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After last year’s brilliant debut album, The Murmur of the Land, Shane Culloty aka Winter Aid returns with ‘The Dance’, the first track off a forthcoming four-song EP, Halfland, released via Tom Sarig’s AntiFragile Music. He says these four tracks are the last written for the album but they just didn’t fit. Recorded at Culloty’s home in Dún Laoghaire, ‘The Dance’ is sumptuous, a gorgeous, minor-anthem underpinned by Carol Anne McGowan’s vocals and the warming embrace of a chorus that soothes: “Now that we’re safe and sound in the house tonight.” Culloty says: “This is probably the most fun song Winter Aid song yet. It’s about a few things, but revolves around the way our concept of home changes, as we move and settle somewhere new: the strange of feeling of moving past what you thought home was, and loving it anew from a distance.”

Winter Aid – ‘The Dance’ has been added to TPOE’s New Irish Music playlist on Spotify. Subscribe here.

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Stereogum had a massive interview with Paddy Hanna yesterday, touting him as an artist to watch. It’s a revealing piece, Ryan Leas asking him at the end why “after all the setbacks and false starts, he kept writing, he kept starting new projects, clawing his way across his twenties to his own career”. Hanna replied: “That’s the fucking million dollar question. Is it vindictive? Is it being too stubborn to quit? Is it something deep inside of you that is telling you what it is you want to say? I don’t fucking know.” Right now, Paddy Hanna is creating the best music of his career – ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘Sunday Milkshake’ are two of my favourite songs of 2017. He’s back today with ‘Toulouse the Kisser’ – and album news: his second album Frankly, I Mutate, is out via Strange Brew records on March 2. It was recorded at Bow Lane studios, a month before it was knocked down and was produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox (from that Stereogum feature: “It seemed like a perfect fit, someone who is known for making music that can induce panic attacks but wants to be poppy, with someone who’s known for being poppy but trying in some ways to be downbeat. It was those two little clouds meeting to make confusion rain.”) Of ‘Toulouse the Kisser’, Hanna says: “It’s a travelogue of drunken misadventure, watching your future waste away and accepting you will become the person to whom people say, ‘at least I’m not that poor fool’.” It’s anthemic and irresistible; you’ll be roaring along to lines like “why don’t you walk away” and “I can only see my future in a telescope” on the second listen. Frankly, I Mutate is right in at the top of my most anticipated albums of 2018.

flowers

Dublin-based singer Maija Sofia has gone and got herself a full band as she releases a new single and gets set for some tour dates. ‘Flowers’ is a dreamy Sharon Van Etten-alike pop song, a strummed guitar and vocals opening into a bigger, woozy sound. Maija told DIY: “The lyrics of ‘Flowers’ came to me on a four-hour train journey through Wales after reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. It’s an intensely personal song about trauma and violence, ironically – it’s also the most poppy song I’ve ever written. It was my first time recording with a full band, I wanted to disguise the darkness of the lyrics under a sort of Phil Spector girl-group style wall of sound.” She’s releasing the track as a split single with Kerry Devine (check out her track here) on 7″ via Trapped Animal this Friday, and they’re heading out for a few gigs together, including the Roundy in Cork on January 27.


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I have a fortnightly New Music Tuesday slot on Wandsworth Radio’s The Irish Jam – this week (16/1) I featured Laurie Shaw, Arms That Fit Like Legs, and Oscar Mild. You can listen back to the show – featuring lots of Dolores O’Riordan (RIP) – here. I’m on around the 1.31-minute mark. Check out the three tracks I played below.


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Padraig McCauley aka Disconcerting P released the album I Love You To Death as a name-your-price download in October 2017. Working on it for over two years, he whittled more than 40 tracks down to eight. He’s just released two tracks, ‘Unkind’ and ‘The Vessel’, that he recorded in those sessions but felt didn’t quite fit with the tone of the final album. A tale of the domestic, he sings on ‘Unkind’: “As long as I do the cooking and clean up all my plates, as long as you don’t get tired and mope around the place, and I’m sorry that I said that and I know you’re sorry that it’s true,” later musing that “love is vicious”. It reminds me of Destroyer. ‘The Vessel’ is almost like a Disney song, a sweet, simple pop song. Download the tracks for free from Disconcerting P’s Bandcamp.

