Hmm, I think I missed the boat as usual this year. And of course, I didn't keep track of what I listened to this year. Hopefully I can pull from memory. One artist is easy - John Moreland.
1. John Moreland - High on Tulsa Heat, In the Throes and Big Bad Luv
2. Jason Isbell - The Nashville Sound (and really also Southeastern and Something More than Free stay in rotation)
3. Savages - Adore Life
4. Tom Waits - Foreign Affairs
Always have to have a Tom Waits record in my top 10 list. I bought this album this year.
5. King Pleasure - Golden Days
Good old find in some record shop
6. Tones on Tail - Pop
One of the many records I picked up in Canada this year. Can't remember if I grabbed it in Toronto at the excellent Kops Records or one of the couple we hit closer to home just across the Washington border in Abbotsford.
7. Peter Gabriel - I and III
8. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
9. Iris Dement - Infamous Angel
I'll admit, I came to this from watching the Leftovers in Season 2, but it's stayed with me.
My year has certainly had its ups and downs this year. Obviously starting off on a shitty foot with the election of a clown for a president. My beloved german shorthaired pointer, Whiskey, passed away. Heavier still, my father-in-law and mother-in-law both passed away within about 4 months of each other. A real ass-kicker of a year. In May, we needed a reset, so I traveled with my wife and her sister to Porto and walked to Santiago, Spain along the Camino. I enjoyed it much more than they did due to the relatively few blisters I had. During this trip, we had been in email contact with a couple to adopt their baby due at the end of July. In early July, we traveled to southern Indiana for a month where our son, Gavin Jude Balikian was born on 30 July. "Jude" is named after his recently departed grandmother, Judy. The entire month in Indiana, I listened almost exclusively to John Moreland's High on Tulsa Heat. A couple days after we got home, I caught John Moreland with my buddy. I've spent all of fall and so far of winter indoctrinating the little guy into the likes of music mentioned above.
Hope everyone has a great 2018.
The recent purchase of a turntable which I've connected to my Sonos system has revolutionised ('cuse the pun!!!) my music listening. Between rediscovering the few salvaged records from years back and a splurge on new vinyl - it's been on constant play since November. Still can't decide if it appeals to the traditionalist or the audiophile in me - either way it's fantastic. Prior to that - my listenings centred around a number of classical playlists on Spotify - 88 keys in particular opened my world to Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins, Chilly Gonzales and an old favourite in Clint Mansell. Also was the driver in an investment in a piano - old school again - no keyboards here!!!
Was gutted to miss out on Tickets to Shane McGowan's 60th birthday bash in the NCH - but would gladly swap it for Nils Frahm's gig at the same venue - I started a thread on Toutless for it - if anybody has any contacts I would be eternally grateful!!!!
4 gigs stand out (although as usual, that will probably change when I look at Dave's list......)
Was very lucky this year to secure tickets to some of the biggest days in Croke Park - the football final was great (with the possible exception of the result!) and the Kerry Mayo games were fantastic. Didn't get to the hurling decider - Joe Canning's winning point in the semi was spectacular. However, if there was a standout game for me it was the All Ireland Ladies Intermediate final between Dunboyne (my club) and Kinsale in Parnell Park. Some of the Ladies help out with the football nursery on Saturday mornings - there was a big crowd of the under 8s there to cheer on their coaches. First half was open and free scoring - 2-7 apeice at half time. Second half was tighter, more physical and really tense. Dunboyne hung on for a one point win in a game that hung in the balance until the final whistle - cue massive celebrations and outpouring of emotion. The standout for me was the reaction of the young girls in the stand - and the hugs and celebrations with the team after the presentation. Undoubtedly their first taste of a sporting celebration and real tangible link to a successful team.... Incredible.
- Pure Comedy - Father John Misty
- Sleep Well Beast - The National
- Everything Now - Arcade Fire
- Capacity - Big Thief
- Every Valley - Public Service Broadcasting
- RELAXER - alt-J
- Brutalism - Idles
- Orc - (Thee) Oh Sees
- English Tapas - Sleaford Mods
- Young, Dumb and Full Of… - Cabbage
- A Deeper Understanding - The War On Drugs
- Yesterday’s Gone - Loyle Carner
- Visions Of A Life - Wolf Alice
- Lotta Sea Lice - Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
The BBC 6 Music Festival is definitely worth getting tickets for, even if it is a bit further afield - Glasgow’s an amazing city and Barrowlands is a cracking old-school venue. Also got see two great gigs at the Apollo in Manchester.
- Sleaford Mods - Barrowlands, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- The National - O2 Apollo, Manchester
- Father John Misty - Tramway, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- Father John Misty - O2 Apollo, Manchester
- Sleaford Mods - O2 Institute, Birmingham
- Ride - Barrowlands, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- The Jesus And Mary Chain - Barrowlands, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- Teleman - Mama Roux's, Birmingham
- Sparks - O2 Institute, Birmingham
- The Wedding Present - Tramway, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- The Lemon Twigs - Saint Lukes, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- Car Seat Headrest - Saint Lukes, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- Belle And Sebastian - O2 Academy, Glasgow, 6 Music Festival
- Cabbage - O2 Academy, Birmingham
- Blossoms - O2 Academy, Birmingham
- Loyle Carner - O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
my 2017, sketchy as usual:
martin simpson, trials & tribulations
laura marling, semper femina
kelela, take me apart
offa rex, the queen of hearts
bill evans, another time (another beautiful re-discovery)
cécile mclorin salvant, dreams & daggers
mark lockheart, ellington in anticipation
forqueray, pieces de viole (pandolfo)
patricia kopatchinskaja, death & the maiden
dephine galou, agitata
alice oswald, falling awake
george saunders, lincoln in the bardo
anne carson, float
max porter, grief is a thing with feathers
blue planet ii
blade runner 2049
- Damn - Kendrick Lamar
- Migration - Bonobo
- Really enjoyed Simon Green's 6th album on Ninja Tune. Perfect headphones tunez. I forgot I saw him in the Olympia in October 2013 - thanks McG!
- Wild Alee - Talos
- Gorgeous sounds from Cork man Eoin French with some real delicate vocals. Check out Contra & more on soundcloud.
- A Place of Greater Safety - Luna
- Luna came back with an album of covers I have not listened to but also this wonderful EP of instrumentals. Check out the opening chords of GTX-3 at a recent Brooklyn show (be patient at the start before the song starts) Luna - GTX 3/Gin - Brooklyn 18-Nov-2017.
- Pearson Sound - Pearson Sound [vinyl]
- Producer David Kennedy's debut long play. Check him out on soundcloud.
- Slowdive - Slowdive
- Their albums never grabbed me back in the day but their new album this year is irresistible, check out Star Roving on soundcloud.
- Every Country's Sun - Mogwai
- Mogwai back with Dave Fridmanm (Come on Die Young, 1999, Rock Action, 2001), such a seductive combination, typified by Party in the Dark, have a listen on soundcloud.
- Ore - Andrea Belfi [vinyl]
- A late release in the year other wise this would be higher, an Italian drummer, check out this track, Lead, on YouTube
- All this I do for Glory - Colin Stetson
- Get your head around this sic sax playing on Spindrift
- Weather Diaries - Ride
- I finally saw Ride live and they came out with a new album which sits very respectably in their catalogue.
- Everybody Down - Kate Tempest
- Discovery via Niall's List from last year, superb talent.
- Love what Survives - Mount Kimbie
- King Krule has an astonishing guest appearance on "Blue Train Lines"
- Bicep - Bicep
- From Belfast, releases on Ninja Tune. Check out this soundcloud clip of the killer trackGlue
- Ex Eye - Ex Eye
- Featuring saxophonist Colin Stetson
- Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
- American Dream - LCD Soundsystem
- Utopia - Bjork
On Feb 11, after 14 months with no turntable I unwrapped some vinyl I've had waiting for 8 months to play! I had to jump through a few hoops to get my system back on the road. It turns out that the amp blew the left speaker the first time, I got the amp fixed and then the speaker blew the amp the 2nd time. I was able to buy a new speaker part from Cellestian. For my Camridge Audio A5 Amp, the Sanken transistors are obsolete, I found a guy in Wolverhamption via eBay who has a bunch of old parts and repairs for a very fair price.
3 Burial releases this year!
You can listen to the records that buzzed me at the links below.
- Rodent - Burial (10" 2017)
- In compiling this I discovered Burial released a 2nd 12" of the year in late October called "Pre Dawn / Indoors", it's in the mail!
- RCVR / XTMR - Akkord (12", 2017)
- Subtemple / Beachfires - Burial (10", 2017)
- Young Death / Nightmarket - Burial (12", 2016)
- XLB - Pearson Sound (12", 2016)
- Robin Chasing Butterflies - Pearson Sound (12", 2017)
- Party in the dark - Mogwai (7", 2017)
- One of the tracks of the year. I can't wait to hear this life
- Ride - Olympia, Dublin setlist Mar 22
- Perfume Genius - Cosby Stage, Electric Picnic Sep 2
- Niall & Caro have always highly rated his albums and I checked them a few times but they never sparked. Seeing this lad is the key, as it often is with music! What an absolutely standout talent.
