Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Newsletter (Vol 7)

Photo : Shin Katan

As we rapidly sink into deepest, darkest Winter there seems to be even less hours in one’s day. One can’t always listen to, never mind review each and every new music release, yet there are myriad artists out there waiting for us to cosy up to their sounds! In an effort to keep abreast with what’s dropping, trending, gonna be huge – from new releases to happening movers and shakers – we’ve introduced our ‘whenever we can’ Voyage of Discovery newsletter. VoD adopts an ever-shifting shape, but in the main will incorporate a few maxi-reviews along with snippets of news, videos, and a complementary Spotify playlist of available tracks (located at the bottom of the post).  If you missed VoD Vol 6, you can catch up on all the news, here.

Photo: Kevin Winter, Alberto e Rodriguez


In advance of the main course, which won’t be served until Christmas Day 2017, we’ve been presented with a delicious if minute amuse-bouche of  Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood‘s latest film score.

Having previously worked on the soundtracks for films such as There Will be Blood and The Master, Greenwood has once again reprised his collaborative role with director P.T. Anderson to compose the score for upcoming Phantom Thread, due for release on 25/12/17.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (who if we’re to follow the logic of a renowned Vogue fashion editor can be claimed as Irish because he has lived in Ireland for years!) in possibly his last acting role, the film also boasts the wonderful Lesley Manville, as well as Luxembourg-born Vicky Krieps in its cast.

In a neat tit-for-tat arrangement Anderson directed the accompanying videos for Radiohead’s Daydreaming, Present Tense and The Numbers, in addition to a brief documentary on Junun, an Asian music project with which Jonny has been involved (Junun supported Radiohead on part of their AMSP tour).

Getting back to Phantom Thread, Universal Pictures recently published a nanoscopic tidbit, highlighting key moments in the film backed by segments of Greenwood’s score. The ‘threads’ of the score woven into those clips contain moments of intense conflict, as piano chords challenge each other for dominance, juxtaposed with urgent strings perfectly simulating the frantic acceleration of a ticking clock. Exquisite musical designs which will no doubt complement the exquisite tailoring and performances of the film itself.

The soundtrack will presumably go on release in tandem with the film, so we should expect news from camp Greenwood closer to Christmas. DerVerdict – The superlative appetiser has whetted our appetite for more.

*Obviously the soundtrack or parts thereof have not as yet been uploaded to Spotify, so we’ve included a snippet from Greenwood’s score for There Will be Blood instead.

Belfast-based artist Sonja Sleator released her six-track Adams EP in October. Most recently she’s dropped a super-catchy single entitled Mia.

Sleator’s vibe recalls Cheryl Crow at the peak of All I Wanna Do era and like her country-rock predecessor, her voice proves capable of expressing an emotional rollercoaster, whether on the vulnerable Mistake on my Part, or Cambria Moon‘s downtempo, aspirational dreaming.

Mia is a dark narrative played to a backing track that’s the epitome of carefree insouciance. Upbeat pop melodies and a galloping tempo belie an underlying tone of caution in a song that perfectly captures Sonja’s carefully nuanced and pristine delivery.

Enjoyable, delightful, and fresh, Sonja Sleator’s turn of sound is yet another compelling reason for reader’s to cast their gaze northwards to N.Irish skies where they’ll fall upon a wealth of talent. You’ll find Mia on the usual digital platforms, ditto Adams which is also available to buy via the artist’s own website –

DerVerdict – An absolute must. Sonja Sleator has all the hallmarks of an outstanding songwriter & performer.

Photo – Lottie Turner

Vocal harmony duo Ider have had a pretty special 2017. Having signed to GlassNote Records (Chvrches, Daughter, Aurora) their star has continued to rise, while their songs have blossomed into a confident maturity.

Following the wonderful vocal choreography of Learn to Let Go, the duo’s latest single is a similarly compelling creation. Set on a bed of looping chords and dynamic vocal interplay, Body Love is a masterclass in less is more, precision arrangement.

With a spaciousness that’s almost imperceptible, this subtle paeon to love and self-love is glass-half-full with pristine R&B vocals woven into gently tumbling piano chords. Haunting, enthralling, latterday quasi-classical elegance, Body Love reflects a dynamic shift in how Ider approach their songwriting and production, a bold and confident move that augurs well for 2018.

Body Love is out now on the GlassNote imprint.

DerVerdict – Sublime! Rnb styled modern classicism.


Because they’re completely bonkers, London-based duo Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf aka Empathy Test, have dropped not one but TWO debut albums. Nothing like going for broke, eh?

And because there aren’t enough hours in our day, we currently don’t have the bandwidth to digest that much musical material. Ipso facto, we’re sharing the news and taking a rain check on the views, until we can find a few quiet days in our hectic schedule to ramble around their crowd-funded Pledge Music productions. Consider your card marked!

Purveyors of lush futuristic electronica with a bent for retro analogue samples, Empathy Test have a knack for producing evocative, cinematic soundscapes that journey freely into faraway realms while still retaining those underlying 80s’ pop sensibilities that first served to inspire them as a band.

Entitled Safe from Harm and Losing Touch, both albums are available via the bands homegrown portal –

We like the sumptuous dreaminess of Firelight which you can hear below, from the Safe from Harm album. To be continued!

Ary Live in Cologne – Uncredited

This week has seen the consummate electronic confluence as Norwegian artists Gundelach and ARY come together to create the perfect techno storm with their single Games. It’s a fast-paced duet in which myriad electro-effects accelerate through a forlorn synthscape; relief comes by way of the reverb washed, hazy vocals that seem to avoid being weighed down by the track’s thematic heaviness.

For a first foray into production, Gundelach has done a pretty slick job on Games which is available now on all digital platforms.

Still in Norway, favourite of the airwaves and corporate playlists, Sigrid, has dropped her fifth single of 2017. Entitled Strangers, it’s carved from the same propulsive electronica that fuelled the techpop scene of the mid 90’s. In fact, the whole thing is a bit passé and lame, with the exceptionally talented singer’s usually feisty vocal suffering from the staggered progress of the songs arrhythmic beat. Not her best, but super fans won’t care.

On the upside, the Norwegian popstrel’s management team have very cleverly managed to land their protege a slot on the Justice League soundtrack and tbh it’s an altogether more interesting affair. A cover of the Leonard Cohen track Everybody Knows, this brooding, atmospheric thriller – which comes over all Bond – sees Sigrid’s vocal rise to the occasion, producing a performance that’s much more worthy of her undisputed talent. The future is undoubtedly hers to lose.

Back on terra Irlanda, RTE has announced key dates for its annual Choice Music Prize. Winners of the 2016 accolades were Rusangano Family (album) and Picture This (song).

The shortlist for Irish Album of the Year 2017, in association with IMRO & IRMA, will be announced on Wednesday 10th January, 2018, while that for the Irish Song of The Year 2017 will be announced three weeks later on Wednesday 31st January, 2018.

The winning song & album will both be announced during a live RTÉ Choice Music Prize event on Thursday 8th March, 2018. The ceremony, which will held in Dublin’s Vicar Street, will be televised live by the national broadcaster in a special four hour extended programme.

The winner of the best album accolade will also receive a €10,000 prize, co-funded by IMRO and IRMA.

We’ve consulted our diary and are currently free that night!

One man guaranteed a place on this year’s shortlist is Corkman Talos, whose Wild Alee album had music critics foaming superlatives at the mouth.


Welsh firebrands Manic Street Preachers are set to release their thirteenth studio album on April 6th next year. Entitled Resistance Is Futile, it’s the group’s first full album in four years. Described as a return to classic Manics – ie “widescreen melancholia” – it is the first MSP album to be laid down in their new recording studio in Newport.

“The main themes of Resistance Is Futile are memory and loss; forgotten history; confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration. It’s obsessively melodic – in many ways referencing both the naive energy of ‘Generation Terrorists’ and the orchestral sweep of ‘Everything Must Go’, explain the Blackwood 3.

Resistance Is Futile is available to pre-order (including a rather nifty limited ed signed Red Vinyl/CD/Cassette package which we’ve ordered) from Access to Pre-sale tickets for their 2018 lives – dates below – can be yours with purchases prior to midday 21st Nov, pre-sale itself runs from 9.30am 22/11 opening up to general sale 9.30am 24/11. Full details

23 Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
25 Glasgow The SSE Hydro Arena
27 Birmingham Arena
28 Manchester Arena

Llandudno Venue Cymru Arena
Leeds First Direct Arena
London The SSE Arena Wembley
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena


Bell X1

Dates for the diary include,

18th November – Bello Bar – Paddy Hanna

24th November – Whelan’s – Le Boom

24th November – The Workman’s, Dublin – Pumarosa

25th November – Whelans – Bitch Falcon

2nd December – Tivoli – Perfume Genius

9th December – Vicar St. – Lankum

18th – 21st December – The Grand Social – Little Green Cars

20th December – The Waterfront (Belfast) – Imelda May

21st – 23rd December – Vicar St., – Damien Dempsey

27th December – Whelans – Paddy Casey

28th December – Whelans – Sharon Shannon

12th February – Whelans – SYML

23rd February  – No. 22 – Wyvern Lingo

21st – 25th March – Vicar St. – Bell X1

6th – 13th April – Various (incl Whelans) – Delorentos

As always, we leave you with a Spotify playlist to take with you on your day-to-day travels. As per, there’s so much on right now, that we’ll be back before you know it, with VoD 8. Catch us on Facebook to keep up with our escapades and see you soon, DervSwerve x

Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Newsletter (Vol 6)

With an abundance of clattering, catchy and compelling new music coming down the pre-Christmas tracks, it’s time to once again give you our DerVerdicts on the good, bad and possibly not so pretty currently on release across the globe.

