It’s time to turn and face the strange my friends. We’re going to tweak the Pure M Picks slightly and instead of 10 tracks, we’re going to give you the finest five and go into a bit more depth about why they’ve been chosen. Enjoy!

Track of the week is “Virginia” by The Witch Trials.

The Witch Trials – Virginia 

Two singles down, and two tracks of the week on Pure M. To put it bluntly, The Witch Trials seem to be a cut above most bands and “Virginia” is one of the finest singles of 2015. It’s a ready-made anthem and if any decency prevailed in Ireland, we would be standing in a field, fists in the air, screaming the chorus as the band sat top of the charts. Lyrically , the track is filled with some fantastically war-influenced imagery and there’s also a little nod to Sartre thrown in. It’s heavier than its trippy predecessor “Wonderland” and all the better for it. And yes, Andy Mullan’s saxophone is used to even better effect here. The Witch Trials are a promising band and it will be very interesting to see where they go from here.

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YouNameUs – Rhyming By Accident

The Carlow ‘punge’ band have a thrilling new EP out, and the call/response vocals on “Rhyming By Accident” make the song a real highlight. There’s a great DIY feel here, accentuated by the dirty, rough sound. It wears its 70s punk influences loud and proud, making YouNameUs a very exciting band. The EP itself is a fiery affair, and I had pegged riot grrrl heroes Bikini Kill as an influence even before they stuck in a cover of their hit “Rebel Girl”. At two minutes “Rhyming By Accident” is suitably short, ensuring maximum impact.

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Niamh Regan – The Sweetest Drop

There are some wonderful vocals on display in Galway songwriter Niamh Regan’s acoustic new single. At times the slightly off-beat delivery can send shivers down your spine and they add a genuine quirkiness that others try too hard to achieve. “The Sweetest Drop” isn’t just a track either – it’s a three part journey. After a mournful opening, the mid-section sees a quicker tempo come to the fore as well as another layer of vocals, before we slow it down again and our journey is complete. Just lovely.

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Little Routes – Love Thy Brother

Little Routes’ debut EP received a great review by Dave Simpson and it’s easy to see why. Formed earlier this year, they’re still a relatively new band but there’s definitely enough here to suggest they could become a real force on the music scene. In short, “Love Thy Brother” is a lively folk affair that ticks all the right boxes. A quick tempo, clear vocals, and a fun sound. There are some lovely understated guitar riffs throughout and the lyrics: “My days are too short and my nights are too long, but oh my brother… say how you gettin’ on?” is a simple, very effective hook. There’s a lot of warmth and comfort to be found on their EP, and this makes for a perfect introduction.

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Soul Love – Tonight

Frontman Marc Culley has been written about before on these pages, and it’s interesting to hear how his sound has developed with a full band. “Tonight” is a big, bold number that features some great funk riffs thrown in for good measure. It’s always nice to see artists take the brave step of not including a natural chorus and Soul Love’s decision to make it predominantly instrumental pays off. The ‘chorus’ as it were, is a heavy wall of guitar courtesy of Stuart Robertson and it creates a full sound, perfect for live shows. It’s a highly polished track and as debut singles go, certainly a stellar effort.

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Commonly found in charity shops and flea markets, Jason still harbours an ambition to be the first man to win the FA Cup and Oscar for Best Actor double in the same year.