A hot summer of new music in Cork! 

Cork might be having a busy summer of big gigs, but from post-punk noisemakers to sparse, spacey improv; socially-conscious folk to sunny reggae, there’s a lot happening closer to home. Mike McGrath-Bryan takes a look at some recent-ish local releases.
A hot summer of new music in Cork! 

Pretty Happy: Mayfield outfit have a single out now. Pic: Nicholas O'Donnell

PRETTY HAPPY - SALAMI/ANGELUS

It’s been a hectic time for Mayfield punks Pretty Happy since this parish last spoke to them: having just come off the road after a European tour in support of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and appearances at Primavera festival, they’ve gigged at home and curated the special Quare event for Cork Midsummer - with vocalist/guitarist Abbey Blake being among the festival’s well-advertised faces. There’s talk of more music coming up after this newly-re-recorded cut of Corkonian weirdness, but there’s also a trip to the UK for primo underground fest Raw Power.

Single out now: https://prettyhappy.bandcamp.com/album/salami

MOSSY - KIRA

Northside shoegazers Mossy are quickly garnering a reputation for energetic, no-nonsense shows, and short, sharp shocks of similarly frippery-free dream-pop. Second single Kira comes in with a whip-crack smartness that belies an earnestness of endeavour that’s endeared them to the local scene. Check ‘em out.

Single out now: https://mossyband.com/

THE LOVE BUZZ - WILD ONE

Partnering up with FIFA Records going forward, and disleashing an expanded edition of their ‘Here Comes the Scum’ extended-player, The Love Buzz take a step out of busy times to deliver another slice of uptempo pop that plays on post-Covid optimism and typically gonzo lyrical imagery.

Single out now across all streaming services.

ENDLESSENDLESS - RECORDING 7.

A Ronseal record - the seventh in an ongoing series of albums from the Endlessendless collective: featuring members of God Alone and Red Sun Alert, as well as a bevy of musical guests. Recorded live at the Cork School of Music, this entry in the series features some deep grooves propelled by Worn Out sticksman Evan Prendergast, and raps from local hip-hop cornerstone Spekulativ Fiktion.

Album out now: https://endlessendless.bandcamp.com/album/recording-7

THE BONK - SONGS FOR THE MEAN TIME VOL. 2

More stirrings from the musical mind of former O Emperor man Phil Christie and collaborators, in the second volume of an ongoing series of sonic missives, including appearances from Fixity’s Dan Walsh and former bandmate Brendan Fennessy - “a few songs about hard cuts and cross dissolves”, says he.

EP out now: https://thebonk.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-the-mean-time-vol-2

GHOSTKING IS DEAD - …AND JUST LIKE THAT

Ghostking is Dead is dead, and while your writer missed the chance to help Matthew Xavier Corrigan write the project its longform eulogy in these pages back in April, it’s worth revisiting the bedroom-muso man’s last broadside before his return in earnest under his given name at PLUGD Records on Saturday.

Album out now: https://ghostkingisdead.bandcamp.com/album/and-just-like-that

THE SHAKER HYMN - THE LAST CONCORDE

There’s something to be said for having the easy psychedelia of The Shaker Hymn back after a four-year hiatus (see last week’s Downtown), and the title track of the band’s third album wears its shimmering vocal harmonies and dreamy pop lightly, commenting on the worn, rotten veneer of glamour that relics like The Concorde have in hindsight, and in mind of climate change.

Single out now, album out Friday July 1: https://theshakerhymn.bandcamp.com/

NEON ATLAS - IT’S ALL WHO YOU KNOW

Cork alt-rockers Neon Atlas seem to emerge every few years with a seemingly fully-formed vision for the genre and their own creative direction - an advance listen to this July 1 single suggests a mix of ‘90s indie-pop simplicity and the gentle grandeur of pre-insanity Smashing Pumpkins. A ray of concentrated sunshine.

Single out on Friday July 1: https://neonatlas.bandcamp.com

FIRST CLASS & COACH - NEON HIP

Ahead of the release later in the year of their second album on FIFA Records, West Cork alt-rockers turn on retro filters of their own with a sparse alt-rock number that moves methodically, and seeks to run on a fixed, nearly mechanical groove before slowly heading for denser, more psychedelic territory.

Single out now: https://firstclassandcoach.bandcamp.com/track/neon-hip

SILVER OWLS - SERPENTINE

The return of Cork shoegazers Emperor of Ice Cream has obviously got some juices flowing in their immediate circles, with Eddie Butt kicking back into songwriting mode, both with darkwave outfit Arctic Lights, and Silver Owls, a collaboration with co-founding Emperor John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty. Bringing their penchant for dreaminess into the present, this is a fine slice of fare for Emperors heads, and fans of Haggis’ other sonic preoccupation, Band of Clouds.

