Happy International Women’s Day!
In 2018 Ireland is awash with musical talent. As it is International Women’s Day, we thought it’d be an apt time to celebrate the accomplishments of modern Irish women in this most fruitful of music scenes. They operate in a wealth of genres and showcase a cavalcade of talents. While celebrating the women at the forefront of the Irish music scene, let’s not forget those working tirelessly behind the curtain. I am privileged to work with these talented women on a daily basis. And I got to tell you, they get shit done.
I could have made this list pretty much endless, but, like the Dude, I am a fan of brevity. In no particular order. Let me know what I missed in the comments.
1Lizzie Fitzpatrick of Bitch Falcon
Dublin sludgy alt-rock trio Bitch Falcon are a ferocious beast. Led by the thunderous riffs and animalistic, throat-ripping vocals of Lizzie Fitzpatrick, they are pretty much the very best live rock act in the country at the moment. Lizzie’s passion and intensity are central to their cacophonous din. She’s a pioneer, a badass and pretty sound to boot.
‘Body Break’, the centrepiece of Salt the most recent album from Irish alternative folk artist Katie Kim, is archetypal of her vulnerable, honest, and understated approach to songwriting. It is the kind of song that one feels uncomfortable listening to as if they are a voyeur, eavesdropping on the private thoughts of the artist. I don’t think there’s higher praise than that. Music as bloodletting.
Dowry, aka Éna Brennan, is a fundamental experimentalist. A master of the violin, arrangement, composition and songwriting, her music swims and swirls like a whirlpool. Drenched in ideas, her music is challenging but, ultimately, inviting. This is 4 am music. It is close your eyes and contemplate all the failures and successes of your life music. It is vital. It is essential.
4Emily Jane and Niamh Casey of Vernon Jane
The first time I listened to Dublin alt-psych band Vernon Jane was just yesterday. The intense and confrontational ‘Fuck Me’ immediately arrested my ears and I was forced to stop what I was doing. After about 20 years of enveloping myself in music, that does not really happen all that often anymore. The anchors of Vernon Jane’s music are the exquisitely intense vocals of Emily Jane and the controlled and intense drumming of Niamh Casey. I have to see them live.
5Nora Lewan and Elaine Howley from The Altered Hours.
Riding high on the success of their debut album, Cork psych/shoegaze outfit The Altered Hours have a new EP on the horizon. Titled On My Tongue, it promises to take their densely lush sound and expand on it tenfold. This is in no small part due to the hypnotic and ethereal vocals of Elaine Howley and the metronomic drumming of Nora Lewan. Stirring and evocative,
The thing I’ve always loved about the alt-folk of Lisa Hannigan is how she seamlessly melds grounded reality with a sense of wonderful and supernatural otherworldiness. Her songs are imbued with the earnest and the real, but also a fairy tale quality that evokes The Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Magical, but unafraid to bravely tackle the most personal of human activities.
7Radie Peat of Lankum
Radie Peat has a voice of experience. What I mean is that when she unleashes her lungs over the evocative and engrossing traditional music of Dublin’s Lankum, it sounds like we’re hearing a voice of someone who witnessed the Famine, perhaps aided Wolfe Tone, occupied the GPO, and worked tirelessly alongside Countess Markievicz. It is a voice that is at once resigned but also defiant. That’s about as Irish as you can get. Resigned to defeat, but never giving up.