Our Krypton Son’s latest album Modern Ruinsis the third full-length release from the Derry based singer-songwriter. The moniker of Chris McConaghy, Modern Ruins follows on from his NI Music Prize nominated album ‘Flea’sand Diamonds’ released in 2017. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Ryan Vail, throughout the nine tracks we are taken on a journey of sprawling soundscapes and alluring verse.
Opening with the pensive echoes of ‘Arbor Bird’, the stirring beauty and sweeping strings of the track help to set the tone for the rest album. Inspired by a line in John Berger’s ‘Confabulations’ the song deals with the effects of a stroke on a close family member. Released earlier this summer,‘White Sun’, the album’s lead single is a compelling mix of folk ramblings and modern electro. A hypnotically engaging song, the addition of synth sounds from Vailhelp to enhance the ambient mood of this track.
Moving effortlessly from one song to the next,‘Death Keeps Me Awake at Night’ is a gorgeously mournful and meditative track. There is an astounding depth of honesty at the core of McConaghy’s words no matter the subject. With an evocative track title ‘The Boy with the Cauliflower Ear’shifts and changes in feeling as a more expansive sound and instrumentation is introduced.
Creating a collection of moments that are both transient and enduring there is a refreshing consistency with each Our Krypton Son’s songs that come from his strikingly personal lyrics. The pulsing beat through ‘Bloodletting’ helps to keep McConaghy’s vocals smooth and steady. Closing the album with the beautifully intricate ‘I’m a Field in Winter’the track builds intensely towards the end before fading out with a delicately sombre piano and sits perfectly at the end of this record.
Along withRyan Vail the pair have worked seamlessly together to create a remarkable album of exceptional arrangements. Through the duration of the album we hear how both artists have come together to create a body of work that sees them move into fresh realms of their own individual sounds. McConaghy’s ability to weave intricate pieces of music with imaginative and thoughtful lyrics helps to confirm his status as one of Ireland’s best kept songwriting secrets.
Irish singer-songwriter Johnny Bourke released his debut single ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July. Aine Cronin-McCartney caught up with the singer to chat about lockdown, musical influences and plans for the future.
You released your debut single ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July, how has the reaction been so far?
It’s been amazing! I’m so glad to finally share this with the world and the reaction so far from far and wide has just been one of pure support and has warmed my heart. People are great.
For those maybe not familiar with your sound how would you describe it?
It’s a fairly unique blend of pop, blues, and R&B. I’m heavily influenced by all of these different genres and I’ve spent a long time honing a sound which I felt was right for me! Who would you say your musical influences have been growing up?
Every time I’m asked this question I give different answers because there are so many in my head but today let’s go for John Mayer, John Frusciante, and Bruce Springsteen.
After spending years honing your craft as a session musician what made you want to start releasing your own original music?
It felt like the next step. I have been lucky to be very busy as a musician thus far so I never really had ample opportunity to explore my own music until I made time for it in the last few years. Now I’m at a stage where this is what I want to devote all my time to.
How has the process of releasing your debut single been?
It’s been a lot to be honest. The thing about working for yourself and promoting yourself is that no one is really giving you limits. You can spend as much or as little time as you want and I definitely found it hard to shut off, there was constant guilt that I should be hustling. There still is. I’ve learned a lot from this experience but yes I’m quite burned out at this stage if I’m being honest haha.
How has lockdown affected you as a musician?
Funnily enough lockdown almost suited me for reasons related to the previous answer, because all my live work was cancelled it left me ample time to work on promoting the single. I’ve just recently broken a writer’s block I had for a couple of months so it’s nice to get back to making music.
Prior to lockdown how had your plans for 2020 been shaping up in terms of live performance?
Amazingly and obviously now obliterated. I got a good run at the start of the year around Australia and New Zealand but was looking forward to coming home and playing this new material later in the year. I’m not worried, things could be a lot worse, I think perspective is important. 2021 will be a big year.
