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


Erica Cody’s debut R&B pop song has the same DNA as some of ’90s R&B but with a modern electronic-production assisted take on that sound.


‘Outlier’ is the kind of track that has euphoria running through its veins. In its 6-minute running time, it as the qualities that make the best dance music sing: an outlook that feels positively faced to the future, textures that exhale with the rhythm (with a Jon-Hopkins-esque build) and sonics that transport.


Hailing from a town which has a political and musical history may have rubbed off on the Derry punk trio Touts. It helps no end that singer Matthew Crossan sounds like a young Joe Strummer, the guitars sling with force and the drums are tight on ‘Sold Out’.


From The Cyclist’s excellent Sapa Inca Delirium, ‘Inhale / Exhale’ is a fast-paced nine-minute track with passages of jilting bass, percussion swerves and Harper’s calming influence on the latter half of the song.


Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn aka Ye Vagabonds are Carlow brothers who have found a place for themselves in the music scene in Ireland through the help of more-established musicians like Glen Hansard, Villagers, Roy Harper, Lisa Hannigan and videographer Myles O’Reilly. Their debut self-titled album released in October has the glowing folk lilt on it.


Jordan McCuaig is a Belfast producer and DJ who co-runs The Night Institute club and releases music on his Nocturne label. ‘La Vie’ is a Fort Romeau-esque tough synth cut that leaves a sustained impression.


Tower Records

‘Good Day’ is a short kaleidoscopic beat-focused pop song from the newest Soft Boy Records artis. It features with samples of Lil Yachty and a Christmas song. It fits into the aesthetic of the Avalanches and Passion Pit.


Mura Masa collaborator, the Dublin-raised / American-born / London-based Bonzai did much more on her own this year and ‘I Feel Alright’ is a practically her pop moment.


Tower Records

DJ Stevie G and Ian Ring (formerly of Young Wonder)’s AboveDat ‘Better’ is low-end thriving electronic house-pop single with pitched silky vocals.


A once-off collaborative single has the former’s stadium-rock dynamics and brings the track in an electronic pop vein.


As we wait for Le Galaxie’s third album to be released in 2018, the band with now-permanent co-vocalist May Kay dropped this atmospheric synth-pop banger.


‘The Meetings of the Waters’, the meditative title and opening track from Fionn Regan’s album marked a change in tone for the songwriter.


Cork singer-songwriter Marlene Enright ‘123’ draws from indie, folk and roots music influences and Enright’s bright vocals to create a memorable classic pop tune.


From the recent Glue EP, comes this mechanised weapon from the two Belfast boys who know how to cut through the noise like few other producers.


For a musician who started out in the toy-bashing indie pop band Grand Pocket Orchestra, Paddy Hanna is a songwriter whose music has taken on a more serious grandiose tone in recent years and it’s a sound which really suits him. Coming after ‘Camaradie’, ‘Underprotected’ and ‘Austria’, ‘Bad Boys’ continues this classic pop songwriting vibe with stirring strings, piano tinkles, horns and Hanna’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery.


Kildare duo Mix & Fairbanks turn up the heat to a considerable level with an Afro blasting slice of carnivale rhythms that nearly loses the run of itself in the build until those horns bring us back into focus. It’s from Dublin label Orange Tree Edits’ brilliant run of Afro edits.


The Fontaines are a Dublin band who are unmistakably of the city. ‘Liberty Belle’ is a retro rock’n’roll jam fitted with a Dublin accent. It’s short, sharp and stands out.


A brooding electronic track from Bebhinn Mc Donnell (producer) and Taylor Doyle (vocals) AKA Sylk with pitched vocals that rolls around like a cross between Massive Attack and FKA Twigs.


Taking its name from the iconic New York graffiti artist and the ’80s New York club scene, ‘Keith Haring’ is a silky synth-funk percussive dancefloor throwback to that era on a Cold Tonic release that also pays homage to the club ‘Danceteria’ with a classic house jam. ‘Keith Haring’ is a tribute to inclusivity.