ALBUM: New Pagans – ‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’

An intuitive rumination on the personal and the political, New Pagans‘ debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a gritty, deeply poetic consideration of inequality and social injustice. Released via Big Scary Monsters, the Belfast band’s first full length record dives into the paraphernalia surrounding religion, romance and women’s pain, and resurfaces having transformed these tired archetypes into aural talismans of strength and defiance.

Formed of Claire Miskimmin, Cahir O’Doherty, Conor McAuley and Lyndsey McDougall, New Pagans blend elements of post-punk, grunge and pop to explore internal & external conflict in their music. On their 2020 debut EP Glacial Erratic, the band crafted six abrasive, yet melodic tracks that have formed the foundation for their first full length record. With the addition of five new songs, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is a sharper, fully fleshed out vision that sees the band’s scathing, yet sensitive approach to song-writing flourish with defiant flair.

“The demand for perfection is disturbing,” sings vocalist Lyndsey on opener ‘It’s Darker’. Based on a real life confrontation she had at a party with an aggressive male musician, the track will strike a chord with anyone who has had their opinion publicly devalued. “Everyone’s looking and I’m upset” she reveals, working through the unsettling feeling of being spoken down to via relentless riffs and commanding percussion.

Informed by overheard conversations on a Belfast bus, ‘Charlie Has The Face Of a Saint’ flows with a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Throwaway phrases like “I’m doing my part” or “You’re easy to have when you’re down on your knees” float above the loud/quiet verse/chorus structure, with the conflicting voices unable to provide answers, they simply exist in the ether. The spiralling ‘I Could Die’ follows, with its manic riffs and urgent vocals, before the powerful ‘Bloody Soil’ breaks through. It feels like the soundtrack to a social uprising, with its intense riffs and chant-able chorus.

A tribute to the sister of artists William Butler and Jack Butler Yeats, ‘Lily Yeats’ is an aural confidence boost to the song’s protagonist, and to the women who need encouragement to step out of their brother’s shadows. “My daughter needs to know that she can do the same,” sings Lyndsey over erratic riffs and pummelling beats, before dual male/female vocals drive home the message that it’s everyone’s responsibility to amplify the volume of women’s stories.

Lyndsey’s sharp focus on weaving her own stories of pain, self-autonomy and motherhood with other historic female narratives is the lyrical lifeblood of the album. She allows her own joy, grief and frustration to run parallel to others, with the band’s driving rhythms creating a musical space for the resilience and strength of these women’s histories to shine through. Singles ‘Harbour’ and ‘Yellow Room’ epitomise this.

On ‘Harbour’, Lyndsey celebrates the joy and the struggle of her own pregnancy, while on ‘Yellow Room’ she unravels the conversations around women’s mental health and the lack of support that new mothers often receive. Inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, ‘Yellow Room’ is a racing, urgent exploration of female isolation. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, the band traverse these underlying doubts via crystalline vocals and charged, powerful riffs, challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health.

A humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going, the band’s treatment of love and its many faults on ‘Admire’ is far more romantic than any Valentine’s bouquet. “Let’s preserve our old ways / let’s preserve them always” sings Lyndsey, her voice floating above atmospheric guitars and swirling bass lines. The song builds to a cacophony of shoegaze noise, removing all sense of doubt about remaining faithful to your partner.

On ‘Ode To None’, the band rip up more outdated traditions of conventional storytelling, declaring “We’re the new pagans / dedicated to nurture”, while on the aspirational ‘Natural Beauty’, Lyndsey dismantles what it means to be an ambitious artist. It serves as a reminder to take your art seriously and to have confidence in your abilities, which is wonderfully expressed in the empowering sentiment: “It’s in her destiny to be better than you.”

A riotous, refreshing call for accountability and a take down of sexist double standards, ‘Christian Boys’ seethes with righteous fury against the unfair judgement of women who are involved with hypocritical men. Based on the experiences of Lyndsey’s friend – who had been having an affair with a Christian leader in Northern Ireland before his marriage to a virgin bride – The urgency in the repeated lyric “Christian boys are the worst I know / Christian girls should take it slow” exposes the hypocrisy underscoring the track’s narrative, calling out those who blame others for their own mistakes. It’s a powerful and necessary statement to close the record with.

