WHILST the new generation of Irish talent continues to impress with new releases, the arts sector looks to celebrate the youth movement and one of Belfast’s premier bands announces their homecoming show.
 
Last week we announced the exciting news that punk-jazz outfit Robocobra Quartet, one of Belfast’s maverick musical enterprises, would return with their much anticipated third studio album. If the singles ‘Wellness’ (my personal favourite track of the year so far) or ‘Heaven’ are anything to go by, then it's going to be a scorcher.

 

Luckily for us, the band revealed their live intentions not long after this announcement. They will perform a headline show at the Empire on October 7, which comes in the wake of several other headlines in Galway and Dublin and a slot at last month's Output Festival in the city centre. Long known as some of the most memorable performers on the island, you can take this paragraph as an official warning to buy quickly to avoid ticket envy.
 

In other live but more celebratory news, the Irish Youth Music Awards have announced that they will be returning to their original live set-up for the first time since the pandemic began. Geared specifically towards underage musicians and enthusiasts, the showcase will be hosted and produced by Youth Work Ireland and is aimed at those between the ages of 12 and 19. Workshops, from the basics of DJing, a songwriting camp and appearances from Girls Rock Dublin and RTE 2FM, are all on the cards.
 
With a mandate to celebrate and platform people in the creative arts, it's an essential event for any young hopeful. Performances from Hudson Taylor and True Tides don’t hurt either. Director Barry Lennon had the following to say about the event. “It’s brilliant to create an all-ages event like this that provides a space for young people to learn more about the creative and music industries. It’s more important than ever that we support and nurture our creative industries and our future creative leaders and we are delighted to be a part of doing this through our IYMAs hubs located across the country.”
 
And while there’s been a host of releases and announcements to get excited about, three in particular  have stood out as ones to keep an eye on beyond this week. First off we have the sweet soul of ‘All In Your Head’, the newest single from singer Caleb Kunle. All keys, brass and analogue coolness, it’s a call back to the songwriting and sounds of the 60s and 70s.
 

Robocobra Quartet will headline the Empire
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Robocobra Quartet will headline the Empire

Kunle is a revelation on his new track that is hopefully a sign of a larger project to come
Next up we have Derry singer ROE, who’s had a productive year so far. Already on her second release of the year, signs suggest a debut LP could be on the way. In the meantime, enjoy the emotive, stripped-back single ‘A Temporary Thing’. A step away from the indie-pop of her previous releases, this piano ballad is rawer, more intimate and shows the multifaceted sides of the songwriter's repertoire.
 
And then we have news of a debut EP from rapper KhakiKid, titled ‘Elevator Music’. It's anything but. A versatile, dynamic songwriter with a flair for empowering the normal with glitter and excitement, as evidenced in the new single ‘Woodstock’, any sort of news from his camp should be cause for celebration. Watch this space.
 
This week the spotlight falls on Aoife Wolf, an alternative folk songwriter based in Belfast who’s not afraid to push the boundaries. Her newest single, ‘The Woman Who Shot Andy Warhol’, continues this trend. Darkly funny at times, brutal at others, the track retains some folk roots in vocal delivery but veers into shoegaze material with a blunt abandon. Great stuff as always.