Kelly-Anne Byrne left Today FM earlier this year, and is still a DJ disco queen with a keen ear for good tunes. Her lockdown DJ sets were among the highlights of my streams. I look forward to seeing her DJ again soon.
Roisin Murphy – Something More
It is impossible to pick a favourite track on Roisin Murphy’s Roisin Machine; it’s an impeccable album that flows beautifully, but there is something seductive about this song that makes me return to it again and again. Written by Amy Douglas, it speaks of our lack and desire as humans, how even though we seem to have everything, we always want more. It makes me think of how so much is available at the press of a button nowadays and yet this seems to create a vacuum within, the lyric ‘maybe this could be the last time I feel the strain, of what it’s like to want everyone and everything’ sends a shiver up my spine.
Jessie Ware – Adore You
The sensuality of this track takes me right back to Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby. I don’t think a song could describe more perfectly that feeling you have when you initially fall in love, how it overtakes you and you want to share it with everyone. For Your Pleasure, like Roisin Machine, is a flawless album for me, both records entice you to listen to them in full, from beginning to end, as every song has a place.
Working Men’s Club – Valleys
Written about growing up in a small town and wanting to escape its limitations, Valleys is the perfect way to open an album; a powerful synth-driven track that recalls New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, it wouldn’t sound out of place on Factory Records. I was completely blown away by Working Men’s Club debut upon first listen, they have a unique sound that entwines indie and dance music, a band I look forward to seeing live when gigs return.
Fontaines DC – Televised Mind
Apart from being brilliant musically, I love the fact that Fontaines DC have written about the echo chamber on this hypnotic track; the idea that circling ourselves solely with people who agree and reinforce our opinions ultimately, as the band have stated, ‘leads to personality getting stripped away by surrounding approval’. I long for the day that I can see Fontaines DC perform A Hero’s Death live.
Baxter Dury – I’m Not Your Dog
Whenever I listen to this record, I think it sounds like something Serge Gainsbourg would write if he were alive today. There is a raw, sexual edge to the track that conjures up images of forbidden dalliances in late-night places.
The Allergies – Felony
I listened to this track a lot at the beginning of the pandemic as it simply filled me with joy, it’s a tune guaranteed to pack the dancefloor; a perfect soul stomper.
AC Soul Symphony, Dave Lee – Manhattan Skyline (JN Spirit of ’77 Edit)
I well up every time I hear this track as it makes me long for clubs and dancing, conjuring up images of a disco ball, roller skates, hot pants, smiling faces. When nightlife returns, this will be one of the first records I play. I have a lot of respect for producers such as Dave Lee who have remained so prolific in their output throughout this pandemic.
Horse Meat Disco feat. Fi McCluskey – Love If You Need It
Love and Dancing is one of the greatest dance albums of 2020, managing to sound like classic disco but firmly holding a place in the present. It is full of uplifting tracks that I cannot wait to DJ out, Love If You Need It being one of my favourites. I’ll be giving it a spin in Mother for sure when we return.
Gregory Porter – Mister Holland
This powerful soul jam reminds me a lot of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye. I love how Gregory Porter took a negative experience from his youth and created something wonderful. The track sings of racial acceptance and a desire for mutual respect even though the reality for Gregory Porter at the time was the opposite. I really admire how he turned such a difficult experience into something so dignified.
Paul Weller – Mirror Ball
I love the cinematic element to this track; the beginning sounds like a song that would appear in a Classical Hollywood movie. It’s so much more poignant listening to it now as Weller wrote it about the experience of going to a club and losing yourself in music. Its hopeful tone makes me think that we will be dancing under the reflection of a mirror ball soon enough and when we do, it will be all the more special.
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.