22 Irish Acts Will Be Showcased At International Festivals Inc TGE & Primavera

Music From Ireland Announces Names of Irish Acts Being Showcased at Both TGE18 and Primavera Pro. 22 Irish Music Artists Will Line Out for Two of the Biggest Summer Festivals On The Euro Circuit

Music from Ireland has announced the names of those emerging Irish music artists selected to play two of this Summer’s biggest showcase festivals. Of the 22 up and coming acts, 19 have been lined up for Brighton-based The Great Escape while a further three will pitch up for Primavera Pro, the ‘pro-am’ leg of renowned Spanish summerfest, Primavera Sound. Two of the total acts, Le Boom and Fontaines DC will be showcased at both festivals.

TGE18, which will run from 17th to 19th May, will play host to nineteen Irish acts out of a staggering total line up of 450 emerging music artists set to light up the southern seaside town across the three days of the festival. The Irish team lining out for TGE18 is, in alpha order,

Æ MAK | ÁINE CAHILL |   JOSHUA BURNSIDE  | THE ESKIES | 

FONTAINES D.C.  |JEALOUS OF THE BIRDS |  DAVID KEENAN | DERMOT KENNEDY  |

LE BOOM  |  CATHERINE McGRATH | MONCRIEFF  | PILLOW QUEENS  |

REWS | RUTHANNE | TIM CHADWICK | TOUTS  |

LILLA VARGEN |WHENYOUNG  | WYVERN LINGO 

Roe Photo: Hotpress

Music from Ireland will host two Irish music showcase events at TGE on Thursday 17th May – details here:

10.30 – 11.30am Thursday, Networking Brunch (as part of Culture Ireland’s GB18 programme of events).

12.00 – 5.00pm Thursday, Series of Lives The Prince Albert venue, line up as follows:-

12.00 Tim Chadwick

13.00 Pillow Queens

14.00 Fontaines D.C.

15.00 RuthAnne

16.00 Æ Mak

In addition to the 19 artists giggin’ and rockin’ out at The Great Escape, two of those plus a further three are being given the chance to peddle their wares at the Primavera Pro spin-off of the illustrious Primavera Sound. The two lucky double dippers are Fontaines DC and Le Boom, who’ll be joined at PP by singer/songwriters Ailbhe Reddy, Roe and Paddy Hanna.

This is the first year that up and coming Irish music artists have been invited to showcase at the event which is a magnet for (Spanish & South American) industry insiders, tipsters and professionals. We have no doubt that all five acts will do themselves proud and then some. The Irish PP showcase is scheduled for Friday, 1st June at the Day Pro Stage.

All credit to Culture Ireland and Music from Ireland for working together to ensure the funding was put in place to support the promotion of Irish music through expansion into new global territories.

Listen to sounds by all 22 acts on out Music from Ireland – TGE & Primavera Playlist here.

It’s An All-Irish Go-Live for Forbidden Fruit

With a line up that features The War on Drugs, Kieran Hebden’s Four Tet, Warpaint, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Superorganism, the RHK-based Bulmer’s Forbidden Fruit Festival looks set to be one of the highlights of #summerfest2018. Scheduled to run across the full June Bank Holiday weekend, #FFF18 is a renowned hot-bed for both established and emerging ‘left-field’ music acts. Now, to add fuel to its already scorching fire, the Dublin-based music festival has just announced the return of its All-Irish Bulmers Live Stage featuring twenty Irish acts playing across the three day festival programme.

Rising stars such as Ailbhe Reddy, Lilla Vargen, Erica Cody, AE Mak, the Fontaines and Sylk will join the already stellar cast lined up to entertain the hordes set to take over the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from 2nd to 4th June next. To celebrate all things emerging and Irish, we’ve whipped up a short Bulmers Live Stage Playlist to help you get both in the know and more importantly, in the mood for the first big Irish festival of Summer 2018. Listen to it below,

In what is has become an annual feature at FFF, the Bulmer’s Live Stage – 100% Irish Music Artists – is platform that plays host to a selection of emerging artists over the three days, promoting the best in new Irish music

Forbidden Fruit will play host to an array of innovative and off-mainstream acts during its three day festorama over the June bank holiday. With acts as diverse as Four Tet, The War on Drugs, Glass Animals, and Bonobo set to light up its many stages, #FFF18 once again looks set to be the ‘hard-shoulder’ of the Irish festival circuit. Amen to that!