- A Tribe called Quest - Mainstage, Electric Picnic Sep 2
- Fantastic to see Q Tip running the show, respecting their MC, Phifie Dawg who died in March 2016
- Kelly Ann Owens - Little Big tent, Electric Picnic Sep 3
- A tip from Colin in Christchurch and I parked myself in front of the speaker right of the stage in Colin's honour. I knew nothing about her but needless this was a brilliant highlight to finish the festival for us.
- Le Boom - Body & Soul Mainstage, Electric Picnic Sep 2
- Hovered until I got a seat up at the back at the 3am show. Really worth staying out in the rain for this one, one of the gigs of the festival from this Irish duo.
- Macey South, The Bounty, Athlone, Jun 30
- Renowned local ban played out work BBQ, and they were excellent.
- Clarke - Little Big Tent, Electric Picnic Sep 2
- Outstanding visuals with 2 dancers on working together fluidly at this 2am show. Really enjoyed finally getting a dance.
- Run The Jewels, Mainstage, Electric Picnic Sep 2
- Divine Comedy - Mainstage, Electric Picnic Sep 1
- London Grammer - Mainstage, Electric Picnic Sep 1
- Seasta - Album Launch in An Lab, Dingle Jul 29
- Seasta is Mo Benison, the album contains 8 tunes composed for the piano. My eldest daughter randomly presented Mo with flowers at the end.
Family film of the year
- Blade Runner 2049
- Mind blowingly reverential and outstandingly gorgeous at same time, instant classic. Hampton Fancher, who wrote the first one was also involved. I'm Praying that Denis Villeneuve will be allowed make another one. Here are some shorts which explain what happened in the 30 years between the movies.
- Manchester by the Sea
- It was 2000 when Kenneth Lonergan gave us You Can Count On Me, so great to have him back! I Just see that he wrote a 4 part series for the BBC, Howards End, which aired in the last month! Did anyone see it?
- Star Wars - Rogue One
- Moonlight - written & directed by Barry Jenkins USA 2017
- Lady Macbeth, Dublin Film Festival, Feb 17
- Baby Driver
- Trainspotting T2
- Seymour - An Introduction - Dublin film Festival, Feb 17
- Directed by Ethan Hawke. Seymour tells a story about Sara Bernstein (unrelated) meeting a young girl for an autograph before some event and Sara Bernstein's hand was trebling. The girl was surprised and asked her how come she never gets nervous before she acts, Sara Bernstein answered and said "You will when you learn to act, honey!". Seymour talks about it all being about the craft and your passion\talent intersecting with your life. He talks about supervising children at musical practise to avoid adults not remaining half children. Paraphrasing he talks about music as the simplest way of achieving ecstasy. Ethan Hawke is trying to figure out what the meaning is for the second half of his life and Berstein asks the Powerful question "you do it through your acting don't you?"
- A Woman Apart - Dublin film Festival, 17 February
- Written & directed by Elisabeth Subrin. Anna Baskin reminded me of Lara Flynn Boyle. I like the way they did not show her travelling by plane and we figured out she was in New York when we heard a kid in the street wanting to go to Coney Island. Some powerful questions like "what hobbies do you have" teach us that she does not know how to do anything else and that ultimately acting is like a drug.
- The Happiest day in the life of Olli Máki, Dublin Film Festival, Feb 17
Available on Netflix
New York times watching is a great place to search for stuff to watch - that's if you don't get the recommendation you are looking for here!
- La La Land
- The Machinist (2014)
- I Don't Feel at home in this world anymore (Macon Blair, 2017)
- There's something about Kevin
- Nocturnal Animals written & directed by Tom Ford
- Young Offenders
- A Single man (2009)
- Written & directed by Tom Ford
- Handsome Devil (John Butler, Ireland, 2016)
- The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
- Written & directed by Noah Baumbach for netflix
- Drive (2011)
- Grassland (Ireland, 2014)
- Animal Kingdom
- Green Room
- The Drop
- Gone girl
- It was grand but I expected more from Fincher.
- Wolf Creek 2
- Blue Planet 2 (7 episodes) BBC 2017
- An astounding achievement by the BBC, a brilliant family watching experience.
- Four Mums in a boat (44 min watch in Vimeo)
- Long Shot
- 40min documentary which highlights the randomness of the American justice system , well worth a watch.
- Young Guns (25min watch on RedBull) featuring kid climbers Ashima Shiraishi & Kai Lightner
- Game of Thrones S07
- Mr Mercedes S01 (8 episodes, Audience network 2017)
- Outstanding performance from Brendan Gleeson in an non horror Stephen King adaption. It's been renewed for a second season.
- High Maintenance S01 (6 episodes) HBO 2016
- Started on Vimeo with 19 no longer available episodes. How can they be seen? Please let me know if you have a way! Then HBO purchased, top vignettes of random New York characters. Second season due early next year.
- The Leftovers S03, final (8 episodes) HBO 2017
- Black Mirror S01, S02 Channel 4 2011, 2013
- Excellent Sc-fi, with each episode a unique story with different actors. 13 episodes to date over 3 seasons, with Netflix taking it over from S03, S04 is due Dec 29 2017.
- Curb your Enthusiasm S09 (10 episodes) HBO 2017
- Detectorists S01
- Comedy, written, directed and staring Mackenzie Crook. Seek this one out!
- Better call Saul S03 (10 episodes) AMC 2017
- Trapped S01 (10 episodes) 2016
- Midnight sun S01, 2016
- Swedish-French crime show. Features the Sami, indigenous people of northern Scandinavia who were traditionally nomadic reindeer herders
- Fargo S01 2014 (10 episodes)
- Insecure S02 HBO 2017
- Comedy, created and starring Issa Rae
- Broadchurch S03, final
- Good characters, Hardy & Miller, solid final season
- Paula (3 part mini series, written by Written by Conor McPherson) 2017
- Rectify S04, final (8 episodes) 2016
- Les Hommes de l'ombre (Spin) S01, S02, S03 (6 episodes each) 2012, 2014, 2106, France 2
- The BlackList S04
- Best season to date as Mr Kaplan goes after Red
- La Trêve (The Break) S01 (10 episodes) 2016
- Fear the walking Dead S03 (16 episodes) AMC 2017
- Currently this has surpassed the Walking Dead, where S07 & S08 have been disappointing.
- Fear the Walking Dead: flight 462
- This was a missing link for me, watch all 16 episodes comprising 15 minutes.
Series given up on
- The Sinner (8 part mini series) USA Network 2017
- Grace Harte (3 part mini series) TG4 2017
- The Killing S04, final (6 episodes) 2014
- Somehow I forgot to watch S04, Holder ("whats up little man") & Linden, brilliant characters.
- The Good Fight S01 (10 episodes) 2017
- Suits S07
- Doctor Foster S01 S02 (5 episodes each) BBC 2015, 2017
- Une chance de drop S01 (6 episodes) 2015 TF1
- The Walking Dead S07.2 & S8.1
- Very disappointing, only sticking with as I'm invested in the characters, that said less and less as poor writing is killing the show.
- Search party S01 (10 22 minute episodes) 2016
- Bloodline S03, final (10 episodes) Netflix Original 2017
- Very good first season but disappointed in the end.
- House of cards S05
- This is us S01
- We lasted about 5 episodes but this is just so long (18 episodes)
- The Lock Artist (2010) - Steve Hamilton
- The second life of Nick Mason (2016) - Steve Hamilton
- Holiday read in West Kerry
I got a sticker in the mail to say I made the top 1% of readers in Pocket, it says I read 1,194,546 words in 2017, equivalent to 25 books. I now have 800+ unread items says MyReadingHabits and this is what kind of stuff I read and where:
Here are some of the articles I recommend. You can follow me on pocket for more recommendations.
I really enjoyed running with Podcasts this year, Podcast Addict tells me I played over 150 podcast episodes since April 2017 with my bread and butter being Second Captains which I pay a monthly subscription for.
- ESPN 30 for 30 - S01 (6 episodes)
- Individual random sports stories. In compiling this list I was excited to see that S02 is out already.
- Second captains Political Podcasts with ken Earley (pay wall)
- Second captain's Player's Chair with Richie Sadlier (pay wall)
- E03 with Niall Quinn was some of the best podcasting this year.
