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In this week’s roundup of new Irish music, there are pop bangers galore on Daithi‘s new EP, festival-sized choruses from Third Smoke, garage rock vibes from RSAG, dirty electronics from Lakerama, rap from Cork-based Outsider YP, sunshine pop from No Monster Club‘s fifth single of the year, folk/saxy 80s stuff from Elephant, relaxing stuff from Mount Alaska, and Ships‘ long-awaited debut album!

Daithi – Holiday Home EP
Clare producer Daithi O Dronai follows up last year’s successful Tribes EP with the five-track Holiday Home EP today. Sinead White features on the opening two tracks, while Elaine Mai, who launches her own The Colour of the Night EP in Dublin tonight, returns on the closing song. Daithi pretty much has the pop banger down at this stage. ‘Falling For You’ and ‘Aeroplane’ can be filed alongside ‘Love’s On Top’ and ‘Chameleon Life’ in the ‘bringing the party’ folder. Daithi says of the EP: “At the start of 2016 I bought a field recorder and started recording the sounds of the west of Ireland in an attempt to build a library of samples completely unique to me. I started renting out houses along the coast for weeks at a time, bringing a make-shift studio with me to islands like Achill and Valentia. Once I had some music together, I brought some of my favourite vocalists out to the west, away from the pressure of the normal recording studio environment. The result is Holiday Home, a 5 track EP built completely in the west, using sounds from the west.” Perhaps the two most interesting songs are the ones without vocals – the title track and ‘Coral’ point to a more experimental edge for Daithi. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next. You can watch him perform the EP live on Facebook.

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Third Smoke – Maybe in Time
Mix We Cut Corners with Local Natives and I think you might get close to the frenetic but focused Dundalk five-piece Third Smoke. Their Maybe In Time EP is multi-vocal, minor-anthem glorious. Of the title track, they say: “‘Maybe In Time’ is a song written and demoed over the course of three years. It is a song about finding love and the search for meaning behind the changes that the passage of time brings to our experience of reality.” ‘Maya’ has festival written all over it, while ‘Brown Bear’, at five and a half minutes, might be the track you come back to most.


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RSAG – ‘Meet You There’
Nine years on from his debut album, Jeremy Hickey aka RSAG is still keeping things interesting. The cinematic ‘Meet You There’ is inspired by the work of scientists attempting to understand the composition of black holes. It kind of sounds like the garage rock of everybody’s favourite mid-naughties Swedes, the Hives. It also sounds supermassive – imagine how good it’s gonna be at the festivals. I’ll meet you there, indeed!

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Lakerama – Contactless
Busy couple of weeks for Senita – she’s got Shookrah’s second EP coming out on May 19, and has just released Lakerama‘s second EP, Contactless. Lakerama is grittier in sound than Shookrah, more a late-night, early morning soundtrack to walking through the city post-club. Limerick’s Graeme S is on production duties. They say: “This EP was made in 2016 to surface all the rumbling insecurities felt between us in where we were in our lives, in this world and seeing those turbulences rupture in society all around us. It is broodier, it is bass-ier, it is heartier.”


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Outsider Yp – Alone // Insane // Alive
Formerly known as Young Phantom, Cork-based rapper Mark Mavambu has rebranded as Outsider YP and, having supported Rusangano Family in De Barra’s a couple of weeks ago, has just released his debut album, Alone // Insane // Alive. It’s just over 30 minutes long and there’s a lot to savour. “We live just to die again,” he says on ‘NVRLND’, peppering the line “I am so alone” throughout. ‘Saddest Day’ is a dark lead single, while ‘Duke Thomas’ offers the sound du jour – that drop!


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No Monster Club – ‘You Are Here’, ‘Kung Fu Buffet’
“Things will never be the same, but why would anyone want that,” sings Bobby Aherne on No Monster Club‘s May single, the so-sunny-it’ll-give-you-sunburn ‘You Are Here’. If you missed the news, NMC are releasing a single on the first day of every month in 2017. Aherne says ‘Kung Fu Buffet’ takes its inspiration from Panda Bear, Ariel Pink and Vampire Weekend. And… “Somebody on Twitter posted a photo of a rundown Phibsboro restaurant called Kung Fu Buffet, with the caption ‘I keep seeing potential No Monster Club song titles everywhere’. They were quite right, so I made it happen.”


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Elephant – ‘Waiting Game’
Dundalk’s Shane Clarke aka Elephant has been working on the followup to 2015’s HyperGiant and ‘Waiting Game’ is our first taster of his second album, due in the summer. ‘Waiting Game’ features a sax sojourn and devolves into an 80s MOR jam. It’s ridiculous in the best sense. The PR calls the new Elephant album a “’breakup record’. A departure from the quiet vistas of the acoustic and entering a busier, sweatier suburb full of wannabe actors and sweatband solos.” Clarke says: “I decided to step outside my comfort zone and make the album I really want to make.” The video was directed by Farney House.

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Mount Alaska – ‘Death Masks’
Former members of Halfset, Stephen Shannon (also responsible for the gorgeous Strands album – seven years old!) and Cillian McDonnell have a new project, Mount Alaska, which offers something a little more relaxing. Nialler9 wrote about their first single and the background to the band six months ago. The duo say of the new track: “The inspiration for ‘Death Maths’ came from late-night listening sessions intended to soothe tired ears after long days in the studio. Originally conceived in West Cork, the music is inspired by Eno, Actress and Selected Ambient Works 85-92, and the title relates to a phrase from author Miranda Sawyer’s book Out of Time: Mid-life, if you still think you’re young. Mount Alaska promise more new music throughout 2017.


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Ships – Precession
I’ve been looking forward to Ships‘ debut album for years. They started releasing music in 2012, and now Precession is finally here. Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath manage to pack everything that fans have come to love about Ships into a tight 40 minutes. There are hints of the likes of Chvrches to what they do – super-catchy hooks – wile their lush songs are disco inflected and reward close listening. They told The Thin Air: “The more we played together the more we realised how much crossover there was for us in our musical loves of the past. Without giving the game away, our early experiences listening to music was in the 80’s. We can say though, that we’re both driven by a hook and song writing within Ships writing. There’s a clear penchant for a groove and we’re drawn to creating moods for narratives with a sound pallet.” The vinyl, by the way, looks amazing – buy it at Bandcamp.