Tickets for Bulmer’s Forbidden Fruit Vary in Package/Price

Monday Day (4th) €64.50

Two Day Weekend (Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd) – €119.00

Three Day (Sat 2nd, Sun 3rd, Mon 4th) – €162.50

All tickets available via Ticketmaster.ie

Listen to the DervSwerve #FFF18 Bulmers Live Stage Playlist here,

RTE Strike Performance Full House for Choice Music Prize Event

National broadcaster RTÉ has pulled off quite a coup by nailing all ten nominated artists to play live on the night of its Choice Music Prize Live Event in Vicar Street, on 8th March.

The line up for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize event, run association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced earlier this week on 2FM radio. All ten nominees for Best Album 2017 are set to perform in Vicar Street on the night. In case you weren’t already aware of the skinny, here it is:-

  1. Come On Live Long – In The Still (self released)
  2. Marlene Enright – Placemats and Second Cuts (self released)
  3. Fangclub – Fangclub (Universal)
  4. Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky (Rough Trade)
  5. James Vincent McMorrow – True Care (Faction Records)
  6. New Jackson – From Night to Night (All City)
  7. Otherkin – OK (Rubyworks)
  8. Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters (Abbey Records)
  9. Ships – Precession (Ships Music)
  10. Talos – Wild Alee (Feel Good Lost)

Previous winners of Best Album have included Julie Feeney, Jape and Villagers. Last year’s nod went to Limerick hip hop/rap triumvirate Rusangano Family. Also presented on the night will be Best Song of 2017, with Soule, The Academic, Gavin James and Wyvern Lingo among the ten nominees; listen to a playlist of all ten nominated songs here.

Host on the night will be 2FM’s Eoghan Mc Dermott, and the event itself will be broadcast live from 7pm to 11pm on 2FM. A special highlights programme will be broadcast on RTE 2 on 18th March.

Some tickets for the Choice Music Prize Live Event are still available over at Ticketmaster Ireland  priced €28.00 including booking fee.

In case you need any convincing as to which artist to vote for, here’s a playlist featuring selected tracks from the ten nominated albums. With one month to go, anything can happen. To get your votes in for both Best Song and Best Album – CLICK HERE.

Open Call for Whelan’s Ones to Watch 2018

Whelan’s have extended an open invitation to emerging or releasing artists wishing to join the line up for their annual Ones to Watch festival. Now in its 8th year, the festival will showcase artists from across the full musical spectrum. It’s expect that in excess of 50 acts will play across three stages during the four-day event.

Whelan’s recently announced an Open Call for artists wishing to participate in their Ones to Watch 2018 festival. The showcase event, which is being hosted by Whelan’s in association with Hop House 13, and supported by IMRO and State.ie, will run from 18th to 21st January 2018.

Unsigned and emerging artists, as well as those intending to release in 2018 are invited to join the 50+ act line up during the mid-Winter showcase festival. As yet, there is no deadline for submissions. So, if you’re looking for a gig in one of the best venues in town, or wanting to help promo an upcoming release CLICK HERE for Submissions. The event is open to artists from across the island of Ireland.

And, by way of encouragement to rally the support-troops, Whelan’s are offering a free pint of Hop House 13 with every ticket purchased. So pitch up and sup up – Day and Weekend tickets available to purchase here-below.

€5 per day or €10 for all 4 days – plus a pint of Hop House 13!

Tickets available online from WAV Tickets or Lo-Call 1890 200 078 (1-7pm Mon-Fri)

– 50c per ticket service charge applies on phone, internet or creditcard bookings.

Strictly over 18’s, I.D. may be required

  • Whelan’s25 Wexford St.
  • Doors: 7:45pm
  • Tickets: €5 day / €10 wknd

Come On Live Long Break Bread Along With Some Bones

Photo Rich Gilligan

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that some of the best musical relationships are those that come about purely by chance. Personally speaking, I pride myself on the number of happy accidents (Lina Kasa remains #1) that have befallen me during the 18+months since I started, as in Tom Robinson seriously started, writing about music.

