WITH the dust deposited, the thickets and the cracked crackers, a full stock of 2021 can be counted. We have had incredible albums, singles and (believe it or not) throughout the year that are a testament to the endless resilience and creativity of the musicians on the island. This week’s column is dedicated to musicians who we believe will make headlines for the foreseeable future. These are the ones to watch in 2022.
John Francis Flynn
Flynn is a folk singer with magnetic qualities. His debut album, which we talked about in the previous two columns, was one of the highlights of the year. And that’s not all he has going for him. Become a key face and activist in the preservation of Dublin’s culture and the popular fight against gentrification, Flynn has the will of the people and the voice of angels on his side. Watch this place.
A daring and adventurous producer who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. With just one track released to date, this northern DJ has already started to turn heads with her relentless brand of garage-infused house and dark drum and bass. When the dance floors reopen, it won’t be long before HY: LY dominates them.
Probably the most prolific act on the list, it’s hard to escape NewDad’s influence over the past year or so. With a recent string of US hit dates announced around their appearance on SXSW, a new EP slated for release mid-year and their biggest Irish shows to date already sold out, the dream-poppers of Galway have drawn on the times. Their flagship Ulster Sports Club show was one of the best gatherings of the year, and this bunch will only get better.
With groovy-rich tracks, a unique voice and a devilishly ironic about them, Bricknasty has quietly had a fantastic year.
– Peter Healy Official 🗨 (@ phealy1982) November 28, 2021
Appearances at Other Voices in Dingle, a debut title in Belfast, and several big shows in Dublin (before the bad weather returned) set them up to make some serious headway next year, supported by their irresistibly fresh approach to the game. carefree hip-hop and funk.
Versatility and diversity are the key words and Monjola has it at hand. Dancing effortlessly between introspective puns and dark imagery in healthy, sunny R&B, the singer / rapper is tailor-made to turn heads and hearts in modern musical landscapes. With lyrics and metaphors straddling the intimate and the universal and an effortlessly sympathetic thrill about it, it’s unclear what the ceiling will be for next year.
Not quite indie folk, not quite roots rock, but something in between of its own. Living in the same worlds as Julia Jacklin, Big Thief, and Joni Mitchell, Toner sings far beyond her stature. On a nostalgic journey to a place you’ve never been, and maybe never even existed, her debut single “You’re Not Thinking Of Me” showed a songwriting talent that sets her apart. on par with some of the best independents.
Grunge isn’t dead yet, not if Lauren Ann has anything to say about it. The tight pop melodies belie the sharp edges of its writing, but work in tandem with rough riff work and garage. One of the best hook makers of the year, her music is dripping with cowardly mischief and barely contained contempt for her targets. With NewDad backing under her belt and a slew of headlines to look forward to in the New Year, Ann is leading the rock revival for the North.
Indie-pops who aren’t afraid to show they cry, Big Daisy has made a big splash for a group unable to debut during the lockdown. There’s a good reason for that – their tunes are crisp. With nowhere to go, we can expect this trio to continue their string of high-quality tunings throughout the coming year. Come to a festival near you, hopefully.
Girl for sale
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, longtime songwriter and industry boss Candice Cathers used 2021 to kick off her solo music project. The debut EP ‘Seaspeak’, a pop saga that uses samples, dreamlike synths, 60s pop harmonies and the voices of a few friends, was one of my favorite releases of the year. What started out as a bedroom project has grown into a huge boost, and the first show in 2022 is sure to be one of the must-see events of the year.
Miyagee has established himself as the north’s most singular rap talent this year, ending it all with a program jam-packed in The Empire. His latest album, Act III, saw a noticeable shift in writing and production, a mature track that eclipsed all previous ones. And he’s only just getting started.
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