Thanks to everyone who voted this past week. In total we had 198 votes with 58 different Irish albums chosen. Sinéad has reliably informed me that there was 170 Irish albums released this year. The results are a little bit surprising due to the lack of mainstream and high profile acts. Where’s U2’s Singles Collection? Snow Patrol? Humanzi? Republic of Loose? Are people finally sick of Outspan and co? There’s a nice range of genres represented here – 2 hip-hop albums, breakcore, post-rock instrumentals, singer-songwriter types, indie, electronic and of course, the Warlords of Pez.
Oh also, a lot of people couldn’t come up with 3 albums to vote for, let alone 5. Is this because you don’t buy Irish or is Irish music just largely crap?
Click the album cover art to buy a copy if you like what you hear.
Anyhow without further ado, this is what you voted for:
When Cut Chemist left Jurassic 5 earlier this year to concentrate on his solo material, I was hopeful but apprehensive that it wouldn’t retread on previous DJ mixes or solo material he had released. While Jurassic 5 released Feedback, arguably the blandest, radio-friendly hip hop album this year (although I doubt they got much airplay), Cut Chemist bled his talent into The Audience’s Listening, his first proper solo effort. Taking on a space-age theme throughout but with an extended palette to work from than previous mixes, no doubt influenced by his time in Brazil working on documentaries KeepinTime and Brasilintime. Sampling Astrud Gilberto on bossa nova song “The Garden” is evidence of this. Edan and Mr. Lif combine to devastating effect on the sonic “Storm”. Innovative turntablist scratches on “Spat” mimic a phone conversation. End result, Cut Chemist produces an album to match his enormous talent.
The funkiest album on the list, Michigan-based Nomo take their cue from the Congolese band, Konono N°1, respectively appropriating their percussive tribal sound to the Northern Hemisphere. Extending that ethos with breakneck brass, organ and guitar to produce a post-Afrobeat sound – the songs on instrumental New Tones are refreshlingly effervescent. Definitely a live act I’d like to see hit these shores sometime in 2007. MP3s:
It’s December so that means only one thing. Time for plenty of best of lists! We start the list season with the first part of Top 20 albums of 2006 list (numbers 20 – 16). Enjoy!
20. Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things
Clocking in at 36 minutes, this album from Brighton based trio compiles new versions of 3 limited edition EPs from the last few years along with three previously unreleased songs onto one disc. A Krautrock influenced mix of bass and synth driven grooves with whispered vocals and a warm, inviting production. Essentially a fine collection of solid electro pop tunes with live instruments, they have that DFA sound everyone’s digging at the moment. You can check them out at Maximum Joy’s Christmas Party in Kennedys alongside Andy Votel on December 15th.
The recent CSS show in Dublin was one of best gigs I’ve been at in the last few years. The reason for that is that Sao Paulo’s CSS are a great party band that specialise in electro indie rock that’s great to dance to. This collection of tunes channels this onstage energy and fun into an album and is delightfully refreshing with stupid song titles (“Art Bitch” , “Music is my hot hot sex”), silly lyrics (“Do you like the bitch, bitch?“) and bright, simple instrumentation. AND, we have CSS to thank for the the super-mega summer anthem “Let’s make love and listen to Death from Above”.
Grizzly Bear are the bastard children of Animal Collective who have learned from their parents’ drug-fueled mistakes and have gone straight-laced focussing on the entrancing melodies and atmospheric arrangements of their aforemented parents. The album seems to occupy a place, like you can imagine it being recorded in a dimly-lit house (hence the title) in a forest on a clear night, the band full of wonder and creativity. It’s a beautiful reverb-heavy record that grows in stature on repeated listens.
Treading a path previously travelled by their American counterparts The Books, Tunng employ the use of folk guitar, electronics, and spoken word samples to dramatic effect on their second album. Many of Tunng’s lyrics refer to fantastical happenings involving birds, woodcats, girls turning into hares and other eerie events. “Jenny Again” is a particular favourite, with the dark subject matter of murder underscored by sweet guitar, gentle taps and crackling electronics. “Throw the knife into the stream / Run away across the fields / Leave me lying where I fell / Rivers running out of me”.
Ambient electronica artists are two a penny these days facilitated by easy to acquire software and a copy of Music has the right to Children for inspiration. Nathan Fake (real name!) has produced a masterful exercise in beautiful instrumental electronica, driven by simple melodies and synthesizers, which at times is immensely breathtaking. Perfect music for the late night hours or hungover Sunday mornings.