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Archive for January, 2021

Pyro Villas Release Highly Anticipated Single ‘Edalyn’

Indie pop band Pyro Villas are raising the bar with their brand new single, ‘Edalyn’ which blends figurative lyrics with beautiful pizzicato strings and a smooth as candyfloss soundscape.

The band have received widespread support from leading music tastemakers drawing comparisons to major Irish artists as seen in iRadio’s Kayte O’Malley statement “It’s LIT! The lead singer has a very Dermot Kennedy-y tone. Big fan of this.” 

And Spin1038’s Sarina Bellissimo commenting “What an exciting new band to come out of Ireland. Such a fab sound and vibe – with the confidence of a well-established band. I can not wait to see what they do next.

Pyro Villas have also gone on to sign an artist development deal with Bentley Records in the United States with the aim of expanding their audience base abroad and continue to develop their soulful psychedelic synth-pop sound further.

The band consists of Andy Gleeson and Killian Dowling who have been writing and producing music together for the last seven years, as well as talented musician Cian Guinee.

The song was written and arranged by Andy Gleeson and Killian Dowling, mixed by LUMINARY and mastered by Fergal Davis (Muse, Republic of Loose, Sinead O’Connor). 

To keep up to date with their latest releases make sure to follow them on Spotify here.

More tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts – Mick O’Brien, Emer Mayock & Aoife Ní Bhriain

This is the second recording from Mick O’Brien (uilleann pipes/flute/whistle), Emer Mayock (flute/whistle/pipes) and Aoife Ní Bhriain (fiddle, viola, concertina) of music collected by James Goodman (1828-96) in the southwest of Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century.

The manuscripts, held at Trinity College Dublin and now published in two volumes by the Irish Traditional Music Archive are of great significance because they preserve much of the traditional music of the south of Ireland as it was sung and played in the years before traditional culture there was devastated by the Great Famine of the 1840s.

This recording draws primarily from the second published volume while occasionally revisiting the previously explored initial volume. The manuscripts continue to reward repeated visits and provide new possibilities when viewed new and in a different light.

What the trio present on this new recording is a compelling selection from over one thousand tunes in the distilled edition exemplifying the range of material contained there while including some more unusual items unearthed this time around.

Having received a TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award in 2014 for their collaborative role in the revival of the music of the Goodman manuscripts, this recording marks a development in the trio’s musical approach, at times enlarging the instrumental palette and adding layers or paring things right back. The resulting sound is in places quite different from the previous recording having continued to develop through live performance for a number of years now.

Available on CD from January 22, 2021:
and as a Digital Download at

2021 West Cork Chamber Music Festival 14th Composition Competition for Young Composers Call for Scores

The 14th West Cork Chamber Music Young Composers’ Competition is now open for entries. Submissions are welcomed from all Irish and Irish-residentcomposers under 35. Past judges of this competition include Donnacha Dennehy, Lera Auerbach, Brett Dean, Deirdre Gribbin and Andrea Tarrodi.

Past winners of the Competition include Seán Doherty (whose work ‘I Am the World’ was commissioned by the European Federation for Choral Music), Solfa Carlile and Amanda Feery, (both winners of the Seán Ó Riada competition), Robert Coleman (NCH Jerome Hynes competition winner) and Finola Merivale (a Dean’s Fellow at Columbia University). Congratulations again to the 2020 winners, Ultan O’Brien, Niall Tormey, Liam Dougherty and
Luke Smyth.

The work:
 Scored for string quartet (2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello). Works requiring other instruments, pre-recorded sounds or electronics are not eligible for consideration.
 5-8 minutes duration.
 Has not been performed in concert prior to its performances at the 2021 West Cork Chamber Music Festival.

The competition will be judged anonymously and the international judge will select three winning scores on equal footing. Each of the three composers will receive:
 €1,000 prize money.
 3 nights’ accommodation at the festival.
 2 public performances of their work by a conservatoire quartet at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. The second will be the official World Premiere played at the quartet’s Town Concert (a date in early July).
 The first performance will be at a workshop attended by all three composers and the public. The composer will have a chance to discuss their work with the international adjudicator and the musicians. The assigned conservatoire quartets will perform the works as they are workshopped and experiment with compositional suggestions.
 Each composer will have an opportunity to work with the performers prior to the work’s Town Concert performance.
 Competition entry is free.

Conditions of entry:

  1. Entrants must be under the age of 35 on 1st January 2021.
  2. Entrants must either hold Irish nationality, be born in or resident on the island of Ireland, have an Irish-national parent, be an International student at an Irish third-level institution, or have lived in Ireland for at least one year.
  3. Each entrant can submit one work only each year.
  4. We can accept submissions from previous entrants and past winners under the age limit. Any works entered in previous years cannot be resubmitted.
  5. Works that have been performed in public prior to the Festival (25 June – 4 July 2021) are not eligible for consideration.
  6. Scores must be submitted to West Cork Music by 23:59 on Tuesday 16th March 2021. All scores must be submitted electronically. Submission must include a sound MIDI file of the composition, clearly labelled with the composition title. Please use the subject line YCC 2021 when submitting.
  7. Compositions will be assessed by an adjudicator chosen by West Cork Music.
  8. This competition is adjudicated anonymously. Any indication of the composer’s name or address on the score or on the MIDI file will lead to disqualification.
  9. Winning compositions will be announced on by Wednesday 21st April 2021. The four winning composers will be notified directly by email.
  10. All winning composers must submit instrumental parts by Thursday 29th April 2021 for distribution among members of the conservatoire quartets.
  11. It is a condition of entry that composers agree to attend the workshop in Bantry on Sunday 27th June at 14.00. In the event of non-attendance, prizes will be withheld. The festival will offer 3 nights’ accommodation to facilitate the composers’ attendance. All other expenses incurred are the responsibility of the winning composers.
  12. West Cork Music reserves the right to alter dates and times of the Young Composers Forum and subsequent performances.

Failure to meet these criteria will result in disqualification and withdrawal of prizes.

Please submit the full score electronically to Helen Dawson at: ei.cisumkroctsew@cisum

Submitting the Work:

  1. Attachment in PDF format
  2. MIDI sound file
  3. Please use subject line YCC 2021
  4. Please include the following information:
     Composer’s name
     Title of composition
     Date of birth
     Current address
     Details of Irish citizenship/residency
     Phone number
     Current place of study/work
     How you heard about the competition, e.g. university email or noticeboard/WCM website/past-entrant/word of mouth/teacher

Tropolis Share ‘Silver Line’

Tropolis is the new electronic/chillwave project from former Planet Parade duo Michael Hopkins & Andrew Lloyd.

In January 2020 they released their debut single ‘Oceans Away’.

Thoughout the year they released three more singles including an inventive cover of Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police.

Michael & Andrew met during their school days in 2000 and have been writing and playing music together for over 20 years.

They record and produce everything from their studio in Co.Kildare.

‘Silver Line’ is the first song of many to come from Tropolis in 2021.

Havar Announce Next Single ‘Frozen Flowers’

Havar are a five piece Alternative Rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Made up of two brothers and their lifelong best friends, Havar have played live sets in some of Dublin’s greatest venues, including The Academy, Whelan’s and The Trinity Ball. Their blend of a traditional rock set-up, modern drum beats and poppy melodies have drawn comparisons to Imagine Dragons and Kings of Leon. The last year has seen Havar retreat to refine their sound and write new material, and they plan to release their new EP in the summer of 2021.

Havar work closely with producer Martin Quinn (Ham Sandwich, Aine Cahil, Eurovision – “The Voice”) to create their unique indie sound. They’ve also worked with producer King Tut (Jessie J, Professor Green) and mastering engineer Jonas Westling (Lady Gaga, Newton Faulkner) on some of their tracks. 

