It already features The Academic, Snow Patrol, Kodaline, Glen Hansard, EDEN & My Bloody Valentine, The New 52s, Theme Tune Boy, Anna Mitchell, The Stunning, The 202s, The Frantics and more...
2018 is going to be another frenetically busy year for Irish acts with dozens of album releases already confirmed.
Leading the charge on January 12 is Tales From The Back Seat, the debut offering from Mullingar(ish) four-piece The Academic who went viral last year with their time lag ‘Bears Claws’ video.
From Strokes-y start (‘Permanent Vacation’) to insanely catchy romantic finish, (‘Girlfriend’), it justifies all the hype… and then some!
Nipping at its heels on January 19 is Vertigo by EDEN (pictured above), the 21-year-old Dubliner also known as Jonathon Ng who, on the back of his huge online following, signed to the same Scooter Braun management company as Justin Bieber, Usher and Ariana Grande, and has subsequently bagged major record deals on both sides of the Atlantic.
We’ve dispatched one of our finest men to interview Jonathon with the resulting interview appearing in our upcoming Hot For 2018 Special.
It shares a birthday with Glen Hansard’s Between Two Shores, which has a fabulous ‘70s retro sleeve and such achingly beautiful moments as ‘Roll On Slow’, ‘Wheels On Fire’, ‘Reckless Heart’ and ‘Time Will Be The Healer’.
January 19 is also the due date for Cork songstress Anna Mitchell’s second solo album, which is co-produced by O Emperor’s Brendan Fennessy.
With such respected Irish players as Davie Ryan, Brian Hassett and Alan Comerford backing her, the self-titled collection is a sumptuous affair, which gets a live airing in Coughlan’s, Cork (February 8 & 9); Levi’s Corner House, Cork (10); Mike The Pies, Listowel (15 with Orchid Collective) and Whelan’s, Dublin (16 with Patrick Freeman).
January 19 is D-Day too for Weird Weekends, the latest from Laurie Shaw, a maverick 23-year-old Merseysider who’s relocated to the mountainous wilds of County Cork.
Out on January 26 is Marble Skies by Django Django who qualify by dint of mainman Vincent Neff being from Derry. Along with their patented artsy rock, the band also get their Jamaican dancehall on with 'Surface To Air' and come over all Krautrock-y on the title-track.
Sharing that Friday feeling are The Lost Brothers whose very impressive Halfway Towards A Healing was rustled up in in Tuscon, Arizona’s Dust & Stone Studios with Gabriel Sullivan and Howe Gelb taking care of the midwifery.
Out on February 2 is the sophomore offering from dystopian Dublin disco stompers The 202s. If ‘Soul Don’t Boogie’ is anything to go by, the Difference/Repetition release is going to be a monster.
We’re also loving ‘Shadows In The Motion’, the flagship single from the album of the same name by Belfast/Lurgan acoustic quartet Dandy’s Loft, which will be with us early in the year. Imagine a rootsier version of ‘70s hitmakers America, and you’ll have some idea of the noise they make.
Sounding every inch an international hit is the self-tilted Wyvern Lingo record, which will be with us on February 23 and includes ‘I Love You, Sadie’, ‘Snow II’, ‘Subside’ and ‘Where I Can (Rubbish)’ among its numerous standouts.
Tupelo return to the fray on February 23 with 'Shriven Dust', the flagship single from their The Heart's Bloodline album, which Crashed Records are releasing on March 2. The track has bagged itself a spot on hit Canadian TV show, Hello Goodbye.
Also hitting the racks in February is the new one from Gavin Glass, Opus Pocus.
"I think it's my best one," he tells us. "Less twang. More wang."
Some of that extra wang is down to award-winning engineer Mass Ross Spang who mixed it in Memphis' legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis.
Declan Carruthers unleashes his Fallen Walls album in March - and a fine acoustic folk pop 10-tracker it is too! Christy Moore and Damien Dempsey are handy markers, but the Sky Full Of Crows man is plowing his own rootsy furrow.
Muscular Dublin rockers The New 52s follow up last year’s ‘I Am’ single with a spring EP and autumn album they’re recording with Boo Hewerdine of The Bible fame.
A mere 27 years after its original release, The Stunning drop the ‘re-imagined’ version of their Once Around The World album on March 16 with a same day launch gig in the Dublin Olympia. The evergreen likes of ‘Everything That Rises’, ‘Heads Are Gonna Roll’, ‘Mr. Ginger’ and ‘She’s On My Mind’ are joined by recent single ‘Brighten Up My Life’ on the rechristened Twice Around The World.
Hot Press faves The Hot Sprockets embark on another ‘psychedelic folk pop rock ‘n’ roll adventure’ in April with Dream Mover.
There’s no release date yet but, having applied the finishing studio touches last autumn, there will be a new Snow Patrol album at some point in 2018 and a run round the European festival circuit over the summer. Gary and the chaps have made no secret of the fact that they’re also keen on a return to Bangor’s Ward Park.
The Frantics have a single out, ‘Amen’, which trails the album they’re assembling with Dublin legend Stano.
Limerick stalwart Theme Tune Boy, AKA Niall Quinn of The Hitchers and Cranberry Saw Us fame, has an album with “the provisional but calcifying title of Pierrepoint’s Notes. Provisional release date was 12 months ago. So while we’re not in the GnR/MBV sphere by any means we’re certainly behind schedule.”
Knowing Mr. Quinn as we do, it’ll be worth the wait!
Talking of My Bloody Valentine, Kevin Shields says, “We 100% will” be releasing a new album in 2018 and touring on the back of it.
“In some respects, some of it is a bit straightforward,” he recently told Rolling Stone. “The MBV album that we did in 2013 feels more meandery and not as concise. This one is like if somebody took that and dropped some acid on it or created a dimensional clash or something. It’s more all over the place… The record I am making now is not so much about death and change as freedom of the soul.”
Kodaline spent a sizable chunk of 2017 recording their new offering with Rag‘n’Bone Man associate Jonny Coffer.
“Jonny’s also written and produced stuff for Naughty Boy and Beyoncé, so he’s coming from a place that’s totally different to us, but very, very exciting,” Steve Garrigan informs Hot Press. “Jonny took us out of our comfort zone, which has tended to be slow, emotional songs. He was like, ‘Why limit yourself?’ The most recent sessions were in London with Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol who’s converted an old church into a studio, which doesn’t feel like a studio because it’s so homely and chilled. We were supposed to be finishing the album in November, but ended up writing loads of new songs.”
Lethal Dialect, who demonstrated last year in Cardboard Gangsters that he’s a fine actor too, is reverting to his real name of Paul Alwright – a gift to headline writers everywhere! – with his latest, Hungry. It still has a hip hop heart, but finds him emulating his pal Maverick Sabre by going off in all manner of new musical directions.
Conor J. O’Brien is promising new Villagers music when he supports The National during the summer in Donnybrook Stadium, but whether that means there’s an album’s worth of material the scamp isn’t saying. We also reckon Damien Rice is due a new 'un, but he always takes his own sweet time...
Also keep your ears peeled for Stoat's Try Not To Think About It, which gets a February 10 launch in the Dublin Underground, Spook Of The 13th Lock’s Lockout (March 16), Track Dogs' Kansas City Out Groove (March/April), and release date TBC offerings from Keywest, R.S.A.G., Delorentos, The Blizzards, Chasing Abbey, HamsandwicH, Hail The Ghost, Slow Riot, Le Galaxie, Apella, Circuit3, Jamie Stanton, Ye Vagabonds, Paul Melia, Le Galaxie, Jinx Lennon, Jester, Catherine McGrath, The Man Whom, Mark Geary, Warsaw Radio, Bitch Falcon, Shane Joyce, Sons Of Southern Ulster who also have their Foundry Folk Songs documentary coming out, and Megan O’Neill.
On repeat in Hot Press Central at the moment is ‘Lighthouse’, the title-track from the new EP by Dublin singer-songwriter ELLYD. Recorded in Jam Studios with Martin Quinn who’s also worked the faders for Aine Cahill, The Strypes and Celtic Tenors, the song features in the new run of RTÉ’s Striking Out.
There are also incoming singles and EPs from Cork indie merchants Dry Roasted Peanuts; retro North Tipp rockers Jester; alt-minded Rathmines resident Owen Vahey; jangly Dublin duo The Reprise; muscular County Dubs Skyfever; soulful Tallaght flag-waver VJ Jackson, and Jane Willow, a Dutch singer-songwriter now based in Dublin who successfully channels both Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell.
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