15 Irish Bands You’ve Never Heard of But Should Listen to Immediately
From The Cranberries to U2, Ireland has blessed the music world with talented, iconic acts that continue to inspire artists today. In the spirit of keeping the country’s music scene alive, Irish music-lovers throw an annual festival known as Hard Working Class Heroes which gives up-and-coming acts a platform to share their art. The event, described as a “music trail,” is held in Dublin every October, showcasing The Emerald Isle’s freshest faces in spots all throughout the capital. For those of you who didn’t get to attend the event all the way across the pond, we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 acts that performed at HWCH that you need to keep your eye on.
1. Chris Kabs
Producer and artist Chris Kabs transcends genre, making music that bridges R&B, soul, and pop. His eclectic arrangements are undeniably cool and advanced, which is expected of someone who has been playing music since he was five years old.
2. New Portals
In the age of CHVRCHES, Shura, and Garden City Movement, crisply-produced beat machines and 80’s synths are the new ultimate combo for electropop. Hailing from Belfast, the duo New Portals have taken advantage of this emerging trend while adding their own flare.
3. Maija Sofia
Maija Sofia’s raw lyricism and overall aesthetic make a great pair to accompany her haunting vocals and lo-fi production. She’s vulnerable, but still adopts a take-no-shit attitude à la Fiona Apple.
4. Super Silly
Dublin-based four piece Super Silly is possibly the coolest family band ever. Having been raised on the sounds of gospel and R&B classics, this group makes “futuristic sexy music with meticulous joy.”
Rapper Jafaris is one of the few hip-hop artists out of Ireland. His style deviates between that of Roy Woods and Cam’ron, bridging the gap between generational hip-hop styles. It wouldn’t be socking to see his name on Drake’s OVO roster sometime soon.
North Dublin singer-songwriter Erica-Cody is proof that all a good song needs is a soulful female vocal sailing over a dangerously slick beat. Her music strikes the perfect balance; it’s able to mellow you out without putting you to sleep, much like that of her PR&B contemporaries Jhené Aiko and SZA.
Sallay Matu Garnett, whose goes by the stage name of Loah, is heavily influenced by her West African heritage. Her sound is, simply put, unique. While her vocal is tinted with a hint of Sade, the production on each track varies, keeping the listener on their toes.
8. Wyvern Lingo
Even if there were another gospel-infused alternative girl group in Ireland, we’re sure they would be the coolest. The trio has garnered quite a following already, which isn’t hard to imagine considering how impressively catchy their music is.
9. Tebi Rex
This alternative hip-hop duo is making waves with their experimental style. Tebi Rex consists of producer Matt O’Baoill and rapper Max Zanga. Zanga’s raps are slick and melody-infused, reminiscent of Childish Gambino’s “Because the Internet.”
AikJ doesn’t like to confine his music into a single genre. After a listen, it’s easy to see why. There really is no way to condense even a single song into a specific genre; from spoken word to electronica, AikJ is one of the most versatile artists in the game.
11. Dammy Ari
Carlow singer-songwriter Dammy Ari is a quintessential artist; he makes music as a way of documenting, writing his life story in his work. From rap to soul to jazz, Dammy does it all.
SOULÉ is, without a doubt, the dopest artist in Ireland. The music of this urban electronic songstress evokes memories of Vogue-era Madonna. It’s so sleek and catchy that by the end of a track you’re not sure exactly what you just listened to, but you know you want to listen to it again.
13. Le Boom
This duo from Dublin is electropop gold. With seamless production and a distinguishable vocal, Le Boom could very well see mainstream success in the near future.
14. Miles Graham
Backed by a multi-faceted band, Miles Graham delivers soulful songs that sound like they arrived from another time. “She Knows” has a hook that could easily make it a hit on Top 40 radio, taking cues from similar artists like Hozier and James Bay.
Samyel’s quaint and simple songs belong on the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson film. He also makes music videos featuring his dog, which makes listening to his voice that much more enjoyable.