2012 has been another impressive year for Irish releases, leaving us with a hell of a lot of great albums, EPs and songs to enjoy. For such a small place it can be surprising, the sheer quantity and quality of stuff in Ireland. On the surface at least, Irish music appears alive, well and more diverse and vibrant than ever.
In an attempt to do the year some justice (some, I said), I decided to cobble together some of my favorites from throughout the year into a mixtape/compilation. Please excuse the odd mistake, my laptop has not been kind to me the past week. Without further ado, here’s my favourite ‘Irish Songs of 2012′. The tracklisting is after the jump.
This is a quite odd post even by my standards. This day ten years ago I upped sticks and moved to Wales, Wrexham to be precise, which explains all the Wrexham related tweets for anyone who follows me on Twitter.
Although I’m back in Ireland a few years now, it was one of my smarter moves & I retain a fondness for Wales as a country and the music it produces (although I don’t get over half as much as I’d like these days). Welsh music features quite prominently on the blog, something regular visitors are probably aware of. Apart from anything else it got me thinking and I decided to knock together a mixtape/compilation of some Welsh favourites from the past few years, with one or two older tracks thrown in for good measure.
So, without further waffling, here it is, some mighty fine weekend listening. Diolch. Mwynhewch.
Trojan Records marked the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence with the release of Freedom Sounds, a collection of over 100 tracks spread across 5 CDs from influential Jamaican artists etc. that have influenced popular music across the past five decades.
That set me thinking, there’s never been much in the way of Ska, Reggae, Dancehall etc. on the blog. It’s quite strange seen as I’ve been a big fan since my Dad introduced to the genres when I was younger. This stuff, Ska in particular, just struck a chord with me (no pun intended). It’s hard not to like, it is, for the most part upbeat, bright and fun. It is music with stories to tell, of love, life and struggles, but just as important, you can nod along and dance to it quite happily. It is probably only matched by Hip Hop in that regard.
I have compiled some of my favourite from the various albums, compilations and box sets I have acquired throughout the years. Some are fairly well known, others less so. I can’t guarantee they all appeared on Trojan (but ‘Trojan Warriors’ has a nice ring to it), see it as an introduction if nothing else.
If you fancy delving a bit further, I suggest checking out BBC 4′s ‘Reggae Britannia‘ or getting your hands some of the many excellent Trojan Records Boxsets. Consequently this happens to be the 1,000 post on the blog, no better way to celebrate eh? Enjoy!
Castlepalooza 2012 is almost upon us. The Music and Arts Festival returns to Charleville Castle Tullamore, County Offaly this Bank Holiday weekend (Friday August 3rd to Sunday 5th).
Castlepalooza is definitely one of my favourite Irish festivals, it’s in a fabulous setting, relaxed and with an admirable mix of Irish and International acts. There are so many different acts worth seeing this year, check the line-up/stage times for yourself if you don’t believe me.
Here’s a mixtape, an introduction to some of the Irish acts playing this year, which have caught my eye. There’s lot’s of great stuff on here, with plenty of diversity reflecting the festival itself, hopefully there’s something for everyone.
You can stream/download it below and the tracklisting is after the jump. Hopefully it’s useful and people enjoy it and this year’s festival too, obviously.
Over seven glorious cuts of jazzy instrumentals we are taken on a head nodding journey from start to finish. The Expert has been producing beats for over fifteen years mainly with his band MJEX and it shows. This may be his first foray into the world of beat tapes but it is a worthy addition to any record collection.
There’s some choice cuts below but it needs to be heard in it’s entirety to be fully appreciated. You can download Neckbreakers in full for free from bandcamp.
Four-time Irish DMC champion and all round turntable wizard, DJ Tu-Ki is back with his first full mix since Pre:Seed just over two years ago.
Just A Ride is astonishing good, like we’re surprised? It is a little more club orientated than it’s predecessor which is still on frequent rotation two years later. Just A Ride began life as an elaborate intro a la Pre:Seed before taking some sage advice from Bill Hicks, he decided sure its ‘Just A Ride’. The mixtape is made up of tracks he was unable to stop playing/mixing over the last year or so. The artwork is from Killian Walsh and the video trailer is by Diarmuid Moloney, Niall O’ Brien and Tu-Ki.
This mix is just so good, don’t take my word for it, download it below now.
The blog is two years old today, how did that happen? It’s hard to believe BarryGruff is entering its 3rd year in business, but it’s been quite a lot of fun. First and foremost, a massive thank you to all the readers of the blog, without you this exercise would be quite pointless. Similarly thanks to everyone who played, helped out and came along to the ‘BarryGruff presents’ over the past while.
How to mark such an auspicious occasion? I thought about, then thought about it some more. This also marks the five year anniversary, give or take a week or so, of my returning to Newbridge from my self enforced exile. So, with that in mind I settled on a mixtape made solely of music from Newbridge, released since my return. It is about time someone did it and why not I?
This is only a quick snap shot of what I have lying about the place, there is a lot more than this going on, so any aggrieved parties please form an orderly Q. Tracklisting etc. after the jump.
There’s a few DJ’s in the world which continually excite me. DJ Yoda is definitely in this category. Ever since hearing his How to Cut and Paste, Vol. 1 I’ve been in awe, smitten some might say, of the London DJ’s turntable wizardry.
Anyway, he has just released Bestimix 85:Million Dollar Flavour,a free 30 minute mix for Bestiblog. Hip-hop is at the heart of this one, as well as funk and soul as he shots through a whole host of samples and mic legends, including Missy Elliott, Nicky Minaj, KRS One and MF Doom. Yoda is no ordinary DJ, prepare yourself for a masterclass and get ready to bounce.
You can give it a spin below and head over to Bestiblog for the download. The tracklisting is after the jump.
Netlabel Blurry Pup Recordings have very generously served us New Year treat with Blurred Lines, a free compilation showcasing the talents of the various artists from its roster.
The label specialises in downtempo ambient electronic music so it is hardly surprising to find this is the staple of the release. It features artists from Canada, USA, Finland, UK and Ireland who all submitted tracks especially for this release.
It’s that time of year, bloggers are making end-of-year lists and record labels are putting out compilations from the past 12 months.
Rough Trade are the first off the mark, signing off 2011 with a free MP3 sampler of their releases throughout the year. It’s a pretty tasty 12-track mix including the likes of The Strange Boys, Mystery Jets, British Sea Power, The Strokes and lots more from throughout the year. As a side note, how have I never listened to Jeffrey Lewis before this?
It’s available stream or download for free from Rough Trade’s website. Here’s a few very good reasons why you should!
2011 has been a great year for Irish music, there has been a fantastic amount of great albums, EPs, songs and shows. It has been particularly good year for new and breakthrough artists with the likes of Sertone, Moths, REID, We Are Losers, Girl Band and Monto all impressing so much. Irish music is alive, well and more diverse and vibrant than ever.
Instead on doing a straightforward list of my favourite Irish songs from the past 12 months I’ve gone with a mixtape again. I only hope I do it and 2011 justice, and that you enjoy this as much as I did putting it together. The tracklisting is after the jump.