For the second year running, Ireland Music Week’s programme of music showcases and conference is all taking place online with local and international delegates mingling and chatting on virtual panels and 50 upcoming Irish bands playing live for all attendees.
The conference kicks off tomorrow morning (Tuesday) and runs til Friday (with Friday centred on AIM Ireland activity) while the next three nights (Tuesday to Thursday) will see performances from those 50 bands on Ireland Music Week’s online platform.
You can see a big archive of last year’s performances on IMW’s Youtube channel, but below we’ve picked out some choice recommendations for those who are attending or are looking to drop in for the chats and gigs.
Here’s an overview of everything from the panel with a more detailed breakdown here.
Nialler9 will be represented on the the Approaching Irish Media on Tuesday October 5th at 11:30am with myself and Nialler9 Podcast cohost Andrea Cleary talking alongside Priscilla Kotey (Warner Music Ireland), John Barker (98FM) on a panel moderated by James Byrne.
Some talks I’d highlight?
Tuesday 12.30 – Approaching Music Media in UK
Speakers – Alim Kheraj (i-D,Independent), Will Vincent (Prescription PR), Debbie Ball (Create Spark), Robin Murray (CLASH Magazine). Moderator – Arveene
Tuesday 14.00 – How / When To Get a Label
Speakers – Solomon Adesiyan (Trust It Entertainment), Jack Clothier (Alcopop), Constance Keane (TULLE Collective), Ellie Rumbold (Partisan). Moderator – Arveene
Tuesday 16.00 – Irish Hip Hop – What’s changed in Last 7 years
Speakers – Jafaris (Artist), Erica Cody (Artist), Stevie Grainger (DJ), Joel Borquaye (Spotify). Moderator – Arveene
Wednesday 12.30 – The Value of Art and Artists within the Music Industry
May Kay in conversation with Faye O’Rourke (Artist, Soda Blonde)
Thursday 11.00 – Independent Album PR Campaigns
Speakers – Philly Taggart (BBC Radio Ulster), Charlene Hegarty (Zero Myth), Olli Dutton (Obscene Strategies). Moderator – Arveene
Who should I see?
With each act playing three songs each, across three stages and three nights, there is plenty to see.
Top 5 I can recommend
The five artists I would recommend above all else to others.
Playing: Wednesday, 9:05pm, The Ark stage
Tolü hit the mainstream last year when her cover of Irish classic ‘N17’ was aired on RTÉ, and since then the afro-Irish artist has released songs that draw from ’90s hip-hop, anthemic dance music, R&B with affirming uplifting lyrics. A debut album is coming in 2022.
Playing: Thursday, 8:25pm, The Ballroom stage
Dublin four-piece garage-rock act Sprints are one of a number of guitar bands produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox and top of their output so far is the charming ‘How Does The Story Go? released on UK label Nice Swan Records.
Playing: Thursday, 9:15pm, The Loft stage
No stranger to this site, Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan’s debut album Hemet from last year was among the finest of the year – and was Nialler9’s second favourite Irish album of 2020.
Hemet is certainly a testament to a life lived, with wise lyrical insights, imaginative arrangements and a voice, recalling the spirit of revered singers like Karen Dalton and Laura Marling, centering these songs with an authority whether the record is intimate or swelling with sonics.
Playing: Wednesday, 9:25pm, The Ballroom stage
James Smith’s (…) And you chose not to laugh is a deeply personal and moving collection of music informed by family, new life, grief and a relationship tested, that ultimately moves to a stronger place.
Playing: Tuesday, 9:25pm, The Ballroom stage
10 new artists I want to see
Cooks But We’re Chefs
Dublin 8-piece band Cooks But We’re Chefs are a jazzy, funky band with live smarts (so I hear). An album is out before the end of the year also. ‘Resting On Our Laurels’ is their latest single.
Playing: Tuesday, 9:05pm, The Ark stage
Lauren Ann is a young artist from Derry making catchy grunge pop, who released her latest single on Faction Records just last week.
Playing: Wednesday, 8:15pm, The Loft stage
M(h)aol are a five-piece band whose sludgy rock songs so far have addressed gender and male on female violence, and whose members are based between Dublin, London and Bristol.
Playing: Tuesday, 8:45pm, The Loft stage
Brendan McGlynn has played with bands like Thumper, Raglans and Colour//sound, and Aonair is his solo project.
Playing: Tuesday, 9:20pm, The Ark stage
Dublin six-piece band Lorraine Club are one of the most unique artists to arrive lately – with shimmering electronic pop and disco touches heard on the indie band’s music. We debuted the band’s song ‘Desire’ recently and would recommend the EP of the same name.
Playing: Thursday, 8:50pm, The Ark stage
Playing: Thursday, 8:15pm, The Loft stage
The 19-year old Dublin singer KEHLI has drawn comparisons to Dua Lipa and has collaborated with 49th and Main on the excellent ‘Summer Lovin’. I hear a strong and strident pop voice able for subtlety and big pop moments.
A debut EP is forthcoming.
Playing: Thursday, 8:20pm, The Ark stage
Tomike is an Irish Nigerian R&B artist who has featured five times in our Irish tracks section since 2020 so I’m looking forward to seeing a live set, especially after seeing the above video.
Playing: Tuesday, 8:20pm, The Ark stage
The Limerick artist Citrus Fresh initially became known for his rap verses, but last year’s Operation System album showcased an artist who was playing with the form, with live productions that were anchored by Citrus’ inner monologue-style vocals, that points to Citrus playing and pushing with the form.
Read our recent piece: Enter The Studio with Citrus Fresh and Danny Lanham.
Playing: Tuesday, 8:50pm, The Ark stage
Innrspace multi-instrumentalist and Uly/Nealo collaborator Adam Garrett has released a glut of well-produced disco-tinged dreamy indie pop songs, and I’ve yet to see play live.
Playing: Wednesday, 8:25pm, The Ballroom stage
Here’s the Spotify playlist of every act: