Summer’s Final Hits Launch Festivals And Intriguing Tracks

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THE last of Ireland’s festivals offers practical day-to-day guides to its punters ahead of a week of strong releases on the music scene.

Fall Right Into Place is the festival brainchild of alternative label, promoters and Galway artist services company Strange Brew. From September 16-18, they held a major festival in the grounds of Claregalway Castle, in partnership with Galway Bay Brewery. For those short on time at the end of summer, their helpful day guides will be a lifesaver. With NewDad, The Scratch and The Mary Wallopers headlining each day, in that order (alongside Robocobra Quartet, Kynsy, Junior Brother and other Northern Winds favorites). There is a little something for everyone.

Regarding the Wallopers, news broke this week that the Dundalk trad trio had announced their new tour dates in the UK, Ireland and Europe. With 33 concerts scheduled for December, they teased a new album to get the ticket juice flowing. The new single “Frost Is All Over” is as humorous, biting and brutally honest as their previous versions of the Irish tradition. On the track, the band comments: “Frost Is All Over is a traditional Irish song about taking it all in and not worrying about what everyone says you should care about…

“The video is our way of showcasing the new band and how sexy we’ve become during lockdown. Our home studio/pub was too small to accommodate everyone so we had to branch out but keep it Dundalk.”

In less welcome news, independent Sligo label Art For The Blind, in business since 2004, has announced its imminent closure. Home and distributor of some of Ireland’s finest alternative sounds, such as PowPig, PrettyHappy, Altered Hours and many more over the years, the owners have released a statement claiming it has become too difficult to break out of the new music. Work will continue on their newly named Binder Spilled Milk Festival for now, and we can only hope new horizons exist for the founders.

In tech news, a new app for scrapbookers and ticket collectors has launched in Ireland. Peer It is a platform that allows fans to collect tokens, create a scrapbook of memories, and unlock rewards in the process that can be spent on things like pre-sale codes for concerts or special editions, as well as sporting events, theater and festivals. Fans will be able to scan a QR code at an event to unlock a token to prove attendance at each participating event. A brave new world etc etc.

Carlow folk duo Lemoncello release first original work since EP
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Carlow folk duo Lemoncello release their first original work since 2021’s ‘Oil and Water’ EP and the slow burner was well worth the wait

This week the spotlight is on some of the best independent releases from Irish artists to close out the column. First up we have the latest from Lemoncello, the indie-folk duo from Carlow. Singer Laura Quirke teamed up with producer/songwriter Joshua Burnside last year on the stunning EP “In The Half-light.” His lead project, the duo with friend and collaborator Claire Kinsella, released the track ‘Always Neighbours’ ahead of their gig at the Dun Laoghaire Folk Festival. It’s the first original work since 2020’s Oil and Water EP.

Featuring a cast of star collaborators, such as Lorcan Byrne and Junior Brother on various instruments, the five and a half minute slow burner was worth the wait. A swirling torrent of acoustics, strings, keys and pure raw Quirke vocals, it bodes well for a supposed debut album to come.

In other news from the singer-songwriter, Niall McDowell’s Sad Country released their first full-length project this week. “It was an honor to be nominated” and its title track are a revelation of McDowell, who is quickly establishing himself as one of my favorite writers in town. A mix of absurd, self-defeating, and alternative lore, get this entire EP on your radar now.

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