Top 10 Lists 2019


Album of the year

  1. Fontaines DC - Dogrel
  2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
  3. Aldous Harding - Designer
  4. Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
  5. Vampire Weekend - Father Of The Bride
  6. Julia Jacklin - Crushing
  7. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
  8. Bill Callahan - Shepherd in a sheepskin vest
  9. Big Thief – Two Hands
  10. The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears

Film of the year

  1. Once Upon a time in Hollywood

TV series of the year

  1. Succession
  2. Chernobyl
  3. Watchmen


Scott Balikian  Declan Bates  Enda Bates  Garbhán Blake  Mark Butcher  Gerard Cagney  Catriona Cahill  Tom Corcoran  Tony Corrigan  Zoe Eustace  Richie Evans  Martin Hayes  Ronan Hickey  Lucas Hilbert  Chris Louca  Niall Lynch  Dave McGuinness  Derek Murphy  Martin O'Gorman  Caroline O'Reilly  Colin Waugh 

Scott Balikian


There’s going to be a lot of stuff that was not release in 2019 on here. I’ve also been using Amazon’s streaming service which I can’t seem to find my most played here. I mostly dislike it, but I dislike most streaming services for one reason or another.

Sault – 7

A buddy had been recommending these guys for the last few weeks. They finally clicked for me last week and I can’t get enough of this album.

Slayer – Reign in Blood

Never listened to Slayer during my brief metal phase in junior high school. Just needed something loud and fast one day and this really nailed it. Unfortunately, all the searching I did really killed my recommendations. All I got for weeks was shitty metal bands recommended to me.

Jason Isbell – Southeastern (2013), Something More Than Free (2015)

Still a huge fan of both these.

John Moreland – High on Tulsa Heat (2015), Big Bad Love (2017), In the Throes (2013)

One of the best recent American songwriters. HOTH will always be in my list as it was what I was listening to everyday while spending a month in southern Indiana waiting for my song to be born.

Walter Martin – My Kind of Music (2017) Coeo – “Flesh World”

Really rediscovered House music this year. Been playing this track constantly along with Pete Heller’s “Big Love”

The Cure – Curaetion 25 and Anniversary

Both of these live albums are just amazing.

Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel Riton & Kah-lo – Foreign Ororo

This album RULES. I likely have listened to this album the most this year. Maybe challenged by John Moreland.

Little Simz – GREY area

“Boss” Oh my.

Jitwam – whole catalog

Just discovered Jitwam this year and just been digging it all


I didn’t make it to many shows this year. I will blame my 2 year old kid. Got out to see the Hold Steady which was fun.

Events MLS Cup Final

My wife and I made it to Seattle’s first Cup final in Toronto in 2016. That was fun, but this one was better. At home for the win! If you don’t follow MLS, the Sounders have been in the Cup final 3 of the last 4 years – all against Toronto. 2-1 record over those 4 years. So much fun.

Walking the East Highland Way

A few years ago, my wife, sister-in-law and I walked the Camino Portuguese route. My SIL has done a couple other walks. She wanted to the West Highland Way, but we do things so last minute, that it’s hard to book things, so we opted for the less popular and newer East Highland Way. Just had a killer time. I’m really digging walking tours. My wife, not so much. She and my son came along and picked us up and dropped us back off each day.

Pacific Crest Trail – Section J

Last year I hiked Section I (Chinook Pass to Snoqualmie Pass here in Washington) with my 18 year old nephew and my friend Stan. This year Stan hiked the entire 2600 mile trail and I joined him for Section J (Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass). The scenery is just hard to describe. Beautiful beyond belief. Got an early snow dump on us the first night and spent the next 5 days walking up and down in the snow.


2 weeks ago. With the family plus my parents and a friend. My son’s first time. That was what made it so special. WAY too expensive, but pretty worth it to watch him.

Declan Bates

With the usual apologies to the Main Man, here is my 2019 Tom's Top Ten. All live this year, Youtube playlist at the link below.

Deerhunter - He would have laughed, live at Best Kept Secrets 2018
Slowdive - Sugar for the pill, live at Royal Palms Shuffleboard in Brooklyn, 2017
Tindersticks - Piano Song, live, unknown
Vampire Weekend - Giving up the gun, Roseland Ballroom New York, 2013
The Church - A new season, live in Sydney, 2011.
Bon Iver - re: Stacks, live in Singapore (with The Staves) 2016
London Grammar - Pure Shores, BBC Session 2014
David Sylvian - Blackwater, unknown
Mark Kozelek - Mistress (with The Roots), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 2012
Fontaines D.C. - Television Screens, Rockpalast 2019

Playlist available at: Tom's Top Ten 2019 - YouTube

Enda Bates

Top Ten Albums

1. Lankum - The Livelong Day
stunning album and the best yet from Lankum, taking trad to some really interesting new places
2. Maria Sommerville - All my People
wonderful, hazy Irish electronica/pop with some nice shoegaze touches
3. Broken Social Scene - Let's Try the After, Vol 1 & 2
4. Sharon van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
5. Conor Walsh - The Lucid
6. The National - I Am Easy To Find
7. John Luther Adams - Become Desert
8. Jerusalam in my Heart- Daqa'iq Tudaiq
9. Nick Cave - Ghosteen
10. The Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Sessions

Top Ten TV shows (so many to choose from this year)

1. Chernobyl
simply masterful show, from the cinematography, to the music, and acting, really top notch, and terrifying stuff all the way, superb tv.
2. The Virtues
utterly harrowing, but simply masterful acting from Stephen Graham in particular. Not an easy watch, but really amazing stuff.
3. Succession
hilariously horrible people, behaving atrociously, lots of fun!
4. What We Do In The Shadows
a criminally under appreciated comedy gem, even better than the movie which was also great.
5. Watchmen
a worthy sequel to the original, and wonderful comic. Just ignore the film.
6. Top Boy
great UK crime series, new series on Netflix now, but the original two series are there too and worth a watch also.
7. Fleabag
excellent stuff as always, and a nice finish to the series
8. Stath Lets Flats
another criminally under appreciated comedy show.
9. I think you should leave with Tim Robinson
the only bad thing about this sketch show, is that it's too short.
10. Legion
apart from Watchmen, this is the only other comic adaptation work watching imho.

