Nialler9's New Irish Music: Joe Chester, ELE, Ailbhe Reddy and Columbia Mills

A round up of what’s fresh in Irish music this week.

Songs of the week

Ailbhe Reddy – Relent

The Dublin singer-songwriter kicks off the new year with a new song after two EPs and a clutch of live performances which demonstrated a rapid growth. Relent continues that step up with a song confronting a lover with a confident arrangement and a firmly-established voice.

Joe Chester - Juliette Walking In The Rain

The experienced Irish musician returns to his solo output after production work for other acts to release his fifth LP The Easter Vigil on February 24th. Lead single Juliette Walking In The Rain is a song inspired by the "magic realism" of seeing French actress Juliette Binoche "walking across a deserted square in Dublin."

Alex Smyth - Weathered

Alex Smyth's guitar and electronic soundscapes got a further release in December on the Utopian Dream EP, which is well-titled, as the music is designed to lull you into a sense of calm and security within it. Weathered is a the highlight, a track designed to drift, or perhaps to work to. A version with vocals would be welcome too.

Columbia Mills

Named after a former '90s rave spot on the Dublin quays, Columbia Mills take that nostalgic forward for their debut album, later this year, which was produced by Rob Kirwan. Lead single Battles is a throwback rock track with shoegaze histrionics and retro synth-pop sensibilities.


Album of the week

New Pope - Love

Galway-based singer-songwriter David Boland released his first album as New Pope last year, a short and sweet LP called Youth. Released on New Year's Eve, Love sticks to matters of the heart with an equally-short tracklist of seven songs of folk and lo-fi indie. It's a stopgap release, rough, ready and charming in execution that arrives before another full-length Home later this year.

New artist of the week


Every year, State Magazine pick a selection of new Irish artists to tip for the year ahead. This year's selection is presented in a mini-site fashion with stunning photography and an interview to go with it. It's the closest we have to the BBC Sound of Poll. Artists selected include the previously-featured Farah Elle, Beauty Sleep, Soulé, Ruth, Ailbhe Reddy, Bad Sea and Pale Rivers but there's always new names to even the most seasoned new music enthusiast. Ele a Dublin singer-songwriter profiled is one such discovery and hear her pop-fronted electronic ballad Big Song Blue at the State Faces site:

Video of the week

Saramai - Heavenly

 Taken from the Meath trio's recent EP Magnetic North, Heavenly is a dynamically-reaching chamber pop song which is accompanied in visual form by footage from the band's recent tour.