Noise Annoys: new music from Kneecap, RIDE, Blue Whale and Wynona Bleach rated, essential live shows listed

A photo of Kneecap doing their messages, which include Tunnock's Tea Cakes and Windowlene
Kneecap The band's new single Sick in The Head is out now. Picture by Sarah Ellis

Kneecap – Sick In The Head (single, Heavenly)

THE band the DUP love to hate return with the second single from their hugely anticipated debut album, Fine Art.

Slapping out of your speakers like it was the PSNI breaching a drug den, the catchy, prowling Sick in The Head has a buzzing, bass-heavy Got Your Money-style swagger/stagger that’s pure late-90s alternative hip-hop, but this partially-as Gaelige tale of chasing your dreams in the midst of the austerity era’s mental health crisis is firmly rooted in the here and now.

“I’ve got a point to be proving to myself, sitting too long getting mouldy on the shelf/cuz I’m too far gone when it comes to mental health/rather be sick in the head with a little bit of wealth,” advises Mo Chara.

With the Belfast trio surely nailed-on for a chart-topping album when Fine Art is released in June, let’s just hope Kneecap get all the help they need/deserve when the money starts to roll right in.

Give what you can today at pias.ffm.to/kneecap-fineart.

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Wynona Bleach – Swim In The Bay (single, Fierce Panda)

Wynona Bleach get the death lens treatment
Wynona Bleach 2024 The Belfast band are back with a new single and an second album ready for release

BELFAST bubblegrungers Wynona Bleach are back with a first, titular taste of their second album, Swim in The Bay.

Indeed, it’s the band’s first new offering since the release of their superb debut Moonsoake back in 2022. If you liked their catchy/crunchy stylings before, this newie will remind you of exactly why.

As ever, Melyssa’s easy-on-the-ear vocalising makes a pleasingly sweet contrast with the grungy churn of the band’s shoegazey rock. Lush pop melodies glide above layers of swoonsome, FX-textured guitars, underpinned by dirty bass and thumping percussion (courtesy of new drummer, James Foy) in a tune that sounds better the louder you crank it.

Blast it now at wynonableach.bandcamp.com, then hit up wynonableach.com for tickets to their upcoming Volume Control show at Oh Yeah in Belfast on March 15.

RIDE – Last Frontier (single, Wichita)

A nice arty photo of the band RIDE
RIDE The Oxford legends will release their new album Interplay in March. Picture by Cal McIntryre

ON THE subject of shoegaze, Oxford’s finest RIDE are currently gearing up for the release of their new album Interplay, which is due out on March 29.

Judging from the synthy sounds of the two Andy Bell-penned singles they’ve given us thus far in January’s Peace Sign and current single, Last Frontier – I guess the more alliteratively pleasing ‘Final Frontier’ would have inspired too many Star Trek puns? – the band are currently on a big Krautrock-inspired trip.

There’s also a major New Order vibe coming through on the latter via Andy’s bittersweet vocal line and the mighty Steve Queralt’s chorded-bass wrangling, which I for one am definitely here for, plus a hint of The Lightning Seeds too, just for good measure.

These are actually the first two tunes on the new album, so if you like what you hear then get it pre-ordered via rideox4.bandcamp.com at your earliest convenience.

RIDE will also be playing some Irish dates on their upcoming tour too, which kicks off at The Limelight in Belfast on September 2 before visiting The Olympia in Dublin on September 3 and then Cyprus Avenue in Cork the following night. Tickets are on sale now via ticketmaster.ie.

Blue Whale - I wanna be your da (single, self-released)

A photo of Belfast band BlueWhale
Blue Whale The Belfast band are back with a new single, I wanna be your da

WITH a chucklesome title like that, Belfast instro-skronkers Blue Whale immediately had my attention - and the actual tune is worthy of it too, though it becomes clear pretty immediately that this ain’t no Stooges tribute.

Instead, I wanna be your da - which is taken from the band’s soon-to-be-released second album, Last Immediate Images, due out on March 15 - is a moody, groovy, evocative affair featuring some filthy bass-fondling (bit of theme for this week’s reviews), funky drumming and plenty of tasty post/math-rock flavoured guitaring too.

Definitely one of the more easily accessible ‘Whale numbers, it bodes well for the full length and could well serve as a gateway drug to the quartet’s more violently experimental and sprawling moments. However, the spiky, nightmarish jazz rock thump ‘n’ thrash of new album opener Otic Brawl, proves they haven’t dumped the noise entirely this time around - it’s just that their execution of it has become more precise.

“A lot of our early stuff would jump all over the place,” explains guitarist Michael O’Halloran in the accompanying press release.

“Now we have the confidence to have a central theme to a song, build around that and not feel like it has to go on a big journey. I think that’s why it sounds more cohesive.”

Tell him he’s wrong at bluewhale.bandcamp.com, and get your tickets for their album launch show at the Black Box in Belfast here.

Gig radar: incoming live dates for your diary

  • Dearly Departed Sisters: Fundraiser for Women & Children of Gaza featuring Problem Patterns, Cheylene Beauty Sleep, Lauren Brand New Friend et al - March 8, Oh Yeah, Belfast
  • Blue Whale - March 15, The Black Box, Belfast
  • Yard Act – March 19, Mandela Hall, Belfast / March 20, Vicar Street, Dublin
  • Chris Shifflet (Foo Fighters) - March 20, The Academy, Dublin / March 21, Limelight 2, Beflast
  • Makeshift Art Bar, Junk Drawer: Sundown Sessions – March 24, Court House, Bangor
  • Bill Ryder Jones - March 31, The Black Box, Belfast
  • Hawkwind - April 8, Mandela Hall, QUBSU
  • Rory Nellis (full band show) – April 12, Oh Yeah, Belfast
  • Problem Patterns - April 25, Union Bar, Belfast / April 26, Workman’s Cellar, Dublin / April 27, Nerve Centre, Derry
  • Jane Weaver – May 12, Ulster Sports Club, Belfast
  • Putting The Fast In Belfast 6: Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, The Skids, Problem Patterns – August 17, Custom House Square, Belfast
  • RIDE - September 2, Limelight, Belfast / September 3, Olympia, Dublin / September 4, Cyprus Avenue, Cork
  • Therapy?: Troublegum 30 – October 31, Olympia, Dublin / November 2, Ulster Hall, Belfast

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