This year has been the strongest in recent memory for Irish music, managing so despite the dissolutions of a great many leading outfits in the community in times of yore, among them this year Fight Like Apes, Enemies and Funeral Suits.
In the eight months your writer has been doing daily explainers on Irish independent music, there’s never been a morning where we’ve been without content, a story to tell, something that’s exciting to put in post and press ‘publish’ on.
What a lot of us figured would be a passing golden era a few years back has become the foundation for something far more sustained – without so much as a look from daytime radio or television, and with minimal coverage from our country’s mainstream media (all this despite good people in each, fighting the good fight, might I add).
Ireland’s music scene is easily the equal of any other offering, anywhere in the world, and arguably, pound-for-pound, the best in terms of quality of releases.
With that being said, let’s dig in to the list.
The divisively-named Top Ten Irish Records of 2016 does come with a caveat, though – joint winners (both ranked #1, with the #2 spot vacated, for the pedants among you).
Yesterday, we asked YOU, to lay out your favourite listens from the year that’s been.
On the line was a €50 voucher (twice the usual} for Golden Discs, usable at any of its fourteen branches around the country.
‘The best thing I’ve heard all year was___________________________’
It was a big year for music both major and independent, and we had some great suggestions. But there could only be one winner.
LiamZero takes the voucher with the The Dame’s surprise swansong from January.
“‘Blackstar’ by Bowie, because in just three days, it went from being the remarkable rebirth of one of popular music’s greatest careers to being the most astonishing, beautiful, witty, dignified, clever and heartbreaking farewell of them all, filled with lyrics that suddenly revealed their hidden truths. It’s a poorer world without him, but at least he gave us a fitting goodbye.”
In further finds from the running we have two categories:
The Best thing I heard this year from this year
Starina: “The best thing I’ve heard all year was Girl Band’s Holding Hands With Jamie. Slightly deranged, with clever lyrics and deadly melodies. We should hold them up as an example of how great Irish music really can be.”
Witty Name: “The best thing I’ve heard all year was Let Me Get There by Hope Sandoval and the Warm Invention, featuring Kurt Vile. Warm, fuzzy tune, with great guitar. American singers with a great Irish band (Dirt Blue Gene, Colm O Ciosóig). Lovely album, takes your mind off all the madness of 2016.”
Kolmo: “The best thing I’ve heard all year is Deantown by Vulfpeck. Nothing on Earth has come close to being this toe-tappingly groovy. Nothing. Nada. Nix.”
Garreth: “Nick Cave, Skeleton Tree. A hard, brutal listen, but hauntingly beautiful. Masterpiece.”
The best thing I heard this from from another year:
Ouch: “Only discovered this Bowie gem when it was re-released this year on the Who Can I Be Now box set that covered his phenomenal 1974 – 1976 period. Amazing tune and it didn’t even make the cut to be released at the time…”
Wilson-IRL: “The best thing I’ve heard all year was Farewell Sarajevo by Maybeshewill from the album I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone. The album is a couple of years old but i first heard it this year and it’s the first album that I’ve repeatedly listened to, in its entirety, in over a decade.” (Recommended – Mike)
Niallo: “The best thing I’ve heard all year was Superstition by Stevie Wonder… No, no, wait! Come back… on 10+ grand’s worth of hi-fi gear at the listening room on Wicklow Street, blew me bleedin’ socks off, you can hear the placement of each of the instruments as if you were in the studio, ’twas unreal.”
Zena: “The best thing I’ve heard all year was, Cherokee Morning Song by Walela. It was released before 2016 but it’s one hell of a song, it’s sang in Native American too, simply beautiful.”
Ten Things You Will Overhear At The Leonard Cohen Concert.
10. “We’re going both nights.” 9. “Now, that‘s music.” 8. “Lenny thought Jeff’s version was better which is just so Lenny. 7. “These are great seats: I can see John Kelly crying.” 6. “Sssssh” 5. “It’s not a song. It’s a prayer.” 4. ” It’s about Joni Mitchell, she once…(rambling anecdote about The Chelsea Hotel, fellatio and an elevator).” 3. “You gotta hear that on vinyl.” 2. “And they say he’s depressing?!? 1. “Not as good as Kilmainham.”