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 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
A. Smyth photographed by Mark Duggan / Artwork Illustration and design by Ian Clarke.
‘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.
Torpey aka Máirtín, is a 25-year-old independent singer-songwriter & multi- instrumentalist from Co. Clare Using the stage name “Torpey”, he started his solo performance career in 2018 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Torpey has been songwriting since 2013, drawing inspiration from Oasis, The Beatles and Bon Iver, amongst others. He was introduced to music at a young age as his mother is Kate Purcell, well known as a performer in Irish/ American folk group Cherish The Ladies.
“‘If I Could Paint The Sky’ was written about learning to accept the things in life that you can’t control.” – Torpey
‘If I Could Paint The Sky’, out 23rd January, is the first single off of his upcoming EP of the same name, which he has been working on over the last 9 months. The song was produced and mixed by Torpey at home during lockdown having written it the year before. He performed for the first time at his father’s funeral in 2019.
Until the pandemic, Máirtín was performing locally in bars in Clare as well as playing regularly in Dromoland Castle. He has also performed in Ithaca, upstate New York as a contributor to the “Songbirds” songwriting
weekend retreat with Americana group The Burns Sisters and Bobby Sweet.
Tommy Keyes releases a stunning new single ‘Any Other World’ on 28th January, a song of hope in these troubled times, inspired by the freedom of the birds during human lockdown.
“The weather was glorious in the first lockdown last May. Every day I would sit in warm sunshine watching birds in flight all around me, and contrasting their freedom with our confinement. A song emerged which I originally put out on a Facebook stream and this led to a performance on a TV show. I put the song away, not thinking for a moment that it could still be as relevant nearly 9 months later”.
A few weeks ago, the veteran singer-songwriter brought together three of the outstanding young talents in Irish music to record the song with him –Robert Molumby (Ana Gog, Let’s Set Sail), Ellen O’Mahony (ELKIN) and Martin McDonnell.
The release follows on from critical acclaim for Keyes’ recent album ‘Ageing With Attitude’, which also yielded top spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart for the single ‘Walk Away’ and a No.2 placing for ‘Go With You’.
SomeRiseSomeFall is an independent community of songwriters, musicians and creatives. The ever evolving collective brings together artists and vocalists such as John Blek, Rowan, Anna Mitchell, Kevin Herron, Marlene Enright and a large cast of musicians with producer Brian Casey, videographer Allie Glynn and artist Riona Ní Riagain, all with the aim to interpret & reimagine songs for unique new recordings.
‘Funny Time Of Year’ is a song written by Beth Gibbons (of Portishead) and Paul Webb (Rustin Man, formerly of Talk Talk) that was originally released on their ‘Out Of Season’ album in 2002. This new unique interpretation was recorded by Anna Mitchell & Band at Wavefield Studios and is the lead single from the forthcoming SomeRiseSomeFall album entitled ‘No Simple Highway’.
‘No Simple Highway’ – to be released on February 26th – examines grief, loss and enduring love and is the creative vision of Michael Fitzgerald (FITZZ Records) who established the SomeRiseSomeFall collective to highlight the transformative powers of music and collaboration. The album pairs carefully selected songs and performers and features all new interpretations of songs.
FITZZ Records funds community projects with all proceeds going towards assisting organisations to help those facing mental health and other challenges.
‘Funny Time Of Year’ is released Friday Jan 29th on FITZZ Records in aid of Cork Simon Community.
Hailing from Clonmel Co. Tipperary, prominent writer and published poet Cathal O’Reilly is making his music debut working alongside prominent producer Chris Kabs, whose work includes that of rising star JYellowL.
The two track EP, ‘Potential’, was written, pre-recorded in Cathal’s home in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. ‘Posting’ was then recorded in a studio in Castlegregory outside the picturesque surroundings of Dingle, Co Kerry.
‘Posting’, explores how we view and interact with social media. Delving into the social media influencer mindset and how we may view influencers and its effect on society. The second track, ‘Be The Best’, hopes to inspire people who have lost their way in their journey through life. It candidly describes the struggles faced by those suffering with mental health, but shines a light on the sense of empowerment that one experiences once they realise they can take ownership of their future and achieve their goals.
A prolific writer and mental health campaigner, Cathal’s work can be seen in The Journal, The Echo in Cork & The Nationalist in Tipperary. This has helped to raise awareness and open up a conversation around how best to tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health.
Cathal has also written a book of Poetry called ‘Catching The Thought’ – which is about pausing in the busy moments of the modern world. This was written in aid of C-SAW, a mental health charity in Tipperary.
