Likened to the moodiness of The Cure, Pixies, and Lush-era Snail Mail, indie rock band NewDad bring us the new single “Say It” and announce the release date for their second EP Banshee, coming February 9 via Fair Youth Records.
Evoking opposing emotions to the melancholic “I Don’t Recognise You,” “Say It” conjures a sense of urgency, highlighting the development of NewDad’s style. Lead singer Julie Dawson’s vocals are ever the lynchpin of the song, capturing a bitterness and aggression not felt in previous tracks: “No, you don’t like me at all / You just want to see me fall for you.” The blunt lyricism precedes a breakdown of gunshot snares, with NewDad sounding as ambitious and experimental as ever.
On the single’s release, the band say:
“It’s about unrequited love, about when someone is with you but not really, it’s supposed to capture that frustration you feel when you’re giving someone your all and they’re giving you nothing in return. The fast pace of the song makes it feel like I’m venting which works considering the feelings of irritation and bitterness I’m talking about when you don’t want to like someone but you can’t help it.”
Banshee is the band’s sophomore EP, after they made a splash with their debut Wavesin March 2021. The band recorded and co-produced the EP in Belfast with Chris W Ryan (who they previously teamed up with on Waves), while John Congleton (Lana Del Rey, Phoebe Bridgers) took up mixing duties.
“This EP is definitely bigger, having more time in the studio definitely meant we got to experiment more and layer more into each track so there’s an overall bigger sound! The main themes of this EP are restlessness and anxiety, during lockdown that’s how myself and most people were feeling so that’s what inspired a lot of the writing.” says NewDad on the EP.
Listen to “Say It” below:
The band have confirmed more live dates for spring and summer 2022. This March, the band will play SXSW, and they’ll be appearing at All Points East this upcoming August. NewDad will return to Ireland and the UK for their biggest tour to date.
March may have felt like another shitty notch in the COVID belt, but the one silver lining has been all of the brilliant music by Irish artists. From the RTÉ Choice Music Prize broadcast to the numerous St. Patrick’s Festival live streams, we weren’t left wanting for entertainment. A closed-set performance may not quite itch the same scratch as in-person gigs, but they’ll do for now.
Even more impressive, though, is the sheer output by musical acts that soundtrack our daily walks or dances around the kitchen. Check out some of our favourite music releases from March below, which are also on the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.
AE Mak — Class Exercises EP
The new EP Class Exercises by Aoife McCann, better known as AE Mak, serves as a tribute to the house-parties-that-never-were, thanks to the pandemic. McCann pushes herself on her self-produced release, heralding the start of a stranger and even more wonderful era from the avant-garde pop artist. — Clare Martin
Ailbhe Reddy ft. Sacred Animals — “City Unfolds”
Ailbhe Reddy, whose debut album Personal History received an RTÉ Choice Music Prize nomination, teamed up with Wexford native Sacred Animals on “City Unfolds” to add some moody synth pop to her folk-infused sound. Reddy conjures up the image of a lonely cityscape at night—“Oh, street’s empty / Back of a taxi / Stretching before me”— on the melancholic track. — Clare Martin
Awkward Z. — “TRAPPED”
Awkward Z.’s latest single may be called “TRAPPED,” but the South Africa-born, Wexford/Waterford-based rapper proves that his creativity is anything but stymied. Over guitar and robust trap beats, the Anomaly Collective member recalls triumphing over personal struggles: “I was trapped in a dark place / and I made it / I can’t tell you how much I spent / now I save it.” — Clare Martin
Babylamb — “Mister Magic”
If you’re hankering for some colourful bubblegum pop euphoria, look no further than Babylamb and their effervescent single “Mister Magic.” The queer four-piece—made up of Tobias Barry, Rían Stephens, Laoise Fleming, and Cian King—bring their playful attitude to this sugary, incredibly catchy tune. — Clare Martin
Clannad ft. Denise Chaila — “In A Lifetime”
