AS we enter the new year, one filled with possibilities as our first full cycle removed from the headaches of Covid, at Northern Winds we're here to help you narrow down your cultural choices for the year. Here is our Top 10 list of bands and artists to check out in the coming year.

10) YinYang

A modern artist built for a contemporary world. Combining elements of rap, punk, electronica, dance and rock, YinYang wowed audiences at her trio of debut shows, supporting the likes of CHALK, Enola Gay and Lemonade Shoelace. Complete with a dynamite light show and no small amount of onstage charisma, this is an act that you need to check out asap.

9) Aoife Wolf

An alumnus of Ireland Music Week, the bog-gothic vibes of Aoife Wolf's twisted folk music have made her one of the most exciting acts to look forward to this year. Her 2022 album 'The Wetlands' was amongst the most accomplished of the year and live she has an arresting presence and voice. Keep an eye out for Belfast dates to be announced in the coming months.

8) Tramp

Featured on our end-of-year list, and for good reason. This band have been punching far above their weight so far, with a fanbase built off the back of two addictive singles and a goodly amount of potential. Currently operating out of Derry City, this act has already seen action in the UK and is poised to get even bigger and better this year coming.

7) Lauren Ann

Although only a year or two into her career, Lauren Ann already carries herself with the poise and confidence that comes from years of working on her craft. I saw her last October performing in Dublin and she completely blew me away. Having already supported Tom Grennan and Twin Atlantic around Belfast last year, and with a stop-off at the iconic SXSW in Austin, Texas on the calendar, Ann is ready to make a huge leap.

6) Gurriers

Dark, sticky electronic post-punk is having its day right now, and Gurriers are the next in line to pick up the mantle. With rumours that a big partner has swooped in to sign and develop the band, their reputation for being electrifying live and a steadily building head of buzz, the five-piece are going to make serious waves in 2023.

5) Cartin

Another talent from the walled city, Cartin had a busy year. Impressing at AVA in Belfast, championed by Other Voices in Dingle, Ireland and Cardigan, Wales and fresh off a run of impressive releases, the producer and electronic act has turned heads around the country. With an eclectic blend of genres, melded through the lens of progressive and energetic dance music, this act is coming to a dance floor near you.

4) Charlie Hanlon

The youngest member of this list and the one with the largest organic rise in the last year, Hanlon hails from Downpatrick and continues the mighty tradition of addictive, guitar-driven indie rock established by the likes of ASH and The Answer. At 17 years old he's already played the Ulster Hall with the hometown heroes and sold out two headlines across Belfast. One for the summer playlist, and one on the cusp of becoming a household name.

3) Lemonade Shoelace

With shows in London, Mexico City, Austin and Dublin already under his belt, Lemonade Shoelace has continued a dominant run of success in the global music industry. Not too bad for an act with only one song out. Psychadelic-tinged indie rock with dance elements is the name of the game, and with new music on the horizon, the feeling is that Lemonade is only getting started.


'Exploded onto the scene' almost seems like a disservice to what CHALK accomplished so quickly. Immediately championed by BBC6 Music and BBC Radio 1, the electronic/punk trio were picked up by Mother Artists (who look after the likes of Idles and Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and sold out their debut show in the Ulster Sports Club. Now two singles in and with more on the way, their chunky rhythms and confrontational live show are sure to win over audiences globally.

1) Efé

A mysterious act that is championed digitally and physically like very few others on the island, Efé brings a new brand of music to the table. Straddling the realms of dreamy pop, psychedelic indie, colourful rock and experimental electronica, her recent run of singles was amongst the most impressive and idiosyncratic that we have seen in a while. Now, with a recent signing to Platoon (who broke Billie Eilish and other global acts), the sky is the limit for Efé