What artists/releases have you been enjoying recently? Both Irish and further afield.
Alex Tierney just dropped an amazing single, Dillon Ward has a really sick vibe to his music and is really unique. Bigger names I think Niall Horan is absolutely killing it and I’ve surprised myself by recently becoming a Justin Bieber fan, his new stuff really speaks to me. What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020?
I’ll be dropping more music soon and you can be sure that when live music is back and feasible you will catch me on stage!
Co. Down based singer CeeV’s latest release is an emotive attempt at expressing all those familiar feelings of missing home through modern pop sensibilities.
Currently based in Newry, CeeVfirst started to cut her teeth in music while studying at BIMM in Manchester. Although initially lacking the confidence to perform in front of othersCeeVfinally plucked up the courage and starting releasing music on SoundCloud. After amassing over 30,000 plays, CeeVbegan performing her own songs and slowly started building a loyal following.
After finishing her studies, CeeV travelled to Ottawa, Canada and determined to improve her craft performed in every venue possible. Now back at home CeeV has been finally releasing her songs to the world with her first release in over a year. The straightforward pop tune accompanied with soulful vocals proves to be a successful combination on ‘Lonely Night’. Along with the new track, CeeVhas also provided followers with a striking lyric video.
Speaking about the song CeeV explains “The song’s about sleeplessness, overthinking, nights out, basically tired eyes but a racing mind.”
NI artist Emma Horanhas revealed her effortless new track‘Feeling’which shows a more pop inspired side to the emerging star.
Recently graduating with an MA in Commercial Songwriting the Lurgan native’s latest single has seen the singer continue to adopt a mainstream pop aesthetic. Following on from ‘Find You’ released earlier this year, Horanhas continued to work with Belfast producer Jonny Fitch to create this intimately chill track.
A fresh out of the oven summer banger with silky smooth vocals ‘Feeling’ is an ambitious attempt to achieve pop perfection. Along with a seductively slick chorus wrapped in twinkling vocals, Horan manages to elevate the song while still remaining elusive. Released just over a week ago ‘Feeling’ has already gained recognition from a number of key influencers and achieved strong support from Irish radio. Horan is continuing to work on new music with Jonny Fitch due for release later this year.
Our Krypton Son’s latest track ‘White Sun’ is an exquisitely plaintive return to form for the Derry based folk singer.
The moniker of Chris McConaghy, ‘White Sun’ provides us with the lead single from ‘Our Krypton Son’s’ upcoming third album ‘Modern Ruins’. Three years since his last release‘Fleas and Diamonds’we are presented with a track that is beautifully hypnotic.
Produced by Ryan Vail the addition of atmospheric synth sounds, and his magic touch has helped make this song a compelling mix of folk ramblings and modern electro. You can feel as the sounds swell around you and we are brought into the alluring and contemplative world of McConaghy’s shimmering musings. Through the song we hear how both artists have come together to create a track that sees them move into fresh realms of their own individual sounds.
Describing the track McConaghy says “‘White Sun’ is a poem of nothing. Shafts of light on a reservoir. Shafts of sun reddening the gills, burning behind the earlobes, years ago when you were a child. Memories of chips wrapped in obituaries, slices of watermelon dropped in the sand like sopping downturned grins suggest a limited future but then the white sun rises in the morning and anything is possible.”
Northern Irish singer-songwriter and producer Jessica Hammond’s debut single ‘Ugly’ is a savvy, confident pop hit with a cool charm. Working alongside co-producer Matty Graham the pair have created a lively summer earworm filled with modern sensibilities.
The presence of exciting and slick production elements has anchored the song as an irresistible holiday nightclub groove. Throughout the track Hammond reflects about falling in love with someone that does not possess the best characteristics, a relatively relatable concept.
Hammond’s sound presents all the makings of a contemporary emerging pop artist with their finger on the pulse. A track to enjoy and dance to through isolation, Hammond’s debut helps to position her as one to watch with‘Ugly’sure to appeal to a wide demographic.