Of a single mind


Ciara Moynihan

The lockdown might have put a stop to live gigging for now, but that’s not stopping our Mayo musicians from making new music and getting it out there. Last week, we reported on the release of Rebecca McRedmond’s debut single, and now we’re proud to be able to tell you about three more fantastic new releases.
First up is Westport’s brilliant alt-hiphop creative Uppbeat, whose latest single, ‘Seasick’ was released last Friday, April 24. A catchy funky chorus cut through with rapped verse, this is a song for the dance floor (or, these days, the sitting room) – strong beats and a summer vibe. With lyrics like ‘The only feeling I’m chasing is feeling alive’, it’s an affirming and uplifting tonic to get us through the monotony of lockdown. Stick it on and jump around the garden or cut up the bedroom rug.
Described by Nialler9 as ‘trap via pop sensibilities’, ‘Seasick’ is the latest in a fast-growing discography that has earned Uppbeat (AKA Finn Costelloe) a cult following within Ireland. “Seasick is a tongue-in-cheek love song, reflecting the topsy-turvy nature of a relationship, fused with the sounds and vibrance of the 21st century,” the Westport rapper explains. “It was written as a fun, uplifting track influenced by production from the likes of MuraMasa and Kaytranada with the hope of being the ideal track to bop around your kitchen too during quarantine.”
Uppbeat has had an exciting year so far. He kicked off the decade with his track ‘2020’, featuring John Gibbons. It received some major radio play and rose to number one in the Irish charts. He also performed in London. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Uppbeat is definitely on an upward trajectory.
Next up it’s Balla’s balladeer Joe Monaghan, who performs under the moniker Train Room, and who also released a new single last Friday – ‘Hurricane of Love’. This synth-popsy, alt-folksy tune has a dreamy, whimsical feel, with enough bass and electric guitar to give it a harder, driving urgency as the song goes on. A bit like we all feel – longing for carefree days and wishing we were all together again, while pushing to make some kind of sense of the altered reality we find ourselves in.    
The tune was recorded ‘in isolation’ on St Patrick’s Day at Joe’s home studio in Mayo and mastered by Aidan Foley in Dublin. “This is my first release since departing from my record label in Sweden,” he tells The Mayo News, explaining that he left ‘over production and direction differences’.
The song has already made it to RTÉ Radio One’s Recommend & Watch List, and Westport’s own singer-songwriter platform The Acoustic Yard Show named it track of the week. A review in the Daily Mirror on April 17 described it as ‘a gorgeous song, at once droney and melodic with psych-pop flourishes and quirky bass and organ breaks – right up our street’.
Last but by no means least is Doppler – AKA Mayo musician Jamie Mulrooney – whose new single ‘A Memory’ is being released today (Tuesday). Accompanied by a truly absorbing stop-motion video by LA-based award-winning filmmaker Bill Moldt, the song represents the singer-songwriter’s return to a music scene that he had left behind for a while.   
Back in 2015, the Pontoon man won the coveted IMRO Clancy Brothers Songwriting Competition. He got a string of glowing press reviews in Hot Press, The Irish Times, and elsewhere, he shared stages with the likes of Gavin James, Neil Hannon, Cathy Davey, The Blizzards, The Saw Doctors and Jackie Beverly. He even played with Bonehead from Oasis a couple of times.
However, in 2017 – around the time he released the award-winning track ‘The Truth is Not Your Own’ – he fell out of love with songwriting, recording and performing solo. He decided to take a break and go after a new career … ukulele tutoring. Quite the gamble! But it paid off, and he’s now responsible for the Céilí Ukulele – the biggest ukulele programme in the country, teaching as many as 800 children a week in national schools for Music Generation.
Now he’s ready to get back in the game, and ‘A Memory’ is his re-debut in the arena of releasing music. Mulrooney says the song ‘is like one side of your brain is arguing with the other’. “Essentially it’s the struggle to stay positive. How memories can change over time. What you thought was important can turn out to be insignificant when things change.”
The song and the video – with its 1950s Cadillac taking a spin into nature – put you in mind of taking flight, of going on a road-trip (if only!) and leaving pressures behind. The vocals and folksy fiddle give it a slight Americana vibe. The lyrics are all Ireland though. ‘I’ll take the west and you can keep the east’. You said it Jamie.
This is a difficult time for our creative community. Venues are closed, big festivals like Saltwater have been cancelled and live gigging is nigh-on impossible, so promoting new work is really hard. Let’s do what we can to support them – and god knows it’s the perfect time to introduce some great new sounds to our playlists.