Nialler9 & PRS for Music are team up to cohost four of Ireland’s brightest new bands at the evening showcase at Output Belfast Conference & Showcase with Generator NI on February 16th in Belfast’s The Dirty Onion. The show is free in and a part of the evening showcases of gigs featuring lots of new bands around the city.
Bands lined up to play the free showcase around the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast also include Silences, Chanele McGuinness, Hot Cops, Brash Isaac, Callum Stewart, Ryan Vail, Gross Net, Junk Drawer, Malojian, Robyn G Shiels, Autumns, The Wood Burning Savages, David C Clements, Carriages, Robocobra Quartet, Sullivan & GOld, Making Monsters, Touts, Larks, Susie Blue and more.
Hosts include Nialler9, Smalltown America Studios, The Thin Air, Chordblossom, The Greedy Pig, Homebeat, State, Voodoo, Help Musicians, Quiet Arch, PRS, IMRO, Sentric, The Nerve Centre, The Oh Yeah Centre, Primitive Sound and many more.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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”
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.
I’ve spent 11 years writing about and documenting Irish music, with an emphasis on Dublin, my hometown and capital city.
The music scene has changed a lot in those times, not only from the industry side: with the revenue in flux, streaming music changing the landscape and a greater emphasis on the experience that can’t be downloaded – the live music and club scene.
An increase in bands and artists buoyed by the possibilities that digital access affords has lead to a varied music scene no longer anchored by a monotone stream of singer-songwriters. Dublin’s music scene and the acts playing it represents an embrace of sound, a widening of the net, an exploration of the possibilities.
Nialler9 in association with Absolut came together to talk to the people who work in music and the people who promote, play and make it, about how they feel the music made here. There’s a sense of energy brewing once more. Dublin’s small size makes it a perfect place to play. You get to know other musicians and promoters. Artists cross-pollinate and collaborate. No one genre exists in their own bubble as in a city this size, especially at a festival like Metropolis; the possibility two bubbles can intersect and form a more interesting place, is never far away. A sense of collaboration and size means the prism of Dublin’s music can be discovered with ease.
In this video by Allen Kiely, we talked to the likes of Loah, Bitch Falcon, Le Boom, Homebeat, Ruth Medjber, DJ Deece, Hidden Agenda, DJ Sally Cinnamon, Kelly-Anne Byrne and Bantum.
We got a sense of how a city collaborates, influences, intersects, builds community, energises, grows, makes spaces and places for magic to happen.
The leading city lights mentioned by the assembled include Cinema, Yamamori Tengu, Metropolis, Saint Sister, Girl Band, Wastefellow, Damola and Akora.
We talk about Oisin’s New Jersey upbringing, grown men crying over beautiful songs stuck in traffic, what it’s like to support Grandmaster Flash, the beauty of a basso profundo voice – the lowest you can get, a Hard Working Class Heroes highlight, the tune Oisin would like his kids to associate with him and a couple of Belfast bangers.