My latest accidental discovery is upcoming Irish band, Come On Live Long (there’s a story there surely … unlike Killer Kid Mozart who swear there isn’t!), a four-piece who dabble in a myriad genres from dirty electronica through soul-lite to dramatic pop with flecks of folk and urban in between.

Their FB states that their hometown is Dublin though judging by some of the accents I would imagine that denotes place of residence as opposed to ‘natives of’.  How do I know this?  Because these clever dudes have only gone and uploaded a backstory to their latest single, ‘Bones to Break‘, in the form of an ‘here’s how we did it guys’ audio, onto their Soundcloud page.

This short audio tracks the construction of the song from the programming of the initial beat to the complex building of layer upon vocal layer until the production was a perfect ten. It’s a fascinating listen, not just for self-confessed studio-dummies like myself, but also for any would be, will be musicians out there, scrambling around the ‘IoT’ for scraps of wisdom thrown down from the tables of those who have themselves cut their teeth and worn the tee-shirt.

It’s 10-minutes of well thought out, unfussy home-truths about composition and recording. Stream it here…

Now, listen to the finished product!

‘es to Break’ is the lead single from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, ‘In The Still’, due for release in May 2017.  While that excited storm is brewing, one of the gigs that the band will be busying themselves with is a new Irish music meets craft beer initiative.  ‘Future Proof‘, a new live music series showcasing the best of emerging Irish talent will kick off in Bello Bar on 22nd March – tickets are available online or at the door (if they’re not already sold out!), details here.

I’ll leave you with a track from Come On Live Long’s debut album ‘Everything Fall‘.  The song is called ‘For The Birds‘ and it was its title which caught my eye on Soundcloud.  Given my current state of mind, it resonated!

With its reverbed echoey vocal and intergalactic sound fx it leans towards dreamy electro-pop but blues-hued guitar licks and sexy lounge percussion drag it back down and anchor it to a very gritty earth.  That is, until the whole thing explodes sky-high. A gloriously unexpected firework, this dramatic flourish of guitar drone and spectacular synth flares and dazzles, bringing the track to a spectacular close fading out with one last breathy note.

Check out ‘For The Birds’ and the rest of Come On Live Long’s published music on Souncloud, MySpace and Bandcamp.  You can check in with their FB and Twitter pages to keep up to speed with album and tour-date (yes, there will be a promotional tour) developments.  Derval.

Pom Poko – Unleash New Single Ahead of Trondheim Calling & Cruise Into Urort Final!

Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017
Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017

Norwegian modernist collective Pom Poko have just released their third single ‘It’s a Trap’ accompanied by an impressive avant-garde ‘toon visual, the work of Olav Fangel Jamtveit, brother of the band’s vocalist, Ragnhild FJ.

A song about release and arrival, letting go to achieve self-awareness, ‘It’s a Trap’ is a quirky, punchy little sherbet that fizzes with pops of 90’s post-punk with more than a hint of glam psych.  Without doubt the track benefits from the experimental nous and masterly hand of Highasakite‘s Kristoffer Lo, a man who knows his way around more than a few instruments.  Adding his trademark guitar, brass and a.n.other sounds to the mix, Lo has taken Pom Poko’s sound in a more experimental and diverse direction, giving the original live jam the same depth and texture he brings to all his collaborations.

While the instrumental backdrop has some sharp edges, it is chasmed by sufficient wide spaces to counter-balance the intensity. As usual, vocal duties of the infinitely starlit variety are carried off with effortless ease by Ragnhild Fangel Jamtveit and if her previous live vocal performances are the benchmark to go by, Pom Poko’s two gigs at Trondheim Calling should be something else and then some more!  During TC the band will also perform a live sesh for P3’s Ruben.  Unfortunately for me it’s happening on the Wednesday, ahead of my arrival ‘on scene’.

