With 2019 producing six Number 1 albums by homegrown acts - Picture This, Hozier, Mick Flannery, Dermot Kennedy, The Script and Westlife - now is a great time to be an Irish musician. Below is a rundown of Irish talent releasing new albums (and EPs) in 2020.
2019 was a big year for Niall Horan, who released his smash hit Nice To Meet Ya, a Number 1 hit on the Official Irish Homegrown Chart. He's following up that success with Heartbreak Weather, out March 13. Niall reunited with his Too Much To Ask producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, P!nk) on his latest Top 50 single Put A Little Love On Me, while he also reconnected with RuthAnne for Nice To Meet Ya, the songwriter he teamed with for his breakthrough track Slow Hands. Third track No Judgement is out now.
Legendary Irish band Clannad are releasing their 50th anniversary album In A Lifetime on March 13, ahead of their farewell world tour, which includes a sold out show at Cork Opera House.
In A Lifetime is available to pre-order now on CD, vinyl and deluxe boxset, and includes rare track Hourglass (before now never included on an album) and a remastered version of the Top 5 single Theme from Harry's Game.
Fresh from playing her biggest shows to date as part of 2FM's Christmas Ball at the 3Arena and RTÉ One's New Year's Concert broadcast, Aimée has entered 2020 with serious momentum. Her first two singles Don't Bother and Break Me have a combined 1m+ streams, while new song Don't Call Me Pretty is out now. Aimee will release her Confession EP through Universal on March 27.
After scoring three Top 3 albums, The Coronas finally topped the Official Irish Albums Chart in 2017 with their fifth studio album Trust The Wire. The follow-up has been three years in the making, with a stop gap of a Top 50 live album in between.
Last year saw the band release Find The Water, the lead single from their True Love Waits, which is produced by Rob Kirwan (U2, Hozier) and pencilled in for a May 29 arrival. In January, they dropped their new single Haunted and Cold was released at the end of February.
Since her X Factor days, Janet Devlin has carved out a following on YouTube and is returning to commercial music with the release of a new album this year. Confessional will be released in May and features the title track single, Saint of the Sinners and latest song Honest Men.
"I began singing the darkest lyrics over the top of this beautiful melody that was emerging from my little uke," said Janet of Honest Men. "That juxtaposition of light and shade inspired me to write the whole thing in under an hour."
Hotly-tipped rock quartet Inhaler recently signed with Polydor after releasing a string of acclaimed singles independently. When your Dad is Bono, you have quite the reputation to live up to, but frontman Eli Hewson and the band have created their own success on talent rather than who they're related to.
Major label debut Ice Cream Sundae is perfect to top any indie playlist and is one of the songs that helped the band place fifth on BBC Music's Sound of 2020 poll. Their debut album is coming soon, with the band putting finishing touches to the recording process.
Picture This claimed 2019's biggest album by an Irish group, and they're keeping their pedal firmly to the metal. The band released new song One Night in October 2019, which became their highest-charting track to date, peaking at Number 4. In January 2020, they dropped new track Winona Ryder, described in press materials as what will set up the release of their third studio album. Watch this space!
With a Choice Music Prize 2018 nomination for Song of the Year already under their belts, Pillow Queens have impressed critics, and they're about to have an effect on a hell of a lot more people.
Self-described as making "puppy pop", Pillow Queens have carved a niche for themselves that the Irish landscape has been craving more of: commercial homegrown guitar indie-pop from a female perspective.
Pillow Queens "can’t wait to share our album with you", and who knows, maybe they'll get the Choice Prize Album of the Year nom to match.
Damien has taken a very unique approach to writing and recording his new album. The Kildare folk singer spent a week on an old wooden sail boat in January 2019 to get in the right album-making head space, cutting himself off from the world. Can we expect Damien's fourth studio album (and potentially his third Number 1) in the coming months?
