Graham Dolan was a veteran of the Galway DJ scene for nearly 20 years before relocating to the big smoke with the hope of getting the shift. You can catch him playing regularly in the Workmans, Big Romance, Magnet, The Clarence, The Dean, the Devlin…For more info on where he’ll be playing just follow him on Insta @grahamdolan.
Westside Gunn feat. Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah & Stove God Cooks – Science Class
One of the most fun things about watching Griselda go from strength to strength is seeing their recording budget increase and the profile of their guests improve. If they have a wishlist of Golden era MCs that they’re trying to collaborate with then they’re milling through it fairly quickly. Here they manage to cross 3 off the list on a single track. However it is the relative newcomer Stove God Cooks who steals the show. I’m counting the days until FLYGOD makes his live Irish debut in the Sugar Club in January.
Various – You Can Trust A Man With A Moustache Vol. 4
When I first heard this EP I enjoyed it so much I went and did a deep dive on both the label Moustache Records and its founder David Vunk. Thank God I did. There are few things more grin inducing than watching that man giving it socks behind the decks in a leotard while singing his heart out to Italo tinged belters. All 3 songs on this EP epitomise Vunk’s sound but the best of the bunch is Climax by John Noseda. You know the way some people with synesthesia can see music? When I hear this I can smell music. And it smells like sweaty dance floors, spilled drinks and poppers.
Coast Contra – Pimpin’ Benjamin
When modern artists make throwback hip hop they nearly always use mid-90’s New York boom bap as their blueprint. So it’s nice to hear some new MCs look at the country’s opposite coast for inspiration. It’s hard to listen to this crew without being reminded of their California predecessors such as Pharcyde and Souls of Mischief. They’re not doing anything new, but they are doing something fun. And their roundtable freestyle sessions are essential viewing.
Sven Wunder – Sun-Kissed
Sun Kissed might be the most aptly named record of the year. Who would have imagined that a Swedish composer could cook up a song that sounds like Ananda Shankar covering The Go! Team.
Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Because feat. Joey Bada$$, Russ & Dylan Cartlidge
Over the years Danger Mouse has spent so much time in studios with the likes of Beck, Parquet Courts & The Black Keys that people have forgotten that he originally emerged as a hip hop producer. It’s good to have him back behind the boards for a top class MC and they don’t get much better than the front man of The Roots. The whole album is quality. Highly recommended.
The Pro Teens – Doomsday
I bought so many modern funk covers of old hip hop tunes this year that I considered submitting a chart comprised solely of these 45s. Then I realised if I did so people would think I was a pretentious prick. As a man raised in the midlands my biggest fear is being accused of having notions so I only included one. A contemporary soul band from Melbourne paying tribute to one of MF Doom’s finest moments. What’s not to love?
Aoife Nessa Frances – Emptiness Follows
This is easily my favorite Irish song of the year. Beautiful, languid, sensual psyche folk. Somewhere between a Peter Strickland soundtrack and Willow’s Song. You wouldn’t be surprised if Britt Ekland was in the room next door, dancing around in the nip and slapping the walls.
Denzel Curry – Walkin’
It came and went with little fanfare but Denzel’s latest album might be the finest of his career so far. For a man who’s reputation is built around his aggression on the mic, this tune initially sounds surprisingly laid back. As a sample from library music legend Keith Mansfield floats in before some head nodding drums are added to the mix is all sounds pretty conventional. But then the tempo changes, the drums are swapped out for 808s and Denzel starts having fun with his flow. It’s hard to make a tune that sounds classic and contemporary at the same time but this one pulls it off.
Two Shell – Home
Remember between 2010 & 2011 when some annoying chin strokers tried to use terms like Post Dubstep and Future Garage to create a catch all genre for the likes of James Blake, Jacques Greene, Deadboy and SBTRKT? The tracks were a woozy haze of melancholic synths, pulsing sub bass, pitch shifted R&B vocals, and skittery 2-step drums. Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if someone took that same formula and ramped up the tempo to 160BPM? Well now you don’t have to wonder.
Mad Honey – Time Is On Our Side
Space Grapes is a new label co-run by Danilo Plessow (formerly known as Motor City Drum ensemble). A lot of people are hung up on the fact that this single was performed and recorded live to tape. I don’t care how it was recorded. I only care how it sounds and it sounds like Ned Doheny covering Fly Like An Eagle. It also sounds like lazy summer evenings, lightly sunburnt skin, having one too many margaritas and then calling in sick for work before ordering one more.