On The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, New Pagans uproot musical genres, challenge stunted narratives around social history, gender and relationships and manage to cultivate a powerful sonic resilience against them. It’s a hugely refreshing and impressive album that deserves all of the praise it’s received so far.

Order your copy of The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All here.

Follow New Pagans on bandcampTwitterInstagramFacebook & Spotify

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: M(h)aol – ‘Asking For It’

An ominous, much needed anthem that pulses with relatable fury, Irish inter-sectional feminist post-punk band M(h)aol have shared their latest single ‘Asking For It’. Originally set for release in May, the band have shared the track earlier than planned after feeling a collective anger at the reporting of male violence against women in the current media. All profits from ‘Asking For It’ will be donated to Women’s Aid Ireland, a charity who aim to end domestic violence against women and children.

Currently based between Dublin, London and Bristol, M(h)aol (pronounced “male”) are formed of Róisín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoe Greenway and Sean Nolan. Together, the band aim to shake up the male dominated post-punk scene with their urgent, shadowy sounds, with previous single ‘Laundries’ being the perfect instigator for this pursuit. Now with ‘Asking For It’, M(h)aol aim to dismantle the external and internal narratives that perpetuate the behaviours behind gender-based violence and victim-blaming.

Led by a thudding bass drum that feels like it’s mimicking the panicked heartbeat of a woman being pursued by her attacker, ‘Asking For It’ unravels the toxic thoughts and questions many women are faced with in the aftermath of harassment and sexual assault. Crystalline vocals and direct lyrics are paired with unsettling bass lines and urgent riffs, propelling the track forwards as the variations of the lyrical motif “Was I asking for it?” become louder and more visceral with each repetition.

A vital, lurching anthem that provides a moment for rage and reflection during this overwhelming International Women’s Month, M(h)aol’s ‘Asking For It’ is a damning aural statement that ought to make listeners think twice before they point the finger at victims of gender-based violence, instead of directly at their perpetrators.

Listen to the single below & donate what you can via bandcamp.

 

Follow M(h)aol on Spotify, bandcampFacebookTwitterInstagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: St. Patrick’s Day 2021

We know the option to publicly celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Ireland and here in the UK is currently not an option, but the Get In Her Ears team would like to help keep the virtual party going by spotlighting tunes from some of our favourite Irish artists on this epic playlist!

From slick rap verses, to dream-pop choruses, to post-punk bangers; our track choices provide a snapshot of just some of the talented Irish women and non-binary artists creating eclectic and exciting music right now. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of our Irish friends!

Take some time to scroll through the tracks below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

 

HAVVK – ‘Home’
The first single to be taken from the new album (produced by Rocky O’Reilly) from GIHE faves, Dublin-based HAVVK, ‘Home’ is a stirring reflection on appreciating those closest to you. Propelled by a shimmering ethereal fuzz, the track showcases the soaring celestial majesty of front woman Julie’s vocals, as they float with an impassioned splendour over scuzzy hooks and a gritty, driving energy. Oozing the band’s own unique poignant grace, it’s a truly captivating soundscape. (Mari Lane)

Bitch Falcon – ‘Gaslight’
Is it even a GIHE playlist if I don’t include a Bitch Falcon track? The Dublin trio shared their immense debut album Staring At Clocks via Small Pond Records last year, and ‘Gaslight’ is my favourite track on the record. (Kate Crudgington)

New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’
Inspired by the short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Belfast’s New Pagans penned this track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, the band channel their frustrations via clear, cathartic vocals, crashing percussion and charged, powerful riffs. I’m so excited to hear New Pagans’ debut album, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, when it’s released on 19th March. (KC)

