top twenty five ~ best irish tracks of 2014 ~ 10 - 4

Having kept you in suspense for frankly far longer than necessary, it's now time to reveal Encore NI's top ten best tracks of 2014. It's been incredibly difficult narrowing down a years worth of quality tunes into one definitive list; hopefully our twenty five choices reflect the eclectic, hardworking and passionate heart of the Northern  Irish music scene and that if you've been reading the entrants so far, that you may have discovered a new artist in the process. We can't ask for any more than that. If you feel an injustice has been done and that we've left out a sure fire contender, please join the debate on Facebook and Twitter. We always love to hear your thoughts!

Have a fantastic Christmas & continue to support the local scene ~ you create tomorrow's legends.

Thanks for everything, 

Enjoy the music.

Encore NI

10. Meb Jon Sol - Everyone Has A Secret Song

This heart-rending ode to love won and lost was the emotional pinnacle of a debut album long overdue. Formerly of local indie-pop legends Colenso Parade, their frontman has grown into a powerful performer in his own right, this Smith's inspired acoustic track a hidden gem amongst 'Southpaw NiƱos' avalanche of melody. Opening old wounds has never sounded so good.

For fans of: The Pogues, The Waterboys
Expect in 2015: A follow up album 

Download the song on Itunes here, or listen for free on Spotify.

9. Wonder Villains - Marshall

Bright, shimmering art-pop in it's purist form, there is perhaps no band in the country that can claim to represent the modern face of Northern Ireland like Derry's Wonder Villains. From nostalgic tales of swapping little brothers for Pokemon cards (who didn't attempt that at least once?), to dreaming of driving into the sunset in a Ferrari, the lyricism which flows so effortlessly from Eimear and Cheylene is beloved for it's relatable overtones and tenacious optimism. The fact that it's wrapped so delicately in a blanket of 80's synth-pop and feel good riffs only adds to the appeal. Here, 'Marshall's entrancing bass line can't fail to make you dance.

For fans of: Best Coast, Echosmith
Expect in 2015: A UK tour & brand new fan base.

8. The Couth - Down By The River

2014 was a huge year for The Couth, culminating in an EP which in no way achieved the extended airplay it deserved. Channeling their surf-rock roots and adding an anthemic punk streak was a brave move, but ultimately one that has benefited Lisburn's most exiting band in years. 'Down By The River' is a football terraced chant of rebellion, youth and having the time of your life on nothing more than a carry out and a group of mates.

For fans of: The Ramones, The Strokes
Expect in 2015: Relentless gigging

Hear the track on Reverbnation here

7. Echo Raptors - Feel It In Your Heart Again

This seven minute belter from Belfast's mod-rock patriarchs is still technically awaiting it's recorded debut, but having cemented it's place in Echo Raptors electric set throughout the course of the year we couldn't leave it out. Driven by lead guitarist Vince Caddell's sterling guitar work, there's no denying the influence of psych bands past, but that is in no way a criticism, far from it. Instead it simply reinforces what we already know; that Echo Raptors are a band unafraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, whilst brimming with originality and verve.

'Feel It In Your Heart' looks destined to close huge gigs in the future, even if we're made to wait for a debut album release.

For fans of: Stone Roses, Tame Impala
Expect in 2015: Record deal whispers...

6. Aaron Shanley - Real Thing

One of the finest singer-songwriters to emerge out of Northern Ireland in memory, Aaron Shanley left a gaping hole in the local scene when he left to continue his craft in London. Now home after a successful run of shows, he recently unveiled the sequel to the much loved 'Bedroom Tapes' EP. Clearly in a much happier place, Shanley's songs now glow with a positive introspection, reflecting on the joys that love can bring, rather than it's all to familiar pain. Though we don't quite expect to see the man who wrote 'Sometimes People Just Fall Outta Love' to be cartwheeling on street corners and taking salsa lessons anytime soon, songs like the uplifting 'Real Thing' make a welcome addition to the Aaron Shanley arsenal (his trademark style in no way altered, we might add). Released briefly last month to coincide with an important date, 'Real Thing' will be available to download early next year.

For fans of: Bright Eyes, Elliot Smith 
Expect in 2015: An abundance of new material

5. The Late Twos - Lana True

The leading light of Belfast's once flagging indie-scene, it's no secret that The Late Twos mission to pick up where Pete Doherty's Libertines and the like left off in the mid-2000's has been a largely successful one. Flanked by a Kasabianesque football fraternity of dedicated supporters, to experience The Late Twos live is an altogether different experience to almost every other local band in the country. Though 'Lana True' may not posses the 'av'it!' mentality of their punchier singles, a gentle beauty remains in a track never short of heart. A 21st century waltz, a song like 'Lana True' is a very rare occurrence and could simply not be overlooked in the top 5 songs of the year.

For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, The View
Expect in 2015: Greater exposure//Bigger venues

4. Joshua Burnside - Catalina
Another massively gifted songwriter, Joshua Burnside's unique acoustic stylings ensure that he will never be an artist of passive acceptance. For all those who really feel the enormous outpourings of emotion within Burnside's broken melodies, you will undoubtedly fall in love with it.

'Catalina', a self confessed travelling song, tells the enigmatic story of taking all you can and simply getting out. Stunning violin flows alongside Burnside's beautifully weathered vocal and that enchanting riff. Glorious.

For fans of: Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile
Expect in 2015: A big move // Debut album

Buy 'Catalina' here.

Top 3 coming soon!

Taylor Johnson

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