It is fair to say that Fontaines D.C. are a well-loved bunch at the Getintothis magazine local. Over one, or perhaps two, too many pints, any number of the editorial team will wax lyrical about their unique Dublin sound and lucid, and oddly languid lyricism.
Unless you’ve only recently given up a vow of silence or returned from years of seclusion in the Andes it is fair to say that you’ll probably have heard of them. Especially if you’re a regular here. We’ve mentioned them a few times and we’ve already decided who will review their next show, in November. It’s safe to say they’ve had something of an impact.
I can, at any point, walk into any room in our house and utter the words ‘You’re always talking about’ to which one or both of the small people in our abode will respond with the words ‘The Boys In The Better Land’ and to be brutally honest, it warms the cockles of this old Irishman’s heart.
As one band from one place piques the interest of radio stations, record labels, producers, PR moguls and accountants, all eyes turn to the place from whence they came, my old turf and stomping ground.
It is entirely likely that many an A&R bod are winging their way to Ireland on the hint of something new, something interesting and something that can deliver the same level of noise, both financially and metaphorically, from either north or south of the dreaded Backstop, sorry, Border.
And bless them for their undying dedication, if anything positive comes of it we can at least assume that their air miles are being racked up and their expense accounts are being hammered into submission.
Our only concern is that given enough time they’ll end up lost in one of the many paddywhackery pubs that have been designed to cater for tourists and tourists only, where ne’er an Irishman nor woman will tread.
Let us be the first to tell you, dear reader, they will never find new, unique or original Irish music on any of those dusty brick lanes, regardless of what the locals tell them. And the locals are known to tell tales.
So, by way of public service, we gathered over a very respectable pint (number is not representative of reality) of the black stuff (in the Ship & Mitre, there is nowhere else for stout) with a long list of potential bands and whittled them down to ten, as per the Getintothis standard measurement of music.
There are of course bands that may or may not interest you on this list, and that is fine. We have stuck to bands that deliver music in the key of Fontaines D.C., bands that chase after their crown if you will, but it all exists.
Dance, trance, traditional, experimental, psychedelic and silly, if you can name it or christen it, it lives there somewhere, be it in the hills of Donegal or the depths of the original dirty old town, Dublin.
By way of an insiders heads up, there is every chance Nialler9 has it already, he is the master of all things new Irish music, him and The Thin Air magazine. Look them up, for they know the lay of the land.
So, in no particular order, we bring you ten of the newest sounds from across the Irish Sea. Fear not, there is a Spotify playlist at the bottom so you can treat your ears, they deserve it. You deserve it.
Gavin Purcell and Taran Plouzané are a wild, loud, instrumental and experimental two-piece from Dublin working under the moniker of Bicurious, they hail from Ireland and Brest, France.
They got together in 2016 and have been hammering at the door of live venues all over Ireland since. They’ve recently hit a point where more people are paying attention, with insane live shows, mosh pits, sing-a-longs, and the occasional vegan cake, they’ve built a wildly loyal fanbase across Ireland.
We’ve talked about palpable anger in Ireland and Fontaines D.C., and frankly, a quick search for a flat in Dublin should be enough to generate a rage to match Travis Bickle. Bicurious’ bring some of that to the fore, with samples of politicians in the mix to highlight injustice, though the voices of Samuel L. Jackson or Donald Trump are as likely to appear there too.
I Don’t Do Drugs, I Just Sweat A Lot was just released in March of this year and it is an absolute monster of a tune. Starter for ten?
Our man Revo has been raving about The Murder Capital for a while, and it is easy to see why. The Murder Capital are on a trajectory laid out by our good friends Fontaines D.C., the hype surrounding them was remarkable before they had even released a single song. Their single, Feeling Fades, set music sites alight and laid out a tour that they seem genuinely surprised to be embarking on.
The Murder Capital share a rehearsal space with Fontaines D.C. and Girl Band and their neighborliness shines through, each band helps the other, motivates their comrades and they get along like a house on fire.
While it might be easy to say this Dublin collective is just a ‘scene’, any critical overview might suggest there is more to it, this isn’t Irelands’ ‘Madchester’; its a little too angry and a little too direct to be anything but driven, and it shows. With just two songs on Spotify, their rise has been meteoric, to say the least.
If you listen to Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music there is a chance that you’ve caught a snippet of Pillow Queens new single HowDoILook, he has raved about the Dublin quartet and rightly so.
Pillow Queens are Sarah Corcoran, Pamela Connolly, Cathy McGuinness, and Rachel Lyons and their sound is all their own. It’s rare to see an all female fronted band, rarer still to see one that wears its heart so prominently on its sleeve and hold its politics proudly above their head, and the parapet.
Pillow Queens bring the noise, but its warmer, gentler almost, but just as forthright and out there as anything that requires earplugs live. This is pop-punk, but not as we know it. It’s got religion, politics, social issues, falling in love, falling out of love, dealing with lust, getting drunk and on the right night all seven. They’ve played Sound City, toured with SOAK and are heading out on a tour all their own very soon.
Just Mustards‘ debut album was nominated for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year, which by anyone’s standards is pretty good going. Especially given the stiff competition there is at present.
Just Mustard deliver what are quintessentially shimmery starry subtle soundscapes that are held together by a smoky vocal from Katie Ball. It is beguiling stuff. It is both relaxing, gentle and immensely heavy in places too, more anger, more justice and we would imagine, much more in the way of steely determination.
The five-piece hail from Dundalk, which for many was only ever known as the bottleneck between Belfast and Dublin. Now, with the advent of a bypass, it has become a commuter town for both and we’d guess difficult to work your way out of.
