Irish siblings Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn have finally answered the eternal question: What happens when you combine traditional folk music with Arthur Russell's amplified cello? The brothers record as Ye Vagabonds, and "Blue is the Eye" is the first peek at their upcoming album, Nine Waves, due out May 13 on River Lea Records, a passion project of Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis that spotlights unorthodox artists from Ireland and Great Britain's folk scene.
The Mac Gloinns sing in gentle, slightly dissonant harmonies here, the kind that inspire rapt silence instead of singalongs. And that eerie cello? That's Kate Ellis of Dublin's Crash Ensemble, with fine-tuning courtesy of producer John "Spud" Murphy, a cornerstone of the Dublin music scene who's worked with past and future NPR Music faves Lankum and caroline.