Ireland is lucky in that for such a small island, we have a lot of talent just bursting from our shores.
Music in particular is one of the things us Irish excel at, and with a growing creative scene across the country and more and more artists reaching out to each other for music collaborations, we’re set to see quite a few new acts grace our airwaves in the New Year.
Our top 10 picks for the new Irish music artists you just have to listen to are a healthy mix of electronic beats, soulful crooners and all-round bangers.
Indiana born and Wicklow raised, 20-year-old Bonzai is a neon-bright blend of rap, grime, dubstep, techno and D&B. The cool club-gals new BFF.
Bonzai has recently signed to Columbia Records, with her 2016 LP ‘Lunacy’ making critics bow down worldwide.
She plays District 8 in Dublin on December 30 – don’t miss it.
2. The Fontaines
The Fontaines are a five-piece band from Dublin who are bringing punk back to the city. With influences ranging from The Ramones and ’80s British Alternative, these lads are a breath of fresh, rock n’ rollin’ air.
They recently played at Dingle’s Other Voices festival – expect them to knock your socks off at their next gigs in 2017.
The wonderful Ruairi Lynch, AKA Bantum, is a Cork-bred but Dublin-based producer whose newest electronica release, mini-album ‘Move’, not only showcases his expert skills but many other up-and-coming Irish artists.
Sounds range from uptown-soul to guitar riffs strummed over electronics. As an extra-sound bonus, his LP and singles are available to download for free.
4. Overhead, The Albatross
Six-piece instrumental band from our fair Dublin city, these guys are pretty special.
Indie verging on psych/alternative, they’re become known for their energetic live performances in the last six years that they’ve been together, but it’s only recently that the hard work has paid off.
Fresh from a headline show at Vicar Street, we are excited to see more of them in 2017.
5. Farah Elle
Mix hip-hop, ska, R&B and incredible vocals with an Arabian influence and you have Farah Elle.
This absolute delight of a singer has had a busy year playing at Ireland’s top music festivals (and featuring on Bantum’s LP), so it’s only natural that a buzz has started for what she will bring to our ears in the next few months.
It’s difficult to define Meltybrains?, a classically-trained group who make, to say the least, experimental music.
These guys combine bass, drums, electric violin, synthesisers and effected vocals with their artsy visual-effects that include performance masks.
The quirky but hugely talented bunch have played SXSW and EP but if you still need a reason to love them check out their entertaining ‘Good Press’ and ‘Bad Press’ section on their site.
7. Hare Squead
These three “black Irish kids making waves”, as they introduce themselves on their site, are the coolest thing to come out of west Dublin in a long while.
Their summer-y R&B rap is the new sound of parties across town after their third single release, ‘If I Ask’.
The boys themselves are an absolute scream that we hope never become too media-trained – we like their wild side.
Loah, the stage name of choice of Sallay Matu Garnett, has worked with members of Little Green Cars and co-wrote with Hozier.
Of Irish and Sierra Leonean origin, the fabulous singer takes West-African choral influences and adds her own soulful, jazzy vibe.
Her EP was released in November and she has plans to tour next year – YES.
9. Rusangano Family
This Limerick city trio come from Zimbabwe, Togo and Co Clare, working closely as a family unit to develop their ultra-diverse, bass-led music.
Their rap is close to poetry as they share personal tales to the grimy funk beats spun by their DJ.
Inspiring live shows at Other Voices and Whelan’s have cemented the well-deserved hype.
10. Æ MAK
Aoife McCann and Ellie McMahon met while studying vocals in BIMM in 2011, and have been a song-writing duo ever since, impressing with their alternative/indie-pop sound that’s reminiscent of Lykke Li.
The pair’s harmonies and upbeat buzz made a stir with their November EP release, and a steady stream of very fun live gigs.
#girlpower at its finest.