M(h)aol – ‘Laundries’
A brooding reflection on the grim realities that “fallen women” faced in Ireland’s infamous Magdalene Laundries, this track from inter-sectional feminist post-punk band M(h)aol is a poignant reminder to Ireland and to the rest of the world that challenging oppression and misogyny is a collective responsibility. (KC)

Grave Goods – ‘Juice’
Sarah, Lois and Phil aka Grave Goods were kind enough to speak to me on our GIHE radio show last year about this track ‘Juice’, which features on an incredible compilation album of Irish artists called A Litany Of Failures: Vol. IIIDefinitely check it out. (KC)

Percolator – ‘Freshin’
Some serious noisy, shoegazey, alternative goodness from Dublin trio Percolator here. ‘Freshin’ is also featured on A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III. I should’ve just added the whole album tbh. (KC)

Pretty Happy – ‘Salami’
A raucous, wise-cracking anthem about the complexities of processed meat, ‘Salami’ is the latest single from Cork art-punk trio Pretty Happy. Full of sardonic lyrics, gutsy vocals and crashing percussion, it’s a ridiculously good off-kilter banger that rambles through the band’s many absurd thoughts and feelings about the pork-based snack. (KC)

Sprints – ‘Swimming’
Big thanks to The Irish Jam team for introducing me to Sprints! This is the latest single from the Dublin four-piece and I love its thumping beats, no nonsense vocals and raucous riffs. (KC)

Problem Patterns – ‘TERFs Out’
Mari & I absolutely love Belfast’s Problem Patterns, who happen to be some of the cutest and most ferocious punks we know. They’re dedicated to raging against inequality for all women and gender non-conforming people, and ‘TERFs Out’ is one many anthemic tracks showcasing their passion for this. When it’s safe to do so, we’re definitely going to book them for a GIHE gig! (KC)

Gender Chores – ‘Fuck The Patriarchy’
With a swirling, grunge-infused twang, this track from Belfast’s Gender Chores reminds me of DIY Riot Grrrl cassettes of the ‘90s, which is no bad thing. Taken from 2019’s immense, and fantastically entitled EP Womansplain, it’s short and sweet, but explicitly clear in its snarling, unashamed message to ‘Fuck The Patriarchy’. This track features on The Fight Is Not Over, a collaborative record addressing the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces in Northern Ireland. (ML)

Strange New Places – ‘Mr Gumble’
Propelled by a quirky, playful energy, ‘Mr Gumble’ addresses issues of gender dysphoria and the misconceptions that often surround sexuality. A catchy slice of power-punk from the Belfast band, they explain: “Mr Gumble is a uniquely transgender-tinted track, riffing on gender dysphoria and how it stops the narrator from having the confidence to pursue romantic relationships. This track also features on The Fight Is Not Over, a collaborative record addressing the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces in Northern Ireland. (ML)

Vulpynes – ‘Sister’
Having shared a stage with the likes of Sleaford Mods, Dublin duo Molly and Kaz – aka Vulpynes – have been firm favourites for a few years now. Last year’s ‘Sister’ is driven by swirling, reverb-strewn hooks, pounding primal beats and a raging energy; a fantastically fierce, empowered slice of ferocious rock magnificence. (ML)

Sister Ghost – ‘Bruised Fruit’
Previous winners of ‘Best Live Act’ at Northern Ireland’s Music Prize, Sister Ghost excel in creating scuzzy riffs with an impassioned, seething energy. With an underlying gritty power and the soaring raw power of the vocals, ‘Bruised Fruit’ is a wonderfully raucous example of what this band do best. This track features on The Fight Is Not Over, a collaborative record addressing the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces in Northern Ireland. (ML)

REWS – ‘Today We’re Warriors’
REWS’ Shauna Tohill was one of the first people I met when I started working in London six years ago. I was blown away by her incredible voice when she performed live on the first GIHE radio show I co-hosted, and I’ve been an avid REWS follower and friend of hers since then. Shauna is one of the kindest, most passionate people I know and I feel very lucky to have her in my life. Go and listen to her second album, We Are Warriors, it’s a cathartic burst of energetic pop-rock. (KC)

Kynsy – ‘The Elephant In The Room’
This is one of the four superb tracks that make up Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Kynsy’s debut EP. Her succinct lyricism and jagged riffs offer fresh perspectives on everything from heartbreak, to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, to partying too hard. I had a lovely chat with her for GIHE earlier this year and I was so impressed by her humble and direct approach to making music. (KC)

NewDad – ‘Slowly’
Galway-based dream-poppers NewDad are gearing up to release their debut EP Waves on the 26th March and I’m excited to flood my ears with their lush vocals and lucid guitar riffs. (KC)

Smoothboi Ezra – ‘My Own Person’
Smoothboi Ezra is an 18 year old songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Greystones. This song is about “not being happy but not being able to do anything about it” which is the over-riding sentiment for most of 2020/21. (KC)

Dott – ‘Extra Introvert’
A tender, buoyant guitar tune designed to playfully shake off the “Lockdown Anxiety” many of us have been dealing with throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Galway-based dream-poppers Dott provide a breath of fresh air on ‘Extra Introvert’. (KC)

Big Daisy – ‘Bee Mine’
A fuzzy guitar ode to those who embrace emotional labour in a relationship without hesitation, this track by Belfast four-piece Big Daisy features on charity compilation album Bangers & Breakups. It’s is a lo-fi appreciation of the selfless acts of love and support we receive in a relationship, even if past trauma makes us feel like we don’t deserve them. (KC)

PowPig – ‘Pretty Woman’
PowPig are Irish DIY at its best, I was totally blown away when I found out that they were still at school. ‘Pretty Woman’ is jam packed with indie harmonies and grizzly guitars. Loving it. Here’s to hearing more from them in the future. (Tash Walker)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Between Your Teeth’
A tentative rumination on the struggle to communicate your true feelings in a relationship, I love this track from Dublin alt-folk artist Ailbhe Reddy. Lifted from her beautiful debut album Personal History, she blends soft vocals with atmospheric guitars to overcome feelings of frustration and sadness on ‘Between Your Teeth’. (KC)

Aislinn Logan – ‘Never Stay Low’
An a lush little pop gem from Belfast-born, London-based artist Aislinn Logan here. ‘Never Stay Low’ is a breezy offering full of smooth vocals and shimmering synth sounds, designed to gently dismiss the weight of unfair expectations. (KC)

SPIDER – ‘Water Sign’
Dublin-born, London-based twenty-one year old SPIDER blends sultry electronics and brooding guitar riffs with her distinctive vocals to create her evocative sounds. Her focus is on how a track makes you feel – whether that’s a feeling of power, fluidity or chaos – and on ‘Water Sign’ she weaves these emotions into a cohesive, stirring electronic soundscape. Filled with atmospheric synth textures and heady beats, the track is inspired by the Goddess Olokun of the Nigerian bini tribe, who presides over the darkest depths of the ocean. (KC)

Elaine Malone – ‘You’ (1000 Beasts Remix)
A blissful lo-fi offering from two of Cork’s freshest talents, ‘You’ is a beaut collaboration between songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Elaine Malone and electronic artist & producer 1000 Beasts. Led by Malone’s original beguiling vocals and lullaby-esque lyrics, 1000 Beasts has tentatively transformed the track with his distinctive percussion, and the result is a magnetic soundscape that acts as an aural tonic. (KC)

Loah, Bantum – ‘NGLA’
A collaboration between Irish-Sierra Leonean songwriter Loah and Cork-based producer Bantum, ‘NGLA’ flows with sweeping rich vocals and a twinkling uplifting energy. Featuring on last year’s EP Sweet Sorrow, it fuses together elements of hip-hop, scuzzy electronica, and funk-fuelled neo-soul, creating an enlivening, smooth groove. (ML)

Cosha – ‘Do You Wanna Dance’
A previous favourite of mine Bonzai, now known as Cosha, teamed up with producer Rostam for this single ‘Do You Wanna Dance’. I’ve been keeping my ears and eyes peeled for their new music ever since. (TW)

