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Published on July 4th, 2017 | by Brian Coney

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TTA’s Irish Releases of 2017 So Far

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As we move into the second half of 2017, it’s safe to say we’ve been treated to some stellar releases from Irish artists since January. Compiled and written by a selection of our writers – Stevie Lennox, Kelly Doherty, Mitchell Goudie, Cathal McBride, Eoin Murray, Aaron Drain and Caolan Coleman – here’s the albums and EPs that have stood out most.

Percolator – Sestra

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Hypnotic, motorik, at times myoclonic, Sestra is the debut record we both hoped and expected from the seasoned pros. Like their clear influence of Stereolab, Percolator occupy the spaces between subgenres, from dream-pop & shoegaze to krautrock, and some pastoral Canterbury prog along the way. Let Sestra wash over you. Stevie Lennox

Loah – This Heart

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Finally having a physical, tangible home for the songs Sallay Matu Garnett AKA Loah has repeatedly gripped us with in a live setting over the past number of years is a very special thing indeed. This Heart gives even more life to familiars like ‘The Bailey’ and the breathtaking ‘Cortège’ while giving them new context amongst each other. Beautifully produced and arranged performances from a cast of musicians provide a simultaneously soulful and playful backdrop to Loah’s utterly captivating vocal work throughout. Unmissable. Eoin Murray

Bear Worship – WAS

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Having moved to Shanghai, Barcelona and back to Dublin over the last year and a bit, Dublin’s Karl Knuttel AKA Bear Worship unveiled his sublime, nine-track debut album WAS just last month. A prismatic traipse of melodically rich, compositionally ambitious alt-pop, the likes of the subtly ecstatic ‘Shimmerings’ and ‘Galapagos’ conjured the aforementioned acts, Grizzly Bear/Department of Eagles, Animal Collective, Candy Claws and others of their ilk, doubly affirming Knuttel as one of the country’s very best musical talents right now. Brian Coney

Wastee – Cola EP

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Dublin’s Wastefellow has established himself as one of the emerging stars of the Irish electronic scene over the past few years with his eclectic sounds and immersive live performance. Never one to rest on his laurels, Wastefellow returned in March of this year with his side project/alter ego Wastee displaying an exceptionally different side to his typically spaced out, dreamy beats. Despite it’s brevity, the Cola EP is a short journey of bangers with an interesting edge. Here’s hoping for more PC Music influenced thoughtful club anthems. Kelly Doherty

Cat Palace – Why Don’t You // Why Don’t You, Go Off

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Released on the ever reliable Little L Records, the debut LP from David Blaney’s Cat Palace is full of crisp, often delay-soaked guitars paired with Blaney’s deep Americana-tinged yet Dublin-accented vocal, like a cross between Mac DeMarco and Smog, while lyrically he ponders everything from jacking in music in favour of an office job to 90s wrestling nostalgia. Cathal McBride

Doubling as a kind of spokesperson for the now-norm, scraping-by myopia of the Irish twenty-something, David Blaney wittily, wistfully paints a picture knowing full well it’s blotched by ink spills and coffee stains. Mining that all-too-familiar childhood yearning, self-loathing and disillusionment of our time, he’s crafted them into bite-size hook-filled nuggets of alt. rock glory. This is definitely one of, if not the strongest, truest indie rock records to come out of the island this year. Stevie Lennox

 

Laoise – Halfway EP

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Decent electro-pop has certainly been missing from the Irish musical landscape but never fear, Laoise is here. The Galway native’s debut EP, Halfway, is an impeccably produced journey which perfectly balances pop stylings with real emotion and soul. Atmospheric and perfectionist, Halfway EP displays a darkness and intrigue that leaves the listener wanting more. With her tracks already racking up thousands of plays online, it’s hard to see a future where Laoise doesn’t break into the Irish mainstream. Kelly Doherty

Nouveaunoise – Nouveaunoise

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Conor Gaffney and Niall Conway’s second outing as Nouveaunoise is a stunning collection of pristine samples, dizzying interplays of melody and rhythm, and atmospheres that are as fresh as coastal air. Carefully measured sprinklings of UK Garage, house, ambient and “folktronica” (for lack of a better term) serve to make this a rich and endlessly satisfying release. For fans of The Field, Four Tet’s Rounds etc. Eoin Murray

Fionn Regan – The Meeting of The Waters

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We had to wait nearly five years for Wicklow native Fionn Regan’s fourth long player, although the shimmering, hypnotic lead single ‘The Meeting Of The Waters’ was worth it alone. Perhaps appropriately, the album itself was a lesson in patience, with Regan’s meticulously constructed chamber pop rewarding more and more with each listen. Caolan Coleman

Maria Kelly – The Things I Should

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Backed by ethereal strings and vocals, this EP is a brief, internalised conversation of hushed inquiries and solemn admissions. The gentle tug and pull of Maria’s delicate vocals elevate the short release to something worth taking note of as she weaves her way through her past and the things she should have done. Mitchell Goudie

