Good year? You could say that
Homegrown? Little green shoots were popping up all over, writes Lauren Murphy
IKNOW, I know. We sound like a broken record when we say “it’s been another great year for Irish music” – but really, it has been another tremendous 12 months of quality output from our musicians, singers and bands. The wide and varied longlist of contenders for Best Irish Act that The Ticket panel came up with had no less than 35 different acts, so narrowing it down to just five was tough. But we think our shortlist is strong and it includes both fresh blood and stalwarts.
A name many will be familiar with is Le Galaxie. Anyone who witnessed a live performance by Michael Pope and company in 2012 – whether it was their triumphant Electric Picnic slot, or their headline gig as Returning Heroes at this year’s HWCH festival – will be hard-pressed to find a more energetic troupe, while their Fade 2 Forever EP, released in July, also went down a treat.
There were newcomers to the electro scene, too, though: this time last year, for example, who had heard of Orquestra? Since releasing his Our Final Expedition EP in March, Orlando Fitzgerald’s stock as a producer of electronica that bubbles with tropical overtones and simmers with spacethemed sparkle has skyrocketed, while his collaborations with the likes of Jape and Katie Kim opened him up to a new audience.
Speaking of Katie Kim, the Waterford woman has enjoyed a fruitful year herself, with her ambitious, bewitching second album, Cover and Flood, released to critical acclaim in March. As a writer of darkly atmospheric songs based around crackly guitar and piano, Katie Sullivan has proven herself one of our finest young musicians.
Another young band that made a splash in 2012 was Little Green Cars, who regularly sold out headline gigs on the back of one (terrific) single, The John Wayne, and a clutch of similarly engaging songs. The harmonising Dublin teenagers have already completed their first US tour, signed to Glassnote Records, recorded their upcoming album with big-name producer Markus Dravs and are well on their way to becoming Ireland’s next big indie export.
And last, but certainly not least, is a band that perhaps best summarises the diversity of Irish music in 2012. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock acknowledge the past whilst striving for something new with their blend of trad, rock, folk and metal as their stunning second album, The Brutal Here and Now, released in April, underlined. In addition, the five-piece proved they are a force of nature live with some fantastic live shows in 2012. So, a good year for Irish music?
Yeah, you could say that, alright.