Music

This Week In New Music: Liam Gallagher, Gabrielle Aplin & Zak Abel

This week in new music sees the release of Liam Gallagher’s debut solo record (crazy right?!), a new EP from British songstress/fairy Gabrielle Aplin and the debut album from newcomer Zak Abel.

As You Were – Liam Gallagher (Album)

Liam Gallagher is a bit of a character ay? As expected, his promo for this album has been something to behold, with mentions of his brother (‘that cunt’) and cursing and blinding about having to make his own cup of tea  just some of the golden moments that have been doing the rounds on twitter. His rockstar attitude that suggests he sees himself as rock n roll’s saviour means this solo offering has a lot to live up to – whether it delivers or not is something music critics have been analyzing this week. General consensus seems to be, not quite no.. but all the same it’s a decent listen.

 

Avalon – Gabrielle Aplin (EP)

With every new release, Aplin’s style evolves. The Avalon EP is no different, embracing more synth and production than ever before. I have to admit I prefer her folkier roots on English Rain and the electric rocky feel of Light Up The Dark. In saying that, the Avalon EP is already growing on me. So far we’ve heard stripped backs versions of both Waking Up Slow and Stay, and I am excited to hear all the tracks songs in their raw form without the extra production. For me, Aplin truly shines when it’s just her and her guitar.

 

 

Only When We’re Naked – Zak Abel (Album)

This weeks, “artist you don’t know” recommendation is Zak Abel. The 21-year-old Brit has collaborated with DJ’s, electronic pop duos and the like, but finally we get to hear something that is completely his own. Only When We’re Naked is full of energy and good vibes, just like his live performances. Definitely someone to keep an eye on – you’ll be hearing him everywhere shortly!

 

Some more new music worth checking out this week;

Raised Under Grey Skies – JP Cooper (Album)

Spitting Image (Acoustic Demos) – The Strypes (EP)

Too Much Patience  – Little Hours (EP)

Fade – Lewis Capaldi (Single)

On My Mind (Acoustic) – Jorja Smith ft Preditah (Single)

The Tube – Ailbhe Reddy (Single)

Pray – Sam Smith (Single)

How Long – Charlie Puth (Single)

Escape My Mind – Grace WavderWaal (Single)

Out Of My Hands – Wyvern Lingo (Single)

 

Check out my October playlist here

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Music

This Week In New Music: Otherkin, Miley Cyrus & Banks

The craziness of second year of university means it’s been a month since I’ve gotten a chance to write about the latest music releases. Despite being up to my eyeballs this weekend, I just had to do a quick update with all the bangin’ new music releases yesterday. Enjoy!

 

Ok – Otherkin (Album)

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“Lets go,” lead singer Luke Reilly seems to say with a smirk – its seventeen seconds in to the opening track and Otherkin have already got you – and they keep you till the very end. If you haven’t heard of Dublin rockers Otherkin yet, their debut release is a brilliant place to start.  The screeching guitars and smashing drums hype up the energy to fever pitch on every singe track. ‘Feel It’ is an absolute earworm, ‘Yeah, I Know’ is pulsating and So So is a grungy  closer.  There’s some grit to these lads too, “Turn in a hit or you’re down as a throwaway [….] Become some meat for the radio” O’Reilly screams on ‘Ay Ay’. Are we looking at a bunch of Irish lads who are going to add some dirty social commentary to their arsenal? I don’t know but I am excited. If you’re looking for a gig to let you scream into the abyss and mosh in the midst of a sweaty crowd, catch them in the Button Factory (Dublin) or the Roisín Dubh (Galway) in December.

Younger Now – Miley Cyrus (Album)

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Younger Now is not so much a reinvention as a return to her roots for Miley Cyrus. On her sixth studio album, Cyrus is doing what she does best – country. Sure, she had some great pop songs and no one has ever faulted her for her vocal abilities, but that country twang just comes so easily to the Tennessee native. So far, ‘Thinkin’ and ‘Inspired’ are my favourite tracks on the album, but I’ve a feeling I could easily fall in love with every single one of the eleven tracks. Younger Now is a refreshing release and Cyrus’ best yet.

Underdog – Banks (Single)

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So Banks just randomly dropped a tune on Thursday? It’s a deviation in to more pop-y territory for the the Goddess singer-songwriter and is very fun (she literally barks in it). Yet, somehow it’s still sassy and sultry – that’s Banks for you.

