Yep, it’s the least wonderful time of the year – the time where everyone feels the urge to throw their lists of what their favourite records of the year were  and hey,we’re no different..and so we present to you our 10 collective favourite albums of the year. Sort of.

Picking 5 is near impossible, and as we say during this episode it could change on any given day as this was a pretty great year for music over all. Bushie could have done an entire list purely of reissues, and Jamie will probably write something a little more thorough here over the next week or so. For brevity purposes we each picked 5 lps and an extra “wild card” song each and stuck to it because realistically an hour of us talking about music is probably way too much anyway, had we gone with more than 5 each we’d be here all week. Anyhow, here’s what we  chose to talk about – please note we’ve linked the Irish releases so you can check ’em out.

BUSHIE:

SIORAI GEIMHREADH – Sitting Patiently

ALIEN SHE: Feeler

STANO: Content to Write In I Dine Weathercraft

SHALLOW GRAVES: Threshold Between Worlds

ST VINCENT: Mass Education

and “Faster” by CATSCARS: (this wasn’t on Spotify so here’s the video)

JAMIE:

MALTHUSIAN: Across Deaths

KATIE KIM & THE CRASH ENSEMBLE: Salt Interventions

DAUGHTERS: You Won’t Get What You Want

TROPICAL FUCK STORM: A Laughing Death In Meatspace

JAYE JAYLE: No Trail & Other Unholy Paths

and “Unknown Tomb” by ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL

In order that you might check these soddin’ records out, dear listeners, we also made you a little Spotify playlist of our picks:

BUT WAIT!!THERE’S MORE!!

We’re a community minded pair so we asked a selection of friends and acquaintances from the local music scene and beyond if they’d like to give us their top 5s too, in the spirit of caring and sharing.

We didn’t give people a whole lot of time to do this so our sincere thanks to those who gave us their lists, and  our even more sincere apologies to those who couldn’t get back to us before the admittedly fairly abrupt deadline –  we’ll post any more we get between now and Christmas Day here but otherwise we’ll get you next year. We asked everyone to pick 5 and told them to write as much or as little as they wanted.

Check ’em out here:

IAN LYNCH (Lankum):

Hilary Woods – Colt

Dreamy, melancholic, wounded, reflective, detached; the music on this album is all of these things. What I really like about it though, is the underlying tone of resilience. The feeling that rather than simply wallowing in the misery for its own sake, tough situations have been faced, hardships have been surmounted and important lessons have been learnt. To me this gives the album an unexpected positive aspect when taken as a whole. It seems that this album has brought Woods some well-deserved attention over the last while. Personally I’d love to see her playing at the Roadhouse if there was ever a new season of Twin Peaks, because she’d be better than most of the acts on the last one.

Anna and Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes To Us

This is quite simply one of the bravest albums of traditional song I have ever heard. To find hardcore song-nerdery alchemically wedded with such avant-garde out-there-ism is a massive joy and treat. Drums, samples, electric guitars and a moog bass combine with spotless dyed-in-the-wool Appalachian mountain singing and seamless harmonies to make this album an absolute gem. One of the saddest aspects of folk music history, in my humble opinion, is that the greatest of traditional musicians have consistently been hoodwinked into making the worst musical decisions when in the studio – whether by record company executives or by over-active producers, their raw talent has often been obscured and watered down by all kinds of gammy accompaniment and studio tomfuckery that some middleman thought was necessary to sell their music to the public. Think Michael Coleman, Dominic Behan, Christy Moore’s first album etc. Anna and Elizabeth make me imagine a better world; a world where the musicians told those people to go and shite, took psychedelic drugs, and collaborated with some experimental composers to end up making something truly epic.

Sarah Davachi – Gave In Rest

I’ve listened to a good bit of what is called minimalist, ambient, or drone music this year, but what makes a lot of the tracks on this record stand out, to me, is the sense of movement. Sustained intertwining notes bring you right to the boundary where improvised ambience seems to straddle the line with definitive songcraft. Electronic manipulation or not, I love the meditative and otherworldly sounds coaxed from strings, piano, organ and (I think) voice, in ways so beautiful and ghostly it often moves me to tears.

Jim Ghedi – A Hymn For Ancient Land

Largely instrumental, this album from Sheffield native Jim Ghedi consists of 7 tracks of atmospheric and heartfelt folk. I am loathe to use the word ‘pastoral’ in this type of context, but Ghedi does manage to get across a love of both the light and dark of the south Yorkshire countryside in what could be seen as a reverential, ritualistic or even esoteric manner. The primitive guitar stylings that make up the basis of his music are majestically held aloft by the sympathetic use of harmonium, double bass, violin, cello, piano, and more, all enveloped within a lush acoustic production.

Landless – Bleaching Bones

Anyone who has been to a singing session or a gig with these four women performing knows just how spellbinding they are. Magical four-part harmonies give contemporary expression to the distilled and time worn traditional songs of Ireland, Scotland and England. What is remarkable about this record is how studio engineer and producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy has managed to capture the best parts of these four varied voices – ranging from ethereal beauty to soul soothing low-ended smoothness – to achieve such a rich and cohesive sound. Music to salve the wounded soul of humanity.