EP out now: https://silverowls.bandcamp.com

PONTIUS PILATE & THE NAILDRIVERS - KICK THE MEGAPHONE

Cork ska-punks Pontius Pilate and the Naildrivers have been around for over two decades now - which makes the release of their debut album via FIFA Records all the more of an auspicious occasion. A serving of tried-and-true ska with a social conscience, with a hefty dollop of polish.

Album out now: https://pontiouspilatethenaildrivers.bandcamp.com/album/kick-the-megaphone

MARTIN LEAHY - EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A HOME

The housing crisis has gone on for over a decade now - and has been pockmarked by a stubborn refusal by consecutive governments to ditch market ideologies and build affordable and social housing while homelessness and unacceptable Direct Provision arrangements continue to escalate. Martin Leahy is one artist speaking out - literally making the weekly trip from West Cork to Leinster House to register his protest in song. A deft piece of distorted pop that rings true and clear.

Single out now: https://martinleahy.bandcamp.com/track/everyone-should-have-a-home

CORMAC O’CAOIMH - THERE MUST BE A CATCH

While veteran Cork folker continues to have some of the sarkiest (and therefore best) social media in the game, his most recent single looks at optimism, circumstance and the turns of fortune on balance, and with a knowing, increasingly warm grin, still questions where things might go awry.

Single out now: https://cormaco.bandcamp.com/album/there-must-be-a-catch

FHABLO - DO NO HARM

For the enigmatic Cork multi-instrumentalist FhaBlo, confronting mortality and enjoying our time on earth has been a recurring theme, and this latest pair of new tunes speak of walking lightly along life’s paths, choosing carefully how to embellish some gentle realisations and musical flourishes to greatest effect.

EP out now: https://fhablo.bandcamp.com/album/do-no-harm

DIZZIRAY & LIONHEART - SUNNY SIDE UP

A sunny slice of accessible reggae from Asch Anderson (aka Dizziray) and producer Lionheart (Rik Appleby) that taps into early-relationship butterflies and blue-sky thinking, recorded and produced at the latter’s studio and released via the similarly-monikered Lionheart label, in the middle of establishing itself as a local output for the genre.

EP out now: https://lionheart-recordings.bandcamp.com/album/sunny-side-up

JRILLA - PINK 2 TRAPPY

McCurtain Street seems to be an unassuming spot for M5 Studio to emerge, the dominion of Coco the Producer and his various collaborators, including charismatic rapper/singer JRilla, with one eye on Cork and the other on bigger things, judging by some ambitious video shoots and commercially-friendly trap - and early evidence suggests his next move is no less ambitious.

Single out Friday June 24: https://www.jrillamusic.com/

AN GALAR DUB - SYSTEM COLLAPSE

Cork producer Gabhánach de Nógla has always ploughed his own furrow, and this latest collection of solo cuts and collaborations further lowers the bass, from the tension of opener ‘citizensh*t’, to collaborations with rapper Captain Moonlight and poet/singer Julie Goo. A slice of low-end destruction.

Album out now: https://angalardub.bandcamp.com/album/system-collapse

MERCURIAL - THE INDRID COLD TAPES

Moving into an otherworld of longform experimentation, Soothsayer man Liam Hughes continues to define his own outer limits under the Mercurial moniker. “Salvaged transmissions from Sub-Terria 6 via Indrid Cold”, says the release’s Bandcamp page, speaking to an expansive internal monologue.

Album out now: https://mercurialsounds.bandcamp.com/album/the-indrid-cold-tapes

SKELLIG - OF THIS CARVED LAND

A one-man project that self-refers as ‘funerary sludge gutter nihilism’. This parish approves: glacial, treacle-thick ebbs of scarcely-accompanied low-end don’t so much meander to their conclusions as they do glower and ruminate over them, making each break in the riffing that bit more important, a bit of space between substantial bouts of pensiveness.

EP out now: https://skellignoise.bandcamp.com/album/of-this-carved-land

CURTSY REHEARSED - TRANSITIVE NOSTALGIA

Found at the business end of a recent Bandcamp dig, there’s relatively little that your writer knows about coder and music-maker Shane Crowley, outside of a keenly-honed grasp on technology’s ever-shifting contours as displayed in blogs linked out from his Curtsy Rehearsed project’s Bandcamp page. On the evidence of this lightly glitchy yet slightly woozy serving of electronic exploration, it’s a state of affairs your writer would like to rectify.

Album out now: https://curtsyrehearsed.bandcamp.com/album/transitive-nostalgia

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