Don’t listen to the naysayers. 2008 was one of the best years for Irish music in a long time. The results of the third album poll demonstrate the breadth of talent this small country has to offer. Please support the artists you’ve never heard and intrigue you by buying their music using the links below. Thanks to everyone who voted. If you needed some late Christmas ideas this collection would be a pretty cool present. The entire list of 64 albums voted for is available on Google Docs.
An Irish songs of 2008 podcast as voted by you is to follow.
- 20. Katie Kim -Twelve
- 19. Land Lovers – Romance Romance
- 18. Queen Kong and You´re Only Massive – Dot Dash
- 17. Sunken Foal – Fallen Arches
- 16. Ham Sandwich – Carry the Meek
- 15. So Cow – I’m Siding With My Captors
- 14. The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock – S/T
- 13. Halfset – Another Way of Being There
- 12. Crayonsmith – White Wonder
- 11. David Holmes – Holy Pictures
10. Heathers – Here Not There
Twin sisters, a guitar and heart. Listening to Ellie and Louise McNamara’s intertwined melodies has brought shivers down the spine of many lucky enough to hear them. Clearly the synergistic nature of these Dublin 18 year olds’ relationship has enabled them to produce an inspiringly simple and singularly brilliant record.
9. Chequerboard – Penny Black
Dubliner John Lambert’s third release was written and recorded in his time in The Model Arts & Niland Gallery in Sligo where he received a music fellowship. Running at in at a short-lived but sprightly 34 minutes, lilting Spanish guitar phrases dominate these atmospheric soundscapes.
8. The Vinny Club – Rocky IV Reckyrd
Vinny’s solo project away from the furious bass duties for Adebisi Shank was a 26 minute triumph of computer-generated fun. The film of the title informs each 8-bit workout with song titles, samples and theme. It’s the sound of an Atari throwing shapes on a dancefloor.
7. The Jimmy Cake – Spectre And Crown
The Jimmys’ third and best album, a welcome return after five years of silence. Spectre & Crown ebbs and flows wonderfully through Herculean orchestral passages of melody and cadence, leaving an indelible chronicle of nine musicians contributing to a singular and necessary vision. The production is immaculately precise yet organic, the music epic yet controlled; brimming with piano, accordion, clarinet, trumpet, bass and saxophone.
6. Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew
Stepping out solo, Hannigan proved that she had the talent and wherewithal to be more than a mere footnote on the Damien Rice story. Sea Sew had an affecting mix of folk and more brooding numbers. The instrumentation was beautiful but above all, Hannigan held her own.
5. Messiah J and the Expert – From the Word Go
MJEX get better with each album and From The Word Go is no exception. It’s got a bit of everything. Thoughful Hip-hop jams, soul and funk, indie-guests doing a star turn (Delorentos), pop melodies and lyrics about growing up, taking responsibility and dealing with shit.
4. Adebisi Shank – This is an album…
Tearing out the block with just 23 minutes and 8 songs to their name, Dublin and Wexford’s finest example of instrumental rock right now don’t let up in the interim. All manner of muscular bass and frenetic guitar riffs collide with furiously dexterous drums and the occasional talk box. Robot fucking rock.
3. Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion
Many of the songs here sound like theme tunes to some forgotten LA teen drama which never made it past a pilot. Its exuberance is infectious. The entire album walks the line between pop and alternative perfectly without dipping into procedure. Most of the songs are so loud and acerbic, it might take you a while to realise there’s no electric guitar anywhere on this superb 36 minute record.
2. R.S.A.G – Organic Sampler
The top two albums were streets ahead in terms of votes from the rest of the poll and fittingly both of these musicians are doing something different from most artists in this country. Jeremy Hickey aka Rarely Seen Above Ground is a one man band in the form of a drummer, percussion and singer. His music is psychedelic, heavy on the percussion, brimming with bassline and filled with drum rolls galore. Organic Sampler is an ebullient, textured DOUBLE album. Expect to see and hear much more from Jeremy in 2009.
1. Jape – Ritual
Confirmation that Richie Egan, a bass player from Crumlin was Dublin’s most exciting solo musician in 2008. Ritual received 200 votes (67 more than RSAG). Ritual was packed with ten quality songs ranging from playful electronic synth pop to heartfelt genuine acoustic ballads. There are too many highlights to mention really. ‘I Was A Man’ is a growling gem, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is neo-electro soul and ‘Phil Lynott’ contained one of the lines of the year with “Look. at. the. Fucking. Moon.” Jape is Grape 08.