Some more new music worth checking out this week;

  • It’s A Shame – First Aid Kit (Single)
  • My Side – Tom Speight (Single)
  • Greedy Soul – Liam Gallagher (Single)
  • That Girl – salute feat. Gabrielle Aplin
  • When Does It Get Easier – Dave Thomas Junior (Single)
  • Subterranean Homesick Blues – The Lumineers (Single)
  • Three Oh Nine – Fenne Lily (Single)
  • Tell Me You Love Me – Demi Lovato (Album)
  • Visions Of A Life – Wolf Alice (Album)

Check out my Spotify playlist for September here.

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Music

Review: Lewis Watson at The Stormy Teacup

Hidden away in the heart of Limerick city, there’s a little artisan coffee shop by the name of The Stormy Teacup.

Once known for its hot chocolate menu and cozy interior, it’s starting to build a name for itself as an up and coming music venue.

On Thursday night, a couple of music enthusiasts were treated to a performance in this tiny, intimate space by Oxford singer-songwriter Lewis Watson.

Watson has been around for many years, first growing a following on youtube and taking a do-it-yourself approach to releasing his music, before going on to release his debut album ‘This Morning’ with big label name Warner Music.

Three years later brought the release of ‘Midnight’ and a week ago, ‘Midnight (acoustic)’.

It is the ‘Midnight (acoustic) intimate band tour’ that Watson brought to Limerick on Thursday last.

Despite the small crowd and the lack of hard spirits being served, the energy in the room was lively and giddy.

Old favourites ‘bones’ and ‘sink or swim’ proved particularly popular while newer hits such as ‘maybe we’re home’ and ‘little light’ were just as enjoyable without the heavy drums and electric guitars.

Another touching moment was ‘run,’ a song Watson explained was very ‘real’ to him that details the heartbreak and loneliness after a break-up.

The crowd sang along to the majority of tunes with Watson and his sole bandmate Adam Double often ceasing to sing to allow the crowd take the spotlight for 30 seconds or so.

The highlight of the night was a stunning version of ‘halo,’ where Watson & Double ditched the mics, came down in to the crowd and sang in the midst of strangers that for one song only, didn’t dare breathe a single lyric.

After the gig, the banter continued between security, fans and Lewis himself, who was happy to take pictures with, and thank everyone for coming along.

If there’s one thing to be said about Lewis Watson it’s that he seems to be the same down-to-earth, soccer loving lad he was back in 2012 and if he remains so, there’s no doubt he’ll always find a couple of fans wherever he goes – even in ‘the middle of nowhere.’

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Opinions

Opinion: George Hook’s comments aren’t just about rape, they’re about shaming women for engaging in casual sex

 

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Earlier this week Newstalk offered an apology for comments made by George Hook on his show last Friday.

Hook himself offered an apology for the rape comments he made acknowledging, “it was unacceptable to suggest in any way that blame could be attributed to victims of rape.”

For those of you living outside of Ireland, George Hook has been a broadcaster (among other things) in my home country for many years. Hook’s controversial antics often attract as much praise as they do criticism, however many agreed that his comments this week crossed a line.

The Newstalk presenter was discussing a case in which a 19-year-old girl had accused a member of the British Olympic swimming team of raping her. She claims she had consensual sex with his friend before the accused entered the room and raped her.

Hook took it upon himself to look “deeper into the story.”

“Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a hotel room? She’s only just barely met him, she has no idea of his health conditions, she has no idea who he is, she has no idea of what dangers he might pose, but modern day social activity means that she goes back with him, then is SURPRISED when someone comes into the room and rapes her.” 

Hook goes on to assure us all that he doesn’t believe she should be raped, and she is entitled to say no, “but is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”

Seemingly referring to the fact that the girl passed out at one stage during the night due to consuming too much alcohol, and that she went home with a stranger, Hook’s question is why is no one blaming the rape victim?

Well it’s in the name George: rape victim.

How many times must we, the general public, have this conversation? It happens in your home, it happens amongst friends, it happens in the classroom, in your local, on your airwaves. Constantly, over and over again, we discuss and debate whether or not we think victims of one of the most horrific crimes known to man should be guilted, shamed and blamed by the rest of the world.

And for what? What does this achieve? Those who are well-meaning argue that girls (and isn’t it always girls?) need to know the risks so as to better protect themselves. Aside from the fact that only having one drink and never going home with a lad is not the ultimate protection from rape, the problem with this train of thought is that it inherently places blame on the person who is the victim of a crime.

