Tag Archives: Nick Kelly

The Elements – Let The Stars Shine

New year, new hip-hop.

We kick off 2021 with innovative Dublin rappers The Elements who reach for the stars with this single from their forthcoming EP Art Of The Vandal (top).

Daragh O’Kelly plays piano and NDLZ plays guitar, with Ricki Rawness on production duties.

David Conroy of XoZen1 Films directs and edits the trippy universe-straddling promo.

The band write:

“The Elements challenge their listeners to take the journey into their world, their songs are an abstract, objective and a somewhat psychedelic surrealist experience as an alternative to the now formulaic objective “struggles” of reality in Irish Hip-Hop.”

Nick says: Stars in their eyes.

The Elements

Cormac O Caoimh – Pocketful Of Doodlings

Some like it smooth.

Cork songsmith Cormac O Caoimh likes to operate somewhere between the lines of jazz, folk and pop… but he’s his own man, no doubt.

Pocketful Of Doodlings is taken from his album Swim Crawl Walk Run (top).

Nick says: The great Southern.

Cormac O Caoimh

Broadsheet music editor Nick Kelly

It’s been a year we’ll remember for all the wrong reasons. So where would we be without all this wonderful music to keep us sane and put a smile on our face?

A heartfelt thanks to all the brilliant musicians who, despite the bleakest of circumstances, made this one of the best years for Irish music ever.

The Top 10 Irish albums of 2020…

1. Una Keane – Collaborations

I count myself very lucky to have been seated in a pew for Una’s concert in Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church on March 5. It turned out to be the last live performance I attended before lockdown. And it was unforgettable, as a roll call of esteemed musicians including Stephen Shannon, Liam O’Maonlai, Lowli, Vyvienne Long, Gareth Quinn Redmond and Ronan Conroy all wove their magic in and around Una’s ambient neo-classical piano pieces in what was improvisation of the highest calibre. Una has now released this concert as a live album. The perfect Christmas present. (As is her studio album In The Deep.)

2. Arborist – A Northern View

Another artist who I feel blessed to have seen perform live this year, Arborist aka Belfast’s Mark McCambridge has the songs that do my world the world of good.

. Aoife Nessa Frances – Land Of No Junction

What a debut! Ethereal and highly atmospheric, Aoife Nessa Frances created soundscapes to escape to… and fall in love with.

4. BK Pepper – Territories

Another marvellous pianist and composer who has collaborated with Una Keane, Brian Pepper is, truth be told, a bit of a genius.

5. Malojian – Humm

It all came together for Stevie Scullion aja Malojian on Humm. Featuring guest musicians Gerry Love (ex-Teenage Fanclub) and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, this album is an absolute Humm-dinger.

6. Brigid Mae Power – Head Above The Water

The spirit of Sandy Denny is alive and well and living in the West of Ireland. A modern folk classic.

7. Ailbhe Reddy – Personal History

Dubliner Ailbhe has it all: the songs, the poise, the videos, the indie cool. She’s a star.

8. Luan Parle – Never Say Goodbye

Kilkenny-based Luan really found her voice on this collection of brilliantly crafted songs of romance and heartbreak that also showcase the guitar wizardry of Clive Barnes.

9. Eileen Gogan & The Instructions – Under Moving Skies

One of Dublin’s most popular singers (who has sang with The Would Be’s, The Drays and Microdisney) assembled a crew of all the talents to produce another gem of an album, including her performance of a Michael Hartnett poem linked here.

10. John Blek – The Embers

There’s something in the water down in Cork. John Blek is a songwriter’s songwriter and his videos are some of the best I’ve seen this year.

Irish EP of the year:

The Next New Low – And As For Loss…

Out of the depths of sorrow… When I saw former Idiots frontman Brian Mooney perform these 5 songs in a bar in Stoneybatter last winter, I felt them deep in my gut. A requiem for his late wife Aoife, Brian put his heart and soul into this EP. It’s an astonishing record, overflowing with love and grief and courage.

Irish Single of the year:

The Wha – Blue For You

A blast of old-school power-pop heaven from the most melodic teenagers in Kilkenny.

Best Grammy-nominated Irish album of the year

Fontaines DC – A Hero’s Death

It’s fair to say that opinion is divided among our readers regarding Grian Chatten and his crew. But they sure do have that rock’n’roll swagger. And a Grammy nomination to boot!

Best song written during lockdown:

Malojian and Jason Lytle – The Singularity.

