© 2022 Slane Irish Whiskey
2022 Best of | Best albums | Best songs | Irish albums | Irish songs | Best Of Podcasts | Guest lists | Best New Irish artists
Journey To/From The Meltyworld
Meltybrains? released their first single in four years in July, the psychedelic kraut-rock oddyssey of ‘A Journey To/From The Meltyworld’. It’s from their forthcoming album You out on January 25th 2023 on Galway’s Strange Brew Records.
Have It In My Hands
London-based Dublin rapper Archy Moor‘s ‘Have It In My Hands’ is from forthcoming EP Bonnie Hill, a fine laidback rap track with a memorable hook by Nick Mills, who produced the track with Earl Saga.
J Smith’s excellent debut album (…) And you chose not to laugh was a favourite of 2021, and the Three Dots EP featured this beautiful track, ‘Skipping Stones’, a song that speaks of family, distance and experiencing both sides of fatherhood.
“On a walk with my wife I was overcome with a thought that I might never write another song about my father again, and it spurred the creation of Skipping Stones, made all the more significant having become a new father myself recently.J Smith
Farewell / Kamikaze
‘Farewell/Kamikaze’ is a serene elegaic song from Eoin French co-written with producer/songwriter SOHN from Talos‘ album Dear Chaos.
Dublin trio Just Wondering are establishing their sound that draws from alt-pop, hip-hop and electronic textures with an ultra-focus on melody.
On ‘idk, maybe’, their brand of kaleidoscopic electronic pop pitches them somewhere between Mura Masa and The 1975.
Just Wondering are Wale Akande, Jack O’Shaughnessy and Adam Redmond.
the way i make things feel okay
Mullingar artist Amy Michelle is a purple-themed purveyor of dark ASMR atmospheric pop. ‘the way i make things feel okay’ encapsulates the artist’s penchant for intimately confessional songcraft.
Kormac, Jack O’Rourke
Dublin producer Kormac’s collaborative album Equivalent Exchange features contributions from MayKay, Jafaris, Loah and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
This beaut of a song which gets rolling instrumentally with tension and release electronica before Cork singer Jack O’Rourke appears with some warm soul vocals.
Got Let Go
‘Got Let Go’ a howl of trashy musical frustration about the plights of working for a living, especially when that work comes to halt due to redundancy. It’s from The SMC’s spiky punk EP called A Shock for Jimmy. The band are Kildare duo of Stephen Fahey (Super Extra Bonus Party) and Poggy Dillon (No Monster Club/We Are Losers).
‘Chihiro’ is a blast of ’90s alt-rock with a gauzy centre, inspired by the lead character in the Studio Ghibl film Spirited Away from Dubliner Faith Nico aka Cruel Sister. It features on the debut EP girls my age EP.
‘Mona’ is the lead-single from Dublin-based Waterford artist’s sixth and “concluding” album Hour Of The Ox under the Katie Kim name.
It is a contrasting melt of dirgey industrial sounds (“sludge”) and Katie Kim’s bright vocals that builds into a Portishead-style track. The album was produced by long-time collaborator John “Spud” Murphy (Black Midi, Lankum) and was written and recorded while in the process of moving to New York and subsequently mixed after returning to Ireland during the pandemic.
“Mona has existed for around 7 years, and has taken on many forms, but for this album version myself and John wanted to drape it in a magnificent sludge and a sense of close confinement for the first few introductory minutes. To then almost present a feeling of freedom and emancipation and awe at the final half. Mona represents an aspiration for something better to me.”Katie Kim
Belfast jazz-punk band Robocobra Quartet’s ‘Wellness’ is a song that literally takes an actual newspaper article which details the daily routines of influencers aloud as its lyrics.
“There’s a song by The Fall called Dr Buck’s Letter where Mark E Smith reads out an interview by Pete Tong and there’s a beautiful absurdity to it so I thought I should just repeat this article verbatim as it didn’t need any fictionalising at all,” says Robocobra’s Chris Ryan.
Lay In The River
Guud Grief are a recently debuted Dublin band who arrived with a mission statement, a purpose and a vision, built “around a belief in the rugged rhythms of community.”
The band are fronted by Collective Films director Mark Logan, who is also part of new Irish label Audio Department Records, and there’s a raggle-taggle dusty soul blues feel to the band’s debut single ‘Lay In The River’, a guttural track which grows from a campfire jam to a full band crescendo.
London-based Limerick’s Sinead O’Brien brings a spoken word aesthetic to post-punk music and when it really hits, it soars like on this highlight from 2022 album Time Bend and Break The Bower.
Cork R&B artist Jena Keating digs deep into her emotional fabric on a song that she explains:
Boundaries. A word easy to say but difficult to lay down. This song goes through what it feels like to be dripped, dropped and doused in other people’s emotions.
Boundaries is about being the therapist to everybody and realising it’s time to exit the chat.
I’ll be the elephant in the room if it means I’m there
I’d be a fly on your wall if it meant that I had a prayer
Singer-songwriter Sammy Copley ‘Elephant’ is a lovely Phoebe Bridgers’-esque song from the Little Box EP.
James Vincent McMorrow
James Vincent McMorrow followed up last year’s Grapefruit Season album, with a slate-wipe album of The Less I Knew, that found him returning to his acoustic singer-songwriter roots, with full arrangements in tow. ‘Hurricane’ is a bright and open-hearted tune that marks a new phase. A second album Heavyweight Champion of Dublin 8 was also promised but may arrive next year.
Jape’s instrumental electronic album 9K HI Vol. 1 was made using an old low-bitrate Casio FZ1 sampler, and ‘Secret Area’ is a wonky toned highlight of the record.
Nialler9 Podcast: Jape on electronic music for graveyards & walks
When Cork alt-rock trio Pretty Happy lean into their weird side it’s usually with repeating discombobulating vocal lines that leads to frenzied rock music like on ‘Boots’.
‘Conn Boxing’ is something else, a meditative song with explosive, angry lyrics with overheard platitudes about a boxing club and could possibly allude to toxic masculinity, or abuse or simply just sport and reputation. It’s not clear, but the atmosphere builds to a vocal release that suggests something more difficult to digest.
The song is from the band’s EP Echo Boy.
Irish drill and Gliders rappers Elzzz and TraviS’ song ‘365’, is a track that walks a hire-wire from the off. It slaps.
Superb alt-pop smarts from the Dublin artist Anna Leah. ‘I Wonder’ has charming indie undulations and rock dynamics and recalls our gal Julia Jacklin in the best possible way – keeping the vocal front and centre no matter what’s happening.