Our first Best of Irish round up of 2023 as we look back at the tracks we loved in January. Aaron Cunningham selects some of his favourite releases of the month, including cover artist Ailbhe Reddy. All handily found in our rotating playlist.
Ailbhe Reddy – Last to Leave
A beautifully lowkey new single from Ailbhe Reddy ahead of album #2 in March. ‘Last to Leave’ is about infatuation at a party. The latest in a rich vein of form from the songwriter, the soft trumpets and vocal hook make this one a delight.
Lankum – Go Dig My Grave
‘Go Dig My Grave’ heralds the return of heavyweights Lankum, one of Ireland’s most exciting acts of the last few years. A funeral dirge in two parts featuring their interpretation of a traditional song, one full of drama and building, otherworldly suspense. A heavy-hitting return.
Danny Carroll – Affection
Danny Carroll’s (Shrug Life) idiosyncratic vocals and songwriting are back on a first solo release. ‘Affection’, produced by Chris Ryan (Robocobra Quartet) is a sweetly strung indie ballad about the effects of distance on a relationship, led by Carroll’s soft croon.
Mhaol – Therapy
Released just ahead of the five piece’s debut album Attachment Styles (out now), ‘Therapy’ is a chaotic, succinct single. Persistent bass thuds underneath clashing guitars and percussion while Róisín Nic Ghearailt’s unique vocal delivery carries on to the track’s fade out unfazed. A tongue in cheek look at heavier subject matter.
Banríon – Departure Party
‘Departure Party’ sits in the middle of Banríon’s new EP dare to crush. A track that throws shade at landlords and the personal difficulties of the housing crisis, delivered through soft but punchy indie rock and relatable lyrics.
Abe Soare – Oasis
Just the second release from new Limerick artist Abe Soare, ‘Oasis’ hits a hopeful note, looking for a light in difficult times. The track’s easy going indie-pop sound has a relatable charm. The first of a series of releases in 2023 from the Romanian born songwriter.
shiv – Late Now
Irish/Zimbabwean artist shiv releases her first single under Warner Music Ireland with ‘Late Now’. A track that moves in interesting ways, the slower slow of her previous work is replaced with a 90s beat and a climbing vocal hook.
Montauk Hotel – Dive (Come Afloat)
Sounding like they’ve never been away, Dublin trio Montauk Hotel release their first new music in four years. ‘Dive (Come Afloat)’ shimmers with sparkling guitar lines and gentle vocal harmonies.
Aby Coulibaly – Rewind
On new release ‘Rewind’, Aby Coulibaly’s soulful voice takes centre stage amidst the filmic quality of the song’s piano and stirring strings. Coulibaly put in a vintage performance of the single on The Late Late Show last month.
Arborist – Dreaming in Another Language
Another artist building to a new album, Arborist marks a long awaited return. ‘Dreaming in Another Language’ is led along by hypnotic rhythms, dipped in psychedelia and dreamlike motions, unconcerned with urgency. Arborist’s sound takes another exciting turn.
The Murder Capital – Return My Head
January brought with it the follow up to The Murder Capital’s debut album with Gigi’s Recovery showcasing new sounds from the five-piece. January single ‘Return My Head’ is one such example, with deep vocals and brooding cinematics.
New Pagans – There We Are John
Preceding a UK tour and kicking off the second album cycle, ‘There We Are John’ continues the evolution of the New Pagans sound. Inspired by artist, filmmaker, activist Derek Jarman, sharp guitar lines and thudding rhythms drive this track to its engaging and heavy conclusion.