To date, Havar have amassed over a quarter of a million streams on Spotify. In 2018, Eoghan McDermott chose Havar’s first single release, ‘Say Goodbye’, as his “Song of the Week” on 2FM, leading to numerous radio plays throughout the UK and Ireland in 2019.

‘Frozen Flowers’ is a somber alternative rock song with country influences. The song touches on the themes of uncertainty, feelings of being lost and searching for yourself in others. It opens with rhythmic acoustic guitar, a steady electronic beat and folky backing vocals. Twinkling electric guitars and pianos drop in throughout, building to a rousingly melancholic rock outro.

Havar releases ‘Frozen Flowers’ worldwide on all streaming platforms at 00:00 Irish time, Friday the 26th of February 2021.

Róisín O Returns With Brand New Track

Following on from her successful debut album ‘The Secret Life of Blue’ in 2012, Róisín O has gone on to release a number of hugely successful singles including hits ‘Give It Up’ and ‘Warn Me of Silence’, as well as her version of Sia’s ‘Chandelier,’ which received millions of views online.

A project of passion with the band Thanks Brother began in 2018, garnering a massive fan base and a hugely successful EP release in 2019 which included the singles; ‘We Are Different’, ‘We Caught It’ and ‘F*ck My Life’, while also playing to massive crowds in the The 3 Arena, Electric Picnic and more.

But it was the 2020 lockdown that brought O back to her roots, using the timeout from the constant touring and recording to reset. After receiving a huge response to her cover of Selena Gomez’ ‘Lose You To Love Me’ in June, as well as her involvement in the No.1 single ‘Dreams’ with Irish Women in Harmony, Róisín’s resolve to return to her solo career was cemented.

‘Heart + Bones’, released today, is the 1st of 4 tracks born from the lockdown and is just a taste of Róisín O’s upcoming EP. 

Written with Danny O’Reilly (The Coronas) while in isolation in Dingle, ‘Heart + Bones’ powerful lyrics, combined with Roisin’s undeniable strength as a vocalist makes it her most remarkable single to date. 

Produced by Philip Magee, (Kodaline, Wild Youth, The Script, Miles Kane, The Academic, Calum Scott, JC Steward) ‘Heart + Bones’ soars effortlessly, constantly building, as Róisín O belts out the poignant lyrics in a powerful performance that hooks you from start to finish. 

“It’s a song I was supposed to write a very long time ago and never did. 
It’s a confession, a truth that I’d been suppressing for a long time. 
It’s the most honest thing I’ve ever written.” 
– Róisín O

Official Website
Apple Music

New Release from Those Nervous Animals Spams Four Decades

Those Nervous Animals started making music together in 1981. Forty years later the Sligo-based band is about to release their first complete studio album, ‘The Mission Sessions’, consisting of songs from early days and from every decade since, the most recent material recorded remotely during the first Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. The core band consists of singer and instrumentalist Barry Brennan, bassist and arranger Eddie Lee and guitarist and songwriter Pádraig Meehan. On this project they are joined by Susan Rowland on vocals and by percussionist/sound engineer/drummer Tom Jamieson.

Those Nervous Animals were just a little bit unusual among new Irish bands of the 1980’s; they mixed blue-eyed soul, funk and indie into an uncategorizable whole. Producer Bill Whelan, excited by the band’s audacious approach (and assisted by engineer Philip Begley), helped shape the adventurous arrangements of TNA into something more radio-friendly, giving rise to two singles, ‘Just What the Sucker Wanted’ and ‘The Business Enterprise (My Friend John)’ between 1983 and 1984. A spate of sell-out gigs, major festival appearances, a mini-album (‘Hyperspace!’), a couple more singles and huge music industry interest followed. Producers Donal Lunny and Nicky Ryan also worked with the band (Donal produced ‘Damien’ in 1986; around the same time Nicky worked on the first demo of ‘He Can’t Resist A Mystery’), who were notably energetic and creative both in studio and in their live shows. Over the decades that followed the band members pursued various other paths, occasionally coming together for one off gigs and – in the early 1990’s – a tour and single, ‘Rocket Ship’. Again in the early noughties came a new set of Those Nervous Animals’ recordings and shows, including work with keyboardist and producer Trevor Knight.

