After introducing the Debutantes more than three years ago, there hasn’t exactly been much new music from the Galway trio to get excited about. But now, finally, we get a five-track EP from the Scottish indie label Soft Power Records, which has put out Irish music by the likes of Cruising and September Girls; two members of the latter band (Paula Cullen and Sarah Grimes) are in the Debutantes, which might explain the long delay in musical output. The five tracks that make up the S/T EP are exactly what I was hoping for from the Debutantes. Completed by Leon Butler, it’s high octane, lo-fi and with a killer hook worming its way throughout each song. From the surf pop stylings of opening track ‘Burn The Merchandise’ to the action thriller ‘Adam’s Apple’, the quality never lets up. A brilliant listen. You can get the EP on cassette at the Soft Power Bandcamp page; they’re limited to 100. Welcome to the ball, guys – took you long enough to get here.
Nialler9 introduced us to Florence Olivier three months ago, telling us that they write “fun summery songs”. Which is fine when the June sun is just dawning, but it’s the middle of September now; the grand stretch in the evening is gone and it’s time to dig out the hot water bottle. So what do Florence Olivier do with their “fun summery songs”? They can hardly call them “fun autumny songs”, can they? ‘Singularity’ is their third single and arrives ahead of a performance at Hard Working Class Heroes on Thursday, October 2. And it contains our answer: “And they’ll never let it go, and they’ll pretend that it’s the summer, forget the beat,” Rob Maguire sings, ably assisted by Blathnaid Healy, who chants “I’ll remember that” throughout. So there we have it: Florence Olivier the perfect summer band for all the seasons. You can download ‘Singularity’ for free below.
A five piece based in Armagh, Silences are gearing up to release their second EP, entitled Sister Snow, next month. The debut Nevernames EP was a really lovely introduction to the band and they’ve kept the best elements for the gorgeous ‘Sister Snow’. Built over a classic folk guitar line, Conchúr White’s pillow-soft vocals sound so soothing even as he’s saying that you can “give her hope but she won’t receive you”. The video, shot in the Shire by the looks of it, is inspired by the Wind in the Willows and, like the song itself, appears quite fun but might leave you a little deflated after it ends. Silences’ second EP is out in October and they play Hard Working Class Heroes early next month.
Dublin trio Women’s Christmas announced themselves in the most rousing way possible with their debut single late last year and their subsequent EP. After signing a publishing deal with FatCat Records earlier this year and playing sold-out shows with the War On Drugs and Girls Names, the trio are set to release their debut album Too Rich For Our Blood via Out On A Limb Records on Friday, October 24. ‘Chalklines’ is our first taster of the album and it sees Women’s Christmas (yes, it’s a terrible name but we’ll try and look past that, yeah?) still channelling the likes of Titus Andronicus. Featuring members of Jogging, Villagers and No Monster Club, it’s no surprise that it features a killer chorus. You can preorder the album here.
Polyglove are the Dublin-based duo of Niall Conroy and Stephen Maguire and ‘Cynthia’ is their debut single. Mixed by Ross Fortune (Benny Smiles), it’s quite a statement of intent, clocking in at over five minutes. Using mostly analogue synths, the pair describe themselves as “baroque house” which I guess you can kind of hear. It’s probably best to not get bogged down in such genre bending before you actually let ‘Cynthia’ wind its way through your brain, constantly keeping you on edge. It’s very good. You can download ‘Cynthia’ for free via Bandcamp. The video below was made by SecondFrame films, which has done a stellar job for the likes of Girl Band. ‘Cynthia’ features on Polyglove’s debut EP, entitled Dialler and due out on October 24 via Trout Records. Polyglove play a free show at the Twisted Pepper on September 26, along with Peaks and Lunchbox.
Cork DJ Stevie G has unveiled the video for ‘Deep Down South‘, the first single off his Soul Jamz label which you can download here. Starring Christiana Underwood, and shot by Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson of Feel Good Lost, Cork people will have never seen Fitzgerald Park looking so much fun. Expect a vinyl release of ‘Deep Down South’ soon.
