THIS week, Northern Winds is reporting live directly from Electric Picnic, where the likes of Fontaines D.C., Kojaque, Lemonade Shoelace and more have been entertaining the festival-goers of Ireland. The first physical gathering in over three years, EP has delivered on all that was promised and serves as an example of what we can expect now that the pandemic has retreated from the collective purview.
Time waits for no man, however, and more live events and festivals have been announced this weekend for later in the year, mostly on the opposite end of the genre spectrum. First off, news has emerged from the Conor O’Brien camp – aka Villagers – of a new set of dates around Ireland and the UK following their recent intimate headline in Whelan’s, Dublin. An 11-date acoustic-only tour around the UK in a series of smaller venues, including the MAC in Belfast this December will coincide with the anniversary of O’Brien’s last album, Fever Dream. Tickets are on sale now, and they never last long.
We also received word that one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, The Liberties Festival, would be returning this year. A family-friendly street festival that has been running since the early 70s, it's also a fantastic showcase of native talent thanks to some crafty programming.


Whilst there are endless walking tours, arts, workshops, yoga classes and more, the musical line-up of Robert John Ardiff, Nealo, Paper Clap, Laura Ann Brady and more is to be enjoyed just as much. A donation-based festival that operates most events for free, this is not to be missed by families.
In more experimental live news, Dublin Digital Radio (affectionally referred to as ddr.) has marked a return to the love circuit after a series of live streamed events over the last year.
Experimental and broad in nature, curators, producers and performers will take over Dublin venue the Complex from October 28 to 29 for its festival ‘Alternating Current’. Co-founder of the station, Seán Finnan, says that AC is “Dublin Digital Radio’s response to the experimenters in sound who are both residents of the station or friends of the station. It’s a one-day celebration of new music specifically created for the Complex’s vast warehouse space and we’re really excited to share this new work in such beautiful surroundings.”

13 artists have been commissioned this year to design setpieces and performances around the theme of ‘Beyond Human Intelligence’, utilising methods of sound art radio, field recordings, electronics, spoken word and traditional instrumentation to respond. Tickets are live now via the station's Patreon page.
And our final piece of live news comes this week from a special collaboration between Irish artists, The GalPal Collective, ddr., The Otolith Group and the IMMA. This one-off event titled What You Dream Of is a celebration of dance music, and specifically the unsung impact and role non-binary people and black women have had on its prevalence and development. Featuring several talks, broadcasts, screenings and performances from the likes of Fehdah and Mona Lxsa, this might be the most important event of the summer.

Mount Palomar hooks up with Joshua Burnside

Mount Palomar hooks up with Joshua Burnside

And as always we end this week's column with a look at some of the best releases from independent artists of the week. First off, we have a  left-field, off-kilter collaboration between folk singer Joshua Burnside and electronic producer Mount Palomar. Their track, titled Simmer, is a swirling affair, all liquid, dark beats and reverbed vocals. Lyrically and musically a mantra on self-reflection, Burnside and Palomar pair up well, showcasing their experimental sides in this one-off pairing ahead of the producer's EP Brace For Impact.

And to round things off we have the new track from Sasha Samara, her first in three years. She says: “I wrote it to try and untangle my feelings towards a very one-sided relationship, where I felt like I was always having to pick up the pieces.”
With vocal shades of Derry-based contemporary ROE, indie-pop production and radio-ready melodies, Samara’s return was worth the wait (here’s hoping the next single is quicker coming).