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In this week’s roundup of new Irish music, there’s ambience from Winter Aid, a big pop tune and news of a new EP from Ailbhe Reddy, an emotionally heavy but heartful EP from the Meath indie band Youth Mass, a gorgeous post-Gloaming song from Pine the Pilcrow, indie-rock from Cork’s Neon Atlas, Liza Flume returns and goes electric, Shookrah showcase another song from their forthcoming EP, New Jackson‘s got a late-night, early-morning tune ahead of his long-awaited debut album, and Thumper, one of 2017’s ones to watch, release another noisy number. There’s no order to how they’re all presented so dig in and find a new tune to love

Winter Aid – ‘Penny Sweets’
‘Penny Sweets’ is the closing track on the excellent debut album from Winter Aid, The Murmur of the Land. The work of Shane Culloty, it’s a polished, focus album, one which I’ll write more about next week. “Though I am free I know I’m never going to leave,” Culloty sings on the sweet ‘Penny Sweets’. Of this track, he says: ‘Penny Sweets’ is the final track on The Murmur of the Land, and the last one we finished. I wasn’t planning on putting it on the record, but a couple of people (including indispensable producer Darragh Nolan of Asta Kalapa) swayed me, and I’m glad they did. This track feels like the best example of how the album changed over time, and the simple piano melody is still one of my favourite pieces of music that I’ve written, I think: childlike, comforting, and warm. There’s a strong thread of nostalgia in the album, both in the music and the artwork, and you can hear a lot of it in this song, a kind of impulse to hide in memory.

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Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Fingertips’
Fresh from the annual Irish invasion at Canadian Music Week, Dublin singer Ailbhe Reddy announced a new EP, the followup to last year’s Hollowed Out Sea. Attach to Memory is streaming over at Nialler9 now ahead of its May 24 release date. Niall says it was recorded in a form that closely mirrors her full live-band live setup – and there’s an energy in ‘Fingertips’, the opening song on the EP, that is evident instantly. The chorus, which wouldn’t sound out of place next to the likes of Warpaint’s biggest singalongs, finds Reddy “paralysed by your touch”. Reddy and band have loads of gigs coming up over the summer – here are her tour dates for the next month:
April 29: Waterford, Spraoi (sold out)
May 3: Galway, Roisin Dubh
May 5: Connolly’s of Leap
May 6: Ballydehob, Levis Bar
May 10: Dundalk, Spirit Store
May 11: Cork, Cyprus Avenue ( Music Cork Festival Showcase )
May 12: Belfast, The Mac
May 13: Westport, The Clock Tavern
May 19: Brighton, The Great Escape Festival (UK)
May 20: Brighton, The Great Escape Festival (UK)
May 24: London, The Slaughtered Lamb (UK)
May 25: Dublin, Bello Bar – ( Nialler9 Futureproof Showcase )
May 26: Coughlans, Cork


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Youth Mass – Lost Futures EP
On the opening track of their Lost Futures EP, the Trim, Co Meath band Youth Mass find themselves dealing with social anxiety. There’s a “constant avoiding everyone” and drinks that never come. “Always having fun, always turn to run,” relays singer Darren Mullarkey. It sounds like the National but, well, glummer. Come fourth track ‘Hungover’, Mullarkey is channelling Liam Gallagher on ‘Live Forever’: “I’m flying above and my suit isn’t flattering but hey, I’m a superman.” Youth Mass, who have one album already under their belts, 2014’s Morning Run | Evening Sun, on the depressingly titled Lost Futures EP, tackle some heady issues – and manage to pull it off. ‘Shrines’ and closing track ‘Somebody Help Me’ have great, arms-around-your-mate singalong choruses (‘Shrines’: “I’ve been waiting for this day so long… tonight you know I love my life”) with enough emotional heft to keep things interesting on return listens.


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Pine ¶he Pilcrow – ‘Dahlia’
Dublin-based Pine the Pilcrow – Kevin Murray (piano), Robert Campbell (cello) and Hannah Ryan (fiddle), pictured at the top of the post – released their subtle and stunning self-titled debut EP just over a year ago. ‘Dahlia’, their first new music since then, is off their second EP, out in May. It’s four and a half minutes of increasing intensity, Murray and Ryan harmonising over a couple of lines – “Dahlia, you dilute my thoughts” is such a powerful sentiment that there’s little else to be said. The song exists on the brink, expertly controlled by the band, akin to the closer on their debut, ‘Where You Are’. Pine the Pilcrow are first in line as heirs to the Gloaming’s throne. The video was filmed by Freida Freytag, performed by Babs Ken.