In addition to their saffron shot nocturnal cartoon visual accompaniment, Pom Poko have adorned their single with the cutest, candy-coloured artwork by Norwegian illustrator Erlend Peder which you can see here!  The floral bedecked character is as yet to be identified!

Illustration Erlend Peder
Illustration Erlend Peder

In other news, Pom Poko have made it to the Urort Final 2017 (a Norwegian national award for promising emerging artists); if you like what you hear, you can vote for Pom Poko to win this prestigious award, here. #doit

It is a testament to their punky quirkiness that Pom Poko give their facebook page “unofficial status” – hook up with it here to touch base with the band and keep up to speed with their lives at Trondheim Calling and their Urort escapades!

The future is definitely as bright as the characters in their ‘It’s a Trap’ video for this effervescent four-piece – I hope you’ll join me in wishing them all the luck in the world – for Trondheim Calling, for Urort and we-ell, for the future.

‘It’s a Trap’ is available now via Phonofile – http://phonofile.link/its-a-trap  .  Watch the captivating fam-made visual here.

Blunt By Name & Blunt By Nature

james-blunt

James Blunt gives his detractors the 2-fingers in latest single, ‘Love Me Better’.

Lifted from his upcoming album ‘The Afterlove’ which is set for release on March 24th through Atlantic Records, ‘Love Me Better’ marks a new departure for the platinum selling artist.  Produced by American singer Ryan Tedder (One Republic), a respected songwriter in his own right (Madonna, U2, Adele) its interstitial arc curves through a spectrum of slick R&B before exploding into vibrant uptempo pop.

While reflective lyrics are raw and forthright, they are also both critical and self-critical.  Shaped in the humourous fold that is trademark Blunt, they take a side-swipe at the Blunt detractors whilst dabbling in some heartfelt emosh.  Fusing high-end R&B with uptown pop, the song, which hinges on catchy beats and gyrating synths, cruises seamlessly through stop-start tempo changes, giving it both a striking rhythm and refreshing vibe.

Coming ahead of his fifth album on which James worked with a diverse cohort including Ed Sheeran and MoZella, the track marks a progressive shift in both sound and style for the ‘You’re Beautiful’ star.

 

 

Later this year, November to be exact, will see James Blunt embark on an UK ‘The Afterlove Tour’.  A list of dates together with links to pre-order the upcoming album are detailed below.  For further information check out James Blunt’s Facebook page.

To listen to ‘Love me Better‘ in full, click onto Spotify here:-

‘The Afterlove UK Tour’ November 2017

17th Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena

18th Leeds – First Direct Arena

20th Glasgow – Clyde Auditorium

21st Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena

23rd London – Eventim Apollo

24th Brighton – Brighton Centre

25th Bournemouth – BIC Windsor Hall

‘The Afterlove’ Pre-Order Links:

Standard version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove

Extended version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove-ext

 

As Far As I’m Concerned, ESO Are Beyond Impressive

eso-nov-2016-by-christian-zervos
eso-nov-2016-by-christian-zervos

Sandvika natives, Einar Stray Orchestra are to indie music what the Divine Comedy are to alt-pop.  In fact, with his suave baritone and predilection for quirky, on-point lyrics and gregarious, orchestral manoeuvres, Einar Stray is for all intents and purposes, the Norwegian Neil Hannon.  Tbh, I can’t help fantasising about what spectacular sonic soap-operas the pairing of Stray with Hannon could magic-up … ah, one can dream.

Einar Stray’s five-piece ‘orchestra’, for orchestral they are, have just released ‘As Far As I’m Concerned‘ the second single from their upcoming album set for a 2017 release via Sinnbus & Toothfairy.  The follow-up to 2016’s ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’, it’s a lavish affair, awash with resplendent string sequences, bright vivacious melodies and smoothly manoeuvred time changes underpinned by dynamic contributions from the R/S.

Vocally, the sweet lightness of Ofelia Østrem Ossum’s soft mezzo is the perfect foil for the dark shade of Stray’s rich baritone, while lyrically, this cleverly worded opus centres on the theme of the fear of change. “The fear of turning into someone the old you despite. The fear of throwing your life away going in the wrong direction. Moving forward can be terrifying – yet it’s the only way.” 

