Good year? You could say that

Home­grown? Lit­tle green shoots were pop­ping up all over, writes Lau­ren Murphy

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC 2012 -

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.

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