. Upon his return to Ireland he moved to Galway and met like minded musicians. He released an EP Candour and played over one hundred gigs in the first year. Then Derek made a big call and deleted all of his music from online platforms and started again. He enlisted the help of The Future Business Model who are Joseph Padfield, Kyle Dee and Dylan Murphy. Derek has graduated from the prestigious BIMM and has supported acts such as Wallis Bird, Gavin James and Le Galaxie. Last week saw the release of new single Equal To Or Greater Than. This is the first of six singles to be released alongside an EP over the next twelve months.
Watch the video here:
Equal To Or Greater Than is a song about the Iris…
Kryan is a singer songwriter from Swords, Co. Dublin. His influences include Kodaline and Gavin James. He began dabbling in musical instruments at the age of 12 after being immersed in records from his dad being a pirate DJ at Radio Nova in the 80's. He currently studies modern music at BIMM. Kryan released two singles previously under his name Ryan Kelly. Alone and Rumours in 2019. Now he releases his third single I Always Knew.
No matter how hard you might try, there is literally no way that you can dislike this song. I Always Knew is catchy, it's melodic and it just makes you feel good. The vocals walk a fine line somewhere between pop and indie and probably just about the right line in fairness. To be honest, coming into this review I wasn't expecting to like it as I'm not a fan of Gavin James or Kodaline but I've been pleasantly surprised. On a side note, I used to live in Swords, not too far from where that petrol station is in the photo below …
First Day Lions are a five piece indie rock band from Moate, Co. Westmeath. The band consists of Brian Rabbitte, Barry Cushion and Justin McCann with childhood friends Adrian Rabbitte and Adam Cunningham being the two main and founding members. The band formed early in 2019 and take influences from Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Queen. In their first year together they released a debut album Time, supported Paddy Casey and Aslan and received glowing praise from Hot Press Magazine and RTÉ Radio. The band show no signs of slowing down as they have just released Summer Child, their third single of 2020. Summer Child is the personification of a feel good summer hit. Their are some definite groovy licks in here and the song just exudes happiness. This is perfect for driving with your mates, sun shining and top down (a convertible car, sunshine and friends are needed for this though). It's a shame that festivals aren't going ahead this year because this would certainly have been a cro…
Brothers Johnny and Michael Cronin teamed up with Fiachra Milner and Brian Murphy to create the band Cronin. The band formerly known as The Aftermath spent many years in the UK but have since returned to Ireland. The bands fan list includes high profile names such as Nick Cave, Pete Doherty, Noel Gallagher, Johnny Depp, Shane MacGowan, Bono, Niall Horan and Alan McGee. The group have worked alongside Shane MacGowan on many occasions and even performed at his wedding with Johnny Depp joining them on guitar. They have just released a mini album called A View From The Next Room. The cover photo of which was taken by Paul Gallagher, brother of the Oasis duo. About the EP, Mick says "Some of these mixes have been about for sometime and others are relatively fresh. With us unable to work in the studio we thought now would be a good time to release these as a mini album. It's a diverse mix compared to our releases so far, it shows another side of what we have in our heads." Th…
Barry Lally, Graham Fagan, Daniel Rooney and Cian McCluskey formed modernlove in 2014. Since then the Drogheda band have been going from strength to strength accumulating fans and admirers along the way. They have been raved about by Hot Press Magazine, played on 2FM and recently got a spot on Spotify's New Music Friday Playlist with their latest single If You Wanna See Me.
If You Wanna See Me is an experimental offering from the group with sounds reminiscent of 80's U2 and Sigur Rós. The vocals are sometimes layered beneath the electro synth sounds which creates a fascinating experience trying to separate one from the other. The band took a big risk with a song like this but the risk has definitely paid off as this is a triumph.
Johnny Bourke is a musician from Co. Tipperary. Having spent many years as a session musician, a job which took him to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, Johnny is now heading out on his own and released his debut single Can't Do Without. Johnny lists his influences as John Mayer, Khalid and Shawn Mendes.
Johnny Bourke · Can't Do Without Can't Do Without is catchy as hell and uplifting in so many ways. The guitar is in perfect harmony with Jonny's vocals and creates a really exuberant sound. This is a very accomplished single and considering it's his first that means the excitement is building for what's next to come.
Belfast five piece Civil Simian are back with new single The Miner. Following on from the brilliant single and video Bramble reviewed on this blog earlier this year, Ruari McCloskey, Sean McCann, Ben Fleming, Marty Price and Colm O'Flynn offer up this song about an Australian miner who emerges from underground after many years and struggles to reintegrate.