Honourable mentions: Russian Doll, Silicon Valley, Baskets, Ramy, Documentary Now, True Detective, Mr Robot, Los Espookys, The Mandalorian, Catastrophe

Top Ten Movies

1. Pain and glory
2. If Beale Street could talk
3. The Irishman
4. The Sisters Brothers
5. The Favourite
6. Diego Maradonna
7. Mandy
8. Us
9. Nick Cave - Once more time with Feeling
10. El Camino

Garbhán Blake

Blocker's Best of 2019

Highlights of my year.....


Along with Talking Heads, my teenage heroes were The Go-Betweens and A House and I can't make up my mind if it's fantastic or really limiting that I saw both Robert Forster and 'A House Is Dead' twice during 2019. Really amazing shows - definitely a touch of nostalgia (men in their late 40s / early 50s knowing every word) - however no doubt that their songs still stand up after all these years...


  1. Bill Callahan - Shepherd in a sheepskin vest
  2. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  3. Fontaines DC - Dogrel
  4. Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
  5. Deerhunter - Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?
  6. The Delines - The Imperial
  7. Julia Jacklin - Crushing
  8. The Twilight Sad - It Won't be like this all of the time
  9. Jenny Lewis - On the line
  10. Foals - Part 1 Everything not saved will be lost

Honourable Mentions

Sporting events...

For the second year in a row, Meath got to the Ladies All Ireland Football Final and most of the club travelled to Croke Park for the day. Really great to see the under 10s recognise their clubmates from the Cusack Stand - for me it reignites the magic of sport.

Was also at the hurling final, which was a disappointment for the first time in years (over a decade??).

The football final drawn game was fantastic. I still can't figure out if Kerry didn't fully believe that they could win or if Dublin were just incredible with 14 players. The replay took a familiar path after the 36th minute goal.

No entrance onto the pitch in Croke Park. However, in most other venues there is a kids kickaround at half time and meet the players after the match on the pitch - O'Byrne Cup, League and Championship!! It's fantastic - really makes a day of it for younger supporters. When after a last minute penalty Meath beat Kildare, the kids with us got a photo with Barry Dardis (penalty taker) in lashing snow - very memorable! Long may it continue.

Happy New Year - all the best in 2020!

Mark Butcher


Top Ten

  1. Dogrel - Fontaines D.C
  2. Ghosteen - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  3. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt 1 & 2 - Foals
  4. Ex:Re - Ex:Re
  5. Designer - Aldous Harding
  6. U.F.O.F. - Big Thief
  7. 5 - Sault
  8. Father Of The Bride - Vampire Weekend
  9. Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery – The Comet Is Coming
  10. The Book Of Traps And Lessons - Kate Tempest

Honourable Mentions


Top Ten

  1. IDLES - Vicar Street, Dublin
  2. Foals - Digbeth Arena, Birmingham
  3. Ex:Re - Kings Place, London
  4. Fontaines D.C. - o2 Institute, Birmingham
  5. Nick Cave In Conversation - Symphony Hall, Birmingham
  6. Florence & The Machine - Hyde Park, London
  7. Aldous Harding - Hyde Park, London
  8. The National - Hyde Park, London
  9. Bill Ryder Jones - Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
  10. Ólafur Arnalds - Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
  11. Fleetwood Mac - Wembley Stadium, London
  12. Snapped Ankles - Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

Gerard Cagney

Pop: Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Jazz: Chick Corea Trio - Trilogy 2
Classic: Mariangela Vacatello - Ginastera, Complete Piano Music

Catriona Cahill

2019 Favourites


1. Big Thief – U.F.O.F
2. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
3. Big Thief – Two Hands
4. Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
5. Billie Eillish - When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
6. Mannequin Pussy – Patience
7. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
8. Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
9. Heard it in a Past Life – Maggie Rogers
10. Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance


1. Light Years – The National
2. Gone – Charlie XCX ft. Christine
3. Not – Big Thief
4. This Life – Vampire Weekend
5. Feet – Fat White Family
6. Too Much – Carly Rae Jepsen
7. Boys in the Better Land – Fontaines D.C.
8. Light On – Maggie Rogers
9. Juice – Lizzo
10. Dream Boy – Beach Bunny


1. The Cure – Mad Cool Festival
2. The National – Mad Cool Festival
3. Christine and the Queens – Electric Picnic
4. The 1975 – Electric Picnic
5. Dylan Moran – UCH
6. High Jackman Show – Paris
7. She Drew the Gun – The Workman’s Club
8. The Wedding Present – Dolan’s


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2. Little Women
3. Joker
4. Avengers: Endgame
5. Book Smart
6. Hustlers
7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
8. Knives Out
9. Rocketman
10. Captain Marvel

TV Shows

1. Succession
2. Chernobyl
3. Madame Secretary
4. Watchmen
5. Unbelievable
6. Schitt’s Creek
7. This is Us
8. Sex Education
9. The Good Doctor
10. The Morning Show


1. Exhalation – Ted Chiang
2. City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert
3. Extreme Economies – Richard Davies
4. Whisper Network – Chandler Baker
5. Heroic Failure – Fintan O’Toole

Tom Corcoran

Albums  Vinyl  Gigs  Film Documentary  TV Series  Reading  Podcast  Live Events  Armchair Sport  Life Hack  Destination  Hike  Climb  Ride  Swim  Run  App  Gadget  Browser Extensions 

Near the end of the year my dear mother passed, most unexpectedly. I was not prepared for it, I doubt anyone ever is. Her name was Carmel, she was a teacher all her life and she taught and inspired me so much. I know her memory will keep inspiring my life and projects.