Of course we all should exert a sense of personal responsibility in both our everyday lives and on a night-out, but what is bizarre about putting blame on a victim of rape is that for a rape to occur, a rapist has to commit a criminal offence. We do not shame people for being victims of a murder, of a robbery, of stalking, of identity theft. I am sure if we were to analyse victims in the same way in which we analyse rape victims we could find ways to blame victims of these crimes too. Why do we only feel the need to blame rape victims?

The answer might be found in what bothered me most about Hook’s comments, something that isn’t being as discussed as much – the underlying sexism at play. I am very hesitant to use terms such as sexist or misogynistic lightly,  because when these words are thrown around lightly I believe it only hurts the cause. In this instance, I think they are valid.

Aside from the fact that Hook referred to personal responsibility only in relation to women (“There is personal responsibility, because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter..”), I was particularly bothered by how Hook seemed to outright insinuate the girl was in the wrong for having sex with a man she “barely” met.

Regardless of how you feel about people having casual sex with strangers, stand back for a minute and ask yourself if you have ever heard, or could imagine, somebody saying the following;

“Why does a guy who just meets a lady in a bar go back to a hotel room? He’s only just barely met her, he has no idea of her health conditions, he has no idea who she is, he has no idea of what dangers she might pose, but modern day social activity means that he goes back with her, then is SURPRISED when someone comes into the room and rapes him.”

Eoghan McDermott, a presenter at 2fm, was commenting on the situation on his personal twitter account and said the “suggestion that women are complicit or culpable in their own rape by being sexually confident is fucking grim and dangerous.”

And that is the crux of it all.  It’s not just about rape, it’s not just about drinking to excess or having someone take advantage of you, it’s about finding a way to blame women for engaging in, and enjoying, casual sex.

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Music

This Week In New Music: Thomas Rhett, Jessie Ware & Paloma Faith

Life Changes – Thomas Rhett (Single)

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One thing I love about country music is that you can listen to one song and feel like you know the musician’s whole life story! This song is a prime example. On Life Changes, the lead single from the album of the same name, Thomas Rhett sings about how life has changed over the last couple of years for the country star. It’s catchy and warm and a lovely addition to your September playlist.

 

Selfish Love – Jessie Ware (Single)

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The latest track from Jessie Ware’s forthcoming third album is just dreamy – written and produced by a dream team too (Ryan Tedder, Cashmere Cat..). Ware’s voice is smooth as silk and if this single is anything to go by, the newest record from the British songstress will not disappoint.

 

Crybaby – Paloma Faith (Single)

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Another English darling has returned this week – Paloma Faith! And it’s an earworm, you’ll be singing “Go on and cry, baby, crybaby, ’cause you don’t have to keep it inside” all day. It’ll be no surprise to any one who’s a fan of Faith that she’s very outspoken on political & social issues, so it’s not a shocker that this song has an interesting message behind it. According to the lady herself, the song is questioning “whether  global conflicts would cease to exist if men could successfully deal with their feelings.” Damn.

Check out my Spotify playlist for September here.

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Music

This Week In New Music: Taylor Swift, Hudson Taylor, Picture This + more!

First off, so sorry for missing last week’s installment of This Week In New Music. I was absolutely up to my eyeballs and couldn’t find a spare second to write one up! To be honest with you, I’ve barely got a few minutes to write this one but I am so excited about all the new music released yesterday I couldn’t miss this week too. SO without further ado, This Week In New Music aka All My Favourite Artists Released Music The Same Day and I’ve So Much To Listen To It’s Almost Stressful.

Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift (Single)

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Alright, two things up front. 1) I’ve been a massive Taylor Swift fan since I was like 10 and she wore cowboy boots and spoke with a Nashville twang. 2) I never like her leading singles (with the exception of Mine). That’s why, although I was so excited to hear new music from her (IT’S BEEN LIKE 3 YEARS), I was half expecting not to like it (couldn’t be worse than We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together though). After hearing it, I am torn. It’s over dramatic and childish (starting to think her team pick this shite to lead with just to cause a stir for the press tbh) but it’s also original and the pre-chorus is a bop and it’s a good track to lead with if she is indeed “rebranding.” Honestly, I adored the nice girl image Taylor had going on but in the last few years I’ve been wishing she’d come out and be a sassy bitch – looks like the media/general public has finally cracked her and it’s coming out now.  Whatever direction she’s going in, you know the music will be good. Overall I am just excited to have T Swizzle back in the game and I can not WAIT for her album. If Reputation is missing an “All Too Well” or “Dear John” like 1989 was I will actually flip though.