In this vol 6 of our totally random newsletter, we’re checking out some of the latest sounds around, with a dash of news bites and tour dates thrown in for good measure. Our DerVerdicts are our genuine, honest thoughts on and reactions to our featured releases  – they’re neither meant to offend nor flatter. As usual, you’ll find a complementary Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post. Happy Dervscovering!

DerVerdicts …


THE BREEDERS – Wait in the Car (Single)

Up to about 5 minutes ago, we’d never heard of The Breeders – a fact about which we probably should feel deeply ashamed. We don’t. We live in a highly filtered bubble; one in which a rarefied atmosphere is rarely pervaded by Pixie-esque terse alt-rock. On the rare occurrence that we make an exception, it usually involves the female as opposed to the male strain of this somewhat clangorous sound – our ears can’t hack anything of harsh, Ork-like quality.

Two minutes of melodic, jagged junkyard metal softened somewhat by the unfaltering, mono-punk of Kim Deal’s blasé vocal, we can certainly do. Wait in the Car is the first in what’s hoped is a new line of cuts from the recently reformed 90s outfit. Snappy, sassy grunge-swagger – if this is what The Breeders are capable of after a serious run of downtime, then count us in.

In other Breeders related news, Deal’s identical twin Kelley was recently honoured with a Gibson Les Paul guitar award by magazine. Deal is one of a current slew of hard-working females being feted for their contribution to the music industry; others being Vick Bain, Lara Baker and Decca Records’ Rebecca Allen.

Wait in the Car is available now via the 4AD imprint.


BJORK – The Gate (Single)

Where her 2015 album Vulnicura focussed on the heartbreaking dissolution of a long-term relationship, Bjork’s impending release Utopiais about a love that’s even greater. It’s about rediscovering love—but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.

The Gate is the first sample of what we can expect from the latest chapter in the diary of the Icelandic chameleon mistress of magical avant-garde that is Bjork. One of her most exquisite and dulcet of love songs, its directness is belied by its quietude.

With the theme of oneness at its core, the song, like the changing tide, ebbs and flows through dark, spacious silences. Except this time, the silence is one of contentment, not one caused by devastation. In the pastoral, classically-inspired opening, Bjork’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies become inextricably intertwined with strings and woodwinds. Barely decipherable electronic dots and dashes are subjugated by a gravitation towards natural and organic sounds; simulated whale-song, hushed noises redolent of rustling trees and rolling tumbleweed from the seafloor.

The video, which was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, is a triumph of the fantastical. It places this barely audible celebration of love in a quasi-animated setting that blurs the lines between Greek mythology and Monsters Inc., before tipping it into a 21st digital dreamscape replete with wonderfully choreographed kaleidoscope of animated graphics that evoke the multi-coloured magic of Disney’s Fantasia.

The Gate is out now via One Little Indian. Utopia is due for release on 24th November. **Yes, yes we know. Murphy’s Law. No sooner had we this written than Bjork went and dropped Blissing Me. Review coming soon.

The pull of nature alluded to above, links us nicely into the next song, which soundtracked the prequel to David Attenborough’s awe-inspiring Blue Planet II series.



Much has already been said about Radiohead‘s re-imagined Bloom. Originally published on their 2011 album The King of Limbs, it was a jungle of freeform jazz, electronic curios and 60s beat basslines. Re-worked by Yorke, Greenwood and renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer, Bloom, or Ocean Bloom as it has been renamed, has been transformed into an orchestral overture of cinematic proportions.

The jazz-arrhythmia of the original has been stripped, exposing an unobtrusive piano melody now refreshed by a scintillating adagio of strings and classical percussion. Thom Yorke re-recorded his vocal part for this re-work, and the quality of both his reach and hold, prove that this master of falsetto has lost none of his youthful vocal dexterity. The end result is a wondrous, quasi-orchestral triumph of understatement and finesse.

Radiohead are currently pursuing solo projects. Ocean Bloom isn’t on Spotify so instead we’ve included the original version of Bloom plus the Zimmer theme to Blue Planet II on our playlist below.

We may have already alluded to Ocean Bloom in a previous post, but we feel so strongly about the devastation being caused to our planet (to which Blue Planet II filmmakers can attest) that we’ll grab any opportunity to promote awareness.


Ruven Afanador

SAM SMITH – The Thrill of it All (Album)

DervSwerve is all up for giving artists who we’ve previously ‘naysayed’ the benefit of the doubt; so it was with an only partially shuttered mind, eye and ear that we decided to give the new Sam Smith album a spin. It was all so far, so familiarly vanilla until we got to track four – Midnight Train – the pulse, riffs and general demeanour of which sent our normally LBP to dangerously high.

Too Good at Goodbyes is a lacklustre poppy ballad written with nothing but $$$ in mind – it has all the kerching of Smith’s previous chart hits – tear-jerking whiny vocal, nod to the gospel choir and a few finger clicks to give it a bit of bluesy cool. Say it First is more of the same moan and teenage groan – what age is Smith, 16? His falsetto is so beyond false it could easily be a sample of one of the cauldron hugging witches from a ridiculously bad production of MacBeth. Next up is One Last Song, more rent-a-gospel-choir blancmange with none of the gutsy sandpapered force that this blend of blue-eyed soul demands (think Paul Young and weep!).

So, we arrive at Midnight Train. If we get into the nitty grittys we’ll probably be had for libel. So I’ll our opinion of this track will take the form of the following video. And on that note, we’ll leave Sam Smith and his less than thrilling compendium of torch songs and move onto artists who are shall we say, come across as being a little more original …


PADDY HANNA – Mario Lanza (Single)

Former member of left-of-centre Grand Pocket Orchestra Paddy Hanna, has unveiled another single, Mario Lanza, from his forthcoming second solo album entitled Frankly I Mutate. Scheduled for release in 2018 via Strange Brew Records, the Daniel Fox (Girl Band) produced album, which the Dubliner recorded with a new band, features inputs from Cian Nugent and the Cosmos, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra.

A tight interplay of myriad strings (electric, acoustic, banjo, violin) and some fantastic swing-style percussion form an uplifting, uptempo soundscape onto which Hanna throws down a quirky yet formidable vocal. Notwithstanding its lighthearded vibe, Mario Lanza has its roots in a more serious real-life episode, as the singer explained:-

My Father, not too long ago, went through a terrible illness which left him in a coma for two weeks”, “While struggling to deal with the strain I began listening through some rough demos I had, one of which was a minute-long ditty about Mario Lanza,”, “(I) realized very quickly I was channelling my pain through this particular track.”

Mario Lanza is out now on the Strange Brew imprint. Paddy is about to hit our EU funded roads, with dates scheduled across Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

Fri 17th Nov – Levi’s, Ballydehob
Sat 18th Nov – Bello Bar, Dublin
Fri 24th Nov – Connolly’s Of Leap
Sat 2nd Dec – Kasbah, Limerick


LAOISE – Rich (Video)

Turning her attention to visualising her musical concepts, Galwegian Laoise has once again turned to filmic collaborator Christian Tierney, to translate the lyrical storyline of her latest single Rich into a pictorial tale. Which he has done, with sophisticated, understated aplomb.

The ‘purple haze’ video sees the singer, who is trapped in a cocoon of material wealth, become more fixated with tangible luxuries the more they come into her possession. Speaking of video the singer explained: “The song is about a love that’s been compromised for possessions, and how easy it was for money to gain control over their mind. You can see this in the video where certain materials and surroundings can quickly alter personality and behaviour, and with every new material someone owns, the more superior they feel.”

Rich is taken from Laoise‘s upcoming EP due out in early 2018. We’re looking forward to it girl!



Photo – Southend Who?

THE TRUSTED – Boy (Single)

Following on from their stand-out Summer single Sunlight and fresh from a plethora of live dates (they’ve played 70 gigs this year alone), Southend four-piece The Trusted return with single Boy.

Switching gears and stylistic direction, Boy leaves behind the honeyed mellow hues of downtempo Sunlight for an altogether darker, grungier vibe. Filled with blues basslines, tense guitar riffs, punchy drumming and frontman Tom Cunnigham’s alluring vocal, this latest single is an exciting insight into The Trusted’s constant evolution. Their unceasing desire to explore, boldly lane-hopping from one genre to the next, trialling and excavating sounds, has seen their songwriting mature to a level where they should now be looking to cut their first EP.

Boy explores the centuries-old headwreck of transitioning from teenager to adulthood and all the internal struggles the ‘strung up boy’ goes through to mature.

