Don’t be deceived by the madness of King Laura, she always has at least twenty irons blazing away in her creative fire.
Through her prolific musical output, she has developed a reputation as one of the most consistently innovative artists around. Her work is highly regarded by music critics, fellow musicians and the radio community, alike. Not content to just make music, Laura also takes a big role in making her own music videos; (collaborating with artist Sinead Nestor on these) something she is fast gaining critical masse for. Laura has an extensive catalogue of videos and some mini documentaries on her YouTube channel, all of which can be accessed by the public and for free.
Laura is also well known for stunning live performance. She has played all over Ireland and has taken part in major music festivals, including Electric Picnic.
After a summer of releasing a series of extraordinarily thought provoking, self shot, self directed, lockdown music videos of songs from her last record, ‘Easy Listening Dirges For The Partially Hinged,’ she is now releasing a brand new work.
‘Sunken Cemetery 1849’, written about the sinking of coffin ship, Hannah, off the coast of Canada, during the Irish famine, has already had a pre release on radio, clocking up play on radio stations all over the world.
‘Sunken Cemetery 1849’ will be the first single from Laura’s upcoming third release, ‘Sub Nubibus Margarita,’ due out in 2021 and will be completely free for all to access via YouTube from 9th October 2020 onwards.
Go forth and enjoy the music!
‘Borrowed Life’ is the newest single from CARRON, out 1st October, illuminating the essence of their recent summer collaboration series. At the start of Lockdown they reached out on social media in search of innovative creatives to join forces on a number of new releases. The feedback was far more than expected and has opened up a host of exciting new prospects for the sister duo.
Traditionally an indie-folk act, CARRON’s latest offering evokes a more dreamy electro-pop sound inspired by the nuanced production styles of groundbreaking artists like Imogen Heap, Billie Eilish, and Björk
When asked about how the pandemic affected their workflow:
“We were all cooped up together without space to breath, let alone write.” – Mella, Vocals & Piano
“There was so much pressure in that moment to create new material, but realistically too much time isn’t a good thing. We wanted a new and fresh perspective, and while this vibe wasn’t necessarily something we were looking for, we’re very glad we found it.” – Méabh, Vocals & Violin
Darragh McGrath, lead guitar, worked closely with producer Chris Ledwidge on the new electro-pop track, and it’s taken a big role in developing CARRON’s sound.
“I’ve listened to Carron since about 2016 and it’s always been about their stunning vocals for me so I wanted to leave that fairly untouched but set it within this ambient glitchy sound I had been working on. The arpeggiated keyboard sound keeps up the energy of the rhythms from the original track.” – Chris Ledwidge, producer
CARRON worked with denis. and wrote ‘Roots’ which bagged a ‘Pure M EP of the Year’ award (2016). They’ve also had iTunes #1 singles and have been featured in The Irish Times as ‘Ones To Watch’. Their previous single ‘Even Sad Birds Sing’ saw a collaboration with Amsterdam based producer Kobina, and was supported by RTE 2FM, 98fm, Nialler9, District Mag, Four Four Mag + more
The emotive music video for ‘Borrowed Life’, shot and directed by Lukasz Pytlik, depicts a Black Mirror-esque future whereby AR (augmented reality) technology allows us to see the world through the lens of our fondest memories. Upon revisiting his old home, our nameless protagonist recalls past scenes of love, life, and human connection which he has since lost. Borrowed Life is about recalling your past, accepting regret but questioning whether things could have been different.
Sisters and multi-instrumentalists Méabh & Mella Carron formed their namesake band CARRON as a healing project during a period of extensive hospital treatment. They released their number 1 charting EP ‘Roots’ to rave reviews (Pure M, TLMT, Hot Press), along with follow-up singles ‘Prison Robes,’ ‘Battle Lines’, ‘Even Sad Birds Sing’ and ‘Numb’ which received extensive Irish airplay across 2FM, 98FM, 2XM, Dublin City FM, KCLR, Northern Sound and more. Starting out, CARRON, were pinned by Jim Carroll of The Irish Times as ‘ones to watch’ and have since performed sold out shows at music venues all over Ireland including Whelans, The Grand Social, Monroes, Dolans, The Sugar Club. Their most significant festival appearances was performing the Salty Dog stage at Electric Picnic last year.
In their music and song-writing which they create with guitarist Darragh McGrath, they aim to create a sense of one united female voice that is amplified by the strength of their sibling bond, to blend impeccable harmonies through shared blood, and to subtly nod toward their Irish heritage and backgrounds in musical theatre whilst maintaining a contemporary and powerful sound.
On Friday 9th October, Lydia Ford will independently release her brand new single, ‘A Year’.