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David Kitt released the album Yous during the first week of 2017, proceeding to take it down from Bandcamp and promising a full and proper release (hands up if you were smart enough to download it). Just over a year later, the album is back on and the first single has been released. Yous is being released by All City Records (the same label as Kitt’s other project, the Choice-nominated New Jackson) on March 9. ‘Still Don’t Know’ is the glorious first track off Kitt’s eighth studio album. He says it’s “a travelogue within a dream, a jump-cut journey that crosses the globe. It’s one of those dreams you don’t want to wake from, where you want to go back under to piece the finer details together.” It all plays out over a dreamy acoustic soundtrack. The video below was shot and illustrated by New York-based director/animator Lessa Millet. ‘Still Don’t Know’ also features on an EP of the same name, released Friday, that includes three non-album tracks. Preorder here. Preorder Yous here.

David Kitt tour dates:
March 9: Cleere’s Theatre,
March 10: AMP venue, Cork City
March 11: De Barra’s, Clonakilty, Co Cork
March 23: Roisin Dubh, Galway
March 31: Upstairs at Dolan’s, Limerick
April 6: Button Factory, Dublin
April 8: Spirit Store, Dundalk
April 18: Borderline, London
April 19: Eagle Inn, Manchester

sweat threats

Niall ‘Swimmers‘ Jackson and Matthew ‘Tayne‘ Sutton have teamed up as Sweat Threats and have channelled all their energy into debut single ‘Hermit’. “Where did you go now, what did you do,” they scream. “You keep going on and on and on and on and on.” The duo say they “make post-punk party music for a public too often deprived of a good time” and “are the result of locking yourself away for an entire year in a rehearsal space, to remember why you started making music in the first place”. ‘Hermit’ is three and a half minutes that never lets up, a heavy dose of energy to start 2018. The track was mixed by Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung).

‘Hermit’ by Sweat Threats has been added to the TPOE New Irish Music Spotify playlist. Subscribe here.

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I’m very excited about Cloud Castle Lake releasing their debut album – that’s set to happen early 2018 via Bright Antenna Records. The Dublin foursome’s Dandelion EP in 2014 is one of the best releases of the decade so I have high hopes, which have only been stoked by ‘Twins‘ and now the six-minute-plus ‘Bonfire’. A slow-paced, atmospheric couple of minutes showcasing Daniel McAuley’s fabulous falsetto mutates into an almost haunting experience He says: “‘Bonfire’ is based around a pretty simple melody I came up with a few years ago. I kept being drawn back to it periodically and steadily adding and expanding it until it grew out into a full song. Writing it felt like a meditative task – what I’d imagine knitting a scarf is like. The choir parts were performed by our pals Tonnta, a contemporary choral group from Dublin. The giddiest day of recording for me was probably the first day they came in and sang through their parts. Getting to hear such talented musicians turn all that midi data and notation into music feels like magic. The lyrics have to do with doubt and denial and keeping secrets. They’re very loosely based on an old Irish/Welsh myth about rival tribes trying to find out the secret name of the other’s god in order to defeat them.”

the number ones

Cian Nugent and the Number Ones return with a new EP in tow, Another Side of the Number Ones. Opening track ‘Lie To Me’ features a simple but devastatingly effective chorus: “If you’re gonna lie to me, make it short and sweet.” It’s a song that’s in a rush to sort out the situation. I’ve been here so many times and I don’t know what to do,” they bluster. The drama plays out over a scuzzy surf-pop riff that the Vaccines would love. The EP is out on Static Shock Records the first week of January – order a digital copy here (it looks like the limited-edition red-vinyl 7″s are already gone).

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It sounds like Rusangano Family, who had a stellar 2017, playing loads of festivals and winning the Choice Prize, are going away for a while to work on their next release. There’s another few dates left, including at Tramline Dublin on January 13 as part of First Fortnight, but Saturday night at Cyprus Avenue was Cork’s last chance to see them for the foreseeable. Again it was a masterclass – they’re the best live act around. It’s a freezing cold night and Dublin rapper Mango, with producer MathMan, fresh from releasing his Wheel Up EP, are only playing to a few heads. He’s got great confidence and swagger – we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mango in 2018. Rusangano warm up the crowd slowly – but before long we’re all swinging jumpers over our heads (control your zips, people!) and dancing along. A Rusangano Family show is infectious. There are a few new songs that fit seamlessly into old favourites – ‘Lights On’ was the crowd-favourite highlight. I’m already counting down the days to John, Murli and God Knows’ return.

All pictures by Brid O’Donovan (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram)

Bonus podcast content: TPOE 53 – Rusangano Family interviews at De Barra’s earlier this year
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