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The 50 Irish Acts You Have To Hear

Hot Press picks the homegrown noisemakers who are just too good to let slip under the radar. We’ve left out those who’ve arguably already made it such as Maverick Sabre and Two Door Cinema Club. Instead we’ve focused on the newcomers who may not yet be in the limelight but from whom you’ll be hearing lots in 2012!

Celina Murphy, 12 Jan 2012

By gum, we told you those Cast Of Cheers boys would make good, and bang! a short time later (alright, 22 months later…), they turn up on Zane Lowe, Fearne Cotton and pretty much every other BBC Radio 1 show you can think of. An ecstatic Lowe liked their new track, the impossibly catchy and unashamedly Police-esque ‘Family’, so much, he just couldn’t resist playing it twice in a row live on air. Having broken all kinds of records with their debut download-only album Chariot, Adams, Adams, Higgins and Curran are currently spitshining their second album in London, with help from Foals producer Luke Smith.

Listen: to the irresistible ‘Family’ at

See: perform Chariot favourite ‘I Am Lion’ on RTÉ 2’s When Under Ether at


If you’ve already heard of Dublin trio Sleep Thieves, it’s probably down to ‘City Lights’ – a tuneful, beat-dripped piece of alternative pop that charmed bloggers, critics and many good folk in Irish and UK radio when it was released back in 2009. Vocal duties are shared by Sorcha Brennan and Wayne Fahy, whose respectively sharp and sleepy vocal stylings give all that scuzzy beatplay a solid grounding. The real genius here, though, is in the band name. Tunes this potent will be looting your subconscious for weeks to come...

Listen: to debut album Heart Waves at, and nab two free EPs while you’re at it.

See: the video for the surprisingly upbeat ‘Hope Is Dead’ at


Long before Lana Del Rey began turning heads with her gangsta Nancy Sinatra impression, another honey-voiced blonde was breaking hearts in venues all around Ireland, under the name The Danger Is. Not only does Niamh Farrell have a playful vocal style to rival Feist, Cathy Davey and a dozen other songbirds we could mention, she’s also responsible for some of the cleverest lyrical mischief we’ve heard in yonks. Take for example, the quirkily-laden ‘Rub Who You Love’, which sees Farrell warn, “If I pack up I leave, then you’ll have no kitchen utensils” in her ravishing trademark chirp.

Listen: to the debut EP at

See: Niamh perform ‘All For Gold’ in a short film by Myles O’Reilly at


If their hyperactive YouTube podcasts are anything to go by, Derry indie pop foursome The Wonder Villains are absolutely bonkers, but once you hear their dynamite signature tune ‘Zola’, it’s pretty hard to care. An ode to Italian football legend Gianfranco Zola, its whimsical panpipe intro and Gossip-esque attitude make it one of the mentalist and therefore most essential tracks of last year. Sparkly-eyed teen pop at its very best.

Listen: to their six track-strong repertoire at, including the unmissable ‘Zola’, a song about Heroes character Peter Petrelli titled ‘Oh Peter’ and a track inspired by ‘90s basketball flick Space Jam (guess what that one’s called…)

See: them perform on British ESPN’s footy programme Talk Of The Terrace at


A good band knows when it’s time for a change, and Dublin duo David Cantan and Jack Quilligan knew when it was time to step out from behind their laptops and reach for a more organic sound. Four years on from their electro-minded debut, an expanded Dying Seconds released Glimmerers, a frantic, spooky and highly emotive record, made even more striking by the inclusion of sloshing waters, alarm bells and footsteps. No wonder they’ve got The National’s Aaron Dessner all aflutter.

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