Welcome just in time for exciting festival announcements

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NORTHERN Winds returns home after several weeks overseas with some of our top artists, just in time for festival announcement season to kick off.

There are a number of opportunities to see local artists take to the stage alongside international talent, the best of which will be detailed below alongside some great new releases this week.

There’s been an influx of new additions to some already packed festival lineups that help flesh out the summer for punters, as well as some new announcements that should get us all excited. First up we have the Dublin edition of The Road to The Great Escape, the Irish showcase which will bring together a line-up of hopefuls ahead of the Brighton festival of the same name later this year, announcing over 100 new acts. Taking place from May 11-14, the festival features Irish big names like CMAT, Bicurious, Conchúr White, Tolü Makay, The Scratch and many more. An unmissable event for those interested in the next wave of Irish artists taking over the world.

Meanwhile, in Belfast, AVA announce their seventh consecutive Boiler Room performance for this year’s festival. Boiler Room’s global promoter DJs have been on board the festival since its inception and it’s great to see them continue to promote local artists such as BRIÉN and Mark Blair.

These festivals are joined by Otherside and Body&Soul in their announcements, proving that this summer season is about to be the return to performance and art we all deserve. It’s a good thing that all the bands playing are releasing some of the best music we’ve heard in a while.

Take the latest single from Fontaines DC The Dublin band have added a third date to their Vicar Street abode after the first two sold out in a single morning. To celebrate, they’re releasing the namesake single from their third album, “Skinty Fia,” where they show they’re not afraid to play with the formula. Rhythm sections that draw inspiration from shoegaze and hip-hop are immediate, with the album’s now-ubiquitous metallic gloom suspended above frontman Grian Chatten’s bold, austere delivery. If the singles are to be believed, it looks like their third go-around could promise to redeem their disappointing second.

Staying on the rock side of the music, we have the new track from Really Good Time to keep you warm in the snow. Already causing a stir with an upcoming UK tour, built on the back of just two songs, the hype is palpable. Ahead of their flagship Dublin show in the Grand Social, it’s essential to check out their new track ‘Afternoon Tea’. With the buzzing mantra of “Don’t Touch The Good Cups” set against a rumble of alternative rock and a soapy, distorted production. A very exciting band, coming to a pub near you.

And as always, we end this week’s column with a look at some of the most impressive releases by indie artists over the past week. Derry’s ROE leads the charge here with their first single of the year. After headlining the Oh Yeah Center in Belfast, ‘I Dare You’ signifies a strong new direction for the singer-songwriter. The sparkle of electro-pop was ditched for big choruses and big, danceable riffs.

A beautiful arrangement and an easygoing acoustic are the hallmarks of KIWI, the new single from EFÉ
2Gallery

A beautiful arrangement and an easygoing acoustic are the hallmarks of KIWI, the new single from EFÉ

We also have the lo-fi indie of EFÉ’s new track “KIWI”. Small bops and created sound punctuate the dreamy production of this track, with a beautiful arrangement of starry keys, choruses, neo-soul and easy-going acoustics. It’s the latest in a solid string of singles that hope to signify a larger project to come.

And finally, we have the first track from a band that I can’t seem to avoid these days. Belfast’s Chalk is a grimy, distorted slice of speech, slick baselines and fierce intentions that morph into a maelstrom of metallic guitar and drums. One for the headbangers.

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