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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
Listen: to the critically fawned-over Embrace EP at www.daithi.bandcamp.com.
See: him showing that fiddle who’s boss in the video for ‘Carraroe’, directed by the overachieving visionaries at Feel Good Lost Films and co-starring the magical Elaine Mai (scooch down the page for her profile).
A perfect tonic for the recession-weary music-lover, Squarehead’s dreamy debut album Yeah, Nothing appeared last August, bringing with it a wave of extremely good vibrations that defied the crummy weather, all while defying trends with a lo-fi set-up of just guitar, bass, drums and vox. Whether it’s surf pop, slacker pop, jangle pop or garage pop, and it’s been called all four, the main thing to remember about the Squarehead pastiche is that it’s invariably exhilarating and catchier than the bubonic plague.
Listen: to their entire back catalogue at www.squarehead.bandcamp.com.
See: the Irish comedy performance of the year (sorry, O’Carroll, Lynch and company) when Ian, Roy and Ruan test out their acting skills in a side-splitting Classic Albums parody (www.tinyurl.com/cq2n59b).
LITTLE Xs FOR EYES
Through trickling melodies, candy-coated female harmonies and an ample collection of quirky instruments (forget the glockenspiel, these guys are dab hands at mandolin, melodica and psaltery), Little Xs For Eyes have painted themselves as a pop group with a difference, and one that’s not afraid to explore the cuter side of music. Their seasonal affective disorder-inspired debut album S.A.D. is one of dozens of Irish LPs created through Fundit.ie, and in spite of its downbeat subject matter, one of the sweetest Irish records of the year.
Listen: to the fan-funded S.A.D. at www.littlexsforeyes.bandcamp.com.
See: them put the aforementioned melodica to use at www.tinyurl.com/bm66zw9.
With a seemingly never-ending reserve of house and hip hop beats and a remarkably engaging live show (a dozen gigs later, we’re still finding it hard to believe that all that noise is coming from just one man!), it’s no surprise that Cork native Toby Kaar has become the go-to-guy for floor-filling live music on Irish shores, and all in a matter of 12 months. This perpetually-stoked soundsculptor can do no wrong in the eyes of the fickle gig-going public – when he’s not strumming up new material in the wee hours, you’ll find him bopping about a stage somewhere, and taking the whole crowd with him.