Every year is a good year for music. There are always those magic moments in every 12 month period when you go wow at what you’ve just heard. It happens every year, every single year. You just have to keep your ears open. 

There will be people who will just harrumph at this notion. They’re the ones who just stopped listening to new music at some point in the past. We still love them too despite the fact that they’ve reached the stop sign 

I’ve bored many friends and readers with my theory of the stop sign so I might as well drag it out and dust it off once again as it’s a good one. There comes a point in many people’s lives when they hit the stop sign and just, well, stop listening to new music. 

Up to that point, they may have been huge music fans and music was probably a badge of identity. Music and records and new bands and live gigs and obsessing about all of the above was their life until a serious relationship or a career came along and took over.

Every year is a good year for music. There are always those magic moments in every 12 month period when you go wow at what you’ve just heard. It happens every year, every single year. You just have to keep your ears open. 

They then become the ones who believe there have been no great records since the Inspiral Carpets or The Wonder Stuff or Nirvana were in their prime. There’s basically been no great new music since they stopped listening to new music. It was, to quote Don McLean, the day the music died. 

My people, we freewheeled past that stop sign many years ago. We probably didn’t even notice it like those cyclists who get car drivers hot under the collar and writing letters to the papers. We’re the ones who still get that brilliant thrill from hearing a tune which we know will take over our life for the duration. We’re the ones who still bore the bejaysus off someone with our goo for some new act or album which we are convinced will change their life. We’re the ones you still avoid in the queue for the coffee. 

This is our favourite time of year. This is the time of the year when those best-music-of-the-year lists are compiled. Right now, I’ve a browser window open containing about 20 of those lists. Every so often, I stop what I’m getting paid to do to look for what I might have missed and add some more albums to the Spotify library. I’m not the only eejit who does this. I’m not, right?

It’s time for The Rattler to add to that volume. Next week, we’ll list the albums released in 2017 by people who live out foreign that you need to check out. This week, it’s the homegrown batch, the Irish albums you need to love. We were going to include U2 for the lolz, but that would have actually meant listening in the first place to a shopping centre mogul and his tax-efficient pals go through the motions. We saw that particular stop sign a long time ago.

Ships - Precession

One of those records which came to me over the airwaves during the summer and which I became madly obsessed about for weeks. I know very little about Ships-mates Sorcha McGrath and Simon Cullen bar that I want to hear much more of their fantastically emotive, beautifully detailed and spectacularly spun grooves and textures. 

Seamus Fogarty - The Curious Hand

The Mayoman’s God Damn You Mountain debut was one of those near-perfect albums which made you wonder why the hell so few people picked up on it. Amends were made on this one, probably thanks to the heft of his new label Domino. It’s where Fogarty’s ear for wonky melodies and off-kilter sounds neatly dovetailed with a seasoned narrator’s good ear for gritty storylines and narratives. 

Lankum - Between the Earth and Sky

Another second album which received a boost from a label association (Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee’s Rough Trade in this case). However, that would be to lowball the fact that Lankum’s own way of playing with the folk form has come on significantly this time out. Listen to "What Will We Do If We Have No Money?" and then listen to it again. 

Martin Hayes Quartet - The Blue Room

Yer man from The Gloaming and his longtime sparring partner Dennis Cahill are joined by clarinet player Doug Wieselman and classical violinist Liz Knowles for a beautifully swing around the room. It’s the sound of what happens when a trad player breaks for new ground as tunes build, circle, scale and fall back with oodles of grace.

Marlene Enright - Placemats and Second Cuts

Debut album full of badass swagger and grit from the Cork singer-songwriter who knows her onions when it comes to the ebb and flow of modern Americana. The more you dig into this, the more you realised Enright’s great gift for nailing a song’s natural push and pull.

Talos - Wild Alee

The only album in our list by an architect and that’s not by design. Corkman Eoin French is a musical stylist who has been digging the electronic blues for some time and his apprenticeship shows on this set. Wild Alee is an album of lovely lines and sweet angles, an album which is quiet, stately and splendidly constructed.