It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?
Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Sive’s Sadhbh O’Sullivan for the last in the series and her picks from 2013.
Favourite album of 2013: Villagers – ‘Awayland’
When I was going through some of the albums I liked best this year and trying to pick one favourite, I just kept coming back to this one. It was one of those records I listened to on repeat after I bought it and every time I heard it something new seemed to catch my ear. I love the arrangements and the attention to detail; there’s so much to be found within each individual song. The songwriting itself is obviously really strong too, and I love Conor O’Brien’s style of lyric writing.
Favourite song of 2013: Agnes Obel – The Curse
Agnes Obel’s new album was another one of my favourites of the year. I could have picked almost any song from it as my number one, but when I saw this live video of The Curse it really blew me away. The looped strings, piano parts and vocal melodies come together to create something really beautiful.
Favourite Irish song of 2013: Ann Scott – ‘Stripes’
I’ve been a fan of Ann Scott since I first heard her music about 6 years ago, and her new stuff hasn’t let me down. This song is a perfect example of her ability to build a simple but effective musical backdrop for her voice to sweep over. She always manages to produce a sound that is quite dark and haunting, but really pleasing to the ear.
It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012′, ‘favourite song of 2012′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.
Right, that is enough from me, over to Dan Shanahan of Wayfarer and his picks from the year that was 2012.
On a whim, I agreed to go see these fellows in the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge one wet Thursday and by grud, it was a show I would never forget…I was sitting two rows from the front in a near empty venue watching three of the finest folk musicians to emerge from the British Isles, playing as if it were just for me. I was wrapped tight in a blanket of sounds that made me close my eyes and lose myself in the intricate musicality. Chris Drever on guitar with his tightly controlled and constant chord changes, complimented with a soft aching Scottish voice, singing songs about unrequited love in old folk songs. Aidan O’ Rourke holds his own with expert fiddle playing that gives soul to the compositions while Martin Green is unbelievable on the accordion, jumping in his seat as if possessed by the music…he’s the Hendrix of accordion players, no joke! These guys have featured on Jools Holland after they released this album and seem to be on the up and up so whenever they come back to Ireland, I dare say, check ’em out! And in the mean time…buy this album!!
Favourite song of 2012: Field Music – ‘Start The Day Right’
I’m crap at finding new music that I like, I’m old school…preferring the comfort of listening to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti for the millionth time than pretending to enjoy such and such’s album because they’re “cool” or “the in thing” or whatever. I know, i sound like an old fart but good music always seems to creep its way onto my now defunct, 29 year old radar in random ways. Field Music’s Plumb was one album, blasting out of a mate’s car speakers one day, that grabbed my attention. This is the first song off of Plumb and it doesn’t mess around. These guys wear their influences on their sleeves with a prog-rock 70’s sound, some grandiose Beatles inspired moments and amazing musicianship. Check them out!
Favourite Irish song of 2012: Villagers – ‘The Waves’
What can I say about this band that hasn’t already been said? Conor’s beautiful words and melodies are always a treat for the old ear holes. I’ve seen them play a lot of new material at a gig in Kilkenny a few months back and I’m eagerly awaiting their new album next year which I’m sure will be a guaranteed thing of beauty. Also check out MMOTHS remix of this song, it’s jaw-droppingly good!
Villagers‘ 2010 debut album Becoming A Jackal was very much a firm favourite here and elsewhere.
So, it goes without saying, it is great to have new (or not so new) material from O’Brien in the shape of long-standing live favourite, ‘Cecelia & Her Selfhood’.
It’s the first time the track has been properly recorded, not only is it a beautiful song but the animated video by Adrien Merigeau is simply stunning. The amount of work that must have gone into making this is ridiculous but it was totally worthwhile.