top twenty five ~ best irish tracks of 2014 ~ 25 to 21

As another great year winds to a close, Encore NI again finds itself reflecting on a host of positives for the local music scene. From a record number of new bands receiving recognition across the pond, to a live scene revitalized by young bands demanding (and earning) stage time, we want to now celebrate some of the tracks that have made this year as good as it was. Not even the loss of our beloved Glasgowbury could dampen our local bands and artists spirit, as new genres blossomed amongst our indie-rock heritage. Unable to confine our list to 20 tracks (believe us, we tried!), over the coming weeks we will reveal what we believe to be the best tracks to come out of the country this year. Disagree with us? Get involved in the debate on twitter ~ send your suggestions to @EncoreNI.  

25. BLOOM ~ 'Tropical Edge Of The Storm'

Hazily fading into existence as easily as one may fade out, Belfast's first and only, avant garde Psyche-Blues outfit have came out of nowhere to become one of the countries best underground prospects. Raised on a diet of Beatles, Tame Impala and The Doors, BLOOM's 60's elements are never hidden away amongst their tidal waves of synth and tension building bass guitar. Never afraid to let their music wander, you can expect BLOOM songs to last anything up to half an hour or longer,  'Tropical Edge Of The Storm', being no different. An instrumental piece sonically detailing the passing of a storm, this track wouldn't look out of place on the new Pink Floyd album.

For fans of: Pink Floyd, Brian Jonestown Massacre
Expect in 2015: A cult following to develop.

24. Malibu Shark Attack ~ 'Better Off As Friends'

Probably the worlds only 'Trans-Atlantic' hip-hop duo, the story of Malibu Shark Attack is a beautiful tale of two men on opposite sides of the world, who love music. The brain-child of legendary Northern Irish producer Rocky O'Reilly, his collaboration with Atlanta's 'Tribe One' culminated in glorious sonic landscapes of 80's synth-pop, thrown alongside a rapper of effortless flow and charisma. This opening track from the bands debut album is the highlight of something we certainly hope we haven't seen the last of yet.

For fans of: Gorillaz, Los Campesinos
Expect in 2015: A major support slot somewhere down the road...which may just lead to something huge.

23. Oh Volcano ~ 'Oceans'

This catchy single from former General Fiasco frontman Owen Strathern's new band, is the culmination of months locked away with a synth and an array of 80's records. Drenched in sun filled melody, 'Oceans' groove and drone complexities make for a compelling mix. Somehow, it sounds even bigger in a live setting, as proved during their dates supporting the mammoth Twenty One Pilots on the Irish dates of their World Tour.

For Fans of: The Cure, Arcade Fire
Expect In 2015: A UK tour.

22. Paper Man ~ 'Like TV'

Moving away from the cleaner angst of debut EP 'After Effects', Paper Man's foray into an altogether heavier sound produced further reassuring results. Follow up 'Midfield Modern Argument' again showcased frontman Alistair Greyson's moving lyricism, combining with the altogether tighter sound of a band never scared of offending the mainstream. 'This conscious stream, making me scream..this is the first time, stop screaming in my mind'. Their recent split now heralds the emergence of new band 'The Sea, Close By', whilst drummer David Hunter considers his musical future.

For Fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, Million Dead
Expect in 2015: 'The Sea, Close By' to start things all over again ~ a brand new sound for drummer Dave.

21. Matthew Duly ~ 'Ghost In Your Memory'

Having performed at such venues as our own Ulster Hall, the Empire and Birmingham's monstrous 'LG Arena' (with band 'Lipstick Lizards), you'd think the name 'Matthew Duly would be written into local music consciousness by now. Sadly, this is not yet the case, though on the basis of this year the Whitehead native is not far off. Capping off a series of quality performances across the country by winning a place on the coveted 'Scratch My Progress'  talent program, the only solo singer-songwriter to do so, Duly is earning his space on the local music scene in his own right, having played in local bands for years. This maudlin ode to the passing of time is surly his most accomplished to date, with a beautiful chorus.

For fans of: The Shins, Matt Corby
Expect in 2015: A long awaited debut EP.

Who should be in our top 20? Join the debate now @EncoreNI and on Facebook here.

Taylor Johnson

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