Today Irish electro-folk duo Saint Sister release their debut album ‘Shape of Silence’. The album is inspired by the connections between people, and the conversations borne from figuring yourself out in relation to another person.
Of the album, Saint Sister say:-
“This record is the culmination of the past 4 years of making music together and navigating our 20s in Dublin. ‘Shape of Silence’ comes from an interest in the power and weight of silence - how heavy it can feel. It is a nod towards the use of space in our music; what can be said and felt in between the gaps.”
Saint Sister’s debut brilliantly presents their ability to create a unique blend of electronic, folk and pop. Exploration of the capabilities of the Irish harp - experimenting with effects and loops pedals and blending with subtle electronica - opened up the pathway to the sonic palette of this record. It opens with ‘The Beginning’; an elegant and ethereal track that celebrates the freedom and conspiratorial magic of a brand-new relationship (which we follow over the arc of the record). Next is ‘Twin Peaks’, a soundscape of luscious vocals and glistening Wurlizter, showcasing the bands skill in crafting relatable and honest lyrics. The start of the album feels more whimsical, optimistic and inquisitive but that atmosphere starts to change, and the songs begin to fracture becoming a little darker; more self-aware and lonelier while the relationship, which began with all the hope and promise of something new, becomes undone.
Tracks like ‘You Never Call’ and ‘Causing Trouble’ touch on themes of nostalgia and longing. The band embrace their Celtic roots with the stripped-back ‘Tir Eile’, meaning ‘Other Land’ in Irish, which powerfully displays their incredibly haunting vocals. ‘Steady’, one of their more electronically-influenced tracks sets extracts from author Kevin Breathnach’s ‘Tunnel Vision’ against a trip-hop infused breakbeat. The last track on the record, ‘The Mater’, offers a searing account of the pain and self-realisation that comes at the end of a relationship and the final act of self-isolation.
‘Shape of Silence’ was recorded with long term co-producer Alex Ryan of Hozier. Of the collaboration, the band says:
“We found a really good energy between the three of us, and over the course of the last three years have started trusting each other’s instincts a lot more and getting comfortable pushing the boundaries.”
‘Shape of Silence’ follows Saint Sister’s well-received debut EP ‘Madrid’, released in 2015. Title track ‘Madrid’ reached over 2 million streams and was playlisted through ‘Introducing’ on BBC Radio 1. The EP drew the attention of Lisa Hannigan who invited the band to open for her on the 20 date ‘At Swim’ European tour.
Saint Sister is Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, hailing from the North of Ireland (Derry and Belfast respectively). The timing of their collaboration was key; having met in Dublin just after graduating from college, it became clear very early on that they were looking for the same thing. Bonding over their shared journey from north to south and a passion for music and words, teamed with the post-college confusion, they channelled all of their energy into the makings of a band.
To date, Saint Sister have amassed over 6 million streams combined.
Saint Sister are currently on tour around the US, Europe, Australia and UK. The band will be supporting Hozier on a number of his European tour dates included below:
Wednesday 21st November – Gasometer – Vienna, AT
Friday 23rd November – Verti Music Hall, Berlin, DE
Sunday 25th November – Sentrum Scene – Oslo, NO
Monday 26th November – Annexet – Stockholm, SE
Full tour dates can be found here
Hozier has released his new EP today, titled ‘Nina Cried Power’. Consisting of four brand new tracks written and performed by Hozier, the EP’s lead single and title track features legendary soul/gospel singer Mavis Staples, with iconic musician Booker T Jones on organ.
Single ‘Nina Cried Power’ channels the raw spirit and energy of protest and social activism. In the song, Hozier name-checks several iconic artists, activists and proponents of the civil rights movement whose messages, activism and artistry contributed to change through protest. Those mentioned in the track’s lyrics include (among others) Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, James Brown, the song’s namesake Nina Simone, and Mavis Staples - whose peerless vocals feature on the track too.
Of the single, Hozier says:-
“The song was written sometime last year, my aim was to credit the actuality of hope, solidarity and love found in the human spirit at a time when their opposites were being given a mainstream platform 24/7. The song started as a tongue-in-cheek inquiry into modern popular language regarding political awareness and grew from there.
In many ways the song is a thank you note to the legacy of artists from the 20th Century whose work still inspires us, and whose well we draw from in times of uncertainty. Mavis Staples is one such artist. Getting to work with her on this song was a joy, and nothing short of a dream come true.”
Mavis Staples says:-
“Oh, Nina is gonna wake the world up. Such a huge sound it could shake the Earth, filled with soul, passion, and fire, and it channels the struggles of some of my contemporaries. I’m telling you when you hear it, it’s going to drive you to rise up.”
The ‘Nina Cried Power’ EP continues with second track ‘NFWMB’, a softer song in contrast to the opener, which builds from just a tender acoustic guitar to a full and brooding sound, reminiscent of the song’s assertive lyric. ‘Moment’s Silence’ follows, an up-tempo, blues-inspired number whose lyrics serve as an ode to the peaceful clarity which love can yield, even when surrounded by the chaos and confusion of the wider world. The final track on the EP is ‘Shrike’, an example of Hozier’s astonishing vocal range and poetic lyricism as he urges: “Remember me love when I’m reborn…As the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn.”
Listen to ‘Nina Cried Power’ here: https://Hozier.lnk.to/NCPPR
Mavis Staples is a multi-Grammy Award-winning artist and performer, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 as part of The Staples Singers, the enormously influential gospel, soul and R&B group she was a founding member of. Fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Booker T. Jones also appears on Hozier’s ‘Nina Cried Power EP’ - his inimitable Hammond B3 Organ playing appears on tracks 1, 2 and 3.
Booker T. Jones says:
“Hozier is a rare artist who remains a wellspring of creativity. Like a baby who never becomes a child, he lingers selflessly at the source, rendering one fresh song after the other.”
Hozier will play a special show at prestigious London venue Koko next Tuesday 11th September. All proceeds from the intimate show - which sold out within minutes - will go to War Child, a charity close to Hozier’s heart. He will announce further UK, Ireland & European dates on 17th September.
Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, Hozier is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter from Ireland. His number one, debut studio album ‘Hozier’ was released in October 2014 and includes the multi-Platinum, Grammy-nominated anthem 'Take Me To Church', which later won ‘Best Song’ for Hozier at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards. The record also featured the optimistic, up-tempo 'Someone New', the soulful 'Work Song', and early stand out 'From Eden'. In 2016, Hozier released the album’s closing track ‘Cherry Wine’ as a charity single to create awareness of the domestic abuse problems worldwide, with proceeds benefiting a series of international domestic abuse charities. The official video features 3-time Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan. Hozier followed up the success of his debut LP with the track 'Better Love', taken from the soundtrack of the Warner Bros’ adventure film The Legend Of Tarzan.
Hozier’s ‘Nina Cried Power’ EP is out now via Island Records. Listen to the EP and connect with Hozier here: https://hozier.lnk.to/FollowPR
Young hopefuls will be making their way to Belarus this November to take part in the 16th Junior Eurovision Song Contest. A record-breaking 19 countries will participate in Minsk - the most in the history of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest - celebrating the extraordinary young musical talent across Europe.
Belarus’ public broadcaster BTRC (Belarusian Television and Radio Company) will host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018, which will take place at the Minsk Arena on Sunday 25 November, the second time the contest has been held at the 15000 seat stadium in the Belarusian capital.
Following their triumph with Polina Bogusevich winning at last year’s contest Russia return to defend their title in Belarus, facing tough competition for the accolade from previous winners Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Italy, Malta and The Netherlands plus the rest of the 2018 contenders Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, France, FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and Wales.
Young contestants will look to emulate the success of previous Junior Eurovision contestants, including Ieva Zasimauskaitė who performed for Lithuania in 2007 and went on to represent her country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon. As in previous years, the winner of this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be invited to perform at the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Israel.
Having won the competition twice before Belarus are among the few countries who have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest multiple times along with Russia and Malta who have also won twice, and Georgia who have won a record three times. Kazakhstan and Wales will both take part for the first time.
Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s head of Live Events and Executive Supervisor of the JESC said “We are delighted to have a record-breaking 19 countries taking part at the 16th Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Since the contest began in 2003 we have been thrilled to see a wealth of young talented performers take to the stage, some of whom have gone on to represent their countries in the Eurovision Song Contest. We are looking forward to seeing the next generation of young musical talent shine in the 2018 contest at the Minsk Arena in Belarus”
The following countries (and EBU Members and Associates) will participate in the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Belarus:
Australia (ABC / SBS)
France (France TV)
FYR Macedonia (MKRTV)
Kazakhstan (Khabar Agency)
The Netherlands (AVROTROS)
Continue to JuniorEurovision.tv
Alyusha (pronounced ‘Ali-usher’) is the progressive vocalist, writer and producer who today shares the first song “Cracks” from her upcoming “Little God” EP.
Born to Japanese & Romanian / Irish parents, Alyusha has a rich musical heritage, which as a producer she combines with her influence of industrial, city sonic landscapes. This combination of influences creates a futuristic and sometimes jarring sound, juxtaposing light and dark with provoking songwriting.
Since her second single "Paradise" with Linden Jay charted at Number 2 on Spotify’s ‘Global Viral Charts’, she’s toured Europe alongside working on new material in the studio, collaborating with other artists and spent some time in Tokyo where she immersed herself and collected sounds from the city. One of the artists that the progressive, classically trained musician collaborated with is Warp’s “ghetto futuristic artist” Gaika where she features on and co-produced “The Deal”.
“Cracks” has a smooth yet experimental interplay between formation and demolition delivered by her soothing vocals, effortlessly malleable in character with a sound that while soul-infused orbits around the fascinatingly cold decaying tones of jarred Hip Hop and a unique R&B hybrid.
Alyusha doubles down the attack with lyrics that tackle emotion and personal subjects with a lawless attitude. Discussing Japanese philosophical ideologies such as ‘wabi sabi (embracing the imperfect) and ‘kintsugi’ (the ancient art form of mending cracks with gold paint in pottery). This symbolises the belief that only something that has been broken has the potential to transform in to becoming something more beautiful.
While lyrically her vocals are lucid and inviting; the grimy production on her first cut of 2018 transfers its tough and unforgiving strength to the listener.
Check out “Cracks” (Listen here) and stay tuned for more from “Little God” EP
One of the country’s most exhilarating new live acts, Louis Berry has announced 10 European dates this May including two intimate album launch shows at Sebright Arms and in his home-town of Liverpool at District.
Louis released his first new music of 2018 in the shape of ‘Stumbling’ last month written and produced by Louis, Marcus Foster and Koz, the Grammy winning Canadian producer (Dua Lipa, Kendrick Lamar) and showcases Louis’s tremendous vocals. Stumbling is the first taste to be taken from his forthcoming debut album which will be released on Ministry of Sound.. He will also support Liam Gallagher for two shows (Belfast & Dublin) this June, as well as appearing at Live At Leeds in May.
Listen to Stumbling here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poLS-gWqarc
With over 10 million streams and 270 plays on Radio 1, Louis has been tipped by the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, Mistajam and Huw Stephens as well as The Sunday Times Culture, Evening Standard and Music Week.
Louis and his band spent much of last year on the road honing their craft, playing festivals all over Europe and headline tours throughout the UK. Anyone who has witnessed him live knows his performances are as joyful as they are explosive, breathing an infectious intensity into his passionate songs. Louis and his band play the following dates:
Sat 12th Amsterdam, Upstairs at Paradiso
Mon 14th Belgium, Upstairs at AB Club
Tues 15th Cologne, Blue Shell
Weds 16th Hamburg, Nochtwache
Fri 18th Berlin, Maze
Sat 19th Munich, Kranhalle
Mon 21st Zurich, Werk 21 at Dynamo
Tues 22nd Milan, Dude
Mon 11th London, Sebright Arms
Weds 13th Liverpool, District
Irish Indie rockers Pillow Queens announce new EP 'State of The State'; streaming new single 'Favourite'
Pillow Queens announce new EP ‘State of The State’. Set for release 16th March via Specialist Subject: http://shop.specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk/products/609465
Stream new single ‘Favourite’:
‘State of The State’ is the new EP from queer, all-girl Irish indie rock group Pillow Queens. The four tracks will be released via Bristol-based indie Specialist Subject Records on 16th March. The first taster of the new collection is ‘Favourite’, a maniacal composition about self-delusion, which fizzes with intent and boasts a perfectly potent hook.
