15 fine Irish music acts to listen to in 2022

The artists that Tony Clayton-Lea reckons you’ll be hearing a lot more of next year

Stevie Appleby

Following a period of reflection where he didn't pick up a guitar for about two years, Stevie Appleby (formerly of Little Green Cars) returned to the fray in late 2021 with new music (EP, featuring the gorgeous songs Mother of Pearl and Rusty) and several live performances (Other Voices, support to Wyvern Lingo). His reappearance was welcome yet unexpected and his new songs further consolidate his skills as a deft exponent of folk/pop. Listen/look

Carrie Baxter

Waterford born and raised but living in London, it has taken some years for Carrie Baxter to make music her chosen career. Having released several tracks in 2021, she is setting her sights on 2022 as the breakthrough year. Baxter's music style (think a svelte Amy Winehouse sipping Southern Comfort) seems tailor-made for radio play, with songs such as Pray, Love me Better and Without You (featuring Dublin rapper Nealo) ticking one elegantly decorated box another after another. Listen/lookhttps


Music producer and games developer Bren Sutton has been around a while, but we're guessing he is a new name to many because of his mostly reclusive if not anonymous nature. He began to self-publish a broad range of solo music (EDM, hip-hop, funk, electro-pop) in 2019 and looks towards 2022 as a boundary-breaking year in his aim to reshape what he has described as "real Irish music". Listen/look

Tara Nome Doyle

This Berlin-based Norwegian-Irish singer and songwriter – a big fan of the Blindboy Podcast, FYI – is no ingenue but because of where she lives, she remains under the radar in Ireland, at least in music terms. Doyle's 2020 debut album, Alchemy, introduced "Kate Bush sings Nick Cave" stylings to a niche audience, albeit one that took her music to heart. Her second album, Værmin, is released on January 28th, and if its nuanced piano, strings, synthesisers and beats don't drag you under, then abandon all hope ye who enter here. Listen/look



Presenting a message of positive queer representation through their vivid electro-pop music is something that Belfast-based Dyvr (Adam Cleaver) does beautifully and succinctly. There is sweetness in the vocal delivery as much as there is steely assertiveness in the music, with three EPs (Pt 3 released in November) ably showcasing activist sensibilities. Such a stance is also apparent in Dyvr's videos, which are object lessons in getting the message across. Listen/look


In a neat biographical touch, five-piece Gurriers say they are from Laura Palmer-Stown, and when you listen to songs such as Top of the Bill and Approachable (their only released material to date), you know the mix of oddness, post-punk, and sprechgesang Dublinese is a perfect fit. They have been likened to Fontaines DC but ignore that – Gurriers are their own band: raw as a butcher's cut and just as fresh.Listen/look

Lyndsey Lawlor

Dublin singer/songwriter/spoken word artist Lyndsey Lawlor has so much to fume about that one song just isn't enough. Her 2020 EP Sake (as in FFS, and not the Japanese drink) was followed in November by the song Bottle & Chain, which takes Lawlor's lyrical momentum in a different direction and highlights her spoken word skills. Inspired by voices and stories and their combined therapeutic benefits, there is much to take from this woman's world. Lawlor's debut album, Dearest Philistine, is scheduled for release on January 12th. Listen/look


First they were here (2015's debut single, Clementine), then they weren't, and then they returned. It's as if M(h)aol's entry into the Irish music firmament was a Keyser Söze-like figment of the imagination, yet listening to their 2021 debut EP, Gender Studies, leads you to rethink how guitar bands could sound. While there is a glorious abandon to the music, there is also a controlled ambient environment that makes radical socio-political songs such as Laundries, Asking for It and the title track merciless butts to the head. Listen/look


It was once said that the best thing to come out of Drogheda was the road to Dublin, but rubbish to that because modernlove is the town's best band in decades. When the group won the Firestone Battle of the Bands several years ago, there were strong hints of Maroon 5 but they have since settled into their skin. Recently signed to Akira Records and with a debut album on the way, who's not to say in 2022 that the best thing out of Dublin might well be the road to Drogheda? Listen/look


Galway's NewDad say that while their music is for teenagers, parents will come to their gigs and like it even more. It's a roundabout way of saying how brilliantly multigenerational their music is and how older people would probably have been fans of their most obvious influences (Pixies, The Cure). That said, their 2021 EP, Waves (produced by Chris Ryan, who has also worked with Dundalk's Just Mustard), brings a casual right-here-right-now dreamy/nightmarish edge to the music. Expect their 2022 debut album to be a very safe bet. Listen/look


Ireland is slowly but surely getting there when it comes to generating natural pop songwriters and performers, and Malahide's Jade Roche is up there with the best of the batch. Looking at the likes of Dua Lipa, Robyn and Sigrid (with a sideline in FKA Twigs weirdness) and asking herself why ever not, Pastiche brings a cute dynamism to the form. Songs released so far – Chasing Down the Fame, Heaven – merge thumping electro-pop with assured performative control (the latter of which you can thank the Billie Barry Stage School).Listen/look

Pretty Happy

The long-standing tradition of Cork being a breeding ground for something ever so slightly different continues with Pretty Happy, a post-punk-art trio that – among other crass reference points – distils the essence of Pixies and sprinkles Cork's undiluted psycho-geographical accent (especially the indefinable Nun Attax) all over it. The band's 2021 four-track EP, Sluggers Bridge (featuring Salami, Sea Sea Sea, Sudocream, Fintan O'Toole), is as fine an introduction you can get to one of the best new-ish bands in the country.Listen/look

Saibh Skelly

Teenage singer-songwriter Saibh Skelly has already earned her dues: at 15, she started busking on Grafton Street, sneaking original songs into batches of cover versions and then uploading them to YouTube. When the arrival of Covid-19 prevented on-street performances, her YouTube channel delivered musical peace, love and understanding to her then 10,000-plus subscribers (now almost 55,000), who took to Skelly's naturalistic songs like proverbial ducks to water. Cue a deal with Dublin-based Rubyworks Records (Wyvern Lingo, David Keenan, Rodrigo y Gabriela) and more original material lurking in the wings. Listen/look

Ocean Tisdall

Co Wicklow singer-songwriter Ocean Tisdall can blame his mother for his commitment to music: one of the house rules was that he could only watch music video TV channels. In 2021 Tisdall self-released his debut single, Broke Up With my Best Friend, which quickly came to the attention of Universal Music. Now signed to that label (along with a management deal with London-based Hall or Nothing, which co-manage The Script), Tisdall is looking at a very busy 2022: a new single in February, followed by a debut EP scheduled for release in May. Listen/look

Clara Tracey

From a burgeoning music career in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, to working in Paris and then settling in Dublin, Clara Tracey brings to her music a libertarian, feminist and theatrical slant that looks to the works of Colette and Anais Nin for one kind of inspiration and contemporary French (and Francophile) artists such as Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin for another. The result is a genre-bouncing amalgam of trip-hop/jazz/chanson that can be heard on her debut album, Black Forest, out via Pizza Pizza Records in early 2022. Listen/look