Wednesday, 6 December 2017

2017 - An Irish Playlist

REMY's Music Blog 2017 Best of Irish Music Playlist

Info: Whilst I didn't reach the heady heights of the amount of posts that 2016 brought, 2017 has still seen in excess of 300 music reviews in 2017, roughly 80% Irish and 20% international. I'm almost tired of eulogising the Irish music scene, almost! but I am suitably excited for what next year brings. Once again, acts new and old I wasn't aware of last year have been at the forefront of bringing me much joy. Over the coming weeks before Christmas I'll also be posting the best E.P.'s, albums and music videos of 2017. I'll also have my Top 20 International Albums, my photo diary of the year and a very special surprise, a new type of end of year list....

Until then, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Irish bands who have kindly shared their music with me, invited me to their gigs and in general been extremely sound. Without your creativity and kindness there would be nothing to write about. Thank you.

Below are my favourite 50 Irish singles of 2017, the Top 10 I somehow haven't quite managed to murder with repeated listens, these lists are far from easy but that = healthy Irish music scene, I hope you enjoy, Remy.

HappyAlone – colours. 
Hvmmingbyrd – Gozo
WOLFF – Freak Like Me
St.Bishop – Porcelain
Discó na mBó – Are You Busy Enough
Laura Ryder – Moon
Not Monsters – Cleo
John Hynes – Caroline, I’m Yours
Marc O’Reilly – Enemy Of
Good Strangers – Visions In The Dark
Autre Monde – I Want My Enemies To Prosper
D-Day – Movin’ On
Young Earth – Got A Secret
The Clockworks – The World Owes Me A Favour
GaniyuTLG – Shivers
Orchid Collective – Waited on the Sun
Motions – All I’ve Ever Known
Beauty Sleep – Until We See The Sun
Soulé – What Do You Know
Robert John Ardiff – Paint Your Nails
Montauk Hotel – Black Dress
Wyvern Lingo – Out Of My Hands
Bad Fit – Worry Doll
Sub Motion – Decoy
Jon Dots – Favourite Thing
Molly Sterling – Plain Static
Silverbacks – Dirty Money
1,000 Beasts – Got This Feeling (Remix feat. Ryan O’Shaughnessy)
And o I Watch You From Afar – Dying Giants
Junior Brother – Hungover At Mass
Joey Gavin – Rolf Harris Is A Paedophile
Sun.Set.Ships – Marydoyouwanna
This Side Up – Billy No Mates
Maria Kelly – Hollow
Rabble Babble – Joe’s Bust
THUMPER – The Loser
Bitch Falcon – Clutch
Le Boom – Don’t Need It Now

10. Sal Dulu - 'Duluoz Dream'

Sal Dulu featured on two of our Best of Irish playlists back to back during the summer, and regarding 'Duluoz Dream' we enthused; "A real peach of a track comes from new Dublin trip-hop act Sal Dulu, 'Duluoz Dream', it's acid-jazz vibes bring you right back to the best of St.Germain's Tourist album, forlorn sax effects with a zippy beat make for a highly enjoyable listen."

9. Fontaines D.C. - 'Liberty Belle'

With a definitive Dublin blas to be heard in their music, 2018 looks like being the year Fontaines D.C. catapult beyond these shores, watch this space; "perhaps named after the famous 'liberator' aircraft from World War II, or maybe the watering-hole on Francis Street (I'm going for the latter), it's a classic Irish punk track with a Strokesian twinge, whilst also echoing strongly the likes of late 70's Belfast group The Outcasts. Interestingly 'Liberty Belle' belies the youthful exuberance of the band's live shows, where you find yourself going, "Yeah, this is what's missing from stage performances". They could be huge..."

8. Vulpynes - 'Silica'

One of the highlights of 2017 has to have been seeing many Irish bands finally getting signed by record labels, and reading the announcement about Vulpynes joining Berlin label Crownn was one of those really uplifting moments, always deserved, never happening, until now. From August; "The adjustment between sped-up verses and the relatively restrained chorus works well, but the most enjoyable aspect of 'Silica' is the more wall-to-wall sound of the distortion and percussion. You imagine the pair were recorded in a telephone booth with regards to how condensed and all-encompassing the vocals, thick guitar riffs and drums come across as it pounds and bounds across it's just shy of two and a half minutes duration. With each passing single, the harder they rock, the better it sounds." 