Having picked up support from Hoxton Radio and BBC Introducing, London, The Trusted have seen their fanbase explode over the past 12 months, a fact borne out by the ever-increasing numbers at their live shows. They play the Dublin Castle, Camden on 25th November and with their reputation for blistering live performances, this is one pre-Christmas gig that Londoners should mark on the ‘to do list’ now.

There’s also a tour in offing, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page, here. Boy is out now on all digital platforms.


THE UNION FEAT. LOVESPEAKE – Never Gonna Work (Single)

Norwegian band Lovespeake are particularly adept at coining Summer hot, dude cool tunes. Fronted by Alexander Pavelich, they released one of Norway’s best albums of 2016 – DNA – you can read The Monitors review of it, here. Most recently they’ve been touring Asia, but a return to colder climes has seen them once again cosy up with Swedish duo The Uniøn to produce electronic adventure Never Gonna Work.

An addictive tropical-house track in the mould of Kygo, Never Gonna Work opens into a spacious electroscape with nothing but Pav’s lush vocal tip toeing through micro beats before bursting into a full-on, juicy dance track. Infectious, dynamic, and irresistible, this galloping floor filler is one that’s sure to have party-people shaking their booty on this season’s festive club circuit.

Never Gonna Work is out now via the Toothfairy label.



YOUNG EARTH – Frequency Illusion (EP)

Young Earth are a four-piece from Dublin formed at BIMM, who’ve taken 90’s style 60’s jams and twisted them into 21st century indie-rock songs with all the punchy instrumental weight of the Arctic Monkeys and flourish of the Beatles.

Since unveiling their debut single Maggie in 2016, the band have had four more releases culminating in their debut EP Frequency Illusion. A five track cut, it veers very much in a 90’s indie direction – sounds like SuperGrass, the LAs, Kula Shaker – but with the noughties savvy of successors like the Vaccines and Alex Turner et al.

The EP title track is a retro, guitar driven, stop-start energiser filled with tight licks, clattering percussion and inviting vocals. Second in, Worth it, will be remembered for it’s crowd pulling chorus and Shadows-esque guitar riffs. The more you journey into this EP the more you’ll notice slight similarities with both The Academic and The Strypes – two other up and coming Irish bands at different stages of their evolution but equally successful in their own right – which can only augur well for this emerging four-piece.

Got a Secret is one of the strongest tracks on the EP – brandishing some seriously cutting, clean guitar lines and dark melodies. That darkness is countered by the slick n’ sassy sway of Undercover onto which frontman Mark O’Keeffe pours some seriously honeyed vocals. The song, which also features a rather neat if short guitar solo, adds a provocative touch of the ‘lush’ to what has hitherto been a pretty blistering tracklist. EP closer Let Go flaunts some serious pop sensibilities under the cover of several layers of reverb. Wet, hazy and dreamy, this’ll possibly be the one to get the girl’s screaming during the lives.

A neatly packaged, well balanced debut from a band who know their stuff. For their age, Young Earth are a surprisingly well-oiled machine. Innovative well honed musicianship, confident vocals and an ear for good tunes with plenty of ‘je ne sais quoi’ should stand them in good stead for a pretty rock n roll 2018.

Frequency Illusion is out now on all digital platforms.


Classy Norwegian pocket-orchestra Einar Stray‘s highly acclaimed Dear Bigotry album has been nominated in the Best Norwegian Album cat of the annual Gaffa Awards – you can vote for this or any other category that tickles your fancy over at

Irish feist-rock band Bitch Falcon‘s latest single, live favourite Of Heart, which is due out 24th November is currently on pre-order here

Canadian mega-star Michael Bublé has just been announced for a Summer sesh at Croker. Pencilled in for Saturday 7th July, 2018, tickets for Bubbles will not doubt be gone before they begin so have the fam on standby, fingers on your buzzers – tickets from Ticketmaster 9am Friday 17th – he who dares wins (the bruises will heal eventually) – link here – all the very best!

Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør has just announced that she is to bring her Music For People In Trouble audio visual show to London’s Barbican Centre on May 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, this has resulted in her having to cancel the previously advertised gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Refunds will be available at the point of purchase or exchanged on a first option basis for seats at the Barbican). General sale tickets available from November 24th. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

We have way more news and views to share with you so stay tuned because VoD newsletter #7 will be with you before the end of the week! Busy times. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop, DervSwerve x

Discover Ireland #6 : October Odysseys, November Nights (P2)

The Academic

Following on from the first tranche of this two-parter Discover Ireland #6 post which you can read HERE, we’re diving straight back in with more of our top picks from the the current crop of Irish releases. Kicking off proceedings is the Irish music act that has owned 2017 …. Picture This.


The band who have without exception dominated the music headlines in 2017, Picture This, have announced the release of a Deluxe (don’t you just love that word) ed of their superfab eponymous debut album. Due out on 17th November, this bigger and bolder iteration of their first long-player will include two additional ‘new’ songs as well as the much loved festive number, This Christmas.

Picture This are currently nearing the end of what’s been one helluva of a chart-ripping, skyscraping rollercoaster ride. A journey that has seen them trip across the globe like a musical bullet-train leaving no fanbase unturned in their wake. Where 2018 is gonna take them no-one knows, but for a band with the gift of the lyrical gab and instrumental Midas touch, it would seem that the only way continues to be up #intothegreatwideopen .


Photo Leitrim Observer

Ailie Blunnie is a new name to this reviewer. Originally hailing from Carrick-on-Shannon, the young Leitrim woman is now based in Dublin, and it is around these two locations that her debut album circles.

West to the Evening Sun measures the distance in both emotional and psychological as well as ‘real’ terms, between the singer’s erstwhile home in the rural west, and her newly arrived at base in the nation’s ever-growing capital. Identity is a key thematic focus, so it comes as no surprise that much of the record’s lyrics are soaked in introspection and self-examination. Vulnerable, fragile and raw, Blunnie’s words bleed into a gentle soporific stream of ‘acousticism’ on an album that often recalls that great exponent of plain chant and airy pop rooted in Irish trad-folk – Enya.

There are some magical moments here, none moreso than on And So To Sleep, but the youthful freshness of West to the Evening Sun can at times come across as a bit too intent in its pursuit of honest delivery.

Heartfelt lyrics, beautifully performed and delightfully instrumented, West to the Evening Sun is a fine debut from a much-talented artist who if they build on this well-executed foundation, will have plenty to carry them into a successful future. West to the Evening Sun is out now via Happy Out Records.


If you had Wyvern Lingo pegged as the 2017 Irish iteration of Bananarama then you’re in for pretty much a rude awakening. While they may share the same boundless unbridled energy and un-vogue, idiosyncratic sense of style as their 80’s predecessors, their lyrical incisiveness replete with keen socio-political engagement, and cool instrumental flair sees them cut an altogether more outspoken and colourful dash.

Their latest single Out of My Hands (for which we sincerely apologise for this utterly tardy mention) is an highly charged and no holds barred kick in the nuts to our indifference as a society towards matters social, political, and moral both within and without our inherently self-absorbed world.

Out of My Hands also happens to be a compelling listen: an infectious blend of bluesy (or should we say ballsy) RnB and dark, sultry pop which paints perfectly synced vocals across a lush mural of blues basslines, intense beats and rhythmic melodies. The impact is both immediate and powerful.

The lovely Lingo lassies will play their first Dublin show of 2018 on Friday 23rd February at Number Twenty Two on South Anne Street. Around since late 2016, No.22 is, according to its online blurb, an “unique and exclusive venue that combines a library and theatre club”. You have been told. Tickets for Wyvern Lingo are priced at Euro 19.50 and available for procurement via Ticketmaster … go to it!


Phil Collins super-fan Seamus Fogarty divides his time between Swinford (do you know the Mc Donnells?) and London. When he’s not dreaming about cake and the ageing Genesis drummer, he’s delivering trad-folk pop fusion belters such as Carlow Town, lifted from the recently released album, The Curious Hand.

Recently signed to Domino Records – home to Julia Holter, Franz Ferdinand & Villagers amongst others – Seamus Fogarty dabbles in the realm of alt-country, dynamic folk and twisted trad with a dollop of pop sensibilities on the side. His music, which is as spirited as it is poetic, struggles against being pigeonholed preferring rather to allow its roving, free spirit to wander where the inspiration takes it.

A menagerie of vintage styles produced and arranged using very latterday techniques, The Curious Hand contains some veritable gems. Dynamic Carlow Town is an intriguing autobiographical chapter inked with tumbling guitar chords and slam-beats, while the gorgeous title track with its finger-picked strings, gentle accordion and wistful spoken word sequence, opens up sufficient a chink to allow the listener to catch a brief glimpse of a very personal moment in time.

Definitely a rarity, possibly one of the best surprises of 2017, The Curious Hand is an album crafted with a mix of emigré fondness and the cold eye of an ex-pat whose memory is still fresh of the ‘stony grey soil’ of an Ireland he has chosen to leave behind.

Btw Seamus, I’d love to know where this Castle is, because on the several nights, many moons ago, that I ended up stranded in Carlow town, there was nothing between me and my maker except the local cop shop and a verdant overhang in Monacurragh.