ESO have announced an upcoming European tour kicking off in one of my favourite cities, Vienna, on 13th April. The tour will see them play countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and the UK amongst others but alas, no Irish dates seem to be on the cards! ESO are however lined-up to play Norway’s Trondheim Calling festival and for those of you who like me will be lucky enough to grace those snowy paths from 2nd to 4th February, full details of the artist schedule and conference programme are here.

2017 also sees the release of Einar Stray Orchestra’s third album, which, if the two superb singles are indicative of its overall quality, should be pretty much splendidly symphonic, colourfully creative and in two words, beyond impressive.

Full details of ESO’s tour and their upcoming album release can be found on their Facebook page.  Follow them there and on their Twitter page to keep up to speed with their musical escapades and a possible collaboration with our own Neil Hannon (well, stranger things have happened!).

To read about my own upcoming escapades over at Trondheim Calling, check into my blog, or hang out here on FB or Twitter.

Julia Jacklin Turns ‘Someday’ On Its Head With Strokes Live Cover

julia-jacklin-photo-shervin-iainez
julia-jacklin-photo-shervin-iainez

Australian rising star Julia Jacklin has just released the video for stunning cover of ‘Someday’ the smash hit by The Strokes.

Recorded live for an in-studio session with Australian radio station Triple J for their celebrated ‘Like a Version’ show, Jacklin performed the song, which won multiple Best International Song gongs worldwide, in her own inimitable idiosyncratic style.  Slowing the tempo right down and giving it her trademark country-grunge twist, Julia Jacklin took ‘Someday’ by the ankles and turned it upside down.

A fan of The Strokes chart topper which the singer first heard at the tender age of 12, Julia’s rendition whilst respectful, is as unique and off-rock as one could possibly get. Proving that imitation isn’t necessarily the sincerest form of flattery, Jacklin and her band take this legendary band’s #No1 song and take it to a different level.

Slow, drawling, warm, infectious, understated and as mellow as hell, this performance just lingers on the soul long after the final bars have faded into the lights.

Julia Jacklin came to prominence in 2016 when her debut album, ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ was released to unanimous critical acclaim.  Receiving cross-station airplay in the UK, her single, ‘Coming of Age’ was a country-fused indie-rock blinder that won her an army of fans across the British Isles.

Having already toured successfully on the back of her 2016 releases, Jacklin returns to the road in 2017 with an extensive list of live dates including slots at some of the top music festivals from Primavera to Oslo’s Øyafestivalen.  She is also set to play a live at the city’s renowned annual music showcase By:Larm which runs from 2nd to 4th March.

For those interested in seeing this unique, vivacious and fascinating artist play her especial style of music live alongside her extremely cool band, here’s a list of UK&I dates inc her headline at Whelans, Dublin in late Feb.

Feb 22 – Green Store Door, Brighton, UK (SOLD OUT)
Feb 23 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK (SOLD OUT)
Feb 24 – Bodega, Nottingham, UK
Feb 25 – Whelan’s, Dublin, Ireland *****
Feb 27 – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK
Feb 28 – Headrow Houes, Leeds, UK
March 1 – Louisiana, Bristol, UK (SOLD OUT)
March 2 – Scala, London, UK
March 3-4 – By:Larm Festival, Oslo, Norway

June 3 – Field Day Festival, UK

A full list of tour dates and up to date information can be found on Julia’s Facebook page.  If you haven’t already dipped your toe in to the Jacklin pool, you can find ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ on iTunes and other online stores.  What you won’t find though, is this gem! Enjoy!

A Dozen Diamonds That Gave A Shine To An Otherwise Murky 2016

Julia Holter

Julia Holter

Well here we are, on the cusp of yet another new year.  Who’d have guessed that as we stumbled unsteadily in a post-Christmas toxic daze towards 2016 that it would prove to be one of the murkiest, most unsettling and quite frankly disturbing of years.  One can only hope, and there is always hope, that this coming year will bring gladder tidings and a lot more joy than its predecessor.

