Today’s Song: Grunge, Galway, & HBO’s Euphoria Converge in NewDad’s “Angel”

NewDad © Zyanya Lorenzo
NewDad © Zyanya Lorenzo
Inspired by the characters on HBO’s Euphoria, NewDad’s emotionally charged “Angel” is an achingly intimate grunge-fueled fever dream: A vulnerable, intimate inner reckoning with mental illness that shines a light on the darkness in our bones.
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Stream: “Angel” – NewDad




The darkness isn’t just creeping in on NewDad’s “Angel” – it’s utterly and absolutely overwhelming.

Overdriven guitars and thunderous drums churn out an atmosphere that hangs over the ears and soul like a weighted blanket does a body. Out of this heavy music comes the visceral sense of suffocation by unseen forces – by powers coming from within. It’s a sensation many of us have felt from time to time, and a state of being some of us live with all-too often – though we rarely, if ever talk about it. Music like this helps us feel seen and less alone – as does the television show that inspired this song.

Inspired by the characters on HBO’s Euphoria, NewDad’s emotionally charged “Angel” is an achingly intimate grunge-fueled fever dream: A vulnerable, intimate inner reckoning with mental illness that shines a light on the darkness in our bones.

Angel - NewDad
“Angel” single art – NewDad
You’re sweet, but I’m sick
I hurt myself for kicks
I’m lost but you’re found
Both feet firmly on the ground
And I’m so high
But still so low
I think I’m losing my mind
You’re an angel
I’m just trying to be like you
Even if it’s painful

Released September 13, 2023 via Fair Youth / Atlantic Records, “Angel” is NewDad’s third track since signing with a major label and the lead single off their highly-anticipated debut album, MADRA (out January 26, 2024). A seductive, soul-stirring sonic deluge, “Angel” continues in the footsteps of the Irish band’s previous releases (2021’s debut EP Waves and 2022’s sophomore effort Banshee, the latter of which was one of Atwood Magazine‘s EPs of the Year).

Formed in Galway and as of this year based in London, NewDad are an uncompromising alternative quartet consisting of singer/guitarist Julie Dawson, Áindle O’Beirn, Sean O’Dowd, and Fiachra Parslow. They’ve long been praised for the raw energy and brash indie rock fervor they inject into their songs, and while “Angel” is decidedly on the heavier side of the indie rock spectrum, it is without a doubt a fantastic best-foot-forward for anyone who hasn’t yet hopped on the NewDad bandwagon.



Madra - NewDad
‘MADRA’, NewDad’s debut album, is out January 26, 2024

Let it be said: There’s no bubble in this grunge. NewDad hold nothing back in their onslaught, evoking the spirit of Nirvana as they dwell in the depths of anxiety, depression, and mental illness. Dawson spills her heart and her soul, holding nothing back in the song’s volatile and breathtaking chorus:

You can swim around
But I don’t want you to drown inside me
It’s not fair to be your responsibility

“‘Angel’ was written while we were living in Galway,” Julie Dawson tells Atwood Magazine. “We jammed it in one day and then I wrote lyrics, it was during lockdown so I had been lacking inspiration but when I was rewatching Euphoria, I felt very drawn to Rue and Jules’ relationship.”

“That idea of feeling like a burden in a relationship because of your mental health resonated with me a lot, so I ran with that and found I had a lot to say about that kind of relationship, where you feel you don’t deserve someone so wonderful when you’re unwell.”

According to Dawson, “Angel” is a particularly fitting introduction to the band’s forthcoming debut, which she describes as a deeply vulnerable affair. The record’s recently-released second single, “Let Go,” continues the theme of cathartic lyricism and heavy-hitting music.

Madra, meaning dog in Irish, explores various difficult parts of the human condition and the idea of the title is that these feelings that come up are sometimes ones you can’t escape, feelings that follow you around like a dog,” Dawson explains. “We had an amazing team around us who helped bring these songs to life and we’re so excited for this album to be out in the world. We hope that people connect with the songs and that Madra can be a comfort to everyone who listens.”

NewDad © Zyanya Lorenzo
NewDad © Zyanya Lorenzo



You’re kind, but I’m not
It seems that I forgot how to care
About anything but my own despair
And You have a good heart
But I’m sure mines stopped
And it won’t restart
I think it’s broken
So, you can’t own it

Bringing the darkness to light – exposing it, in a way – can help us to better understand what we’re going through, and to know that we’re never alone in these experiences – no matter how isolating anxiety and depression can be. “Angel” may be inspired by a television show’s characters, but the story of Rue and Jules is not unique to the world of a fictionalized HBO drama. NewDad’s music is heavy, heartfelt, and beautifully human: A cathartic experience that candidly highlights a topic we still don’t talk about nearly enough.

Good on the band for leaning into mental health and mental illness; for singing so openly about it that we, their listeners, can find comfort and solace in their songs.

Let the grunge drown your ears or the words move your heart: NewDad’s “Angel” is all-consuming and irresistible.

You can swim around
But I don’t want you to drown inside me
It’s not fair to be your responsibility
You can swim around
But I don’t want you to drown inside me
It’s not fair to be your responsibility

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:: stream/purchase MADRA here ::
:: connect with NewDad here ::
Stream: “Angel” – NewDad



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Angel - NewDad

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