Last November, this column covered 10 Irish releases that were given away for free in our new link and social music economy. Albums, EPs and mixtapes continue to be offered freely on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook and official band sites. Here are the 10 best releases from the last 12 months that you have to hear:
Portadown-born Liverpool-based producer is as prolific as they come this year with an EP of original material and dozens of high-quality remixes of tracks from Feist, Busta Rhymes, Halves and Laura Sheeran available for free on Bandcamp.
2. Bear Bones
Former members of promising band 8Ball get back together and make more encouraging music, this time in jangly pop Morr Music vein. The 6-track Ursa Major EP is a perfect intro to their sound.
A Dublin-based bunch of producers, rappers and artists who are united in eclecticism: from hip-hop to post-dubstep and electronic, the roster runs the gamut of future music with names like The Bastard, C.F. Meister, Bingo, Exxon Valdez and Archetype featuring on two compilations and many of their own releases.
Curated by online music site, Drop-D, this compilation contains a whopping 39-tracks will get you acquainted with Cork’s alternative and rock music scene before you can say “Adebisi Shank” (last year’s was an excessive 69 songs).
Sunny Galway folk from a band that only recorded these five songs to get their new drummer up to speed (the Mosey of the title). Is the west coast the best coast? The Mosey EP makes a compelling argument.
It’s hard to believe but when Newbridge-based Jack Colleran was supposed to be studying for his Leaving Cert exams he was fast-becoming Ireland’s most promising solo musician through the release of his slowed-down emotional electronic music and an official remix for Interpol. If ever the term “one to watch” needed to be applied, this is it with bells on.
7. DJ iZem
A French-born Irish-based musician has just dropped the free five-track album Quiver / Debaixo D’Agua EP of soulful dub rhythms, hip-hop and tropical music.
8. Elaine Mai
Layers of harmonies, gentle twinkling guitar and looping arrangements form the basis of Galway-based Mai’s slow-burning music. There’s plenty more to come from this unique talent.
The sound of Ant Boland playing all instruments on his debut Animals EP is a thrilling and singular one. The Kildare-based musician exerts full artistic control on his fast-paced post-rock stylings resulting in a taut and engaging five-track introduction.
10. Simon Bird
What’s exciting about 21 year-old Simon Bird’s music is watching the progress of his experimental ambient music and how it’s discovering new forms and finding new avenues. There are five EPs available for free, start with the latest entitled V which his most-accomplished work yet.