New Wave of Music Bryan O’Hanlon tips rising Irish talent to listen out for in 2016. nly one artist comes to mind for many when considering Irish music in 2015. But while we don’t begrudge Hozier his umpteen million sales, a wider cast of bright young things have also been busy honing their craft. As we enter the year ahead here’s a closer look at some of those now vying for your attention ... One act with something of a head-start is Girl Band. Taking residence firmly left of field, this Dublin lot specialise in abrasive vocals and malevolent guitars that together form a bewildering, intoxicating wall of sound. Having cut their teeth with several EPs and earned kudos for their raucous live shows, the recent release of debut album Holding Hands with Jamie is pushing the four-piece towards a much bigger audience. Garnering positive reviews and genuine buzz from the trend-setters in the UK and US, the album has also confirmed their status as one of the most intriguing home-grown bands in years. Their lack of polish won’t be for everyone’s palate but expect
their stock to rise in the new year. Firmly rooted at the other end of the spectrum is I Have a Tribe – a slow-burning, solo venture from Dubliner Patrick O’Laoghaire. In true singer-songwriter fashion there are lashings of deeply affected vocals as tales of love and woe play out over piano-led balladry. It may not sound original on paper but there’s a sincerity and delicate poignancy at work here that begs for your ears’ attention. Songs such as Monsoon and Lungs are wine-soaked ruminations from the heart, offering rare gems only unearthed by those
Clockwise from top, one-man band I Have a Tribe, Saint Sister, and Girl Band, all of whom are ones to watch in 2016.
in the throes of deep introspection. People fond of the quieter side of Villagers’ work will find much to enjoy here. Barely a year since their genesis, duo Saint Sister are also impressing with their self-dubbed brand of “atmosfolk”. Souled-up vocals and RnB inflections breathe new life into a folk core and, with their debut EP Madrid pushing all the right buttons, a bright future beckons. Elsewhere, Otherkin’s fledgling efforts are direct, radio friendly tunes that scream “hit” while Bitch Falcon are a straight-up, no messin’ rock outfit with bundles of vigour and not an ounce of pretence. Of course, in a year’s time we’ll all most likely be hooked on someone else – but isn’t that the beauty of it all?
3 TUNEFUL CITY BREAKS
Temple Bar TradFest, Dublin, January 27-31 From humble beginnings this boutique arrangement of folk and trad talents has blossomed into a winter favourite that spans the whole city. This year, the line-up will do its thing in some of the city’s most unique and historic landmarks, including St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. templebartrad.com
NYC Winter Jazz Fest, New York, January 13-17 Established to give greater exposure to the jazz scene in New York and beyond, this is the little festival that keeps on growing. Last year, 6,500 attendees flocked to see 100 different groups perform across Greenwich Village – and an even bigger spectacle is promised for 2016. winterjazzfest.com
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival, December 30 to January 1 When it comes to ringing in the New Year, Edinburgh knows how to throw a party. Aside from its world-renowned fireworks display and revelry, Biffy Clyro will headline the flagship Princes Street Gardens gig, ably backed by fellow locals Idlewild and Honeyblood. edinburghshogmanay.com
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