What’s on our playlist
Pick trends at your peril from this diverse, glittering list of musical highlights, writes Jim Carroll, although there are a clear couple of favourites, particularly when it comes to home-grown music
That three of the five overall top-scoring acts turned out to be Irish says a lot about the rude health of homegrown fare in the Over the past few weeks, The
Ticket’s grand collective of music writers have been making lists, crossing stuff off and adding stuff on to come up with their individual top 10s.
All these results were then inputted into The Ticket’s bespoke data management device and, hey presto, we arrived at the shortlists you see on these pages. Simple.
While the process of arriving at the shortlists is relatively straightforward, it can sometimes be a much more difficult task to find a steer or a trend amid all these lists. On numbers alone, it’s clear that 2014 was a very good year for James Vincent McMorrow (mentions for album, track, Irish act and solo act) and The Gloaming (nominated in the Best Band, Best Album, Best Trad Album and Best Irish Act categories, with band member Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh also getting a Best Irish Act mention). Caribou, Jungle and Hozier also all did well, with three mentions apiece.
But the critics are nothing if not eclectic. There was a very decent showing for hip-hop acts, with the Mercury Music Prize-winning Young Fathers, Killer Mike and El-P’s Run the Jewels and Clipping all featuring. Two Irish hip-hop acts also made the cut, in the shape of Lethal Dialect and dynamic Clare duo Godknows + Mynameisjohn. past 12 months.
While Hozier and McMorrow had decent runs in previous polls, thanks to a great debut
album and Take Me To Church respectively, the strong showing for The Gloaming is proof positive of what they’ve produced and achieved in 2014. There may have been only four Irish shows in all this year to go with that fantastic debut album, but it’s clear that the calibre of their work was something not to be ignored.
It may be worth noting that our writers also paid little heed to the calendar. The Gloaming’s self-titled debut album was a January release, as was McMorrow’s second release Post Tropical.
The common perception may be that early year releases largely go ignored and are overlooked in the long run, but both definitely held their own. Moral of the story? It’s about quality, not release date.
Caribou’s appearance in these shortlists is something to be applauded. The latest album from Dan Snaith, Our Love, packs a punch with its mix of hyper-emotional, soulful moods and heady, euphoric electronic grooves. We didn’t have a best live gig category but you could be sure the Canadian would have featured in the mix thanks to his show at Body & Soul over the summer and Dublin’s Vicar Street more recently.
Unless LeBron James starts releasing tunes in the near future, it’s safe to say that Hozier will remain the tallest shortlisted act in The Ticket’s history. The Wicklow singer- songwriter had a bumper year as the shows got bigger and bigger, probably topped by the extraordinary crowd who went to see him at the Electric Picnic, a feat captured in its full glory by The Ticket’s drone camera (which gets a mention in the Best Video category). Hozier will continue to grow in 2015.
The best tune
The category that is always fascinating to look at each year is the one that rounds up the critics’ selections for Track of the Year. It would make a great Spotify playlist with berths for pop (Charli XCX, Kiesza, Sia), indie (Future Islands, Perfume Genius), dance (Jamie XX’s wonderfully evocative All Under
One Roof Raving and earworms that cross all the tracks (Caribou’s Can’t Do Without You, Grimes Go and Jungle’s funked out Busy Earnin’).
It’s now all over to you, dear readers, and here’s where a whole bunch of questions will be answered. Will you also give a high five to The Gloaming for their bumper year? Is Damon Albarn the man with the best album thanks to Everyday
Robots or will Ticket favourites St Vincent or FKA twigs take the gong?
Will your choice for best Irish act be a relative newbie such as Girl Band or Godknows and Mynameisjohn or will you go for the old reliables like Le Galaxie or Sinead O’Connor? Or, indeed, will it be none of the above?
There is, of course, a space on the voting paper where you can snub the critics and have your own say. We await the tally of your ballots with interest.