WTF with Marc Maron Sample episodes:
Marathon Talk Recommendation from Niall Lynch, I only listened to the few episodes Niall recommended, they were all great:
Reply-all Some episodes to see if it's your cup of tea
- English language podcast related to the Irish language from Darach O'Seaghdha @theirishfor
Mogul: The life and Death of Chris Lighty
Most hyped podcast
- Climbing podcast that goes in depth with 1 guest per show. E133 was with Alex Honnold about 6 week after he soloed Freerider
- Body & Soul, Ballinalough Castle, Co Westmeath - Sunday family ticket - May 25
- The Soul kids area is perfect for kids. I really enjoyed the first family festival experience, dancing at the main to Sinkane with the kids was fantastic, memories for life.
- Electric Picnic - Sep 1-3
- Not as many musical highlights as previous years but this wonderful festival is the highlight. Read more at my blog post.
- Dublin Film festival - Feb 15-26
- I take a half day every year and catch a few films
- Banff film festival, National concert hall, Dublin - May 9
- Now a tradition since this moved to the National Convert hall, a night well worth travelling for. This year's highlights included Four Mums in a boat & Young Guns (see documentary section)
- Lynham lecture - Frank Nugent, Dec 7
- The Mountaineering Council of Ireland present the Lynham medal each year at the Lynham Lecture in Trinity, this year it was to Frank Nugent, who was in the Summit party for the successful irish Everest ascent in 1993.
- Baile na Rannig beach clean, Baile na Rannig , Chorca Dhuibnhe, Co. Kerry - Jul 23
- Alex Honnold El cap freerider solo, June 3
- Sergio Garcia winning the Masters
- Brandon, West Kerry
- Solo hike after the rest of the party turned back. Enjoyed running down it.
- Great Gully Ridge, Baravore Valley, Co Wicklow, HS 140m
- Planned the date weeks in advance and lucked out on a mind blowing blue day that will last me through the winter, you can read more in my blog post. I hope to keep up one of these proper mountain adventures per year.
- Great Fjord swim, Killary, Connemara, 2k - Sep 30
- Sleepzone Connemara is at the end of the swim on the fjord and a perfect place for family hosteling, a real tradition now!
- Waterford Half Marathon - Dec 2
- I spent 3 years chasing this target, so satisfying to train for it and pull off the sub 1.50 PB: 1:49:37
- Ballycotton 10M, Co. Cork - Mar 12
- Super conditions and a pleasure to get the mug and a surprise t-shirt for the 40th running of the event. Everyone was gutted when the organisers wound it up.
All the Apps in last year's list are still top drawer for me.
- I've moved away from Any.do to Trello for my main ToDo list and did a blog post explaining why.
- Beepn'Go was discontinued earlier this year, I have a blog post on how to use it anyway.
- Podcast Addict
- I switched from the very good Pocket casts to Podcast Addict in early April as I wanted to have a playback history. A very powerful app which as many options as you can think of.
- App Usage
This App emails send summary emails of app usage on your tablet or phone, it works very well for monitoring usage. Note, it can't breakdown browser or YouTube usage. I pay a small quarterly fee for this. Zeeko do a comprehensive child internet protection guide.
- Sometime you need something a bit more low key that writing in your todo list. this adds any text you want to your notification area.
- Superb app to try and build up habits, set notifications reminders to help with your daily habits.
- I've never had Facebook on my phone and also removed my Twitter client this year. I really like Nuzzle though, it works off who you follow on twitter and just lists the articles recommended by the folks you follow with a little excerpt from them.
- Frustratingly one still can't schedule messages in WhatsApp, Textra is brilliant for scheduling SMSs though, which is a reason to still use them!
Garmin Forerunner 35
- After 3 years using a phone for my running training I finally moved to a Garmin Watch. Initially for training I did not find any advantage over using Endomondo on my phone and I missed the voice updating me on intervals. But when I did the Waterford Half in December, it came into it's own for me and allowed much better race management!
- I have not used other features like intervals and lap times extensively yet.
- It's not suitable for swimming indoors or outdoors.
- I have heard no one raving about Garmin wrist HR accuracy & know people with the 235 who still use a chest strap HM.
- Unlike the 235 it is not Connect IQ capable meaning that you cannot download any apps, widgets, data fields or watch faces to it.
- TaoTronics Water Resistant Bluetooth Shower Speaker
- Next level over your standard browser spell checker! My constant spelling adversary is "wiht". It's been good to learn about my common writing mistakes like "Missing comma in compound sentence" and "Missing article".
- Chrome: Discovered re the cool newsletter Recomendo, Hola, the free VPN proxy service, works really well and means I can watch the BBC Player is this occasion presents itself.
- Firefox: Having used Tree Style Tabs for many years I moved to see if I could get more features like better grouping if tabs. The one feature I miss from the previous extension is auto-hide.
Top Ten 2017
THE LIVE EVENTS
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry at St. Patricks Cathedral, January 28th - just the ticket for the hidden socialist in me! Hadn't heard of Joe before but he's got some pedigree as a producer. Billy only did 3 of his own songs, Scousers Never Buy..., Accident..., and Between the Wars. Fierce potent stuff indeed. And there were about 20 songs about railroads, maybe 5 more than I needed, but when the singing and playing was this could, it's a bit churlish to complain.
Sting, The Masonic, San Francisco, Feb 6th Flew into SFO for work, but picked up a ticket for Sting that night. I went with two of my sisters; small venue. This was almost 30 years to the day since I first saw Sting and that and this gig were probably the best two. This tour sees Sting and his son Joe, together with guitarist Dominic Miller and his son Rufus on the road as a 4 piece leaning heavily on the the first two Police albums - every song really was a classic; great to have had the opportunity to witness it.
The Divine Comedy, Bord Gais, Feb 26th Neil Hannon truly is a song writing genius; every tune is effortlessly laden with catchy hooks. Tonight was the last night of a 56 date tour and the band were as tight as you can be.
John Cale, Liverpool Docks, May 26th - 50th Anniversary of the Velvet Underground & Nico album. Shivers from the opening salvo Waiting for the man / White Light White Heat through to the 20 minute finale that was Sister Ray. Cale was as much a conductor as a performer as The Kills, Gruff Rhys, Nadine Shah and local lads, Clinic too on much of the vocals and instrumentation. Each song was given new life by each who performed in their own stype - proving that the Velvets did spawn a 1,000 bands. There was a poignant minutes silence for the Manchester victims, less than a week past. As I exited the Liverpool Docks, my abiding thought was how derivative music post 1969 can seem!.
Obsession, Jude Law, Barbican London, April.
For some reason Jude Law sells out incredibly quickly so I booked this a year in advance and was looking forward to a night away from the kids! It's a play based on a 1940's movie which in turn was based on The Postman Always Rings Twice. So lots of 'context' entirely lost by the minimalist production. Maybe saw it too early in the run, when it hadn't found its tempo...cudda been a contender!
Simple Minds, Olympia, June 8th, Picked up a couple of 2nd row tickets in Jan on the basis of a random hearing of the Acoustic album. KT Tunstall was special guest and came on for Promised you a Miricle at the end. As you'd expect from a band with 40 years under the (ever expanding) belt, they weren't short of a hit or two. Someone Somewhere, The American, Chelsea Girl, Waterfront and Glittering Prize were the highlights for me, although another treat was a cover of Bowie's Andy Warhol - a bit random but very good indeed. A great evening with a band who've weathered much criticism having lost their way for a time, but who remain comfortable with their legacy. Well worth the ticket price.
St.Vincent, Olympia, Oct 20th, Remember when me and Dave said we'd do a gig a month - that didn't really work out but we both made it to this one and it was a sensation. Not a gig so much as an aural/visual experience with a virtuso guitar/singer and a guitar of a different colour for every song (all desgned by herself apparently!).
The Divine Comedy, Bord Gais, Dec 8th Dec Bookended the year with another blast from Neil and co. Different set entirely from that back in February, with less emphasis on the last album and more on the back catelogue. Just as enjoyable as before.
Against (with Ben Whishaw), Almedia London, Sept 13th I've missed Ben Whishaw a few times so got lucky when I was in London at the same time as this new play about a messanic tech leader and his Jeff Bezos counterpart. Interesting uneven play but super acting throughout.
Dublin City Marathon, Oct 31st. My 4th marathon and delighted to have made it as I spent the previous two months with the physio getting me mobile. It's a highlight every year and a privilege to be able to particpate.
A Perfect Spy, John LeCarre - This is super; I only started reading his books after seeing the Night Manager on TV, but they're very good indeed!
Disrupted (My year in startup hell), Dan Lyons, A brilliant (if bitter) account of startup land - a place where dreams, dillusions and reality all come together. Story of a 52 year old Newsweek reporter who ends up working at Hubspot - Hubspot does not come off well.
Hatching Twitter - Nick Bilton
Continuing my trawl through founder stories, Hatching Twitter is billed as A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal. Written in a highly dramatic style, using extensive interviews and source materials, it's a compelling readof how an utterly dysfunctional foursome built Twitter
Cicero & Munich - Robert Harris
He's such a great writer - the Cicero trilogy set in Rome just around 60 BC. Is just super and occupied me for much of the summer. To redeem myself from the atrociousness that was Origin (Dan Browne), I just finished Munich to remind myself what decent writing is like.