The first Covid-inspired classic as Stevie Scullion and his favourite Grandaddy collaborated across the ocean.


Best International newcomer: Bob Dylan.

Nick says: Happy Christmas all.

Gemma Dunleavy – Setting Son

Come dance with me in Dublin.

The pride of Sheriff Street, Gemma Dunleavy (top) impresses with her soulful tones in the latest song to be taken from her critically acclaimed Up De Flats EP.

The atmospheric monochrome video was directed by Rosie Barrett and features expressive choreography by Jessie Thompson and Adam O’Reilly.

Gemma’s recent gig at The Workman’s Club is available to watch on YouTube.

Nick says: Rising star.

Gemma Dunleavy

The Floors – She Floated Into Heaven

Concluding our series of underrated Irish music since 1960, put your hands together for 1990s art-rock acolytes The Floors who were led by Carlow-born renaissance man David Donohue.

The Floors major releases were their debut Truths And Distortions (top) on the legendary Setanta label in 1992 and Superbe on the Dead Elvis imprint in 1996.

This live recording was filmed by Darragh Byrne in the Hole In The Wall bar in Kilkenny and features Donohue in great form alongside Luka Bloom and Ken Nolan who accompany him on guitars.

Nick says: And we all float on.

Nick adds: Thanks for a great series.

Earlier: You May Stream This

Chasing Abbey – Lately

Anyone for pizza?

Tullamore dance trio Outro, Bee Fade and Teddy C aka Chasing Abbey go on an Offaly big adventure for their new video.

Directed by the band and Usman Akhtar, the video features Instagram influencers Niamh Cullen and Bonnie Ryan as well as James ‘Exchequer Street Boy’ Kavanagh in the leading roles.

Teddy C explains:

“The song is about finding that special bond with someone, embracing the good and the bad and believing in a future with that person.

“It hints at a mutual understanding that things have the potential to go further between these two people. There is a sense that no matter what has happened or will happen, they will find a way.”

A new acoustic version of Lately has just been released.

Nick says: Abbey Christmas!

Chasing Abbey

Stump – Charlton Heston

Continuing our series of underrated Irish music since 1960, BS contributor Vanessa holds a torch for lovable Cork eccentrics Stump, who were led by the late, great Mick Lynch (top second right).

Charlton Heston was a single from their 1988 album on Ensign Records A Fierce Pancake which received regular airplay at the time on the Dave Fanning Show on 2FM.

The video was directed by Tim Pope, one of the leading music promo directors of that time.

Nick says: … put his vest on.

Ross Breen – Merry Christmas At First Light

Have yourself a very synthful Christmas.

Kildare singer/songwriter Ross Breen (top) gets the keyboards out to deliver a seasonal ditty for our times that was written and recorded during lockdown.

Ross says:

“I come from a background of family and social life where gatherings with music are intrinsic to the enjoyment of Christmas. For many, music is a tie binding us together during this period. Art can unify when restrictions keep us apart.

“[the song] envisages the close of 2020, how we will be engaging with our families, friends and partners during this time, and how it will be different to what we’ve known before.”

Nick says: A bright new dawn.

Ross Breen

Fears – tonnta

My favourite dress.

Singer/songwriter Fears aka Constance Keane (top) conjures a thoughtful and profound tribute to her grandmother in the form of music, video and fashion.

To quote the press release:

“Chronicling Fears’ relationship with her late grandmother, tonnta explores the experience of loving and caring for someone with dementia, while celebrating the deep connection that remains throughout. As each wave hits, the disease progresses, and it can feel difficult to stay above water. Roles have switched from childhood, the carer becomes the cared for, but the love shared doesn’t waver.

“The video, directed by Fears, is inspired by her grandmother’s love for fashion and celebrates the childhood memory of being taught how to sew in the box room of her grandmother’s house. Shot by her brother, and starring her mother and sister, the video depicts the importance of support through illness, and the healing that can come from women supporting each other. Fears designed and produced eight dresses for the video, inspired by each woman featured.”

Nick says: The Keane season.


A glove supreme.

You know you’ve arrived as a footballer when the fans make up their own terrace chant for you.

And that’s just what Liverpool supporter Kev Wright has done for LFC goalkeeper and proud Cork man Caoimhin Kelleher.

The 22-year-old Irishman has impressed in recent weeks with his composed performances between the sticks in the Premier League and Champions League.

Now Wright has uploaded to his YouTube channel a re-worked version of the traditional ballad The Wild Rover, often associated with The Dubliners.

Nick says: You’ll never sing alone.