Writer Recommendations: Fearghal’s Top 20

Here’s a list of 20 tunes that I love. There’s not much logic behind this one. There’s a few great pop tunes, a few of the bands that have shaped my music taste, a few thrown in to make me look cooler and a few discoveries I made that I thought were new but turned out to be oldies. I moved from Ireland to Glasgow six years ago but realised when I made this that I still listen to a lot of Irish musicians, so hopefully some of these are a good introduction to these artists! I’ll have to explain myself on a few choices…

The second spot on the list is by Irish act Pillow Queens. With their debut album In Waiting out on 25th September, ‘Holy Show’ is a perfect introduction to the Dublin 4 piece. There’s no doubt that the best way to get the vibe of this band is to check out some of their videos on YouTube, and a simple cinematic and shiver-inducing love story is the backdrop to this tune. Also check out ‘Brothers’ and ‘Gay Girls’ and pre-order their album.

Pillow Queens by Vanessa Ifediora

A playlist of mine would be lost without Frightened Rabbit. I went for ‘Be Less Rude’ from their debut album Sing The Greys because somehow, 13 years after release, it still shows up in my ‘On Repeat’ section on Spotify every week. Potentially down to the simple message of ‘don’t be a dick’ or perhaps because of the brutal putdown of ‘You sit on your high horse and you’re spouting high horse shite / I’m afraid you’ve been misled, your high horse in fact’s a pony’. Without a doubt my favourite band, there’s no need to list other tunes to listen to, just dig in. 

Junior Brother is a Kerryman based in Dublin writing some modern-ish trad/folk songs. If you happen to have been brought up as a Catholic you’ll know the feeling of ‘Hungover at Mass’, but I’m sure this translates to other places of worship. A good humorous introduction, go back and check out the genuinely beautiful ‘The Back of Her’ and ‘Full of Wine’. In a similar vein, I’ve wrapped up the playlist in the same way so many of my drunken YouTube explorations end, with the Rubberbandits. Wrongly accused of being a novelty act, they’re a sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying satyrical duo and ‘I Wanna Fight Your Father’ is a catchy and soulful exploration of male bravado with funny accents. Oh yeah, they wear plastic bag-balaclavas.

Rubberbandits in the Irish Times.

The rest are just great tunes too, so if you haven’t heard some of the acts get stuck into back catalogues and enjoy!

By Fearghal McMahon

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