The inbox overflows as a cascade of exits reveals a wholesome scene

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LOTS of album news from Ireland’s traditional and alternative neighborhoods abounds this week, while folk and traditional music also gets its time in the sun.

From 15-19 June this year, Dublin’s National Concert Hall will host some of the best traditional musicians and folk artists from across the country and around the world. A series of shows and a live podcast recording of the hit series “Fire Draws Near” will take over, with performances from Daragh Lynch (Lankum), Belfast piper John McSherry (Lunasa) and the collaborative project Rufous Nightjar (Anna-Mieke, Branwen Kavanagh and Zoe Basha) turn out to be the highlights of the week.

For those with a more contemporary taste, a new lineup has been announced for Ireland’s Body&Soul festival institution curated by Hennessy. This year, the cognac long associated with hip-hop will lead its own house at the festival and has provided one of the most exciting line-ups to check out. Featuring talented artists such as Monjola, KhakiKid and Celaviedmai, this stage will be one of the best available this summer for local talent.

If you’re stuck for new playlist additions, look no further than this week’s series of album releases. Starting at home, Belfast’s premier jazz-punk band Robocobra Quartet have announced their first new album in over four years. Licensed by First Taste Records and with an interim release date, this will be one of the most anticipated records of the year.

Led by drummer and producer Chris Ryan (readers will remember him as SORBET on our year-end lists and for his work on NewDad, Enola Gay, Just Mustard and Chalk), the nine-track LP included new singles Heaven, Night and Wellness.

Further south we stay left with the new album from Limerick producer Martian Subculture. Her debut album Bank Prologue is a colorful odyssey, a psychedelic tale of her home through a lo-fi lens that corrupts the senses and perception with gratuitous glee. We go through the album as we would in an unknown city, populated by skater aliens and buzzing synths. A little less strange than Robocobra, just as exciting.

And then we have Fontaines DC whose new work has undeniably been the most talked about since their debut LP Dogrel. Their third, Skinty Fia, is a return to form after a nominated but ultimately disappointing second attempt. Kicking off their Irish tour later in the year, the post-punkers have already added two shows at Ulster Hall to keep up with demand. If you haven’t already, listen to the album today and buy your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

And as always, we end this week’s column with a spotlight on some of the best indie releases from Irish artists over the past week. In what seemed to be the busiest week of the year (my inbox had over 80 releases for last Friday alone), it was hard to narrow down the following picks. I feel like we got it right, though.

First of all, Farah Elle’s electro-pop. An exceptionally powerful singer in Sia’s mould, the production matches the explosive nature of the voice. A slow-building track that explodes into vibrant, addictive crescendos, this one’s for people who want their mainstream fix without the guilty pleasure.

After that we have Nixer, whose bouncy synth-rock can’t get you started right away. Clear reminders at Parquet Court line up the references on their new Decisions track. Taken from their new EP People Feel, it’s a “night in the life of” type track in which you follow a helpless hero through a cascade of bad choice after bad choice. The schadenfreude is real.

And we end the spotlight with the return of a cult favorite from the North. PORTS release their first new track in years, the subtly titled Swimming Pool. A drifting indie-rock track with its roots in Irish folk, it’s a shifting mass of beautiful vocals and acoustic arrangements. A return we deserve.

The first new track in years by PORTS was worth the wait
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The first new track in years by PORTS was worth the wait

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