Having spent formative years in both Ireland and New York, and now living in Berlin, Mayo native Lydia also collaborates with producers in Berlin, London, Tokyo and the US. She is truly an international artist who refuses to be confined by borders. Global music media are in agreement, with support coming from the likes of Billboard (‘breezy, electro-pop confection perfect for a chill vibes playlist’) Uproxx (‘Over buoyant instrumentals, Ford gets real with a toxic relationship’) and the Irish Independent (‘The female Irish artists on the cusp of stardom’).
‘A Year’, which insightfully describes that feeling of starting to fall for someone while knowing you’re not quite ready to jump into another relationship, follows on from Lydia’s previous single, ‘Overrated’, which was released last June to an overwhelmingly positive reception.
Lydia says of her new single: “I wrote ‘A Year’ about a party I went to in Brooklyn where I was drinking and flirting with someone I was starting to develop feelings for and I was kind of, viscerally, struck by how much I wasn’t over my last heartbreak and not ready to get hurt again. So the lyrics of the song are me trying to talk myself out of pursuing anything. Telling myself it’s too complicated, you’ll regret it; Asking myself: Do you really want to spend another year getting over someone again?”
‘A Year’ by Lydia Ford will be released independently on Friday, 9th October 2020
There’s a look in Fiachna Ó Braonáin’s eye, a gleam, a glint, and a hint: the mark of the true believer. A carrier, and a carrier on. It bit deep into him when he was a teenager, the wild wail of the blues guitar and the pulse of rock n’ roll, mixing with the already ingrained DNA of the traditional Irish music, language and song he was raised on. There was – and there is – no cure.
Fiachna is delighted to release a brand new EP ‘Winter Sun’, released on October 2nd… a collection of three songs and one instrumental piece that all in their own way reflect Fiachna’s other addiction.. the love of the sea!
And he is delighted to release the new single from the EP – ‘Bottle Of Rum’.
‘Bottle Of Rum’ originally appeared on Fiachna’s debut solo album ‘Bougainvillea’, but this new version was recorded in collaboration with Clare Sands. Clare plays fiddle, sings backing vocals and arranged the string section on this version. She also suggested dropping the key to suit the lower tones in Fiachna’s voice she felt should be heard! Fellow Hothouse Flower, Martin Brunsden also plays Bertha, his beautiful double bass on this too!
The EP is available from Bandcamp via https://fiachnaobraonain.bandcamp.com/
Irish producer and songwriter Hawk Jupiter set to release second single ‘Self Destruct’ on all major streaming platforms on October 21st 2020. Volatile music production and a forceful chorus aim to capture the ‘ruinous aftermath of a break up’. It follows September’s well-received debut ‘Heavens Collide’ and marks the second up-tempo track in a row from the Irish producer and songwriter. While COVID restrictions meant plans for a music video had to be adapted, the song is accompanied by open licence footage captured by a Russian production company Cottonbro and adapted by Hawk Jupiter.
If Hawk Jupiter’s debut single ‘Heavens Collide’ was an optimistic love song, the honeymoon period has crashed to an abrupt halt with the dark and dramatic follow up ‘Self Destruct’.
Capturing the destructive feelings that emerge during a break up, lyrically the song offers no positive resolution to a break up, but instead intentionally indulges in the pain with an upbeat and defiant chorus.
Sonically, the song channels elements of 80s synth pop era, crisp vocals and dynamic electronic drums. “I wanted the sound to mirror the destructive theme of the lyrics.” said Hawk, “So I tried to bring a mechanical element into the drum transitions, mimicking a machine stopping and starting as the song powers on.“
The song is the second of a number of releases that Hawk has planned over the coming months that were written and produced in Carlow during the first half of 2020 thanks to a productive lockdown.
Hawk Jupiter is an independent electronic music producer and songwriter from Carlow, Ireland.
Three years in the making, Ailbhe Reddy’s debut album ‘Personal History’, out on Friday 2nd October 2020, is an intimate and introspective collection of songs that ruminate on the rites of passage as a young, emerging, queer artist from Dublin.
On ‘Personal History’, Ailbhe’s ability to write songs of earnest and honest self-appraisal see her autobiographically navigate through break-ups in the age of social media (‘Looking Happy’), reflect on the duality of loneliness and independence while touring (‘Time Difference’), and open up about coming out (‘Between Your Teeth’, ‘Loyal’).
Taking some time out of music to study psychotherapy for a year during the making of the record, there’s a sense of Ailbhe applying a newfound understanding and empathy to the perspectives and problems of those around her, as well vicariously analysing the complications in her life. The bracing ‘Self Improvement’ opens a dialogue on the difficulties of living with mental health, whereas other tracks more precisely dissect issues like learning to live with failure (‘Late Bloomer’) and confronting fears of commitment (‘Failing’, ‘Walk Away’).