Music listening has suffered this year, due to my workload of a second job teaching. A lot of releases never got spun. A lot of Irish bands however find there way into what I kept returning to. Christine got me Ghosteen for Christmas on Vinyl, I hadn't listened to it before that - I mean does one 'listen' when streaming music at work.

That said, this year, 4+ years after moving into our house I was psyched to get ceiling speakers set up in 3 rooms - it had been wired for it just never finished off. I now have a switch in the sitting room and can play vinyl in any of the rooms (silent in sitting room when playing in another), it's amazing!

  1. Far Out Dust - Talos
  2. When I have Fears - The Murder capital
  3. Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning
  4. Miles Davis - In a silent way (Vinyl)
  5. Anime - Thom Yorke (Vinyl)
  6. i,i - Bon Iver
  7. Broken social scene - Let’s Try the After Vol.1 & 2 (Record store day Vinyl)
  8. The Talkies - Girl band
  9. Dogrel - Fontaines D.C.
  10. The Streets - The - Remixes & B Sides Too (Record store day Vinyl)
Honourable mentions

Vinyl 12"

  1. Claustro / State Forest - Burial
  2. PSSU - PSSU
  3. Kick me again Jesus - A House 7"


No gigs this year since the Talos Christmas show last year and that was set to be my only gig when I heard about the A House show 2 days before.

  1. A House is not dead - Vicar Street 12 Dec
  2. Talos - Dolans 20 Dec

Big screen films

  1. Once Upon a time in Hollywood
  2. Apocolypse Now: Final Cut with Coppola interview by Soderbergh form Tribeca film festival
  3. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Lighthouse, Dublin film festival - 1 Mar
  4. Of Fathers and Sons / Kinder des Kalifats - Cineworld, Dublin film festival - 1 Mar
  5. Belmonte - Lighthouse, Dublin film festival - 1 Mar
  6. She's Missing + Q&A - Cineworld, Dublin film festival - 1 Mar
  7. For the love of Mary (short), Banff Film festival, NCH, Dublin - 14 May
  8. Surviving the Outback (Michael Atkinson) (short), Banff Film festival, NCH, Dublin - 14 May
Worst family film of the year

Small screen films

The not watched list of Netflix films keeps growing, El Camino, Irishman, Roma, The ballad of Buster Scruggs...

  1. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
  2. Carol
  3. Get Out
  4. Mammal (Rebeca Daly 2016)
  5. I am mother
  6. The Guilty (Danish)
  7. The Purge
  8. Dark Places (Charlize Theron)
  9. Easy A (Emma Stone)
  10. Calibre
  11. Creep
  12. Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)
Rom Com
  1. Always be my maybe
  2. Something Great
  3. Blue jay
Comedy Family film of the year

Small screen documentaries

  1. The Dawn Wall
  2. Our Planet
  3. Leaving Neverland
  4. Katie (Ross Whitaker)
  5. Conversations with Ted Bundy

Small screen shorts

TV Series

Haven't made it to Chernobyl yet and when we went to watch The Virtues, episode 1 had been deleted.

  1. Succession S02
  2. Escape at Dannemora
  3. Line of Duty S01-S05
  4. Unbelievable Mini Series
  5. Russian Dolls
  6. High Maintenance S03
  7. Fargo Season S02
  8. The Affair S05
  9. The Good Fight S03
  10. Big Little Lies S02
Honourable mentions Series given up on


  1. The rise of the Ultra runners: A journey to the edge of human endurance, Adharanand Finn
  2. Connect - Julian Gough
  3. Bit Of A Blur by Alex James
  4. What I talk about when I talk about running - Haruki Murakami
  1. The girl in the box: the mysterious crime that shocked Germany
  2. The cult of Columbine: how an obsession with school shooters led to a murder plot
  3. Ana Kriégel murder trial: The complete story
  4. How a Stroke Turned a 63-Year-Old Into a Rap Legend
  5. The Remarkable Story of a Woman Who Preserved Over 30 Years of TV History
  6. The Wild Story of How Mary Steenburgen Wrote the Best Original Movie Song of the Year
  7. The World’s Fastest (Old) Man
  8. What the ‘Crane Index’ Says About Your Changing City
  9. New York City’s First Skateboarding Superstar
  10. The story behind MLB's longtime mud suppliers


My app tells me I listened to 9 days 16 hours worth of stuff in 2019.

  1. Blindboy
  2. In the dark S02
  3. In the Dark S01
  4. Gladiator Aaron Hernandez
  5. Pat Divily

Live Events

Armchair Sports

  1. Irish women hockey team qualifying for the Olympics
  2. USA winning the world cup - Rapinoe was amazing in all respects
  3. Eliud Kipchoge breaking the 2 hour marathon mark

Life hack

  1. ToDo list journal - Adding one of these into my workflow has really helped. I still use Trello boards for my medium to long term lists but day-to-day stuff goes in here
  2. Beta program - I got involved with the beta program for the new version of the text editor I have used for over 20 years, my first time properly involved in a beta. I learnt so much about the product and my way of working that had been quiet blinkered with this tool
  3. Dark theme - I've moved to using a dark theme in my editors and have enjoyed how things stand out and help focus

Destination of the year

Hike of the year

Climb of the year

Ride of the year

  1. Cycle: Beast of Brenin - 28 April
  2. Road loop in my local 'mountains' the Slieve blooms, Co Offaly - 10 June
  3. Mountain biking at Derourra, Co Galway - 11 Aug

Swim of the year

Run of the year

Android Apps

As someone who chooses to not use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, WhatsApp does frustrate me at times. It is so handy for lots of things though. Once you turn off all notifications you can be in control. This might be the year where I manage when to load WhatsApp Desktop though!

