Sunday 17 December 2017

Loaded: Best of a bumper crop of home-grown talent

John Meagher

John Meagher

It has been a bumper year for home-grown music, easily the best since I took up the cudgels for Day & Night in 2002. Only five years ago, I bemoaned the dearth of quality of Irish music, now we've been swamped with top-quality acts making a name for themselves.

I really enjoyed albums from Cap Pas Cap, Strands, Somadrone and John, Shelly and Creatures, yet none of them made my top 10 for the year. Nor did albums from General Fiasco, Ham Sandwich, Electric Penguins, Dave Couse, Craig Walker and Alien Envoy -- despite each boasting some truly fine songs.

Here's my list:

1. Two Door Cinema Club -- Tourist History

2. Shit Robot -- From the Cradle to the Rave

3. The Villagers -- Becoming a Jackel

4. Imelda May -- Mayhem

5. O Emperor -- Hither Thither

6. Adebisi Shank -- This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank

7. The Redneck Manifesto -- Friendship

8. Cathy Davey -- The Nameless

9. James Vincent McMorrow -- Early in the Morning

10. Halves -- It Goes It Goes (Forever and Ever)

I would be very surprised come March if Two Door and The Villagers aren't slugging it out for the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.

  • I'll be taking my Meat Loaf-loving mother to The O2 tomorrow, so perhaps it's a little premature to be talking about gigs of the year. Marvin Lee Aday certainly knows how to put on a show. But he'll have to be in fantastic form to trump Arcade Fire's brilliant set at The O2 (no surprise there) or Black Eyed Peas' full-on performance (very surprising how good they were) in the same venue.

On a smaller scale, I was much taken with the Owen Pallett show in Whelan's at the beginning of the year, was charmed by Icebreaker/BJ Cole's interpretation of Brian Eno's Apollo album in the National Concert Hall and The National's set at The Olympia was special, despite weather conditions ensuring they didn't arrive on time to do a soundcheck beforehand.

But the gig of the year for me so far was LCD Soundsystem's phenomenal set in Tripod last month. Their delivery of All My Friends was the most stunning 10 minutes of live music I've witnessed in years. Jonsi's performance at Electric Picnic runs it close.

  • It's perhaps symptomatic of the download culture we're ensconced in now that I'm more often asked what my favourite songs are than albums.

Here's 10 I fell in love with this year, in no particular order:

  • LCD Soundsystem -- All I Want
  • Deerhunter -- Desire Lines
  • Twin Shadow -- When We're Dancing
  • Agnes Obel -- Close Watch
  • Two Door Cinema Club -- Something Good Can Work
  • Kanye West -- Monster
  • Beach House -- Norway
  • Cee Lo Green -- F*** You
  • Plan B -- She Said
  • The Walkmen -- Angela Surf City

Happy Christmas, folks. And happy listening!

Irish Independent

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