- 18 Feb 19
From our previous issue, Stuart Clark rounds up the Irish albums set to drop in 2019.
Having already conquered Ireland – those five 3Arena shows are going to be epic! – Picture This go gunning for the rest of the world with the release of MDRN LV, which finds them hanging in the studio with Imagine Dragons producer Jayson Dezuzio.
Also guaranteed to grab the top spot here is March’s Wasteland, Baby!, album number two from Hozier , who answered the “Does he have another ‘Take Me To Church’ in his locker?” question very eloquently last year with ‘Nina Cried Power’.
There’s no release date yet, but Danny O’Donoghue revealed at our Christmas Summit meeting that The Script are close to completing the follow up to 2017’s Freedom Child.
“We’ve gone back to, ‘Here’s four instruments: how fucking good a song can we write with them?’” he told us. “Gone are the days of massive production and bells and whistles. We’re looking outward, we’re looking inward, so it’s going to be a very emotional record and one that I think will stand up there with the best of the Script albums. I’m very excited.”
Those three future number ones are merely the tip of the 2019 Irish Albums iceberg with dozens of shiny new records heading our way.
First out of the traps on January 11 was Isaac Nelson, the cracking debut from Dublin hip hopper Bobby Basil who also makes a damn fine video – see his new ‘Makeup’ promo for proof.
Out the following week was Flow, album number two from his fellow indie-minded Dubs Bouts who’ve been shacked up in the studio with former Hot Press-er Fiachra McCarthy. Close harmony and jangly guitar fans are going to love it!
Also getting in there early on February 1 with Tí were Empire Circus, the Dublin outfit whose 2018 ‘A Day In The Life Of A Super Hero’ single nodded at U2 and other stadium-fillers.
Band member Neil Eurelle also has a solo album coming out in April under the stylised moniker of Eur(elle). Recorded in Kells’ JAM Studios with Martin Quinn, The Dark Chromatic finds him in somewhat folkier form. Down Limrock way, Hedfuzy unleash their sophomore album, Waves, on February 1.
It includes ‘Shadows For The Disappeared’, the hard rock/prog-inclined quartet’s recent single, which sounds like Thin Lizzy having sonic fisticuffs with Europe.
February 1 also saw the release of the now Rat-less John Blek’s Thistle & Thorn. Recorded between Clonakilty and Louisville, Kentucky, it’s come out here on Mr. Kelly’s own WARR imprint, with K&F Records handling it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
If you’ve not heard his folk-inflected pop yet, you’re in for a treat!
Making it a February 1 triple-whammy was Midnight Mission, the second solo outing from Bill Shanley who’s worked with the likes of Paul Brady and Ray Davies, both of whom guest here. The songwriting and playing is impeccable throughout.
Cork’s Talos, AKA Eoin French, released his second album, Far Out Dust, through BMG on February 8 with the official launch gig the following night in Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church.
Ahead of what has now become their annual run of National Concert Hall shows - catch ‘em from March 4-11 - Messrs. Hayes, Ó Raghallaigh, Ó Lionáird, Cahill and Bartlett release The Gloaming 3 on February 22 through Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records.
Recorded last autumn in New York, it’s available for pre-order now with ‘Áthhas (Joy)’ and ‘Sheenan’s Jigs’ the two new “instant gratification” tracks, which is new fresh industryspeak to us.
Having impressed with her The King Has Two Horse’s Ears debut, Kildare-born indie-folk musician Inni-K returns on March 1 with the “more organic” The Hare & The Line, which includes new single, ‘Just After’.
Following a string of very impressive singles, Dublin neo soulster Jafaris finally opens his album account with March 8’s Stride, which includes the “unvarnished and nuanced peak into his personal life” that is ‘Time’. We’re also very fond of ‘Found My Feet’, a hypnotic anthem that’ll be sung back to him with great gusto at this year’s summer festivals.
Honorary Irishman Eric Eckhart – he’s from Virginia but lived in Dublin for a number of years before relocating again to Berlin – plays nearly all of the instruments on Luminous, which was recorded in a former World War II bunker and drops on March 14.
“The songs were written in the time between the home birth of my second child and the death of my parents not long after and reflect the extremes of life and death, darkness and light and the polarised world we all live in today,” he reflects. The video for lead single 'The Radio' is currently premiering elsewhere on hotpress.com.
Maverick Sabre returns on March 22 with When I Wake Up, which includes ‘Guns In The Distance’, ‘Into Hope’, ‘War’, ‘Glory’, ‘Don’t Talk About It’ and ‘Her Grace’.
“The new album marks a new chapter for Maverick Sabre, independently released and a freedom to create exactly what and how he wishes,” we’re told. “A rich tapestry of stories which critique the world around him, the new record explores themes around society, faith, relationships, hope, hurt and much more.”
March is also release month for The Blizzards whose The Last Great Algorithm album lands ten years after its predecessor, Domino Effect. Recorded in Bressie’s own Camden Recording Studios, it’s packed with razor sharp pop-rock tunes.
