It’s always a fraught experience trying to predict new artists and bands to watch out for over the following 12 months, and yet it’s a ubiquitous one. Why would a blogger or *shudder* tastemaker want to put their reputation on the line by trying to foresee the music that will be most played on people’s iPods in 350 or so days, or the band that will win over the apathetic crowds at the festivals during the summer? After the jump are 14 artists and bands which I think – and hope – have a big year. They range from bedroom producers to acoustic guitarists to out-and-out rock bands and more. Some have EPs already released, others have taken tentative steps into releasing their music while others have been around in various forms and bands before, and are only now getting around to releasing debut albums. I don’t know where some of these bands will be come January 2015 – I just know I hope to hear from them at least once over the course of the next 12 months. Here are The Point of Everything’s 14 Irish acts to watch in 2014 (in alphabetical order)…
Having left Eatenbybears, 21-year-old Olan Stephens, based in Galway, has been focusing on his A/V project the Bedroom, offering up a Tom Vek slice of off-kilter pop. With a couple of videos online, Stephens is impossible to ignore, be it aurally or visually.
Bleeding Heart Pigeon
In December, the London-based Bleeding Heart Pigeon released one of the most singular, striking EPs of the year, In A Room In Littleton, Colorado. That it’s their first release is proof positive of their immense potential. With a live show that’s supposed to amaze, Bleeding Heart Pigeon are going to have a huge year.
A four piece from Cork city with a debut EP already released, the Careers currently have their heads stuck in the books, studying for the Leaving Cert. Accomplished in myriad styles, their Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! variety should win them many new followers over the year – probably only after the June exams though!
A collaboration between Diamond Dagger and Goodtime (John), Chrystyne have only offered the world one track so far, the dance-infected ‘Time Is An Arrow’ – expect to be blown away by whatever they do next.
Under the moniker Ellll, Cork-based Ellen King makes dark, brooding soundscapes that pummel the audience. ‘Beach’, which was uploaded to Soundcloud recently, takes the listener to the deepest recesses; her other offerings on Soundcloud leave you dwelling there. Thus is her repertoire.
A darker, less rhythm-driven XX, Fears create a worrying atmosphere, with cacaphonic drums mixing with eerie guitars, creating a delicate and aggressive sound all at once. They spent 2013 building up their live profile – expect this year to be the one where Fears really get to you.
I Am Niamh
The classically trained Niamh Parkinson builds meandering, but never plodding, works that can leave the listener breathless. Like a more engaging Julie Feeney, but just as eclectic, Niamh weaves wonder out of the piano. Her debut EP offers but a mere glimpse of her virtuous ability.
Over the course of a six-song EP, Broken to be Rebuilt, which you can listen to below, Katharine Philippa takes the listener through the emotional ringer, with the force of Florence + the Machine. An eclectic and mesmerising experience, there’s no doubt that this Belfast singer could do anything she wants and it will likely be awe-inspiring.
This Derry band are capable of hitting new highs, while wearing their hearts firmly on their sleeves. Myles O’Reilly and Nialler9 are already fans and their Local Natives sound should prove a big hit during the festival season.
Popical Island’s first release of the year is the debut album from Grand Pocket Orchestra’s Paddy Hanna, who knows his way around a fun riff. ‘Join The Army’ is an infectious jaunt, one that offers a short burst of what to expect from Leafy Stiletto later this month.
Variously self-described as “a pop band with distortion pedals, but 60’s pop”, “kraut-house” and “crossover pop”, Princess channel the likes of Girl Band in the intensity stakes, and My Bloody Valentine in the noise stakes. With a couple singles and EPs available for free download on their Bandcamp page, the four piece have found their feet, their style and, in the shape of ‘Excuse The Voice’ – an eight-minute-plus rollicking – their anthems already. Who said guitar-rock was dead?
Already well known to De Barra’s regulars down in Clonakilty, Co Cork, Sam Clague offers renewed vigour and feeling to the acoustic guitar. Expect to fall hard for his delicate offerings. He plays the Pavilion on Sunday, January 12, where we’ve been promised beatboxing and more. An exceptional talent.
On ‘Hush Hush’, London-based Limerick trio Sisters never let up, thrashing through a noisy pop number that wouldn’t be out of place in early Ash albums. Guitars swirl in the background as snotty echoed vocals vie for attention. It’s a thrilling song, one that hints back to the early 90s. Having recently toured the UK with Big Deal, everything looks like it’s in place for Sisters to have a big 2014.
It’s always precarious pinning your hopes on a sideproject – the Last Shadow Puppets were a glorious conception; Miles Kane’s subsequent solo career not so much. Tvvins is the work of Adebisi Shank’s Lar Kaye and the Case of Cheers’ Conor Adams. Both bands are likely to release new albums this year – let’s just hope that Tvvins get more of an airing before being pushed to the side.