In recent weeks, two of my favourite blogs (2UIBestow & Swear I'm Not Paul) have both published a top 50 list of their favourite Irish acts today - the only entry requirement being that the act must have played a gig or released work in the last year. Inspired by this (or perhaps copied...), I have decided to compile my own list - albeit just a top 10, rather than 50. Check it out below:
10. Miss Paula Flynn.
Her velvet voice pushes her into the last place on the list (I was debating for quite a while over this slot - Lisa Hannigan, Ultan Conlon, the Chapters, etc. just missing out) Critically acclaimed, she burst onto the scene because of that Ballygowan ad with her version of Let's Dance, though there is much more to her than just that: check out her self-titled debut for evidence of this!
9. Glen Hansard/The Swell Season/The Frames.
No introduction needed here really. Glen would be higher up the list but for the fact that the Swell Season's latest is a bit below the standard we've come to expect. This year Glen reunites with the Frames to celebrate their twentieth anniversary - a headline slot at Electric Picnic included.
8. At Last An Atlas.
Caught my eye with the magnificent Eimear Hush, his first work - a split EP called Ships Leaving, was released almost a year ago today and was followed up in February by the full length release, From Which We Were Raised. One to watch in my books!
7. Oliver Cole.
The former Turn frontman goes by Oliver now rather than Ollie, and his music too is showing signs of growing up. Last year we were treated to the glorious tracks What Will You Do? and Oh My Girl, both of which are included on the simply stunning debut We Are Albatri, released last month.
6. Patrick Kelleher.
Kelleher released his debut, You Look Cold, last November. It is a haunting work - really stands out in the Irish musical landscape. The highlight of the album, for me, is Coat To Wear. The album is a mix of whispery vocals, electronic undertones and references the likes of Joy Division and New Order.
Conor O'Brien's newest project release their full length debut at the end of this month. I have talked at length about the snippets we have been treated to so far on this blog, while the Hollow Kind EP is among the best released in this country in the last twelve months. Live performances too have been well worth checking out. Becoming a Jackal is surely set to be one of the best releases of this quarter!
4. The Holy Roman Army.
A brother-sister duo from Carlow, they blend synth-pop, vocals, guitar and create a unique indie-pop, post-rock sound. Their debut was released last year, and they recently released (for free!) a covers EP entitled Desecrations that includes haunting covers of Skinny Love and Wave of Mutilation.
3. Adrian Crowley.
The Choice Music Prize winner narrowly misses out on the top of this list. The top three were rather difficult to separate though I managed somehow! Season of the Sparks is a stunning work - well worthy of the recognition it is now receiving. Haunting.
2. Fionn Regan.
Fionn finally released the follow up to his much acclaimed debut this year. He experimented with a more electronic sound that gives the record some glorious versatility and an almost bluesy quality. Very Dylan in parts, he is well worth checking out in a live setting, while the record, The Shadow of an Empire, has rarely left my stereo since buying.
1. James Vincent McMorrow.
Anyone who reads this blog at all would have seen this coming really. McMorrow's debut, Early in the Morning, captivated me. An awe-inspiring work, it takes a little Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine and blends it gloriously with Neil Young. I could go on for hours about my love for the record and still not do it justice - check it out. If you buy ONE album this year...
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.