Who repeats the same text entry, such as an email address? There is no need, I just type em and then select my email address from the popup. On Android you can add these shortcuts in your personal dictionary, this is found typically under System -> Languages & Input -> Advanced -> Personal Dictionary.

The productivity offered by phone apps now is astounding. Here are some fantastic apps I used this year.

  1. Otter Voice Meeting Notes
  2. Smart Task Launcher
  3. Google Family
  4. Evernote
  5. StatusNote 2 - Notes in Notifications
  6. JotterPad - Write
  7. Add Quick Event - fast and easy calendar entry
  8. Widget for Trello
  9. Clipper - Clipboard Manager
  10. Stocard - Loyalty Cards Wallet
  11. Seek


  1. Garmin Vivoactive 3
  2. Trolkey - having a 1 and 2 euro key on your keyring to open supermarket trolleys rocks
  3. SchwabMarken removable token attached to keyring - I use for the gym locker.

Browser Extensions

Tony Corrigan

In a broad general order.

Billy Bragg – Whelans (2 of 3 nights) – Highlight of the year was show 3 the more recent albums – one of the best of all time is Billy.

A House – Vicar St – Second gig since ’98…Best Irish Band Ever.

A House – NCH – First gig since ’98 and outstanding. Best Irish Band Ever?

Dublin Marathon – This is such a good race. 2nd best time which I’m happy with given I’d only time for the ‘8-week couch to marathon programme’.

London Marathon – Hadn’t done the training but great, great experience and met some inspirational people from Crumlin Hospital (and saw Eliud grace past me at Tower Bridge)

All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre – Gillian Anderson & Lily James – Now this was very, very good.

Ian McKellan – A one-hander reprise of Ian Highlights in the Royal Court. Always fab.

Divine Comedy – First show of the tour so a bit flakey but plenty of genius on show

Billy Corgan, Olympia – Pretty good; I’m late to the Pumpkins but very entertaining

Bjork, 3 Arena (ugh!) – not a gig, a show – Great for that but not as good as the SFX!

Did two things I’d never done this year…

I watched the Late Late Toy Show – He had me in tears that Tubridy!

And I went to the Cheerio’s Panto – Cinderella – very enjoyable so it was!

Zoe Eustace

Toms list


One more time with feeling
High life
If Beale Street Could Talk
Pain and Glory
The Irishman
El Camino
Lords of Chaos
The Joker


Ghosteen (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
Seventeen (Sharon van Etten)
Father of the Bride (Vampire Weekend)
U.F.O.F (Big Thief)
Cuz I love you (Lizzo)
The Livelong Day (Lankum)
The Lucid (Conor Walsh)
Let’s try the after (Vol 1&2) (Broken Social Scene)
I, i (Bon Iver)
Shepherd in a vest (Bill Callahan)


The Virtues
Too Old to Die Young
Top Boy
What we do in the shadows
I think you should leave with Tim Robinson

Richie Evans

This year has been all about Irish music for me. I listened to more Irish music this year than I have for probably the past 10-15 years. Because of this, I have added my fave Irish albums of the year to my list. Sorry Tom ;). As usual, it has been really enjoyable to remind myself about the year's great albums and wonderful live gigs. Thanks Tom!

Top 10 Irish Albums (in order of how much I love them!)

Top 10 Albums (in no particular order).

Top 10 Electro/Ambient Albums (in no particular order)

Top 10 Gigs, in no particular order, other than Girl Band, indubitably at the #1 spot!

I'm already looking forward to some 2020 gigs, particularly Explosions In The Sky. It's a bit of a victory lap for those lads, but there have been some excellent new Post-Rock albums this year too, particularly March by Wander, but also The End Of The Ocean, Old Solar & Endless Dive.

2019 Tune

2019 Live Moments

This Spotify playlist contains a few tunes that hooked me in during 2019.

Martin Hayes

1.Big Thief - Two Hands.
2. Nick Cave and the bad seeds - Ghosteen.
3. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors.
4. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel.
5. Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the Dance.
6. Peter Perrett - Humanworld.
7. Mannequin Pussy - Patience.
8. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride.
9. The Murder Capital - When I have fears.
10. The National - I am easy to find.
Honourable Mentions
Cigarettes after Sex - Cry
Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka.
Sharon Van Etten - Remind me tomorrow.
Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend
Indoor Pets - Be Content.
Caroline Spence - Mint Condition.

