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20 best Irish albums of the year so far

20 best Irish albums of the year so far

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Best irish albums of the year so far.

Far from being an exhaustive, solidified list of Irish long form releases at the half way point of the year, what follows is simply 20 albums I have enjoyed from Irish artists in 2024 to date – in no particular order.


Curtisy

What Was The Question

Girlfriend - To Be Quiet

The Tallaght artist’s debut album is the sound of a rapper coming into his own, with the help of talented pals. Where most new artists breaking through in Ireland are addressing the socio-economic and cost of living and rent crisis this country is currently going through, Curtisy’s debut album is a different tack – more insular, more personal, addressing his own particulars. The album is full of memorable lines and repeatable beats.

Curtisy drops one of the best Irish rap albums of the year – What Was The Question

NewDad

Madra

Naoise Roo - Emotionally Magnificent

The debut album from the London-based Galway indie-rock band NewDad lives up to the band’s early releases and then some.

The leap to a full-length, provides us with a smart, confident and superbly-produced (by Chris Ryan ) record.

Madra draws on shoegaze, the classic indie vocal style of Julie Dawson, a bit of grunge here and there, and pop melodies.


Sloucho

NPC

Trá Pháidín

An Irish producer of hyperpop bass Cloudclore-parallel electronic music with dips to Latin dance and garage rapa, Sloucho is an enigmatic artist who likes to play with form.

His debut album features guests EMBY, Rory Sweeney, Curtisy, Zack Oke, Yamagōchi, Rhosi, Vaticanjail and k-Caz, and NPC explores the duality of his main character, identity, and non-playable lives through club and minimal sounds.

Pillow Queens

Name Your Sorrow

Walshy - Few Beers

The third album from the Dublin indie rock band finds them dwelling in a new era.

There’s a fresh feel to these 12 songs on Name Your Sorrow as new producer (Collin Pastore) bringing a distinctly different sonic palette to the band’s heart-soaked tales of trials and tribulations of the human condition, while the band push themselves in new songwriting directions and offer new shades on their core sound.

Kneecap

Fine Art

The debut album from Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Provaí goes HARD.

Fine Art is a riot of sound and a cacophony of energy – drawing on rave, grime, hip-hop, dub and ragga with lyrically dexterous raps as Gaeilge and English (and moves effortlessly between language), that is the most compelling argument for learning the Irish in recent memory (the film out in August is similar, albeit with more subtlety about the trauma that is passed to a younger generation in the backdrop of the aftermath of The Troubles).

The album was produced by Toddla T and features Lankum’s Radie Peat, Fontaines D.C.’s Grian Chatten, Irish language writer and thinker Manchán Magan and London rapper Jelani Blackman. It sounds like latter-era The Prodigy, and preoccupations with drugs and obliteration, with references Coke and MDMA (‘3CAG’ is 3 consonants and a vowel – Irish slang for MDMA), the reaction to their controversial mural, and drug-dealing before the album gives way to more genuine explorations of mental heath. But Fine Art is a pub party debauchery record first and leans on narrative and personality.

New Jackson

Oops Pop!

Maija Sofia - True Love

David Kitt returns to his electronic project to release a second album, featuring collaborators Rita Lynn, Donnacha Costello, Riche “Jape” Egan, Yenkee, Kean Kavanagh,Margie Jean Lewis, Meg Cronin and Fehdah.

The album features that late-night gilded house and techno pop that established the New Jackson project, recalling Kraftwerk and inspired by Stock Aiken and Waterman, with more fortright vocal melodies not as covered in vocoder as before.

Fears

Affinity

Offica - Hokage

London-based Dublin artist Constance Keane and founding member of feminist punk band M(h)aol’s second album of ethereal electronic music.

Fears’ music often addresses heavy personal topics, and has a gossamer feel thanks to its intimate vocals and floating sonics.

There’s an intimacy to the record that underscores the album’s sometimes difficult topics.

Fynch

Youngfella

Jape - Endless Thread

The Dublin 12 rapper says his debut album Youngfella “deals with a raft of issues which are directly impacted by Dublin’s housing crisis, with topics of emigration, nightlife, family, friendships and relationships all touched on throughout the album.”

The album captures the essence of a young man navigating early adulthood, making plans with friends, living with your parents and bigging up your parish.

TraviS, Elzzz

Doghouse

Autre Monde - Sensitive Assignments

The Irish drill rap duo Travis & Elzzz followed up their success with the Full Circle mixtape at number 2 last year with a number 1 for their 2024 album Doghouse on the Irish album charts.

And they did it without sacrificing the appeal of their nocturnal drill rap music, and by bringing in more vocals hooks and collaborations with Monjola, Sello and Reggie. The production by Liam Harris lifts Doghouse many of its beyond its peers.

Niamh Regan

Come As You Are

Kayleigh Noble -  Just a Girl

The Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan moves on from the classic folk sound of debut album Hemet, to embrace a wider full-band sound.

The attention to detail in the music and lyrics are very much still present, but Come As You Are is a more confident pitch, pushing the music into new territories, like the surprising Radiohead-esque ‘Nice’, but mostly, the album features assured songwriting on family and strife, that feels like it’s moving Regan towards her own patch in coming years.

Thee U.F.O

Beaming A Moments Reflection

Travis & Elzzz  - Full Circle

The Dublin garage-psych duo Thee UFO dropped a succinct seven-track 30-minute album that knows what it wants to give.