Reflecting on the impact psychotherapy has had on her songwriting, Ailbhe says: “I spent a year studying psychotherapy before I started writing this album and I realised while recording that I had subconsciously included a lot of clinical terms in my lyrics. Words like ego, true intimacy, personal history, self improvement. The themes of understanding my fear of and need for relationships with others, my frustration with myself, my journey with self acceptance. The collection of songs I ultimately decided to put on this record are all linked to my desire as a songwriter to understand myself and those around me. Writing is about being understood, music is therapy.”
Hauling together the extraneous experiences with melodies fine-tuned over these previous years, Ailbhe finally arrived at a longlist of 18 demo recordings. Feeling confident in her work she reached out to Erland Cooper (who she had been introduced to in 2017 when writing ‘Walk Away’) and Tommy McLaughlin (producer and touring member of SOAK), both of whom greeted the tracks with warm enthusiasm; each offering their production skills and expertise. Taking-up residence in the stimulating environment of McLaughlin’s renowned Attica Audio Recording Studios in Co. Donegal, immersed in the breathtaking scenery and away from distractions of the city, the trio developed a warm rapport with a feeling of a shared vision for what would become Ailbhe’s debut album.
“I always felt like I learned something new about myself and my writing after a session with Erland which is quite rare,” says Ailbhe. “I had also loved Tommy’s work for years and it turned out they worked together a lot which resulted in me being able to work with my two dream producers on my debut record. Pretty sweet!”
A visit to the studio from McLaughlin’s SOAK bandmate James Byrne (ex-Villagers) gave opportunity for the drummer to lay down some of his accomplished rhythms too. By the end of a two week period, the ensemble had refined those 18 demos into 10 tracks of crystalline class, arriving definitively at: ‘Personal History’.
Whether it’s the Julia Jacklin-esque slacker-pop of album opener ‘Failing’, or the sixties girl-group inflections of ‘Time Difference’, the hushed heart-on-sleeve acoustica of ‘Walk Away’, the sparkling folk finesse of ‘Loyal’, or the title-track’s bruising Big Thief-style balladry, ‘Personal History’ is varied in its influences and resonant with the experience of its proponents. Masterfully embellished by a world-class studio, the songs of ‘Personal History’ are as musically expressive as the lyrics are emotive, never losing sight of where they have come from. Sharing its name with the medical term for a collection of information about a person’s health, Ailbhe Reddy’s ‘Personal History’ couldn’t be more aptly titled.
“While I was writing this album I was delving into the world of psychotherapy and attachment theory a lot…. different things that shape a person will ultimately affect their relationship with you.” she says. “Every track on the album is talking about my relationship with another person and the final track is about my relationship with myself, so the title ‘Personal History’ felt right.”
With artwork designed by Ailbhe too, ‘Personal History’ is a record not only true to its title, but true to herself. Both coming-of-age story and therapeutic analysis, it’s an album that documents a very specific chapter of Ailbhe’s story to date, yet is one that will chime with countless others. A cathartic case study for the soul, ‘Personal History’ is an album to cherish.
Having had some success with his first band Swampshack, Oliver Cole formed the three-piece rock band, Turn. Oliver was Turn’s singer, songwriter and main guitarist, and they soon signed to Infectious Records in London, which was home to Muse, Ash and Garbage, among others. Turn enjoyed great success and popularity, playing sell-out gigs at Vicar Street and a packed to the gills standout performance at the Oxegen festival in 2005.
They released three Irish Top 10 albums and were nominated for Ireland’s coveted Choice Music Award. Oliver left the band in 2006 to begin work on his first solo album, ‘We Albatri’, which was recorded in Germany. Upon its release, The Irish Times gave the album 5 out of 5 and made it their album of the month.
Oliver continues to progress his career as both a songwriter and solo artist, his most recent album ‘Year Of The Bird’ was released to huge critical acclaim in 2015. Oliver is a well-respected songwriter and continues to collaborate and tour with some of Ireland’s biggest names such as Glen Hansard and Gemma Hayes to name a few.
‘You Were The Right Turn’ is the first single from his upcoming album ‘Father, Brother, Son’, set for release in late October. ‘You Were the Right Turn’ is a song about recovery and redemption, the healing that begins after the acceptance of the loss. It features Graham Hopkins (Glen Hansard, The Frames, The Cranberries), Robbie Malone (David Gray) and Colm Querney (Lir).
‘Father Brother Son’ is Oliver Cole’s third album. Unearthing themes of life and loss, birth and death, it explores the path from grief to recovery, what we have and what we leave behind.
Having spent the last five years touring the world’s most iconic stages from the Sydney Opera House to Radio City New York, Dublin based musician Brian McGrane is set to release his latest single ‘Inside Out’, which was co-written with L.A based topliner Hannah Avison and London based singer-songwriter Roseanna Brown.
