NORTHERN Winds stays on the road, this week live from sunny Mexico City. We’re here with Irish new hope Lemonade Shoelace, who was crowned winner of the VANS Musicians Wanted competition last year.
The prestigious award saw him and the band fly to the Mexican capital to perform at the footwear brand’s new venue alongside global superstar YUNGBLUD. Playing in front of a sold-out crowd halfway around the world isn’t something many young musicians can put on their resume – but judging by the lines of punters lining up for autographs and photos, This won’t be the last time Lemonade comes out here.
Back home, the battered breaths seem to be exhaling as the music industry puts the worst memories of the pandemic to bed and continues its quest to return to normalcy through the spread of shows and releases from high quality. Here’s the best of the week…
Eclectic Galway-based folkster Niamh Regan has released an interim EP between her superb debut album Hemet and her second album coming this week. Accompanied by co-written “Winter In Eden” (with songwriter Ciaran Lavery) and three new tracks, it’s another stunning release from Regan and explores themes of “acceptance, uncertainty, ‘independence, family guilt, silence and ordinary acts of love’. Known for blending deceptively complex arrangements with some of the country’s most charming and magnetic melodies, Regan’s newest release should be added to your collection immediately.
Also released this week is the excellent album by Paul Mahon, a visual/audio artist who is released as Tanoki. A mix of colorful samples, textured electronica and trip-hop, debut LP “File New” is one of the most triumphant and idiosyncratic releases of the year so far – experimental music that never gets lost. neither herself nor the audience, but is bizarre enough to keep you guessing. A brilliant performance by Mahon.
And before we get into the full live music news, essential charity work was announced this week that will protect concert-goers in the immediate future. PsyCare Ireland is a business aiming to support and protect young people at events who may be experiencing drug-related distress and discomfort. Made up of two doctors, four therapists and a rapidly growing volunteer base, the charity has launched an open call for those with relevant experience to get in touch. An essential service to ensure the safety of bettors in our country.
Meanwhile, Belfast promoter SHINE and the Belsonic Festival have announced their new event, the electric-focused EMERGE. Alongside the AVA Festival, this will be one of Belfast’s biggest gatherings of DJs and producers, with headliners such as Eric Prydz, Disclosure, Mall Grab and DJ Seinfeld taking over the playing fields of Boucher Road for a two-day celebration of all things bass.
In more alternative news, we have the announcement that Gilla Band (formerly Girl Band for all Noise Rock fans) will be performing their biggest Irish hits to date. While Dublin sees the band take on the National Stadium, Belfast is delighted to welcome the band to the iconic Empire Music Hall. Fresh from a sold-out three-day residency in Whelans, Dublin, Gilla are some of the most exciting live performers in Ireland right now, and they’ve got the venue to suit them.
And as always, the column wraps up by highlighting some of the best releases from independent artists this week. First up we have the new track from ViRE, a Belfast-based artist pushing the boundaries of R&B. High-pitched, colloidal vocals lead the way on a sweaty alternate beat on his new track “Dangerous,” which sounds like an artist on the verge of something big. We also have the aforementioned Ciaran Lavery releasing his first new solo track since his last album. “I’m old enough to know what love is”. A smooth, piano-led track that sees Lavery maintain his top notch songwriting. We hope there is more to come in this style.
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