It's been five years since indie darlings Ham Sandwich released their Number 1 album Stories From The Surface, so are we due a new record? If the band performing new songs on the live circuit is anything to go by, then the answer is yes! The band performed fresh tracks during their Winter tour last year, including one called The Pact, and the band hoped fans "enjoyed the new music that's coming".
Hermitage Green have been on an upward trajectory since the release of their Top 3 debut album Save Your Soul in 2016. The band's new album is due early this year, and was trailed last year by the singles Heaven, All In All and Official Irish Homegrown Chart hit By The Glow of the Kerosene Light. The band will promote the new record when playing Limerick’s Live at the Docklands in June.
One of the standout breakthrough acts of 2019, Fontaines D.C. picked up a Choice Music Prize nomination for Dogrel, last year's biggest album on vinyl by an Irish group which peaked at Number 4 on the Official Irish Albums Chart. The Beach Boys-inspired follow up is already done, with the band completing it last October. "That’s been [our] real favourite moment of 2019, making the new record," the Dubliners told Long Live Vinyl. "[We] don’t know how we’ve found time to do it all, but we have."
Just Mustard scored a Choice Music Prize 2018 nomination for their debut album Wednesday, and we can expect the follow-up sometime this year. The band released new songs Seven, Frank and October last year, with more primed for 2020.
The band told Dork that they plan on "writing loads and loads of new songs" this year, and are "writing towards a new album". Lead vocalist Katie continued: "2020 has a nice ring to it for a record." We couldn't agree more.
Post-punk outfit Silverbacks have been gigging away in Dublin, and are set to follow in Fontaines D.C. and Girl Band's footsteps by pushing into the mainstream next. The five-piece group released two new songs in 2019: Sirens and Pink Tide. According to Clout, the band's debut album is finished, was produced by Girl Band's bassist Daniel Fox and will be on shelves in the coming months.
Indie rock band The Academic shot straight to Number 1 in 2018 with their debut album Tales From The Backseat, and the follow-up is on the horizon. Last year, the band released new songs Superlike and Aftertaste, and promised on socials that they "have an even bigger 2020 planned".
We Gotta Tell You some great news, Samantha Mumba is releasing a new album soon. It was meant to be out last year, but Sam last had a studio album out way back in the year 2000, so we can hold out a little bit longer. The Baby Come On Over singer - who has scored seven Top 5 singles in Ireland - has been working with MNEK and H.E.R. songwriter Ryan Ashley. Sam explained the delay with her new music on an Instagram post in December, stating she is "absolutely determined" to hit ground running in 2020.
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Is everyone over these yet?....This blew my mind because these stats are based on such old records. This year has been an interesting one on so many levels. I rediscovered my love for music and writing and have been working so hard creating with thee best team that I appreciate SO MUCH for believing in me. Being an indie artist now has given me tons of freedom creatively but there have been delays/standstills and politics behind the scenes that I didn't see coming👀🤷🏽♀️...It's been a massive learning curve but frustrating chain of events🤯...Hence the delay with the new music that I'd planned on having out monnnnths ago. However, I am NOTHING if not absolutely determined to do things properly and get this music out in the way it deserves and I plan on hitting the ground running in 2020🏃🏾♀️...Thank you for still being here and supporting and even still reading this lol....It seriously means more than you can imagine❤️
Kodaline have a solid track record of success on the Irish Albums Chart, with all three of their studio albums reaching Number 1. The group's fourth LP is coming out this year, exact date TBC. The first taste of the album is the subtly anthemic Wherever You Are, out now.
After exploring slick pop production from esteemed hitmaker Steve Mac for their third album Politics of Living, Kodaline have opted to turn to their intimate, acoustic roots, and self-produced the new album.
"The whole creative process for this album has been built around the four of us in our little studio in Dublin," frontman Steve Garrigan told us.
We've been told we could expect an EP from rising star Tim Chadwick at some point this year. Following the gut-wrenching I Need To Know released last year, Tim has four singles planned for 2020, with sad-banger Sore Thumb, out now.