Here at Musician.ie we love music. We were started by two music enthusiasts who have spent the past ten years promoting Irish music. They have also encouraged and supported a bevy of music reviewers and journalists who also shared this love for not only Irish but emerging music from this Isle. And I’m sure in the past ten years they have seen much change in the scene itself and the quality of music Ireland is producing. Instead of the usual list of top picks from the last year I asked our team to nominate their top picks for song, video, album, or whatever else they could think of from 2015. As we move in to 2016 and with the changes the site has undertaken I thought it would be nice to introduce each of us and our own personal tastes to our readers.

Let me introduce you to some of the team.

Ivan O’Donoghue
is our tech guy and he writes reviews for software releases for the site. Here are his picks from the releases in 2015….
Best Guitar FX
Line 6 POD HD500X
On its own, a powerhouse capable of crafting any guitar sound conceivable. Paired with a Variax guitar, you have access to a huge variety of amps, cabinets, stompboxes, and guitars all in one package. Great for gigging and surprisingly good in recording too.

Best Keyboard
Behringer Motor 61
61 Key conreoller with motorised faders, backlit pressure sensitive pads and rotary encoders, and a large display at a reasonable price

Best Synth
Teenage Engineeeering’s PO-16 Factory
A grotty little synth for pocket money prices with amazing capabilities.

Best Software Effects Software

iZotope Ozone 7
The software that manipulates sounds in ways that conventional wisdom tells us are impossible. If one annoyance has wrecked a take, this is the Swiss army knife to save it.

Best Software Instrument
Technically released in 2014, but really only stable by the start of 2015. This instrument lacks the sheer enormity of Omnisphere and Kontakt, but makes up for it in price. It’s an excellent sound library for all genres, and the affordable addon sets make it even more versatile.
Best Albums of 2015

Robert Green is a talented reviewer and music enthusiast. In fact, enthusiast is an understatement and doesn’t begin to cover his joy for music. It is Robert I turn to to learn about the very newest, the most underground or underappreciated groups around. Here are his Top Albums of 2015.
Jape – This Chemical Sea
I think we are very lucky to have watched Richard Egan grow over the years and I honestly believe that he is world class. But what he delivered with This Chemical Sea is a Jape album that exists outside of himself. Jape is now an entity that many of us have seen Richie formulate over the years putting his heart and soul into. I think now that Jape is a living existence and it’s a pleasure to know it.

The Strypes – Little Victories
It’s easy to wax lyrical about The Strypes but they are the future of Rock n Roll and they delivered the difficult second album superbly
Harry Bird & The Rubber Wellies – Bricks and Feathers
They are the type of band you’ll see in a café or bar and think ‘Why don’t they make an album, I’d buy it’ Well they made a beautiful album in Bricks and Feathers and it completely took me by surprise. I loved it, my kids loved it, everyone I played it to loved it. What more do you want from an album?

Gary Showbiz – Tall Tales, Tidy Towns

This album was meant to be a concept album but 2015 was a cruel mistress for Gary Showbiz with his flirting with old demons and a perforated ear drum. But he still managed to put out, on his own some classic 3 minute punk pop anthems that are stand alone soap box dramas. Hatch 23 is a classic example of this, a song about falling in love with the girl in the dole office. I love Gary Showbiz and am secretly delighted that he hasn’t been discovered yet, his gritty reality is what makes his songs so unique and if his world changed I’d be scared I’d lose my diamond.

David King – Ruirteach Blues
At its heart it is a Blues album but with some wonderful folk overtones. You can tell that David has studied his craft, his depth of knowledge and understanding of the history of the genres he flirts with so beautifully shines through on this album. I’m really looking forward to the follow up.

And in other categories we have:
Best Single
Ivan’s pick: Neon Atlas – Get Up
If Scritti Politti were influenced by The Stone Roses…

Mags’ Pick – How much time do you have?
Saint Sister “Madrid”
Young Wonder “Sweet Dreaming”
August Wells ‘Here in the Wild’
Jack O’Rourke “Silence”
HamsandwicH “Fandango”
Wyvern Lingo “Subside”
The Hard Ground “Pucker”
O Emperor “Switchblade”
Otherkin “Ay Ay”
Delorentos “Everybody Else Gets Wet”
All Tvvins “Darkest Ocean”
Daithi “Mary Keane’s Introduction”
Jape “Absolutely Animals”

Best EP
Ivan’s Pick – Pleasure Beach – Dreamer to the Dawn
Power pop with a nod to Big Country and Simple Minds.

https://soundcloud.com/pleasurebeachband/gogo

Mags’ Pick – So many great EP’s came out in 2015.
Jack O’Rourke’s rousing “The Other Side of Now”
Pleasure Beach “Dreamer to the Dawn”
Saint Sister “Madrid”
Otherkin “The 201”
Fierce Mild “Yen N Yes N Yes”
O Emperor “Lizard” to name a very small few.

https://soundcloud.com/otherkinok/ay-ay-1

Best Video
Ivan’s Pick – O Emperor – Switchblade
What to do when you have a vision for a blockbuster video, but lack the budget? O Emperor decided to do a cheesy animation, and it’s highly entertaining. It doesn’t hurt that the song is as infectious as the common cold.

Mags’ Pick – I second Ivan’s pick, great video!
Le Galaxie “Love System” Video by Good Feel Lost
The Hard Ground “Pucker”
Girl Band “Paul” Directed by Bob Gallagher
Sleep Thieves “I Want The Night” Directed by Mike P. Nelson

Best Album
Ivan’s Pick – HamsandwicH – Stories from the Surface
Niamh Farrell is a natural treasure. Justice is served as HamsandwicH’s life affirming pop sensibilities are slowly reaching a wider audience.

Mags’ Pick
Girl Band “Holding Hands With Jamie”
Hamsandwich “Stories From The Surface”
Villagers “Darling Arithmetic”
SOAK “Before We Forgot To Dream”
Jape “This Chemical Sea”
Fight Like Apes “Fight Like Apes”
John Blek and The Rats “Borders”
Anna Mitchell “Down To The Bone”
Young Wonder “Birth”
The Hard Ground “Triptych”
Brian Deady “Non Fiction”