WhenYoung started cooking up brilliant tunes as a group back in 2017 when the Irish trio, formed of vocalist and bass player, Aoife Power, Niall Burns (Guitar) and Andrew Flood (Drums) moved to Dublin under the band’s original name ‘Sisters’. Their debut singles ‘Actor’ and ‘Silverchair’ paved the way to quick success after gaining a few local names as fans – The Pogues frontman, Shane MacGowan, and the man himself; Bono… so no biggy really.
Later that year they were invited to play MacGowan’s 60th birthday in Dublin city centre without even having released an album at the time. WhenYoung, or ‘Sisters’ as they were, must have known from their early experiences that they were onto something special.
And indeed they were… now with an even more developed, kick-ass sound, it doesn’t take long to realise why they gained such legendary fans.
The group met in true Irish rock n’ roll style, sneaking into their local pub in the town of Limerick for some underage drinking and chats about the bands they loved. Later, after forming a band themselves, they moved to Dublin; a city big enough to suit their ambition. They went looking for the excitement they craved, and golly they most definitely found it.
WhenYoung are very much the next generation of bands such as The Cranberries and The Velvet Underground. If you’re a fan of either, this is a band for you.
Nowadays, with their first album ‘Reasons To Dream’ out in the world for all to hear, and with more people than ever having their ears tuned to the group’s unmissable sound, the three friends from a small town in Ireland are set to concur the world. WhenYoung have since based themselves in London, a bigger city fit for the scale of things to come? Don’t we know it.
Just when you thought Dublin couldn’t possibly produce any more incredible bands, you suddenly discover the music of Inhaler. This four-piece rock band, fronted by son of U2’s Bono, have a more unusual beginning than most. They met and first began playing together in 2012 while still at school in Ireland. Their first ever gig together was the school’s talent contest, where they performed a cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’
In 2015, they became Inhaler after being given the nickname by their school friends due to lead singer Elijah Hewson’s struggles with Asthma. Three years later, the band released their debut single ‘I Want You’ and the boys quickly gained popularity, becoming known for their dirty bass lines, heavy rhythms and psychedelic melodies which are highly reminiscent of early 2000s bands like The Killers. Despite this relation in sound, the boys dress sense and album artwork actually bare a strong resemblance to an early version of The Smiths.
Hailing from a regular Irish college rather than one that specialises in music, the band have said their ‘weird’ style and music taste was ‘poles apart’ from their fellow peers, which naturally meant the boys had to stick together.
After recording a demo of their single ‘Ice Cream Sundae,’ they quickly gained the attention of none other than Antony Genn, producer and former member of Pulp, who nurtured the band, giving them the studio space they needed and forcing them to practice harder. This school talent show band soon began playing sold-out venues in and around Dublin, and after releasing six more singles, have become the fully-fledged band-on-tour they are today.
Inspired by their parents vinyl collections, which included bands such as The Stone Roses, Depeche Mode and New Order, they’ve managed to produce a sound of their very own including the best bits of all these inspirations. They possess a psychedelic structure similar to Interpol, a drop of New Order’s synthesizer experimentation and a splash of Sonic Youth’s kick.
Robert Keating (Bass), Ryan McMahon (Drums), Josh Jenkinson (Guitar) and Elijah Hewson (Vocals) together have gained industry-wide attention, being featured in The NME 100 and finishing 5th in The BBC’s Sound of 2020 vote, incredible achievements for such a young band.
As the son on music legend and U2 frontman Bono, lead singer Elijah Hewson has clearly learnt from the best. For the sons and daughters of established musicians, there always comes a certain amount of pressure, but it seems Elijah and his band have managed to pioneer something new and blow those expectations out the water.
Inhaler have now gigged with the likes of Noel Gallagher on their first American tour. They began this year with the release of their single ‘We Have To Move On’ a song I haven’t stopped listening to since it’s release. Later, they released the double-sided single ‘Falling In’ in the build-up to the launch of their debut album which is yet to be announced. The band released this awesome video filmed during isolation of 2020, a time where they should have been gigging:
This is a band we can’t stop listening to, a true must-have on the playlists of fans of The Killers, The Smiths, Oasis, Pulp or any of the other bands mentioned above.
We look forward to the release of their album, but until then, indulge yourself in one of their fantastic singles.
It would be a bold statement to compare any band to music legends such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth or The Cure, but let me say this – I think Fontaines D.C. are one of the most exciting bands to form in a long time.
In 2017, while studying music in Dublin, Carlos O’Connell, Conor Curley, Conor Deegan, Grian Chatten, and Tom Coll quickly bonded over a love of poetry and together, soon began turning that common interest into music.
After they started gigging as simply ‘Fontaines’, they quickly learnt of another band with that name and so added the D.C (Dublin City).
The band signed to Partisan Records and their debut album Dogrel was released in April 2019 to much critical acclaim, earning them a nomination for a Mercury Prize, a Choice Music Prize and many more titles rarely held by such a young band.
Their second studio album, A Hero’s Death, was just released in July 2020 to just as much praise from fans.
I love a band who sing in their own accents, and their roots and common interest in poetry which brought the boys together certainly sets this band apart from the rest for their intelligent lyrics – something which seems to be underestimated today but reminds me strongly of the origins of Joy Division and Ian Curtis’ attitudes to love and loss in ‘70s working-class Manchester. I recently took a trip to Dublin and stayed not far from where singer Grian Chatten had grown up. The similarities I recognised between Dublin and Manchester in terms of the people’s music culture and pride for their city became very clear to see – evidently, this dynamic has produced many great bands in both these areas.
Being stuck inside during the recent pandemic has been difficult for a lot of bands, and cancelling the tour of their new album was never going to be easy. But it seems that the band have been busier than ever, releasing a fantastic cover of Darklands, directing their own music video for their recent release and most interesting of all, creating Spotify playlists comprised of their many influences which I’ve not been able to stop listening to.
With a wide taste in music, bringing together the best of rock, punk, indie and more, it’s easy to see where the inspiration for their own great songs have come from, and the genius of bands from before their time is certainly reflected in their music today.
These boys flying the flag for Dublin have seemingly captured the attention of an audience not only their own age, but the generation that came before them too – the ones who grew up seeing those great bands, and who are now reliving their 20’s. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen gigs where my own friends, the ‘younger’ generation are standing alongside people their parents’ age. That’s exactly what truly good music should do.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see a band drawing so heavily on the influence of much older bands, but doing so in their own very unique way. I’d go so far as to say that If these boys had been around in the ’90s, they might now have the same legendary status as some of the bands they look up to, and there’s absolutely no reason why they couldn’t still put themselves up there.
I’ve already seen how far these guys have come over the last year since I first heard them on the radio, and I’m excited to see where they go next. In a lot of ways, it feels like watching one of my favourite 80’s rock bands form before my very eyes.
The next time you see them playing near you, I strongly advise you to get out there, there are not many people I can safely say will go down in music history, but Fontaines D.C. will be one you’ll be telling your grandkids about.
Their new album ‘A Hero’s Death’ is available now.