Lankum won the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year last week – and if nothing else, it demonstrated just how varied the Irish scene is right now.
We reckon our pick of the Irish tracks you should hear in March do the same thing. There's experimental folk, pop, hip-hop and more in the mix this month, so dig in...
1. SAINT SISTER – 'Dynamite'
We loved this Northern Irish duo (main pic above)'s 2018 album 'Shape of Silence', so it's great to finally have some new material from them. This beautiful little song has all their trademarks: harmonies, delicately-plucked stringed instruments and a pop sensibility that's hard to resist.
2. HILARY WOODS – 'The Mouth'
She has played in a rock band (JJ72) and under a pseudonym (The River Cry), but Hilary Woods' second solo album under her own name is her darkest, bravest experiment to date. The fuzzy thump and ghostly vocals of this track are mesmerisingly off-kilter – so news that it was recorded in Norway in the depths of winter while she was heavily pregnant comes as no surprise. The deliciously odd 'Birthmarks' is out this Friday.
3. ELM – 'Golden'
Ireland's answer to Years & Years (perhaps with a dash of Bastille in the mix), ELM are surely destined for things on a bigger scale. Having met at music college BIMM, the Dublin quartet's brand of uplifting electropop music is made for hands-in-the-air moments at festivals – so summer 2020 could be the season that breaks them. Until them, gems like this will suffice nicely.
4. BRIGID MAE POWER –'On a City Night'
Her last album, 2018's 'The Two Worlds', may have flown under the radar from a mainstream perspective, but it also firmly established this London-based, Galway-raised musician as a writer of thoughtful lo-fi indie songs. Her latest track has a gorgeous time-worn country feel to it, with yearning slide guitar and beautifully understated harmonies.
5. GOD KNOWS – 'Kettle On'
If you recognise God Knows's voice, that may be because you've heard him rapping in award-winning hip-hop group Rusangano Family. The Limerick-based MC recently struck out on his own with a stellar four-track EP 'Who's Asking?' This track, featuring his fellow Rusangano Family MC MuRli and fast-rising star Denise Chaila, is pretty great.