Orphan X - Gregg Hurwitz
Pulp fiction of a decent order...trained assassin type of carry on, but clips along at a grand pace, avoids most of the cliches and the writing is pretty decent. This is the first of what I believe to be a 5 part series.
THE WATCHING THINGS ON THE BOX
- Fargo, Season 1 & 2, Netflix
- Better Call Saul, Season 3, Netflix
- The Handmaids Tale, Season 1, Sky
THE MUSIC I LISTENED TO
- Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock
- Americana, Ray Davies
- Dealing on the Boulevard, Lou Reed
- Bridges not walls, Billy Bragg
- Rest, Charlotte Gainsbourg
- Masseduction, St.Vincent
- 57th & 9th, Sting
- 50 Song Memoir, Magnetic Fields
Same issue with 2017 as with previous years, too much music, too little time.
Top 10 Albums (in no particular order).
- Bess Atwell - Hold Your Mind
- Mark Eitzel - Hey Mr. Ferryman
- Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness
- Big Thief - Capacity
- Thunder Dreamer - Capture
- Lunch Ladies - Down On Sunset Strip
- Phoebe Bridgers - Strangers In The Alps
- LCD Soundsystem - american dream
- Protomartyr - Relatives In Descent
- Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me
- Honourable mentions to The Smith Street Band, Slowdive, Girlpool, Torres, The New Year & Aldous Harding.
Top 10 Electro Albums (in no particular order)
- Artefakt - Kinship
- Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
- Hannah Peel - Mary Casio:Journey To Cassiopeia
- Bicep - Bicep
- Hundred Waters - Communicating
- Huerco S. - For Those Of You Who Have Never
- Slow Meadow - Slow Meadow
- Bibio - Phantom Brickworks
- Earthen Sea - An Act Of Love
- New Jackson - From Night To Night
- Honourable mentions to DJ Seinfeld, The Pattern Forms, Vessels, Bonobo, Arvo Party & Mount Kimbie
Top 10 Gigs (in no particular order)
- Nick Cave @ The O2
- Mark Eitzel @ Whelans
- The Gloaming @ NCH
- Destroyer @ The Button Factory
- Angel Olsen @ Vicar St.
- The Wedding Present @ The Academy
- Julie Byrne @ Whelans
- LCD Soundsystem @ The Olympia
- Belle & Sebastian @ The Hollywood Bowl
- Protomartyr @ Whelans
- Honourable mentions to Ride, Afghan Whigs & The National
- 2017 was my 1st time seeing Nick Cave live, and we got up close at the O2 in London. He really is like no other. Unforgettable.
- The LCD Soundsystem show in the Olympia was awesome! The anticipation beforehand was like nothing I've experienced in many years, and the show itself surpassed my expectations.
They were that good, I may consider going to see them again in a field in north Dublin next year!
- I saw Julie Byrne support Nadia Reid in Whelans, her voice was incredible. Many bigger venues to come for Julie I think.
This is a Spotify playlist containing a few tunes that hooked me in during 2017. Best wishes to all for 2018, and I look forward to reading the lists!
1. Smith Street Band - More Scared of you than you are of Me
2. Whitehorse - Panther in the Dollhouse
3. The National - Sleep Well Beast
4. Iron & Wine - Beast Epic
5. The XX - I See You
6. Sylvan Esso - What Now
7. Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface
8. Brand New - Science Fiction
9. Ryan Adams - Prisoner
10. Slowdive - Slowdive
The Afghan Whigs - In Spades
Big Thief - Capacity
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Peter Perrett - How the West was Won
Alison Crutchfield - Tourist in this Town
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life
The Weather Station - The Weather Station
Lydia Ainsworth - Darling of the Afterglow.
Mixtape (There were some absolutely stand out tunes this year.)
1. Sacred Paws - Everyday
2. Desperate Journalist - Why are you so Boring?
3. Iron and Wine - Call it Dreaming
4. The Smith Street Band - 25
5. Land of Talk - Loving
6. The XX - Dangerous
7. The National - Nobody Else will be there
8. Jason Isbell - Molotov
9. Spoon - Hot Thoughts
10. Dagny, Mark McCabe - Love you like that
In the why can I have only the 10 category - any other year these would be well inside any top 10.
Lydia Loveless - Desire
Whitehorse - Pink Kimono
Manchester Orchestra - The Maze
Brand New - Waste
Peter Perrett - Take me Home
Mark Eitzel - An Answer
Buffalo Tom - Islington Town Hall
Divine Comedy - Bord Gais
Jason Isbell - Olympia
Ryan Adams - Olympia
Girl Band - Dolans
La La Land
Blade Runner 2049
My travels have meant that I haven't felt the force yet but, you know, I'll be IMAXing it like the rest of the known universe....;-)
Game of Thrones (I know...Hardly original but one can't deny that it was the appointment view of the year)
Curb your Enthusiasm
Rick and Morty (Just discovered this this year - laugh out loud funny!)
Ozark (..another example of anything that gets to put Radiohead on its soundtrack being well worth a look..)
I watched one episode of Twin Peaks and decided immediately that this had to be my Christmas binge-fest. So many WTF moments and red-herrings you're better off watching the whole lot together rather than worrying about any one bit of it......
Limerick U17 Cup Final Aisling 2 - Kilfrush 3. Getting done in the 6th minute of extra time injury time really sticks in the craw. One part of me kind of admires that our opponents were able to play a referee who clearly had a preferred result in mind so well. The rest of me? When your own young fella is one of the lads who was a victim of the 'softening up' process well, enough said. That a referee could find 7 minutes of extra time injury time though - when he reckoned 3 were enough after the 90?
Manchester City. Look-if you're going to spunk a billion lids on a team then you might as well challenge them to play. Witness the puke ball that's being served up across on the red side of that town and not on a particularly tight budget either ;-) Some of the football City have played this year has been simply breathtaking and I know they've won nowt yet but the league is already in the bag..and I'm not buying the mercenary tag either; People seem to forget that Clough spent a million quid on Trevor Francis and broke the world record for a Keeper to Bring Shilton to Notts Forest.
All year she simply bestrode the middle distance division and her Arc de Triomphe victory capped a wonderful season. Best mare I've seen since Treve who was just about the best ever in my opinion so we're talking pretty exceptional stuff here to be honest.
Mitchell Starc's wonderball
to most likely end James Vince's England career and set Australia on their way to regaining the ashes. Doing that to a set batsman is simply different gravy.
Punchestown Gold Cup win when he could have cried enough after a long season was heart-stopping stuff.
TUE stuff in the cycling was really depressing given how far they'd gone toward rehabilitating the sport via the biometric passports. What to believe in now?
another extra time defeat to UCD in a Collingwood semi-final. Given our respective budgets we're clearly punching above our weight but this wasn't the hard luck story that last year was. ...and with the new qualification rules we might not even get to the Collingwood this year. Maynooth (even if we are at home) are laden with LOI talent and it looks a real banana skin for us - here's hoping!!
A mixed year, some good gigs. I caught a good few bands I had always meant to see but hadn’t got around to. Unfortunately I picked up a running injury which put me out for 6 months (and counting) which was extremely frustrating. Happy New Year to everyone and I can't wait to get inspired by the lists!
- Girl Band, Rusangano Family, Lynched @ Vicar Street
- Jim White @ Upstairs in Whelan’s
- Radiohead @ 3 Arena
- Kiasmos @ Vicar Street
- The Comet is Coming @ Sugar Club
- Car Seat Headrest @ Sugar Club
- Eddie Vedder & Glen Hansard @ 3 Arena
- Lamb @ The Academy
- Laurie Anderson @ NCH
Girl Band never disappoint, another brilliant gig in Vicar Street. A great intimate Jim White gig in Whelan’s probably 19 or 20 years since we saw him there first? I loved the Kiasmos gig, minimalist Icelandic Techno. Car Seat Headrest in The Sugar Club with an achingly young and nerdy crowd! The Comet is Coming played a brilliant gig in The Sugar Club and it was fun to finally catch Lamb in the Academy. Radiohead @ Tghe 3 Arena and Laurie Anderson’s residency in the NCH finish off my list!
- Strange Peace- METZ
- Learning to Growl - Overhead the Albatross
- Kiasmos - Kiasmos
- Blurred - Kiasmos
- Ole - John Coltrane
- Changeless - Keith Jarrett Trio
METZ released another great noise rock album, they will be back playing in Whelan’s in May of next year. I will be seeing Overhead the Albatross for the first time live at the end of this month. Kiasmos put on a great gig and their albums are beautiful. And one new (to me) Jazz album Coltrane’s Olé and returning to an old favourite, Keith Jarrett’s Changeless. It wasn’t generally a year of albums for me but I have put up a Spotify list of what I’m listening to at the moment.