So far, they’ve supported The Cure, Ride, toured the UK with Fontaines D.C. and managed more than a few festivals. The future is looking very bright indeed.
Thumper are a noisy, poppy sextet from Dublin, delivering pop-laden psych via a wall of sound. They created a name for themselves through frenzied live shows, screaming feedback, and a near-relentless rhythm that seeks to punish you for some untold horror you committed in a previous life.
According to our sources, they are a tad on the unpredictable side – who’d have guessed?
In My Room is an exploration about pushing yourself through to find a willing reclusive state; seeking autonomy in the face of sabotage, and fighting yours, and everyone else’s demons. It’s a belter too.
They’ve garnered significant airplay across Ireland and are starting to make waves on this side of the sea, they’ve been spotted on Spotify’s Hot New Bands playlist, headlined the Hard Working Class Heroes independent festival in Dublin, joined Fangclub on a national tour, and sold out Shacklewell Arms on their first roll of the dice.
There’s is a busy diary, with a list of festivals all summer long.
Catch them in a field!
Shannon Delores O’Neill, aka Sister Ghost, has been quietly writing and recording music since 2015. The truth is that she actually started playing in bands from the age of 12, and with that much practice, it shows. Clash magazine described her as ‘An independent force, a defiant artist’ and if we’re honest that is as clear an indication of her sound and her grit as any we would likely write.
She plays what could be described as crashy, noisy pop art-rock with soul, it is in the vein of Kate Bush or L7, there’s a snippet of Seattle and Sonic Youth in there too.
She is something of an activist for inclusion and her work has been lauded far and wide, she set up Girls Rock School NI in the Ohyeah Centre in Belfast in 2016, she has been instrumental in encouraging female-identified musicians to get out and perform.
She has supported Shellac, Pussy Riot and Le Butcherettes, she has been punted out on the BBC Radio 1 Indie Show, and there is a debut album set for release in 2020.
How’s that little lot?
Formed in 2016, Inhaler are a four piece from Dublin who draw their inspiration from the likes of Joy Division and The Stone Roses, and with the tour dates they have lined up over the coming months, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they managed to gain the same recognition as either.
Frankly, they deserve it. In the words of Phil Taggart, ‘Check out Inhaler, the rightful heir to Blossoms guitar pop throne’ and again, that is a pretty accurate description of a band that are, frankly, disgustingly young.
If you caught TOUTS in Parr Street back in March you will have caught Inhalers’ frenetic live show, fronted by one Elijah Hewson. Some of you may know him as Bono‘s son. As predictable as it may seem, they have garnered a lot of attention due to their U2 connection but their sound couldn’t be any more different.
While others on this list may have struggled to create what they do, we imagine that Inhaler has yet to know hardship, still, their noise more than puts clear blue sea between son and, well, the Sun.
The Wood Burning Savages, apart from having possibly the finest name on this list, deliver a punishing, rocking live set that leaves audiences howling. Many Northern Irish acts tend to avoid being overtly political, not so for the Wood Burning Savages, they will tackle any and all issues.
The lack of a functioning local government gets it, human rights, equal marriage or the lack of it in Northern Ireland, a woman’s right to choose and the illegality of abortion in Northern Ireland (yes, that’s a thing), unemployment, education, they pretty much attack anything and everything like a crazed prizefighter fighting for his reputation.
They swept the boards at the 2018 Northern Ireland Music Awards. They won the Best Live Act gong in a shortlist that included rockers And So I Watch You From Afar, Brand New Friend, Robo Quartet, and Ryan Vail.
Then, as if to prove a point they walked away with the actual Northern Ireland Music Prize in a competition that included Ash, Girls Names, Ciaran Lavery, Hannah Peel, and Snow Patrol. They have to be seen to be believed, and if there is any justice it won’t be long before they cross to these shores.
Everyone has a junk drawer, that bottom drawer that is filled with assorted paraphernalia, old plastic bags, discarded batteries, unidentified keys and all that shit you collect at conferences. This is not that. There is perhaps a conflict of interest here, insofar as we mentioned The Thin Air magazine at the top of this piece. Brian Coney, on the far right (that will drive him insane), is the editor of said magazine.
He has not bribed us nor coerced us, nor does he possess incriminating evidence of any wrongdoing (that we’re aware of.)
Junk Drawer wins their place on this list because they are bloody good. The first thing that stands out is that they struggle with getting anything in under the five-minute mark, that poses its own problems that mostly relate to airtime.
But those five minutes are well spent. It’s a noisy lo-fi alternative rock, fuzzy, a bit rough around the edges, a bit Thurston Moore, a bit mclusky*, but it’s beautiful. We just hope they can muster up the energy to get their arses back into a studio, and soon.
We’re calling this find a Brucie Bonus. Now that we’ve discovered it’s a thing, this list cannot be complete if this ‘project’ were not listed. This is the new project by Fermanagh native and well-loved warbler Martin Corrigan. Corrigan has been behind some spectacular creations over the last 20 years, from noise merchants The Skinflints, country feedback collective Corrigan, the skuzzy SKYMAS, and the absolute insanity of Alloy Mental which saw Corrigan and Phil Keiran rip many stages to absolute shreds, literally in some places.
If you played Gran Turismo, the chances are you’ve driven to one of their tracks. See here for a prime example. This new project, or as Corrigan described it to me, his new ‘combo’, is but months old but sound like they’ve been around for years, though in some far off universe they probably have.
There are but two songs on Spotify and there may or may not be more, Corrigan is unpredictable and it’s anyone’s guess if or when they hit the studio again. But listen to this, it’s thrashy, angry, shouty and beautiful.
It’s good to see him back.