WATCH: Ailbhe Reddy – ‘A Mess’

A lighthearted reflection on an early, chaotic relationship, Irish-born, London-based alt-folk artist Ailbhe Reddy has shared her latest single ‘A Mess’. Full of energetic guitar riffs, relatable lyrics and Reddy’s clear vocals, the track is a buoyant rumination on the cyclical nature of bad habits and a lively effort to move past them.

Following on from her recent single ‘Inhaling’ and her tender, intuitive debut album Personal History (2020), on ‘A Mess’ Reddy continues to balance the bittersweet nature of romantic relationships with her earnest and relatable lyrics. “The song is about not feeling good enough in a relationship and examining old patterns and habits,” she explains. “It’s about feeling fed up of going around in circles, while focusing on a throw away comment.”

Whilst the repetition of the title lyric could sting if it was delivered differently, Reddy claims it as a lighthearted label, accepting that youth and inexperience are all part of the learning process when it comes to forming healthy relationships. This humour is reflected in the single’s accompanying video, which sees Reddy fishing and dressed up as a surgeon, trying to dissect the moment that led to the relationship being branded ‘A Mess’.

“The video was directed by Georgia Kelly of CLTV,” she explains (an Irish production company who have created for videos Fontaines D.C., Denise Chaila, Pillow Queens and Inhaler.) “I wanted to keep the playfulness of the music alive in the video and make sure it was tongue and cheek rather than very serious. Georgia came up with a few scenarios that were funny representations of feeling ‘not good enough’ and giving up.”

Ailbhe Reddy will be performing at Visions Festival and Latitude this summer, with more live dates due to be announced soon.

Watch the video for ‘A Mess’ below.

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Photo Credit: Collective Dublin (CLTV)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: SPIDER – ‘U GET HIGH / I GET NOTHING’

A dark, atmospheric reflection on the imbalance of emotions in an unequal relationship, London-based, Irish musician & producer SPIDER has shared her latest single ‘U GET HIGH / I GET NOTHING’. Taken from her recent debut mixtape C.O.A. (Coming Of Age), the track is a raw, relatable rumination on being taken for granted by someone you cared for, explored through emotive vocals, brooding electronics and confessional lyrics.

Born and raised in Dublin, twenty-two year old SPIDER harnesses the strong feminine energy of the arachnid she’s named after as a totemic symbol through which she can explore her own emotional resilience. She struggled growing up in a Catholic household as a young Nigerian girl in a predominately white country, but creating music provided her with an outlet for her most unfiltered thoughts. Now, with her mixtape and new single, she continues this narrative of breaking down barriers to share her truth and she does so with provocative flair.

Refusing to be stereotyped by producers and other music industry folk who assumed she was an R&B artist because of her skin colour, SPIDER exerts full autonomy over her music, taking on production duties and coming up with the visuals and aesthetics for all of her releases. On C.O.A, she filters her experiences through a dark-pop, angsty lens to prove that growing up – and fucking up – is a universal experience.

“Activities like drinking and partying are tagged as ‘coming of age’ when white kids do it but demonized when kids of colour do it,” SPIDER comments. “We deserve the right to experience our youth and find ourselves. C.O.A is what that felt like for me, and my hope is that other people of colour will listen to it, hear a situation they’ve been through, and maybe it’ll become their own coming of age moment.”

Listen to ‘U GET HIGH / I GET NOTHING’ below.

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Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Fears – ’16’

Transforming her ruminations on a troubled past relationship into an elegant, exquisitely raw new offering, Irish musician and producer Constance Keane aka Fears has shared her latest single ’16’. Released via her own imprint TULLE, the track is a combination of meditative synth loops, tentative beats – inspired by the traditional Irish bodhrán drum – and the instrumentals of her late friend, classically trained cellist and trans rights activist Sophie Gwen Williams, which all mesh together to create a truly soothing, magnetic soundscape.

Accompanied by a beautiful video, shot in The Maharees in County Kerry in south west Ireland and directed by Zoe Greenway who performs alongside Keane in punk band M(h)aol, the visuals are a poignant tribute to Williams too.

“Sophie was an incredible artist and a very close friend of mine,” Keane explains. “We did a filmed performance together last March, thinking we’d get a chance to record it ‘properly’ in a studio, but she passed away before we could. Zoe and I dedicate the video for ’16’ to her memory. I had made her a dress for the original performance out of pink tulle – the same fabric I have with me in the video. She was a really inspirational and encouraging person, and I wanted to create something that shows how I carry her with me, even though I no longer have her physically here.”

Using her art as a canvas to express and process her grief, Keane’s soft vocals and candid lyrics – “It’s been a while since I cried / unusual for me / normally once a week / since we were 16” – combine to create a delicate, shadowy landscape for her listeners to dwell in. On her debut album Oícheshe underwent a significant and moving personal metamorphosis and now with ’16’ she continues to shapeshift and thread her own experiences into immersive, illuminating sounds.

Fears will perform live in London as part of a TULLE Collective showcase on 7th May at Chat’s Palace. Watch the video for ’16’ below.

Sophie Gwen Williams was an acclaimed performance artist, classically trained musician and trans rights activist from Northern Ireland who co-founded We Exist, a charity which raises vital funds to help trans people across the UK pay for healthcare costs. She was also the chair and one of the original members of The 343, a Belfast-based queer art collective. Here she also founded 343 radio, which is Ireland’s first ever queer radio.

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Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: HOST – ‘Not Alright’

An off-kilter slice of synth-pop that buzzes with unrest, Irish musician HOST has shared her latest single ‘Not Alright’. Inspired by feelings of burnout following a one-sided friendship, HOST combines hazy vocals, catchy synth hooks and energetic beats to reflect the cyclical nature of the expired energy she laments in her lyrics.

Following on from her 2021 EP No Reply, HOST continues to build on her raw, confessional brand of synth-pop with this latest release, channelling her disappointments and frustrations into a sound that fizzes with the desire to break free from a situation that’s getting the best of her. Ultimately, she arrives at a place of acceptance, moving away from the toxic friendship and pushing forwards alone.

“’Not Alright’ is about constantly shouldering your friends’ problems, absorbing their stress and not having anyone to reciprocate yours,” HOST explains about the new single. “While already being in a bad place, this can quickly weigh you down mentally and emotionally. You can read their selfishness like a book, you know their next move because this isn’t your first rodeo and eventually, something’s got to give.”

HOST is set to release more new music in 2022. Listen to ‘Not Alright’ below.

 

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Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut