26th May, 2023 (Dublin, Ireland)- The experimental doom folk music ofØXN [pron. ‘oxen’] is rooted in story;Radie Peat,John ‘Spud’ Murphy,Katie Kim andEleanor Myler dig deep into the earth and retrieve evocative tales of love, loss, longing, revenge and ritual. Add to that the other-worldly sonic textures that beckon you to peer behind the curtain, with your heart in your mouth, and you might get close to anticipating the music that ØXN has created.
It is fitting that a band with such a peerless sound, existing somewhere between the traditional, the future and the eternal, should be the first new signing to Ireland’s most iconic label,Claddagh Records, in 18 years.ØXN’s first single ‘Love Henry’ will be released onCladdagh RecordsonFriday, 30th June 2023.
‘Love Henry’ sees ØXN tell this murderous tale with a building sense of dread that will immerse listeners in the band’s world of dissonance and experimentation with the harmonious vocal melodies melding with accordion, mellotron, keyboard, drums, bass and synthesizers. Though the story of Henry Lee’s demise at the hands of his spurned lover has long since fascinated musicians from Bob Dylan to Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, it has never been woven with more tension than in this new and devastating version of ‘Love Henry’, arranged by the four members of ØXN.
ØXN exist at the uncharted intersection of its constituent parts, melding Lankum’s experimental doom folk (Radie Peat), the motorik euphoria of Percolator (John ‘Spud’ Murphy andEleanor Myler) andKatie Kim’s glorious Lynchian meta-verse.
Try to imagine the missing link between Enya, Ennio Morricone, Richard Dawson and Neu! and you’ll still fall short trying to anticipate the unique sonic universe of ØXN.
What began as a side project duo between Radie Peat and Katie Kim in 2018 blossomed into a full-on, multi-textured tapestry with the addition of Myler and Murphy during lockdown. This resulted in one of the streaming highlights of the Covid era - an unforgettable live performance from a Martello tower in Dublin in conjunction with visual artist and Lankum collaborator, Vicky Langan.
ØXN take their literal name from the draft animal. Oxen are not a breed of cattle but rather steers – adult, male bovines that have been castrated. Something about the story of the beasts appealed to the band: Castrated, pulling heavy machinery; out to slog, or an interred beast for milking, since about 4000 BC. Sometimes worshipped, sometimes doomed for domestication.
Like Claddagh Records’ founder Garech Browne, with his own rich and storied past (more on this to come…), ØXN is a band made up of people whose primary expression comes through music above personality, above aesthetic, above all else. This need to tell stories through evocative sounds that are enough to stop you dead in your tracks is the twine that binds Claddagh Records artists together, so it’s fitting that ØXN lead the charge as the label enters a new era that will see these stories reach farther than ever before, following the signing of a worldwide licensing agreement with Universal Music Ireland in 2020.