DECLAN SYNNOT: (Siorai Geimhreadh/Horse/Box Emissions):

Landless – Bleaching Bones
I’ve been waiting for this album to come out for a long time. I love everything about Landless, beautiful music, politically and culturally aware in their selections and individual in their visual aesthetic. It’s easy to get carried away with ideas of wistful beauty and etherial moodiness with slow a capella traditional music like this, but I’m always wary of how prescriptive that can be. To me this album feels brutally human, and it’s beauty comes from the honesty of it. It carries you away and raises goosebumps, but never slips into fantasy, this is firmly rooted in the universality of the more intense aspects of the human experience, less rolling hills and misty moors and more gut wrenching reflection on our inescapable realities. The morbidity and uncanny of the artwork perfectly frames the musical arrangements and gives a sense of a loving engagement with the relatability of the often grim or plainly heartbreaking subject matter.
Apostille – Choose Life
I’m always chasing the ideal of the perfect pop music, I love tuneful, upbeat electronic based music and catchy vocals. It’s not a guilty pleasure, pop is popular because the arrangements are resonant and relatable, and maybe even feel good to listen to or make you want to move, it’s not diminished by this.This Apostille album is close to my ideal pop album, it does everything listed above, and has the added bonus of DIY credit, for any lingering punk guilt. I read a lot about how this album was pointedly positive and I think it’s such a massive success for that. Plus every song is a banger, they’ve all probably gotten stuck in my head at some stage, total mood lifters, perfectly put together.
Lucretia Dalt – Anticlines
I spent a lot of time with this album this year, it’s lovely and austere and woozy music. Tonally, all of the music is incredible, it feels almost delicate, but completely absorbing, the lyrics and vocal delivery giving a voice to the album’s theme ‘contemplating the bodies of self above and beneath the earth’s surface.’ This album feels very science fiction, not in the space and other world’s sense, but in the existential consideration of non-human experiences on earth. This feels like it’ll be a timeless album.
David Lacey and Andrew Fogarty – The Wig
Sometimes you read about an album that sounds dangerously close to some ideas you’ve vaguely had in your own head, it’s an odd sensation, but in this case, those vague ideas are brought places I’d have never thought of, maybe because they were vague in my own head, maybe because everyone experiences and acts in different ways, I don’t know. This is probably the most likely album on my list to be considered up it’s own arse, but to me there’s something very human about it, the mix of the sounds of mundane routine and the perfect weaving in of electronics simultaneously builds tension and holds you in stasis. I think ‘sounds of the everyday’ might be the Avant Garde version of the ‘slow bit into a fast bit’ formula of instant musical gratification, but that in no way diminishes this, surely the everyday will always be relatable?
Repeater – Athra Titim Gach Rud
“Why do you need WiFi in your toaster?” The rallying cry for our generation. I love this tape so much, it goes all over the place, from lo fi bangers to political rants to soothing drift. There’s a loosenes and spontanaiety that adds a lot of charm, this was recorded during a residency on Inis Oirr, and broadcast on a pirate radio station during that residency. It includes photos and recordings made with students from the local school, Scoil Gobnait. It feels joyous and free, the accompanying zine providing a snapshot of the residency. I could listen to fifty more tapes made like this, or this could sit as a gem all on it’s own. I’ve convinced a lot of people to pick this up and I don’t plan on stopping that any time soon.

BARRY O’SULLIVAN (Bitch Falcon)

Lorn:  Remnant

Will Haven: Meurte

Deru: Torn In Two

Just Mustard: Wednesday

Sleaford Mods: ep

 

BOZ MUGABE (Yurt)

Chris Carter: Chemistry Lessons Volume One

The Ex: 27 Passports

Haru Nemuri: Haru To Shura

Alva Noto: Unieqav

Laibach: The Sound of Music

 

CHRIS MAHON (World of Difference):

Drug Church -Cheer

Candy -Good to Feel

Culture Abuse – Bay Dream

Carly Rae Jepson – Party for One

Warthog – Demo 2018

KATIE O’NEILL (Alien She/Solo):

(Katie decided to give us 10 instead of 5,so we went with the whole list)

Ringhold – ‘Moonduslävi’
Luxury Mollusc – ‘Osseous Labyrinth Vestibule’
Brigid Mae Power – ‘The Two Worlds’
Hilary Woods – ‘Colt’
Black Midi – ‘Bmbmbm’
Body/Head – ‘The Switch’
U.S Girls – ‘In A Poem Unlimited’
Jerusalem in my Heart – Daqa’iq Tudaiq
Maria Chavez – She doesn’t really release music, but she deserves to be on this list. Check her out.
Virginia Wing – Ecstatic Arrow
MATT BREE (Malthusian):
Spite – Antimoshiac
Obliteration – Cenotaph Obscure
Temple Desecration – Whirlwinds of Fathomless Chaos
Cultes Des Ghoules – Sinister
One Tail One Head – Worlds Open, Worlds Collide

 

MIKE WATT (yes, THAT Mike Watt!!)
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once-the Lost Album
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once-the Lost Album
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once-the Lost Album
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once-the Lost Album
John Coltrane –  Both Directions at Once-the Lost Album
SHANNON DUVALL (Native):
Implement – Maze of Desolation//Illusion of Freedom
Warthog – Warthog (ep)
S.H.I.T – Complete S.H.I.T
Baptists -Beacon of Faith
Boy Harsher: Lesser Man
STEPHEN ANDERSON (Senzar/Yurt):
Voivod -The Wake
Yob – Our Raw Heart
Wiegedood – De Doeden Heben Det Goed III
The Messthetics – s/t
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats -Wasteland
STEPHEN CAFFREY (Destriers):
Infernal Coil -Within a World Forgotten
Mizmor – Mishlei
Wiegedood – De Doeden Heben Det Goed III
Thou – Rhea Sylvia
Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
Freddie Gibbs -Freddie (ep)
Nothing Clean – Cheat
Sleaford Mods – Sleaford Mods (ep)
From the Bogs Of Aughiska – Mineral Bearing veins
Endless Swarm – Imprisoned in Skin

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