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The 30 best new Irish artists of 2021

The 30 best new Irish artists of 2021



Constance Keane released one of the finest Irish albums of the year as Fears this year. Oíche is an album built with electro-acoustic instrumentation and digital percussion with the artist striving for self-discovery and healing through music.

Keane is also the boss of Tulle Records, a |women-led independent record label focused on working with and for underrepresented voices in music.”


20-year old Dublin pop artist KEHLI has been dropping dance pop bangers in the style of Dua Lipa as heard on tracks like ‘Believe It’.

Most recently, she hooked up with this list’s 49th & Main on the sparkling ‘Summer Lovin’ and recent single ‘Not OK’. It’s early days yet but there’s a level up here that has few local peers.

J Smith

James Smith was formerly of Gypsies On The Autobahn and this year his solo record (…) And you chose not to laugh was a devastatingly personal and beautiful album about his wife’s miscarriage.

Ultimately, the couple grew closer from their experiences, and had a child since, and the album is a brave lifting of the curtain of the process of that grief and the ties that bond people, set to brittle and bright acoustic music. Lyrically, it’s as real and revealing as it can get.

Jena Keating

Cork artist Jena Keating imbues her late-night plaintive R&B music with personal reflections borne from experience that touch on self love, depression, filling the void and pushing past platitudes like ‘Grand’.

There have been some fruitful collabs with SPACE and Jack Murphy too.

Jimbo Jones

In a time where the entire culture of the city of Dublin is in suspension, the debut album from Jamie Mathews as Jimbo Jones the capital’s transitions across socio-economic, political and cultural lines and how it impacts the city and its people.

The Heat Death of My Hometown is an aural journey through a “rapidly decaying” city that in the producer’s words is:

Built from the frustration of skyrocketing rents, ever-stagnant wages, and the erosion of cultural spaces, this concept album guides the listener through a detailed narrative in a Dublin City. Documenting gentrification and emigration in a once-vibrant city, Jimbo creates a tapestry of sonic textures and electronic beats that maps out the entropic process assailing his beloved hometown.

Full piece on the album.

John Francis Flynn

John Francis Flynn is not a new artist, he is a Stoneybatter who plays regularly in The Cobblestone pub (the proposed hotel development was refused planning permission this week) but what is relatively new, is that Flynn upon supporting Lankum on tour was picked up by Rough Trade’s River Lea imprint.

Debut album I Would Not Live Always was released in July and showcases a musician who is versed in tradition yes, but also capable of creating music of folk and electronic proportions that adds new textures to this rooted style of music.

Just Wondering

Just Wondering’s debut 7-track EP Float Over immediately established the Dublin trio as a going concern. It’s a release with casual interludes, hooks galore and electronic vocal-shifted pop music that drawn from the zeitgeist yet doesn’t feel like it’s aping others too closely.

A debut show in the Workman’s Cellar was spoken highly of too. Just Wondering are Wale Akande, Jack O’Shaughnessy and Adam Redmond.

Loraine Club

Loraine Club are a six-piece self-proclaimed “electronic disco/groove band” and after a number of singles of sheenful indie-alt-electronic guitar pop they released their debut EP Desire this year.

The EP further displays the band’s psychedelic funk disco leaning credentials, which I absolutely lap up.

Loraine Club are brothers Jordan and Zac Curtis, Jonny Halpin, Brian Smith, James Connolly and Mick Keeley.

Lucy Blue

At just 19-year-old Dubliner Lucy Blue is making music that is as adept as anything in the ilk of the singer-songwriter pop realm, as well as being a fine producer.

With influences like Mazzy Star, Phoebe Bridgers, Frank Ocean and PJ Harvey, there’s an interesting alt-pop paradigm to the songs heard on her debut EP Fishbowl like ‘Snow In Tokyo’ and recent singles ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Pilot’ and ‘First Man On The Moon’.


Nuxsense collective member Luthorist hasn’t let up since the release of his 2019 album Huerco Mondo, which Dean Van Nguyen called “hushed trap cut with mellow trance; abstract sci-fi mixed with urban noir,” in The Guardian.

2021 brought a new full-length withNuxsense producer sivv, called Time On Earth, a short collection of music that feels like discovering the Brazilian-born rapper’s raw talent all over again., and sounds like it could fit right beside a classic of the genre.

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