With a wealth of home-grown talent one need look no further than the Irish music scene to hear exciting fresh original new music. The folk, rock and Indie scenes have been strong historically and recent years have seen talent emerging from the worlds of Hip-Hop and Electronic music. No doubt the accessibility of technology has influenced this with emerging artists able to make high quality productions with limited resources. Although this list represents but a fraction of our favourites from 2016, it reflects the variety and richness of Irish musical talent right now.
Twin Headed Wolf really are something special – twins whose beautifully synchronised singing is set to music composed using a range of experimental instruments. The pair are renowned for their live performances at Glastonbury's legendary Underground Piano Bar. Their hauntingly beautiful album 'The long Decay', released last May, was recorded live in a Norwegian mausoleum which amazingly has a 14 second reverb and together with the beautiful synergy of the girls' harmony gives the album a unique ethereal quality.
My Fellow Sponges are a Galway band who personify the creative spirit of Galway. Singers and multi-instrumentalists Anna & Donal make original music imbued with a romantic bohemian spirit. Not afraid to experiment with styles, this ensemble of musicians always bring the magic and regularly collaborate to create impressive live shows.
If you remember being (or are presently) a lurking teen with little to do and no money to do it you will identify with the songs of SKiNNER. A great example of a DIY album whose witty lyrics about smoking rollies, being skint and & hanging around combine with original musicality to make an entertaining and honest album. It also manages to be endearing and there is a wonderful irony that while most of the album is about hanging around and being bored, this lad has managed to use his time to craft a very noteworthy album.
Wounds will remind people of the 'Stranger Things' soundtrack (of which Vail has also released a clubby sounding re-mix). Despite many tracks on the concept album having roots in 80s synthpop, any notions that this is the 1980s are erased by the insertion of found sounds and distinctive modern plays on rhythms. His more Classical style compositions sit nicely alongside his more electronic tracks, which is something only someone with real talent can achieve.
There is a distinct pleasure which comes from being hit by a wall of rich rock-guitar sound. The unbridled energy of these Cavan guys' debut single 'King Of The Universe' has all the force of a live performance. It promises great things to come.
It's no surprise that independent act Hvmmingbyrd have attracted so much attention and are getting airplay on national radio. They make beautiful resonating songs in their own unique style which will have you humming away long after you hear them.
This trio hail from Limerick with two of its members having roots in Africa. They are political, talented, innovative and likeable. Their stories are relevant, topical and important and are narrated via an ever changing succession of sounds and styles. These guys succeed in telling us about their unique experiences through finely crafted hip-hop and have created a distinctive and exceptional album.