Froh∀nd (or Fro Hand, as we’ll call him from here) is an electronic producer from Dublin. He’s got a couple of tracks on his Soundcloud page and this collaboration with Ciaran from Crayonsmith has me very excited. Built around the increasingly frightening refrain “I don’t want to wait til I’m dead and gone”, ‘Don’t Wait For Harm’ is at once claustrophobic but hopeful. The synths that line the background point towards optimism, before Ciaran’s dulcet tones confirm as such: “Maybe we can happen soon.” Fro explains how the track came about: “Last year I bumped into an old friend of mine, Ciaran, at The Harvest Moon Festival in Schull, Co Cork. We played a few gigs together years ago and both of us had been booked to play this festival in Cork. It was great catching up and both decided to work together on some music… This song took some work. A constant back and forth of WAV files and ideas through email was the norm for months. The mastering process made my brain hurt so much as my laptop couldn’t keep up with the session file in Ableton. It was a beautiful nightmare. Ciaran adds real emotion to the song. My tune was just a bare skeleton, no meat or substance, but when he sent me his vocals they added the heart and flesh the song desperately needed. I couldn’t be happier with the result.” You can download ‘Don’t Wait For Harm’ below.
The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival takes place for the 10th year this weekend in the west Cork town. There’s something for everyone who is into music from Thursday to Sunday, from trad to ukuleles to Idiot Songs. I already profiled some of the acts playing the festival when the lineup was released a few months back. Now the timetable has been unveiled, allowing you a couple days of planning: Saturday looks like it will leave you exhausted, with the Lost Brothers, Band of Clouds, Jon Gomm, Elastic Sleep, Brian Casey and the almighty Girl Band among the many acts playing over about 12 hours. There will also be unannounced mystery performances and po-up gigs happening all weekend around the town. Oh yeah, and everything is free, which is amazing! You can see the timetable below – click the image to make it bigger and more readable.
Waterford act the Casanova Wave last month offered us a glimpse of the progression from his two-year-old debut album with ‘New Sensation‘. Featuring Biggles Flys Again, it’s grown on me a lot in the intervening month, sounding like an old friend willing you on to new glories. On the Sundown Yellow Moon EP, the upbeat mood continues with ‘Colours Burst’, featuring vocals from In The Willows, who have just released their debut album and play Cyprus Avenue in Cork this Wednesday, September 17. Not quite as gung-ho as Arcade Fire’s epic ‘No Cars Go’ (do you prefer the album version or the debut EP track?), the softly softly ooohs mix with heys and hos that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It’s a lovely, full sound that also sees Brian McCartan play around with the melodica and glockenspiel. “Don’t waste your time or your life will pass you by,” they proclaim – hardly a revelation, but in keeping with the up-and-atom attitude of the opener. The (nearly) instrumental ‘Sacrifices and Compromises’, like the Angelus, lets one reflect on what’s gone before while things peter out on ‘The Fear Crescendos’ which ends things with a, well, a crescendoing guitar. You can download the Sundown Yellow Moon EP on Bandcamp for just €2.
Wicklow four-piece Sails are preparing to release debut single ‘Lakes’ in October, but to tide us over until then, they’ve unveiled a beautiful track that could melt your heart. ‘Winning Wars’ is all about the atmosphere, a gently strummed guitar soundtracking Darragh Cahill’s tale of escaping a mess. “You’re building walls to shelve all your plans and you’re wearing your grandfather’s boots,” he says, while “your mother’s rosary beads burn a cross in the pit of your chest”. It doesn’t sound like an ideal situation so it’s no surprise that they “flee in the warmest of nights”. There are warm hints of Beirut throughout ‘Winning Wars’, courtesy of Kevin Maguire and Danny McCormack’s trumpet and saxophone. You can download the track for free below. Sails play the Button Factory on Wednesday, October 15, with support coming from All The Luck In The World and Elephant.