7. David Keenan - Cobwebs

There aren't enough kind words I can say about Dundalk's David Keenan, his song-writing is something that comes around once every 20-30 years, you can easily fall in between the cracks of those cycles, but I'm very lucky to have seen this poet live on numerous occasions by mere chance. He's quite simply the best singer-songwriter to emerge from this island in decades. "Keenan delivers a searing verse, from soft to hammer-blow in an instant; 'Long story short, she informed me of my flaws, as Russian dolls smashed against the bedroom wall, come away from the window ledge, you'll catch your death of cold, and you'll be no use to anyone....least of all me'. The music does the painting too, with the electric guitar notes trickling down the strings like the beads of moisture of the title's cobweb."

6. Jafaris - If You Loved Me

A looped track for me, so many listens, it's really the perfect amalgamation of pop and Rn'B from Jafaris. The chorus line of; "If you love me, then I'll love you too" is a poignant oxymoron, but it's weighty, something unconditional becomes conditional in an instant. It's energy is high, measured and euphoric when the chorus snaps in, two listens and there's no turning back.

5. Tanjier - Yu

The trickle of continuously impressive singles from Tanjier in 2017 refused to abate. I'm not sure they even knew how rapidly their star would rise on what has been a steady bell curve over the last 12 months. Multiple festival appearances culminating in not one but two appearances at Other Voices last weekend confirms Tanjier as one of the best acts in Ireland right now. Seeing them perform for the first time as part of the CrowClub sessions in Temple Bar a few months ago brought the live and recorded playing field together with ease. 'Yu' is all of that majesty in one place, still not sick of it by any measure.

4. Just Mutstard - Tainted

Instead of My Bloody Valentine leading you through the wormhole to Dundalk's Just Mustard, it almost feels like the reverse could be true. When they released their self-titled EP last year it was every Irish shoe-gaze fans dream come true. I remember listening to it again for the first time in a few months on the way to see them in Sin É recently and as I crossed The Liffey it clicked again, is this the best grunge-gaze (?) Irish release ever? And then 'Tainted' comes along and shows there is even better to come, when they played it live that night I had a moment.

3. Bad Bones - You

Bad Bones blew me away at Forbidden Fruit this summer, I hadn't heard a single song until then, and was completely unaware of her music, and the performance was immense visually, but the music was quite Earth-shattering, the high-tempo and precision nailing itself to my electronic mast. In a more intimate environment her artistry becomes far more pronounced, it's like nothing you will experience anywhere, and it's indelible. Every single and accompanying video Bad Bones has released to date is art to be admired, like a Breughel in black and white.

2. Sleep Thieves - Is This Ready?

Sleep Thieves' track 'Is This Ready?' fulfils the void left by your favourite dream-pop act from the last few years' creative melt-down, and then exceeds their prime. It has a Tolkien mysticism which slowly twirls like a parasite into your ears and brain and acts like a musical rohypnol. This sounds all too horrid, but it's in fact the best Irish dream-pop single of 2017, dark, moody, but most importantly, it's impact is quite infinite.

1. DAITHÍ - Holiday Home

The single / track I listened to most in 2017, shared and pushed on people, had folks messaging me the next day enquiring, "What was that last song you played on Spotify before you left from that Irish fella with the bodhrán?" 

'Holiday Home' had that rare but wonderful impact, when I first heard it during the summer via the static (not static) video, and the Ogham wobbled to the beat of the the bodhrán, mixed with tinny and sharp electronic effects I was beguiled and dragged away by Daithí's music. Nobody has come close to merging trad with electronic, the stick tapping the rim of the bodhrán with rapid intensity, the dark electronic hum, and most importantly, that under-water and peaking electro-squirm. I'm still listening to it today, and that makes Daithí's 'Holiday Home' REMY's Irish Single of the Year for 2017. 

DAITHÍ - Holiday Home