Irish Albums to Look Forward to in 2011…

Posted: 01/03/2011 in Uncategorized

***As published on RED Radar on March 1st 2011***

Just as you thought you’d seen the back of end-of-year lists, later this week, the 6th annual Choice Music Prize for Album of 2010 will be awarded to one of ten shortlisted bands and artists – the result no doubt kicking off debate once again as to what REALLY was the best release of 2010. The surprise nominees, the disappointing omissions, who will win, who SHOULD win – everyone has their opinions when it comes to the Choice Music Prize! There’s no denying that 2010 was a phenomenal year for Irish music – we were spoilt for choice, and Irish acts raised the bar for both themselves and others. But as we continue to look back, we must also look forward – because 2011 promises to be yet another stellar year for Irish releases. So, here’s a preview of 5 home-grown albums you can look forward to hearing in the coming months – some from veterans, some from rookies – but all worth getting excited about!

Bell X1 – Bloodless Coup

Bell X1’s fifth studio album, Bloodless Coup, is set for release on 1st April 2010. The band premiered some of their new material during their acoustic tour last November – but in its raw form of just vocals, piano and acoustic guitar it was hard to gauge what direction Bell X1 are taking with this latest album. When a preview of ‘Hey Anna Lena’ was unleashed online a weeks ago, it was met with widespread praise from fans and non-fans alike –blissful electronica at its best, and building on the electronic foundations laid by 2009 release Blue Lights on the Runway. Last week, lead single from Bloodless Coup, titled ‘Velco’, hit the airwaves to similar acclaim. Throughout their lifespan Bell X1 have displayed a fantastic ability to diversify styles with each album – a fine tradition which now looks set to continue with Bloodless Coup. Roll on April 1st!

The Minutes – Marcata

Widely tipped as one of THE bands to watch in 2011, Dublin trio The Minutes continue to build momentum in the run-up to the release of their much-anticipated debut album Marcata this coming May. Having released a series of singles independently since their formation in 2006, The Minutes are now signed to Model Citizen records (home of Fight Like Apes).  At present the band are putting the finishing touches on Marcata, which is set for release on May 13th and will be preceded by the release of lead single ‘Black Keys’ in early April. In a live setting, The Minutes quite simply ROCK – so it’s a VERY good omen that the band have claimed that the ten-track album “bottles the energy of their live sets”!

Gemma Hayes – (Untitled)

Gemma Hayes is currently putting the finishing touches on her as-yet-untitled fourth album, which was recorded in the Black Box studio in France with long-time producer David Odlum. Originally planned for release in September 2010, this date was pushed back to allow time for Hayes to get everything just right – since falling out of love with major record label and pursuing the DIY route, she sees no need to rush. Throughout the recording process, Hayes has taken the time to road-test her new material by playing small acoustic shows around the country. Of the new songs showcased a these shows, there are two clear standouts – ‘Shock to the System’ is a textbook Gemma Hayes ballad, delivered with such passion and conviction that if you didn’t know better, you might think it’s a song that she’s been playing for years; and ‘Tokyo’, a more up-tempo tune, instantly catchy and likely to be the lead single. Only small tasters of the album as a whole – but strong indications that the album will be worth the wait.

Le Galaxie – Laserdisc Nights

Le Galaxie will release their debut album Laserdisc Nights this coming May – so you better get ready to dance! Not many acts are capable of bringing you that wee-hours-in-a-summer-festival-tent feeling at any given moment – but Le Galaxie make it seem easy. The band’s brilliantly original brand of electro (along with their stellar high-energy live shows) has won them many fans and widespread critical acclaim. The album’s lead single ‘Midnight Midnight’ will be released in March to tide us over until Laserdisc Nights official release date of May 27th. Bring it on!

Heathers – Untitled

It is the simplicity of Heathers that makes them unique – the raw power of their infectious melodies and impeccable harmonies against a single acoustic guitar is a trademark sound which brought them much success on 2008 debut album Here, Not There. You would expect that Heathers wouldn’t be keen to stray too far from that winning formula on their sophomore effort – but you’d be wrong. Fresh from wowing the masses at the prestigious Eurosonic Festival – where they performed with a FULL band – it’s clear that Heathers are keen to diversify their sound, by expanding on their use of instruments whilst maintaining all the original charm of their distinctive vocal sound. Ellie & Louise are busy writing material for the forthcoming ‘difficult second album’, and have received a very positive reception from showcasing new songs at recent live shows. No exact release date is set as of yet (let’s not forget, these talented twins are still both working hard in college!) but based on the tasters we’ve been given so far, Heathers’ 2011 album release is going to be something to very much look forward to indeed.

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