Live Music
The National – Madrid
The Cure – Madrid
The 1975 – Picnic
She Drew the Gun - Workman's Club
The Wedding Present - Dolans
Christine and the Queens – Picnic
Parquet Courts – Madrid
Once upon a time in Hollywood. (Peak Tarantino - High praise)
Avengers Endgame. Yup - a little known flick that some of you on here might have missed, worth checking out all the same.
Late Night.
Knives Out.
Chernobyl. (Wow – just wow)
Succession. (Some of the pithiest putdowns since the Thick of it.)
Watchmen. (Crazy stuff but the scale of the vision deserves respect)
Some of the Netflix comedy specials were laugh out loud funny, (Amy Schumer, Naomi Wolff, Katherine Ryan in particular)
Star Trek Discovery.
Silicon Valley
The Good Place.
The Good Doctor.
The Loudest Voice.
Grand National - Tiger Roll. What a horse. Let’s not forget a 4 time Cheltenham winner (including once at 14/1 in the 4 miler – !!) I just hope he’s fit to back it up again next April.
England South Africa World cup final – in the Cricket obvs., - So many people who know nothing about the game wanted to talk about it afterward, I still don’t know how they determined an England victory out of that super over.
Cricket again - Sorry. Ben Stokes unbeaten 135 single handledly getting England across the line in the Ashes test at Headingley.
Enable again. Sure look it, only boggy ground cost her a third arc – she’s the best I've ever seen anyway.
Other horses whose performances I have enjoyed immensely but whom you may not want to follow over a cliff - In no particular order, Lost in Translation, Native River, Chacun Pour Soi, Stradivarius, Wicklow Brave(RIP)
The England - All Blacks semi final What a game.
Dublin’s 5 in a row There's just something about it that left me colder than it should have.
Limerick FC being wound up. Hopefully spending a year dead for tax purposes will be the thing that finally allows them to turn the corner. Yup – I know that makes no sense but this is Irish Soccer, if you’re going to start insisting on things like rationality then you might as well stop reading right now.
Another Collingwood final defeat. In extra time this time to UCC after leading for the bones of an hour in regular time. This one was, bizarrely, easier to take as we didn’t do enough to get a second and that’s on us. In previous years we were carried out on our shield. Our Freshers won a Harding which is nice but then we got screwed money wise by the Student’s Union so it looks like we’ve another meh year in store while we give everyone another example of Limerick eating its own. Ugh.

Ronan Hickey


  1. Amanda Palmer @ The NCH
  2. Moving Hearts @ The NCH
  3. GoGo Penguin @ The NCH
  4. The Hold Steady @ The Electric Ballroom, Camden
  5. Bjork @ The 3 Arena
  6. Hollie McNish @ The Workman's Club
  7. Billy Bragg @ Whelan's
  8. Sleaford Mods @ The Academy
  9. The Murder Capital @ Whelan's
  10. Craig Finn @ The Sugar Club

The winner this year was an amazing 3 hour (or longer?) solo gig by Amanda Palmer in the Concert Hall preceded by a bizarre afternoon where I got to slide out of work early and go do a [Shintaido] ( (quasi-martial art / dance / vocalisation thing) session with her, the teacher, her photographer and one other randomer in the St. Stephen's Green Bandstand while it hammered rain. One of those utterly bizarre but wonderful life affirming moments!

Bjork was stunning as ever, we were lucky to have seats in the second row, right in front of her. Flew to London to see The Hold Steady. GoGo Penguin savage as always. The surprise of the year was Moving Hearts, who I had never seen live and went to on a whim. Amazing, amazing talent.


  1. Hecuba @ The Project
  2. Hamnet @ The Project
  3. Incantata @ The Gate Theatre
  4. Sure Look it, Fuck it @ The Project
  5. Faultline @ The Gate Theatre

Hecuba tops my best 5 plays this year. It was really amazing, especially Brian Doherty who I don't think I had seen before, as Agamemnon. But so draining. The Greeks don't fuck about when they say it's going to be a tragedy. They give it to you with both barrels. Hamnet was brilliantly done, really eery and the best use of technology in a play I have seen in years.

Films and TV

  1. The Dawn Wall
  2. Hobo
  3. Icarus
  4. The Warriors
  5. Pickpocket

Leading on from Free Solo, The Dawn Wall was a gripping and often insane story of mountain climbing. Anyone who liked Free Solo should definitely watch it. My other favourite films from this year were ones I was late catching up on. Pickpocket, Icarus and The Warriors. But I thought Hobo was a real gem of a film, capturing the life of someone who rides the railroad cars in America.

TV wise I was watching American Gods Season 2 and Good Omens but neither of them really shone to be honest.


  1. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker
  2. The View from the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman
  3. The High Window - Raymond Chandler
  4. Tehanu - Ursula Le Guin
  5. From Last to First - Charlie Spedding

Why we sleep isn't particularly shocking but it did refocus me a bit. I have given up coffee after midday now due to it for a start! Neil Gaiman's collection of non-fiction shows that he can turn his hand to anything. And on a day when the heavens opened and soaked me, I took shelter in Books Upstairs and was delighted to find out that there was a fourth book in the Earthsea "trilogy" by Ursula le Guin, Tehanu.


Other things that were fun:

  1. White Saviour Complex @ The IFI - A film about Bill Drummond (of KLF fame) which was preceded and followed by two 2 man plays with Bill Drummond and someone else pretending to be Bill Drummond. I mean you can't get better than that!
  2. The Zurich Portrait Prize & Zurich Children’s Portrait Prize @ The National Gallery - Always well worth checking out. I finally managed to get past my eldest daughter's disdain for galleries.
  3. Ranulph Fiennes @ The NCH - The legend. Always great to hear him talk.
  4. [Don McCullin exhibition @ The Tate Britain] ( - Awe inspiring work. Sobering when you come across the Northern Ireland section and it looks like any other war-torn location he had shot in.
  5. Perseids Meteor Shower - Finally clear skies for a meteor shower. I set my alarm for 3am or so and lay on the kids' trampoline in the back garden. I saw 10 meteors in about half an hour.


Liberties Fun Run - After a series of injuries it was so good to get to race this again, two years after my last race. Slower but I'll take that.

Jujutsu - Continuing the theme of long layoffs, 11 years after I stepped off the mats I decided to go back to Jujutsu, back to a white belt and it's a much longer cycle to training these days but I'm really loving it.

Lucas Hilbert

Here are my Top 10 Artists Played in 2019. Some had new release albums and some did not, and honestly I cannot track by album very much anymore. But these artists saw the heaviest rotation and most admiration while listening in 2019:

1. Future Islands
2. Tame Impala
3. Deerhunter
4. Silversun Pickups
5. Santigold
6. The xx
7. War on Drugs
8. James
9. Poliça
10. Eminem

Chris Louca

So my albums are as follows:

In no particular order although I've probably listened to the top 3 the most!

1) Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - And Now For The Watchamacallit

2) Dinosaur Pile-Up - Celebrity Mansions

3) Ty Segall - Taste

4) Richard Hawley - Further

5) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

6) Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied

7) Wand - Laughing Matter

8 ) Jane Weaver - Loops In The Secret Society

9) Mark Lanegan Band - Somebody's Knockin

10) Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury (love the Netflix visual version too!)

11) Sallow Pillow - Wince Meat EP

12) Angelo De Augustine - Tomb

13) Mikal Cronin - Seeker

14) Temples - Hot Motion

15) Black Belt Eagle Scout - Mother Of My Children.

There are a few albums, which were released in 2018 but only discovered (or recommended) this year (such as Nothing and Phobophobes) so I haven't included them!

Movies of the year:

1) Destroyer

2) Fighting With My Family

3) The Kid Who Would Be King

4) Spiderman - Far From Home

5) Spiderman - Into the Spiderverse

6) The Sisters Brothers

7) Avengers End Game

8) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
and a soft spot for the Hobbs & Shaw F&TF spin-off (so bad it was good!)

I’ve yet to watch Joker, It Chapter 2, The Irishman and Star Wars Episode IX.

Small Screen stuff:

A bit strange this year as I’ve watched a lot on my own (thank the maker for an Amazon fire stick whilst away!) and shoe horned series in when home with the wife. I’ve missed loads though such as Chernobyl and Gamorrah which are patiently waiting on the Skybox!

I have enjoyed these though!

Umbrella academy

Mind Hunter (seasons 1&2)

Stranger Things

When the screaming stops - Bros documentary

Art of Drumming - Sky Arts series

Escape from Danamora

Godless (2017)

The good place

Russian Doll


Live music (and a couple of comedians!)

Yay! I actually saw plenty of bands this year!!!!!

J Mascis Jr - Liverpool Arts Club

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Liverpool Shipping Forecast

Nick Cave - Birmingham symphony hall

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - invisible wind factory, Liverpool (support Our Girl)

Deeper Cuts one day festival (ft Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard and The Gear) - Liverpool various venues

Holydrug Couple (support by Sallow Pillow - ones to look out for esp if you like Oh Sees eat al) - Phase One, Liverpool

The Velveteers (support pearl harts and the kangaroos) - phase one, Liverpool

King Khan’s Louder Than Death (ohmns and fruit tones)- Zanzibar, Liverpool

Fangclub (support Lola, wolf manor) - Zanzibar, Liverpool

Phobophobes (support uncle Jane - Phase One, Liverpool

Turin Brakes - Exeter Phoenix

Sean Walsh - Exeter corn exchange

Henning Wehn - Exeter corn exchange

Off to see Stealing Sheep this Thursday too!

Already have Nick Cave, Ash (taking my 13yr old for his first gig) and Faith No More lined up for next year :D

Niall Lynch

  1. Aldous Harding - Designer
    A brilliant follow up to her previous album Party which topped my list in 2017. Another mix of singing styles and song styles, her voice goes from sounding like Stina nordenstam to Nico. We were lucky enough to catch her live twice this year, mesmerising stage presence.

  2. Prefab Sprout - I Trawl the Megahertz
    I heard this sprawling epic song on John Kelly this year while in the car, I missed who it was by and to my shock and surprise it was Prefab Sprout. It was originally released back in 2002 and the record company refused to release it as Prefab Sprout because it was too avant guarde
    It's hard to describe the album, it doesn't really fit into any genre, it's a mix of a lot of things more like classical album structure to the songs.

  3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
    This album will dominate the end of year lists, sparse, beautiful hearbreaking songs, really powerful stuff. Some very Carrie and Lowell moments on this maybe no surprise as they deal with similar subject matter.

  4. Julia Jacklin - Crushing
    Another John Kelly discovery for me, an excellent album from a young Aussie singer song writer, brilliant catchy tunes, great lyrics all about a young woman's struggles in the modern world.

  5. The Drums - Brutalism
    Johnathan Pierce does it again another album packed with catchy jingles. He makes up for Moz having turned all right wing and brexity, I need someone to write songs with lines like "with just one kiss I forget I hate myself, it's just a little blip of joy" in my favourite tune on the album Blip of Joy.

  6. Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied
    A bit of an electronic experimental departure from one of the godfathers of indie. There's nothing conventional about this album, and it barely hangs together but I like that shambolic nature of it.

  7. Sharon van Etten - Remind me Tomorrow
    Jupiter 4, this is my favourite song of the year, sends tingles down my spine when I hear it. It was amazing seeing her play it live too this year, she is a brilliant artist still producing brilliant albums

  8. Common - Let Love In
    Common does it again, following on from last years brilliant August Greene album, this one is similar in sounds, some great jazz influenced tunes and lots of right on words.

  9. Tindersticks - No Treasure but Hope
    They are the masters of intertwining gorgeous orchestration and their indie rock sound, it doesn't seem forced just a natural coexistence like they are always meant to be together.

  10. Bonnie Prince Billie - When We Are Inhuman
    This one passed me by earlier in the year but I'm glad I gave it a proper listen. Bryce Dessner teams up with BBP and creates a whole new soundscape for some old greats in the BBP canon. Some Owen Pallet sounding parts in how the songs are put together, loads of unusual instrumentation.

Honourable Mentions


Successful gig year, managed to fit in a lot more than usual and reminded myself why music has to be experienced live.

Aldous Harding @ Vicar St. @Iveagh Gardens - hypnotic on stage

Janelle Monet @TCD - Like prince in his heyday

Julia Jacklin @Button Factory - A lot of fun live, finished off with an Avril Lavigne number which seems to be a thing

Bell X1 @Vicar St. - a walk through their work with Strings attached, really nice.