Watch the lyric video here:
The Miner is another cinematic style tale from Civil Simian. The band have a knack for for being able to write songs that tell an interesting story and keep the listener engaged from start to finish. Both the music and vocals are marvellous.
Topher Joe and Jordi Sunshine are the duo behind Belfast band KoosKoos. The band formed in 2018 on a mission to provide Belfast with soulful tunes. They have been regular performers at The Dirty Onion amongst other venues. Topher Joe studied music at Ulster University and went on to join many choirs and even played at Carnegie Hall (insert Father Ted joke here). During his final year of university he started a barbershop quartet. The band want to celebrate pop music from the past whilst having some fun with it. Earlier this week they released their new single Connie.
Connie is an ode to a dearly departed dog and offers both happiness and sorrow in equal measures. The song itself is uplifting in nature with some infectious music and a chorus that you can't help but hum along to. However there are also moments of pure heartache as it's clear how much this dog meant to him. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog.
Tommy Cullen is a singer songwriter from Dublin who last featured on this blog back in May with the release his single More Than You Know. The former frontman of The False And The Fair is now back with his latest single Where You Go. The song was recorded at Hellfire Studio, Dublin.
Tommy Cullen · Where You Go Where You Go has a profound wistfulness to it. It's short and beautiful. Tommy's vocals penetrate your chest and pull at your heart strings. It might be the whisky but this damn near brought a tear to my eye. It's reminiscent of the great Elliott Smith with its vulnerability. This is one I will go back to again and again and again.
Jack Devlin is a 21 year old songwriter from Co. Down. His live gigs have been attracting attention on the Northern Irish scene and have drawn comparisons to Kings Of Leon, Jeff Buckley, Razorlight and Paolo Nutini, Jack has already supported well established artists such as David Keenan and Hermitage Green. Summer is the debut release from this exciting new singer.
Summer is an impressive debut from this young singer. Whilst I'm not a fan of the chorus, there is a lot of positives to take away from this single. Jack's songwriting is very accomplished and his vocal talent is evident. The part I wasn't so keen on was the generic Sam Smith style vocal on the line "are you ready for Summer?". Other than that it's pretty damn good.
About the song Jack says "This song is about how life carries you through the years, how things within life evolve, drafting moments and memories from past summers and admiring the future in those moments of euphoria. …
Lōwli (Roisin Lowry) is a neoclassical composer and songwriter from Galway. After emerging onto the music scene with her single Fallow in 2016, Lōwli followed up with her debut EP Feathers in 2019. The EP received some high praise and saw the young musician appear on Other Voices, Sofar Sounds and Sounds From A Safe Harbour. Now she is back with her first release of the year in the form of Cavalry which was recorded at Hellfire Studio, Dublin.
Lōwli · Cavalry Cavalry is a showcase for the incredible talent that Lōwli clearly possesses. Her voice is celestial whilst her piano playing is just stunning. It's impossible to not be 100% focused on this song as soon as the first note is played. It's as if nothing else matters for those three minutes and fifty seconds. Getting lost in Lōwli's voice is quite easy and highly recommended.
Readers of this blog will be no stranger to Yana. She is a singer songwriter who has strong ties to Ireland but is based in Czech Republic. Between September 2019 and March 2020, Yana released three singles in the lead up to her brand new debut EP Distant Shore. The three singles that feature on the EP were Distant Shore, Will You Be There? and Trapped In A Cage. The only song from the EP not previously released is The Book Of Your Life. Yana calls this song her special song as it is a tribute to the late Fergus O'Farrell of Cork band Interference. In a touching appreciation, the EP was released on June 30th to coincide with Fergus' birthday. The EP is available to stream on SoundCloud or to purchase on CD from Bandcamp. Links to both are below.
Watch the video for The Book Of Your Life here:
The EP begins with the title track Distant Shore. This song was written about the abortion referendum of 2018 and features Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers fame on piano and backing vo…
Joe S is a folk rocker from Laois. Since 2018, the musician has been making a name for himself by playing twice at Electric Picnic, playing in a cave in Tipperary 150 feet underground and also playing Whelans, Roisin Dubh, Sugar Club and Fibber Magee's. Not content with music, Joe has also appeared in Game Of Thrones and Vikings. During lockdown, Joe wrote his new single The Lockdown (Stay With Me) which features Dan Konopka (the drummer from OK Go), 150 voices from around the world and was produced by the grammy award winning Brian Vibberts. All proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the Covid-19 Response Fund organised by Community Foundation (www.communityfoundation.ie).