FILMS & TV
- The Farthest
- Lady Macbeth
- Rubble Kings
- Fog of War
- Obey Giant
- Le Doulos
- Life in a Day - Western States 100
I didn’t get to see as much this year as I would have liked but the documentary on the Voyager spacecraft, The Farthest, was great. And I was sceptical going into it. Rubble Kings about the NYC gang culture and how the Bronx moved out of it was great as was Lady Macbeth. Hat tips to old films, The Fog of War and Le Doulos which I saw for the first time this year. For TV shows I have been addicted to the PBS series on The Vietnam War released this year.
- From Eden @ Bewley’s Cafe Theatre
- The Great Gatsby @ Gate Theatre
- Crestfall @ Peacock Theatre
- Raven Eyed @Abandoned Warehouse in the North Lotts
After a dismal year last year theatre picked up a bit for me this year. From Eden in the Bewley’s Theatre was a well done two hander. The Great Gatsby, while a bit silly, was fun and at least the new management of the Gate are trying something new. Mark O’ Rowe as always was brilliant and I loved Loosey Smokes site-specific work Raven Eyed, although it was hard to compare to their last piece in the woods of the Phoenix Park.
- Goya’s 'Disasters of War’ @ The Chester Beatty
- Kathe Kollowitz Exhibition @ National Gallery
- Werner Herzog Interview @ The NCH
- All City Tivoli Graffiti Jam
- Distraction Pieces Podcast @ Tivoli Theatre
- Hundred Push Ups
I got to listen to Werner Herzog interviewed in the NCH, which has subsequently been released here The print exhibitions of Goya’s Disasters of War and the Kathe Kollowitz exhibition in the National Gallery were brilliant but really grim. I got to take pictures at the All City Tivoli Jam, some amazing pieces, especially by Aches. Listening to Scroobius Pip at the Dublin Podcast Festival was pretty cool too. I put in the Hundred Pushups site as I started that this year as a test. Based off thre Russian principle of Greasing the Groove it is very effective, while I haven’t hit the 100 in a row yet I’m above 90 so hopefully not too far off! And that for someone with absolutely no strength! Worth a look.
Here you go lads - the definitive Top 10 2017 albums, as voted on by just another music guy in Seattle :)
1. The xx – I See You (Young Turks)
2. Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder (Arts & Crafts)
3. The National – Sleep Well Beast (4AD)
4. The Horrors – V (Wolf Tone)
5. Beck – Colors (Capitol)
6. Ryan Adams – Prisoner (Blue Note)
7. Fleet Foxes – Crack Up (Nonesuch)
8. The Afghan Whigs – In Spades (Sub Pop)
9. Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry (Sub Pop)
10. Liam Gallagher – As You Were (Warner Bros)
Happy holidays to you and yours. Be safe, be well.
- The National - Sleep Well Beast
This is their best album, its a real grower
- Slowdive - Slowdive
A sensational comeback album, better than anything they did originally
- LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
The first time one of his albums grabbed, love the first track especially
- Lambchop - Flotus
Lambchop were off my radar for a long time, but I was happy to get reacquainted with them. The first and last tracks in particular are epic masterpieces
- Elbow - Little Fictions
To my surprise I really enjoyed this, listened to it a lot at the start of the year
- Tinariwen - Elwan
Another stunning album from the exiled Tuareg musicians; check it out! Also has my favourite album cover of the year
- Perfume Genius - No Shape
- Kendrick Lamar - DAMN
- Public Service Broadcasting - Every Vally
- Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
- The XX - I See You
- Lorde - Melodrama
- Mogwai - Every Country's Sun
- Deerhoof - Mountain Moves
Brendan's Top TV 2017
- The Handmaid's Tale [Hulu]
Clearly the standout TV series of the year, profoundly scary but totally captivating
- Better Call Saul (Season 3) [Netflix]
Gets better and better.
- Master of None (Season 2) [Netflix]
I liked the first season, but this season was way better, especially the episodes in Italy
- Orange is the New Black (Season 5) [Netflix]
Not quite as strong as season 4 but still packs a punch
- Hip Hop Revolution [Netflix]
Documentary series about the birth of Hip Hop, worth checking out
- Godless [Netflix]
Gritty Western mini-series, with Jeff Bridges as the baddie, very entertaining
- Anne with an E [Netflix]
Nice adaptation of Anne of the Green Gables for all the family (although my own kids wouldn't tolerate it)
- 13 Reasons Why [Netflix]
- Blue Planet II [BBC]
Brendan's Top Podcasts 2017
- S-Town [Brian Reed]
It's hard to describe quite how stunning this podcast is, it's got everything. Highly, highly recommended...
- Ear Hustle [Radiotopia]
Hosted by a San Quentin inmate this podcast gives a moving insight into life as a prisoner in the US
- Revisionist History [Malcolm Gladwell]
Really well made series that is sort-of about historical incidents and is sublty subversive
- 30 for 30 Podcasts [ESPN]
Another really well made podcast, focussing on unusual stories from (mostly US) based sports. The episode about the guys who made a fortune from "Yankees Suck" t-shirts is fascinating
- Brexit Means [The Guardian]
- Talking Politics
Three podcasts worth a listen to keep up with the Brexit lunacy
Festive Greetings one and all!
Cannot believe this year has passed so quickly but then again, I spent the first six months on super strength pain killers for a series of herniated discs.... Other than that it's been a great year at work and home.
So onto my top lists of the year!
Top 10 Albums (no particular order)
1. Baxter Dury - Prince of Tears
2. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
3. Jane Weaver - Modern Cosmology
4. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland
5. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
6. Mark Lanegan - Gargoyle
7. Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog
8. Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins
9. Duke Garwood - Garden of Ashes
10. Electric Wizard - Wizard, Bloody Wizard
Top 10 Films (no particular order)
Still rarely get to the cinema and with the death of Lovefilm.com I've missed out on a lot of new releases but here goes...
2. Logan Lucky
3. Star Wars - Rogue One (was on diazapam when I first saw it at the cinema - a very different film to the DVD version months later!)
4. Baby Driver
6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
7. John Wick 2
8. Free Fire
9.Spiderman - Homecoming
10. Star Wars The Last Jedi
Best Live Events
Again, not much opportunity to get out much but when I did (twice) it was excellent
1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Bournemouth
2. James Acaster - Exeter
Wishing you all the best of 2018! (thanks again Tom for the sorting this out!)
- Aldous Harding - Party
- I got to thank Caroline for spotting Aldous Harding on jools, certainly album of the year, amazing voice, I love the quietness and gentleness of the songs reminds me a lot of Sufjan's Carrie and Lowell. Guest appearance from my No. 2 artist on the last song too
- Perfume Genius - No Shape
- Epic mix of tunes, thumping dance sounds, quiet stripped down tunes all held together by Mike amazing voice.
- James Vincent McMorrow - True Care
- Surprise Album from JVM, he gets his soul on, gorgeous catchy tunes, this should make him huge in the states, there seems to be a California breezey feel to the songs.
- King Krule - ooz - Dum Surfer
- Archy Marshall distinctive voice sets him apart from the pack. His diverse musical influences makes this a real grower too, punk to jazz to indie to trip hop, he manages to pull it all together with great lyrics about modern day messiness of life.
- The Drums - Abysmal Thoughts
- More breezy catchy tunes from Jonathon still as the drums but now a solo project. The jauntiness of the tunes masks the sadness of the stories behind the songs
- Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
- Anyone who can get Nebacenezers into a lyric is impressive. A lot of Whipping boy similarities on this album, some gorgeous guitar riffs, lots of railing against how messed up the world is, but there's still some hope to be found in the songs.
- Julie Byrne - Not even Happiness
- What a gorgeous voice Julie Byrne has, the gentle sparse folky sound washes over you, there doesn't seem to be much going on at first but give it a few listens and you'll be rewarded.
- Minor Victories - Minor Victories
- Missed this from last year, discovered thanks to Garbhan's top 10. An indie super group, I've always had a soft spot for Rachel Goslings vocals since the Mojave 3 days, lovely languid way of singing. Guest appearance from Mark Kozolek worth checking out.
- The XX - I See You
- It's the XX, perhaps the modern day Massive Attack, gorgeous tunes, great beats, From the start of the year so it was nice listening to it again in the last few weeks, some stand out tunes.
- Cigarettes After Sex
- Crap name for a band, still can't bring myself to say it, but their album is really good, Reminds me a lot cowboy junkies
- Sufjan Stevens - Planetarium
- Epic project from Sufjan and Friends, a lot going on in this album, I discovered something new with each listen, well worth giving it time.
- Bjork - Utopia
- Worth checking out for Blissing me, a warm blanket of sound, gorgeous harp, melancholy story of her relationship impossible not to be moved by it.
