Noise Annoys: New music from Soak, Exhalers, Buí, Junk Drawer and Atomic Drag

 Bridie Monds-Watson, AKA Soak, is back with a new single. Picture by Sam Hiscox

:: Soak – Last July (single, Rough Trade)

THIS week, Derry's own Soak AKA Bridie Monds-Watson treated fans to an unexpected dose of brand new music in the form of their first single for absolutely ages.

Last July is the lead tune from Soak's forthcoming album If I Never Know You Like This Again, due out on May 20. Apparently BMW and collaborator Tommy McLaughlin were blasting the likes of Broken Social Scene and Bends-era Radiohead during the writing process, which led to them "nerding out on guitars and pedals like moronic bros" and recording with a full live band set-up at Donegal's Attica Studios.

You can definitely hear that on the single, a pleasingly swoonsome, lovesick churn of pretty melodies and crunchy FX pedal-powered riffs.

Last July will shortly be played out live and loud along with some other new tunes and your Soak faves on their upcoming tour when it calls at Belfast's Oh Yeah Centre (Feb 5) and Bennigans in Derry (Feb 6). BMW and band will then be back on the road when the album comes out, including dates at Dolan's in Limerick (May 25) and Whelan's in Dublin (May 26).

"This record is the most accurate picture of me," explains the Soak leader of If I Never Know You Like This Again.

"I felt no pressure at all, it was almost like I was ranting as I was writing."

Sounds like entertaining stuff: pre-order now at

 Exhalers - Tolerator

Exhalers – Tolerator (album, self-released)

ALBUM number two from Alan Lynn's 'one man not yet a band' (more on that in a moment) project Exhalers finds the former LaFaro drummer growing in confidence both as a singer and a songwriter.

The vocals are much more front-and-centre in the mix throughout this record in comparison to last year's self-titled debut Slower, more expansive tracks like the world-weary anthem Blue Brown Blond and the climactic FX-swathed mournful shoegaze churn of All That You Left Behind find him folding more atmospheric, experimental leanings in with the project's core values – catchy, crunchy and cathartic alt-rock whoppers designed to be played at speaker-damaging volumes – to fine effect.

Indeed, it's probably no accident that Tolerator opens with a deceptively downbeat, semi-unplugged ballad, the pretty, jangly Barriers, a wrong-footing statement of intent of sorts which finds Lynn duetting with his wife Sinéad.

But don't fret, there's also plenty of headbangers on offer: Starlight's rake of snarling guitars might well strip the paint off your walls, while the mesmeric proton-charged stomp of Smiledriver is pure mosh-fodder along with a trio of grunge pop pummellers – Til Death Do You Part, Hell Hole and lead single Impersonal Relations.

Elsewhere, the snakey-riffing of the prowling Delhi St 1am and the album's naggingly catchy title track surely have 'future single' stamped all over their winning combination of infectious melodies and spiralling layers of gritty guitars.

Currently hatching plans with co-conspirators to take Exhalers from studio project to fully fledged live act, Mr Lynn can now pick the most succulent meat from the bones of two fine full lengths for playing out – an experience which will surely shape the sound of Exhalers LP #3.

In the meantime, stuff the first two into your ears and see which tunes get stuck within at or your Spotify, iTunes etc.

 Junk Drawer playing house. Picture by Laura MacLennan

Junk Drawer – Tears in Costa (single, Art for Blind)

THE mighty Junk Drawer return with the first taste of their latest recordings, soon to be released in EP form as The Dust Has Come To Stay in March.

Having previously snuck out into the world as part of the third volume of excellent Irish indie/DIY compilations series A Litany of Failures way back in late 2020 (which also features tracks by local stars like Problem Patterns, Mob Wife and Careerist), the evocatively titled Tears in Costa offers listeners a playfully woozy and mildly psychedelic art rocky chime 'n' clang through a tale of caffeinated existential angst, as guitarist/crooner/songwriter Stevie Lennox explains.

"The title stems from a time when I found myself with tears streaming down my face due to a deadly concoction of myself and the over-caffeination native to chain cafe Costa.

"The general gist of the song comes from the realisation that at any point, we can be flung back to ground zero with nothing but our experience behind us. And that's tough, but it's something that needs to be accepted, otherwise you risk getting pulled down with that reset."

As you read these very words, JD have just completed a short tour 'across the water', including a support slot with devastating sludge rockers Part Chimp in glamorous Birkenhead.

To celebrate the release of Tears In Costa, the band have produced "a tongue-in-cheek visual accompaniment" with the help of director Graham Patterson, a skit which captures the Drawer in mock '1960s TV show appearance' mode complete with outlandish stagewear and, in Stevie's case at least, some serious health and safety-mocking dance moves.

Find it on You Tube now and don't forget to pre-order the EP at – a full full review of which will follow in due course.

Buí – The Sun Shines Down On Me (single, self-released)

ANOTHER Belfast band blowing off the Covid cobwebs are indie rockers Buí, whose bandleader Josh recently broke out his acoustic guitar (and Casio keyboard) to cover a tune by the late great Daniel Johnston for the annual Hi How Are You Day on Saturday just past.

It's a nice, mellow version which replaces the piano that drove Daniel's original with deft fingerpicking augmented by mood-setting organ swells. Available to buy for £1 (or more) at, all proceeds from the song will be donated PIPS Suicide and Self Harm Prevention in Belfast.

This cover will also be included on Buí's upcoming Talking To The Walls EP. While we await more new music, you can visit to check out a rather good alfresco solo acoustic version of the band's I'm Going Somewhere performed by Josh at Torr Head on a clear day last October.

Atomic Drag – Black Magic Spells and Other Neat Weird Stuff EP (Doom Bat Records)

BALLYMONEY horror surf instrumentalist Atomic Drag is poised to return with this brand new five song EP next Friday guaranteed to sate all your 'Halloween in February' needs.

Bookended by samples from The Tragedy of Macbeth, opener Wyrd Sisters sets the mood with its witchy vibes, starting off at a slow and deliberate pulsing synth-propelled stalk before gradually building up a noisy head of steam with plenty of reverb-heavy guitar action in a Suicide vs Pixies kinda way.

Beware The Creeper takes this as its cue to drop in on a big wave of horror movie sample-peppered twangy/clangy noise, dragging the bloated be-fanged corpse of sinister yet energetic big riffing moment The Obsidian Bat of Doom behind its coffin-shaped surfboard.

This results in a headlong collision with ghoulish organ 'n' handclaps-augmented groover Brain Blob in Jar Grows Eyes, another great tune/title combo from Atomic Drag who save the best for last with the EP's title track, a superbly slinky slice of doom surf that would make an ideal soundtrack for Tiki Night at The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks.

Grab this EP before it grabs you by pre-ordering at, where you'll also find cool stickers and t-shirts with which to proclaim your Atomic Drag allegiance.

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