Girl Band @Vicar St. - Glad I was on the balcony for this, moshing madness

Caroline Rose @Liberty Belle NY. - Best gig of the year on a boat in the hudson, what a brilliant artist, great fun and tonnes of great tunes.

Steve Malkmus @ Whelans - Solo with his box of tricks, I love that he still plays these venues.

Villagers @Iveagh Gardens - brilliant place to see him live, crowd was great, super atmosphere, I loved his last album so was great to see all that live.

Kamasi Washington @Olympia - second best gig of the year, great whiplash moments of drumming, epic tunes from a master at work.

Anderson Paak @Olympia - great show, but just not up to Kamasi Washington, level, was too soon after in the same venue, I couldn't help but compare. Crowd lapped it all up.

Sharon Van Etten @ Vicar St. - really nice show with a Sinead O'Connor tune thrown in that I didn't recognise.

Philip Glass @NCH - Amazing to see this, but could only stay for first 2 parts as marathon was next day.

Dave McGuinness

McG - Best of 2019

Let's do this thing...


Great year for female (five of the top seven) and Irish artists

  1. Billie Eilish - When we all fall asleep, where do we go? Sometimes you can believe the hype. McG's of all ages played this album incessantly in 2019
  2. Julia Jacklin - Crushing. Aussie singer songwriter. Great lyrics, tunes & melodies, it just works
  3. Glen Hansard - The Wild Willing. The best thing he's done in ages, loved it from first listen, and it's still growing on me
  4. Our Girl - Stranger Today. Very catchy album from this Brighton threesome with plenty of guitar feedback and reverb
  5. Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe. Incredible debut, where did she come from? Note: just saw her on Jools Holland while typing this!
  6. Thom Yorke - ANIMA. Another top album, everything from a mix of the usual electronica, to the gorgeous Dawn Chorus
  7. CHAI - PUNK. Japanese pop girl band, screechy vocals, somehow it gets under the skin
  8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen. Very dark, very stripped down, very beautiful
  9. Flying Lotus - Flamagra. Epic and sprawling, as usual.
  10. Metronomy - Metronomy Forever. Not their best, but foot tapping grooves, and a grower

Best of the rest

  1. Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm
  2. Fontaines DC - Dogrel
  3. James Blake - Assume Form
  4. Foals - Everything not saved will be lost
  5. Elbow - Giants of all Sizes
  6. Boogie - Everything's for Sale
  7. Pond - Tasmania
  8. Conor Walsh - The Lucid
  9. Yelling Bones - Outside
  10. Hot Chip - A Bath full of ecstasy

File under: good, but didn't quite grab me

Older albums rediscovered


Not a bad year for getting out to live gigs

  1. A House - NCH. They rocked the concert hall, and even did an encore, fantastic night
  2. Julia Jacklin - Button Factory. Loved the album, so I was biased, but she put on a really great show with lots of banter
  3. Billy Bragg - Whelans. In top form - is he ever not? - and great to share with the McDaids and Tony
  4. Billy Corgan - Olympia. Wasn't expecting much, but he really opened up, and owned the Olympia
  5. Microdisney - Vicar Street. Even better than the NCH gig last year
  6. John Grant - Bord Gais Theatre. Always worth going to, and the venue is fantastic too
  7. Stereolab - Vicar Street. One of my all time favourites, didn't quite live up to expectations, but still very enjoyable
  8. The Gloaming - NCH. see previous ^
  9. Tchaikovsky (various) by the National Symphony Orchestra - NCH. A bit of culture of a January night



Boxsets in order-ish


Looks like I read only one novel and lots of non-fiction this year.



I love the Top Ten tradition, long may it continue - always fun to reflect on the year, and a bit of a relief to send in when it's done! Have a great Xmas and New Year folks. Over and out.

Derek Murphy

Murph’s 2019 List of Eclectic Fury!

As usual, 2019 has been a chaotic and busy year for me, but there has been a smorgasbord of aural, and visual delights on offer, that have hit home in the land of Murph.


I happily make my own way through the years musically, and have likely missed tons of major releases that are awesome in 2019. The following list are the albums that have been on heavy rotation throughout 2019.

1. The Specials ‘Encore’

2. Aldous Harding ‘Designer’

3. The Landfill Crew ‘The Landfill Crew EP’

4. Turnstile ‘Time & Space’

5. Bad Religion ‘The Age Of Unreason’

6. FIDLAR ‘Almost Free’

7. Fat Freddy’s Drop ‘Special Edition Pt 1’

8. ASM ‘The Jade Amulet’

9. Mungo’s Hi Fi & Eva Lazarus ‘More Fyah’

10. Harley Poe ‘Have Great Life’


I inexplicably forgot to keep a list of what I have watched this year, and the following films are the ones that jumped to the forefront of my mind as standout for me, though there are likely great films I have missed in my recollections.

1. Bad Times At The El Royale

2. Lucky Logan

3. Fighting With My Family

4. Rocketman

5. Glass

6. Split

7. Booksmart

8. Hotel Mumbai

9. Lion

10. The Man From Mo’ Wax

There are also so many great looking films that I have not got around to watching as yet… here is a short list of movies I’m waiting to catch;

Amazing Grace

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


The Dead Don't Die

The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot

Ad Astra

Jojo Rabbit


I’ve not read a great deal in 2019, so will concentrate on quality over quantity;

1. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

2. The Villain: The Life of Don Whillans - Jim Perrin

3. The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson

4. The Kool Aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe

5. Red Sparrow - Jason Mathews


1. Stranger Things 3

2. The Umbrella Academy

3. Reel Rock

Once again it has been a shocking year for gigs and concerts… so I’m not going to even bother trying.

