Tag Archives: Katharine Philippa

New Irish Sounds: Kevin Murphy

The name: Kevin Murphy (not to be confused with hundreds of other people called Kevin Murphy).

The deal: A singer-songwriter from Cork with Jeff Buckley-sized lungs, a knack for writing heavy-hearted songs and something of a potty mouth, Kevin Murphy is not hugely well known, except on Soundcloud, where his tracks have racked up listens in excess of 10,000.

He’s just released his debut album LoveHate (not to be confused with the RTÉ crime drama of the sort-of same name), a seven-song LP recorded in the UK with Belgian producer KONOBA, featuring the occasional cameo from Brighton singer Ellie Ford.

The sound: I have little to no interest in schmaltz, which means that I usually pass on high-drama acoustic melancholy, the kind of which Kevin Murphy is really terrific at creating. Of course, even bull-headed journalists like myself have souls, and mine was seriously shaken by ‘Your Version’, a solitary anti-love song, propelled forward by gushing harmonies.

I think my favourite thing about Murphy’s voice is that it doesn’t do too much of anything; there are flips and hums and whispers and trills, and the vocals often get layered up to astonishing effect, but it never sounds fussy or overdone. His lyrics, which are, at times, cripplingly tortured and intense, work in a similar way; lines like ‘This demon won’t fuck off…’ on ‘Demon’ take the formality out of the song’s emotion, without making light of it.

Elsewhere on the album, you’ll find haunting electric guitar (‘Pretty Love‘) and cinematic strings (‘It’s Too Late’, ‘Sweet Thing’), but Murphy’s dynamite delivery and laid-back groove are forever the star. I mean, just try to resist the falsetto sweep on ‘Your Heart Is A Circle’

He says: “Starting to hate this place, I can only replace myself so long.” – ‘Demon’

I say: Clearly, Murphy’s songs are not jaunty walks in the park, but they’re also too pretty to pass up.

For lovers of: John Martyn, Jeff BuckleyKatharine Philippa, Owensie.

In a word: powerful.

What now? Listen to LoveHate here and join me in hoping that Murphy’s got an Irish tour in the works to promote it.

Like: Kevin Murphy on Facebook.

New Irish Sounds: Katharine Philippa

The name: Katharine Philippa

The deal: Portadown singer, pianist and guitarist Katharine Philippa has been performing since she was old enough to squawk out a tune, but the Queen’s University School Of Music student only got around to releasing her debut EP last year, at the ripe old age of 20. Operating within a genre she’s dubbed ‘Reflectivism’, Philippa makes sensitive piano numbers, intense, looped ballads and soulful electronica, all of which can be heard on the EP in question, Fallen.

The sound: Bright, dynamic, thoughtful alt. pop that’s both lush and minimal, depending on what the melody calls for. And the girl’s voice speaks for itself…

Meanwhile, this remix of ‘Whiter Than I’ by Cardiff drum and bass fiend Conek4 and this woozy number by producer and songwriter Martin Byrne show that Philippa’s extraordinary pipes can work in a beatier setting.

She says: “I have always had a passion for music. This love has fueled a passion to create songs that are deep, honest and pure.” – from her blog.

I say: Being completely prejudiced against fair maidens holding apples, I was never going to get excited about a record with this as its cover;

but while Philippa may look like your typical chirping wallflower, there’s real power in them lungs… and on the record. When I stumbled upon Fallen, it felt like a reward for all the hopeful mouse-clicks that led to something predictable or mundane.

For lovers of: Fiona Apple, James Blake, Lisa Hannigan, Joanna Newsom

In a word: exciting.

What now? See Katharine support Decomposing In Paris in the Menagerie, Belfast on March 29 or at the Love & Death Inc. acoustic night on April 26.

Follow: kphilippa

Like: Katharine Philippa on Facebook