The CYRM review of ØXN: Jude Rogers’ chosen folk album for the month.

ØXN’s album artwork.

ØXN, a musical group, recently signed with the revived Irish record label, Claddagh Records, after 18 years. The band is named after castrated draft animals and they describe them as being sometimes worshipped and sometimes destined for domestication. The members of ØXN include Katie Kim who sings and plays keyboard and guitar, Eleanor Myler who plays drums for the experimental rock band Percolator, and two members of Mercury-nominated band Lankum: Radie Peat, known for her raw and jagged vocals, and their producer John “Spud” Murphy who has a love for drone music. ØXN’s music does not fit into the traditional folk genre, but instead explores different territories.

The first album by this artist is 45 minutes long and has six songs. The first track, Cruel Mother, tells the story of a woman who kills her babies after getting pregnant by a married man. The song starts with Peat singing alone without any instruments, similar to some of Lankum’s most impactful songs. Then the mood changes, with minor-key guitar playing that reminds listeners of the post-punk era of bands like The Cure. The drums gradually build up to energetic parts. As Peat repeats the line “all alone and lonely”, it prompts the listener to think about the struggles faced by women today, as well as those from the past.

The first single Love Henry, which is led by Peat, includes a loud and chaotic ending. Maija Sofia’s contemporary ballad, The Wife of Michael Cleary, tells the story of an Irishman who burned his wife alive in 1895 by claiming she was not his real wife. Kim’s vocals bring a unique and impressive quality to the songs: a hint of White Chalk-era PJ Harvey on a piano-driven rendition of The Trees They Do Grow High, a resemblance to Emiliana Torrini on the original folk-inspired track The Feast, and intense gothic queen energy on a 13-minute version of Scott Walker’s Farmer in the City, accompanied by bubbling synthesizers and distorted noise rock. This intense and unsettling debut comes to a chilling end with the 13-minute rendition, showcasing the album’s eerie and captivating dark magic.

is the new album

The new album has also been released this month.

The Mary Wallopers have been receiving praise for their energetic performances at various festivals this summer. They have now released their highly anticipated second album, Irish Rock N Roll (BC Records). With Charles Hendy’s versatile vocals and the band’s harmonious singing, their songs about poverty, sex, and the scorching pavement are even more impactful. This solidifies their position as the modern-day successors to the Pogues. Paddi Benson, Grace Lemon, and James Patrick Gavin’s Volume One – A Curious Dance (Slow Worm Records) is a captivating reimagining of 19th-century ballroom dances played at Bedlam hospital. The use of uilleann pipes and scratchy fiddles adds a unique element of dissonance and resolution. The Breath, winners of the Radio 2 Folk Awards, have released a new album of original songs titled Land of My Other (Real World). Through their music, they explore themes of family, love, and grief, with Ríognach Connolly’s soothing vocals – reminiscent of traditional sean-nós singing – serving as one of contemporary folk’s most enchanting instruments.


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