With a wealth of international experience under his belt, the up and coming artist has written and produced tracks with some of the biggest names in the Irish industry including Robert Grace, Chloe Agnew, Isaac Butler, Liam Geddes, Josh Gray and many more. He has also supported award-winning artist Tom Walker for an intimate performance last September.
The track will be released on Friday, September 25th and is shaping up to be his most powerful single to date. The young Irish producer & singer-songwriter has been making the most of these crazy times by collaborating online with writers from all over the world. Mentioning, “I have never written and produced so many songs than I have during lockdown. It’s been incredible to work with and learn from so many high profile writers and producers around the world”.
You can view a rare insight into the creation of the song and the remote working setup of songwriters spanning the globe here.
‘Voices of Earth and Air Vol III’ is released 9th October featuring ‘The Gulag Within’ by Irish based composer Santiago Kodela.
“‘The Gulag Within’ is my first exploration into the world of choral music. Written for unaccompanied SATB the text was inspired by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, arguably the book that helped bring The Soviet Union down to its knees. The composition works around a series of tonalities, major and minor modulations, and the frequent shifting of the main protagonist between the voices. The text invokes the listener to stand and face the inequalities and injustices of life with courage and valour. To accept the everyday tragedies and confront them with strength and bravery.“
‘The Gulag Within’ is coming out Oct. 9th on ‘Voices of Earth and Air, Vol. III, a multi-composer album to be released by GRAMMY nominated North-American label PARMA RECORDINGS / Navona Records.
Having inked a deal with Los Angeles based Prosthetic Records, Irish thrashers, GAMA BOMB, return with a nautical-themed album that will surely be the soundtrack to the final months of 2020 for old school metal-lovers the globe over. ‘Sea Savage’ will be released via Prosthetic Records on December 4; a single of the same name will be released digitally tomorrow with an accompanying video available to view immediately. Pre-orders are live now for ‘Sea Savage’ here.
‘Sea Savage’ was shot on location at Fanad Head Lighthouse in County Donegal, with the permission of the Irish Lights Authority who maintain the working 19th century lighthouse, as well as in Newry, Northern Ireland and Omeath, County Louth, in September 2020. Set in 1900 and filmed in a real, working lighthouse, the epic, monochrome ‘silent film’ is the band’s most ambitious video yet.
“Over the past year, we’ve been obsessed with stories about the sea,” explains singer Philly Byrne. “Moby Dick, the mystery of the Franklin Expedition, the maritime stories of William Hope Hodgson and Poe, and movies like The Lighthouse – these things all came together to inspire the song, the album and the video for ‘Sea Savage’. It’s almost like fate – it was inevitable.
The ‘Sea Savage’ video is our love letter to silent movies, and hopefully a way to finally rid ourselves of this fixation we’ve got with the ocean.”
“In this video we find our intrepid heroes trapped in a 19th century lighthouse, their cognitive function blocked by foraged bottles of grog,” explains bassist Joe McGuigan. “Who will tend the wick as each fellow faces his uncertain end?”
“It also debuts our mascot Snowy’s new look – he’s had a bit of a makeover for the new album, and has grown up a lot,” says Philly. “With touring off the cards for now, it’s more important than ever for fans to have something to watch and enjoy – hopefully we’re giving them that, and then some.”
Inspired by Victorian horror and maritime adventures such as Moby Dick, the new album is presented as a 19th Century play, with Act One and Act Two playing out on side A and side B of the record respectively. The pelagic tale follows the crew of the steamer ‘S.S. Gama Bomb’ as they voyage in search of a real-life Yeti, only to go slowly mad on the high seas. It also features songs about 80s and 90s movies, because GAMA BOMB cannot help themselves.
‘Sea Savage’ was produced by the band’s own lead guitarist Domo Dixon, with the band members recording remotely in Dublin and Newry, Ireland, as well as London and Warsaw throughout spring and summer 2020. The album was then mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren (Testament, Carcass) in California, using analog ‘80s equipment to match the old-school metal vibe. The album is the band’s first since the departure of longtime drummer Paul Caffrey, seeing James Stewart (Vader, Decapitated) taking up the sticks and delivering a devastating performance, adding a technical ‘death-y’ edge to GAMA BOMB’s sound.
Inspired by the attitude and speed of classic Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Accept rather than worshipping at the altar of old-school thrash, ‘Sea Savage’ is a very different beast from their previous albums. GAMA BOMB have taken stylistic leaps with ‘Sea Savage’, which features both their slowest and their fastest song to date, and forays into classic metal and hard rock led by Philly Byrne’s gruff falsetto.
Image: Kiran Acharya