Welcome to the fifth annual Nialler9 new artists list.
The Nialler9 list of favourite new artists of the year, takes in a few factors to determine a list, in order to keep the list down to a reasonably digestible one, we focused on 20 names.
Above all, this is a list of acts who broke through this year, in the world of new emerging music. They aren’t the headliners yet, generally, though many of the previous acts featured very much are these days. These are the best new acts I loved this year.
The criteria includes my own personal most-listened and supported, the acts’ live gigs, recorded output, activity, and the chance that we’re tipping these acts to go on to greater things in the coming years.
It’s still early days for many of them, but the Irish music landscape this year would have been much less interesting without them, and the list of 60 plus acts that didn’t make this list due to brevity and, my sanity.
Not entirely new per se, but the Acid Granny juggernaut has kicked up a significant notch this year.
The band with the shopping trolley full of synths you’ll see around Dublin city who have songs about the Brits and Irish dairy? Yeah, that’s Acid Granny, the nomadic messers with the echoed microphone who make radio plays and release compilations of music called things like Urban Hurling.
Live, is where they thrive and you might hear songs like ‘Respect The Garda’, ‘Would You Be My Landlords?’ or ‘The Power of Irish Dairy’. They’ve been playing more gigs in traditional venues lately but nothing about Acid Granny is traditional.
A six-track debut EP on Method Records, the way i make things feel okay EP, cemented the artist’s vibe, which aesthetically is the colour purple.
Some small debut shows in places like Smock Alley in Dublin and Folklore in Hoxton, London, along with festival debuts at Electric Picnic Latitude, and Dingle’s Other Voices.
Phoebe Bridgers, Elliott Smith, Lorde and Billie Eilish have been mentioned here as references, Amy Michelle has been writing new music in preparation for 2023, starting with new song ‘Patience’, and its large puppet-featuring video.
Dublin indie-rock four-piece
Banríon (ban-reen) have prominent indie-rock band on the Dublin circuit this year.
Since the release of their Airport Dads EP in 2020, the band, lead by singer Róisín Ní Haicéid’s has collaborated with qwasi, passersby and Henry Earnest, and supported Pillow Queens and played Ireland Music Week.
Their best song to date is the wonderful ‘Fooling’, a song which addresses Ní Haicéid’s experience with “cancer within her family through the lens of her own disability, and dealing with catastrophe through humour – how she approaches the shift from being cared for to carer and working out a coping mechanism are reflected in the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and songwriting style”.
It’s from an upcoming EP Dare To Crush, recorded by Rian Trench.
Ballymun band with diaristic jazz, soul and a blistering live show.
Bricknasty are a product of Ireland’s young musicians increasing love and studying of jazz over the last 10 years, with accomplished players like this Dublin-based band weaving in neo-soul, R&B, hip-hop and more into an energy that makes the most sense live – the fervour of a punk rock band playing jazz and beyond.
While there’s a sense that Bricknasty are only getting started, they’ve already been putting on regular nights in the Sugar Club with pals called the Bricknasty Sessions, are always seem just five minutes from a stage, playing every other week.
Having said that, recent song ‘Ina Crueler’ also showed, this isn’t a band easily pigeonholed.
The Fermanagh-born artist Clara Tracey released her debut album Black Forest in October, on Dundalk label Pizza Pizza.
The album is a culmination of a literal and artistic journey that had the artist living in Paris, Dublin and Belfast, and playing live with the likes of Aoife Nessa Frances, Maija Sofia and Paddy Hanna along with solo shows in Montreal, Paris, London and New York.
Black Forest was produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox and weaves a rich tapestry of songwriting informed by French chanson, Catholic guilt, a famous Irish stained-glass artist and the intersection of Serge Gainsbourg and Stereolab, organs and synths.
Shoegaze indie-rock artist.
Faith Nico aka Cruel Sister has been busy playing gigs in Dublin with her band, along with an appearance at Electric Picnic and a sold out Whelan’s upstairs gig.
After two lo-fi shoegaze-leaning rock with nods to Wolf Alice and Sister-era Sonic Youth which we featured – ‘too much’ and ‘my forever’ last year, Nico released a debut girls my age EP in September featuring ‘Chihiro’, a blast of ’90s alt-rock with a gauzy centre, inspired by the lead character in the Studio Ghibl film Spirited Away.
Faith Nico is the chief writer, producer and mixer of the project’s output.
Dublin rapper with his own thing going on.
Curtisy has the kind of timbre that is immediately recognisable, whether he’s laidback on a smoke break beat from producer D*mp on EP Of Sorts, or a Brainfeeder beat with TXPE_EATER, the Earl-esque ‘It’s Not What It’s Not‘, or going toe to toe with Kojaque and Ahmed, With Love on the ‘Men On A Mission’ remix.
Whether it’s on-stage at the Workman’s, the Olympia or on Youtube, Curtisy is probably out there somewhere rocking a verse in his own inimitable style.
Elzzz x TraviS
Gliders drill rappers.
There’s so much music coming out of the Irish drill scene, I have to admit, I can’t keep up.
Gliders duo Elzzz and TraviS exemplify the world-building potential for the music style, their voices occupying their own space – The deep tones of Elzzz are contrasted with TraviS’ confident energy flow. It’s a fruitful partnership that has given us a glut of bangers and releases with a swerve and dynamic that a lot of drill lacks.
Ispíní Na hÉireann
Have you been touched by the Sausages Of Ireland?
There’s every chance you have. Ispíní Na hÉireann are two trad men, Tomás Mulligan and Adam J. Holohan who made their name with their sessions in Dublin pubs like The Cobblestone (Tomàs’ family own the pub) and a Instagram meme account no less (thanks to the pandemic)
They’ve just released their debut albumThe Hard Working Men, a collection of honest to god funny trad originals and covers, that captures a very-nicely recorded trad session, that also happens to feature a six-minute song about Joe Duffy’s infamous Livelive programme, and the nation’s predilection for calling into it.
The Hard Working Men isn’t just a title, as the duo play sessions in Dublin bars three times a week in places like The Cobblestone, Hyne’s and Dudley’s. See here for more dates.
Sunny rap and soul from Crumlin
Dublin artist Abdu Huss made his biggest statement yet with release of the Elevator Music EP this year.
KhakiKid channels laid-back American rap vocal style of Mac Miller and Anderson .Paak on the funk bump of ‘Babybrown’.
There’s a sense of a big thing beginning with Khakikid, with burgeoning fanbase and the industry pieces falling into place too, while also already showcasing a fine visual style to date.