- Sun Kil Moon - Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
I'm enjoying Marks new approach to song writing, his great music is overlayed with lots of mundane chatter, somehow it works. He has another album
- with Jim Whitefrom Drithy three drumming, I didn't get listening to it much but it sounds very jazz influenced.
- New Jackson - From Night to Night
- Some great infectious dancey pop tunes from David Kitt.
- Mount Kimbie - Love what survives
- Some really great collaborations on this album, including one of the stand out tunes of the year, Blue Train Lines.
- Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder
- Sometimes I just need to hear the jangly guitars played loud and BSS step up to do this
- The Horrors - V
- Very 80s early 90s sound that reminded me of gene, lots of catchy tunes, vocals very depeche mode, which is a good thing a bit of Interpol thrown in too. Epic tune something to remind me... to close out album.
- The Gloaming @NCH
- Perfume Genius @ Tivoli
- Protomartyr @ Whelans
- Sun Kil Moon @ Vicar St.
- Angel Olsen @ Vicar St.
- Belle & Sebastian @ Iveagh Gardens
- The Drums @ Whelans
- Bell X1 @ Olympia & Trinity College
- Cass McCombs @ Whelans
- Lori Anderson @NCH
- Mark Eitzel @ Whelans
- Ryn The Jewels @ Olympia
- Sarah Neufeld @ Bello Bar
Lots of past discoveries, but selection of 2017 releases selection below in no particular order
Ali Kuru - Madari EP
Ali Kuru - Egzotik
Baxter Dury - Prince of Tears
Noel Gallagher’s HFB- Who built the moon?
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - lotta sea lice
Beck - Colors
Mogwai - Every Country’s Sun
The Smiths - The Queen is Dead (2017 Remaster Deluxe Ed)
Will Samson - Welcome Oxygen
Real Estate - In Mind
This is the Kit - Moonshine Freeze
Morrissey - Low in High School
Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley
Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything
Film - Cinema
The Love Witch
England is Mine
Manchester by the Sea
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The Other Side of Hope
Murder on The Orient Express
It Comes at Night
Gigs - pretty sparse compared to other years
Warpaint - Vicar St
Ride - The Olympia
Jesus And Mary Chain - The Academy
EP 2017 - some gems amongst an ok lineup. Divine Comedy were great & literary tent was an engaging diversion
Forbidden Fruit - washout!
Niall Rodgers & Chic - 3 Arena
Global Cycling Network
Global Triathlon Network
Personal Sporting Activity Highlights
Not many events this year apart from Great Fjord Swim & Great Dublin Bike Ride, both of which were....great. Did a lot of solo training targetting PB's and achieved new ones across all tri disciplines. Setting the bar higher for 2018.
Running : new solo 5k PB
Swimming : new solo 1k PB
Cycling : new solo 40k TT PB
Targeted a few Strava KOM podiums
3rd all time (out of 833) on anti-clockwise 9.3km lap of Phoenix Park.
First (out of 2,503) this year on Museum Sprint .3km segment, Wolfe Tone Quay, Dublin.
Love cycling abroad and got do some roadbiking in Mallorca & around and outside Las Vegas & MTB in Red Rock.
Gadgets, Gear, etc
Garmin Vivoactive HR watch - Still a great all rounder
SportPursuit.com - top notch sports kit incredible deals - get nearly all my stuff here
YoeleoSports.com - got some aero carbon bike wheels from China. Very pleased
Shimano Lace Up MTB Cycling Shoes - Put some elastic ultimate laces in these. Easy on Easy Off. Walkable. Great for commuting, touring and tri's also for faster transtion
Shimano Action cam - Black Friday deal for €80 waterproof to 30m - good for analysing swimming stroke and can overlay data from Garmin for cycling.
The search for the lightest perfect saddle continued. I'm still with the Specialized Power Pro which I got in January after switching from the Brooks Cambium.
General Sporting Highlights
The buildup to & actual McGregor - Mayweather fight
First goal against Denmark in Aviva. Downhill from there though..
Sparks of life in Cork hurling revival from a low place
Irish Rugby autumn internationals
Peter Sagan’s victory in World Cycling Champs and retention of rainbow jersey.
McG - Best of 2017
Here we go - Into the breach again...
An eclectic blend this year, from roots/country to electronica and hip-hop, and a few in between
- Grandaddy - Last Place. I just love this band, and I played their latest album incessantly in 2017, never tiring of it. Actually I’m playing it as I type...
- LCD Soundsystem - american dream. Not their best perhaps, but that’s OK - still loads of stonking tunes and dancefloor fillers
- St. Vincent - Masseduction. I think everyone knows about her now, right? About time (see gigs below)
- Elbow - Little Fictions. Cracking tunes, great lyrics. Back to top form (see gigs below)
- Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens. What a debut. Trippy beats, gorgeous vocals, yum (see gigs below)
- Father John Misty - Pure Comedy. Off the wall lyrics, pure comedy indeed. Lots of influences, but some lovely tunes so who cares? (see gigs below)
- Kendrick Lamar - Damn. Top of his game. I know some of you will have him higher, but competition is tough this year
- I Draw Slow - Turn your face to the sun. I can’t believe they are from Dublin. More like deepest Tennessee. Every song is top drawer, beautiful
- Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial. Cracking indie pop - everyone should listen to Drunk DriversKiller Whale
- Girlpool - Powerplant. Aussie girl band, a grower and sneaks into the top ten this year - check them out
Best of the rest
- Lali Puna - Two Windows. Memories of Dineen, back and as good as ever
- Pond - The Weather. Love Tame Impala? Then you’ll love this
- DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall. OK, 2016 - but I missed it and this is one of his best albums
- Tom Adams - Voyages by Starlight. Simple, gorgeous (see gigs below)
- Clark - Death Peak. Thanks Tom for introducing at EP (see gigs below)
- Damien Dempsey - Soulsun. Go beyond the accent and any prejudices, and this is a really great Irish album
- Bonobo - Migration. More of the same from Bonobo - but that’s a good thing
- GoGo Penguin - Man Made Object. Three men, no machines, very impressive jazzy beats
- Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution. Still going still, impressive stuff
- The National - Sleep Well Beast. One of their mellower offerings, and not their best, but if you like them definitely worth a listen
I also enjoyed listening to all of these in 2017
- Everything Everything - A Fever Dream
- Mount Kimbie - Love what survives
- Lana del Rey - Lust for Life
- Will Stratton - Rosewood Almanac
- Lamomali - Toumani Diabate etc.
