For the next three days, I’ll be counting down my top 30 Irish EPs of 2011. It was 20 last year, but there was so much great stuff in 2011, I had to do thirty! Also, be on the lookout for more lists next week, including my annual best albums and best songs lists.
30. The #1s – Italia ’90
The Hashtag Ones or Number Ones or whatever they’re called made one of the most intense EPs of the year in Italia 90. It doesn’t even last six minutes, sounds like it was recorded in a shed, but contains more bluster than 99% of other bands out there.
29. Created By Comets – Leave It at the Door
One of the funkiest releases of the year, the Dublin funk rockers started off 2011 very brightly with this January EP. The brass section give Created By Comets the edge over most of their contemporaries. It also helps that they make irresistibly dancey tunes too.
28. Goodly Thousands – Goodly Thousands
Ireland is known as the land of singer-songwriters. We just love a single guy with a guitar. It’s become somewhat of a cliche, so it’s nice to see a band try to make straight up Matthew Sweet/Jens Lekman styled pop, that’s nothing more than fun. Introspective is so 2001.
27. Rams’ Pocket Radio – Dogs Run in Packs
Lisburn’s Peter McCauley was a revelation for me this year, making soundtrack-worthy piano-led rock anthems. His most recent EP continues his consistent streak, and is yet another brilliant tease for a forthcoming album.
26. No Monster Club – Young Guts Champion
Bobby Aherne (Dublin Duck Dispensary)’s surf-rock jams are underpinned with gorgeous guitar riffs, and powered by a frenetic energy, making for a wonderful lo-fi pop EP. Who cares if I can’t really hear what he’s singing half the time?
25. Nanobot – Sparticles
The key to learning anything is repetition. Every teacher will tell you that. Keep doing something until it becomes second nature. That’s why I think I know every word of ‘Trippo’, the opening track on the Kells’ foursome’s debut EP. The four guys all have day jobs in the various branches of the arts, and this kind of creativity adds a sense of wonderment to the five tracks.
24. Lost Chord – Canada
With Adebisi Shank not releasing anything in 2011, Lost Chord more than adequately filled the void, offering us the brilliantly inventive instrumental ‘BNP’ on the excellent follow-up to last year’s There is No Lost Chord. And when they decided to sing, they weren’t too bad either.
23. General Fiasco – Waves
In Owen Strathern, Northern Ireland’s General Fiasco have one of the best rock vocalists around. The title track is a catchy indie-pop triumph, while lead single ‘The Age You Start Losing Friends’ was undeniably one of the songs of the year.
22. Noveaunoise – Sequence Consequence
It’s hard to believe I got to 27 without realising that consequence was just sequence with con as a prefix. I knew conscience, but consequence makes so much more etymological sense. If Nouveaunoise had done nothing more than name their EP so, then they would have been winners in my book. Luckily for everyone else’s book, they also released five dreamscape songs that are rightly described as “savagestep”. Also, am I the only one waiting for ‘Anotherun’ to break into ‘Last Christmas’ half-way through?
21. Sounds of System Breakdown – Colour
The Dublin three-piece released Colour at the height of summer – well, it’s Ireland, so it was probably 15 degrees out – and it was the perfect soundtrack to those long, bright evenings. Improving on their self-titled album, it was chock-full of raucous beats and Rob’s vocal never sounded better.