The Curious Hand is out now on the Domino Records imprint.


Speaking of Carlow … Carlovian bros Brían & Diarmuid Mac Gloinn, the duo behind Ye Vagabonds, have just self-released their debut self-titled album via their own record label.

The pair started recording elements of the album some two years ago, grabbing sample sounds o’er hills and dales, kitchens and sheds, before setting about forging them into a captivating compendium of acoustic trad-folk tunes. Their sound is somewhat redolent of that of the indigenous peoples of North and Western Canada into Alaska with harmony-led songs like Wake Up and Whistling Wind recalling myriad documentaries about these vast, untamed landscapes.

Honest, warm and earthy vocals, lightened by their soft, harmonious extension, tread a steady path across a colourful tapestry of various strings – guitar, cello, mandolin. Songs like Way Up On The Mountains will take the listener down the path of the Irish balladeer whereas instrumentals like For Bert or the delightful Half Blind take their cue from American folk. Whichever is your bent – folk, trad or a muddle of the two – there’s plenty to please the palate.

Coming from a town with a long-standing tradition of folk, trad and Celtic music it’s no wonder that Ye Vagabonds have chosen a cross-over of these genres as the basis for this oeuvre.

Ye Vagabonds’ album is out now via Inglenook Records. Several lives have been lined up including shenanigans in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Belfast starting on 24th November – full details on the bands Facebook page.


Fresh from their much admired appearances at Electric Picnic and Indiependence, Joy Divison/New Order doppelgangers Columbia Mills returned earlier this Autumn with a new single We Decide, one of several amuses bouche to the maincourse that has become their debut album.

Columbia Mills weave real-life lyrical observations through the intensely taut and sombre landscapes of the immersive A Safe Distance to Watch. Theirs is a well-balanced layering of tight guitar sequences, brooding beats and dark textures, and while it may seem that their world is at the bottom of an endless inky-black shaft, there are moments when a chink of light is visible on its perimeters.

In truth, there’s something very gratifying about soaking up the rich intensity of tracks like Cold Shoulder and We Decide, or immersing oneself in the heady 80’s JD trip that is the smouldering This City Doesn’t Feel Like Home To Me (we dig its electro-nod to Enola Gay).

Recorded in Westland Studios in Dublin and produced and mixed by Rob Kirwan (U2/Depeche Mode) the album follows a thematic thread of voluntary disconnection from, and disassociation with people, places and situations using snatches from real-life stories as the bases for its songs.

A Safe Distance to Watch is out now on all digital platforms. Columbia Mills have announced a launch show for the album, at Dublin’s Button Factory on Friday November 17th. Should be a good ‘un.


Mother of all Irish Festivals Electric Picnic, has been nominated for Best Major Festival in this year’s European Festival Awards. They’re asking for your support oh lovers of all things Stradbally, so get yourselves over to to throw your weight behind #madeinIreland

Btw – on the same fest-awards site both Oyafestivalen, Oslo and Reeperbahn, Hamburg are nominated for best medium-sized festival while homegrown Castlepalooza and the Carrickmackross Arts Festival are awaiting your votes under the Best Small Festival cat. Other voting categories include best line-up, and best newcomer (Cigarettes After Sex, Sigrid, Idles & more).

Upcoming Irish band The Academic have announced their debut album. Entitled Tales from the Backseat, it’s set for release on 12th January, 2018. With sales of the Lauralynn charity record Joshua Tree New Roots extending their already widening fanbase and a stint supporting the Kooks taking them to even higher European heights, The Academic are set to pull off a chart-takeover when their first full-length finally hits the streets. Should shortly be available to pre-order – keep your eyes peeled on their Twitter.

You can hear The Academic’s latest Permanent Vacation single on our playlist below.


In gig news, well it looks like dates in November/December are going to be as stuffed your Christmas turkey. Here are a few must-go-tos for your diary:-

Lana del Rey sounds-like Katie Kim has been announced for what must surely be one of the most hotly anticipated pre-Crimbo gigs. She’ll headline Dublin’s Workman’s Club (support tba) on Friday 22nd December. To see a show more than well worth its tenner ticket price, book your spot via Ticketmaster here. Watch the video for Katie’s sultry, and densely textured Ghosts below.

Elsewhere, veterans The Gloaming and Little Green Cars have both announced Irish dates in early 2018.

The Gloaming will play not one but four consecutive dates at home from home National Concert Hall (they’ve previously sold out 17 dates at the prestigious Dubin venue), where they will take up residence from 5th to the 8th of March – tickets will go on sale on the NCH website at 10am on 17th November –  . These four shows will constitute their only lives of 2018 and are set to make for one truly remarkable homecoming.

Their compatriots Little Green Cars are set to kick off a Nationwide tour commencing 12th December in The Source Arts Centre, Thurles. Working their way through three nights in Cork and rounding off with a staggering six (yes 6) nights in Dublin, the boys from LGC look set to have a busy few weeks ahead of them. Tickets are now on sale for dates across both December and January. The band released their much lauded last album Ephemera back in 2016. Will 2018 see more ‘ephemeral’ goodness?

We’re ending with news that tickets for the annual 2FM Xmas Ball which this year is being headlined by homeboys The Script completely sold out within a few hours. As all proceeds will go support ISPCC/Childline, this is fantastic news indeed.

Why not add our Discover Ireland #6 playlist to your Spotify library so you can continue to revisit some if not all of our latest picks from top Irish acts. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news, views and reviews, DervSwerve x

Discover Ireland #6 : October Odysseys, November Nights (P1)


As the Christmas season draws near, we herald another glorious harvest of new Irish music; sounds that have tickled our earbuds as cold grey takes over from the burnt ochre of a fading Autumnal landscape.

The contemporary Irish music scene is festooned with sonic riches right now; gems of every hue, shape and origin to appeal to the most eclectic of tastes. So, without further ado, let’s dig into the latest treasure trove to explore the musical magic within …

As per, you’ll find an accompanying Spotify playlist at the end of the newsletter.


The creative partnership of music artist Talos and filmographer Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost never ceases to amaze. On the recently released video accompaniment to Wild Alee closer Voices, they have, once again, effortlessly pulled the innovative rabbit out of the filmic hat – this time in collaboration with filmmaker and animator Kevin McGloughlin.

Taking images from the gasp-inducing This is Us Colliding visual, which was shot on location in West Clare/the Burren, Canty & co have upped the ante by mixing up scenes of sweeping Wild Atlantic Way landscapes with flashing, acid trip imagery. These visual muddles are interspersed with blacked out silhouettes and neon-bright squiggles and doodles that explode across the plaintive darkness like a chaos of frenzied fireworks.

Still : Brendan Canty

Talos’ videos make for compelling viewing and in the case of Voices, the film sucks the viewer into the existential depth of the song’s lyrical inspiration. Speaking of the track Talos has previously explained, “Voices’ for me is the most inclusive and celebratory track on the album. I saw it as a unifying moment, as something that just asked a question about existence and either choosing to exist now, as you should, or not…”

Talos has just closed out a brief UK tour but will soon be gearing up for an end of year Nationwide tour, kicking off with two sold out dates in St. Ann’s Church Dublin on 14/15th December (if unlike us you’ve been lucky enough to snag a ticket, enjoy!), rounding off in the home of West Cork homes of music, Connolly’s of Leap on 29th December. Full details on his official website –

Watch the Voices video in all it’s colour-pop, psych-wash abstract glory, here.


However ‘perished’ Ailbhe Reddy might look in the above ‘sittin’ in football stand shade wishin’ I was by a nice fire‘ shot, one thing’s for sure; there is nothing cold or insensate about this young Dubliner’s voice on her latest knockout single, The Tube.

Reddy’s sound has evolved quite significantly from its acoustic beginnings. The Tube, which sees Ailbhe take her songwriting skills up to the next level, reflects a more mature and confident music artist. The sound is both dynamic and strong, and the vocal while still retaining it’s delicate finesse, is impressively self-assured.

Although I might be swayed by the allusion to the London Underground, I feel there are shades of Welsh singer Duffy in the bluesiness of this track that reflects on the breakdown in relational communications; an unfortunate feature of everyday life and romance.

Reddy has finely cut her live teeth this year, with appearances at most of the major festivals and an Autumnal nationwide tour. We’ll watch her progress through 2018 with great interest. The Tube is available to stream or download on all digital platforms.


Galway-based, Roisin Dubh regular David Boland plies his finger picking quasi-folkpop under the New Pope moniker.

His latest foray is a retro visual trip through a 60’s ‘love parade’. A video accompaniment to the song Love which featured on his sophomore album of the same name, this faded visual comprises edited footage from the 1961 anti-drug educo-film, Seduction of the Innocent. The song itself is a mellow affair that wouldn’t sound astray on the soundtrack to the ‘Summer of Love’. No doubt then as now, many a youthful dream was dashed on the rocks of seduction, echoing the storyline of the home-made visual.

New Pope is set to drop his third album at the end of November so watch this space.


