Sunday, 31 May 2020

Our Krypton Son - White Sun

Chris McConaghy, who records under the moniker Our Krypton Son, has been one Derry's more underrated singer-songwriters of the past few years, releasing two well received albums, including the Northern Ireland Music Prize-nominated "Fleas & Diamonds", a giving us some fantastic songs along the way, our highlight being the Scott Walker-esque "Catalonian Love Song", a song that still gives us goose-pimples to this day.

Ahead of the release of a new set of material, he's released a new single which sees Our Krypton Son move in a different direction musically. "White Sun" is produced by Ryan Vail (who won last year's Northern Ireland Music Prize with his collaborative project "Borders" alongside Elma Orkestra), so unsurprisingly the track is an electronic and synth-based, something we haven't really seen in an OKS production to date. Although even with the change in direction, the focal point of McConaghy's vocals remain firmly intact, and as engaging as ever.

"White Sun" is taken from the 3rd album from Our Krypton Son, "Modern Ruins", which is due for release in July.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Big Daisy - Go Outside

We're not entire sure that given "the event", if it is fortuitous or unfortunate that the debut single from Belfast 4-piece Big Daisy happens to be called "Go Outside". We guess it depends on your perspective, one supposes, although given the song is described as an 'agoraphobic power ballad', it could just end up being the former.

The song itself is a great piece of scuzzy, lo-fi indie-pop, inspired by the sound of Weezer & also some fantastic Alvvays vibes as well. Great music whether you want to be out in the world, or more likely that not at the moment, whether you've got no option to stay in and listen to great music with a cup of coffee and some delicious Battenberg.

"Go Outside" is out now.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Malojian & Jason Lytle - The Singularity

One effect of the self-isolation that's come about as a result of "the event" is that we're likely to see a lot more remote collaborations between artists & musicians over the next few weeks. One team-up that we've already seen is from Northern Irish artist Malojian & Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy fame), who've recorded "The Singularity" remotely from their simultaneous lockdowns. It's a lovely song for an uncertain time.

"The Singularity" is currently available to download on a pay-what-thou-want basis, alongside an acapella version (for all your banging-remix needs), an an instrumental version for your "making up your own words" reasons.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Jamie Johnson - Old Friend

London based singer-songwriter Jamie Johnson first caught my attention last year with his wonderful song "Christopher", a heart-rendering song which made our Top Songs of 2019, (as well as picking up love from Phil Taggart at Radio 1), and that felt like it had been written just for me, and not just because it shares its name with myself.

And with his first release of the year, it looks as if 2020 is going to be just as bright. "Old Friend" was inspired by a old classmate he met on the train, and is a gorgeously tender track that manages to create something very special using such a sparse setup of just acoustic guitar & vocals, and calls to mind a more lo-fi sounding version of Jim Croce.

Jamie Johnson has a habit of releasing songs that pull all the emotional strings, and he's done it again on "Old Friend".

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

All The Few - Remedy

All The Few are a 4-piece group from Belfast. Having released a couple of well-received singles in 2019, they are gearing up for the release of their debut E.P. Taken from it is "Remedy", a confident indie-rock single that has a touch of the Kings of Leon in their more anthemic, stadium-hugging mode, and a strong foundation stone for the band going forward.

"Remedy" is taken from the E.P "Sorry, Try Again", which will be launched on 27th March in Love & Death in Belfast.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #39

It's been a while since we've did one of these round-ups of songs from Northern Ireland that have really taken our interest, but there's been a few songs that have grabbed us over the last few weeks that we felt were very much worth bringing to your attention - 

Mark Hegan - Love, Wait For Me

We've been fans of Mark Hegan on the blog for a number of years, both in his former band and now through his solo material - his song "Skyward" made the top 10 of The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019.

His first release of the year is "Love, Wait For Me", which has all the characteristics of his solo material - the melding of the electric and rock elements, with a high level of pathos running through it. If you're looking for a less heavy Gang of Youths, then you'll enjoy this one.


Conchúr White - Bikini Crops

Conchúr White is an artist that we first came across as frontman of Silences, whom we've had much love for over the years. He's now recording under his own name, and having released the great "Daisies" last year, and having come off an Irish tour with Villagers, he has released his first single of 2020.

"Bikini Crops" sees White taking on a more surreal quality to his lyrics - Father John Misty & Alex Turner have been cited as influences  - which shows a development in his songwriting since his band days. It's also got a blissfully powerful chorus, it's the most infectious one he's done since "The Sea", and if it's any justice, it will be the song that firmly establishes his solo credentials.


Dark Tropics - Badlands

The one thing we love about music videos from Northern Irish artists is that their music videos tend to be shot in places we are very familiar with, which always gives us a little sense of satisfaction. Watching the video for "Badlands" by Dark Tropics, we were convinced from the get-go that it's filmed in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, which we had a great affection for growing up. It's funny how it's the little things that give us a lift.

But anyway, "Badlands" is the debut single from duo Dark Tropics, made up of singer/songwriter Rio and producer Gerard Sands, who's been involved in a few artists we've enjoyed over the years. The song is a slice of dark pop-noir that pulls you in from the get-go. One of fans of Lana Del Rey.


The Florentinas - Stay

Still in their teens, our interest in The Florentinas was piqued when we saw that Gary Lightbody had been quite complimentary about them. Off the strength of their single "Stay" (which was recorded live in Start Together Studios), we can see that they're a group with a lot of potential in them. It's an atmospheric, hypnotic track that will stay in the back of your head for a while after you've heard it.

They've got a few support gigs coming up in the next few weeks, opening for The Maine and Brand New Friend, so we must make a note to see them live when we can.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Scott MacKay - Half of Everything

It's Valentine's Day this week, so what better time to have on the blog a song about divorce? Our timing is always impeccable.

"Half of Everything" by Canadian singer-songwriter Scott MacKay is a country-inflected song that takes the idea of splitting everything 50/50 after a romantic split, and taking it to its most logical, ridiculous conclusion. The song's got a classic singer-songwriter county feel to it, sounding something a bit like Jake Bugg, if he had a sense of humour.

"Half of Everything" is out now.