- Foxygen - Hang
- Wilco - Schmilco
- Thievery Corporation - The Temple of I and I
- Gorillaz - Humanz
- Ryan Adams - Prisoner
- Magou + Dakar Transit - Africa Yewul
- Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
- Lorde - Melodrama
- Future Islands - The Far Field
Best video DJ Shadow feat. Run the Jewels - Nobody Speak Hilarious
Older albums rediscovered
- Neil Young - Hitchhiker
- Rodriquez - Cold Fact / Coming from Reality
- Radiohead - TKOL RMX 1234567
Still haven’t tired of Electric Picnic, and there were a few other good ones too
- St. Vincent - Olympia. I’ve seen her before and somewhat knew what to expect, but holy shit this was something else. Two tracks from each of her older albums to start the show, then played the new album in its entirety - sounds crazy, but she pulled it off
- Electric Picnic. Not a classic, and less EP moments than previous years. Always great to share it with Tom, and thankfully we were prepared for the serious weather in the middle (think: refugee camp). I spent more time in the Other Voices tent, and Mindfield, than previous years and both were v. rewarding. My highlights in kinda order were: Michael Kiwanuka; Tom Adams; Father John Misty; Kelly Lee Owens; Perfume Genius; Saint Sister; Pretenders; Rag n Bone Man; Everything Everything; A Tribe Called Quest; Divine Comedy; London Grammer; Clark; Run The Jewels. Interviews with Blindboy Boatclub, Phil Jupitus and Paul Howard were all excellent
- Radiohead - 3 Arena. I despise this venue, but I never tire of seeing my favourite band live. Setlist
- Elbow - Olympia. I’ve seen them a few times now, but this one in my favourite venue was top drawer. You just can’t beat the Olympia when the crowd decides to life the roof, in this case for One Day Like This - spine-tingling stuff
- Maria McKee - St. Patricks Cathedral. I last saw her in the late 80’s, and went along this one more in hope than expectation, with my sister Hilary. Beautiful venue, and she was in great form - lots of banter, fun, and her voice is just stunning
- Body n Soul. No musical highlights to be honest - but a family daytrip with Tom, Christine and gang was great fun
- Magnetic Fields - National Concert. Played 25 songs of his 50 Song Memoir on each night. Beautiful set, beautifully played, beautifully performed - albeit by a madman
All below are in order of enjoyment and awesomeness. Homeland 6, don't bother
- Mr. Mercedes
- Searching for Sugar Man
- The Crown (series 1)
- Stranger Things (series 1)
- Better Call Saul (series 2, 3)
- Genius (10 part Einstein bio)
- Top of the Lake: China Girl
- House of Cards (series 3, 4)
Best youtube Inside the world of the Iceman
Adverse conditions and injury put paid to most of my new year goals, but still a few adventures in 2017
- Wales MTB - why change a winning formula? Blue skies made this one of the best ever - icing on the cake was the downhill park in Ffestiniog
- Glendalough swim (1.5km) - unbelievably challenging conditions - thought about giving up, but kept going to finish 20 mins slower than the same course last year. Richenda and Jill did the 750m too, big respect
- Wine Strand to Ballydavid swim (approx. 1.5km) - Tom planted the seed and I couldn't resist. Deep, cold open water, a bit of a swell, and hundreds of small jellyfish. Lets just saw I was happy to touch land. A great experience
- Copenhagen with Richenda. 10 out of 10, absolutely loved it. Biked everywhere
- Wicklow camping in Foldilocks - 10 weekends away, a new record
- Killary Great Fjord Swim (2k) - too cold for me and didn't finish. Disappointing, but still a fabulous weekend away with friends old and new
- Staff Relay in the Phoenix Park - teams of 5 ran 5k each. Great fun. The last time I ran this year
- The Lions sharing the spoils down in NZ - listened to all 3 matches on the radio at our campsite
- Last but not least - so many great arguments, chats, discussions, recommendations, disagreements, controversary, and nonsense in The Sports Lounge
- Get Out
- Gimme Danger
- Trainspotting T2
Another decent year for reading
Lots of great non-fiction in 2017
- Them: Adventures with Extremists (aka The Secret Rulers of the World) - Jon Ronson
- I Read the News Today, Oh Boy - Paul Howard. The life story of Tara Browne
- Stalingrad - Antony Beever
- How Music Works - David Byrne
- Just Kids - Patti Smith. Highly recommended for music buffs
- Where the Indus is Young - Dearbhla Murphy
- Tribe - Sebastian Junger
- Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela. Literally incredible story, very well told
- The Sindbad Voyage - Tim Severin
- The Great Railway Bazaar - Paul Theroux. Surely one of the great travel books
Just four novels this year
- The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch. Booker prize winning novel, epic and unusual
- The Rider - Tim Krabbe. All time classic book about a cycle race (re-read this)
- The Children Act - Ian McEwan
- Lead White- Ronan Lyons. Irish novel written by a friend of a friend, very entertaining
As always, have a great Xmas and New Year folks. Over and out
Hangover Moon by Col Patterson (A Kildare man)
That's it I'm sorry to say. I'm rarely inspired by any art these days. This guy and his story just blew me away. Standout songs are glide and angels on the wave.
Murphs 2017 List of Random Enthusiasm - A Smorgasbord of Aural and Visual Delights to Titilate and Amuse in Equal Measure
It’s been a busy year in the Murphy household, and as such I’ve been even more random than usual.
Surprisingly mainstream this year for me;
Foo Fighters - Concrete & Gold (much better than I thought it would be)
The Allergies - As We Do Our Thing (Fantastic funky hip hop)
Rancid – Troublemaker (A return to form for my favourite band)
The Allergies - Push On (Funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter!)
Thrice – Vheissu (Only just discovered this)
Father John Misty - Pure Comedy (More Elton John than Elton John)
Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark (Only just got this but liking it)
Prophets of Rage - Prophets of Rage (RATM, Chuck D & B-Real… say no more)
Liam Gallagher - As You Were (Way better than I thought it would be)
Stephen Stills - Manassas (Timeless)
James Gang – Straight Shooter (Charity shop LP of the year)
The Homeless Gospel Choir - Presents Normal (Such an incredible album)
Songhoy Blues, ‘Résistance’ (If you only buy one world music Lp this year….)
Baby Driver (Worth it for the use of ‘Bellbottoms’ by Jon Spencer alone…
Trainspotting T2 (Lived up to my expectations)
Swiss Army Man
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Easy plane fodder / guilty pleasure)
OZARK (A ‘must watch’ if you haven’t already)
The Get Down
Not read a great deal that I can remember this year, but this book was awesome;
1. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet - David Mitchell
Green Day supported by The Interrupters – the kids first big rock concert… was awesome seeing it all through their eyes. Particularly liked chanting ‘Fuck Trump’ with my 9 & 10 year olds and my wife… A life moment!
The Slacks – A great kiwi band and friends of my friends who were getting married so they played their wedding! Amazing experience.
Fat Freddy’s Drop – As good as ever
The Black Seeds – Not as good as Fat Freddy’s but good nonetheless.
As I said last year… my life doesn’t lend itself to long term planning, and so I usually buy tickets then can’t go… or else don’t buy tickets.
Once again… full PROPS to Tom for keeping this going all these years. I love doing it, and I love seeing how out of touch with everyone else’s taste I am!
Merry Christmas and have a great 2018 y’all
I need to get my thinking cap on re 2017- the trouble is I don't keep track of anything and then end up forgetting anything that happened prior to 3 months ago.
Anyway, the absolute highlight for me in 2017 was the Belle and Sebastian concert in Iveagh Gardens - made all the better of course because we were there with Dave and Richenda, but imagine this- I ended up on the stage for 'The Boy with the arab strap' and 'Legal Man'! What an absolute joy! I couldn't believe when the security guard hoisted me over the railings and next thing I was being directed on to the stage and dancing my socks off infront of a few thousand like minded souls. I got to shake Stuart and Stevie's hand- I got to say thank you to the band that have given me so much joy, comfort, enjoyment..you name it. Words can't describe it but I'm sure you can imagine.
So what can follow that? We saw Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill in St Luke's church in Cork- gorgeous, mesmerising. Beautiful venue. A few weeks later we got to Damien Dempsey in St Luke's- great great show, and totally blew the cob webs off us.
And then of course the Franks in Connollys of Leap- a night of nights. First time in Connollys and it didn't disappoint. Great night spent with old friends and old tunes- magic.
What else- went to see Amiina play 'fantomas' in Cork- sound track to an old French black and white movie- really really good- the drummer was outstanding- I know that sounds odd for Amiina, but he was out on his own.
spotify has taken over our house and so have the boys so their play lists get longer and I get less time to listen. I've been listening to less music when running or in the car and more podcasts.
Well, we finally got rid of Sky so now trying to survive on Netflix and Amazon ...doing ok with that actually (I don't miss the sport, sorry Joe!). we absolutely loved 'Stranger Things' and now that Eanna has also seen it, I did get a kick out of explaining life in the 80s to him.
Loved the Crown also and absolutely thoroughly enjoyed 'Alias Grace'.
Tom, I think that's about it- I read a few decent books, but what can I remember? just read 'Hillbilly Elegy' over Christmas- a mighty read though depressing. I think it would make a great movie. Also read 'the Hand maid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood, and will have to wait for Netflix to take up the TV adaptation.
I read 'A Spool of Blue Thread' by my beloved Anne Tyler over the summer- savoured it.
And I suppose a final mention for travel- what a blast we had in Boston and New York with the lads- their little faces in Times Square- it was awesome- I mean really. Also Paris at Easter- the open top bus tour/ the Eiffel tower... it was an absolute blast tearing around with these guys, makes me hopeful for more travels in the future.
And also let it be known that 2017 was the year when I finally jumped off Kilcrohane pier (ok it was July but still).