Martin O'Gorman

Last year of the decade, another in London so needless to say its been hectic and takes a real effort to fit everything in. Don't think I did too badly though. Loved doing a half ironman with Tom this summer and a mountain biking trip with Dave and Tom - thanks for the invites.


Some superb music but hard to look beyond Robert Glasper for my album of the year. Everything else on the list made for great listening and discovery. So, in a barely discernible order, here is my Top 10 of 2019

  1. Robert Glasper - F**k Yo Feelings
  2. Flying Lotus - Flamagra
  3. Jungle Brown - Full Circle
  4. Sault - 7
  5. Kate Tempest - The Book Of Traps And Lessons
  6. Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning
  7. Floating Points - Crush
  8. Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
  9. Mantana Roberts - COIN COIN Chanper 4: Memphis
  10. Bon Iver - i,i
  11. Bill Callahan - Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest
  12. Sudan Archives - Athena

Special mention to Miles Davis - In a Silent Way - released 50 years ago and still sounds fresh

Check out this spotify playlist to get a taster of what I enjoyed Top Ten 2019


Looks like I got through more books than in recent years. All brilliant I must say. A reading subscripition from Mr B's Book Emporium makes for a superb present, they recommended a few books I wouldn't have otherwise chosen

  1. Alone on the Wall: Alex Honnold and the Ultimate Limits of Adventure by Alex Honnold, Davis Roberts
  2. The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook: A History of the Renaissance Mathematics that Birthed Imaginary Numbers, Probability, and the New Physics of the Universe by Michael Brooks
  3. Kings of the Mountains: How Colombia's Cycling Heroes Changed Their Nation by Matt Rendell
  4. A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa
  5. Hystopia by David Means
  6. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan


I had high hopes for 2019 but just finding it more difficult to fit in the hours with everything else going on. Luckily Tom suggested a few events to celebrate his turning 50 and I decided to join him for a half ironman. That got me going

  1. Paddock Wood half marathon -Kent, Uk, April 2019
  2. I don't often enter official events and although I ran several unofficial halfs this year I really enjoyed Paddock Wood. Its a fast flat course and I did it with Nessa - great fun, fast times

  3. Mountain Biking weekend - Coed y Brenin, Wales, April 2019
  4. Dave laid down the gauntlet, they have been going for years and I finally joined in, a brilliant weekend on some serious trails in wet Wales. I have rarely been mountain biking so it was nice to tackle some of the hardest the UK has to offer....and survive

  5. Sheephaven Half Ironman - Downings, Donegal, June 2019
  6. Great to get back to ironman, a superb course in Donegal doubling as the Irish Nationals and sharing the experience with Tom. Look forward to doing a full in 2020

  7. Cold water swimming Serpentine Lido, London, Winter 2019
  8. Winter cold water swimming continues, not as often as I would have liked and you still can't beat that post swim high. I will definitely be jumping into the sea in Ireland over Christmas


When you live abroad its always special to get the chance to meet up with friends, doing the kind of stuff together that has been at the core of your friendships over years. Unfortunately, one get together this year was due to the passing of Tom's mum. She was a wonderful, kind lady who always very welcoming. So big heartfelt hugs to Tom and his family this christmas and thanks yet again Tom for keeping the Top Ten tradition going in what has been a tough few months for you.

Caroline O'Reilly

Top 10 2019 - Albums

1.Pj Harvey - All About Eve - soundtrack
2.Aldous Harding - Designer
3.Sufjan Stevens - The Decalogue
4.Oranges - Hey Zeus
5.Common - Let Love
6.Carla dal Forno - Look Up Sharp
7.Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied
8.Tindersticks - No Treasure But Hope
9.Colin Stetson - The First - soundtrack
10.Caroline Shaw / Attacca Quartet - Orange

Top 10 2019 - Gigs

1.Aldous Harding - Vicar Street
2.Kamasi Washington - The Olympia
3.Anderson .paak - Olympia
4.Aldous Harding - Iveagh Gardens
5.Philip Glass - National Concert Hall
6.Kathryn Joseph - Workmans Club
7.Girl Band - Vicar Street
8.Shabazz Palaces - The Sugar Club
9.Gus Gus - Button Factory

Top 10 2019 - Films

1. The Favourite, The Favourite, The Favourite
2. A Dog Called Money

Colin Waugh

Best music

Weyes Blood : titanic rising
Hot Since 82 : 8 -track
Chemical brothers :No Geography
Hot Chip: A bath full of Ecstasy
Fontaines DC : Dogrel
Leonard Cohen : Thanks for the dance

Best Gigs

1: Orbital - Electric Avenue Festival Christchurch
2 : Leftfield ( Neil Barnes ) Womad , Adelaide
3: Fat Freddys Drop - Womad ,Adelaide
4 : The Correspondants : Christchurch
5 :Baloji - Womad, Adelaide

Personal Music Highlight

After getting a pioneer mixing desk and serrato dj pro software for my birthday I've been getting some lessons from a good mate who was a dj back in Dublin in the good old 90's and working on the skills. Aim was to do a warm up set of house tunes at a party last week before him- fantastic fun , managed a 2 hr set and apparently I wasn't half bad , biggest buzz was mixing Leftfields ' Rez ' with Robag Wruhmes minimilist techno classic 'Wabb bodun' mid set - got the crowd going for sure !

Best TV

Forever - Amazon Series
Game of Thrones - Episode 3 - the long night
Best Films
El Camino- a breaking bad Movie
Marriage Story
Once Upon a time in Hollywood

Best writing

Why Buddhism is true- Robin Wright
What we Talk about when we talk about love-Raymond Carver
Infinite Awareness, the awakening of a scientific mind-Marjorie Woollacott
The Sellout - Paul Beatty
The Rehersal - Eleanor Catton

Best Podcast

The Blindboy podcast