WITH a host of new album announcements and releases this week, plus festival headliners for next year's circuit already on the cards, the final quarter of 2022 in music is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet.

First off we received news that after a supremely successful first year, the alternative festival ‘Beyond The Pale’ would return for a second go around next summer. The news arrived alongside the announcement of international chart-toppers Hot Chip as their primary headliner. In further festival news, Ireland Music Week (which we covered in the column two weeks ago) will proceed as planned on October 6 and 7, with ticket prices as low as €8 for eight bands. Do yourself a favour.


Live news also poured in from well-received alternative angles. Trad/folk/drone band Lankum announced a much-anticipated return to Vicar Street in Dublin earlier this week. One of Ireland's iconic modern bands, this is their first live performance since winning the RTÉ Choice award with their album ‘The Livelong Day’ back in 2020. One of my favourite of all time, Lankum combined and contrasted ancient and contemporary Irish tragedy and shock across a sprawling LP filled with traditional reels and sardonic electronic music. With only a livestream performance between now and then, their two headline slots at Vicar Street is a sweet sound for sore ears. 

They’re not the only Irish act to announce their return with a Vicar Street performance. Dublin’s The Murder Capital also jumped on the proverbial bandwagon. Following the release of left-turn single ‘Only Good Things’ (which substituted the well-established gloomy pop-punk for a modern take on Britpop), news came of a headline Dublin show with new song, ‘A Thousand Lives’. returning to the tightly wound, anxious precision of their debut tracks but leaning into brighter territories on their latest, singer James McGovern says of the track: “Knowing that the day is only X-hours long, alongside my understanding of how love can be the true restorative seed, means that if and when you are so lucky to find it (and it is true) the seemingly small glance that is our life could never contain enough of those days or those hours.”

Derry songwriter ROE has done it again with a cracking debut LP

Derry songwriter ROE has done it again with a cracking debut LP

Releases have begun to pile up now that the sun has set on the summer season. Following somewthing of a lull during the Covid-19 years, Irish artists have regained their status as the busiest small community in the world. First off we have the latest from Sorcha Richardson. Her second LP, out now on Faction Records, claims the subtle title ‘Smiling Like An Idiot’ and the tracks will leave you doing the same at the pure quality. Standout track ‘Shark Eyes’ is a masterclass in expansive indie-pop, with broad synths and spiralling vocals that will have you running to keep up, whilst ‘Purgatory’’s piano-led electro-pop is equal parts magnetic and stunning in its arrangements.

We also have a highly anticipated debut LP from Derry’s ROE. The pop songwriter has had a stellar career prior to this release, supporting Snow Patrol and with international festivals under her belt already. It’s a different ball game now, however, with her debut LP, ‘That’s When The Panic Sets In’, firmly establishing ROE as one of our best songwriters. Rolling effortlessly between stark piano ballads, pop-punk-inspired bangers and dense, effortlessly complex indie-pop melodies, this has been easily elevated to one of my favourite releases of the year. Get it on all digital and physical platforms today.

And as always we put the spotlight on some of the best independent songs from Irish  artists out this week. We have the new track from Talos. I’ve covered every single from the Cork composer so far, so you can imagine the excitement I think we should all have for his upcoming LP ‘Dear Chaos’. It’s everything I love about modern composers, electronic or otherwise. It’s widescreen, cinematic and explosive in its arrangement, with each vibrant pulse registering like an atomic blast. Staggered by solitary, intimate vocal breaks, this is a track that never lets you catch your breath. Roll on the album.