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In the month that The Murder Capital release their debut album and it goes straight into the top 10, and FONTAINES D.C. announce their sell out show at Brixton Academy, it seems only right to highlight some of the other exciting alternative music making its way out of Ireland at the moment.
Starting off with some of the more experimental, noise led bands it’s clear that seminal Indie Irishmen and women My Bloody Valentine have had an enormous influence on the emerging scene.
Pick of the bunch for me is Percolator, who released their debut album Sestra in 2017 and are currently working on new material, if their Facebook page is anything to go by Sestra is an awesome album which blends MBV, Shoegaze, Krautrock and Stereolab and reminds me of the superb Gnoomes. I was hooked after one listen to Sestra, its brilliant. In a similar vein and equally impressive are Altered Hours, who released their debut album In Heat Not Sorry in 2016 and followed it up with an EP in 2018 On My Tongue.
Imagine MBV, a bit of industrial noise and Billie Holiday’s lush vocals over the top and you get Dubliners The Claque, whose debut single Hush was released in April this year. It’s glorious. If you like the sound of a band that combine elements of early Cocteau Twins, MBV, the Pixies and Portishead, then check out Just Mustard, who come from Dundalk. The band released their first album Wednesday in 2018 and have followed up this year with October and Frank. Noise with melancholy – I like.
If noise is your bag, you may want to check out Girl Band, who have no girls in their band and also come from Dublin. It’s not easy listening but it is very good. Debut album Holding Hands With Jamie came out on Rough Trade in 2015 and after a fairly lengthy hiatus two singles have emerged in 2019 Shoulderblades which was nestling on the BBC6 Music playlist for quite a while earlier this year, and the just released Going Norway. There is a new album on the way called ‘the Talkies’.
Another from Dublin are ‘Melts’. Less noisy, more Krautrock, rock and psychedelic, the band have released a handful of singles - Skyward from last year, and Echoes and Seesaw this year. The latter takes in Suicide and the Velvet Underground. It’s all good stuff. Having praised their single on social media and gotten a thank you from them I asked them to recommend some other talent from Ireland and they suggested fellow Dubliners Silverbacks (plus The Claque and Altered Hours).
Silverbacks have released five singles to date and their sound reminds me of Talking Heads, Television and Parquet Courts. Latest single Pink Tide is a cracker, slightly tarnished by the Big Country guitar outro, and their other singles are also well worth a try – Just in the Band for example
Two more promising bands from the capital are Bullet Girl and Sprints. Bullet Girl have had two singles out so far – the Undertones/Buzzcocks influenced Wasted from 2018 and new single The Rush released earlier this month. Sprints have had just the one single to date Pathetic, which came out in April. Pathetic is a promising Breeders like debut, although there is obviously a lot of scope for them to refine their sound.
With this sweep of talent I’ve only really scratched the surface of the Irish music scene, and apologies to those bands that I haven’t mentioned. In some cases it’s probably ignorance on my part as I may not be aware be aware of your band – so feel free to make yourself known!