Despite the sunny disposition of Pillow Queens’ catchy melodies and rambunctious riffs, the songs found on ‘State of The State’ tend to have a darker undercurrent. Opener ‘Puppets’ is “a song about the frustration of trying to succeed in post-recession Ireland and the effect that has on mental health,” explains vocalist/guitarist/bassist Sarah Corcoran. Elsewhere on the EP, the band muse on emotional highs and lows, the inevitability of anxiety and paranoia.
‘State of The State’ is the product of Pillow Queens’ first year being a band. Their intense year of gigging, touring, and really getting to know each other’s abilities fed into this recording, in contrast to the creation of their delightful debut ‘Calm Girls’ EP, which was recorded just after the band got together.
Producer Peter Ashmore tapped into the wide-reaching references PQ threw at him, which included the likes of Hop Along, Yuck, Weezer, Manchester Orchestra and the Pixies, in order to attain a timeless feel befitting of the beautifully crafted songs. Rachel Lyons (drums/vocals) observes that the EP draws “from all our teenage musical influences which have been chewed up and poured out, PQ style.” The resulting creation is something special and unmistakeably “Pillow Queens”.
The artwork for the EP was brought to life by Nola Mellon and is inspired by the old Fallon’s maths times table book you used to have in primary school.
Pillow Queens are:-
Sarah Corcoran – Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Pamela Connolly – Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Cathy Mc Guinness – Guitar / Vocals
Rachel Lyons – Drums / Vocals
Never Think Of You, the stunning new track from LA based electronic duo Lesser Pieces explores long distance relationships in the digital age. With pitch shifted samples and their signature groove, Never Think Of You builds on previous single Texas with the stirring synths of Mike Slott and a tender vocal performance from vocalist Diane Badie.
“Never Think of You is about long distance relationships, falling in love, and the insecurities and fears that come with that. It’s about the white lies in a dating scene that can make it pretty hard to be yourself. You stay up all night thinking of someone you really like, but you’ll hide those feelings until you can’t breathe.”
Lesser Pieces is the electronic project from Irish multi-dimensional producer Mike Slott and New York-born Egyptian singer-songwriter / composer Diane Badie. It is the culmination of the duo's lauded musical history – a vulnerable yet euphoric statement on modern popular music. Lesser Pieces was spawned from collaborative writing sessions on each of the artist's solo records in Brooklyn – after their first track together “Nightingale” caught the ear of Paul Epworth (Adele, FKA Twigs) who would go on to invite them to work on another project and introduce them to their future producer and close confidant, Patrick Ford (!!!, Tanlines). Written in New York, Dublin, Los Angeles, and London, the beautifully cascading style of Lesser Pieces is a partnership of universal ideals, combining Mike Slott’s eulogized electronic soul – as heard on his releases and roots with LuckyMe – and Diane Badie’s haunting songwriting and siren-esque vocals. With more tracks recorded in recent sessions, 2018 promises to be a big one for Lesser Pieces.
Big news as the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is taking shape. During a press conference in Lisbon, where the upcoming contest will take place, the list of participating countries was released and the slogan and theme artwork was officially unveiled. Drum roll..!
All aboard! for Eurovision 2018
Portugal as a country has always connected Europe to the rest of the world through the ocean, and 500 years ago Lisbon was the centre of many of the world’s most important sea routes. Today, Lisbon is using the ocean’s connectivity as inspiration with the slogan All Aboard!, inviting you and the international community to come together for this year’s competition.
More about theme and artwork for Lisbon 2018
Lisbon 2018: These countries will participate!
The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see 42 countries participate:
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