Welcome to this month’s free 15-track CD – exclusively curated for Uncut by Lankum. The band developed in Dublin’s traditional music clubs, but have long tapped into wider international networks of punk, drone, electronica and black metal. They’ve now become inspirations themselves, leading a scene pushing traditional music to the very edges and, as they discuss in their feature in this month’s issue of Uncut, they’re proud to bring new and emerging talents to attention outside of Ireland.
“It’s mostly just stuff we love,” says Ian Lynch. “But hopefully with one eye on stuff that people might not have heard of. There’s loads of great Irish artists making a name right now. This is stuff that hasn’t poked its head above the parapet, so to speak. Hopefully it’ll be a little less obscure after the CD comes out.”
A CLATTER AND DRONE
“The Day That Broke Winter”
Taken from the album Empty Buggy
Exhilarating psychedelic reel, recalling Fairport’s wilder odysseys, from Phibsborough, Dublin folk-rock adventurers…
IAN LYNCH: Max from the band made some mad prosthetics and masks for a video from my solo album and he sent me this track. It’s really great. It really reminded me of Espers. They’re in the middle of making an album at the moment – I can’t wait to see where they’re going.
Taken from the album False Lankum
One of two Daragh Lynch-penned tracks from the group’s latest album, this song captures the band’s sublime sonic range within a single song – from soothing lullaby to foreboding marital breakdown and back again – recalling nothing so much as Portishead’s deathless Third…
“Nothing Is Real”
Taken from the album Pyrrhic
Quietly ferocious dreampop balladry from Cork’s answer to Nico..
DARAGH LYNCH: She’s class. She opened for us at our Vicar Street gigs. She’s really cool – reminded me a lot of early-’90s female-fronted grunge groups meets the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks. Lots of reverb going on.
TEN PAST SEVEN
Taken from the album Long Live The Bogwalrus
Furious take on the Eastern European tune “Mominsko Horo” from County Kerry avant-rock mathletes…
DARAGH LYNCH: They’re amazing. They’ve been around for ages, since I was 19 or 20.
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: I’m guesting on this track, on the fiddle. It’s in 7/8, and I remember trying to wrap my head around it because by the time you’ve finished a phrase it’s time to go onto the next phrase, but you’ve forgotten the other phrase. They’ve got an amazing energy about them.
IONA ZAJAC & DARAGH LYNCH
“The Burning of Auchindoun”
Taken from the compilation Songs Without Authors Vol. 1
Devastating ballad about the murderous feud between the Earl of Huntly and the Clan Macintosh in 1592…
DARAGH LYNCH: Iona’s great. She does a tiny bit of vocal on “Clear Away In the Morning” on False Lankum, the operatic thing. We’ve known her for a while – we met her at a gig in Glasgow at the end of 2019. She’s in the middle of recording her debut album in Edinburgh and it’s sounding amazing.
“Cé Mo Dhuine Siúl Sa Hi-Vis”
Taken from the digital single
Blissful Eno-ish reverberations from Conamara-Cork improvisational nine-piece collective..
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: I think they’re Galway-based? I saw them supporting [Dublin singer-songwriter] Katie Kim and it was just lovely cyclical freedom. I met the lead player in Galway at an old-time session and we just sat playing tunes for seven hours. He’s a good weirdo!
“The Well Below The Valley”
Taken from the album, Bleaching Bones
One of a number of traditional songs brought to light in the 1969 field recordings of John Reilly, here sung in immaculate four-part harmony by the a cappella group
DARAGH LYNCH: They’ve been around for years, and we played a lot of our early gigs with them around. They’re a truly great band.
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: Their harmonies are just super haunting.
“Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential”
Taken from the album Big Dreams
Exquisite Jane-Siberryish art-pop from sometime Villagers associate..
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: I’ve seen her play live and she has an unbelievable voice and control. Her recent single and video are just fantastic.
“The Great Big Ship That Came And Floated Everybody Away”
Taken from the album A New Directive From The Bureau Of Compulsory Entertainment
Lilting, haunting cut from the ‘Irish primitive’ guitarist…
DARAGH LYNCH: He’s a very old friend of ours…
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: I went to school with him!
IAN LYNCH: 15 years ago when I went to college at UCD and Jonny was probably the only real proper friend I made there. I was in and out of the Folklore Department lecturing and doing my masters and Jonny was there the whole time. A really great musician. He does kind of primitive style guitar, but he also has an amazing old school Detroit techno project called Automatic Tasty. He also has a great podcast, Fragments of Folklore.
“Boggeragh Wind Farm”
Taken from the album, Slí na Fírinne
Based on field recordings made in Cork in 2019, this track builds to an ominous drone, part of an album of lament for a countryside lost to agribusiness…
IAN LYNCH: Michael put out an album last year on this really cool label called Department of Energy, based in Dublin. It’s an experimental ambient drone/noise type of label, but very influenced by Irish mythology and folklore and the whole aesthetic that they have is kind of pre-Christian Irish stuff. Michael is based over in Birmingham at the moment, I think.
CORMORANT TREE OH
Taken from the album, Swoontide
Eerie audio bad dream diary from multi-disciplinary Dublin musician/visual artist Mary Keane…
DARAGH LYNCH: She’s class. She opened for us in both Cork and Dublin I think. A bit Kate Bush-y, maybe? But like Kate Bush if she took too many mushrooms. The album is amazing – produced by our producer, Spud Murphy.
Taken from the album, Slán
Horror soundtrack vibes from Tucson-based Irish expat Seán Redahan, whose work explores the challenges of emigration, a longing for the Irish Sea and the beauty of the Sonoran Desert…
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: I can’t remember where I heard it, but I came across this really beautiful ambient track, with a beautiful black and white video. I had to message him to tell him how gorgeous it was – and ask to include it on this CD!
“All Smiles Tonight”
The ancient bluegrass weepie, performed by Johnny Cash, Philomena Begley and the Chieftains, recast as a stately synth ballad by Lankum’s Cormac and Landless’s Ruth Clinton…
CORMAC MAC DIARMADA: That’s my lockdown project with my partner, Ruth. You know you’re a lockdown band because you use literally every single thing in your possession to create a noise!
ONE EYE ONE LEG
“Only The Diceys”
Taken from the album And Take The Black Worm With Me
Final track from Ian’s solo album, eschewing black metal drones for a mournful alt.country lament..
IAN LYNCH: The stuff for my solo project is mostly stuff that I brought Lankum and they said “Nah, that’s too weird!” So I kept it for myself!
NATALIA BEYLIS & EIMEAR REIDY
“Whistling Dust (excerpt)”
Taken from the album, She Came Through The Window To Stand By The Door
Disquieting cello and Telford organ drone from County Leitrim…
IAN LYNCH: Natalia is married to Willie Stewart, the guy who runs Nyahh Records – they’re also in the psych band Woven Skull together. She’s an amazing sound artist, and does a lot of drone stuff with Eimear Reidy who is an amazing cello. She’s so prolific, she puts out three or four albums every year. It’s really great stuff.