Review by Bobby Green
Looking back on 2017 I’ve noticed a large amount of ‘alternative’ or ‘indie’ bands really coming to the forefront of the Irish music scene. The Strypes as always impressed but we saw bands like Touts and Otherkin really make some noise with storming live displays along with their impressive releases. It truly is the mark of a band to see if they can play live and these bands certainly smashed up so many stages this year and their reputations are now firmly cemented going forward into 2018. Also on the alternative scene going into 2018 The Grey Merchant will be ones to look out for with a superb debut album to promote and I’ve heard through the grapevine that More Than Machines will have an album ready for 2018 also. But my biggest joy on the alternative scene had to be the return of Stoat I’ve had a sneaky listen to their album due to be released in 2018 and I’ve already made it my album of next year, there’s going to have to be something truly amazing released for that not to be everyone’s favourite album of next year.
Away from the alternative we heard some truly beautiful music coming from NC Grey, My Fellow Sponges, Nile St James and SÍOMHA. I don’t mind admitting to falling in love with so much of this music in 2018, the raw emotion flowing from these artists is infectious in its delivery. But we can’t talk about emotion without mentioning Hally who has released a single and video every week during 2017. Every release is an unadulterated outpouring of honesty. As far as artistic authenticity goes I don’t think anyone could hold a candle to him this year, it’s certainly been a year to remember for him.
There has been so much to get excited about this year, and I’m doing so many great artists and superb music an injustice by not mentioning them in my end of year round up. Bands like Fontaines, The Henry Girls and Felonies impressed me along with so many others, it’s why I hate doing these end of year round ups because there has been so much, again, to get excited about on the music scene in Ireland in 2017 that I’m just going to write what I felt were my favourites in 2017, not the best, but my favourites, music is all about taste and interpretation and these are the ones I fell in love with the most.
Stoat – ‘Trampolina’. It was a joy seeing these lads back and ‘Trampolina’ is an Indie classic. Otherkin and Touts both had phenomenally great singles too worthy of a mention but ‘Trampolina’, with its iconic video was the most played song in my home this year.
‘Hurricane Laughter’ – Fontaines. The single itself is epic but backed up with the class video it makes Rock stars out of these lads from Dublin. Serious videos are hard enough to pull off without the band looking stupid or taking themselves too seriously but this is spot on. Pure Class.
I have 2 favourites and both for exactly the same reason. They both reinforced my love of the album as an art form. Both very different albums too. Firstly, it’s The Crayon Set with Lost languages. This is such a beautiful album that I found so seductive on my first listen and my other favourite has to be The Grey Merchant – Avenue De Rennes. If you want something loud and brash with brains as well as balls that’s left of the mainstream, then look out for these in 2018
For me it was U2 ‘The Joshua Tree’. Just because they are the biggest band on the planet doesn’t mean you can’t love them, I hate that bullshit, and this was a great show. I know that Otherkin and Touts put in some amazing performances this year full of energy and they will be taking over next year but for me U2 was my favorite live because of the 30years of emotional attachment to that album.
Favourite Event of 2017
Hally —– Releasing a tune and video a week was an amazing achievement, I hope to link back in with Hally in the new year for a retrospective look at 2017 that he made his very own.
I love what The Grey Merchant are all about. I love their sound, their ideas and the way those ideas are executed
One to watch in 2018
I’m hoping the second coming of Stoat will be glorious with their classic alternative sound, but Indie bands or alternative bands or whatever you like to call them are going to be massive next year and Ireland are awash with class bands from this genre at the moment. More Than Machines are also due an album out next year, I’m really looking forward to that. But I think The Grey Merchant will be the most interesting ones to watch, I’m dying to see how they’ll translate their ideas into live performances.
Bobby Green is the host of Bobs Joint Radio Show on www.crkfm.com for show times link into and like his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bobsjointradioshow/ where his regular slot ‘Green On Green’ is where he plays his favourite music from the Irish music scene.