Hozier – Hozier
The Bray native is the biggest musical success story in Ireland, and possibly worldwide in 2014. His single Take Me To Church was the most streamed song on Spotify and the debut eponymous album more than lived up to expectations. A triumphant Irish tour which included a contender for gig of the year at The Olympia Theatre confirmed Andrew Hozier Byrne’s status as potential superstar.
Delorentos – Night Becomes Light
The Dublin four-piece returned this year with Night Becomes Light, the follow up to their Choice Music Prize winning album Little Sparks. It’s never easy to follow up such a successful album but Delorentos continued their trend of improving with every release. They’ve just finished an Irish tour and headlined Other Voices. See them in 2015, you won’t regret it.
Little Matador – Little Matador
Little Matador is the side project of Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly which he formed along with a few friends from the Irish music scene that he’s made along the way. If you’re a Snow Patrol fan, prepare to be a little taken aback. Little Matador are so far removed from the indie-rock sound, you’d scarcely believe one of them was involved. Think more along the lines of Queens of The Stone Age and you’ll understand what we mean.
We Cut Corners – Think Nothing
Wicklow duo We Cut Corners sneered at the idea of a ‘difficult second album’ with their sophomore effort Think Nothing. While it’s not as brash and energetic as their debut, the melodies improved tenfold and they still maintained the subtly comical lyrics such as “You’re not that gifted, just beautifully gift-wrapped.” They play First Fortnight’s (a charity which challenges Mental Health issues) Big Gig on January 10th . Don’t miss it.
Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
The Kildare-native returned after an eight year hiatus and it’s as if he never left us. We thought we may miss the dulcet tones of Lisa Hannigan that feature on his previous two albums but clearly Rice has had plenty of time to perfect the songs for this album and it paid off. It’s good to have him back.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
The undoubted record of the year. Every track is playfully brilliant, every lyric meaningful and thought-provoking. Annie Clark is at the very top of her game having not quite managing to break through with previous efforts. Everybody should own this album, especially you.
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
A band with just a bass guitar and a drummer? Sure that would never work. Right? Wrong. Royal Blood’s success lies in the fact they’ve managed to create such a powerful rock sound from such a unique configuration. It remains to be seen whether they’ll remain a one-trick pony, but for now, that one trick is more than enough.
Young Fathers – Dead
Dead, the debut album from Scottish hip-hop trio Young Fathers was the winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize award for 2014. Not many have heard of them, but their blend of influences is both strange and intoxicating. They stole the show at this year’s Other Voices and rumour has it they’ll be back in Ireland very shortly. We can’t wait.
Eagulls – Eagulls
The Leeds natives debut self-titled record has been described by GoldenPlec as “a riot of pummelling bass and drums, nerve-shredding guitars and edgy vocals.” We can’t think of a better way to explain why we love Eagulls. Considering they won’t have as long (four years) to craft their next record it’ll be interesting to see where Eagulls go from here.
Taylor Swift – 1989
What more can we say. Taylor Swift is the queen of pop. 1989 marked the moment Swift transformed from popstar to superstar of pop. Such was its popularity that her decision to take all of her music off Spotify had no effect on its sales. Shake It Off is one of the most catchy tunes this decade and the album follows a similar path. If you were lucky enough to get tickets to her two sold out shows in the 3Arena next year, we might be just a little bit jealous…