Welcome to Listmas! Bring me your tired and hungry record collections as we dive into the LPs and singles that hit home the most with Northern Winds this year. As always, we're keeping it local and highlighting the best albums and single from Irish artists, North and South, that reached public ears in the last 12 months. Without further ado, lets jump right in;


10) Thom Southern - Plaza

Having entirely shed the moniker that got him started in this shady business, Thom Southern's solo debut is precisely what you want. Cool, assured, mature songwriting with stomping retro rhythms, it's about as 'back to basics' as it gets for a songwriter over a decade into his career. And what a triumph it is, pulsating with slacker rock cynicism and lyricism and thrumming with effortlessly cool energy. 

9) ROE - That's When The Panic Sets In

There weren't many milestones left for ROE at this point in her career, so why not bring out one of the better albums of the year? The Snow Patrol-approved Derry songwriter released this project in two halves, which kept us chomping at the bit for more. Tracks such as "Scared Of Being Lonely" and "I Can Change" are highlights and demonstrate the serious writing and singing chops that have carried her through Wembly appearances and international tour dates. Soft-spoken but exceptionally powerful in her arrangements, make sure you get tickets to see these songs live before they run out.

8) CMAT - If My Wife New I'd Be Dead

Ireland's Country-Pop superstar has yet to disappoint on any releases to date. Her debut album is no different in this case. After a summer of stages at Primavera and Electric Picnic, plus blowing Beck off the stage when supporting him, CMAT released a bumper pack of addictive tunes. Miserable tales of listening to K-pop whilst tears fall on your KFC are given levity by one of the singularly most magnetic voices we have. A festival headliner in the making absolutely nails it with her first full-length.

7) SOAK - If I never knew you like this again

It's hard to ignore the impact that bringing the effervescent Pillow Queens on tour has had on SOAK's evolving sound. The Derry-raised songwriter (must be something in the water up there) has come on leaps and bounds from their mercury-nominated indie folk debut and the grim pop-buffed follow-up of 2020. Their latest is awash with wailing walls of guitars and feedback, kept in check by the ever-present trademark emotional lyricism that first brought international attention to SOAK. Tackling everything from mental health to hating polaroids, it's always a pleasure to have SOAK back on the rotation.

6) Martian Subculture - Bank Prologue

"What if Limerick was in space" is the question posed by Irish producer Martian Subculture. Straddling the fine lines between the psychedelic, the obtuse, the universal and the iridescent, "Bank Prologue" looks to pull in everyone from Tame Impala to late-night Jazz sessions. Warped perceptions of everyday Irish life are presented as facts, with spacey keys and synths adding some idiosyncratic vibrancy to the whole thing. maybe not your favourite, but certainly unlike any other album you've heard this year.


10) Caleb Kunle - All In Your Head

No one on this island has a voice that commands like Kunle does. No one. His lone release of the year is a victorious blend of West African Jazz rhythms, roots rock and bright, soulful vocals. More releases next year, please.

9) Problem Patterns - YAW

A recent secret signing to a very cool label (that I'm not allowed to talk about yet so ssshhhh) was bookmarked with the release of this single. Dangerous, heaving, bombastic punk that channels the energy and fury of the riot grrrl movement is the main course for the Belfast act who are going from strength to strength.

8) Lemoncello - Always Neighbours 

A welcome return for one of my favourite folk-duos. Signed off by Glen Hansard and supported throughout Europe, Lemoncello weave intricate vocal harmonies and a delicate arrangement of traditional Irish instruments throughout their sole release of 2022. Next year is sure to be a big one for them.

7) Bicep, Clara La San - Water

Belfast electronic giants dropped a surprise track on us out of nowhere. terribly unfair considering how excellent it is. With Clara La San giving some much-appreciated vocal structure and guidance it leaves the producing-duo to do what they do best. Write magnificent, swampy, omnipresent tunes. 

6) The Mary Wallopers - The Night The Guards Raided Owneys

A protest song in every sense of the phrase. Never afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, the Wallopers take aim at pesky guards and brown nosers who would dare invade the sacred grounds of the after-hours lock-in. With the final two minutes dedicated to slander and curses, this is one for the dark, cold nights when the fire is roaring and the porter is creamy.