Tom ok so this will be the year that I will keep a note of what I read, listen to etc. Next year's post will be far more put together,
Top albums in a random order
- Thundercat – Drunk
- Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gill - Two Friends, One Century of Music (Live) listen
- Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives listen
- Bonobo - Migration listen
- Ariel Pink - Dedicated to Bobby Jameson listen
Sampha - Process listen
Hype Williams - Rainbow Edition listen
- Four Tet - New Energy listen
- Mount Eerie - A crow looked at me listen
The Animal Spirits - The Animal Spirits listen
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN listen
Nicholas Payton – Afro Caribbean Mixtape listen
Slow Place Like Home - When I See You... Ice Scream listen
- Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference listen
- Ryuichi Sakamoto - async listen
- Richard Dawson - Peasant listen
- The Hixton Hopster - Adventures in the Lo Registers listen
Blak Twang - Dettwork Southeast listen
Here are some tunes, first half very chilled, second not so much
Top Ten 2017 playlist
- Girl from the North Country by Conor McPherson
- The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth
- The Sellout by Paul Beatty
- Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
- The Bricks That Built The Houses by Kate Tempest
I completed my first Ironman this year. The event itself was really enjoyable after 6 months of pretty intense training, mainly prior to work and Sunday morning rides in the North Downs. Like everything in life, if you put in the effort then anything is possible. I guess it comes down to finding the time. I went back to Killary this year for the Great Fjord Swim. Again it was an excellent weekend, a chance to catch up with friends. I did the 3.8km swim this year, tidal conditions meant it was tougher than last year but again, a lot of fun. I decided I would try winter swimming (without a wetsuit) so currently I am going to the Serpentine Lido in central London for a pre-dawn swim a couple of times a week. I have managed 300mtrs in 1C water and 1000mtrs in 6C water. Its an interesting experience for sure
- The Outlaw long distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42km run) - Nottingham, July 2017
- The Great Fjord 3.8km swim - Killary, September 2017
- Cold water swimming Serpentine Lido, Winter 2017
Spotify playlist of Favourite tracks from my favourite albums of 2017
Top 10 Albums
1. Aldous Harding - Party
2. Planetarium - James McAlister, Sufjan, Nico, Bryce Dessner
3. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
4. Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White
5. Perfume Genius - No Shape
6. Common - Black America Again
7. Sarah Neufeld - The Ridge
8. The XX - I See You
9. Run The Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
10. Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - Never Were The Way She Was
Loyle Carner - Yesterday’s Gone
Dirty Projectors - Cool Your Heart
Arca - Arca
Caleborate - 1993
Actress - AZD
New Jackson - From Night To Night
James Vincent McMorrow - True Care
Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
James Holden - The Inheritors
Talib Kweli - Radio Silence
Julia Kent - Venizelos
Sarah Davachi - All My Circles Run
Liars - TFCF
Vic Mensa - The Autobiography
Top 9 Gigs
1. Sun Kil Moon - Le Guess Who - Utrecht
2. Sun Kil Moon - Vicar Street
3. Perfume Genius - Tivoli
4. Laurie Anderson - NCH
5. Belle and Sebastian - Iveagh Gardens
6. Anderson Park - The Academy
7. Drums - Whelans
8. Bellx1 - Trinity College
9. Angel Olsen - Vicar Street
Top 9 Films
2. The Handmaiden
3. Manchester By The Sea
4. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
6. Blade Runner 2049
7. The Florida Project
8. La La Land
9. The Beguiled
Here goes my top 10 of 2017: (old and new that popped up throughout my year)
Sufjan Stevens - Mystery of love (song from Call me by Your Name Soundtrack)
Phosphorescent - Song for Zula (song)
Mac demarco - This Old Dog (album)
John Maus - Hey Moon (song)
Lou Reed - The Magician (song)
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (album)
Clogs - Stick Music (album)
Cluster and Eno (album)
John Cage - Dream (piece of music)
The Loafing Heroes - The Baron in the Trees (album)
A music-head work buddy recently asked me what I was listening to that as making me so happy, and laughed when I said 'misanthropic sludgecore' - he thought I was just making something up at first! Back in the day there was a really lively punk/metal/alternative rock scene in my hometown, it seemed like everybody I knew was in at least one band. But when I was about 19 this unheard band from Nottingham came down and blew the lid off the pub basement venue where all our gigs happened. They were scary, serious-looking bastards and they played a mix of Black Sabbath and Black Flag styles that nobody had heard before, their singer making inhuman screams, grunts and roars as he prowled up and down the front of the stage, seemingly disconnected from the upliftingly punishing music behind him...but while it sounds like a horror show, these guys were all dressed 'normally' - pairs of vans, baggy jeans, shirt or tee, and maybe a baseball cap, and the music had this certain energy, groove and swagger that made it unexpectedly joyous.
Anyway, they put out two CDs and broke up, the singer died of a heart condition or similar, and they became one of those revered bands.
Until this year, about 20 years later, two of the founding members announced that they were reforming the band without any of the surviving members, most of whom seemingly approved. They put out this amazingly angry, energetic, acerbic, UPLIFTING album, disregarding acres of social media backlash from people who weren't even around for the music 20 years ago and yet thought that a sell-out had occurred or that the hallowed name of the band has been damaged in some way - whatever.??
Apologies, a super long first entry, basically boils down to 'incredibly important and distinctive formative years band reappear out of nowhere with ace new record and a well-deserved swagger'. If you like intense music you may dig this, if you don't the band couldn't care less - bless their little hearts...
Iron Monkey - Crown of Electrodes (Official Visualizer Video)
Another hometown entry, these young dudes started playing gigs in the local scene as I left Swansea for London about 10 years ago, and I never caught them when I visited home so I never heard any of their music...despite the fact that they released 3 proper albums through a proper independent record label, as well as a bunch of singles, and toured Europe and (I think) the U.S. - pretty good going for a hometown scene band! Anyway, I had reason to finally check them out on Spotify and was blown away - THIS is the one rocking band that you'd want to see in a tent at an indie and electronica festival, the sheer exuberance and energy that they put into their super-catchy rocking punk rock...amazing. I wish I'd seen them live. There's a link to the album I've been rinsing below, ordered a copy of vinyl through Bandcamp and had an apology for the slow delivery - the vinyl still gets posted out by the bass player's mum!
This early 1970s punk band recently achieved some retrospective kudos for pioneering the early American punk sound (think CBGBs, The Ramones, etc) a couple of years before the whole US punk scene kicked off in NY with The Ramones. The 3 brothers recorded most of an incredibly catchy, groovy, rocking album before they were ordered to change their rather un-commercial name by their record company...who shelved the album when the band refused to change it. This could have so easily remained undiscovered indefinitely but the story and recordings came to light a few years ago. Fascinating stuff, there may be a documentary too, read more on Wiki entry below.
I've played this digitally for a few years now (2008/2009?) but it's current again for me because my little brother got me the LP for birthday this year - sounds lush, beautiful energetic 70s rock with some soul and some grit...here's the first song off the album, is killer!
Death - Keep on Knocking (1976)
Came across this beautiful early Japanese ambient music album recently by randomly reading about an impending re-release on some article (The Quietus maybe?), I think the headline must have drawn me in. This guy has some history, the only album I've heard so far though is Music for Nine Post Cards - it's beautiful, minimal, sparse, relaxing, transporting, and utterly tasteful. It's my 'new' go-to chillout album, check it out!
Hiroshi Yoshimura – Music For Nine Post Cards (Wave Notation 1) [1982, full album]
***** It's been a long day and the sleeping baby on me is stirring, MUCH SHORTER entries for the rest of my 10! :) *******
Mogwai, Trent Reznor
The new Mogwai album is superb, applying their 'usual' song formula to an entire album - quite the listen! It's been very widely publicized (deservedly so) but the band's release before this has slipped the radar a bit I think. They collaborated on an excellent soundtrack to Leonardo DiCaprio's wonderful Before The Flood documentary, with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and some other musicians, and the resulting double album is beyond worth a play - the different musicians complement one another wonderfully, and it stands at the top of Mogwai's respectable soundtrack work. On Spotify etc, look it up!
Amazing psychedelic mostly- instrumental jam-kicking rock band, look a bit Spinal Tap, their newest album just has 4 really long grooving rock songs on it , and is fantastic for cycling or driving!
Iron & Wine
The new album is great, very chilled summer night-sounding...not going to write more for this one.. :)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Was not expecting a new GYBE! album this year, holy cow! While the last two similarly unexpected albums have been quite chuggy rock guitar affairs, this takes them back to the Raise Your Skinny Fists era, beautiful and uplifting music as an antidote to all the political and social darkness that seems to be spreading without end at the moment...such a good record.
Two blasts from the past, I'm playing the Low - Christmas record absolutely loads this year - absolutely unmissable if you're a fan of this sublimely slow outfit.
Have been complementing it with something absolutely energetic, Phil Spector.'s A Christmas Gift To You album - it's so good! Energetic versions of a whole bunch of Christmas standards (including the Ronettes' outstanding "Ding a ling a ding dong ding" version of Sleigh Ride), all recorded in the dense 'wall of sound' style, sounds great!
A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector - Full Album (blocked in Ireland)
Was going to talk about comics some, but am either out of entries or out of sleeping baby time...but have recently read a few of Paul Pope's amazing Japanese/European-style Battling Boy books, which are spot on for teenage readers - Pope takes a whole bunch of classic mythological and pop culture themes and remixes them with young male and female lead characters for young 21st century readers...so good. And a mad sci fi comic called Extremity that reads like a funky mix of Mad Max, Akira, and Studio Ghibli films...much better than I make it sound! One paperback volume out already, a second one set for spring 2018...
1- Twin Peaks
2- Blade runner 2049
3- Fargo Season 2
5- Stranger things seasons 1/2
Best Albums- no particular order
War on Drugs- A deeper understanding
Loyle Carner - Yesterdays Gone
Kendrick Lamar- DAMN
Perfume Genius- No Shape
Wolf Alice- Visions of a life
The National - Sleep Well Beast
LCD Soundsystem- American Dream
Delaney Davidson- Isaac theatre royal
Lawrence Arabia - Nostalgia Festival
Liam Finn - Nostalgia festival
The Examined Life - Stephen Grosz
The Allegations- Mark Lawson
Set the Boy Free- Johnny Marr
The Path - Professor Michael Puett
The Shadow Lines- Amitav Ghosh