Top 20 Albums of 2011

Here are the twenty albums which I've loved this year from Irish artists.

1. The Making - Expectations

This is pure quality pop/rock album released independently by the Co. Monaghan band. I'm not even sure if it's had an official nationwide release as I didn't notice the album on the Choice Longlist for the year.

02 v1 Beautiful Tonight by The Making

2. Favourite Sons - The Great Deal of Love

Superb vocals and lyrics throughout from an amazing band.

They Call Me Coco Rushdie by FavouriteSons

3. I Draw Slow - Redhills

Beautifully crafted fusion of alt-country, folk, roots, old-time and Americana with wonderful vocals and musicianship!

4. Jukebox Gypsy - The Month

Jukebox Gypsy consists of four songwriters with their own style that works so well together on the band's second album entitled 'The Month'.

5. Maria Byrne & The Broken String - Little Basement

'Little Basement' is the debut album from London based Corkonian Maria Byrne and it's a wonderful collection of inoffensive singalong songs which brings a warm glow into my life.

Maria Byrne & The Broken String - Home by maria_byrne

6. Reader's Wives - Rachel's Apartment

The lyrics are thought-provoking, the vocals of Niall James Holohan are pleasant and effective and there's enough heavy rock tunes on here to enable a loud escape from the routine of life.

You Must Have Been Crazy by ReadersWives

7. Candice Gordon - Before The Sunset Ends

The eight tracks on the short album are beautifully composed and they gel together to form one of the most complete albums I've heard this year. 'Before the Sunset Ends' isn't officially released until the new year!

8. Henrietta Game - Back Ship

Quality album of indie folk tunes from one of the best young bands in Ireland.

05 Rain-drenched Strings by Henrietta Game

9. Fling - Self-titled

This is a gutsy charming album which re-aquatints us with timeless traditional ballads and introduces us to new jigs for modern times!

10. Marc O'Reilly - My Friend Marx

Since getting the album a few weeks ago I've listened to the smooth vocals and intricate guitar playing of Marc O'Reilly pretty much non stop. A wonderful album of great tunes. Pure escapism!

05 La Question by Salt and Shake Records

11. The Henry Girls - December Moon

'December Moon' is a quality folk/roots album which is consistently brilliant from start to finish. The Henry Girls hit all the right spots on this their third album.

Rain and Snow (2011) by The Henry Girls

12. The Elective Orchestra - The Word

Standout track 'From The Ground Up' in particular uses the strings and guitar to emphasis both the despair of failing as well as the rejuvenation from that despair and clarity of life's important aspect.

From The Ground Up by The Elective Orchestra

13. We Cut Corners - Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards

We Cut Corners are the best live band I seen in Ireland this year and their album lives up to their massive potential.

We Cut Corners 'Toll Free' by The Delphi Label

14. Burning Codes - Rivers of Hope

The songs individually contain massive big sounds such as haunting backing vocals and thundering drums which revolves around the hugely positive lyrics at it's core.

Burning Codes - We are like gold by Jax Management

15. Lisa Hannigan - Passengers

'Passengers' is a deep artistic album which contains some great tunes that deserve your attention.

16. Stuart Wilde - The Black Crow

The Black Crow is a wonderfully orchestrated piece of art which on the one hand contains charm and atmosphere while on the other hand contains lyrics that portrays loss and escapism.

01 Lil' Ol' Restaurant by Stuart Wilde

17. SJ McArdle - Blood and Bones

'Blood and Bones' is the hugely enjoyable new album from Drogheda's SJ McArdle which contains at it's core the superb deep vocals of the talented singer-songwriter.

Personal Space by SJMcArdle

18. Owensie - Aliens

Aliens is a fine album with charm and atmosphere in abundance.

19. Norabelle - Wren

Norabelle are a three piece who in the main consist of acoustic guitars, piano, drums and harmonising vocals. The eight tracks that make up the debut debut album 'Wren' from Norabelle are wonderfully composed, orchestrated and sung.

20. Little Xs for Eyes - S.A.D.

There are some great tunes on there such as the closer 'Chet', 'In Three Years', the free download 'In The Light' and 'Your Ex Girlfriend'.