Musically, 2016 had many, many highs.  It also shared several heartbreaking lows not least amongst which were the untimely deaths of Prince, George Michael and David Bowie – three of the rather large cohort of celebrities and legends who passed away in this year of darkness.  While those legends who died were predominantly male, much of this year’s sparkle mainly came from the female stars of the music world.  Lady GaGa, Beyonce, Marissa Nadler, Taylor Swift, Julia Holter … just some of the big female names that featured in the 2016 musical calendar.

Not surprisingly, some of them feature in my Dozen Diamonds of 2016 – a playlist of songs by international artists, with a select contribution from our part-time contributor, Eddie Sweetman.  Interestingly, the two artists selected for inclusion by Sweets are both male, while mine are predominantly female. Those choices themselves would probably make for an interesting case-study!

So which songs, by which artists made it into our top twelve, and why?

12. Margaret Glaspy – Pins and Needles (USA)

Strong, feisty country tinged indie with an edge.  There’s a waft of punk attitude blowing through the gritty melody, and more than a hint of steely determination in the ballsy lyrics.  The right side of rock for my tastes; tastes which I seem to share with most of BBC Introducing, BBC6 Music and BBC 1 … not a bad benchmark. Classy, savvy, strong, energised sounds from a lady who’s going places.

11. Birdy – Wild Horses (UK)

Twilit voiced, inspired poet and musical prodigy, Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde aka Birdy, has seen her star rise, and rise, and explode.  World class productions are now the order of the day but Birdy still holds on to the spiritual and emotional qualities so inherent in her earlier more gauche works.  With a vocal range that can scale mountainous heights and scrummage fireplace ashes, this super-talented musician could craft a song from the nothingness of a silken spiderweb and make it a masterclass in songwriting and performance.

Her 2016 album, ‘Beautiful Lies’ was a gift to the world – a finer, more emotive, and splendid talent you will struggle to find, and with even greater things sure to come, the future is “global” for this little songbird.

10. The Last Shadow Puppets – Les Cactus (UK)

Like them or loathe them TLSP are nothing if not entertaining. Seeing them live in Oslo was akin to watching a human firework display crossed with the energiser bunny thrice spliced with Poitin.  A pair of musicians who have most certainly put the roll back into rock, Turner & Kane may take the music seriously, but the live performances are treated more like a fun ride on the amusements. Never ones to shy away from taking the piss out of themselves, the video for their cover of ‘Les Cactus’, is a classic example of TLSP ‘on form’. As a cover, it pales in comparison to the Jacques Dutronc original, but as a piece of entertainment, it doesn’t fall short.

9.  Ed Harcourt – Occupational Hazard (UK)

Intense, moody, brooding, cavernous, blazing, ferocious – just some of the words I would use to describe Ed Harcout’s 2016 scorcher of an album, ‘Furnaces’, every pun intended.  One of the standouts LP releases of the year, ‘Furnaces’ reached out to and drew into its fold, a broader, more diverse audience than any of the Englishman’s albums had hitherto succeeded in doing.  I was drawn hook, line and sinker to this track because of the wolverine intensity of the guitar sequences and brutal rawness of the lyrics, the combination of which is addictive.  Brutal ingenuity at its bloody finest.

8. Radiohead – Burn the Witch (UK)

The first of two entries from the worlds greatest band EVER, ‘Burn the Witch’ was one of a pair of picks by sometime contributor Eddie Sweetman.  In his words, “incisive, relevant an astonishing comeback and the highlight in my opinion of the album.”  Need we say more?

7.  Amber Arcades – Fading Lines (NL)

What can I say.  I fell in love with this song on first play.  Like a 21st century incarnation of The Cardigans,  Annelotte de Graaf has all the dreamy deliciousness of that Nina Persson vocal, along with plenty of her antecedents uber Nordic cool!  Sexy, edgy, inviting indie-pop with a swirl of darkness running across its shiny exterior.

6. David Bowie – I Can’t Give Everything Away (UK)

The second of Mr Sweets’ picks, and a poignant one at that.  ‘Blackstar’ was a huge favourite amongst the bloggerati and a fitting finale from a gifted man, musician, artist, performer & more, who was truly one of a kind.  On his selection of this particular track Eddie explains: “This was the last track Bowie ever released. Poignant and delicate. Even more so now that we know he was aware he was dying.”  A fitting tribute I think you’ll agree.

