Noise Annoys: Therapy?, Axis Of, Arborist, Craig Walker & The Cold, Friday Fest, The Style Weekender and New Pagans 'On The Record'

Therapy? are back with new single Joy
Therapy? are back with new single Joy Therapy? are back with new single Joy

Therapy? Joy (single, Marshall)

IRELAND'S seminal alternative noisemakers Therapy? are back this week with the first tantalising offering from their forthcoming new album Hard Cold Fire.

In typical Therapy? fashion, Joy ain't no happy-clappy musical celebration. Instead, this effortlessly catchy, pleasingly clangy chugger finds frontman Andy Cairns bemoaning an alarming absence of the titular emotion.

"Nothing seems to make you happy, nothing seems to bring you joy" he croons on the clattering, mosh-inducing chorus, with its simple, highly contagious repeated refrain of "No joy". 

Joy mines familiar Therapy? inspiration in the soul-sapping perils of drudgery. "Another day, another deadener, another dull routine / The same grey ritual, tethered to the pantomime of Western ennui" sings Andy, who also observes: "You're stuck with what you've got / And that noise, is the gates of the dream factory slamming shut".

Grim sentiment, expressed in a darkly comic way – a proud Therapy? tradition.

As with their best moments from the past three-and-a-bit decades, a good loud blast of Joy should put a savage, steel-toed spring back into your step.

Grab it wherever you get your music from right now and pre-order/save Hard Cold Fire at biglink.to/HardColdFire_Pre-Order to get your paws on it the moment it drops on May 5.

Axis Of – Millar's Ridge (single, No Dancing)

ANOTHER north of Ireland-bred trio with a new song out today is Axis Of, although firm fans will already be familiar with the rousing Millar's Ridge, a progressive synth-poppy late-album highlight from their excellent 2021 record Bella Pacifica.

Its release heralds the north coasters' return to live work: indeed, as you read these very words Axis Of will be preparing to perform at the most excellently named Beer O'Clock in Neuchatel, Switzerland, before launching into a short tour of Germany.

Axis Of are back on tour. Picture by Ciara McMullan
Axis Of are back on tour. Picture by Ciara McMullan Axis Of are back on tour. Picture by Ciara McMullan

Happily, they also have a show on home soil booked – and it's not just any show, but rather the Mob Wife-organised Friday Fest at Oh Yeah in Belfast on April 7. This mammoth multi-band event will be a long good Friday indeed, also featuring the aforementioned Mob Wife and the mighty, newly signed Alcopop! Records recording artistes Problem Patterns, plus top supporting turns from Fruity, Yinyang, Susi Pagel, Jock and Tessio. Tickets are available now priced £14 via ohyeahbelfast.com.

Don't miss Mob Wife's banging current single The Oil In It, which reminds me of Idlewild back in their unabashedly noisy days, and definitely seek out Problem Patterns's splendidly angry, pandemic-inspired new tune Who Do We Not Save?, released earlier this week.

You can catch the latter headlining their own show at The Black Box in Belfast on March 15, with support from Scotland's Pink Pound and Strange New Places (acoustic). Tickets via blackboxbelfast.com.

Arborist man Mark McCambridge. Picture by Aaron Cunningham
Arborist man Mark McCambridge. Picture by Aaron Cunningham Arborist man Mark McCambridge. Picture by Aaron Cunningham

Arborist – Matisse (single, Kirkinrola)

ANOTHER new song from the forthcoming Arborist album has escaped into the wild. Complementing the beatsy, 90s vibes of previous single Dreaming in Another Language in a contrasting style, Matisse is a tastefully retro and discerningly jazzy guitar pop rumination on the frustrations of the creative process.

"If you think that this sounds good, you should hear it in my head," croons Mark as his latest tune top fades out, a line that's sure to raise a wry smile from anyone who's ever struggled to translate their ideas 'up here' into something tangible.

Listen now at arboristmusic.bandcamp.com, check out the cool video at youtube.com/@arboristmusic and adjust your excitement levels to 'feverish' for the new full length, An Endless Sequence of Dead Zeroes, due out April 21.

Craig Walker and The Cold -  Golden Ticket (single, self-released)

YET more good news for fans of good music now, because Power of Dreams man Craig Walker is back today with Electric Shoes, a cracking new album from his current outfit Craig Walker and The Cold, a collaboration between the Berlin-based Dubliner and his musical foil Errol Alcock, producer/songwriter and bassist extraordinaire.

They've come up with a proper modern pop record which draws from a smorgasbord of classic songwriting influences (Beatles, Bowie, Iggy, Kraftwerk etc) while utilising plenty of 'old-skool' guitars and (of course) Craig's trademark expressive and emotive vocals while harnessing an utterly contemporary feel and sound that means every song sounds 'radio ready'.

