Irish Singer-Songwriter David Keenan Was Our Favorite New Music Discovery of 2021

Throughout the course of 2021, BlackBook was thrilled to premiere new tracks and/or videos by such amazing, yet still not as “discovered” as they should be artists like Kid Moxie (‘Better Than Electric’), Chrystabell (‘Breathe Into Euphoria’), Willa Amai (‘Fallout’), Revenge Wife (‘Dream I Had’) and even GARZA (‘Something That’s Different’), the incredible new side project by Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza.

We also got deep with everyone from 13-year-old phenom Dj Sophia, to Jamaican rapper Racquel Jones (who also happened to be a collaborator with Thievery), and Swedish dark rockers Principe Valiente.

But our absolute favorite discovery of the past twelve months was most definitely Irish singer-songwriter / existential poet David Keenan. October 15th brought the release of his truly brilliant second album WHAT THEN?, and songs like ‘Me Myself and Lunacy’ and ‘The Grave of Johnny Filth’ merely confirmed his remarkable ability as a revelatory wordsmith, with him delivering lines like, “I wept on the unmade bed of existential crises / And came to believe that all you needed to be a writer was a coat” (from ‘Peter O’Toole’s Drinking Stories’) as if his very existence depended on them.

He described that song to BlackBook at the time as, “…an unravelling of memory, a hallucinatory dreamscape from which clarity and self acceptance are found.”

But of course.

Sadly, there are no current plans for him to tour the US after the first of the year. But he and his band put on live shows of such visceral intensity, that they would surely be worth traveling all the way to Dublin to see – so keep checking those Irish concert listings. In the meantime, we vigorously encourage you to add WHAT THEN? to your 2022 playlist post-haste.

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