2010 was a fantastic year for Irish music, and 2011 promises to be just as good. Here’s the ten albums from Ireland that I’m most looking forward to this year.
Bell x1 – Bloodless Coup
Bell x1′s latest single ‘Hey Anna Lena’ is yet another change in direction for the now three-piece Kildaremen. This is their fifth album, and once again, they’re experimenting with new sounds. They still haven’t touched the quality of the first two records, but each Bell x1 album always has something special. Due: 1 April 2011
‘Hey Anna Lena’
The Brilliant Things – debut album
With single ‘Revolution’ The Brilliant Things topped my Best Songs of 2010 list, and then with their self-titled debut they topped my Best EP of 2010 list, so I really am hoping their full-length will top my Best Albums of 2011 list. They were in the studio recording it over Christmas, so expect it to be filled with joyous melodies. The album is due some time in the summer.
The Cast of Cheers – album #2
2010 debut Chariot came out of nowhere, and was quickly the most downloaded Irish album of all-time (well, probably, but does anyone really have stats for these things?). It won them Best Indie Album at the Digital Socket Awards last week, as well as Best Newcomer and RTE’s Outstanding Contribution to Irish Music in 2010 Award. Therefore, there’s a lot expected from their second release. The pressure is on, and only time will tell whether this is a band in it for the long-run. The album is expected in the second half of 2011.
Lisa Hannigan – album #2
Post-Damo debut Sea Sew was well-praised by critics, but I felt that it was a bit of a letdown considering her great voice as well as her past work with Damien as well as that duet with Gary Lightbody. She’s been working on the second record in the US as well as at home, and has posted a little sampler video, which you can watch below. The album is expected in the summer.
Lisa Hannigan new song snippet:
The Holy Roman Army – album #2
How the Light Gets In, the Holy Roman Army’s debut album was a fantastic introduction to the Carlow duo, but with their covers EP, Desecrations, they stepped up to the next level. It was nothing to do with the source material, but more the fact that the band themselves had grown, learning a lot from playing live around the country. The fact that Laura Coffey has the best voice in Irish music today makes them a cut above. Expect to hear album #2 in the summer.
Jape – album #4
2010 saw Richie Egan returning to the Redneck Manifesto as well as releasing some brand new material under his VisionAir moniker with Niall Byrne. Last year’s RM album was a little overlooked, but his VisionAir EPs caused quite a stir. 2011 sees Egan returning to his Choice winning Jape project, and he’s already offered up a teaser of album number four. The record is also due sometime this summer.
LotusEater – debut album
While searching for new music, Guides came upon my radar like a stealth bomber appearing in my windshield. However, what seemed like a fully polished album was just a series of guide tracks for the band’s drummer. They’ve also since recruited a keyboard player, so expect these songs to be bigger and better when the album itself is released in a couple of months time.
The Plea – debut album
Brand new pop-rock act the Plea are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album. Lead single ‘Praise Be’ sounded just like the kind of stuff Bono should be making these days (vocally and all), and I’ve also had a chance to hear some of the other tracks from the record. It’s going to be a massive radio-friendly rock monster. The soundtrack of your summer? Most definitely.
The Riot Tapes – debut album
Peter Nagle from 2UIBestow is often the very first with great new music, and when he introduced me to demos from the Riot Tapes, I had wondered where this band had been all my life. Elaine Doyle’s vocals immediately hit you, but this band is so much more than their singer, with a tight-knit band providing some fantastic guitar-driven rock hits. Now if only they could get off twitter and finish up the record. It should be out in the summer.
‘Sun Keeps Beating (Version 2.0, early mix)’
Tenaka – Drifting
EPonymously Titled, the debut release of Ronan Carroll marked him out as one of Ireland’s best upcoming electronic artists. He then disappeared off our radars, only to emerge this year with his debut album almost complete. Instead of self-publicising and cashing in on the success of his debut, Tenaka took his time to craft Drifting, which from the six early songs I’ve heard, will be a contender for Best Electronic Album at the 2012 Digital Socket Awards. The album is due in late Spring/early summer.