Watch the video here:
The Lockdown (Stay With Me) is an inspirational song of hope and togetherness. Joe S delivers lyrics that offer a respite to the negative emotions that many people are feeling right now. His words choir and the tremendous drumming enhance the song and Joe's vocals bril…
Quinn is an indie pop songwriter from Belfast who has just released her debut single Trespasser. Quinn has already been making a name for herself on the live music scene including gigs in Ireland, USA, UK, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates. She has also performed at festivals such as NI Open, Belfast Gin Festival, Culture Night Belfast and Derry Fashion Fest. Quinn has supported acts such as Hermitage Green, Ken Haddock, Ryan McMullan and James Cottriall. In January 2020, Quinn wanted to take her music to a wider audience so she self funded a tour which included dates in Amsterdam, Cambridge, Manchester and Dublin.
Quinn · TRESPASSER Trespasser is a slow burning pop song. The lyrics become deeper and deeper with each listen. Quinn opens up and lays her insecurities out for all to see on her debut single. Mental health issues are at the forefront and Quinn discusses them elegantly yet playfully. The song was written in 20 minutes on an acoustic guitar during a trip to Ve…
Stephen Rainey is a singer songwriter from Antrim. Having been the frontman for local rock band The Hangfires, Stephen has decided to finally put out his own more mellow tracks. Armed only with a second hand Mac and a cheap mic, Stephen has forgone the usual route of a musician and has recorded all of the songs himself at home with admittedly varied results. He recently released his Collaboration Experimentation EP which is five songs each featuring a different artist or artists. Three of the songs feature vocalist Ellen Louise whilst other songs feature Richard Murray, Daryl Ball and John McCullough.
The EP begins with These Tears which is the only song on the EP actually recorded in a studio. The track is a solid pop song with a nice melody and flow. The gentle piano adds a nice touch. These Tears: Tonight is the first of three duets with Ellen Louise and also features Richard Murray on guitar. The vocal harmonies between Stephen and Ellen are very enjoyable as they clearly have an …
Indie folk band Rowan from Cork are known for their rich compositions and harmonious melodies. This was evident on their recent singles Finish Line and Big Wave. The trio are planning on releasing a brand new EP No One Is Safe Here in August. The first single from that EP was released on June 26th. The band describe Moonlight as the perfect summer song despite gigs and festivals being cancelled.
Moonlight is a huge indie rock song. The sound the guys have created is immense. The drumming is the backbone of this brilliant single. It's uplifting and most definitely a song for the summer. It would be easy to imagine this being played at festivals around the country. With Moonlight, Rowan have found their anthem. This is the one that will have crowds singing every word right back at them. Rowan have elevated themselves to a new level and it's exciting to hear what's next.
Off Key Collective unleashed a barrage of new music during the lockdown but have now slowed the pace. Their first single since mid April sees founding members Odd Numbers and Sea High collaborate on Doubt Me. Odd Numbers from Cavan is the group's resident producer while Sea High is a highly respected rapper from Louth.
Watch the video here:
Doubt Me is a short but brilliant hip hop track. The song features some beautiful old school style beats from Odd Numbers while Sea High brings his introspective rhymes to the table. The two combine perfectly on their first official collaboration. Both know exactly what the other is capable of which leads them to bring out the best in each other.
A.N.J.A. is a psychedelic singer songwriter from Belfast but originally from Germany. Having released her debut single Black River Falls in 2019, Anja followed that up with Deadly Fallen For You (And The Devil Knows) which I reviewed back in April. Now the singer releases her latest single Men Will Die Tonight.
A.N.J.A. · Men Will Die Tonight Men Will Die Tonight is yet another evocatively hypnotic offering from A.N.J.A. The bass guitar is sublime while the vocals are psychedelic and mesmerising. The song is very much rooted in the 60's acid trip era. It's almost as if she casts a spell to suck you in but you go along willingly and with no hesitation.
In-Is is the project of BAFTA nominated composer Sheridan Tongue. The Belfast born musician studied clarinet and music in college before going on to work as a keyboard player, programmer, mixer and orchestral arranger. During this time, Sheridan worked with The Verve, Blur, Robert Plant and Beverly Knight amongst others. He then moved on to become a composer for film and TV. Having worked on music for TV and film for several years, Sheridan now releases his first solo music in nearly four years. He enlists the vocal talents of Ailbhe Reddy on the single Daydream.
