Now we’ve kicked 2016 to the curb, it’s time to look forward.

January is all about freshness, so here are 20 acts from around the globe who I reckon you’ll be hearing much more of this year. Some will be familiar to you but I expect to make an even bigger splash and some, I bet are likely to be appreciated by a lot more people by the year’s end. That was the criteria. I avoided any of the obvious ones you’ve seen elsewhere especially the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.

There are also extended playlists featuring the pick of those acts and more (JFDR, Jorja Smith, Declan McKenna, Louis Berry, ABRA, Jamilia Woods, Maggie Rogers, Pumarosa among them) on Soundcloud and Spotify.

Last year’s list.


1.

Hare Squead

Dublin R&B pop trio to hit it big this year.

A regular feature on Nialler9, Hare Squead spent the year building their fanbase in the UK by supporting Dua Lipa and dropping a series of singles and an EP on Columbia Records that suggested that Tony Konstone, E-Knock and singer Jessy Rose’s blend of soul, R&B, rap and pop could cross the Atlantic this year if all goes well.


2.

Skott

Scandinavian bright light of pop.


Four songs deep and Scandinavian artist Skott (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) has already received some worthy plaudits – Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World, approval from Lorde, plays on Zane Lowe’s Beats show and topping the Hype Machine’s most blogged chart (and featured in their end of year list)

Her songs so far are bright pop nuggets from the sweet melody of ‘Porcelain’ to orchestral finger-clicking ballad ‘Wolf’ and the whistle-assisted electronic pop of ‘Lack Of Emotion’.


3.

Jens Kuross

Brittle piano balladry with emotive results.

Idaho-born musician Jens Kuross studied Jazz at Berklee college in Boston but last year begun releasing music under his own name on the London-based Aesop label. Now based in LA, Kuross’ six tracks last year were songs of emotion, depth, minimalism and confident songwriting, taking on a singing style that gets more affecting as it opens up, with touches of Radiohead and minimalist songwriters.


4.

Ardyn

UK siblings reaching out with new pop tones.

Cotswold brother and sister Rob and Katy Pearson AKA Ardyn appeared with the smart indie pop song ‘Over The River’, a song close to London Grammar in mood. An EP followed, The Valley, which featured production by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys). More of the EP’s arched celestial pop overtones would be welcome in 2017. If you’re in London next week, they play The Line Of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast.


5.

Ailbhe Reddy

Dublin singer-songwriter has reached far in a short time.


For a new artist, having your second EP racking up over 1 million streams in your first year is quite an achievement. But Ailbhe Reddy has found fans wherever she has gone – whether its at festivals like Electric Picnic, Other Voices and Body & Soul among them. As she has grown in consciousness, so too has her craft and her live set finds her flanked by a full-band adding depth to already substantial songs. You may have heard her song ‘Seasonal’ in the RTÉ show Striking Out – courtesy of myself and Avant Music Port too.

2017 sees Ailbhe step it up into the wider world, starting with a new single ‘Relent’ and two gigs – The Servant Jazz Quarters in London on 15th February and The Sugar Club in Dublin on 22nd February.

Hear her new song below which Ailbhe says:

‘Relent’ is about looking back on a soured relationship & realising how it could have been, seeing the lessons and my own shortcomings as part of the story. It’s about the guilt that forms part of the natural retrospection on a once loving relationship. Too often these songs can be purely accusatory, whereas I’ve tried to explore the reality that there are two sides to every story and each party has their own narrative as they see it. The inspiration was these feelings and the song was written as an attempt to express this and move forward from it. To sweeten what has soured and move on without guilt”


6.

Her

French R&B duo.

Two French men make up the duo Her, making sensually suggestive R&B pop songs with electronic undertones – reminscent of Rhye with more body (ahem). They’ve had a few memorable songs already in the form of ‘Quite Like’, ‘Five Minutes’ and their most recent single ‘Queens’ featuring Zefire. They’re now signed to Island Records and kick off their year at Eurosonic next week. A debut album is forthcoming.


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  • Posted on January 5th, 2017

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    After debuting her excellent single ‘Distrust’, Ailbhe Reddy has kindly given myself first dibs on sharing her six-track EP Hollowed Out Sea with you.

    The EP takes that song’s confidence and runs with it on a Darragh Nolan-produced release of orchestral-swept singer-songwriter-lead music surrounded by musicians like Keith O’Reilly (keys/piano), Katie Lynn (violin), Muireann Ní Cheannabháin & Saorla Wright (cello), bass (Callum Orr, Cillian Byrne & Kevin Peelo), drums (Benedict Warner Clayton, Callum Orr & Lorcan Byrne) and Glockenspiel (Callum Orr & Ailbhe Reddy herself).

    Check out the EP here, which has touches of Daughter. Catch Ailbhe at the Denise Ryan Fundraiser in the Button Factory tonight.

    Posted on June 30th, 2016

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    Last year, I featured a fundraising gig for Denise Ryan who has been suffering with “Lyme disease, pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus, gastroparesis, chronic gastritis, candida, strep and clostridia infections, among other things” and is seeking funds to pay for urgent medical treatment in the US.

    Ryan has raised €70,000 but needs €100,000 to get the treatment (her own video is below).

    To help her get to that goal, Róisín O, Enemies, Ailbhe Reddy, Dermot Kennedy & Dublin Gospel Choir are playing a Denise Ryan fundraiser in the Button Factory next Thursday, June 30th.

    Tickets are €14.50 from EventBrite.ie and if you can’t make it you can donate directly.

    Facebook event.

    Posted on June 21st, 2016

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    Body & Soul Festival has let loose a load of info today for the festival, which is nearly sold out and running from June 17th – 19th at Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath

    First here’s an overview of who is playing where including some new announcements like Music Network, Somadrone, Ocho, AE MAK, Ailbhe Reddy, Katie Laffan, Feather and BARQ.

    BODY&SOUL STAGE / MIDNIGHT CIRCUS

    The Gloaming / Santigold / St Germain / Hudson Mohawke / Floating Points (live) / Mercury Rev / Neon Indian / Girl Band / BadBadNotGood / Wolf Parade / Sun Kil Moon / Junior Boys / David August / Cassy / Optimo / Gold Panda / Mbongwana Star / Ibibio Sound Machine / Tanya Tagaq / Slow Magic / Jambinai / Ho99o9 / Ninos Du Brasil / NAH / Brian Deady / Bleeding Heart Pigeons / Rusangano Family / FJAAK / EMBRZ / Bitch Falcon

    ON THE WOODLANDS STAGE

    Holly Macve / Talos / Saint Sister / Elm / TooFools / Forrests / Mario Batkovic / Daithí / Somadrone / Myles Manley / Plutonic Dust / Loah / Ocho / Aine Cahill / ÆMak / Elephant / We Eat Electric Light / Ailbhe Reddy / Ollie Bell / Niamh Regan / PRESENTED BY MUSIC NETWORK: Séamus Begley, Catriona McKay & Chris Stout / OKO / Christine Tobin / Bangers and Crash Percussion Trio / The Carducci Quartet / Donal Lunny, Máirtín O’Connor & Zoë Conway

    ON THE PAGODA STAGE

    Daniel McDermott / PolyGlove / BARQ / Auxiliary Phoenix / The Ocelots / Joni / Tracy Bruen / Katie Laffan / Shrubs Duo / Farah Elle / Feather / Apollonia Tribal Bellydance / Floating Ballroom / Publicity Machine / Johnny Rayge / El Grey / Roisin El Cherif / Candlelit Tales & Infinity Program: The Story of Eithlinn / Marangvla A&V / Arash

    Second Nature area

    Body&Soul announced a new area called Second Nature featuring the Woodlands stage described as:

    “…an enchanted menagerie of lush music, contemporary performance, immersive, nature-based art and Zen-like pockets of peace, nestled among the centuries-old oaks, pines and ash trees of Ballinlough Castle’s forest. This otherworldly woodland cocoon takes Body&Soul back to its lo-fi roots, celebrating ideas, intimate moments and the beguiling indulgence of chilling out.”

    The Woodlands stage will be housed in this area and the stage itself, custom-designed by Christy Collard. is built from repurposed timber from the previous main stage (which also gets a facelift).

    Second Nature will be more intimate and feature as well as the music programme: The Sanctuary, Solas Bath House, the Pagoda Stage (lineup above), art installations, theatre and performance, interactive experiences and documentary-filmmaker Myles O’Reilly’s area Arbutus Yarns (which will feature spoken word poet, Stephen James Smith, musicians Anna Mieke Bishop, Rhob Cunningham and Mossy Nolan).

    Film

    The Light House Cinema with a pop-up cinema taking over our Sanctuary Healing area by night. From 9pm till 1am, their programme is packed with music, gas craic and timely tributes, with a special screening of Prince’s Purple Rain, alongside Stop Making Sense, Labyrinth, The Life Aquatic, The Big Lebowski and a Sing Along screening of Grease.

    Theatre

    Robbie O’Connor and Aisling O’Mara in association with Anu Productions will present their immersive production Anu Productions will present their production Rebel Rebel, directed by Louise Lowe. The specially commissioned immersive production Every Morning I Wake and Seem to Forget which will take participants on a mystery journey through the festival grounds, as they participate in an unfolding story. Created and conceived by theatre producer Matt Smyth and director Hugh Farrell, this immersive experience blends interactive theatre with the magic of a festival where anything can happen.

    Every Morning I Wake and Seem to Forget which will take participants on a mystery journey through the festival grounds, as they participate in an unfolding story. Created and conceived by theatre producer Matt Smyth (Anu Productions, Dead Centre) and director Hugh Farrell, this immersive experience blends interactive theatre with the magic of a festival where anything can happen.

    Tickets

    Last tier €169.50+ fee tickets for Body&Soul are on sale now.

    Posted on May 11th, 2016

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    In February, I debuted the single from upcoming Dublin singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy, ‘Distrust’ from her forthcoming new EP Hollowed Out Sea.

    Now, we get to look at the video by Daragh Murphy, which focuses on Reddy and takes the song’s idea of a disintegrating relationship and places it in a crumbling building.

    Download the song at Bandcamp.

    Ailbhe Reddy plays an EP launch in the Odessa on May 28th.

    Posted on May 10th, 2016

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    Ailbhe Reddy is a singer-songwriter who’s been bubbling under for a bit developing her sound.

    With an EP under her name from last year, Reddy worked with producer Darragh Nolan (Sacred Animals, producer with Johnny Stewart now Wolff and Dear Desert) at Asta Kalapa Studios on her new EP Hollowed Out Sea.

    ‘Distrust’ is her latest track, a song which pushes and pulls between acceptance, desire and distrust: at once mournful yet resolved to move on.

    Download ‘Distrust’ at Bandcamp.

    Posted on February 24th, 2016

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    Abner Browns Barbershop in Rathmines is putting on a month-long Women In Music series featuring live sets from independent Irish female musicians with support from Musicmaker and Canalaphonic.

    The series of free BYOB gigs kicks off in the shop on January 16th and will also feature women in the music industry talking about their work including Cait O’Riordan (The Pogues, The Radiators, Elvis Costello), TXFM’s Claire Beck and promoter/manager Una Molloy. Donations on each night go towards The Women’s Refuge in Rathmines.

    Saturday Jan 16 Katie Laffan, Sive
    Thursday Jan 21 Grainne Hunt, Naoise Roo
    Sunday Jan 24 Hvmmingbird, I am Niamh
    Saturday Jan 30 Fox Owl Crow, Miriam Donohue
    Thursday Feb 4 Shelly Bukspan’s talent showcase
    Saturday Feb 6 Ailbhe Reddy, Davina Brady
    Thursday Feb 11 Mongoose, Neev Kennedy
    Saturday Feb 13 Sinead White, Saramai
    Thursday Feb 18 Carron, Niamh Regan

     

    Posted on January 7th, 2016

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