Here are a list of my most listened and loved records of 2016 so far with Spotify playlists for overall and Irish albums of the year. Anderson Paak’s soulful album has been on constant, while Bowie left us a legendary parting gift, Bibio turned in a career best work, Kendrick dropped an outtakes album that is better than most regular albums, Radiohead returned with a personal album, Chance the Rapper continues to take over, Christine & The Queens stole our hearts, Rusangano Family made the best Irish rap album in quite a while, Blood Orange made a sprawling album of guest-filled tunes made for repeat, Beyoncé, James Blake aand Radiohead dropped albums at short notice, Kaytranada kept up on his promise and Skepta made a great grime album.

I would love to hear what records moved you so far this year, leave a comment below.

See also: Top 75 songs of 2016 so far.

Top 25 albums of 2016 so far…

Listen on Spotify

  1. Anderson .Paak – Malibu
  2. Bibio – A Mineral Love
  3. Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.
  4. David Bowie – Blackstar
  5. Skepta – Konnichiwa
  6. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  7. Christine & The Queens – Chaleur Humaine
  8. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
  9. Rusangano Family – Let The Dead Bury The Dead
  10. Whitney – Light Upon The Lake
  11. Mmoths – Luneworks
  12. Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
  13. Leon Vynehall – Rojus (Designed to Dance)
  14. The Gloaming – 2
  15. Kaytranada – 99.9%
  16. King – We Are King
  17. Cian Nugent – Night Fiction
  18. James Blake – The Colour In Anything
  19. Lisa O’Neill – Pothole In The Sky
  20. Anohni – Hopelessness
  21. Beyoncé – Lemonade
  22. Junior Boys — Big Black Coat
  23. Underworld – Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future
  24. Solar Bears – Advancement
  25. Doomsquad – Total Time

Top Irish albums of 2016 so far

Listen on Spotify

  1. Rusangano Family – Let The Dead Bury The Dead
  2. Mmoths – Luneworks
  3. The Gloaming – 2
  4. Cian Nugent – Night Fiction
  5. Lisa O’Neill – Pothole In The Sky
  6. Solar Bears – Advancement
  7. J Cowhie – Veil
  8. Ryan Vail – For Every Silence
  9. The Altered Hours – In Heat Not Sorry
  10. Ciaran Lavery – Let Bad In
  11. February & Mars – February & Mars
  12. I Have A Tribe – Beneath A Yellow Moon
  13. Ensemble Éiru – Imbas
  14. Cinema – A Night Train To Budapest
  15. Little Green Cars – Ephemera
  16. Bleeding Heart Pigeons – Is
  17. Rollers / Sparkers – Interior Ministry
  18. Overhead, The Albatross – Learning To Growl
  19. Plutonic Dust – Grand Delusions
  20. The Natural History Museum – Attenborough

Posted on July 6th, 2016

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Bibio‘s newest album is the man at his most expressive.

Since his 2009 breakout album Ambivalence Avenue, a record that came across like an English musician trying to recreate the magic of Dilla’s Donuts with whatever he had to hand, Steven Wilkinson’s music has been eclectic, disparate yet not without recommendation. Stephen Wilkinson has the ability to conjure his own style that is always a pleasant experience.

A Mineral Love, his fifth album – is his most complete work since that critically-acclaimed LP, due largely to featuring his most affecting songs.

A stated celebration of “the sacred and precious struggles of human insecurities through many windows of familiar musical forms,”  A Mineral Love has a record collector’s ear to it drawing from back-of-the-crate inspirations in funk, lo-fi folk, electro and pop and everything in between. All of this is done without the use of samples, yet Wilkinson makes it sound you’re discovering some old track on 45 anew, as is his gift.

Wilkinson  states the record is about his love of the craft of making music of different styles. He craves variety and the album works in a cohesive mixtape form in a varied palette that include fragile smudged funk, bright soundscapes, kaleidoscopic acoustics and pastoral song-writing with a beat producer’s ear.

Across all of it, the general theme of haze, hope and dreamy atmosphere persists, threading these disparate sounds together.

Guests include Oliver St. Louis brings singer soul to ‘Why So Serious’, producer Wax Stag imprints his unique synth style on ‘Gasoline & Mirrors’ and Gotye pops up to remind you of.. oh you know.. on ‘The Way We Talk’.

What also shines through is an expression of heartfelt emotion that is new to Bibio’s music. Whether it’s the nostalgic quietude of ‘Petals’, the prog-funk of ‘Town & Country’ or the expressive closer ‘Light In The Sky’, A Mineral Love frequently reaches new heights.

Listen on Spotify

Posted on April 26th, 2016

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My favourite songs of the past month. Get the majority of them as a continuous playlists below on Spotify and Soundcloud.

The top songs of the month

  1. Bibio – ‘Town and Country’
  2. Kanye West – ‘Ultralight Beam’
  3. Bantum & Loah – ‘Take It’
  4. Daithí & Sinead White – ‘Love On Top’
  5. Waffles – Waffles
  6. Charli XCX – ‘Vroom Vroom’
  7. Monika – Secret In The Dark (Juan Maclean edit)
  8. Polica –  ‘Lime Habit’
  9. Holy Ghost! – ‘Crime Cutz’
  10. Santigold – Banshee
  11. Damien Lynch  – ‘The Heights’
  12. J Dilla – ‘The Introduction’
  13. The Altered Hours – Saviours
  14. King – ‘The Greatest’
  15. The Gloaming – ‘The Hare’
  16. Junior Boys – Big Black Coat
  17. The Invisible – Save You
  18. February & Mars – ‘Secret Storm At The Edge Of Night’
  19. Chinah – ‘Colder’
  20. Pantha Du Prince – ‘The Winter Hymn’ feat. Queens
  21. FKA TWIGS –  ‘Good To Love’
  22. J. Cowhie – ‘Long Way Home’
  23. Wyvern Lingo – ‘Beast At The Door’
  24. White Denim – Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
  25. I Have A Tribe – ‘La Neige’
  26. Charles Bradley – Change for the World
  27. Little Green Cars – ‘Easier Day’
  28. The Natural History Museum – ‘Jeweller’
  29. Overcoats – ‘Nighttime Hunger’
  30. Gold Panda – ‘Time Eater’

Listen on Spotify

Posted on March 2nd, 2016

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Stephen Wilkinson, who makes music under the name Bibio, has long had a place in my musical heart for his endeavours.

His 2009 Ambulance Avenue album is one I constantly return to.

As happens with artists and fans, we drifted apart a bit but I always found something to like on each successive album. Recently, that relationship has been renewed with the brilliant lilting song ‘Petals’, which I found out today opens his new record, his seventh, A Mineral Love, out on Warp on April Fool’s Day.

‘Feeling’ is the flipside of that quiet contemplative side, his daft smudged funk side. It’s brilliant.

https://soundcloud.com/bibio/petals

Expanding on the making of A Mineral Love:

“This album celebrates the sacred and precious struggles of human insecurities through many windows of familiar musical forms. It’s also a celebration of my love of the craft of record making, drawing influences from many sources across all decades from the late sixties to the present. All these referential forms have a twist, some are more full on cocktails.

The album as a whole is an unashamed expression of my fondness of, and need for, variety. The juxtapositions between tracks are well considered and I’m comfortable with them – this is how I enjoy music. This is not a purist record, it is not trying to authentically recreate a specific time or genre but rather use familiar forms as a common language to communicate new ideas and new messages. I want to sing about struggle and tragedy with warmth, sympathy and respect. I want sadness to have bittersweet hope.

The whole album was made from scratch with no samples from other records. I partly want it to sound like sampled records but by crafting every single detail myself and colouring it to have familiar textures that resonates people’s forgotten memories. I enjoy the challenge of writing songs that reference the unique qualities and colours of music from different eras. It’s all guesswork though, I have no real reliable knowledge of why certain records sound the way they do, I taught myself how to play instruments, write music and produce. This album is my personal, filtered take on those forms and qualities. Some tracks are influenced by records I listen to often and some from ghosts of memories of things I heard while growing up, like 70s/80s American TV themes or 90s dance. Sometimes a filtered and tinted memory of a period is a more exciting source of inspiration than close study and mimicry.

I feel this album is built more from those memories and an exposure to music of many styles rather than close analytical study of any particular one. I think that’s why it all sounds like me, regardless of the deliberate references and nods to artists and records of the past. It is after all just a view through my stained-glass telescope.”

A Mineral Love Tracklist

01. Petals
02. A Mineral Love
03. Raxeira
04. Town & Country
05. Feeling
06. The Way You Talk (Featuring Gotye)
07. With The Thought Of Us
08. Why So Serious? (Featuring Olivier St. Louis)
09. C’est La Vie
10. Wren Tails
11. Gasoline & Mirrors (Featuring Wax Stag)
12. Saint Thomas
13. Light Up The Sky

Posted on January 21st, 2016

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My favourite songs of the past month. Get the majority of them as a continuous playlists below on Spotify and Soundcloud.

