The Irish popular music scene is thriving, happy, and healthy despite the closure of venues such as District 8 and Hangar. Not only is the scene flourishing, it is diverse as well. There are sub-scenes in a wide range of genres, from indie, folk, and blues to rap and hip-hop.
We created a list of artists you should listen to in 2019, containing emerging bands who formed this year and bands who have been at it for a few years, but all artists featured look set to make waves in 2019.
Leila Jane is a current BIMM student who writes heavily blues-inspired music. The delicate elegance of her voice is an idiosyncrasy which sets her apart and provides novelty in an often oversaturated genre. She is also capable of producing a raw, gritty cry such as that on ‘Woman Blues’ from her 2017 EP ‘Decision Maker’. She is due to release a single in March called ‘Little Lady Blues’ and is playing several gigs including Whelan’s Ones to Watch on 16th January.
2018 was a successful year for Brass Phantoms, a five-piece band which includes BIMM alumni James Geraghty and Colleen Heavey. They played gigs in London and New York and released a song called ‘In Sight’, which was released concurrently with the Mars ‘InSight’ lander and conveniently shared a name and hashtag. The song is biting and heavy, whilst still sitting in the realm of indie rock. The glittering guitar lines that cascade from above the rest of the sound provide this indie edge. Brass Phantoms have announced that they will release new music in 2019, so gig announcements will surely follow.
Uly is the groovy, lo-fi solo project of Dublin-based Rafino Murphy. The songs are recorded and produced by Rafino in his bedroom and thus feature a vinyl-like, crackling quality. Uly was launched in May 2018 with the endearing track ‘mama’. Since then, his songs have been featured several times by Nialler9 and played on 98fm. Uly has set the wheels in motion this year for a prosperous 2019, hopefully featuring more relaxed, soulful sounds.
Four-piece rock outfit Sick Love crashed onto the Irish music scene like a wave in September, having previously played together as Sub Motion. They realised several achievements this year, such as the release of single ‘Are You Ready?’ and playing gigs in Dublin and London. Their songs are biting and vigorous, but feature catchy, pop hooks sung by BIMM alumnus Rebecca Geary. Sick Love are set to play a number of shows in 2019, including the Sound House in Dublin on 2nd March and Camden Rocks festival in London in June.
Toshín is a band founded by current BIMM student Toshín Bankole and which consists of both fellow students and non-BIMM members. Together, they released two songs this year. The heartfelt and affecting ‘We Don’t Share Blood’ about Toshín’s relationship with her non-biological mother, and the energetic and dynamic ‘Boy Listen’. The latter features a mixture of conversational, speech-like sections and distinctive melodic passages in the vocals. The saxophone really shines in the song, playing catchy, groovy hooks. Toshín is kickstarting the new year with a show in Whelan’s this Saturday 12th January.