You'll be getting a full review of the LP in the next Noise Annoys, but for right now let me draw your attention to the current single Golden Ticket - a superb soaring, psych-tinged guitar pop stomper that will get your head nodding even as it melts your heart.

Hell, even if you don't like that one, the album is so tastefully eclectic that there's bound to be another tune or four on there that you do get on with. Grab your Golden Ticket today from wherever you like to get music from: it gains you admittance to a fantastic full album you'll want to immerse yourself in with repeated listens.

Find your way in here: ffm.to/b82rby3

The Style Weekender at The American Bar

LURGAN'S finest Malojian has just announced another collaboration with  his spiritual home in Belfast, The American Bar.

Taking place across St Patrick's weekend, The Style Weekender will kick off on Friday March 17 with a live team-up between Malojian and Brett Logue at 7pm. Christopher Coll & The Hideaways will perform on Saturday March 18 at 7pm, while Colm Laverty in Conversation will be take place on Sunday March 19 at 2pm.

Malojian has something special planned at the American Bar in Belfast
Malojian has something special planned at the American Bar in Belfast Malojian has something special planned at the American Bar in Belfast

The Weekender will then reach an exciting climax at 3pm on Sunday with a special In The Round show featuring Bonnevilles man and solo artist extraordinaire Andy McGibbon performing with Mandy Bingham and Matt McGinn.

Get your tickets sorted asap via styleweekender.bandcamp.com.

New Pagans. Picture by Aaron Cunningham
New Pagans. Picture by Aaron Cunningham New Pagans. Picture by Aaron Cunningham

ON THE RECORD: New Pagans – Making Circles of Our Own 

FINALLY for this week, a quick Q&A with New Pagans leader Lyndsey McDougall on their brilliant new LP, Making Circles of Our Own. Sadly, the band were forced to cancel their British tour for the album due to a family bereavement – but hopefully they will be back in action shortly for their imminent run of Irish dates.

How was the album launch show in Belfast last Thursday?

It was conversely one of the most difficult gigs we've ever played and one of the most significant. To be honest, at the last minute we were offered gigs in Boston and NYC the week before when we should have been rehearsing the new songs.

Additionally, my Granny became very ill days before the gig and subsequently passed away the next day. So, my head was just not in the right place, I couldn't concentrate at all. However, the audience were with us and, for the first time since New Pagans began, I felt completely vulnerable and connected to everyone in the room. 

I learnt a difficult but valuable lesson on Thursday night – vulnerability can be a resource, a strength.

How long did the album take to make and where did you record it?

Cahir [O'Doherty, guitar] and I wrote most of the songs towards the end of lockdown in my parent's home in Co Down.

Recording the album was relatively quick, we used Badlands Studios, set up by [New Pagans guitarist] Allan McGreevey and Cahir in the Glens of Antrim. It's a beautiful space to work and the band laid down the tracks within a couple of weeks.

Vocals were added later in our home in rural Donegal. I lost my voice completely for a month and had to work very hard to repair it. The album captures my persistence.  

Making Circles of Our Own is out now
Making Circles of Our Own is out now Making Circles of Our Own is out now

Were there any lessons learned while making the debut album that you were able to apply to this one?

I actually think we missed some lessons: most importantly, that we should do things in our own time and not be bogged down with strict, meaningless deadlines.

Creativity requires space and from now on we're going to work at our own pace. There's absolutely no point in us doing any of this if we can't find joy in the process. 

How does the writing process work within the band?

Cahir writes the majority of the music, he's a ridiculously talented songwriter and I've learnt so much about how to construct, edit and finish a song through working alongside him.

Usually, I take his composition away and write melody ideas and words, then bring them back for editing and additional melodies. We both love a good debate, usually around melody ideas.

The band are amazing at sparking ideas too, sending us drum beats, guitar and basslines – an invaluable tool to us as songwriters and one we hope to explore even further this year. 

What is currently your favourite song on the record and why?

For me, it's either  A Process of Becoming or Karin Was Not A Rebel. I'm very proud to have played a part in writing those songs. I also love singing them and I'm very excited about touring these songs for the first time ever during our Irish dates in April. 

Finally, what is the band most looking forward to this year?

Festivals. We've only played a few so far and I'm excited about 2000 Trees and other offers that have been coming in for the summer. We also have a pretty exciting winter lined up in Europe, but I can't really talk about that yet.

Whatever we're doing, I promise you we'll only be doing it if we can enjoy the process – otherwise, what is the point?

:: Making Circles of Our Own is out now. New Pagans play The Loft in Galway on March 30, John Cleere's in Kilkenny on April 1 and Dublin's The Sound House on April 13. See Newpagans.com for details.