Soda Blonde’s debut album Small Talk is one of the records we’re mostly excited for this summer, and each single release only further whets the appetite. Their latest song, “Holy Roses,” is a “moment of reckoning” for frontwoman Faye O’Rourke, as well as a deeply personal and cathartic listen.
“So many of us use rejection as fuel to justify stagnancy or living in the past. ‘Holy Roses’ provides me with some closure and I feel it’s one of the most important tracks on the album,” O’Rourke explains. “I am directly addressing the people in my past who have hurt me in this song.
“The Rose is symbolic of war and the fleetingness of life and death. It also represents the fall of Christianity, which I compare not only to our country’s dying Catholic status but to the oppression I felt throughout my own personal and work life. ‘Holy Roses’ is the moment of reckoning for me, in all respects. I’m letting go of the people who have hurt me and my old way of living”
Her voice begins gentle and slightly smoky on “Holy Roses,” before being joined by guitarist Adam O’Regan on the pre-chorus. Their vocals intertwine sinuously—“So many fights / So much nothing in the bed”—in hushed tones, like swiftly running water, until a dam bursts for the chorus. O’Rourke is reminiscent of Kate Bush here, with incredible vocal range and emotional resonance. The song pulsates with the tension of unresolved fights and regretted words, but O’Rourke pushes past that to find freedom on the other side.
Listen to “Holy Roses” below and check out Soda Blonde’s Irish and U.K. tour dates further down. You can pre-order their self-produced album Small Talk, out 9th July via Velveteen Records, here.
Looking for a new cool t-shirt to show off to your mates next time you meet them outside two metres apart?? Or a vinyl to play when you’ve bailed because it’s raining outside and you’ve forgotten how to socialise? Want to help out your favourite artists in the process? Well today is your lucky day, because we here at Nameless Faceless have a long list of merch and music you can get as part of Bandcamp Friday.
Since March 2020, Bandcamp have waived their revenue fees every first Friday of the month – meaning that everything you pay goes directly to the artist. Given how little revenue streaming services provide, this is a unique opportunity to give back to the artists that you love.
Whether it’s a t-shirt, vinyl, or even a digital album – every little bit helps.
Vinyl & Tees
Grunge-rock trio Bitch Falcon have a wide range of merch available to buy including their Choice Music Prize-nominated album Staring at Clocks in a blue, black, or clear vinyl.
You can also get this wavy tee designed by front-woman Lizzie Fitzpatrick.
Dublin icon Gemma Dunleavy has “up de flats” t-shirts and masks available to buy on her bandcamp.
While the physical copy is sold out, you can buy the digital version of her acclaimed EP for only 5 quid.
Vulnerable, intense and honest, Constance Keane, who performs as Fears, released her stunning debut album today. It’s available to buy on vinyl from Bandcamp as well as this very cool long sleeve t-shirt.
Both record sleeve and t-shirt feature the iconic tulle dress that Keane designs herself.
Indie-grunge trio HAVVK are set to release their next album this year. In the meantime, you can get an exclusive Bandcamp Friday bundle offer that includes their debut album Cause & Effect and this slick monochrome tee.
Alternative-rock group Soda Blonde release their debut album Small Talk on June 9th. You can pre-order the yellow vinyl now.
This green and white marble vinyl of Maija Sofia’s gorgeous debut album Bath Timeis available as a limited edition, with only 300 copies pressed.
You can also get this Helium and Hydrogen tote bag.
SPRINTS released their Manifesto EP last month and while the vinyl has completely sold out, you can get these t-shirts designed by Tara Lehmann.
There is also a limited edition signed zine documenting the creation of the EP which includes personal notes, scans of original lyric sheets, and personal photos.
The Wicklow trio have lots to choose from on their Bandcamp. Their latest album Awake You Lie is available on vinyl.
There’s also a limited edition t-shirt featuring Liing Heaney’s artwork for “Dont Say It.”
“In The Heat Of The Night” is the second single from Soda Blonde’s highly anticipated debut album Small Talk, set for release on July 9th. The track evokes a nocturnal atmosphere, using lazy synths and a slow but rhythmic bassline as the backdrop for a heated, adrenaline fuelled late-night argument. The band’s songwriter and lead vocalist Faye O’Rourke says that it’s about “conflict and getting a kick out of it. The thrill of the fight.”
We can expect more of these vulnerable insights on their upcoming debut release which, for O’Rourke, explores the intimacies of being in your 20s:
“Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world.”
Formerly playing in the indie-rock group Little Green Cars, O’Rourke, Adam O’Regan (guitar), Dylan Lynch (drums), and Donagh Seaver-O’Leary (bass) reformed as Soda Blonde in 2019. Small Talk is their debut self-produced album that will be released July 9th on Velveteen Records. The band embark on an Irish and UK tour later this year and tickets can be found here.
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
Out of the ashes of Little Green Cars, characterised by that folk-inflected indie sound that was so popular in the mid-2010s, comes Soda Blonde. Faye O’Rourke (lead vocals), Adam O’Regan (guitar), Dylan Lynch (drums), and Donagh Seaver-O’Leary (bass) have grown up since then both personally and sonically, and their debut album Small Talk reflects their coming-of-age.
“To put it simply, Small Talk is about life in our 20s. Every part of us is in here, both subliminally and literally. Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world,” O’Rourke explains.
The record is due out on July 9th via Velveteen Records, and today the Dublin outfit has released the title track to give us a taste of what to expect. “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. The track itself is about “rejection in its many forms,” O’Rourke explains.
“The song begins by leading the listener to believe it’s about a failed or failing relationship when in fact, it details the self-destructive dialogue inside someone’s own head. ‘Small Talk’ is also used to reference the wearisome and prosaic dialogue we encounter on a daily basis, whether that be actual ‘small talk’ or topics of a more serious nature, there’s no escaping the fact that in today’s western world, we all seem to speak from one or two scripts,” she goes on to say.
“In a broader sense, I am addressing the idea of optical virtue over the reality of how we treat those around us,” O’Rourke continues. “We’re seeing this concept more and more today by the application of social media to achieve fast-food activism.”
We can expect Soda Blonde to cut through any vapid chit-chat on Small Talk, which you can pre-save and pre-order here. O’Rourke uses the album to reckon with her own past heartbreaks and her position as an Irish woman, “with feminism on one shoulder and trans-generational Catholic guilt on the other.”
Listen to “Small Talk” below and check out Soda Blonde’s tour dates here.