Galway MCCelaviedmai teams up with Hu Dis for a soulful, nostalgic R&B bounce. An incredibly catchy testament to the rising artist’s versatility and songwriting talent.
Delush, Strange Boy
A powerful neo-soul number from a Berlin-based Irish vocalist and producer. The organ sounds and vocal lines are reminiscent of Jungle, buoyed by a guest vocal from Limerick MC Strange Boy, who has been an MVP all year (and appears again below).
The most important meal of the day from the rising Waterford newcomer.
Why Am I Like This?
If relatability could be bottled and sold, Orla Gartland would be a millionaire. ‘Why Am I Like This?’ holds up a mirror to all those moments that get your internal monologue screaming at itself, sweetly wrapped up in simple and memorable hook.
Loud Boys (feat. Strange Boy)
From MuRli’s excellent The Intangibles mixtape, this self-produced beat runs in your head for days as the Rusangano Family MC is ably complemented by Limerick MC Strange Boy.
GavinDaVinci feat. Hazey Haze
Sexxx & Parties
Limerick rap had a stormer of a year and ‘Sexxx & Parties’ is a great summary of everything to love about the scene. A ridiculous romp of discordant grime beats and brash flows, GavinDaVinci and Hazey Haze deliver the biggest sesh anthem of the year.
The Back Of Her
Kerry folk artist Junior Brother delves into his hypnotic best on ‘The Back Of Her’. A sombre meditation on the notion of solitude set to a stunning string section that wowed the crowds at live appearances all year.
Rebel Phoenix & Marcus Woods
Heatwaves (feat. Mango)
Two rising stars of Irish hip-hop team up and join forces with Mango for an excellently produced, grime influenced number. ‘Heatwaves’ is a triumph for the heavyweight production chops of 19-year-old Marcus Woods.
Better 4 U
The Irish spoken-word & R&B artist brings delicate tones and vocals to the table in a song filled with character, warmth and futuristic production.
The excellent opening track from Jape’s album of the same name is a gentle and reflective song about beating out the inner critic inside you by getting up earlier than it does and exploring creativity without its voice offering running commentary.
To quote Nealo on this one -”Old Dog’ is a song about living next door to a red-faced arsehole of a neighbour, who is fed up with his own life, so he takes it out on the bunch of young sessioners living beside him. It’s good craic, but at the same time the lyrics are making a statement about not giving up on life and turning into a negative prick.”
‘Sunny’ lives up to its name with smooth production and Biig Piig’s buttery vocals dreamily unwinding for two and a half balmy minutes.
Invoking 80s pop aesthetics, ‘Maybe’ sees SOAK flexing her pop chops with a huge chorus and a youthful sense of euphoria. Grim Town was a joy from start to finish and ‘Maybe’ is its landmark moment.
The Mary Wallopers
Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice
An endearing and hooky piece from TPM’s side hustle, ‘Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice’ is buoyed by its inimitable charm and everyman trad appeal.
The Murder Capital
More Is Less
When I Have Fears’ heaviest slice, ‘More Is Less’ is three minutes of unbridled fury from the post-punk upstarts.
Ryan Vail and Elma Orkestra
The poignant opening track to Ryan Veil & Elma Orkestra’s border-themed project properly captures the vivid emotional spectrum the rest of the album will delve into while showcasing the blend of contemporary classical and electronic sounds that makes Borders so striking.
Fehdah remerged this year with a new and further focused sound. ‘Saharakungoh’ is a glorious electronic tune with influences from house through afro-soul. Entirely self-produced and self-written.
The Wife of Michael Cleary
Melancholic, charming and full of weight, ‘The Wife Of Michael Cleary’ showcases Sofia’s impressive story-telling skills and vocal warmth. A snapshot of forgotten history presented through poetry.
Perfect Harmony (feat. Orla Gartland)
Daithí’s collaborative tune with Orla Gartland is a meditation on the inevitability of losing the ones we love. In this case, Gartland directs the lyrics toward her grandfather. It’s a bit of a tear jerker.
On The Record
‘On The Record’ is “a song about the addiction to making pop songs and irresponsibly chasing the perma-receding horizon of professional musicianship,” and it’s a convincing aural argument for the satisfaction inherent in the process, particularly when that sax solo arrives. My word.