In Focus: 2012

Here's my summery of 2012.


The year began with me being a tad critical of the revamped Choice awards stating that it was "... a generally safe list! ...... So the bands getting the attention and appearing on the shortlist are the well resourced bands [Bell X1, Lisa Hannigan, Cashier No.9] the popular bands with the establishment [Pugwash, Jape, The Japanese Popstars] and the bloggers [hipsters?] favourites [ASIWYFA, Patrick Kelleher, Tieranniesaur, We Cut Corners]. The Olympia on March 8th will be so cosy! "

Albums reviewed were The Lost Brothers first album of 2012 So Long John Frante, Marc O'Reilly's debut My Friend Marx, Michael Brunnock's excellent album The Orchard and Emmett Tinley's self-titled second solo album. I also reviewed a number of Videos and Singles back in January and introduced artists such as Twin Terrace, Eric McGrath, Window Seats and the wonderful Sarah Red.



This month was quiet for me. It was the first month in my new adventure with Gerry and The Purple Sessions crew in Boyles of Slane. First up was a line-up featuring The Riot Tapes, Marc O'Reilly, Polly Barrett and Rory Bowens. I wrote many posts focused on the line-up announcement for Vantastival and reviewed albums by  Cars Love Girls, Daniel Thomas, Valentine Black and this excellent compilation Cafe Irlandais featuring this amazing track from Sí;



I got to review quality music in March with album reviews of Twin Terrace's debut Plurals, Mossy Nolan fantastic self-titled debut as well as the debut EP from Navan sensation Shannon. I discovered Blancatransfer, an indie-pop band working out of Spain with Irish connections who produce really great tunes like this one;



Albums reviewed in April included the debuts from Kopek, Robb Murphy, the new album from Mark Geary and Sinead O'Connor's latest effort. Album of April was the second album from Spook of the Thirteenth Lock.

I wrote my usual Top 50 list of Irish acts list over ten parts in April. It's a fine snapshot of artists who impressed me in the months leading up to April.

Here's the Top 10:

10. The Gorgeous Colours
9. Bona Fide Federation
8. Junah
7. Bill Coleman
6. The Young Folk
5. Mossy Nolan
4. Marc O'Reilly
3. Jukebox Gypsy
2. I Draw Slow
1. Ana Gog



Vantastival kicked off a Summer of Festivals for 2UIBestow. Our family crew was halved with illness so I had to cut short this year's Vantastival experience and I didn't see half the bands I wanted to. I did get to see quality performances from Huey & the Hobgoblins, Town Criers, RedTwelve with band of the festival going to Master & Dog:

Albums reviewed in May were from The Plea and Sive's brilliantly charming debut album. I also got to review EPs from Cry Monster Cry and Foxglove as well as beginning a new 'Top 5 Videos to See' feature. 



June was about Football and the Westport Festival. Poor football and crappy weather ruined both events for me! I got to see some fantastic acts at Westport including Damien Dempsey, Lloyd Cole, Colin Devlin, Kopek, Imelda May, The Lost Brothers, Sam Amidon with the performance of the weekend belonging to Duke Special;

Reviewed this month was the charming debut Eric McGrath, Duke Special's latest Oh Pioneer, the debut from Dubliner Dayo and the debut album from blog favourites 'I Am Not Lefthanded'.



July was a good month for the blog. I got to see some great gigs and reviewed some fine albums. It was a first trip for the family to Knockanstockan which resulted in a nasty dose of food poisoning. Again shitty Irish weather killed the festival with some headline bands playing to tens of people at best. Bands that impressed at Knockanstockan included Sarah Red, The Viking Project, John Blek & The Rats, Lights Camera Sundown and Twin Headed Wolf. Albums reviewed this month came from Glen Hansard, Mick Flannery and the brilliant album from The Prairie Dawgs called 'Halfway To Poughkeepsie' which just failed to get into my top 10 list of the year.



So August was all about the Olympics and the lead up to Electric Picnic. Artists reviewed include The Aluskas's debut album, a fine pop EP from Sinead McNally, the second album from Frantic Jack and this excellent single from the wonderfully charming EleventyFour called Snapshots;



Electric Picnic was an amazing festival experience for all the right reasons. The weather was perfect and the music was excellent. I seen some great performances from Roisin O, Jerry Fish, Shannon & The Shortcuts, David Kitt, Seamus Fogarty and Youth Mass. Albums reviewed included the brilliant debut from Heritage Centre, the glorious debut from Suzanne Savage, Joey Ryan's charming album, Alan Marshall's debut and the second album from goth murder ballad band Reverend JM's Panic Worship.



October was the month of album reviews with reviews from Windings, Deetrich, John Cathal O'Brien, Autumn Long, You Kiss By The Book, Mark Black & The Trips, Seamus Fogarty and the debut album from Roisin O;



We turned 4 in November so I did a few posts reflecting on the music released in the four years of the life of the blog. I reviewed The Chapters return to form gig in the Unitarian Church as well as reviews of Damien Dempsey's new album Almighty Love and this debut album from Kaplin called Devastating Ways;



A month of lists and Alternative Christmas Tunes helped me to finish off the year. The blog got a lick of paint and I announced that if the music is good I'll feature it regardless of it's origin. It means I'll be featuring music from the best of Irish artists as well as those international acts such as Dry the River, Anais Mitchell, Jonathon Wilson, Calexico and Aimee Mann who I'm looking forward to seeing at the end of the month in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre;

The blog dipped in quality this year but I've clear plans for 2013 which will see the return of the 'song of the day' style regular blogging I began in 2011.

Happy New Year