Feel It Again – Hudson Taylor (Single)

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Moving on to other Taylor’s, my two favourite Irish brothers returned yesterday with the first taste of new music since Singing For Strangers back in Janurary ’15. Something I’ve found with Hudson Taylor (and which numerous people have mentioned to me as well), is recently the recorded sound just doesn’t match their actual sound. Generally you’re looking to see if an artist’s live standard matches up to the record, with Hudson Taylor, the live version always surpassed the recording. That’s why I got really emotional listening to this for the first time I was a bit drunk but that’s besides the point. For the first time since the early EP’s, I feel like the studio version really reflects the sound & energy Harry & Alfie give to every live performance. It might be because I have a group of friends who love their music just as much as me and are just as willing to make an absolute show of themselves at gigs all in the name of a bit of craic, but if you haven’t seen them live before you have to catch them on their tour this autumn/winter. (Just please don’t try for Dolan’s because my best friend is flying over for the weekend and if we don’t get tickets we’ll end up drinking too much wine and crying about boys at home and that’s not a good idea).

Picture This – Picture This (Album)

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And finally, the worst kept secret in Ireland: Picture This. The lads from Athy have only been around for about a year and a half, but within that short space of time they’ve just blown up – it’s so deserved though. The last time I saw them was on their run of sold-out shows in the Olympia and they were brilliant with the crowd singing along to every single word.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the album straight through yet but most of the songs are old favourites and it’s so lovely to be able to listen to studio versions. Particular highlights for me would be Dream (there’s just something so lovely about this song isn’t it?), Jane (this song is so simple and pure, gives me goosebumps) & Saviour (absolute BOP). Is there even a point in me rambling on here – let’s be real, you’ve already listened to the album yourself and loved it.

Usually, I just pick out three favourites from the week but there was so much good music released yesterday that I just HAVE to add in some bonus recommendations;

Loved Ones – Flyte (Album) – The debut album from these London lads is seriously worth checking out. I’ve a feeling it will be one of my favourites of the year, I am just absolutely in love with what these guys are doing (which seems to be mixing old styles with current indie/alt styles). Their acoustics/live versions on youtube are fantastic as well (those harmonies are just DELICIOUS). Can’t wait to see them in Dublin (whenever they get around to coming here that is!)

On My Mind (Jorja Smith X Preditah – On My Mind (Single): I just love this chick. Whenever she’s featuring on a song, I know it’s going to be good. Check it out.

Trouble – Kim Hayden: I don’t know who the guy featured on this track is but he’s AMAZING… jk it’s my friend Ben. Go add it to your August playlist (it’s actually a stunning song go on go on go on).

Alright that’s all from me this week, enjoy this beaut from Flyte and if you want to keep up to date with what I am listening to, you can follow my August spotify playlist here x

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Music, Opinions

New Irish artists for your Spotify playlist

Taking a departure from my “This Week In New Music” blog post this week. One, because I haven’t really been enjoying any new releases this week (ouch..) and two, because I’ve got some new Irish artists popping up on my monthly playlists recently and I thought it would be nice to share their names.

First up is Tim Chadwick. I only discovered Tim last week and since then I’ve had his Early Days EP playing on a loop. Never Wanted You is a smashing tune with a great music video to go along with it while Belong was the beautiful tune behind that heartbreaking/heartwarming Aer Lingus ad last Christmas. I can’t wait to hear more from this lad!

 

Next up is Catherine McGrath. This Northern Irish girl has got me seriously nostalgic for early Taylor Swift. It’s that easy-going, sweet pop-country that made everyone fall in love with curly-haired sixteen year old Swift, and while there’s plenty of it out there, it’s a bit more unusual to find it on this side of the pond. Cinderella is my personal favourite from the two EP’s.

 

Proving that the town really is a gem for music, Sion Hill is another Mullingar man to keep an eye on. He’s been signed by a German label and is releasing his debut album at the end of this month – I am expecting it to make an appearance on “This Week In New Music” that week! He’s also got great style and is very easy on the eyes, what’s not to love?

 

Finally, Ailbhe Reddy. I’ve been singing “I am just fucking paralyzed” (Fingertips) all day. Distrust is a dark indie track while Relent is poignant and powerful. I’ve no doubt the Dublin singer-songwriter has much, much more to show us.

 

Let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more recommendations of home-grown talent in the future!

Check out my Spotify playlist for August here

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