Celtic pop group Clannad’s re-release of their song “In A Lifetime” featuring Denise Chaila (filling in Bono’s role from the original 1986 single) is a moving intergenerational musical effort. Over haunting harp and with Poison Glen as their atmospheric backdrop, Moya Brennan and Chaila’s voices weave a beautiful tapestry. We’re so used to Chaila’s quick-witted rapping, but “In A Lifetime” reminds us of her impressive vocal chops. — Clare Martin
DYVR — “Holding Back”
The electro-pop track is the first off DYVR’s upcoming EP Part 3 and serves as a lush, thoughtful look at “the masks we wear in order to feel like we’re part of the world,” they explain. Glittering synth propels the melody forward and the thumping beat rattles in your chest, urging you to move. — Clare Martin
Gender Chores — “Night in the Woods”
“Landlords are bastards,” shouts grunge-punk band Gender Chores on their latest single “Night in The Woods.” Drawing influence from the riot grrrl manifesto, the Co. Down group blend loud guitars, hard-hitting drums and direct lyrics to bring awareness to socio-political issues. The track nails that familiar feeling of not being able to afford rent in an accommodation market designed to exploit: “For 1000 a month / you could live in this shoebox.’’ — Ellen Pentony
HAVVK — “No Patience”
Led by frontperson Julie Hawk, HAVVK return with the second single from their upcoming album Levelling. No stranger to political and social themes (“Always the Same,” “Glass,” and “Once Told”), the grunge-rock trio’s song “No Patience” is more introspective and personal. — Ellen Pentony
Lenii — “Straitjacket”
Lenii’s dark, heady pop single “Straitjacket” is both hypnotic and unsettling, with the melody on the chorus careening off the tracks. “Zip me up just to shut me down / Too loud so you shut my mouth,” the Cork artist sings in her high, crystal-clear voice, recalling how society often treats those who dare to break the mould. — Clare Martin
Maria Somerville — “Seabird”
For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have the sea within 5km, Galway artist Maria Somerville has you covered with her atmospheric cover of Air Miami’s “Seabird.” Just put on your headphones, close your eyes, and drift off on imaginary waves as Somerville serenades you with her gorgeous voice. — Clare Martin
M(h)aol — “Asking For It”
Intersectional feminist band M(h)aol—made up of Róisín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoe Greenway, and Sean Nolan—tackle rape culture head-on with their powerful single “Asking For It.” All proceeds from the song will be donated to Women’s Aid. — Clare Martin
NewDad — Waves EP
NewDad—made up of Julie Dawson (vocals, guitar), Áindle O’Beirn (bass), Sean O’Dowd (guitar), Fiachra Parslow (drums)—weave together Waves’ shoegaze-tinged tracks with hazy guitar and drums that oscillate between laid-back and stirring. Their dreamy slacker rock has arrived just in time as we’re getting that grand stretch in the evening. — Clare Martin
Pat Lagoon — “Put It Away”
Snappy drum machine and pensive guitar open up Waterford artist Pat Lagoon’s latest single “Put It Away.” The rapper and singer gets vulnerable on the track, opening up about his own self-doubts and the self-destructive desire to compare himself to others with lines like, “I’m just surfing a wave / Don’t know if I’m paving a way / I got some friends that are local / Got some feens going global.” — Clare Martin
Susie Blue — Boys Boys Boys EP
Derry native Susie Blue mixes dream-pop with grit and emotion on the EP Boys Boys Boys. This is the first release to be self-produced by Blue, working alongside Jonny Woods from alt-rock Belfast band Wynona Bleach. The result is a crossover between SOAK, CHVRCHES and Ailbhe Reddy. Boys Boys Boys is packed with thick synth, layers of guitar, electro-drums, and a lot of proud queer yearning. “May God Forgive You” and “Pretender” are particular stand-outs. — Ellen Pentony
Saint Sister — “Karaoke Song”
Saint Sister (Morgana MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty) have released their poppiest single yet, “Karaoke Song,” inspired by a night out two years ago when the pair celebrated MacIntyre’s birthday by singing Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb” in a Parnell Street karaoke bar. The track comes from their sophomore album Where I Should End, out on June 25th. — Clare Martin
Soda Blonde — “Small Talk”
“Small Talk” throbs with ‘80s-esque synths, reminiscent of other retro-inspired acts such as Tennis. O’Rourke’s voice is the real show-stopper here, though, beautifully conveying yearning and evoking the likes of Caroline Polachek. — Clare Martin