In early 2020 a worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdown found the Nervous Animals in both a retrospective and a very contemporary mood. ‘The Mission Sessions’ refers to a famous Georgian house in Union Place, Sligo (nicknamed “The Mission”), where the very earliest rehearsals were held and where some members lived for a period in the 1980’s. The house – and entire historic neighbourhood – was lost to road building at the turn of the 20th century. The songs on ‘The Mission Sessions’ unconsciously capture a changing Ireland over four decades. Listening to ‘The Mission Sessions’, you are time-travelling inside songs remarkably prophetic of boom and bust, wins and losses, various dramatic cultural shifts—but some ageless sense of wonder is vibrant within these grooves too.

To meld diverse elements and sounds from across the decades, the group enlisted the help of Colorado-based mastering engineer David Glasser, whose work includes the restoration of materials from the birth of sound recording for the Smithsonian Folkways collection and also The Grateful Dead back catalogue. Glasser’s virtuoso remastering of songs like ‘The Business Enterprise (My Friend John)’ and ‘Damien’ gives them a new polish and detail and miraculously matches the dynamics of the newly recorded material.

The most recent recordings feature many familiar elements for people who know the work of the band; the vocals of Barry and Susan, Pádraig Meehan on guitar and Eddie Lee on bass (both Padraig and Eddie contribute treatments, sequencing and occasional vocals). Tom Jamieson is on drumming duties, and Seamie McGowan plays guitar. Nichola MacEvilly (vocals) contributes to the new recordings as does ex David Bowie sideman Gerry Leonard on Transatlantic guitar and mixing duties. The artwork for the album was done by a team consisting of designer Niall McCormack and Maria Murray (who designed the original ‘My Friend John’ single cover).

Bassist Eddie Lee sums up the sentiments involved in the making of the record: “Our biggest regret, looking back to the 80’s, was not that we didn’t become pop stars, I don’t think any of us were really cut out for that. It was not getting to make that album, as we always believed strongly in the originality and beauty of the songs we wrote and arranged. We felt it would be a special piece of work; it is maybe a little ironic that it took a pandemic to finally allow it to see the light of day.”

Those Nervous Animals release ‘The Mission Sessions’ 26/03/2021. Single ‘The Business Enterprise (My Friend John) is out now.

Debut EP from Strawman & the Jackdaws Out Now

Strawman & the Jackdaws is a Dublin based musical project consisting of singer-songwriter Riccardo Ranzani, drummer Michael Reolon, guitarist Jacopo Stofler and keyboardist and saxophonist Rory Fleming. The anticipated debut EP ‘F∇X’ will be released on 22nd of January 2021, containing the anticipatory yet well-known singles ‘Precious Star’ and ‘Swallow’.

‘F∇X’ is a bold opening statement from the band, highly representative of their eclectic nature, a constant within the EP tracks. This eclecticism is always harmonized by joyful and playful tones, even though accompanied by profound metaphors and imaginaries. Distant from simplicity and banality, the band’s first EP’s outcome is a set of tracks that are simple to catch and interiorize because of the intense collaboration between the musicians. The EP explores the meanings of the concept and the experience of traveling, driven from the belief that no matter the effort it takes, there will always be something to rely on and have faith in, a symbolic light emerging from shadows.

It was recorded at Flaked Studio with Adam Redmond and at Terzo Mondo Studio with Giampaolo

Rossi and mastered by Robin Schmidt.

Ranging over energetic, folkie lines, engaging  indie-pop melodies, and distorted riffs, the band’s strength resides in their Live shows and in their ability to entertain the crowd. After performing on Irish, English and Italian stages, the band is already booked for shows and festivals around Europe and Russia in 2021.

New Single Ahead of Album Release from A.Smyth

New A.Smyth single, ‘When It Calls’, will be released digitally on Friday 22nd January, taken from the debut album ‘Last Animals’ out 19th February.

“This song is about trying to use your own life experience to help the ones you love through difficult periods”   

All tracks on ‘Last Animals’ were written by A. Smyth and was produced by Darragh Nolan (Asta Kalapa) in his Wexford studio last year, and mastered by JJ Golden in the U.S. The album will be available on vinyl and digitally.

The album will follow a string of early and very well received singles released over the last two years with the songs collectively racking up over 1 million Spotify plays. Picking up fans more recently, such as Badly Drawn Boy and Robert Carlyle, along the way. The artwork for the album and singles is based on the old Irish coins.  

A. Smyth has played venues such as Whelan’s and Grand Social in his hometown Dublin, as well as performing at Ireland Music Week and Other Voices festivals – with an appearance on the latter’s TV show last year, as well as playing international showcases at Primavera Pro, Eastbound Festival and All Together Now (among others). Influences include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Big Thief, Marvin Gaye, Jeff Tweedy, Sharon Van Etten and more.

Rain Boys / Yeah You Said / Don’t Let Me Down / Say You Won’t Mind / Me And My Old Man / River / Hero / Out Of The Disappear / When It Calls / Tempt

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

A. Smyth photographed by Mark Duggan / Artwork Illustration and design by Ian Clarke.

Landers Announce Third Release

‘Washing With Water’ marks Landers third public release, out 12th February.

After only a couple of rehearsals, Landers decided to record a live session in a large warehouse known as KAOS in the outskirts of Berlin with their friend Aidan Floatinghome (works with Perlee, Wallis Bird, Hundreds). The upcoming release is the third installment from the session, with one more to be released after this.

Their first two singles ‘Clear Blue Sky’ (released April 17th 2020) and J’ust Thinking’ (released November 6th 2020) received warm reactions by the press and public. Both tracks were repeatedly played on An Taobh Tuathail (the flagship alternative radio show on RTÉ Irish Radio), curated by Cian Ó Cíobháin.

Aaron Cunningham from Northern Ireland’s Chord Blossom had this to say of Landers second single: “A fine example of the creative powers of Irish artists in Berlin, Irish-German trio Landers’ ‘Just Thinking’ is the captivating and understated result of a live recording session in Berlin by the new group. Intimate, ambient and unburdened.” 

This latest release is under the title ‘Washing With Water’. It features one track from the KAOS session, and another track that was born out of the piano recorded for the song itself. 

The two tracks delve into feelings one experiences when confronted with self observation. ’22’ and ‘Washing With Water’: resolve and awareness.

The title track ‘Washing With Water’ is a peaceful folk song that manages to express a deeply existential quality while the introductory track ’22’ is a collage of layered piano takes, performed originally for the title track. 

Both tracks feature French pianist Vincent Audusseau, who is a close friend of the band. Vincent managed to add a beautiful acoustic piano for ‘Washing With Water’, enhancing a feeling of calm throughout. With the piano being so beautiful on its own, the band decided to give it space with the creation of ’22.’ It opens the door to ‘Washing With Water’ by setting up a nice contrast that provides a more experimental and atmospheric sound, making ‘Washing With Water’ appear even more intimate and natural to the listener. Also, ’22’ is bridging a sound that points to the recent experimental Livestream performances of the band.

All three releases are available on hand made limited edition tape cassette, designed and crafted by Berlin based artist Daniela Elorza.

Landers are an experimental folk band currently based in Berlin. After they met each other by chance in 2019, the band quickly realized they shared a common drive to make music that felt honest and true to their hearts. Dazed and excited about creating something of their own, they started putting pieces of songs together from scraps of poetry and old lost demos.

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