Good-time, rag-time gals Mongoose have just launched their Four EP (bit of a wild one that – link!!). Doing what it says on the ‘tin’ the EP is a four-tracker to which each Mongooser has made their own idiosyncratic, compositional contribution. Guitarist and co-vocalist Ailbhe Dunne made an indelible mark with the jazz-burst that is Bullseye a frantic, up-tempoed, roaring 20’s jazz number that’s been given a bloody good modern shaking.

Mongoose are mid-tour nationwide. If you’re lucky, there’s still time to catch one of their ‘joie de vivre‘ themed shows! Their Four EP is available to download now via Bandcamp.


Six very fine musicians make up Northern Ireland’s Runabay, a band who have always defied being labelled. By crossing through genres in pursuit of their desire to continuously evolve their sound, they have pushed the boundaries of trad, folk, alt-pop and indie to create their own fine, unique blend of contemporary fusion.

They’ve just released their latest single, Too Soon (Reverie), ahead of some upcoming live dates (see their FB page for details).

A song which explores the “implications of indecision”, its a beautiful and beguiling affair that stirs the senses and warms the cockles. Earnest, prescient and emotional without the gush, Too Soon explores Runabay’s virtuoso musical capabilities, bringing them together to create an heartfelt, glorious soundtrack to everyday life. As always John Mc Manus’ vocal is as impassioned as it is controlled, his effortless delivery at the forefront of but not dominating an involute and exquisite arrangement, the emotive voice of which would bring tears to a stone.

Runabay’s music can be found on all the usual digital platforms including Bandcamp where Too Soon (Reverie) is available for download.


Lifted from Songs of Experience the ‘sequel’ to their 2014 album Songs of Innocence, Get Out of Your Own Way is the second single to pave the way for the release of U2’s 14th studio album diaried for 1st December, 2017. The 13-track record will be released via Island Records in digital and CD formats, as a Standard, Deluxe, and double vinyl album.

Get Out of Your Own Way features spoken word by Kendrick Lamar on the outro; Lamar previously collaborated with U2 on his track XXX. With its skyscraping harmonies, tight guitar chords and pulsing heartbeat, the track sees a return to the bass-driven, undulating pop-rock of Beautiful Day (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000).

In socio-political news, U2 have just released a video on their home channel appealing to Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi to up her game in defence of those Rohingya Muslims currently suffering genocide on a mass-scale in remote territories of the former Burma. Read about their attempts to reach out to the Nobel prize winner here.

U2 have just announced a Northern American tour kicking off 2nd May, 2018 – details here. To pre order Songs of  Experience, visit  In the meantime you can satisfy your cravings somewhat by checking out this video.

Due to the fact that Discover Ireland #6 crosses over two months, we’ve split this current post in two to make for easier reading. Check into Part 2 here.

Why not add our Discover Ireland #6 playlist to your Spotify library so you can continue to revisit some if not all of our latest picks from top Irish acts. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news, views and reviews, DervSwerve x

Feature: Mongoose ‘Four’ EP Launch & Whelan’s Live Review

As a lover of all things Fender, effects pedals, YorkeWood and psychedelic coloured, agave-flavoured drone, I rarely dabble in the white-art of “tumbling folk-pop”. However, I can and do make exceptions, especially when the creators of this centuries old musical tradition are none-other than A) Irish B) female C) damn fine musicians.

Last Friday night, 2 + 2 = Mongoose, an all-female, Dublin based four-piece whose lineage stretches well beyond the Pale’s perimeter. The verbose quartet, who took centre-stage in Whelan’s to mark the launch of their Four EP, lit up the renowned entertainment emporium with the same exuberant effervescence as a shoal of squibs sparking with a drove of dynamite. Their set was a triumphant muddle of pared back quasi-pastoral trad-folk and frantic big-build urban-jungle jazz beats that swung between lull and bombast, channelling everything from wistful romanticism to raucous jubilation. Get the IG?

Interestingly, their 15-song setlist featured just one track, Can I See You Tonight, from the band’s eponymous debut album. The rest was a blend of newbies, tried and tested but unreleased comps, and the Four individually penned parts that make up the ‘whole’ of the latest release.

Mongoose opened their set with the wafer-light, lulllaby-esque strains of Nicer by Night, a track that grew from a whisper to a roar, before launching into Bullseye, first of the EP quadruplets on the night. A galloping rag-time jazz affair, this ‘life and soul of the party‘ song warmed the crowd up from enthusiastic to smokin’.

After the cavorting Bullseye, the mood was toned down considerably by the jazz-blues soft shoe shuffle avec delish clarinet of Motionless, onto which percussionist Molly O’Mahony slowly poured a rich 80% dark chocolate vocal.

In fact variations on the jazz theme are at the very front, back and centre of many Mongoose compositions – from the pure mellow harmony filled blend of the slick, slow, sad My Own, to sonic fairytale Marsh which perfectly captured the vocal genius of the Andrews sisters. Another innovative gem pulled from their idiosyncratic treasure trove in which a quasi-acapella shuffled into a sparse, quirky lament full of sliding harmonies, wonky chords. This ridiculously good jazz-country hiked up into the most delightfully delicious and frantically raucous of endings.

A set of thematic and schematic opposites saw Mongoose play snakes and ladders with tempos, genres and stylistic interpretation, switching through an eclectic range of colour-washed tracks, ranging from sepia stained to acid-bright. There was Suck, a vocal layer cake astride a throbbing percussive heartbeat and low-slung drone that built to a thundery squall, side-by-side with the inky black, funereal Draw the Line, a new song of lonesome trad-ballad proportions trimmed with bluesy influences.

Enter stage left the quirky Mongoose alter ego. These gals have the wonderfully uncanny knack of turning a song on its head humpty-dumpty stylee halfway through. So, Draw the Line, which initially was something of a doleful dirge was transformed like an ‘ugly duckling’ (no offence girls), into a much bigger, bolder, brighter beastie. Skyscrapered into a meld of Mick Fleetwoody style drumming and 60’s Doors guitar sounds it provided just one of the several ‘wow’ moments of the night.

Another came with humongous crowd pleaser Hard Ground a track which ripped more cheers, thuds and roars from the crowd than any other! It’s piece de resistance came with the extended instrumental outro was which Horslips incarnate.

The Kate Bush meets Fleetwood Mac Roadblock with its Sat in Your Lap vibes and alt-pop sensibilities made way for a musical ‘family gathering’ with clarinet, trumpet, trombone and strings players (including Ní Cheannabháin’s mother) joining the band onstage for their track Sister.  A bit in the mould of Simon & Garfunkel, it’s an endearing folksy ballad with a rousing chorus that spurred the ever-ready crowd to take on the choral chant “faraway, faraway” which they did with ebullient enthusiasm, fuelled by alcohol and adrenalin in equal measure.

Penultimate song on the main setlist was the Molly O’Mahony penned ‘waltz’ Joie de Vivre. Possibly this reviewer’s favourite on the night, it could easily soundtrack a BBC drama series. A song of two halves, it opened with a delicate, fragile piano-driven monologue before bursting into an impassioned oration atop sweeping three-four time melodrama. This is the kind of pathos-infused music John Barry used to conjure up without breaking sweat. It’s a stunner.
As was the band’s overall performance on the night. From their non-stop banter to their imaginative interpretation, from their faultless delivery to their ridiculously enchanting vocal gymnastics, these girls never put a foot wrong throughout. When they played the two already released singles from the EP, Old Friend and Counting Song, (videos above) the crowd near ripped the roof off the room, such is the popularity of this group of harlequin troubadours.
Sonic chameleons with a myriad of stylistic abilities up their sleeves, it’s clear that Mongoose have a formidable and incredibly well-honed talent. If they could bottle the electricity they managed to generate in Whelan’s the other night and decant it across the rest of Ireland, they’d be in poll position in the charts within no time. If only,


The Four EP credits are as follows:-

Old Friend, composed by Cara Dunne

Counting Song, composed by Muireann Ní Cheannabháin

Bullseye, composed by Ailbhe Dunne

Joie de Vivre, composed by Molly O’Mahony

Mongoose is Molly O’Mahony (drums/vox), Muireann Ní Cheannabháin (cello/vox) and sisters Ailbhe (guitars/vox) & Cara (keys/vox) Dunne. Mongoose are currently mid-Nationwide tour – full details on their Facebook page. Their EP entitled Four is available to buy/stream via all the usual suspects incl iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify, the link to which is here-below.  DervSwerve x

A World of Dervscoveries

Honey Lung (Facebook Uncredited)

Dervscoveries is a new regular post bringing you the best in ‘musica obscura’ – songs, sounds and artists who might not as yet swim in the mainstream, but whose music you should be familiarising yourselves with asap. As usual, this post will be accompanied by a Spotify playlist, which you can find at the bottom of the page.

Kick starting proceedings is a collective from Finland called RinneRadio with their jazz-ambient piece called Yasmin. Calling out above a meld of bubble and haze, an earnest clarinet captures the aural gaze before leading the listener into an imaginary world of visceral transcendence. The perfect blend of jazz and new age electronica, this is mindful instrumentation at its finest.

Rinne Radio are a constantly evolving techno-jazz outfit whose current line-up comprises Tapani Rinne on bass clarinet and saxophone, Juuso Hannukainen on percussion and Konsta Muffler Mikkonen on electronics with Mikka Kari in charge of sound design.

