Galway Sounds: July

Hurrah! July is finally here. For Galway, July means festivals, partying and (hopefully) some nice weather! With all that’s going on, there is also a pile of fantastic music to enjoy. Check it out

This month, locals and visitors alike will be celebrating everything that makes the west great: from arts, films, food and craft to gardens, racing and oysters (check them all out HERE)! You’re probably already familiar with the amazing line up for this year’s Galway International Arts Festival. We highly recommend you head along to one of the Heineken Big Top shows as this year’s bill is probably one of the best yet. But if you’re in the mood for something a little bit more indie or underground, these Irish acts will blow you away.

Pillow Queens // Róisín Dubh // Friday 19th July

On Spotify, Pillow Queens’ bio simply says that they are “your new favourite band” and that might just be true. They are a creamy mix of punk, indie and gorgeous harmonies. However, it’s their lyrics that will keep you coming back for more. They are less brash or confident than their bio might suggest. Their writing is earnest, slightly nervous, awkward and down-to-earth. Sometimes, it is like Pillow Queens are singing about whatever is on their mind, without any filter. This has resulted in the four-piece sometimes covering social and political issues without having intended to set out as a political band. Their “punk-ish” music takes influences from US indie-punk bands such as Waxahatchee and Cloud Nothings, but Pillow Queens keep it local, using Dublin colloquialisms and singing in thick Irish accents. The band released an EP, Calm Girls, at the very end of 2016. This very quickly lead to shows at Other Voices and Electric Picnic and some enticing support slots with Pussy Riot, Future Islands and American Football. In 2019, Pillow Queens are aiming for the continent, with major festival appearances and a place on the bill for SOAK’s European Tour. Their newest release, State of the State, has been included on BBC 6 regular music playlists, with Steve Lamacq calling them “deceptively infectious, with sharp hooks and sharp nails”. The Claque will open their show in The Róisín Dubh. Buy tickets HERE.

For fans of: Courtney Barnett, Lucy Dacus, The Strokes

Eclectics: Myles Manley w/ The Curly Organ // The Black Gate // Wed 24th July

Myles Manley is a solo artists from Sligo with unrivalled poetic imagination. His witty, sometimes absurd, lyrics can be applied to all manner of song from pop to rock, electronic to folk. Manley’s DIY-attitude is an enamoring pairing for his lyrical genius and has earned his songs, music videos and live shows praises from all over Ireland. Myles Manley and his band have toured heavily across the UK and Ireland while crafting a new album of tongue-in-cheek, cathartic pop songs entitled Cometh the Softies, set for release in Spring 2019. This is your chance to see a true genius at work in an up-close, intimate setting. Support on the night comes from the equally enthralling, The Curly Organ. This is the improv-style, audience-inspired solo project of My Fellow Sponge’s Donal McConnan.

For fans of: Vampire Weekend, The Magnetic Fields, The Barenaked Ladies

Mick Flannery Album Launch // The Black Gate // Wednesday 10th July

This is looking like a special event. With every pre-order of Mick Flannery’s new album from OMG on Shop Street, the buyer will receive a wristband for entry to a show in The Black Gate. At this limited-capacity gig, Mick will sign copies of the album and play some songs in an incredibly personal venue. Mick Flannery has been a constant presence on the Irish music scene since his debut album in 2007, playing festivals and touring the country to a growing audience each year. He won the Hot Press Readers’ Poll for Most Promising Act in 2009 and was awarded the Meteor Music Award for Best Irish Male Artist in the same year. The four albums he has released since have reached the Top 10 in Ireland, with two getting the number 1 spot!

For fans of: Mic Christopher, Damien Dempsey, The Frames

The Frank & Walters // Róisín Dubh // Wednesday 17th July

The Frank & Walters are a legendary Irish alternative-pop band, boasting longevity that few other bands could even dream of. It’s been over 25 years since the release of their first record, Trains, Boats and Planes but they are still going strong as they play sell-out shows in Ireland, Europe and the US while continuing to sell albums around the globe. They show no sign of stopping. Their very first single, “After All”, was a Top 20 Hit in the UK in 1992 and earned them a TV appearance on BBC’s Top of the Pops. Their seminal hit has now found a new generation of fans after an appearance on Cork-based comedy The Young Offenders, pushing it back up to second spot on the iTunes Download Chart for Ireland. The Frank & Walters can thank their entertaining live shows for keeping their career alive and ensuring fans continued to come out and support.

For fans of: The Boo Radleys, The Proclaimers, The La’s

Maria Somerville & EHCO // Electric // Friday 26th July

Once again, Electric are teaming up with Galway International Arts Festival to bring you a host of Ireland’s indie, electronic artists and DJs presented in one of the city’s funkiest venues. The highlight of this series sees Galway-native, Maria Somerville, play a show with a live band. Maria Somerville is a truly original artist. Her music is electric, sparse, emotive and entrancing. Growing up in Connemara has seen the landscape influence her music but not always in the rugged, rural style you might imagine. More often, her music channels the dreamy, fantastical wonder of a land steeped in Ireland’s history and folklore. Her celestial voice floats through the mystical music to create vivid imagery. Support comes from Wicklow band, EHCO, whose music is layered in synth-soaked vocals with infectious dance beats that you’ll lose yourself in. Sounds like a perfect pairing with one of Electric’s cocktails!

For fans of: Bon Iver, Daithí, James Blake