AVA, the premier festival for electronic music in Ireland, announced in past months that they will be firing ahead with their plans in the hope of showcasing an Irish-talent heavy lineup in September.
With improving vaccine conditions, the likelihood of AVA’s two day Boucher Road party looks more and more positive – which makes the company’s latest announcement of a one day conference of conversation and live-streamed DJ sets all the more exciting. With appearances from legendary Irish radio presenter, Annie Mac and a DIY release workshop hosted by Mark Gordon, CEO of Score Draw Music, the day’s program is poised to be an essential one for electro-heads. It’ll be broadcast live from AVA’s official website on May 28th, and I urge you to check it out.
In similarly great news, soul brothers and blues boys can rejoice at the announcement that the cult pirate radio station Jazz FM will make its return this year. The newly rebranded Head Wax FM, named for a former show that dominated the station in popularity, is available online and will play a mix of Jazz, Funk and Soul across its airwaves.
The station website for the station illustrates its return in an official statement which ends with the following: “Good music is now really essential for your mental health and well being, and it’s the best escapism I can think of. For many years, former listeners to Jazz Fm often contacted me about putting the station back on the air, but I was just too busy with other projects, but now with the ending of live music and DJ bar sets, I thought there was no better time than now to go back on the air! Head Wax was the programme I presented on Jazz FM every week for nine years, playing a cutting edge selection of future sounds of jazz. Sunday’s just haven’t been the same since… So, I thought it a good name for the radio station, especially as the music will be for your mind, body and soul, and your dancing feet so Head Wax Radio was born.” Broadcast the station from your phone, laptop or DAB from today onwards.
On the subject of live streams, a significant one will occur in the coming week. Filmed in St Columb’s Hall in Derry, Dublin-based music journalist Nialler9 will present a series of shows featuring Soda Blonde, Fia Moon, Nealo and Jehnova. A unique presentation of some rising Irish talent across a spectrum of genres, this collaborative project is aimed at both celebrating Irish musicians and the beautiful venue in which the show will take place. With tickets listed at £8 each (less than a Cathedral Quarter pint of stout in the current climate), all revenue will be split between artists and a restoration project of the hall. Not one to miss out on, with shows at 9pm on the 18th and 28th of the month.
Equally undeniable this week are two fresh projects that sit at opposite ends of the genre spectrum – both a while in the making, and both having been span flat out on my Bluetooth speaker (much to the chagrin of my roommate). Firstly is alt-pop artist Rushes and their new track ‘Wide Eyed’. The West-Cork musician emerges from a two-year hiatus with a masterclass in alternative lo-fi pop and an accompanying music video. Written, recorded and edited in Skibbereen throughout lockdown, it's a wonderful return to form that shows a performer that values the art without taking the artist too seriously. A DIY video that has real ‘My Lovely Horse’ vibe in its blend of Irish countryside and spangly 80’s imagery helps complete the package.
On the other side, former Gypsies on the Autobahn singer J Smith released the heartbreaking track ‘In The Death Of Something Beautiful’. The latest single ahead of his debut album, the themes of ‘In The Death…’ have their roots in the period of time following a pregnancy loss between the singer and his partner and it’s enough to turn your thoughts hard and jagged. With his brother and friend on drums and bass respectively, its 90’s alt-rock rhythms and piecing vocal crescendos pair magnetically.
And the spotlight falls this week on tracks from Reevah and Pastische respectively. The former, a Derry folk-pop songwriter with aching, undeniable vocals, released ‘Daydreamer’; a hazy, iridescent number that showcases the aforementioned voice to its nth degree. Meanwhile, the pop singer from Dublin is just fresh from selling out her debut headline show in her hometown and her new track ‘Paraphernalia’ has all the swagger you’d expect from it. A diverse songwriter that is equally comfortable in the many pop bubbles she has made for herself, ‘Paraphernalia’ might be her best yet.