Pine ¶he Pilcrow tour dates:
April 28: Unitarian Church (Supporting Joe Chester)
June 2: YouBloom
June 3: Vantastival, Louth
June 23: Civic Theatre
June 25: Body and Soul
July 21: Ballinamore Fringe Fest
July 28: The Tin Church Laragh, Monaghan
August 5: Arcadian Field, Dundalk
August 6: Feile Beag, Thurles
September 3: Electric Picnic

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Neon Atlas – ‘Move In Circles’
Cork three-piece Neon Atlas are gearing up to release their third album, following 2015’s Graffiti Ready. We’ve already heard ‘The Afterglow’ but ‘Move in Circles’ is a heavier slice of indie-rock. They recently played with Fangclub and Paradox in Cyprus Avenue – it’s apt company, with the new track, clocking in under three minutes, moving in Teenage Fanclub circles. The guitars squall under a chorus that finds Kieran Ring imploring “don’t look back if you feel the sun”, but then shrugging, “I don’t mind if you wear a disguise and curse this life ’cause you were cast astride”. ‘Move in Circles’ is officially released June 8 via the band’s own Demeanour Records.


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Liza Flume – ‘Spain’
Australian-born, London-based (she used to be based in Dublin – we can still claim her, right?) Liza Flume has only released two EPs since 2013 but they made enough of an impression to have us eagerly awaiting more music more than two years on from Morning Light. Formerly loop-pedal heavy, she’s got a band and gone electric, with an EP set to be released on May 1. ‘Spain’ is the title and opener of the five-track EP and finds Flume in sombre reflection, mourning that “I wish that I told you, I wish that I held you”. She longs for another chance: “If I could I’d wake you every day with a kiss and a coffee the way you like it made.” Liza Flume supports Elaine Mai at Dublin’s Workman’s Club on May 5.

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Shookrah – ‘Our Own Way’
The second single to be taken from the Cork funk/RnB band Shookrah‘s forthcoming EP Cliches continues in a similarly powerful vein to ‘Gerascophobia’. The PR says “it chronicles the dramatic changes that can occur in a family unit over time; reconciling the differences between what was then, and what is now”. Singer Senita told Nialler9: “This is the part where we all grow up and at least one or many of the family move away or go on to pursue life conquests that far exceed the fond, contained experiences of the unit as was.” Lyrically, Shookrah are one of the most interesting acts in Ireland right now.

Shookrah tour dates:
Sunday, April 30:The Green Room, Cork Opera House
May 11: Cork Opera House, supporting Billy Ocean
May 12: Vicar Street, supporting Billy Ocean
May 13:Belfast Waterfront, supporting Billy Ocean
May 20: Dolans, supporting Booka Brass Band, Limerick
June 24: Woodlands Stage, Body & Soul Festival
July 21: Townlands Festival, Macroom, Co Cork

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New Jackson – ‘Anya’s Piano’
David Kitt launches the long-awaited debut album from New Jackson in Dublin’s Button Factory on bank-holiday Sunday. I’m really excited to listen to From Night to Night when it’s released officially on May 15. There were copies floating around All City Records for Record Store Day, so some lucky people have already got it in their hands. ‘Anya’s Piano’ is helping to sate the senses. It sounds like it’s best listened to at 4am, when the sun’s trying to come up. There’s a languid bass sound that really lulls you in. Thump premiered the video, below, stating: “Directed by legendary skate photographer Richard Gilligan, the video for the elegiac, downtempo single ‘Anya’s Piano’ takes us on a woozy stroll through the highways and byways of New York; a stuttering love letter to a city of endless possibilities.”

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Thumper – ‘Fear of Art’
Dublin four-piece Thumper featured on a lot of ones-to-watch lists at the start of the year, and ‘Fear of Art’ is the second single to be taken from their forthcoming EP, Pop Goes the Weasel. ‘Fear of Art’ is not as noisy as ‘The Loser’, settling more into a Britpop vibes. It’s almost six minutes long but doesn’t feel like it. Singer Oisin Leahy-Furlong told State: “‘Fear of Art’ is about wading through layers of pretension, the versions of yourself that you show to the world, and the versions that you hope the world sees. It’s an argument in my mind, between the side that needs to keep my feet firmly in reality, for fear of getting lost, and the side that tries to see poetry in stupid coincidence.”