THE last of the Irish festivals divvy out handy day-by-day guides for their punters ahead of a week of strong releases within the music scene.
Fall Right Into Place is the festival brainchild of Galway-based alternative label, promoters and artist services company Strange Brew. From the 16th to the 18th of September and they’ve curated a sizeable festival in the grounds of Claregalway Castle, in partnership with Galway Bay Brewery. For those with limited time as summer winds down, their useful day guides will be life-saving. With the likes of NewDad, The Scratch and The Mary Wallopers headlining each day, in that order (alongside Robocobra Quartet, Kynsy, Junior Brother and other Northern Winds favourites). There's a little something for everyone.
On the subject of the Wallopers, news broke this week that the Dundalk trad trio have announced their new UK, Irish and European tour dates. With 33 gigs to take place this December, they’ve teased a new album to get the ticket juices flowing. Fresh single ‘Frost Is All Over’ is as humorous, biting and brutally honest as their previous takes on Irish trad. On the track, the band comment: “Frost Is All Over is a traditional Irish song about taking everything in your stride and not caring about what everyone says you should care about…
"The video is our way of introducing the new band and how sexy we have become over lockdown. Our home studio/pub was too small to fit everyone in so we had to branch out but still keep it Dundalk.”
In less welcome news Sligo’s indie label Art For The Blind, which has been in operation since 2004, announced its imminent closure. A home and distributor to some of Ireland's best alternative sounds, such as PowPig, PrettyHappy, Altered Hours and more over the years, the owners issued a statement claiming that it had become too difficult to release new music. Work will continue on their Spilt Milk festival, newly named Binder, for the time being, and we can only hope new horizons exist for the founders.
In technological news, a new app for scrapbookers and ticket collectors has launched in Ireland. Peer It is a platform which enables fans to collect tokens, build a scrapbook of memories and unlock rewards in the process that can be spent on things like pre-sale codes for gigs or special edition releases, along with sports events, theatre and festivals. Fans will be able to scan a QR code at an event to unlock a token to prove their attendance at each participating event. A brave new world etc etc.
The spotlight this week falls on some of the best independent releases from Irish artists to close out the column. First off we have the latest from Lemoncello, the indie-folk duo from Carlow. Singer Laura Quirke teamed up with producer/songwriter Joshua Burnside last year on the gorgeous ‘In The Half-light’ EP. Her main project, the two-piece with friend and collaborator Claire Kinsella, released the ‘Always Neighbours’ track ahead of their show at Dun Laoghaire Folk Festival. It’s the first original work since 2020’s Oil and Water EP.
Featuring an all-star cast of collaborators, such as Lorcan Byrne and Junior Brother on various instruments, the five-and-a-half-minute slow burner has been worth the wait. A swirling torrent of acoustics, strings, keys and sheer raw vocals from Quirke, it bodes well for a supposed debut album to come.
In further singer-songwriter news, the sad country of Niall McDowell got its first full project release this week. ‘It Was An Honour To Be Nominated’ and its titular track are a revelation from McDowell, who is quickly establishing himself as one of my favourite writers in the city. A meld of absurdist, self-destructive and alternative traditions, get this entire EP on your radar now.