The album is full of psych-rock band jams, from the King Gizzard-esque ‘Bursting Egos’ to the off-kilter guitar pop of ‘Junk Funk Garbage’ to the frenetic ‘Surveyor’, an almost instrumental that sounds like drums and bass are fighting each other falling down the stairs. Fun!

Carlos Danger Presents

Irish Hash Mafia

David Kitt -  Idiot Check

Prolific Irish producer Rory Sweeney’s Irish hip-hop mixtape under the pseudonym Carlos Danger is pitched as “a celebration of Irish rap from Belfast, to Mullingar, to Tallaght and beyond,” inspired by Southern American rap mixtapes.

Eschewing Sweeney’s normal modus operandi of bass, jungle and club sonic sweeps, the album is a rap mixtape, a fine example of the form, with MCs and cohorts Emby, Curtisy, Ahmed, With Love; E The Artist, yeire13, Lonely Chap, Keanu The Pilot and Smokey doing their thing over a collection of productions that generally could be marked “classic rap beats”, with dips into alternative electronics, grime and samples that are front-loaded and mixtape-ready. Plus, bonus points for the Eamon Dunphy “I’ll tell you who wrote it” Rod Liddle clip.

Irish Hash Mafia is a document of a scene, but also a beacon of creativity and a snapshot of a community that is happening right now.

Mohammad Syfkhan

I Am Kurdish

The Scratch  - Mind Yourself

The Ireland-based Syrian/Kurdish artist Mohammad Syfkhan’s debut album I Am Kurdish was released on the Leitrim label Nyahh this year, and finds a bright and energetic release filled with bouzouki, singing and music drawn from Middle Eastern and North Africa.

Surgical nurse Syfkhan fled to Ireland in 2011 after the war broke out in Syria, and his son was killed by ISIS. Syfkhan moved to Ireland in 2017, and was housed at the Mosney Direct Provision Centre before moving to Carrick-on-Shannon, where he met Willie Stewart of Nyahh, leading to this album recording, which is a vibrant delight.

Niamh Bury

Yellow Roses

Rising Dublin folk artist Niamh Bury was one of the first artists to sign to newly reanimated Irish label Claddagh Records, and released her debut Yellow Roses in March.

Produced by Ye Vagabonds’ Brían MacGloinn, Yellow Roses is full of beatific-sounding classic folk music with a magnetic voice at the core, adorned with fine colour touches of piano and violin, and memorable vocals.

Niamh Bury is a new star of the Dublin folk firmament.

See Also
Orla Gartland

Villagers

That Golden Time

Chósta - Twilight Transmission

Now six albums deep, Conor O’Brien is a songwriter with little to prove to the wider world. An established artist of songs that speak to the personal and profound which sweat the small stuff, O’Brien’s latest finds him following a creative path that leads to well-written and elevated subtle music that draws you in a world that shouts headlines and drama to grab your attention.

That Golden Time is a less thematically-driven record than previous Fever Dream, and largely written and played by O’Brien in his home, purports to be his most vulnerable album to date, and it’s possibly his most individual.

Sprints

Letter To Self

Autre Monde - Sensitive Assignments

Irish garage punk band Sprints’s debut album Letter To Self on City Slang Records set about taking negative energy and turning into fuel for a cathartic sonic assault.

The music often walks the razor high-wire between hi-octane garage rock and feeling like it could all go kaputt on the next verse.

Bandleader Karla Chubb operates as a singer on the edge, addressing broad named topics like self acceptance, identity, mental health struggles, sexuality and catholic guilt.”

Papa Romeo

Late Night Load Out

The now London-based Dublin five-piece Papa Romeo’s 28-minute album Late Night Load Out builds on the band’s single output to date since 2021, with a collection of music that melds indie, jazz and rock styles into one chillwavey package, that is a perfect soundtrack for a summery evening.

Amongst the short album are ‘Chicken Town’, a dreamy yet driven post-punk-flecked song, and ‘Jessica Lovejoy’ – a soft glow percussion and bass jam band harmony track.

The Personal Vanity Project

The Personal Vanity Project

Tandem Felix - There’s A New Sheriff In Town

The Limerick band The PVP feature former members of Bleeding Heart Pigeons, Cruiser and His Father’s Voice.

The project was kicked off when Chris Quigley started making music inspired by the fabled Kevin Shields’ Drum and Bass record.

Of course, the end result is nothing of the sort but there is some frenetic drums and shoegaze, alongside Suicide, Stereolab and Sonic Youth references on the resulting album, drawing on psychedelic rock, ’80s rock sounds and atmospheric guitar band jams.

Melts

Field Theory

Super Extra Bonus Party - Late Nite 99

Dublin four-piece band’s MELTS second album central thesis is the title which “describes how forces interact and influence particles around them, and applies it to the interactions between people, to the space between all of us, how people interact and affect others around them.”

Recorded live to tape at Black Mountain Studios and produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox, Field Theory finesses the sound heard on their first record Maelstrom, and fills the dynamic range with pulsating synth-psych rock music.

Lemoncello

Lemoncello

M(h)aol - Attachment Styles

The long awaited debut album from the folk duo Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella.

Their self-titled record weaves narrative and reflective lyrics set to largely cello (some banjo) and guitar.

Produced by Julie MacLarnon, the album’s arrangements are imbued with contemporay colour with double bass (Caimin Gilmore), bouzoki (Mossy Nolan), violin (Gareth Quinn Redmond), drums and percussion (Lorcan Byrne) and piano, mandolin (Ronan Kealy aka Junior Brother).

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