GREETINGS from sunny Texas. Live from the state capital Austin for this year’s SXSW, Northern Winds hits the road to report on delegates and musicians representing the North at the world’s largest music and tech festival.
Performing at the local legendary venue, Cedar Street Courtyard, four Northern artists took to the stage to represent some of the best we have to offer. Sponsored and organized by Belfast City Council and Output Belfast and strategically positioned on St. Patrick’s Day, the Output Stage has become one of the festival’s biggest draws each year. Dream pop, folk and punk came from Beauty Sleep, Dani Larkin, The Wood Burning Savages and CHERYM respectively, who drew hundreds into the room for a unique celebration of Celtic talent.
Speaking of production, it’s almost time for the festival to return to Belfast. The nation’s largest one-day showcase festival is free each year and offers musicians and industry hopefuls first-hand insight and entry into the wider world of the music industry.
Split into two parts, with the conference taking over the MAC during the day and the performances taking over the Cathedral Quarter at night, the festival is free and accessible to all. Alumni include Ryan McMullan, Ciaran Lavery, And So I Watch You From Afar, Cormac Neeson and many more (plus keynote speakers from labels, festivals and music organizations from Ireland and the UK) , and it is highly recommended for anyone interested in music to attend.
Following up on last week’s story, we have an update from the DC Fountains front. With their new album set for release imminently, the Dublin-born, London-based quintet have released their murkiest track yet, “Skinty Fia.” Recapturing the post-punk shoegaze of their origins but retaining their folky brogue, it follows their extremely exciting single “I Love You”.
Alongside the release, news of a host of new Irish dates, including headline performances at the Millennium Forum in Derry and Ulster Hall in Belfast, has been announced. Tickets will sell out so plan accordingly.
Elsewhere, Irish artists continued their support for Ukrainians during the Russian invasion of the Eastern European state. Glenn Keating, famous producer and performer of Houseplants, Jape and The Redneck Manifesto, has been commissioned to release a new composition on St Patrick’s titled ‘Rounds’. Released to help raise funds for Tabletochki, who ensured cancer treatment and child care continued throughout the evacuation from Ukraine, you can donate directly through Bandcamp’s page. Glenn online.
This week’s spotlight was the toughest of the year so far, with a plethora of great tracks from across genres and genres. For starters, we have feminist punk band Problem Patterns kicking off with ‘YAW’. Never afraid to show their intentions and hearts on their sleeve for the public to see, PP’s latest releases are as hot as it gets. Meaning “Yes All Women” and written in the wake of the murders of Sarah Everard and Ashling Murphy, it’s an angular affair, a dark slice of distorted punk aesthetic and riot grrrl. One of the most immediate and urgent bands in the country right now.
Staying punk, we have new Belfast trio Mob Wife, changing their tune to a more brooding and lucid alternative rock cut. “Cutting Teeth On Suburban Curbs” has throwbacks to Midwestern emo, 90s grunge and 2000s punk. And rounding out this week’s column, we have new single “Comfort Zone” from the music specialist folk and trad Myles McCormack. Similar to Elliot Smyth in his ability to orchestrate huge waves of sound from a deceptively simplistic setup, McCormack’s complexity will draw you to this stunning new acoustic track.
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