Taking inspiration from Drake, Kanye West, Jay Z and A Tribe Called Quest, Cathal has set his sights on performing live once permitted and expanding on his growing body of work. He hopes the tracks, “Resonate with people and hopefully provoke thought and open up conversations that I think need to be had.”
‘Potential’ will be released on Friday January 22nd across all platforms.
RTÉ 2FM has revealed its exciting 2FM Rising list for 2021. This prestigious list, chosen by a panel of experts, consists of ten cutting edge music acts that will have listeners buzzing with their fresh new sound.
The ten artists are: For Those I love, Shiv, The Clockworks, Shane Codd, Lea Heart, Monjola, Robert Grace, Bobbi Arlo, Gemma Dunleavy and Plantain Papi.
In previous years, names on the Rising list have included: Fontaines D.C. Wyvern Lingo, Lyra, and Dermot Kennedy.
The announcement, which was made on The Tracy Clifford Show 2FM, will kick start with a ‘Rising Week’ from 18-24 January 2021. The ‘Rising Week’ will see the ten chosen acts, which 2FM will champion during the year, promoted extensively across the station. It will also broadcast exclusive new music and interviews with these exceptional artists.
Director of Music 2FM Adam Fogarty said: “Rising is a key initiative from 2FM and RTÉ as the support of Irish music and Irish artists is an important part of what we do and what we represent. We’re extremely excited about our 10 acts this year and we feel the list is a fantastic example of how strong and diverse Irish music is right now. In a time when musicians and artists need all the support they can get, we hope 2FM Rising can be a benefit to these artists on their respective journeys to bigger things.”
Each of this years ten acts will also receive a €1,000 bursary from IMRO.
IMRO Chief Executive Victor Finn said “IMRO is delighted to play its part in assisting some of our finest new musical talent realise their creative and career goals in the year ahead. It has been an incredibly challenging time for the music and wider artistic community and the 2FM Rising initiative will provide an invaluable promotional and support platform for all of the participating acts throughout 2021.”
2FM Rising is an artist development initiative providing airplay, promotional and content opportunities for its chosen participants.
Davie Furey’s new album, ‘Haunted Streets’, features some of Ireland’s top musicians including, Steve Wickham (The Waterboys), Darren Holden (The High Kings), ELLYD, Susan O’Neill (SON), Clare Sands, Robbie Campion, Martin Quinn, Andrew Quinn and Francie Conway.
Of the 11 new tracks on the album, ‘Secret Light’, ‘Flames On The River’, ‘Fire n’Gold’ and ‘The Final Frontier’ have all reached number one as singles on the Irish Singer/Songwriter and Rock download charts.
These singles have also been on the RTÉ Radio 1 Recommend List as well as being PLAYIRISH Song of the Week on many regional stations including KCLR FM and Ocean FM. ‘Haunted Streets’ sees Davie Furey at the peak of his storytelling powers, writing from the heart and connecting with music fans around the world. The emotive power of Davie’s lyrics and his stellar cast of musicians shines through each of the tracks on ‘Haunted Streets’. From the Springsteen-esque, Trump-damning ‘Flames On The River’ to the emotional sucker punch of ‘Who Am I’ and the anthemic ‘Fire n’Gold’, they show Davie Furey as an artist who has a poetic gift for storytelling and a skill for melody which puts him at the very top of his game.
Songs from the album were previewed on his 15 date Irish Tour in 2019. Plans for an Ireland, UK, German and US 2020 Tour had to be shelved due COVID 19 restrictions but rescheduling of these dates is currently underway.
‘Haunted Streets’ is released 19th February 2021.
Dublin Native AIS releases her third single, ‘(I Just Wanna) Move My Feet Again’ on 22nd January. It was produced by Davide Tarragoni (Obnoxious D a : t a).
The track has a reminiscent, but hopeful tone. It’s an appreciation of the times we had and the times ahead. AIS wanted to release a song about how difficult things have been and how much we miss dancing. Davide perfectly created the melodic ideas AIS had imagined and more.
AIS speaks for everyone when she sings;
“I just wanna see my friends again
I just want to live”.
There’s a reason why we are missing the dancing,the clubs, the gigs, the events. The truth is, dancing and music connect us all. Having the luxury of being able to just go for a dance or to a gig unplanned was such an honour that can be appreciated now more than ever!
“I miss the energy
I miss the connection
Making friends with strangers,
any problems from the day you’re forgetting”
AIS says that at first, she felt upset thinking about all the good times in the past. Now, she is going by the motto, “I’m grateful for the way things used to be and hopeful for the future.” Let’s be grateful together for the good times and move our feet in our homes until we can move our feet together again!