Celebrating the Leeside sounds of 2021 | Cork is rising

Hard times continued in the second year of the Covid-19 crisis - but the songwriters, bands, and producers of Cork has shown us their resilience and perseverance, making things work and realising the vision in the toughest of times. Here we pick seven records to get into.
Celebrating the Leeside sounds of 2021 | Cork is rising

The Altered Hours: the Cork-based five-piece continue to demonstrate why there’s nobody like them. Pic: Hance Photography

The Altered Hours - Convertible

Arriving on 12” via Pizza Pizza Records, The Altered Hours’ self-produced second album ‘Convertible’ is the sound of a band finding the next stage in a long and winding sonic story - from the expansive, angered psychedelia of ‘Radiant Wound’ to the reverby balladry of ‘Thistle’, the Cork-based five-piece continue to demonstrate why there’s nobody like them.

Available from streaming, download and mail order on 12” vinyl at https://thealteredhours.bandcamp.com/. Records also available at PLUGD Records on the Coal Quay, Music Zone and other local record shops.

Fixity - 7

“Directions in music” is the oft-cited raison d’etre of Cork multi-instrumentalist Dan Walsh’s Fixity project, and having teased fun and games with skittish recent single ‘Homeworld’, his seventh numbered release under the moniker sees him continue to play with ideas and engage in collaborations, including appearances from The Bonk/O Emperor man Philip Christie, and Kildare experimentalist Icebear.

Available for streaming, download, and mail order on cassette at https://fixity.bandcamp.com/album/fixity-7. Tapes also available at PLUGD Records on Coal Quay.

Pretty Happy - Slugger’s Bridge

The Northside’s proudest post-punk enfants terribles had a busy 2021 of gigs, releases and video shenanigans, EP ‘Slugger’s Bridge’ serving as an exercise in juxtaposition, with riffs and ideas culled from various pre-/between-lockdown jams and Frankenstein’d together in inimitably playful and noisy fashion. To say nothing of consistent gigging, including headlining at Dublin’s newly-opened Workman’s Cellar, opening on Irish tour for The Altered Hours and garnering recognition from the UK’s legendary Pinewood Studios for the video to single ‘Sea Sea Sea’.

Available from streaming and download at https://prettyhappy.bandcamp.com/.

Arthur Itis - Occam’s Razor

Never less than an innovator, Arthur Itis, the avant-garde troubadour from the planet Lukon 5, has upped his strangeness quotient in the best and most endearing fashion with new record ‘Occam’s Razor’ - with the help of Pretty Happy’s Abbey Blake, and The Altered Hours’ Cathal MacGabhann, among others.

Available now for streaming and download at https://arthur-itis.bandcamp.com/.

Mantua - Mantua

Elaine Malone’s second album under the Mantua banner is a hefty affair - two years in the making, an ambient album from Malone’s harmonium-driven project takes its cues from thoughts of environmental decline, the fleeting nature of living, and the influence of Eartheater and Jenny Hval. “I did it to feel a bit freer and unconfined to songs, and to go from the places that I didn’t want to use guitars for”, she told Downtown in last week’s edition.

Available now for streaming and download at https://mantua1.bandcamp.com/album/mantua.

Caoilian Sherlock - Big Child

After two years of waiting, singer-songwriter and ever-present promoter/facilitator Caoilian Sherlock got to unleash Big Child, a short but sweet collection exhibiting his grin-inducing mix of lovelorn balladry and wry, self-deprecating humour. Its launch was accompanied by its sole live excursion of the year at Coughlan’s as part of Quiet Lights festival, where Sherlock and collaborators showed the magic had been lingering in the quiet times.

Available now for streaming and download at https://caoiliansherlock.bandcamp.com/album/big-child-2.

Bailer - Disposable Youth

Cork hardcore lads Bailer have travelled a long road - from packing out Fred Zeppelin’s, to touring Russia, to getting to play the Download Festival this year in Donington, in the UK. Possessed of a cast-iron self-belief, and with a bag of riffs to match, it’s a boon to see the band’s hard work reaping dividends in the hardest of times.

Available for download and streaming from https://bailerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/disposable-youth. Black-and-orange splatter vinyl is available early next year from Distroy Records.

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