We’ll Be Fine
The 18-year-old Irish Argentinian artist’s forays into original material (as first featured here in April) is worth paying attention for its delicate memorable pop stylings, and this song has a calming sentiment and a chorus that holds onto your brain.
On The Phone
Ruby Smith is the Irish songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer behind the artist alt-pop project Trophy Wife. ‘On The Phone’ is a confident and smart alt-pop song with nods to Prince funk and contemporary artists Ruby cites like Muna, King Princess and Clairo.
Up The Nurses
One of the previously-unreleased highlights from Kildare band Silverbacks’ debut of wry art rock music, ‘Up The Nurses’ has a new wave Breeders vibe with bassist Emma Hanlon taking the main vocal line.
Rejjie Snow and MF Doom
Rejjie enlists his hero on this floaty rap jam.
Pull Your Jocks Up
The Scratch’s mix of metal and acoustic instruments was a big soundtrack to lockdown one this year. The band’s live streams were among the best and buzziest shows of 2020 and this Couldn’t Give A Rats highlight is their mastery at work.
Belfast producer Herb Magee is one of those unbearably prolific people who made SIX albums of original music (and two remix albums for good measure) this year and ‘Kyoto’ with its evocative synths and bright Eastern tones was among his best.
Call Me Mad
The London-based Irish-raised Nigerian artist Caleb Kunle released the Rose Hertz EP in October that “explores archetypes of love and black masculinity” and will be accompanied by short films on the subject. The six-track EP was recorded in lockdown with musicians that have never met and the four films were created remotely across Ireland, UK, USA, Colombia and Nigeria.
The lead track from the EP ‘Call Me Mad’ is a beaut of a song – leaning on bright honeyed soul vocals from Kunle augmented by flute and brass that lifts the tune into a lightly triumphant mode.
Malaki & Lucy McWilliams
The young Dublin rapper Malaki released the Chrysalis album late in the year and this collaboration with Berlin-based Dublin vocalist Lucy McWilliams is a laid-back R&B piano tune of bright proportions with magnetising interplay between both performers.
Aoife Nessa Frances
Here in the Dark
The debut album from Aoife Nessa Frances, which was released in January 2020 is teeming with beautiful indie psych-folk melodies and acoustic arrangements drawing from late’ 60s / ’70s folk music. ‘Here In The Dark’ exemplifies the mood of the record, with a rolling, sauntering song that dreams of better times.
Kean Kavanagh’s Dog Person was one of our Irish albums of 2020 and ‘Roll Over!’ is the story of a man keeping the flame lit after the session with a song that melds sax, dub and indie rock together in one hazy mix.