2017 Best of | Best albums | Best songs | Irish albums | Irish songs | Club tracks | Guest selections


Here are my 25 favourite Irish albums from 2017 whittled down from a shortlist of 40 or so. Number 1 was a surefire since I heard it earlier this year but there were a few late addition entries released in the last few months that made it near the top.


Tower Records

25.

Otherkin – OK

It’s increasingly hard to stand out in rock music in 2017 beyond genre die-hards and Otherkin are the pick of the Irish bunch when it comes to old-fashioned guitar music (though Fangclub and Gypsies On The Autobahn came close). There’s not much radical at play here – these are catchy very well-produced rock’n’roll songs you’d imagine could soundtrack an ad with ease.


24.

Fionn Regan

Five years since his last full-length and it sounds like time away has left Fionn Regan with a renewed sense of purpose. The Meetings Of The Waters feels like a stepping stone to a new path for Regan. Ditching the Dylan-influence completely, the album largely features meditative spacious folk music that sustains quietly like smouldering embers and a centrepiece of three tracks with more layered rock music-style songs.


23.

Having moved from pensive singer-songwriter to elegiac composer/songwriter a few albums ago, the Galway artist Crowley has transitioned once again, with the help of The Gloaming’s Thomas Bartlett who produced Dark Eyed Messenger. Barlett counselled Crowley to make the album without his trusted guitar. He obliged and the results sound utterly beguiling.


22.

The Gloaming fiddle player’s latest project saw him convene in an 18th century house in Bantry with frequent collaborator Dennis Cahill (guitars) and New Yorkers Doug Wieselman (bass clarinet, Anthony & The Johnsons and Laurie Anderson) and Liz Knowles (hardanger d’amore), with a fire going at both sides of The Blue Room (the album is called after it) and the quartet’s recording process involved playing each traditional piece repeatedly and allowing something different to emerge in the process. Another worthy inclusion from a master.


21.

Keith Mannion’s SPLH project has morphed from bedroom electronic solo endeavour to a full live band in recent years and this year’s album When I See You…Ice Cream! on Strange Brew Rekkids is an affirmation of his new inclusive ethos. It may have still been recorded in his Donegal bedroom but appearances from Whipping Boy’s Fearghal McKee, Gaze Is Ghost offers contrast to Mannion’s own wobblyevoice on a playful and lo-fi-leaning album.


20.

Dublin experimental veterans’ sixth studio long-player takes them deeper,darker and longer. Written in 2015 as a single longform piece for a once-off performance in Dublin’s now-defunct Joinery venue, Tough Love is a diptych of 20 plus minute tracks of dense krautrock dystopian synth-dirge dramatics.


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Posted on December 12th, 2017

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Update: Young Hearts Run Free’s Christmas annual Yule show has been moved from Dublin Food Co-op in Newmarket Square in Dublin 8 to The Gloucester Street Recreational and Sports Centre at 21 Gloucester St South (off Townsend street). A suporting wall in the Co-Op has fallen and all events there have been cancelled until it’s fixed.

Young Hearts Run Free’s annual Yule gig is back for it’s ninth Christmas event in Dublin Food Co-op in Newmarket Square in Dublin 8 and like previous years, the lineup will feature live music, performers, chat, poetry, comedy and more.

Yule takes place on Saturday December 9th :Featuring:

And a very special guest to be announced.

Tickets for the BYOB gig are priced at €15+ and available from Eventbrite. All proceeds go to the Simon Community.

Posted on December 7th, 2017

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Ballet Átha Cliath is a new short dance performance film by Howard Jones, shot over the course of a day last August in Dublin featuring ballet choreographed by Irish ballerina Zoë Ashe-Browne and an original score composed by Cloud Castle Lake.

On August 16th, Cloud Castle Lake will play their soundtrack to the film live in The Sugar Club before plating their first live show in full in over a year with support from Davy Kehoe, who recently released a debut album on Wah Wah Wino.

Tickets

Posted on August 4th, 2017

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The Wah Wah Wino crew have been steadily building a momentum in releasing underground, alternative and experimental house and techno music that has found favour with some big name touring DJs, who mostly operate outside Ireland.

With love from NTS and many others like Joy Orbison (who played the tune below on Benji B last week), the Wah Wah Wino collective have 3 12″ singles and a compilation album Absolutely Wino out in the ether.

Next up is Short Passing Game, a full-length from Dubliner Davy Kehoe. A curveball yet again, Kehoe’s music is less four/four and more exploratory, jazz and electronic excursions.

‘Storm Desmond’ is the album’s first offering and it’s a ten minute meandering gem featuring Kehoe playing mbira, harmonica, MS-20, drum machine, vocals and whistles, acccompanied by Seán Mac Erlaine on bass clarinet and Brendan Jenkinson (Cloud Castle Lake) on guitar and bass. It was mixed by Morgan Buckley and mastered by the Bastard.

Wah Wah Wino are representing something new in Ireland that’s heartening to see.


Short Passing Game is out on 12″ on MArch 31st in all good independent record shops like All City.

Posted on March 20th, 2017

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