The top songs of the month

  1. Reykjavíkurdætur – ‘DRUSLA’
  2. Emmanuelle’s ‘Free Hifi Internet’
  3. Rusangano Family – ‘Heathrow’
  4. Grimes – ‘World Princess part II’
  5. Kiasmos – ‘Drawn’
  6. Bibio – ‘Petals’
  7. Disclosure –  ‘Magnets’ (Jon Hopkins remix)
  8. Brian Deady – ‘Clap Both My Hands’
  9. Mmoths – ‘Deu’
  10. Jaakko Eino Kalevi feat. Farao – ‘Everything Nice’ (Popcaan cover)
  11. Frances – ‘Borrowed Time’
  12. FaltyDL – ‘ Visceral’
  13. Hubie Davison – ‘Sanctified’
  14. Chris Power and Atari Jones – ‘Tales Of The Terrace’
  15. NAO – ‘Bad Blood’
  16. Floating Points – ‘Nespole’
  17. J.G. Wilkes – ‘Jaxon’
  18. Missy Elliott – ‘WTF (Where They From?)’ feat. Pharrell
  19. Banks – ‘Better’
  20. Cian Nugent – ‘Things Don’t Change That Fast’
  21. I Have A Tribe – ‘Medicine From Calgary’
  22. Cinema – ‘Trust The Feeling’
  23. Santigold – ‘Can’t Get Enough of Myself’
  24. Conor Walsh – ‘Quadrivium’
  25. Chinah – ‘Minds’
  26. Polica – ‘Lime Habit’
  27. Meltybrains? – ‘New Don’
  28. Sea Pinks – ‘Depth Of Field’
  29. Bagels – ‘To The End’
  30. Kiesza – ‘Give It To The Moment’ (Nozinja remix)

Listen on Spotify

Posted on December 2nd, 2015

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My new music show is live every Thursday from 10pm to midnight on TXFM. Here’s what I played last night.

Part One | Part Two.


 Part one

  1. Peter Gabriel – Kontrol (Fort Romeau Edit)
  2. LA Priest – Oino
  3. Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
  4. Brian Deady – Clap Both My Hands
  5. Frances – Borrowed Time
  6. MMOTHS – Deu
  7. Kiasmos – Drawn
  8. Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl
  9. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
  10. RSAG – Leave A Light On
  11. Bibio – Petals
  12. Tame Impala – The Less I Know the Better

 Part two

  1. Tennis – I’m Callin’
  2. Oh Wonder – Midnight Moon
  3. NAO – Bad Blood
  4. Lapsley  – Brownlow
  5. All Tvvins  – Too Young To Live
  6. FaltyDL – Visceral
  7. Jamie xx – SeeSaw (featuring Romy)
  8. Hot Chip –  Huarache Lights (Soulwax Remix)
  9. MED BLU MADLIB feat. MF DOOM – Knock Knock
  10. Glass Animals & Joey Bada$$ –  Lose Control (Radio Edit)
  11. Vince Staples – Norf Norf
  12. Kendrick Lamar – Alright
  13. Badbandnotgood & Ghostface Killah – Gunshowers (feat. Elzhi)

You can listen live on Thursdays to the show on 105.2FM, online, the iOs app, Android app or if you missed it, along with all the other shows, via the listen back section

Posted on November 27th, 2015

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It’s been a busy November for me so far. Between Iceland Airwaves for a week, a trip to Belfast last weekend and a lot of catching up, there’s been less time to do everything I wanted to do on the site. So with that in mind, here are some songs I’ve been digging recently over the last two weeks taking in  Santigold, Rustie, Bibio, Saint Sister, I Have A Tribe, FaltyDL, Reykjavíkurdætur, New Order and more.

The new music playlist is available on Spotify and is updated weekly.

Spotify playlist

 

Posted on November 18th, 2015

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For the followup to last year’s Silver Wilkinson album, Bibio will release a new 12″ EP called The Green and it appears to be aimed towards people like me who inexplicably have not really given that album a proper listen yet.

‘Dye The Water Green’ is the second song on the album and it forms the basis for this companion six-track EP (some background info below). The song has a serene hazy beauty too it (and a moving coda), especially when set to some Boards Of Canada-esque pastoral visuals.

E.P. Tracklist

A1. Dye The Water Green
A2. Dinghy
A3. Down To The Sound
A4. Carbon Wulf
B1. A Thousand Syllables
B2. The Spinney View Of Hinkley Point

EP Background

‘Dinghy’ is an old track I recorded with Richard Roberts (now one half of Letherette) around 2006. We used to work in an old Victorian pub back in those times, and it was a regular thing that we’d stay behind for a lock-in after hours. It became the norm that we’d take in our guitars before starting work in the evening and then jam together after we kicked all the customers out. Around that time we recorded a lot of stuff together, some in the pub, some in the garden, some by a stream in the woods, some at home. A lot of it was done in a super lo-fi fashion with very old cassette recorders and cheap mics. This track was recorded in one take, straight to cassette. It was a time where we played together so much that our sense of rhythm was totally locked, in this track we seemed to respond to each other’s timing really naturally. I’ve always loved this track, it brings back strong memories and is a real daydream track for me. This EP seemed like the perfect home for it as it ties in so well with the murky vignetted sound of ‘Dye The Water Green’.

‘The Spinney View of Hinkley Point.’ is the first track I’ve released with live drums, as opposed to sampled and chopped on an MPC. I recorded the drums, guitar and bass parts in my friend’s shed in rural Somerset (the same shed where the live trio session videos were filmed).

‘Carbon Wulf’ is of course a reprise of the album track ‘Wulf’. This was just a straight, one-take improvisation on baritone guitar and a reverb pedal. I crushed the hell out of it with an analogue limiter which gave it this uneven fire-damaged sound.

The other tracks were written some years ago, I rediscovered them while going through my archives and, again, heard them with fresh ears. I decided to revamp them, re-recording the vocal parts and adding more instruments.

Posted on January 21st, 2014

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weekly

This weekly post features a playlist of the best new music debuted in the last seven days or so (two weeks this time around due to my break). I’ve trawled through streams and reams of new music and these tracks have made the biggest impression.

This week’s playlist includes new tracks from Fryars, Maya Jane Coles, Drake, Shigeto, London Grammar, Jake Hart, Joe Goddard, Volcano Choir and more.
(more…)

Posted on July 12th, 2013

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weekly

A roundup of 15 tracks featured on and off the blog that have been getting the new music veins pumping in the last seven days. Some of them have already featured in the New Music section and others are new tracks from previously-featured artists Empress Of, REID, Ifan Dafydd, Bibio, Wise Blood, Tropics, Koreless and Nancy Elizabeth. This may become a regular thing if people are into it. Easy listening:
(more…)

Posted on April 24th, 2013

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WARP235-Packshot_480
For his new album Silver Wilkinson, Stephen Wilkinson aka Bibio sounds like he’s heading in a more conventional place if first single ‘À tout à l’heure’ is a hint. Perhaps it was due to the restrictions he placed on himself this time around as he explains in an extensive note on the album, “to focus more on an organic and live sound and to record more guitar and other live instrumentation.” While it didn’t quite work out like that, the desire to switch things up led to the recording of ‘À tout à l’heure’, a warm sunkissed track.

It started out in my garden on a gorgeous sunny day when it felt morally wrong to be hidden away indoors. I still had the urge to make music so I limited myself to a few bits of gear and set up in my garden: a 12 string guitar, an MPC sampler, a microphone and a cassette recorder. I drummed on objects in the garden, like a plastic watering can and ‘snipped’ garden shears for percussion parts. The guitar part was something I had been developing over some time in my head but it was this change of environment that led to recording the backbone of this song, which I then continued to build upon in my studio later. When I listen to the intro of that track now, I still hear the sunshine and the garden in it because for me it’s like a photograph of that moment. No doubt the sunny outdoors inspired the lyrics too.

Silver Wilkinson is out on May 13/14 on Warp Records.

The note in full →

Posted on March 5th, 2013

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Nialler9 Podcast

Number 36 and possibly the best artwork by Left Overs yet (grab the wallpaper). Hey, the tunes aren’t bad either. Right Click Radio 2XM’s Aoife Mc presents. Tracklisting and links after the jump…

Download: Nialler9 Podcast #36: TUnE-yArDs, Solar Bears, Lone, Abner Jay…

MP3: Nialler9 Podcast #36

Subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes

Podcast #36 Tracklisting »..

Posted on April 26th, 2011

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Nialler Gig guide
Nialler Gig guide

A list of personally recommended events taking place over the next seven days in Dublin. All times are 7.30pm/8pm unless stated. Let me know if I missed anything of interest in the comments.

Ticket giveaway:

Five pairs of tickets to Cloud Control @ Academy 2 this Thursday. Email [email protected] with your full name before Wednesday at 8pm.

Friday is Love: Live Music Day so have a look at the listings for the country.

Tuesday 5th April

Wednesday 6th April

See the week’s full gig guide ..»

Posted on April 4th, 2011

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