Malibu Shark Attack – ‘Better Off As Friends’
An oldie but a goody, I just couldn’t not mention this completely infectious track from one of my favourite ever albums when thinking about the Irish music scene. A side project of Rocky O’Reilly’s, Malibu Shark Attack are a real ‘super group’ offering their own unique brand of transatlantic indie-rap. Consisting of Rocky, American rapper Tribe One, Belfast-based Bee Mick See and vocalist Yellowbridge, they’re responsible for one of the most joyous and memorable nights of live music I’ve ever had at The Windmill back in 2014.
Rocky O’Reilly has helped produce and elevate so many of our faves (including HAVVK, Problem Patterns, Queen Zee), offering a special space to record in his Belfast-based Start Together Studios, and is a real legend in the DIY Irish community. (ML)

Æ MAK – ‘Hey Driver (!)’
I love this single from Queen of lockdown kitsch-pop bangerz Æ MAK. ‘Hey Driver (!)’ is a vibrant, catchy tune made with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs” with a dance routine that’s a joy to mimic. (KC)

CMAT – ‘Another Day (KFC)’
I think I fell in love with CMAT when she declared “I’d rather drink piss than drink Pepsi Max” during an Instagram Live challenge where she consumed 80 pieces of popcorn chicken. She’s released banger after banger over the last year, and I’m praying it’ll be safe to go and see her live at The Troubadour in November with Mel from The Irish Jam! (KC)

Denise Chaila – ‘Anseo’
Since falling in love with Denise Chaila’s unique style of hip-hop last year with the eclectic sounds of her debut album GO Bravely (which has since been nominated for Ireland’s Choice Music Prize), I have been pretty-much addicted. With flowing keys accompanied by her distinctive spoken-word vocal, ‘Anseo’ oozes a completely infectious groove and vibrant empowering energy, with an additional healthy serving of playful wit. The Zambian-born Limerick-based artist reflects on identity, borders and misogyny in her work, and – having recently been featured as ‘One To Watch’ by The Guardian – looks set for further success in 2021. (ML)

CAMI x LEEM – ‘Inside Out’
Working alongside producer LEEM, Dublin-based rapper CAMI has crafted this super trippy, laid back tune. Tash & I love this track and recommend that you check out CAMI’s latest single ‘Tipsy’ too. (KC)

Celaviedmai – ‘Reckless’
This BANGER from rapper Celaviedmai sets my ears on FIRE, it’s such an ANTHEM! I heard it for the first on The Irish Jam when Mel was interviewing Celaviedmai about her involvement with the Black Lives Matter movement in Galway last year. She’s an incredible artist and activist, and I can’t wait to hear more from her in the future. (KC)

YINYANG – ‘Bloodhound/Earthbound’
With her previous single ‘Black Mamba’ being awarded the title ‘Best Song In The World’ from Across The Line with BBC Radio Ulster last year, Irish hip-hop artist Lauren Hannan – aka YINYANG- has now blasted into our ears with immense new tune ‘Bloodhound/Earthbound’. With shades of GIHE fave Noga Erez, the track oozes a gritty energy as the angst-driven power of Hannan’s vocals seethe alongside attitude-fuelled glitchy beats, building with a soulful, soaring splendour. (ML)

Rachael Lavelle – ‘Perpetual Party’
Like many of the artists on this playlist, I discovered composer & Rachael Lavelle through listening to The Irish Jam radio show. ‘Perpetual Party’ sends shivers down my spine every time I listen to it. (KC)

Rising Damp – ‘Cannibal’
A creator of brutal yet captivating soundscapes, Dublin based artist Rising Damp contributed this track ‘Cannibal’ to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III. Her dystopian visions are fleshed out with hypnotic electronics, dense drum beats and deadpan vocal delivery. (KC)

Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’
I’m a big fan of everything Hilary Woods releases and was moved to distraction when I saw her perform live at St Pancras Old Church in London in 2018. This track ‘Orange Tree’ is taken from her incredible second album Birthmarks, which she released last year via Sacred Bones. (KC)

