THE BEST MUSIC OF 2016

Galway, Irish, and International albums of the year

Aussie teens The Goon Sax made one of the best albums of 2016 with their debut, Up To Anything.

Aussie teens The Goon Sax made one of the best albums of 2016 with their debut, Up To Anything.

Irish Album of The Year

Jealous Of The Birds - Parma Violets (Rough Trade ) - JOTB is 19-year-old Armagh singer-songwriter Naomi Hamilton. A considerable gift for melody, her knack for a catchy chorus, a poetic lyrical ability, and ease in ranging from Steven Malkmus-like slacker rock to delicate indie folk-pop, without ever sounding unfocused, makes this startling debut Irish album of the year.

Galway Album of The Year

Oh Boland - Spilt Milk (Volar Records ) - Niall Murphy, Eanna MacDonnchadha, and Simon McDonagh finally delivered the album we all knew they could - rough tough garage rock sweetened by anthemic choruses, earworm melodicism, and slice o'life observational lyrics.

Best International Albums of 2016

The Goon Sax - Up To Anything (Chapter Music ) - These Aussies are aged between 17 and 19 and have produced a masterpiece of DIY, loose sounding jangle/garage indie rock - think a mellower Pastels - about adolescence while still in adolescence. Humour, depth, great stories, great songs. Another outstanding debut.

David Bowie - Blackstar (Columbia Records ) - In 'Dollar Days' Bowie declared: "I'm dying to push their backs against the grain and fool them all again and again." His music always will - a kaleidoscopic body of work restricted by no one interpretation, but a generous invitation for us all to explore and find out about ourselves.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed Ltd ) - a work of dark beauty, tremendous sadness, and the struggle not to be overwhelmed by the grief. Raw and powerful.

The Prettiots - Funs Cool (Rough Trade ) - underneath the delightful kookiness on this debut are real pop smarts; a mischevious sense of humour; and a determination to keep these sensibilities wedded to the anti-folk and lo-fi indie traditions.

Låpsley - Long Way Home (XL Recordings ) - the Liverpudlian fuses singer-songwriter, indie, chillwave, UK garage, and ambient excellently. A new alternative-pop star has arrived.

Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial (Matador ) - This is 23-year-old Will Toledo's 13th album, a tale of 20-something lives and 90s influenced American indie rock par excellence. Beck and Dinosaur Jr fans will appreciate.

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