Albums and gigs you won’t want to miss in 2023

Music lovers are in for a treat over the first half of this year, with new albums from Gorillaz and the rising Irish band the Murder Capital, and gigs from such luminaries as Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen. And there’s so much more to celebrate on both the recorded and live fronts.


Gaz Coombes
Turn the Car Around (January 13)
Supergrass burned brightly, if briefly, at the periphery of the Britpop scene and, in more recent years, frontman Gaz Coombes has released several assured solo albums. His more recent music may not hit the zeitgeist like that of his old band, but there’s quality aplenty. The album’s lead single, Don’t Say It’s Over, bodes well for the rest of the album.


Irish post-punk band the Murder Capital

The Murder Capital
Gigi’s Recovery (January 20)
The Irish post-punk quintet wowed with a hugely assured debut in 2020. Their follow-up, produced by the in-demand John Congleton, is every bit its match, while also sounding more expansive. Singer James McGovern seems to be wrestling with several demons in these songs, but they certainly make an impression.

A Reckoning (January 27)
The fourth album from the two-time Grammy-winning New Zealand singer-songwriter is, according to the artist herself, “a reflective record capturing the macro reckonings of our world around the environment, health, race, spirituality and feminism”. Sounds like it’s trying to cover a lot of ground, but she’s been on song before.

Robert Forster
The Candle and the Flame (February 3)
In a just world, the Go Betweens would have been every bit as big as their fellow Australian contemporaries INXS — their gloriously crafted tunes certainly deserved a bigger audience than they got. Robert Forster is still making fantastic music in the margins — and there’s considerable expectation among fans that this album will be special.


Gorillaz, featuring Damon Albarn (centre)

Cracker Island (February 23)
A new Gorillaz album is always cause for celebration — and a reminder of how busy Damon Albarn has been of late. The title track, featuring Thundercat, was released as a taster last summer. Expect an album stuffed with guest appearances.

Philip Selway
Strange Dance (February 24)
Two Radiohead members enjoyed an excellent 2022 with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood delivering, as the Smile, one of the albums of the year in A Light for Attracting Attention. Now it’s the turn of the band’s drummer. Selway is no stranger to solo releases and his previous output demonstrates that there’s far more to his game than mere percussion.


Fever Ray, aka Karin Dreijer

Fever Ray
Radical Romantics (March 10)
Very much a personal choice here. I’ve always loved the Swedish electro-pop duo the Knife and their spin-off Fever Ray, which is essentially a solo vehicle for Karin Dreijer. Previous Fever Ray albums have been at the esoteric, experimental edge of dance music, and this one will feature contributions from Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Lana Del Rey
Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (March 10)
Say what you will about the pop star born Elizabeth Grant, but don’t accuse her of a low work rate. This will be her fourth album in four years and her ninth in all. Regular writer-producer Jack Antonoff is at the tiller once again and the album, intriguingly, features a contribution from Father John Misty.

72 Seasons (April 14)
The hard rock veterans’ first album in seven years was conceived and largely recorded during the pandemic. The album, according to frontman James Hetfield, is inspired by childhood and how our experiences then can shape our futures. The title, incidentally, refers to our first 18 years of life.

The Smashing Pumpkins
Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts (April 23)
Billy Corgan doesn’t seem keen on doing things in half measures. He’s already done a double album — 1995’s Mellon Collie… — and now he’s unveiling a triple album. Each is being released separately (part one came out at the end of 2022) before being released as a boxset.

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Academy, Dublin (January 28)
The Canadian band, fronted by Emily Haines, delivered something of a hidden gem last year with their album Formentera. While they have been in the shadow of compatriots Arcade Fire, Stars and Broken Social Scene, their live shows are unforgettable.

The 1975
3Arena, Dublin (January 29)
Matt Healy has been engaged in some strange on-stage behaviour of late — like making a point of snogging a girl in the front row each night and having tattoos done mid-show — but, love or loathe him, the 1975 singer is a born showman. They’ve a fine album in tow too — the eclectic Being Funny in a Foreign Language.


Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine. Photo by Christopher Polk via Getty Images

Florence + the Machine
3Arena, Dublin (February 8)
Anyone who hasn’t seen Florence Welch in concert really should remedy that. She’s a performer who gives her all and she and her band have excelled at previous shows at this venue. Their latest album, Dance Fever, is a return to form.

Weyes Blood
Vicar Street, Dublin (February 12)
US singer Natalie Mering was responsible for one of my most cherished albums of last year. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a bewitching baroque pop record, both intimate and revelatory. It should have come as no surprise — she has brought out several excellent, essential albums.


Randy Newman turns 80 in November

Randy Newman
Vicar Street, Dublin (February 24 and 25)
Seeing Randy Newman in concert should be on the bucket list of any music aficionado. The hugely influential songwriter may turn 80 this year, but he’s showing no sign of slowing down. Expect career-spanning classics such as Short People and I Love LA.

3Arena, Dublin (March 17)
The Choice-nominated Northern Irish duo do a fine line in effervescent dance and they place considerable importance on the visual aspect of their shows. An ideal gig for anyone who wants to celebrate St Patrick’s Day a little less conventionally.

Death Cab for Cutie
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (March 18)
Veritable veterans of catchy, crossover indie, Ben Gibbard and co have been consistently releasing fine albums since emerging from the Pacific Northwest in the late 1990s. Their live shows tend not to disappoint and their return to Dublin sees them play one of the capital’s most lavish venues.


Elton John comes to Dublin in March

Elton John
3Arena, Dublin (March 28)
Although he has been threatening to retire from touring for years now, the lure of the road continues to prove too strong for this bona fide icon. His back catalogue is one of the greatest in all of pop — just think, it’s been 50 years since he released his masterpiece, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Aldous Harding
National Concert Hall, Dublin (April 18)
There is little that’s conventional about the New Zealand singer-songwriter, whose fourth album, Warm Chris, was widely praised on release last year. Off-kilter lyricism complements her idiosyncratic but robustly crafted folk-oriented songs.


Bruce Springsteen has three dates in Dublin in May. Photo by Felipe Dana/AP

Bruce Springsteen
RDS, Dublin (May 5, 7 and 9)
It’s a testament to his greatness as a live performer that, for many, their idea of the perfect gig is seeing New Jersey’s celebrated son playing a lengthy outdoor show at the start of summer. Springsteen is responsible for several Irish concerts that can be legitimately be described as legendary and several of them have taken place in this patch of Dublin 4. Here’s to what should be a trio of marvellous nights in Ballsbridge.

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