Watch the video here: Daydream is simply jaw dropping. The depth of the music is a testament to the brilliant musical ability of Sheridan. At no point during the song can you think about anything else, the whole world just dissipates and you're left alone with the sounds of a world class composer and the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Ailbhe Reddy.
Little Butler (Eoin Ó Cinnseala) is a folk singer songwriter from Meath who lists his influences as Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and Nick Drake. He is no stranger to live shows and has played in Ireland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and USA. It was in Australia that he met producer Mick Wordley and began recording his debut EP. Last week the self titled EP was released.
Watch the video for Streetlights:
The EP kicks off with Don't Let Them Get Away which is the perfect introduction to this man's music. It's refreshingly pleasing with echoes of Evan Dando and Josh Ritter in the mix. Streetlights is possibly even more beautiful. The music invokes melancholic feelings while Eoin's vocals are deeply charming. Coming Home showcases the storytelling ability of Little Butler. The addition of the female vocals works well to create another dimension to his music. Given Time features some incredibly elegant strings which are the driving force behind this song. You can actually fe…
CeeV whose real name is Caoimhe McAleavey is a singer songwriter from Newry. The Northern Irish woman studied at BIMM in Manchester. It was here that she began writing her own songs and creating music. However, CeeV wasn't ready to take centre stage so played in several bands before sharing her own music on SoundCloud racking up thousands of streams. It was then that she returned to Newry and began her solo career. Never one to settle for long, Caoimhe then moved to Ottawa, Canada and played as many live gigs as she could in bars, cafes and clubs. Now back in Newry again, CeeV is realising her latest single Lonely Night.
Watch the video here: Lonely Night is infectious as fuck. The tempo of the tune is brilliant and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Caoimhe's vocals are strong and thrilling. This is a damn good song and will be listened to again and again. About the song, Caoimhe says "The song's about sleeplessness, overthinking, nights out, basicall…
Darragh O'Dea is a songwriter from Tuam, Galway. He is gaining a reputation for writing narrative lyrics on life in an ever changing Ireland. He released his debut EP The Mary Robinson EP back in October 2018 and has been receiving praise ever since. He has played alongside John Spillane and The Whileaways and has also graced the stages at Lost Lane, The Harrison and Claremorris Folk Festival. Darragh recently released his single Lost Dog Loyal with all proceeds going to Cope Galway which is a charity for people dealing with homelessness, domestic abuse and the vulnerable elderly. Their website can be found HERE. The song was recorded between Sunstreet Studios and The Stables while the video is made up of footage submitted of people dancing at home during lockdown.
Watch the video here:
Lost Dog Loyal is uplifting and heartwarming. The folk song is catchy as hell and leaves the listener feeling very good about themselves. It sparks hope and joy through the reassuring lyrics and D…
Jam Hades, AKA Roland Zorilla, AKA Mark McManus is a multi instrumentalist and visual artist from Dublin. He has been a mainstay on the music scene with previous collaborators Daemien Frost, Zorilla and Merman. During the lockdown, the alt-folk musician has been releasing his SoVivid series. This began with the release of Winsome Stream and So Crazy over the last two months and now the third instalment is Iconoclasm.
Watch the video here:
The weird and wonderful Iconoclasm is a unique and bizarre experience. The song features so many interesting elements that it makes your mind wander from one to the other. The monotone repetition of the word 'iconoclasm' mixed with the brilliant eerie music is like something straight out of the heroin fuelled minds of Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld. The video adds another dimension of macabre to the track. Very interesting indeed.
Mute The TV are a duo of brothers from Greystones, Wicklow. Dylan and Elliott Crampton released their debut single With You back in April. The song was written in one hour at the kitchen table. Neither felt that it fit their solo projects so they decided to form a band together. Dylan has been forging a name for himself with his solo work for years now while Elliott is paving his own way after many years as the frontman for Redwoods. Last week the duo released their second single Only The Good Times Matter.
Listen to the single here: Mute The TV · Only The Good Times Matter Only The Good Times Matter is a feel good indie pop song. It's got all of the hallmarks of the perfect summer song. There's nothing but positive vibes throughout the track and the two brothers have created a sound that's instantly enjoyable.