NUI Maynooth graduates Grainne Hunt and Brendan Walsh join forces for Songs From Ireland, a collection of traditional ballads and folk songs sung both in English and as Gailige that’s coming our way on April 5. The former, a Monaghan native who’s been compared to Tracy Chapman, has also recorded a solo album, This Secret, in Nashville with Nanci Griffith and Maura O’Connell producer Thomm Jutz. With assorted Ry Cooder and John Hiatt members on board, the musicianship is off the scale.
Walking On Cars have just announced the April 12 unleashing of Colours, which was recorded between their own Kerry studio and RAK in London where The 1975 also assembled their latest.
The sonic pathfinder for the record is ‘Monster’, a track described as “a cathartic howl of a song, strident with piano, punchy electronics and a sky-grabbing chorus” – and which doesn’t disappoint.
Another of Ireland’s big musical guns, Glen Hansard, releases his fourth solo album, The Wild Willing, on April 12 with new track ‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’ available now as an appetite-whetter.
“This collection of songs is mainly made up of those that came through while improvising and following the melodic lines and threads,” Glen explains. “Sometimes when you take a small musical fragment and you care for it, follow it and build it up slowly, it can become a thing of wonder.”
Mid-April finds Dublin rapper Flynn Johnson unleashing Self Titled, a ten-tracker produced by Bitter Rocc who released a cracking instrumental album before Christmas under the guise of NINETY NINE.
Flynn’s debut is billed as “a real insight into how a young man deals with day to day life in Dublin” and duly delivers.
The follow up to SOAK’s 2015 Choice Music Prize-winning debut, Before We Forgot How To Dream, will be with us on April 26. It’s called Grim Town and includes her new single, ‘Knock Me Off My Feet’, which is described as a “love letter to the lawlessness and freedoms of smalltown culture.”
“The central premise of ‘Grim Town’”, she reflects, “is a dystopia that I’ve created in my brain: me on the inside, processed into a pretend location. The way I could wrap my head around a lot of what I was going through was to make it feel like something quite physical and real. Once I had the idea of the album being an actual location, exploring the dynamics of this town and what it would look or sound like felt like the right way to give my mental state a personality.”
SOAK shares her release date with In The End, the album the Cranberries were recording at the time of Dolores O’Riordan’s death, and which includes new single ‘All Over Now’, ‘A Place I Know’, ‘Wake Me Up When It’s Over’ and a collaboration with Canadian producer Dan Brodbeck, ‘Summer Song’, among its standouts.
Also due in April is Record, the latest from Dublin acoustic/harmony outfit The Blue Light Smugglers, which includes ‘A Day In May’, ‘Death In An Irish Town’, ‘As I Went Out One Evening’ and ‘Elsie’ among its melodious delights.
Electronic synth popper Circuit3 has not one but two albums out this year – The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything drops in the Spring through diode, with Technology For The Youth following in late 2019. This is a potentially massive year for All Tvvins who’ll be looking to build on their cult following with Spring’s Just To Exist.
Produced by James Vincent McMorrow, it’s an unashamed stray into Talking Heads territory with Conor Adams’ falsetto to the fore.
Monaghan guitar man Séan O’Brian and his FIELDS bandmates have their first full-length album, Postcolonial, ready to folk ‘n’ roll in May with a couple of appetite whetting singles before that.
Having already amassed over two million Spotify plays, we wouldn’t bet against ‘em crossing over to the mainstream.
Socks In The Frying Pan lynchpin Aodán Coyne has emerged from Dublin’s Production Suite with Gaps Between Stars, due in July, an alt-folkish affair that includes a guest turn from the Ennis troubadour’s Limerick neighbour Emma Langford who’ll have her own long-player out at some point in 2019.
With The New 52 sadly calling it a day, Darragh Cullen has recorded a solo album with former Bible man Boo Hewerdine.
Due in the summer, it’ll be trailed by the first single under his abbreviated D. Cullen moniker, The Rising Tide.
The sessions have been shrouded in secrecy, but Magda Davitt, AKA Sinéad O’Connor, is well into the recording of her No Mud, No Lotus album with David Holmes at the production helm.
There’s more bilingual tune-ry on the way from Padraig Jack, an Aran Islands singer-songwriter who’s assembling an album in London with John Reynolds of Damien Dempsey and Sinéad O’Connor renown.
Due through UK independent Good Deeds in the summer, it’ll be trailed shortly by the excellent ‘Streetbed Ridden’.
Limerick songstress Siobhán O’Brien is currently in Austin, Texas where she’s recording an album with Matt Hubbard and John Bush who are both members of Eddie Brickell’s New Bohemians.
We’re also due records this year from – deep breath! – Versatile, Junior Brother, Wild Youth, A. Smyth, Squareahead, Pillow Queens, Girl Band, TOUTS, whenyoung, Saint Sapphire, former Revs man Rory Gallagher, Sibéal, Hail The Ghost, Cry Monster Cry, Little Green Cars, Hail The Ghost, MINDRIOTmt, Brand New Dead Things, A Lazarus Soul, Martin Mackdee, Mango X MathMan, Alarmist, Sons Of Southern Ulster, Boa Morte, Constant Supply, Hidden Stills, Maija Sofia, Ailbhe Reddy, Daithí and Join Me In The Pines.