Making waves overseas while keeping local fans happy


NEWS is emerging this week of Irish artists taking international action and consolidating their base at the same time, while a summer of festivals is set to erase memories of the previous two years of lockdown.

A number of Irish artists have recently made their way to Partisan Records. Fontaines DC and Just Mustard have both built significant global followings through label support, and are now joined by alternative folk singer Aoife Nessa Frances.

Her first release on the label, “Emptiness Follows”, accompanied the announcement last week that Frances would be signing with the UK/US label ahead of her first headlining world tour. She offers us a psychedelic whirlwind of dreamy folk vocals and arrangements that live on the fringes of the tangible and the ethereal. She said: “The movement and color of the music, the constantly flowing harp, underlines the profound importance of recognizing an eternal type of love. I wanted my voice to be close, frank and vulnerable like the Story of Melody Nelson by Serge Ginsberg.

With all the trappings of Ireland’s next great songwriter this decade, we can only wish Frances the best with her new partnership.

Waves are also being felt in the hip-hop realm of Irish culture. Singer and rapper Denise Chaila announced this week, after a series of dates supporting Ed Sheeran, that she will headline King John’s Castle in her hometown of Limerick on Saturday August 20. One of the most defining acts of the Covid era, Chaila led the charge in highly produced socially distanced shows and is now reaping the rewards.

Meanwhile, summer promises to be exciting in itself. Brand new festivals and long-time favorites continue to tease queues ahead of ticket sales for what’s set to be a stellar three months of music. Wicklow’s “Beyond The Pale” gathering announced their artistic schedule this week in addition to an already stacked line-up. With electronic bands Bonobo, Four Ten and Orbital already announced as headliners, new announcements this week informed the public of Irish artists James Vincent McMorrow, Skinner, Carrie Baxter and Stephen James Smith.

Aoife Nessa Francis' dreamy folk voice and arrangements sit on the fringes of the tangible and the ethereal.

Aoife Nessa Francis’ dreamy folk voice and arrangements sit on the fringes of the tangible and the ethereal.

The Another Love Story micro-festival also announced its return this year. Organizers took to social media to discuss what’s to come: “We’re especially excited to highlight our commitment to providing a platform for independent artists from here and abroad, and to showcasing a cohesive mix of sounds and atmospheres to perfectly frame the weekend at the Manoir. ”

They delivered on their promise, with homegrown talent plentiful in the form of Anna Mieke, David Kitt, John Francis Flynn, Robocobra Quartet and many more in attendance.

A special shout out this week, ahead of the spotlight section of the column, goes to the independent artists who presented this week at The Great Escape in Brighton. One of the music industry’s leading festivals, the Great Escape has hosted over 20 Irish artists who have performed in front of the global industry, such as Dark Tropics, Sprints, Bicurious, Conchúr White and many more.

On the track side, we have two brilliant artists emerging this week. First up, Wastefellow, the electronic and pop producer from Wicklow, and his new track “Post Credits Scene”. Hazy pop vocals and understated production are the mainstays of one of the most unique tracks of the year. Deeply emotional and moving, it deserves your utmost attention.

And we also have the most recent from REWS with their single “Breath Into Me”. A dynamic live act that transfers that energy into their recordings, REWS’ latest track transmutes inner turmoil into outer alternative rock. Ferocious and raw with hints of dark pop laid between the lines, this is his best in years.

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