Sea Pinks – Watercourse

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Belfast’s busiest band return with their sixth album in a mere seven years. While tracks like ‘Places She Goes’ channel the band’s usual surf and jangle pop influences, others like ‘Water Spirit’ or lead single ‘Into Nowhere’ possess a harder edge than we’re used to from them in a welcome shake-up to their well-worn formula. Cathal McBride

Rejjie Snow – The Moon & You

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Rejjie Snow has been exciting hip-hop fans since his earliest work under the ‘Lex Luthor’ moniker, and this year’s mixtape The Moon & You is the sound of the Dubliner taking on US rappers at their own game. The likes of ‘Acid Trip’ sound tailor-made for rap radio, while Joey Bada$$ guest verse on ‘Purple Tuesday’ suggests the competition is paying attention. Caolan Coleman

James Vincent McMorrow – True Care

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There’s an unparalleled epic quality to True Care that extends further than the majority of releases, both domestic and international, we’ve encountered this year. Perhaps due to its fifteen tracks, its melodic peaks and atmospheric troughs, or the considerably deft lyricism contained throughout; James Vincent McMorrow’s True Care is an album that requires no expenditure of patience. It brings the act of listening to music back to pure joyous ritual; it’s a record to be savoured and deserving of your time. Aaron Drain

Ships – Precession

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Straddling the unmistakeable motifs of pure retro pop whilst irrevocably pushing a genre forward is no mean feat to package into a nine-track LP, but it’s exactly what Ships (Dublin duo Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath) have done in Precession, their debut album. Cascading synths evocative of neon dancefloors, percussive trills so wobbly and rhythmically infectious you’d almost spontaneously combust, Precession marks the beginning of big things for Ships. Aaron Drain

New Jackson  – From Night To Night

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From the deep, pre-dawn blues of its cover art to the breezy, organic production that runs throughout, From Night To Night a record to soundtrack the introspective small hours, be those hours spent walking the streets of a sleeping city or sat on an isolated beach by a campfire’s dying embers. Drum machine and bass grooves that are simultaneously mechanic and warm, enchanting keys and David Kitt’s voice both vocoded and bare make this one of the most authentic and vital electronic records to come out of Ireland in quite some time. Eoin Murray 

David Kitt’s transformation from folktronica singer-songwriter to house producer is complete with his alter ego’s long awaited debut full length, a reinvention so convincing it’s only given away by occasional appearances of that distinctive voice. A nocturnal electronic record for the late night/early morning comedown. Cathal McBride

Daithi – Holiday Home EP

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Amalgamating Irish culture and techno music into a sleek, polished package, Daithi delivered a release that looks promising for his future. Utilising natural recordings and teaming up with Sinead White for vocals adds to the authentic Irish aesthetic presented throughout, Daithi conveys a modern, fresh and inherently Irish take on dance music. Mitchell Goudie

Nxbody – Point.Zero

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Despite his youth Nxbody, a 17 year old producer from Lucan, has hit the right spot with his seven-track tape Point.Zero. Lo-fi hip-hop at its best, Point.Zero is the perfect soundtrack to long summer evenings and lazy days. Lead track ‘All By Yourself’ is a particularly luscious cut out of a selection that marries together modern hip-hop with seductive jazzy turns. It’s exciting to see what’s coming next for Nxbody. Kelly Doherty

Hiva Oa – mk II (part 2)

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The second EP in a short while from the atmospheric songwriting duo, mk II (part 2) is a claustrophobic record, yet broad in the scope of instrumentation deployed, assisted by a range of deft Northern Irish hands. While primal in its delivery, it’s cerebral in orchestration, drawing from post-punk, ambient, electronica and modern indie rock to craft something still palatable as great pop music. Stevie Lennox

Mons Olympus – Vampyroteuthis

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Mons Olympus sound like the logical extension of frontman Rory Dee’s previous band Chocolate Love Factory, propelling that band’s desert rock riffage into space. Their debut album Vampyroteuthis found them allying prog flourishes to a grungy wall of sound that made for the best hard rock of the year so far. Caolan Coleman

Talos – Wild Alee

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From beginnings in the kind of minimalistic, ethereal arrangements that spoke softly about the producer’s capabilities, Wild Alee showcased a more robust and considered application of French’s meanderings in sound. One of the strongest Irish releases of the years so far, Wild Alee will no doubt be cause for celebration beyond this mid-year roundup. Aaron Drain

Immersive, authentic, and truly beautiful, Wild Alee is an astonishing debut. Transcendent vocals drift across the instrumentation throughout, adding hints of serenity and mellow curves to places where jagged edges are fighting to protrude. This debut is soft and caressive, and will find a home in the hearts of all who listen to it. Mitchell Goudie

 

 

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About the Author

is the editor of The Thin Air. He likes pizza, Philip Glass and mid-Nineties U.S. indie rock. Follow him on Twitter @brianconey.



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