sohotsospicy and darkmavis — sodarksospicy EP
It would have been easy for Irish DJs to feel disenchanted with the closure of venues and to stop producing altogether, but sohotsospicy and darkmavis have delivered a body of work that makes one hopeful for the state of the Irish electronic scene. The insatiable beats hit off some neural groove rendered in a basement club pre-pandemic. — Doireann Ní Dhufaigh
Sprints — Manifesto EP
There’s something so familiar and authentic about the music Sprints make. Their lyrics are to-the-point, unpretentious, and accessible. While their EP Manifesto doesn’t make explicit references to Dublin or Irish culture, Sprints offer relatable observations of what it’s like to live in the capital right now. — Ellen Pentony
Tolü Makay — “Used to Be”
Since the release of her cover of the Saw Doctors’ N17, the Nigerian born Offaly artist has captured the heart of the nation with her rich, soulful vocals. She brings much needed diversity to the Irish singer/songwriter landscape, which has been largely dominated by white men in recent years. Her latest release “Used to Be” is a heart-breaking piano ballad about letting go of someone you once loved. — Ellen Pentony
You get the sense listening to NewDad that if they get the support they deserve, they’re destined to be the next celebrated Irish indie export.
I know that sounds like hyperbole or like I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s hard not to feel this way after listening to the four-piece’s spectacular debut EP Waves, out on March 26th via Fair Youth Records. NewDad’s sonic influences include the likes of The Cure, but in terms of Irish groups they fall closest to Just Mustard’s reverb-soaked sound—appropriate considering that Waves was produced and mixed by Chris Ryan, who’s also worked with Just Mustard.
The Galway band’s songs don’t have the same unnerving undercurrent to them, though, as those of the Dundalk five-piece. NewDad—made up of Julie Dawson (vocals, guitar), Áindle O’Beirn (bass), Sean O’Dowd (guitar), Fiachra Parslow (drums)—weave together shoegaze-tinged tracks with hazy guitar and drums that oscillate between laid-back and stirring. Their dreamy slacker rock has arrived just in time as we’re getting that grand stretch in the evening. These half a dozen songs are meant to be blared out of a portable speaker as you share a bag of cans and goof around with your mates. Or, if you’re feeling the pandemic blues, they’re also well suited for looking moodily out the window and contemplating your existence.
Opener “Drown” pulls you in immediately with insistent percussion and DIIV-esque guitar. Dawson languidly sings, “Take me to the sea / Then drown me,” and later, “I want to feel the cold / And I don’t want to know what happens when you get old.” Their simple but moving lyrics succinctly capture what it’s like when you’re young and all you want is to be overwhelmed or be numb, but either way not to live in the boring, grey in-between.
“I Don’t Recognise You” tells the tale of a friend who’s struggling because they’re partying too much or using substances to escape their reality. “Why do you want to waste your time? Why do you want to lose your mind?” Dawson implores, and the words feel all-too-familiar for young people in a country where our mental health services are maxed out, so people turn to other places to deal with the heaviness of life. The track may sound lackadaisical, but the lyrics suggest otherwise.
“Slowly” and “Blue” were, like “I Don’t Recognise You,” released before the EP, but with the other three songs they cement NewDad’s lush sound. Squealing distortion on the guitar and thundering drums make “Slowly” one of Waves’ grungier tracks, while “Blue” is just as listless and pensive as the title suggests.
The penultimate song, “Hide,” is drenched in summery sadness. “I just don’t want to feel anything / I’d rather hide,” Dawson proclaims, a line that feels like it’s pulled out of a teenage diary in the best way possible. NewDad speak to those all-consuming, heart wrenching adolescent emotions in a way that still feels wise beyond their years.
Ebbing and flowing in energy, the title track more than lives up to its name. The band members mimic the sounds of the sea with their instruments and evoke the vastness of the ocean with pangs of either synth or steel pedal guitar. The drums crash against your eardrums like waves upon the shore.
NewDad have arrived, fully formed and ready to take the island by storm.