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.
Math rock makes a return to the Irish music scene! Tribal Dance reminds me of all the Richter Collective gigs, the music of Not Squares and Cap Pas Cap that had a big hold on what was going on in the country 10 years ago. ‘Flongo’ is this Dublin trio’s debut single and features the rhythmic tautness of early Foals with a bassline in a rush to the finish.
Ye Vagabonds – Go Where You Will
Carlow brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn have spent the last few years growing their audience via support slots with Glen Hansard, Villagers, Roy Harper and Lisa Hannigan. Their debut self-titled album was released last Friday and features this gorgeous resonant lilt.
Beauty Sleep – ‘Until We See The Sun’
Belfast dream-pop trio take things up a notch with an indie-disco track that for the second time this week, harks back to indie of another era, this time when Kitsuné reigned the blogosphere.
New Portals – Sober
Ruth and Michael Aicken are a Belfast couple who know how to write a catchy tune. On Sober, they take inspiration from the Sober For October campaign (Ocsober surely?) which advocates abstaining from alcohol for the month and the song is a celebration of the opposite of most pop songs in that regard.
GaniyuTLG x Plant Food feat. Skilyt- ‘Nandos’
The rapper and producer team up again after their excellent ‘Shivers’. Like the chicken restaurant of the title, this is a grimey and experimental joint. Wait, what?
JyellowL – ‘Bulletproof’
The Word Up Collective artist JYellowL impressed with ‘Cold In The Summer’ but ‘Bulletproof’ shows a new artist developing with even more confidence. It’s taken from his new EP launched on Friday.
“The song is a testimony of my own life experiences. Where I’ve shown tenacity and resilience in my everyday struggles and experiences. The EP is intended to inspire strength of will – an attribute I pride myself on. My experiences are a testament to the fact that we will all face hard times, failure and mockery but the way to get through those times is to adopt an bulletproof mentality. It’s not just music, it’s a mindset”.
Laura Ann Brady – Lie
The zither and autoharp-playing musician follows up her tempestuous single Masterpiece with a brighter and beguiling track.
Badhands – ‘Waves’
The solo project of Dan Fitzpatrick came about after the absolution of The Mighty Stef Band last year. Fitzpatrick was previously a member of the Last Tycoons. An album, Predictable Boy is in the can with inspirations drawn from Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Villagers and Leonard Cohen.
The album’s first single ‘Waves’ is a flourishing folk tribute that is inspired by the experience when Dan and brother Jamie swam out to sea to scatter their father’s ashes near their family home in Glastule. Next gig? Workman’s Club on November 11th.
Elaine Mai – When I Go
A new video from Paul Mahon from the Mayo artist’s recent EP arrived the same week Elaine Mai headlined the Workman’s Club. Of the video Elaine says – “This video was shot at a lake about a ten minute walk from where I grew up in Mayo. It’s an amazing place to get some perspective, reconnect with nature and clear your head. It was the perfect place to shoot the video for this track which is about recognising when you’re not okay and then trying to take the steps to make things better.”
Proper Micro NV – Oblivious
Rory Hall continues his neo-soul electronic journey with a track from his recent EP Colours. I’m looking forward to hearing where this Limerick singer and musician goes next.