Dublin music

SPRINTS: “Literary Mind” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

The taste-ranging genre gastronomy of our latest Scholz Garten lineup alone made it one for the books. And that A.M. affair simply couldn’t have been complete without SPRINTS. Because…yeah, the pairing of a Dublin four-piece – garage grit, post-punk precociousness, and all – against a full KUTX crowd at one of Texas’ oldest venues was exactly what you’d expect: a pre-St. Paddy’s blast.

SPRINTS just made Letter to Self public this January, and the eclectic, confessional record has already reached millions of streams worldwide – no small feat for any up-and-comers’ big debut. But sudden success clearly hasn’t killed frontwoman Karla Chubb’s of-kilter candor, since she expertly steered her quartet through a mad dash of lyrical honesty and aural adrenaline. SPRINTS heads back to the UK next week, so fingers crossed when they’re planning their next tour, our KUTX-clusive live recording of their show closer, “Literary Mind” preserves the memory and inspires another Austin appearance some time in the future.

The Crayon Set: “Sunlounger”

With excessive heat warnings dominating forecasts here in the American Southwest and little to do about it other than stay inside or lather on sunscreen and bee line towards shade, there’s no harm in reframing our seasonal misery by listening in on lighter summer sounds coming from across the pond. Enter Dublin five-piece The Crayon Set, who, as of now, like KUTX, have officially been around a full decade. While the quintet’s eponymous 2013 inception lies in indie pop, The Crayon Set expanded their genre color palette to include Americana and synth pop with 2017’s Lost Languages and 2021’s Downer Disco, respectively. So even though they categorize themselves as alternative pop, The Crayon Set’s clearly comfortable experimenting with a wide variety of stylistic pigments for their hook-heavy originals. Case in point: The Crayon Set’s first single since last year’s “Love Is a Real Place” and what’s so far their standalone offering of 2023. Although the band’s handle combined with a music box intro might make a for a knee-jerk reaction that this is a children’s tune, the music video for “Sunlounger” (which features clips from 1969’s La Piscine of Alain Delon and Jane Birkin rompin’ around and breakin’ all the pool rules) cue you into a much more mature nature. “Sunlounger”‘s meditative orchestral flourishes, sensuous boy-girl vocal harmonies, and sneaky psych guitar sound almost like a previously unreleased Damon Auburn-produced track from David Gilmour’s On an Island. It’s a sonic equivalent to what summer hedonism should look like as imagined by drizzly Dubliners, not a sweltering hellscape like the one here in Texas, so click “play” and start the siesta whenever you’re ready.

Pillow Queens: “Be By Your Side”

Happy St. Patty’s Day! If you’re looking to celebrate with some contemporary but authentically-Irish live music, let Pillow Queens guide you into their court. The Dublin quartet dropped their debut EP Calm Girls in 2016 and have since captivated fans across the globe with a harmonic iteration of indie rock that cushions between punk and pop, while lyrically exploring the dissonance of queerness in a Catholic nation.

Pillow Queens are set to release their sophomore full-length Leave The Light On in April and have already teased out three of its ten tracks as singles. They had a double header for SXSW on Tuesday, play midnight tonight at Velveeta Room’s ‘Music From Ireland’ showcase, and perform 11:20pm tomorrow for the Royal Mt. Showcase at Valhalla. Even if you can’t see ’em for South By, you only have to wait a couple weeks for Leave The Light On (out April 1st). Either way, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the band’s discography, toss some tunes in your heavy rotation playlist, and let Pillow Queens “Be By Your Side”.

Kojaque: “No Hands”

When you think of Irish music your brain might not go straight to hip-hop. But in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day we’re taking a gander at a rapper straight out of Dublin. Going by the name Kojaque, this young up-and-comer’s been building up his reputation as a lyricist thanks to his effortless, in-the-pocket flow, colloquial rhyme style, and choice of cadence over jazz-inspired beats.

Keep an eye on the horizon for Kojaque’s debut album in the near future, teased most recently with his latest single (and music video) that reckons with the loss of Kojaque’s father and puts you into a melancholy state with its moody instrumental, on “No Hands”.