5. Marissa Nadler – The Best You Ever Had (USA)

Sadly sickness struck (again) when Marissa Nadler came to town … “out damn ‘germ’ out I say” said I, alas to no avail.  Laid low, my chance to see this bewitching enchantress weave her goth clothed spells was gone in the blink of 24 hours (the length of time it takes me to go from apparently healthy to woefully ill).  I had sped towards Nadler like a bee to honey on the recommendation of my ‘pen as sword’ icon, tQ scrivener John Doran, who had bade me not to miss her more than magical live performance.  Instead, I’ve had to make do with looping replays of her album, ‘Bury Your Name’ from which this is my stand out track. Delish!

4. Julia Jacklin – Coming of Age (Aus)

The new age Little Miss Firecracker of country-grunge hits Dublin at the end of February 2017 and nothing, I mean NOTHING will stop, hinder or hamper my path to Whelans! Elbows at the ready, that space up the front is mine. Part of that new wave of punky twang that includes fellow upcoming songstrel Margaret Glaspy, Julia Jacklin takes smartly honed real-life lyrics and sandwiches them between slices of heaving melodies chock full of punchy guitars layered over a tightly woven R/S.  The result is impossible to resist infectious country stained down and dirty pop. Only a fool would miss the chance to see this raw and rousing talent shine live!

3. Radiohead – Identikit (UK)

2016 saw the arrival of what was possibly the most awaited album for years.  ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ didn’t disappoint.  This piece of classic Radiohead was sheer musical perfection packed with all the innovative ingredients that have made this quintet the consummate musical giants that they are.  And while most blogs will have opted for either of the two singles, this off-kilter piece of jazz infused experimental alt transports me back to the halcyon days of ‘Kid A’.  With its lyrical nods to Murakami’s 1Q84 (there was a similar intertwine between ‘Kid A’ and Kafka on the Shore), haunting interludes from vocal ghosts, and natty, spacious percussion Identikit is the understated star in this a stellar compilation.

2. Julia Holter – Lucette Stranded on the Island (USA)

Yeah, yeah I know.  The album was released in 2015.  But for me 2016 was all about Julia Holter.  Having failed to make her Dublin concert earlier in the year, one of the main catalysts for my travelling to Oya in Oslo, was the chance to make up for that lost experience.  While thirty minutes was far too short to soak up the musical enchantment magicked by an artist of Holter’s calibre, as luck would have it, Julia returned to Dublin in November and gave, what was for me and the several hundred other spellbound concert-goers in Vicar Street, the live performance of the year.  Compelling, captivating, magical, powerful, innovative – Julia Holter ranks as one of the most outstanding of contemporary female artists. This ingenious track just goes to prove it.

1. Weyes Blood – Generation Why (USA)

Not since hearing Dusty Springfield sing ‘The Look of Love’ have I come across another female vocal that radiates such warmth and richness, with a darkness edged with light. A voice with a true and unfaltering power cloaked in a sheath of softness like an iron fist in a velvet glove.  Not until that is, I heard the voice of Natalie Mering, the enigmatic talent behind music project, Weyes Blood. ‘Generation Why’, from the album ‘Front Row Seat To Earth’, is lyrically inspired and musically fresh, and while it contains many of the default elements of a classic pop song, it is the shades of daring alien electronica and the edgy undertones to words sung with angelic clarity that take this song to altogether another level.

The inclusion of so many American artists reflects the shifting sands of my musical tastes during 2016.  For me personally, this has been quite a remarkable year in terms of the quality and diversity of the music that’s been released.  And while the likes of Bieber, Rihanna and A-Z of Hip Hop may dominate the charts, the greater wealth lies in those treasures which remain beloved of those worthier barometers of musical greatness – The Guardian Culture, DiS and my personal fave, The Quietus.

I’ll leave you with a Spotify list of the 12 tracks featured in this sparkling retrospective … and hope you enjoy them as much as both Eddie and I have done.  May 2017 bring more shimmering gems to brighten up our sometimes more than mundane lives!