Saint Patrick's Day can be celebrated by wearing green and drinking a lot. A lot. Seems unfair to be celebrating Irish culture by just alcohol consumption, there's so much to be thankful to the Irish for. Potato chips, soda water (to go with alcohol), Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, chemistry, colour photography, and machines like the tractor and the tank - no big deal. But there is also music and their impressive roster of Irish bands. You've probably heard of U2, The Script, Snow Patrol, Sinead O'Connor, Boyzone, Westlife and the likes but here's another 10 more Irish bands we'll toast to!
An Irish band that's big in Japan, label mates with Toe and even touring with them, it's hard to believe that the formation of Enemies snowballed out of a solo project. Throwing in elements of post-rock, math-rock and even indie-pop, Enemies is a complex yet accessible sound that will definitely grow on you. Enemies have created enough variety, richness and intrigue in their music that their live shows are almost a spectacle to watch (we experienced it first hand in Manila last year!) - meticulous and strident guitars, expressive drum rhythms, interspersed vocals and harmonies, songs that hook you within seconds (that Midwest Emo-esque intro of 'Indian Summer').
Poetic, introspective, and a little bit dark, the music of Villagers or main man Conor O'Brien has evolved from his debut album which was a little folky-singer-songwriter project. He has now begun to include some electronic element to his music making the second album more synth-driven while still retaining his style of songwriting and melancholia.
Like an electrical jolt to the brain, Adebisi Shank's math-rock, electronic infused music stands out from their other math-rock countrymen on this list. There are no lyrics, fuss, or hyperbole in their music but still does not hamper them from getting rave reviews for their live shows. Fans of kitsch culture, it shows in their song titles like '(-_-)', 'DODR (Dawn Of The Dead Remake)' and funny album names This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank and for the second album: This is the Second Album of a band called Adebisi Shank.
And So I Watch You From Afar
While keeping at bay the typical tropes of the genres, the band has spawned a discography that is equally intriguing and absolutely fun to listen to. Putting aside their skills in the studio, this Irish quartet has been making big waves worldwide on the road. Their live shows have been known to be especially frenetic and brimming of energy, captivating fans as far as the US, China, and Singapore, when we saw them at Zouk.
They've just got their big break and continue to do well around the world. In the same mould as The Script (but more indie cred), they sing songs that pull at the heartstrings. But don't just pass them off as any soppy band who appears on a Grey's Anatomy soundtrack (actually, they did), these guys have been busy working the festival circuit and have fans who have sold their beds for a ticket to their show, some crazy stuff there.
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine
Also known as everyone's first shoegaze band and the genre's very pioneers, the Dublin quartet have been around since 1983, and are still alive and well, with the release of last year's m b v. But the album that first shot them to the hall of musical legends was 1991's Loveless, a dizzying swirl of a masterpiece full of heavily distorted guitars, fuzzy hooks and obscure, indistinguishable vocals. Off-putting as it may be initially, people have come around to realise exactly what My Bloody Valentine produced - a shimmering, beautifully flawed magnum opus. Even till now, 23 years since it was first released.
Two Door Cinema Club
Sometimes all you want is some basic, dancey indie rock, and what you need is Two Door Cinema Club. Sure, they're not exactly as innovative or groundbreaking as their Irish brethren but what they do promise is a hell of a good time. Filled with electronic sheen and guitar-driven hooks, songs such as 'Undercover Martyn' and 'Cigarettes In The Theatre' pack such a delightfully sweet punch that you don't mind crumbling under all that sugar.
A little obscure and a lot on the eccentric side, BATS are a blend of post-punk, hardcore, metal, math-rock (and possibly everything in between). Song titles such as 'Higgs Boson Particle' and 'Gamma Ray Burst (Second Date)' should already be an indication of just how offbeat their music are - schizophrenic, meandering, brazen… and strangely catchy. If you ever wanted Foals to be a bit more punk and metal, BATS is here for you.
Flogging Molly, alongside their Boston-based counterparts, Dropkick Murphys, took the groundwork laid by early Irish punk bands like the Pogues and Nyah Fearties and found mainstream success with their Celtic-infused rock anthems about drinking and rebellion. Now that they're older, their material have moved a little bit more towards the politically-themed. Gone may be the days of 'Drunken Lullabies', but if there’s a band that can get you to sing along with the apocalypse, it’s Flogging Molly.
The iconic punk/power pop/New Wave band are very much part of Irish music history. Their popular hit 'Teenage Kicks' just celebrated its 35th anniversary last night. Formed in the late 70s, the laid out the foundations for bands like The Buzzcocks and (early) Green Day. Fast propulsive rhythms, chugging riffs and melodic guitar, the barrage of surefire hooks and catchy choruses, they had a huge following in the UK but sadly did not really catch on in the United States.
We also hope you remember them: