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From an outrageous year in Irish music, it’s no surprise that this year’s Choice Music Prize 2017 shortlist is solid as hell. Decided by a panel of Irish ‘industry types’, the winner will be announced on the 9th of March 2017. For those not lucky enough to attend, new Choice Prize partners RTÉ have you sorted, as ‘the event will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM in a special four hour extended programme from 7-11pm and on RTÉ2 as part of a special RTÉ Choice Music Prize programme, approximately one week later’. Sound.
A heavyweight list for 2017, let’s dive in.
All Tvvins – IIVV
No big surprise here, the Dublin duo released IIVV in August last year, to much acclaim from fans and critics alike. You’ll know ‘Darkest Ocean’ as that song that seemed to play constantly on every Irish radio station for the latter half of the year, and as being the best track on an otherwise ‘decent enough’ record. Prize-wise, there’s more substantial stuff in this shortlist. Lets take a look below….
Bantum – Move
Bantum has had a year. Nods for best Irish act album for the stunning Move have been everywhere of late for Ruairi Lynch. The album is a stunner from start to finish, fusing electronic elements with old-school instrumental hip-hip influences; Move is like nothing else being produced in Ireland right now.
Wallis Bird – Home
Easily her best effort yet, Home’s nomination shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody following Wallis Bird’s career so far. Her fifth studio album explores love from its most tender to its most cruel, with a voice which is as unique as it is powerful.
The Divine Comedy – Foreverland
The 10th studio album from Northern Irish outfit The Divine Comedy blends straight-forward pop hooks with meticulously arranged orchestral parts. Bells, whistles, horns and all, Foreverland’s nomination is thoroughly deserved for the wealth of musicianship displayed alone.
Lisa Hannigan – At Swim
Certainly one of the biggest names in Irish music these days, Lisa Hannigan’s At Swim is a spectacular effort from the singer-songwriter. The obvious choice for the prize, sure, but this record stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the best released in 2016 – Irish or otherwise.
Katie Kym – Salt
Atmospheric and at times beautifully jarring, Salt blends darkness with delicacy in a triumphant third effort from Katie Kim. Perhaps this is a record that passed you by last year, but don’t make the same mistake for 2017.
James Vincent McMorrow – We Move
No surprises here.
Overhead the Albatross – Learning to Growl
Sure, they’re all some of the best records of 2016, but this one takes the biscuit. Learning to Growl is an incredibly rich and nuanced debut, worth the wait, and wholly impressive.
Rusangano Family – Let The Dead Bury The Dead
Number 7 on HeadStuff’s own albums of the year list for 2016, Rusangano Family’s Let The Dead Bury The Dead is easily one of the most important records produced last year. It’s banger after banger of impeccably produced hip-hop, a real breath of fresh air.
We Cut Corners – The Cadences Of Others
Much has been written on this record, here at HeadStuff and elsewhere, and every bit of praise for The Cadences Of Others is thoroughly deserved. From unparalleled lyricism to melodic phrases that might break your heart,We Cut Corners are a mainstay of the country’s alternative music scene.