Yasmin is out on the Ambient Zone label.

Things move onto a darker, more unnerving landscape with next track, the absolutely superb Witness by Paul Woolford under the Special Request moniker. Taken from his second 23-track album entitled Belief System, Witness is a deeply textured and richly atmospheric instrumental interpretation of mystery and foreboding. Starting with a veil of mist, the track quickly descends down a rabbit hole of disquietude.

A breathtaking if troubling composition that will hold you captive.

Belief System is available via the Houndstooth imprint.

There are few sounds as mesmerising as marimba; for centuries any bell-like sounds whose timbre soared up into the heavens like chiming stars have fascinated, uplifted and captivated. Rite is an utterly beautiful echo-chamber of xylophones, marimbas and glockenspiels brought to us by Snow Palms, the brainchild of musician and composer David Sheppard. Taken from his sophomore album Origin and Echo, which incidentally was two years in the making, Rite is an utterly beautiful and transporting piece of musical argentum.

Rite is taken from the forthcoming album Origin & Echo due for release via Village Green on 17th November.

Taking things in a completely yet not unrelated stylistic direction is young American Julien Baker. There is something equally soaring about Baker’s pole-vaulting vocal and cirrus-level atmospherics. Turn Out The Lights is the title track from 21-year old’s second album and if a benchmark of the record’s quality, then the bar has been set sky-high.  Moving from soft finger-picked strings and earnest low-key vocals through a haze of reverb the track builds to an outro packed with fuzzy intensity and a powerful vocal ascent. Impressive is an understatement.

Lovers of Bon Iver style indie folk will be in thrall to the Tennessee native.

Julie Baker plays Whelan’s on 9th November (two days ahead of the equally splendid Lucy Rose).

Turn Out The Lights is taken from Julien Baker’s new album of the same name out October 27th on Matador Records.

Staying in guitar strumming, string plucking, southern state indie-folk territory we take our next cue from the guys over at BBC Introducing Devon. Recalling Tom Petty or that virtuoso of acoustic guitar Bob Dylan, StevieRay Latham has a voice that would be more at home on the broad expanse of the Great Plains than the grey pavements of London Town.

There are subtle echoes of the inviting melodies of Arctic Monkey’s genius Cornerstone on the Londoner’s latest single and former Devon ‘Upload of the Week’ Kristina, a semi-acoustic ballad with an underlying intensity that belies its superficial simplicity. It’s sometimes hard to believe that one artist could create something so compelling and beguiling as this track, with its entreating vocal and curious lyrics. Low-key electric guitar and intermittent synth samples add a 2017 twist, giving the track an ‘urban cowboy’ for the 21st century vibe.

Kristina is taken from Latham’s second album entitled Winter in London out now.

Next up another BBC Intro Devon find, Daniel Lloyd. Purveyor of ‘twangy gloom’ (love it), Daniel hails from Torquay in Devon. With a voice and lyrical edge that belie his tender age, this young English artist is on a par with the likes of Alex Turner and Richard Hawley. In fact, Lloyd sounds eerily like a young Hawley, his voice more cavernous than the midnight pits of Ebbw Vale.

You can hear Daniel’s stunning new track Love Discourse below. Imposing and unorthodox it is, just like his subterranean vocal and mature beyond his years arrangements. In the words of the late, great Tom Petty, we’ll watch and wait as Daniel Lloyd steps “Into the great wide open”.

**As Love Discourse wasn’t uploaded to Spotify we cannot include it in our accompanying playlist, sorry.

Ramping things up a tad are London-based Honey Lung with their latest number, Stuttering Mind. Lovers of MBV and our personal faves, Leicester based Dayflower  will fall head over heels with this track, this band, this sound!

As a mark of just how damn good this quartet are, they headlined the BBC Intro stage at the Reading & Leeds festival earlier this year.

Honey Lung trade in clean guitar lines immersed in fifty shades of reverb with soft-tone vocals a la Ecstasy of Saint Teresa or their precursors Colorfactory. There are touches of melancholia around the edges of some truly gorgeous melodies and a warmly textured arrangement as the band cleverly (and very successfully) experiment with flipping focus from foreground to background. Even if indie isn’t your thing, Honey Lung are a band you should keep a beady one on, as there’s more here than meets the inexpert eye.

Stuttering Mind is out now – Honey Lung are currently on tour.

Django Django – the name just conjurs up all kinds of bounce, mayhem and fun doesn’t it. Brimming with colour, texture and zipping rhythm, their new track Tic Tac Toe brings a welcome splurge of brightness to our chilly, grey days. This rambunctious psych/art-pop energiser is yet another mouth-watering morsel from the London- based quartet’s upcoming third album.

The carry-on cowboy-esque feel-gooder is a blitz of thigh slapping beats, glorious harmonies, frantic guitars and bonkers arrangements. Need a pick-me-up? This is all the tonic you’ll need!

Django Django have been announced for Dublin’s Tivoli, 2nd March, 2018, tickets Euro 22.50 plus booking fee will go on sale via Eventbrite on 27th October, link here.

Marble Skies, the follow up to the band’s 2015 record Born Under Saturn has a release slot of 26th January 2018. Pre-order details here.

Cardiff-based four-piece Estrons have been faved by fans and moderators of Fresh on the Net several times – proof-positive that we know a good thing when we hear it, and, that they know how to spring cracking good tunes!

Alas, I was never blessed with good timing. Having missed out on every opportunity to review them for FOTN, I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since. Their new release Cold Wash provides the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The flip side to previous single Glasgow Kisses, Cold Wash is a menacing clangour of metal and percussion that plays to the vocal strengths and endless range of front-woman Taliesyn Kallstrom. Hurling push-pull lyrics across a looping kerrang of driving guitars with gale fore indignation, Cold Wash once again finds Kallstrom in fine vocal form. Deliciously intense, there are moments of lulling reprieve before the track ratchets back up to a squally close.

Estrons have a rep for blistering live performances. They’ve just completed a full UK tour but if you’re hanging in Cardiff or its hinterland on 9th December, you’ll be able to catch their set at Chroma/Palomino Party, @ClwbIforBach details here.

Cold Wash/Glasgow Kisses is out now via Gofod Records.

Norwegian Anna Lena Bruland, better known to music aficionados as EERA  is now just days away from releasing her debut album Reflection of Youth. Hailing from a fishing town south of Oslo, EERA decamped to London several years ago and it continues to be her base. There she honed the now highly regarded, exceptional songwriting skills displayed on her latest singles; three tracks in fact lifted from the Norwegian’s debut record. Songs I Wanna Dance & Christine were the ‘amuse bouche’ to current album appetiser Living, a strident something from virtually nothing that takes its thematic cue from a close, personal friendship.

While her voice captivates, EERA takes no lyrical prisoners, her sparse perspicacity a feat of concision. Similarly, her music can sound as barren as a wasteland or as brimful of skew-ways, gyrating wet metallica as an underground indie club on a Saturday night.

At times wistful, at others penitent, Living is as uncompromising an emotional expose as one would normally attribute to the likes of PJ Harvey.

EERA is currently supporting the Ghostpoet tour. Part recorded in producer Nick Rayner’s home-studio in Cork, Reflection Of Youth will release on 3rd November 2017 via Big Dada.

Also hailing from Nordic territories are Norwegian duo Smerz whose popularity has grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to Nordic music aficionados like Ja Ja Ja Nordic rowing in to give them some serious support.

The pair have just dropped their 7-track debut Okey EP with a release party scheduled for 26th October at Corsica Studios in SE London, details here. Taster singles from the EP have included the songs Blessed and most recently Half Life, but our feature track is the sultry No Harm.

A meld of low-key R&B and undulating yet edgy electronic beats, No Harm is a contradiction in terms of a delivery that wavers between apathy and melancholia. Vocals are frosted, breathy affairs – glacial one minute, whispering out-breaths the next. Spacious yet busy, morose yet provocative No Harm’s innovative, genre-crossing deconstructed sound has been lighting up playlists across BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, a sign that things are definitely on a vertical trajectory for the CPH based pairing.

Smerz have been touring across Europe with a series of Half Life after parties and festival slots. If you haven’t already had the chance to see their brilliant live set, they have more dates lined up in Germany, Greece and Italy, details here.

No Harm is out now via XL Recordings. Okey is on digital release via XL Recordings / vinyl via Hard Up Records (UK) and in Denmark from Escho.

New ‘one to watch Connie Constance wraps things up today. Hailing from Watford, this young singer might have just a bijou collection of songs to her name but what an impact those songs have already made!

Connie’s second EP, Let Go, is set for release on 24th November and if the title track is anything to go by, it’s going to be impressive ++.

Displaying what is already a very special talent, Connie Constance recalls the smokey timbre of Sade or Nina Simone with the youthful grace of Lianne la Havas. While her vocal has all the confident control of her predecessors, its near-London origins remain evident on the young singer’s unadulterated enunciation, making it all the more appealing.