Fears – ‘vines’
Another poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours, Dublin-born London-based musician Fears aka Constance Keane penned her latest single ‘vines’ before she experienced a breakdown. Through her tentative beats and soft vocals, Fears taps into her pain and offers listeners a chance empathise and heal alongside her. I can’t wait to hear her debut album Oíche when it’s released on 7th May via her own label, TULLE. (KC)

Sive feat. Dowry – ‘Storybook Moon’
A collaboration between songwriter Sadhbh O’Sullivan – Sive – and string musician Éna Brennan – Dowry – ‘Storybook Moon’ is a twinkling slice of alt-folk. Written during a time when Sadhbh was suffering with insomnia, it’s a stirring offering that’ll captivate the ears with its delicate exquisite grace and deep, shimmering melancholy. (ML)

Maija Sofia – ‘Flowers’
Taken from a split 7” with Kerry Devine (The Baby Seals) that was released via Trapped Animal, ‘Flowers’ oozes an uplifting sparkling energy. With a nostalgic, lilting musicality it’s a truly enchanting listen propelled by beautiful folk-strewn melodies and Sofia’s rich, luscious vocals. (ML)

Tolü Makay – ‘Don’t Let Go’
This is an understated, beautifully soothing listen from Tolü Makay. The Nigerian-born, Ireland-based artist gently reassures her listeners to let go of their fears through her smooth vocals, tender lyricism and jazz inspired instrumentation. (KC)

Clara Byrne – ‘Conflict Bound’
A poignant reflection on the pressures and contradictions we encounter living under capitalism, ‘Conflict Bound’ is the debut single from Bray songwriter Clara Byrne. Lifted from her upcoming debut album Handstitched, Byrne finds refuge from these overwhelming thoughts via her atmospheric alt-folk guitar sounds and patient vocal delivery. (KC)

Party Fears – ‘Time In Space’
A gentle, hazy musing on trying to stay afloat in an unpredictable time, Northern Irish born, Berlin-based artist Party Fears aka Maggie Devlin is a firm favourite here at GIHE. Released via Babywoman Records, ‘Time in Space’ is an other-worldly offering that stretches the boundaries of self-perception, but in true Party Fears style it remains charmingly optimistic. (KC)

The Cranberries – ‘Dreams’
I couldn’t really not include The Cranberries on an Irish-themed playlist… In addition to being consistently moved by the heart-breaking, crystalline vocals of the late Dolores O’Riordan, throughout the past year’s many lockdowns, I have sought comfort in watching Derry Girls for the umpteenth time, which is perfectly soundtracked by the majority of The Cranberries’ back catalogue! (ML)

Track Of The Day: Pretty Happy – ‘Salami’

A raucous, wise-cracking anthem about the complexities of processed meat, Cork art-punk trio Pretty Happy have shared their latest single ‘Salami’. Full of sardonic lyrics, gutsy vocals and crashing percussion, the track is a ridiculously good off-kilter banger that rambles through the band’s many absurd thoughts and feelings about the pork-based snack.

Formed of Abbey Blake (guitar), Arann Blake (vocals, bass) and Andy Killian (drums), Pretty Happy have been busy cutting their teeth on the DIY Irish music and arts scene over the last few years. Abbey is a founder of Angry Mom Collective, a movement set up to challenge the gender imbalance in Irish arts, whilst Arann and Andy are keenly involved in the local drama and film scenes. Together, the trio combine their talents to create their distinctive sounds and ‘Salami’ is the first taste of what’s to come from them this year.

Arann tears through the band’s “demonic grocery list” via his silly-but-smart lyrics, Killian pummels the ear drums with his cymbal slams and Abbey brings the noise with her intense Earthquaker guitar pedals. The track is accompanied by a comical music video, which follows “pork connoisseur” Abbey on her quest to consume as much of the meat as she physically can. The band are set to release an EP in the coming months and we’re excited to hear more from the eccentric trio. Watch the video for ‘Salami’ below.

Follow Pretty Happy on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Nick O’Donnell

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut