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All the coun­try’s bright­est young things will be in at­ten­dance at OUT­PUT, Belfast’s ex­cel­lent show­case for up-and-com­ing artists. By Roisin Dwyer

It’s all hap­pen­ing up north this month. Fe­bru­ary 16 sees Belfast’s MAC host the OUT­PUT 2017 mu­sic con­fer­ence and show­case. Dur­ing the day at­ten­dees can avail of a va­ri­ety pan­els and key­notes, while in the evening a se­ries of free show­cases will take place in venues across the city.

Bands play­ing this year in­clude hotly-tipped Derry teenagers Touts, who are about to hit the road sup­port­ing Blos­soms, Hot Press One To Watch Cal­lum Ste­wart and SXSW-bound New Por­tals. Also tak­ing to the stage that night are Ryan Vail, whose de­but al­bum was Huw Stephens (Ra­dio 1)’s al­bum of the week;

Ker­rang! favourites Mak­ing Monsters; and The Voice fi­nal­ist Leah McFall.

Show­case hosts in­clude Nialler 9, Derry record la­bel Small­town Amer­ica, PRS for Mu­sic, IMRO, and North­ern Ir­ish arts and mu­sic pub­li­ca­tion The

Thin Air…

The sim­i­larly-ti­tled Up In Thin Air EP from Dublin’s 202s is now avail­able on their

Band­camp. The nugget is taken from the out­fit’s forth­com­ing sec­ond al­bum and also in­cludes a

Jape remix of the ti­tle track. The EP fol­lows on from well-re­ceived lead sin­gle ‘Oh My My’.

The act’s self-ti­tled de­but al­bum was re­leased in 2009 to crit­i­cal ac­claim at home and abroad, with Ger­many’s Musik­ex­press call­ing them ‘hym­nal Kraut-pop from Dublin’. We’re sure al­bum num­ber two will be worth the wait!…

Given the phe­nom­e­nal re­sponse to her lat­est track ‘Re­lent’, we imag­ine tick­ets for Ailbhe

Reddy’s Sugar Club show on Fe­bru­ary 22 are go­ing fast. It has been a busy 12 months for the singer-song­writer, who first came on our radar when a home­made demo of her song ‘Cover Me’ was used in a To­day FM ra­dio ad­vert in 2014. Sum­mer 2016 saw her wow crowds at a se­lec­tion of the coun­try’s finest fes­ti­vals with tracks from her sen­sa­tional EP Hol­lowed Out Sea, and in De­cem­ber she was one of the high­lights of Other

Voices. Surely global fame can’t be far away… Mean­while in the west, Gal­way’s gui­tar pop­sters

Bob Skele­ton are about to re­lease their sec­ond EP If This Isn’t Love, which fol­lows hot on the heels of de­but out­ing Shade. Both col­lec­tions were recorded un­der the watch­ful eye of Will O’Connor (Grounds For In­va­sion, Wil­low Sea). Since hit­ting the stage for the first time last sum­mer, they have warmed up au­di­ences for

Au­gust Wells, The Strypes and Paddy Hanna…

On the sub­ject of sec­ond out­ings, the won­der­ful Count Vase­line (aka Ste­fan Mur­phy) has just un­leashed the fol­low-up to last year’s Yo

No Soy Marinero. Cas­cade clocks in at a breezy 25 min­utes and is jam-packed with psy­che­delic and punk gems.

And here’s a fi­nal word from the Count:

“Each of Cas­cade’s twenty-five min­utes are a nails-on-chalk­board re­minder that we are alive. Some­times we are swim­ming through rivers of burn­ing shit, but once we hear the mu­sic we are alive.”

Amen to that.

The sweet­est thing: Aibhe Reddy plays The Sugar Club

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