AS we emerge from a sleepy Christmas, wherein our creative sector enjoyed some much-deserved rest, we enter the New Year with a flourish. It’s a quiet time of year for new releases, but there is plenty to look forward to in the coming year and some of the best live events are just around the corner.

To start off the year with a bang, one of Ireland's live music institutions announced the return of one of our stronger showcases. Whelan's, the Dublin-based venue and long-time supporter of independent, developing and new talent in Ireland, announced the formal return of its yearly ‘Whelan's Ones To Watch’ festival. A celebration of live music that platforms some of our best young and emerging acts from January 5-8, it will also serve as the inaugural launch of ‘Little Whelan's’, the third live stage in the complex.

Applicants are sorted via a lengthy and thorough examination process and alumni of the festival have gone on to perform on stages around the globe. Tickets are priced at €7 per day or €15 for a weekend's worth of entertainment. I highly recommend getting down, but f you’re intimidated by the line-up of 70-plus bands, then we’ve developed a handy guide for who we think is essential to check out even day.

Thursday - Gurriers

If you’re a fan of mosh pits, heavy music and the general energy of being surrounded by bodies in a sweaty room, then look no further than Gurriers. Positioned at the sweet spot on the main stage, their hyperactive brand of electro-post-punk is as addictive as it is uncompromising.

Friday - Reevah

One of the few acts from the North carrying the flag for us in Dublin, Reevah is poised to have a great year. A recent signing of the Faction Records imprint label In Bloom, she’s translated her indie-folk vocals into a rollicking new sound, one that capitalises on energetic percussion and an upbeat pace.

Saturday - Lavengro

The Derry-based pop-rockers have been floating around the scene for a little while but have been making some serious headway recently. Styled in the same vein as indie giants like Two Door Cinema Club and cult favourites Wild Youth, their infectious brand of syntax, inflexion and vocal delivery is perfectly suited to the modern music landscape.

Sunday - Kingfishr

Operating on the fringes between bluegrass, indie, folk and pop, Kingfishr has everything you want in a band – including some great tracks. One of the fresher acts in the line-up, I’m predicting big things for them going forward. Their latest single ‘eyes don’t lie’ is excellent from start to finish.

Tickets are expected to fly out for this one, so get on it while you can.

And for those without a strong desire to get back on the dance floor, there’s still plenty to look forward to in the coming months. News emerged this week of the latest documentary from Irish music journalist Ken Sweeney. Responsible for such projects as REM Out Of Athens and In Search Of The Blue Nile, Sweeney has turned his gaze on the Australian group The Go-Betweens in a labour of love documentary that's been 20 years in the making. Titled ‘The Go-Betweens and the Irish Writers’, the project examines the influence of Joyce and other Irish writers on the band’s output. Founding members Robert Forster and bandmate the late Grant McLennan were hailed as ‘the Lennon and McCartney of indie’ and are regarded alongside REM and The Smiths as one the most influential indie songwriters of the ’80s.

And with no spotlight to shine this week (and no new releases), we turn to the sadder news of a band breakup. Dublin-based grime and garage rap duo Mango x Mathman have announced a farewell show to mark the closure of the project. Five years in the making, Mango x Mathman established a solid reputation in Ireland and abroad and released three original projects. Vicar Street will play host to their final show later this year.