Let Go is an open display of vulnerability – “don’t go, I need you“. Its spacious and languid layering of warm jazz tones and textures make the perfect vehicle for Constance’s multi-faceted delivery. Veering between entreaty and defiance, her voice sweeps across registers with the confidence of youth and rawness of ingenue.

Just how someone so young can perform with so much panache is simply mind-boggling.

Let Go is out now via all digital services; the EP of the same name will release 24th November on the AMF imprint.

As always, we round off today’s post with a complementary Spotify playlist – caring is sharing, and one way new or emerging artists can ensure their music is heard is by word of mouth, or reposts on social. So go ahead and spread the word. A bientot, DervSwerve

Tori Amos : Native Invader – Album Review

Tori Amos‘s 1992 debut was the stark ‘Me & A Gun’. A gut-wrenching, raw dolorifuge sung a cappella, it was the sonic autobiography of her rape aged 21.

Now some 25 years later Amos returns with her 15th studio album, Native Invader. What’s clear from the off is that the American is still battling emotional, physical and personal pain, but in a world now rife with political turmoil. The album’s triumvirate of thematic touchstones are environmental destruction, US political upheaval and most significantly, the calamitous stroke that left the artist’s mother unable to speak.

While comparisons with Kate Bush are now just yesterday’s news, they cannot be completely side-stepped, and are at their strongest on piano ballads such as opener Reindeer King. The album’s other singles Cloud Riders and Up The Creek couldn’t be more polarised. The former is a dreamy, country-bluesy slow-tempo track on which Amos’ vocal floats over a metaphorical storm and some seriously slick gospel organ. The latter is a finger picking funk-out that tackles Trumpton and all its vainglorious but reckless gibberish.

Native Invader dips in and out of the pockets of several genres and styles – Dooby-esque American rock (Broken Arrows), emotional electro-pop (Wings), inter-galactic sample-fused balladry replete with lush guitar rondos (Chocolate Song) and compelling, heartfelt piano mini-dramas (Bang). It’s possibly in the this last style of earnest balladry that Amos’ star still shines brightest.

Stand out is album closer Mary’s Eyes, an exquisitely choreographed waltz of piano and strings on which Amos questions the unquantifiable extent of her mother’s debilitation – “What’s behind Mary’s Eyes?” – in the most touching and serenest of vocals.

Like forerunner Bush, Tori Amos falls into the marmite category. She is an artist music fans will either adore or deplore. What cannot be disputed is her exceptional talent and enviable gift for innovation and re-imagining. The American’s legion of super-fans will wax lyrical about Native Invader, and so they should. Hopefully, others will opens their eyes, ears and hearts long enough to experience the wonder of Ms. Amos’ idiosyncratic virtuosity. 7/10

Native Invader is on release now via Decca Records. There is also a 15-track Deluxe edition available including two extra tracks Upside Down 2 and Russia.

A Debut That’s More Than ‘OK’ – Otherkin Album Review

Not since the gloriously shambolic ’90s has punked-out rock cum quasi-grunge been ‘a thing’. At the top half of that decade when Kurt Cobain curled a lip at the sartorial Gekkoism that was the 80s while Thom Yorke was still donning threadbare oversized jumpers and home-bleached hair, rock n roll kerrang was king. Albeit one that flung its gilded crown into the trash and swapped Dunhill Internationals for hand-rolled spliffs. 

Yes there was something of an NYC post-punk revival in the early noughties but it was over before it had begun, its dazzlingly bright star having rapidly faded into an uninspired dull blip. Now, music is seeing an explosion of upcoming young bands like Norway’s Sløtface and Mancunians False Advertising leading the gritty charge. In Ireland, that mantle has been taken up by Meath four-piece Otherkin who didn’t just create the copyright, they recreated it and then promptly shredded it. Relentlessly.

Pitting themselves against an era when the mainstream’s take on alt-rock bands such as Bastille and The 1975 are pretty much indistinguishable from your common or garden boyband, Otherkin take their place alongside their Norwegian and British counterparts (including the likes of Wolf Alice) as a new guitar punk, quasi-grunge assault from the underground, revelling in rock’s recently revived cult underdog status.

Otherkin have created a world where serious collides with fun and classic rock shakes hands with modern grit all fronted by a true rock star showman, Luke Reilly, in the mould of Dave Gahan, Axel Rose and Robert Plant. On their debut album ‘OK’, they have taken 12 tracks of gloriously melodic grungy rock channelling Julian Casablancas’ vocals, and Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys guitar grind, all washed down with an intoxicating cocktail of sex, swagger and shameless lack of inhibition.

The album opens with frontman Luke Reilly snarling through a blaze of feedback on the febrile ‘Treat me so Bad’. It’s less album opener, more kick in the head. Elsewhere ‘Razorhead’ is a pummelling affair, all thrash and slash drenched in mania. When Reilly isn’t sexing it up on ‘Come On, Hello’, he’s invoking his inner rock god on ‘Ay, Ay’, all the while surrounded by blistering guitar riffs, menacing basslines and classic rock drumming. Fans of vintage punk will salivate over ‘Bad Advice’, the intro of which recalls The Clash.

Otherkin may have an hyper-active, hugely enigmatic and charismatic legend in the making at the helm, but they are a band greater than the sum of their individual parts. This is a band capable of creating infectious jangle in the same breath as ear splitting guitar-saw, of having Dave Grohl like thrash vying for airspace with turbo-charged beats, and of flicking from below surface level bass brood to aggro driven propulsion. Reilly, who has a firm grasp on his vocal instrument, wheeling it up to turbo bawl or snaking it down to bad boy swagger, can play it every which way with ease.

Like their Norwegian and British counterparts, Otherkin have erred on the side of excess, throwing everything including the full range of Black and Decker at their debut album. While nigh on a hour of raucous rock may not be to everyone’s taste, this is the type of album to play on days when you need to feel alive. Think power surge for the senses.

Having spent the best part of 2017 gigging the highlight of which has to have been their turn at Slane Castle supporting Guns n Roses, Otherkin will see out the year in the same fashion. A slew of dates across the UK and Ireland kicks off on 30th September in Newcastle, culminating in Dublin’s Button Factory on 15th December. Full details on the band’s website –

While not perfect, ‘OK’ makes for a pretty memorable debut. Electrifying in its unbridled energy with a serious dose of fun-factor, Otherkin’s music makes a welcome departure from that of their doomy gloomy, angst ridden peers.

Otherkin have shown they have the balls to take rock and kick it in the cajones whilst stuffing infectious melodies with bit thick wedges of attitude. In life timing is everything, and I can’t help feeling that Otherkin’s time is soon. 8/10.

Otherkin are – Luke Reilly, lead vocals, guitar; Conor Wynne, lead guitar; David Anthony, bass guitar; Rob Summons, drums.

‘OK’ by Otherkin is out now on Rubyworks Records and will launch at 5.30pm 29th September at Tower Records, Dublin


As the last days of Summer are well and truly behind us, DervSwerve relishes the burnished colours of the Autumnal advance. September is our fave month, not just because it heralds the return of the glorious russet and golden hues of nature, but also because it paves the way for a three month long stream of new music releases in the run up to Christmas.

This September has proved no exception, with new music pouring forth from The Script, U2, Rusangano Family, Hudson Taylor, Hermitage Green and more. So without further ado, let’s deep dive into the September harvest to see what other tasty offerings have been put our way.

As always an accompanying playlist can be found at the bottom of the post.

Out in the Ether


After a Summer spent Festival hopping, Galway girl Laoise has returned with a gorgeously dark new single entitled Rich.

Rich by name and rich by nature, the single is the follow up to the Irish artist’s highly acclaimed debut Halfway EP which we featured back in July. Teasing her sophomore EP due out in 2018, the track is a light and dark meld of midnight-textured synth waves washing over Laoise’s signature glacial vocal. There’s a neat jazzy infusion that blends well into the mix, adding slick and seductive tones to the forbidden brood of the song’s electronic soundscapes.

Don’t be misled by the airy youthfulness of Laoise’s voice – there’s a underlying chill which when combined with biting lyrics gives quite the burn. Speaking of lyrics, Rich gives the two-fingers to those who trade in love for material rewards, and deservedly so.

Laoise is just one of a large cohort of emerging talent set to play HWCH next weekend. The annual Irish showcase will kick off her Autumn touring schedule; full details


We first came across Dublin-based artist Paddy Hanna when he played warm up for JFDR at a gig in the Sugar Club earlier this year. His slightly-distracted soft-spoken manner is quite disarming, but not nearly as much as his idiosyncratic delivery style and innovative arrangement which is akin to that of another unorthodox Irish creative, Neil Hannon.

Another artist set to pitch up for HWCH, Hanna has just released his latest single Bad Boys. Think quirky orchestral with multiple personalities, the most divine melodies and sweeps of shimmering brass and uplifting strings. Baroque pop at its finest with Hanna’s sumptuous baritone effortlessly dropping eloquent witticisms in tongue-in-cheek grandiose fashion.

Bad Boys teases Paddy’s Daniel Fox produced sophomore album, which will be released next year via Strange Brew Records. The album features contributions from members of Girl Band, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra, whose orchestral wonders can be heard on this latest single.

Like Laoise, Paddy Hanna is set to embark on an autumnal cruise of Irish venues kicking off on 6th October in Galway’s Roisin Dubh – full details on his Facebook page.


There’s something very Kate Bush about the delightful harmonics and rustic modernity on Counting Song, the new single from Irish four-piece Mongoose. Set at an animated 3/4 time signature it moves like a head spinning waltz, all lofty notions and uplifting rhythms.

Pristine vocals and precision harmonies invoke the gods of delight, while pastoral folk landscapes are shaken up with the addition of modern instrumental furnishings including rather splendid thrashing percussion. There is absolutely no doubt that Mongoose have carved a very unique niche in the market of eclectic folk. They style is gentle but not soft, their romances real rather than rose-tinted, their delivery faultless to a sublime T.

Counting Song heralds the release of the all female quartet’s new EP, Four, which will be released, quelle surprise, on the 4th of November. For ardent fans, Mongoose will be hosting an EP launch in Whelan’s the previous evening of the 3rd. A crossroads of four idiosyncratic writing styles, the EP features individual contributions from the four members, subsequently arranged as a group. Four unique pieces of song-crafting styles brought together under one large, free-spirited umbrella.

As seems to be the name of this autumnal game, Mongoose are also hitting the lives trail, kicking off with the EP launch on 3rd November and subsequently moving to Cleere’s of Kilkenny on 4th, etc. In addition, Mongoose has been selected as Dun Laoire/Rathdown’s artists in residence 2017, which will see them play three public performances, culminating in their headliner at the Lexicon Theatre on 9th December. Full details of the Four EP tour on the gals’ website –

Counting Song, composed by Muireann Ní Cheannabháin, is accompanied by a stop-motion video by Abi Denniston, concept and artwork by Mongoose member Cara Dunne. [Molly O’Mahony & Ailbhe Dunne are the other two Mongoose members]. Watch it below!

**Unfortunately, Counting Song isn’t up on Spotify as yet, so we’ve included their previous single Old Friend (get on it girls!)


If you’re a fan of Thin Lizzy with pop sensibilities on the side – we’re thinking in an Ash kinda direction – you’ll totally dig Derry band Newt‘s vibe. There’s every ingredient known to music in the melting pot that is their sound.

There are strains of the Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol and Steely Dan all swirling around on the gear-changer On the Edge; like a fusion of split personalities, this song moves from grunge grit through indie rock to late 70s American jazz pop before taking a hard turn backwards towards grinding, gnarly guitars. It really is quite compelling, a track to keep the ears on their toes, so to speak.

On the Edge is bookended by Not Around and DANCE – the former is a punchy grind with an infectious chorus replete with some nice vocal interplay, while the latter although punkier around the edges has the EPs most soothing guitar riffs and melodic textures. There’s some pretty stunning guitar solo work on DANCE that ticks the highly commended box.

All in all, this is a pretty stunning piece of work for a debut. The innovative rock future looks bright for this Derry quartet.

Newt are Brendan Gallagher, Guitar & Vocals; Kealan Toland, Guitar; Vincent Fahy, Bass and Stephen Kelly, Drums. Their eponymous debut EP is out now – you can pick it up on their bandcamp page.

Talk of the Town

It’s all about HWCH in Dublin right now as the movers and shakers of the music industry shape up for the annual Irish music showcase jolly. With everyone who is anyone from music media to labels to management to production set to descend upon the capital next weekend for the hottest musical ticket in town, the festival come conference is sure to be as roaring a success as it has been in the past.

50 homegrown artists will be peddling their wares in select venues across the capital, including Soule, Bitch Falcon, ROCSTRONG, Rosa Nutty, Aislinn Logan and Brand New Friend.

If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets – doh! – there are a few left, so chop chop. Full details on the festival website –

Sound bites

Earlier this week So Far Sounds Dublin hosted a not so secret charity gig in aid of Amnesty International. Obvs Mister Irish Indo didn’t have to do pot luck in the hope of getting a ticket (Derv did, alas to no avail). The gig was headlined by the uber talented ‘Voice of Ireland’ Hozier, who was joined at the D-Lite studios by Sorcha Richardson, Lewis Kenny and those wayward lassies from Wyvern Lingo.

Highlight of the night appears to have been the Hoze doing a poignant rendition of Paul Brady’s The Lakes of Pentchartrain (I only have Mister Indo’s word to go on), a song the Irishman has never played live before. We’ve included his live Version of East of Eden from SoFar on our accompanying playlist below.

Hozier is currently in studio working on his second album which is due to be released in 2018. We’ll keep you posted as news comes in.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)

Before settling into music-making hibernation for the Winter, duo Saint Sister are set to round off what has been quite the hectic year (to-date) with three October gigs in Vondelkerk, Amsterdam 1st October and The Glassworks Derry on 27th, culminating in a #farewelltoarms on 29th at Vicar Street. Their last listed gig of the year will see them take part in the Bram Stoker festival’s Turning Vampire Mixtape should be something to sink your teeth into!

Giggery Pokery 

More and more gigs a-comin’ atcha as Autumn slowly bleeds into Winter. Best of the rest include …


24th TALOS – Clonakilty (if I can get there I will, otherwise point the speakers at Rosscarbery will you?)

29th HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES festival and Conference, Dublin

30th HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES festival and Conference, Dublin


7th  LISA O’ NEILL –  Whelans, Dublin

13TH A.S. FANNING – Whelans (upstairs), Dublin

13th LISA O’ NEILL – Coughlans, Cork

17th  (Sandy) ALEX G – Whelans, Dublin

20th SLOW PLACE LIKE HOME – Roisin Dubh, Galway

21st SLOW PLACE LIKE HOME – Workman’s, Dublin

Musical metadata

Gregory Nolan

Widely admired by US guitar-Gods Guns n Roses, Irish rockers Otherkin will be celebrating the release of their hot-potato debut album OK on 29th September with an album launch at Tower Records, Dawson St., Dublin. The launch will kick off Friday at 5.30pm. However, if you’re the shy retiring type who prefers to do their music shopping in the anonymity of your own boudoir, OK is available to pre-order now –

Speaking of guitarists, the Ed O’Brien Signature Stratocaster (pictured above) is due to hit the Fender website on 14th November. The Radiohead mood-man whose grandfather hailed from Tipperary, helped customise the Strat with enhancements such as its V profile neck shape, thereby forsaking the standard C profile favoured by most artists when designing their signature models.

In addition, the sustainer neck pickup is controlled by an on/off switch with an intensity knob for control and a three-position switch that adjusts between ‘fundamental only’, ‘harmonic only’ or ‘blend’ modes. Instead of a signature stamp, the neck plate is engraved with a custom “Flower of Life” design.

The Fender EOB Signature Stratocaster goes on sale from November, retailing at a cool £949.00.

In case you missed the notification in our last newsletter, esteemed Irish snapper Gregory Nolan will launch his This was our Scene collection of photographic nostalgia from the mid-noughties in Fumbally Exchange on 22nd October. The shots feature everyone who was anyone from back in the indie day including the late Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and her ever rambunctious Machine and the Pete Doherty led Libertines, to mention but a few.

“The collection invites the viewer to an inside track—asks us to join the front row, jump on stage, live with wild abandon. This is documentary photography from the inside, right in the midst of the heart of the (London indie) scene. There is no distance between photographer and subject.”

Prints will be available for sale, and photographer Gregory Nolan will be available to sign his work.

Full details here –

Dublin trio The Script recently announced three Irish headliners for February 2018; one in Belfast on 6th, with two in their hometown on 8th and 9th. A limited number of tickets at €53.15 plus service charge remain – snap yours up before it’s too late. The band will also be undertaking an extensive arena tour of the UK to promote their new album, Freedom Child which you can stream or download here.

Culture Night 2017 saw pioneering producer cum music creative Imogen Heap hit a packed out Science Gallery, Dublin, with the wondrous potential of Blockchain could bring to the music industry, particularly as a quick and clean means of paying artist royalties. Joined on stage by Angela Dorgan of First Music Contact, Imogen gave what was possibly the clearest and most succinct walk through the brain-thump that is BC, by using her own home-grown Mycelia  project as a guide. The innovative muso is set on a course that could see more efficient, transparent and direct transfers of royalty payments to artists in the not so distant future. One to keep an eye on!

And now for the BIG ONE!!

As we say a somewhat fondish farewell to what as Irish Summer 2017 along come All Tvvins to warm our cooling cockles with an up-tempo can-do song bursting with summery vibes and party nights.

Anything is an electronic mash-up of funk and pop with a warm Caribbean winds breezing through its sails. There’s a hint of Americana around the edges of the ‘You can tell me anything‘ hook that gives the song a compelling groove and infectious vibe while hazy vocals are the perfect counter to stark electronic curlicues, spiralling backdrops and exuberant beats.

Bound to be a floor-filler, definitely a toe tapper, and a 100% radio hugger, Anything bodes well for the duo’s sophomore album due out next year.

Anything is out now on Faction Records – you can get your mitts on it here –

More news, views and reviews will be coming at your from destination West Cork next week … until then, enjoy, DervSwerve