by Elle Kelleher
The Irish music industry was severely impacted during COVID-19. With all gigs cancelled, professionals around the country suddenly found themselves without income and, as the majority of full-time musicians are self-employed, with their eligibility status for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in a precarious position, unsure if taking the odd gig here or there could jeopardise it. In response to the unprecedented threat faced by musicians around the world, streaming site Bandcamp introduced Bandcamp Fridays, where on the first Friday of every month they would completely waive all fees (15% on digital, 10% on merchandise), meaning musicians would benefit from receiving the entirety of revenue generated during the day. Here are some of my picks for top Irish talent to support during the next Bandcamp Friday, September 4th.
Deadbog’s self-titled EP can be summed up in one word: huge. At times noisy, shoegazey bliss and at times pure dream pop, this album is absolutely one that should be on your radar. Impossibly distorted guitars clash with ethereal vocals over hazy beats that leave you nostalgic for a time you can’t quite place your finger on. Comprised of Irish music alumni such as Danny O’Shea, Luke Daly, Rory Burke and JJ Lee, chances are if you’ve been to a gig in Cork City, you’ve watched these guys in performance in a number of other projects. Fans of My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive will adore this band.
CHECK OUT: Morning Swimmer
Often considered ‘the voice of now’, Denise Chaila is one of the most exciting artists working within Ireland’s vibrant rap scene at the moment. Blending hip-hop with spoken word and tackling issues from national identity and degrees of Irishness to hitting back at misogynistic attitudes against women in the music industry, Chaila opens up important dialogue, while never easing up on the beat. Denise Chaila will have your feet and brain bopping in equal measure. If you like Noname and Chance the Rapper, Denise Chaila is your next favourite artist.
CHECK OUT: Chaila
Northern Ireland has an especially vibrant music scene right now, and Junk Drawer, first entirely DIY winners of the Northern Ireland Music Prize, are easily one of its brightest stars. These sardonic indie rockers are incredibly reminiscent of Pavement and Sebadoh, so fans of ‘90s alternative would do well to pay attention. Their Ready for the House EP is an examination of isolation, anxiety and the horrible feeling that you’re wasting time, all wrapped up in pure stadium-ready anthems. Junk Drawer are the perfect band to guide you through these weird times.
CHECK OUT: What I Learned/What I’m Learning
His Father’s Voice
His Father’s Voice are one of the coolest bands in Limerick’s thriving alternative scene. Blending old school post-punk with synthy leads, HFV are a band that’ll have you hooked from your first listen. Their debut EP Context and Perspective could have easily been recorded at the height of the Post-Punk/New Wave boom in the early 1980s. They manage to be broodingly introspective and danceable at the same time. If you like Joy Division and The Cure, you’ll love allowing yourself to soak in His Father’s Voice’s melancholic vibes.
CHECK OUT: No Room for Romantics
Nerves encapsulate everything a power-pop band should be; they’re raw, loud and angry. It’s hard to sit down and listen to this band, as sitting still seems to go against every instinct your body feels while listening to their tunes. Listening to their music will make you yearn for the days of gigs and mad nights out. Their latest offering, Time Trial, is nothing short of explosive. If Royal Blood and Girl Band had a baby that was raised by Idles, the result would be Nerves. I can not wait to see what happens next for this band.
CHECK OUT: Time Trial
Elaine Malone is a busy woman; if she’s not working on her solo music, she’s creating improvisational psycho-folk with Mantua, shoegazey magic with Soft Focus or noise rock oddities with Land Crabs. Her solo work is a blend of all three, making her one of Ireland’s most interesting singer-songwriters, and even that feels like too weak a label to describe what she has going on. It’s a shame that it’ll be so long before we’re able to experience this woman’s craft in its natural habitat; upstairs in the Roundy House. For the time being, we have an exciting back catalogue available to tide us over on Bandcamp.
CHECK OUT: My Baby’s Dead.
Ireland’s music scene is a beautiful, ever-evolving place, with something for absolutely everyone. That’s why it’s so important to support it and keep it alive. There are hundreds of incredible artists all around the country, making waves and revolutionising genres from lo-fi bedroom pop, to death metal, to grime. Support local this Bandcamp Friday!