That is was very very hard to stop at 75 this year is an indication of how much music is made in Ireland, how much variation in sound there is here and how there really is a huge stepping up in terms of production, songwriting, style and substance. So there’s a Spotify playlist of 120 of the best Irish songs of the year to accompany this. If you like what you hear, do go and support the artist in some way, by buying something from them on Bandcamp, merch or going to show. You won’t be disappointed. Irish artists’ talent continues to outsize the country’s geographical size but it could do much more with governmental support.
This Dundalk singer-songwriter is a classic storyteller/poet inspired by Beckett and Dylan, one man and his guitar giving it to the world as he sees it. ‘Cobwebs’ is 24 year-old’s debut song have a literary everyman quality – soul-baring acoustic music anchored by a Dundalk brogue that recalls another great – Van Morrison.
Dublin post-punk math-rock band Tribal Dance arrive about five years after their chosen sound was at its height in Ireland. ‘Flongo’ is proof that they should remain undeterred. Relying on intricate guitar notes, garage-rock vocals and interlocked percussion, the song is a reminder of the thrill of playing fast and anything but loose.
Noerhern Irish album of the year winner for his album Ephrata, channels the likes of Sufjan and Jose Gonzales on his debut but it’s the latter who can be felt in this opening lilt.
Picking up the band’s self-style chain of “agrosoul” to its logical frenetic sonic conclusion, ‘Optimus Prime’ is a little jazz-metal, a little rock, a little R&B and a little pop. Singer Jess Kav is such a strong singer that she can take such a cacophony of noise and dominate.
A return to the galactic electronic funk of 2013’s Welcome to Mikro-sektor-50 from the Belfast funkateer.
Kaleidoscopic house tunes on All City’s new sublabel Pear from Robbie Kitt.
Belfast dream-pop trio take things up a notch with an indie-disco track that harks back to indie of another era, this time when Kitsuné reigned the blogosphere.
Cork singer Brian Dead’s ‘Say When’ is a moving song of soul and gospel-leaning proportions about losing someone.
Anderson – ‘Makes Me Feel For You’
Daniel Anderson has quietly followed up his excellent 2015 album Patterns with this lush ballad with psychedelic tendencies. It works as a beautiful apology and song.
“I’m grand, with a pint of black and a mic in my hand,” raps Mango on a reloaded song on the Dublin duo’s recently-released Wheel EP. Rapih is a song that’s been slaying the festival circuit and is the sound of a hype show, cementing Mango and Mathman as kingpins of Ireland’s grime scene.