2017 Best of | Best songs | Best albums | 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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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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Upcoming Nialler9 DJ gigs:

Feb 4: Alexis Taylor Prince Tribute, Mix & Fairbanks @ Button Factory, Dublin
Feb 17: The Redneck Manifesto @ Roisin Dubh, Galway
Feb 18: Lumo Club @ Tengu, Dublin

Listen to the Nialler9 DJ Chart on Spotify.


Wino Wagon  – ‘Paco’s Ode’

An insane beat and production from the Absolutely Wino compilation, brought to you by Wah Wah Wino, which includes Dublin lads Morgan Buckley, Olmo Devin, Dark Delight, Davy Kehoe and more. “Sound of the Rathmines industrial estate … weirdo wagon dance music,” as is says on Rush Hour. The whole comp reminds me of a early AFX and the oddball gang tunes on Rephlex Records. Pick the 2LP release up in All City in Dublin.


Isolée – ‘Pisco’

New jam on the Maeve label from the German “microhouse” dude on a new 3-track release. This has a rolling hypnotic rhythmic thing going on, that’s almost discombobulating.


Kyodai – Amazonia

Well-titled rainforest-conjuring house music from two Berlin-based producers.


Hot Chocolate – ‘Mindles Boogie’

12″ nine minute extended version of the 1979 song from Errol Brown and band.


Can – ‘I Want More’ (Twin Sun)

I played this at Lumo Club last Saturday, only to hear the news the next day, that one of rock’s greatest drummers Jaki Liebezeit had passed. RIP.


Mixhell & Joe Goddard – ‘Crocodile Boots’ (Soulwax remix)

Mixhell are a Brazilian electro duo Iggor Cavalera and Laima Leyton, who recently teamed up with Mutado Pintado (Paranoid London) and Joe Goddard on the Crocodile Boots EP after some jam sessions post-DJing in 2015. Soulwax have remixed the track which was recently trailed in their Beats 1 2×2 show, and comes on a remix package alongside Goddard and Party Nails.


Samo DJ & Tzusing – ‘Hollabackboi’

An End of 2016 list discovery, take the drums of Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’ and pair it up with an electro-synth jam is what’s going on here.

The Nialler9 Spotify DJ Chart.

Posted on January 25th, 2017


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Kenny Hanlon is a DJ and the boss of Apartment Records. The label returns in 2017 and releases are now on Bandcamp too. Catch Kenny DJing in Cork on Saturday.

See all the top 10 tracks of 2016 guest selections.


Glenn Underground – Nova (Contact)

Oh lordy. What a record. Glenn Crocker has been in the game nearly 25 years and yet here he is producing the undoubted record of the year, showing no signs of letting up. There is so much funk on display here that it needs its 9 minute plus running time to let it alllll hang out, from the rolling drums, the horn samples and that flute solo along with everything else he piles into the mix, you’ll be dabbing yer brow with yer handkerchief after 30 seconds and it’ll be soaked to the bone by the end. Oh lordy.


Roy Of The Ravers – Emotinium

Nitpickers can come at me, yes this track first appeared in 2015 on a limited edition tape, but its long-awaited vinyl release only surfaced this year. This is a quintessentially British acid record, following in the footsteps of the likes of AFX and Ceephax Acid Crew. Like a love lorn ode to a really strong gary someone took in 1995 that made them feel like they would never EVER come down, you too can feel just like that for 11 minutes and 45 seconds, or longer if you inevitably put it on again straight away after.


Melly – Skip Fire

Coming on like some sort of demented voodoo ritual techno, Melly’s calling shot on his debut release sounded like nothing else in 2016. Driven by drums that make you feel like running into a wall head-first just for the fun of it, its warped vocals, piercing 2 note melody and drone-y bass-line is all the record needs to create a wonderfully intense feeling like you’re getting so excited about something that you might soil your pants but couldn’t care less about the outcome.


Simplon – Spare Heart Parts

Truth be told if you do follow Melly’s Skip Fire with this song you may just follow through in glorious fashion. Another song that flew in the face of 2016 techno’s penchant for navel-gazing, grey-scale tedium this song revels in its unhinged everything and it’s driving melodies are, alternatively, rather lush but also a little bit bonkers. Don’t expect to hear Ben Klock play it any time soon.


Dj Overdose – Blue Flame

Keeping up the loose theme of songs-to-make-you-wig-out-to is Dutch electro maestro Dj Overdose’s contribution to the excellent Belfast label Computer Controlled. A combination of Chicago ghetto house, electro and Total Rave Acid, it builds up such a head of steam that it can’t do anything but breakdown half way through, before re-appearing with some MASSIVE SKYSCRAPING SYNTHS that no one saw coming. Note: The vocal sample might drive you a bit round the bend by the end.


Asusu – Hallucinator

BOOOM BOOM BOOM goes the drums. DI DI DI DI DIN DI DI DI DI DIN goes the bass. PEW PEW PEW goes the melody. 2016’s award for big dumb dance floor banger goes to Livity Sound’s Asusu.


Nebraska – Look What You’ve Done To Me

Time for something just a little bit more on the subtle side of things, there has been a load of folk from down under and Canada getting showered in praise for their languid deep house stylings yet none of those chancers came close to matching the grace and beauty of Look What You’ve Done To Me. Its horn samples may have been slightly surpassed by Underground’s Contact (Nova) but no other vocal sample in 2016 reduced men, women and child of all shapes, colours, sizes and creeds to such simpering, blubbering messes. Group hugs all around on this one.


Wah Wah Wino – Chartered

The Wino Boys or Wah Wah Wino or whatever they are calling themselves this week are a trio of Dublin lads who have developed a knack for making sometimes wondrous electronic music and sometimes kinda shite electronic music. But boy when they get it right does it hit. Chartered is a sumptuous and elegant piece of deep house you could imagine Floating Points playing if he wasn’t too busy trading rare afrobeat jazz or whateverthefuck records with Giles Peterson for an Actual Fucking Car like a massively pretentious wanker.

Hear snippets at Phonica.


Konstantin Sibold – Mutter

Ok, I may have to take back Asusu’s award from earlier because this retro-tastic pean to 90s German trance managed to set dancefloors alight with both the original version and its beatless take. 2016 has seen a really boring love of irony shine through in a lot of dance music, people too busy making knowing winks with their output and branding, as if they are too fucking smart to make genuine, emotional music and have it stand on its own merits. Mutter was a shameless – if unintentional – riposte to all of that. It wasn’t trying to deconstruct or mock trance, that most easily of maligned genres, instead it embraced it wholeheartedly. And for that, I’m giving it a nod.


Chinaski – Disaster / Lifetime

Keep those hands in the air for the final pick(s), a double whammy from Chinaski’s Rivers Edge 12″ on Uncanny Valley. Disaster was probably the track I played the most in my dj sets this year, another song that wears its trance influences boldly on its sleeve, combining them with some spooky John Carpenter influences. Lifetime also made strong nods to 80s horror / sci-fi soundtracks, an epic beatless number until it finally allows its drums to come crashing in at the very end, then finishing just as soon as it really starts. It was also my favourite song to play air drums to in 2016.

See all the top 10 tracks of 2016 guest selections.

Posted on December 15th, 2016


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