January is all about renewal and looking forward so with that in mind here are 18 acts from around the globe who we reckon will be on your playlist rotation this year. Some you may know, but our criteria is based on picking acts you won’t see in other lists or new acts we already love and support.
Signed to Domino Records, Superorganism is made up of eight musicians from London, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, seven of which now calling London home in the same house. Their electro-pop sound is making waves around the world with the latest track ‘Everyone Wants to Be Famous’ already clocking up over three hundred thousand views on YouTube since it’s release three weeks ago. Their debut album is out on March 2nd and you can catch them at Forbidden Fruit festival this year.
Dublin-based band Tribal Dance is made up of Adam Smyth, Stephen Dowling and Leo Clarke, formed with the explicit desire to play live shows. Their first and only release so far, ‘Flongo’, sent out waves of excitement, relying on intricate guitar notes, garage-rock vocals and interlocked percussion. Math-rock has returned to the Irish music scene.
Californian born 16-year-old Billie Eilish’s debut track ‘Ocean Eyes’ was written and produced with her brother Finneas O’Connell when she was only 13. It was originally posted on Soundcloud with the intent to show it to her dance teacher and class, within two weeks the track hit 1 million views. Her debut EP don’t smile at me came out on Interscope Records last year and embodies her moody teenager aesthetic. Ruth Cronin called her style ‘petulant pop’.
Harmonic electro-pop duo
London-based duo Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville or IDER signed to Glassnote Records last year. With singles such as ‘Nevermind’ and ‘Learn To Let Go’ they have encapsulated a sweet electro-pop sound for themselves with majestic harmonies. They made their Irish gig debut at Electric Picnic last year. You can catch them at Rich Mix, London next month.
Australian five-piece synth-pop group Parcels were discovered by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter at a gig in Paris, he then went on to co-produce their debut single ‘Overnight’ which has reached over 15 million streams on Spotify. They play an impressive 25 sold out shows around the world this year. They were due to play Body and Soul last but due to technical difficulties Ireland are still waiting on a gig.
Now officially a duo of Merril Garbus and Nate Brenner, tune-yards will release a fourth record called I can feel you creep into my private life on January 19th. The sound of this song ‘Look At Your Hands’ is a nice taster, it’s more focused, danceable and electronic-leaning while retaining some of that Afro looped pop exuberance that is a key part of the Tune-yards identity.
“Thematically, the twelve new songs tackle race, politics, intersectional feminism and environmental prophecies head on. But in the billows of intense subject matter, the album arrives as Tune-Yards’ most immediate and upbeat music yet – this is music to dance to.|
Pink Kink – ‘Munchie Magic’
A Liverpool band whose second single equates a desire for fast food with oral sex, ‘Munchie Magic’ is a gang-shouting slice of glittering shouty neon pop.
Lankum – Déanta In Eireann
From one of my albums of the past week (and a band who announced a Vicar Street show this morning) comes this standout from Between The Earth & The Sky about Ireland. The 8-minute ‘Deanta in Eireann’ that could be about nearly any time in Irish history but are applicable to the now – migration, a government who doesn’t care about the little people and using your Irish charm abroad but it turns the song’s gaze back on the homeland – “if the Dáil are the pimps, then we are the whores” and in the end, you’ll want to stand up and declare the song our new antagonistic national anthem.
Marcus Marr – High Times
THE DFA producer that brought us the absolute dancefloor riproar of ‘Rocketship’ brings the funk and house on this new track. Reminds me of early Daft Punk.
Gorillaz & Little Simz – Garage Palace
An uncharacteristic banger from Gorillaz with UK rapper Little Simz on vocals. This is a fresh thing.
Bibio – ‘Phantom Brickworks III’
Bibio has a new album out Friday called Phantom Brickworks and it’s a collection of mostly improvised ambient pieces that are quite evocative.
Phantom Brickworks is a collection of mostly improvised musical pieces, that for some years now, have provided me with a mental portal into places and times – some real, some imaginary, some a combination of both. Human beings are highly sensitive to the atmospheres of places, which can be enhanced or dramatically altered when you learn about the context of their history. Echoes and voices can sometimes be heard, in some way or another. Places sometimes have things to say.” Bibio
The Cyclist – When We All Break Down
Derry producer Andrew Morrison dropped his new album Sapa Inca Delirium last Friday and his stated aim was to bring some warmth into electronic music. On one of the album highlights, he hooks up with Joni, who recorded her vocals in one take over some percussive synth dance music with a nod to garage and drum ‘n’ bass.
Hamilton Leithauser & Angel Olsen – Wild Hunger
Olsen’s been on fire on the collaboration front lately and here, her turn with the Walkmen singer is a great match as his retro singing style is reinforced when she appears.
Young Fathers – Lord
Glasgow trio Young Fathers have finished recording their third album and so they’ve shared the closing cut from it to coincide with some UK dates. You can’t dance to it they want you to know. It is a slow alt-gospel ballad in their unique style.
Teen Ravine – Steady On
Toronto act Teen Ravine bring the crystallised dream pop vibes from an upcoming album.