With it being the time of year that it is you can expect a lot of major publications to start rolling out their 'Best of 2013' lists - and we're no different! However, we're taking a slightly different approach this year by asking a range of Irish music's most influential tastemakers to let us in on their top musical discoveries of the year.
First up is one of the biggest supporters of Irish music currently on the airwaves, RTE 2fm's Dan Hegarty. Dan hosts The Alternative on 2fm Monday to Thursday 10pm to 1am and on RTE 2XM 10am to 1pm.
Which tunes did Dan enjoy most over the past 12 or so months? Read on and find out...
DAN HEGARTY'S TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2013
1. Jagwar Ma - 'Howlin'
Simply put, 'Howlin' is fun. Part retrospective, part individual; it's an album that is wonderfully out of step with everything else this year, and thank God for it! 'Howlin' will grow, grow, and grow on you, and perhaps become one of those albums that you never want to be very far away from.
2. Gesaffelstein - 'Aleph'
Much like what The Chemical Brothers' 'Exit Planet Dust' was in 1995 and 'Cross' from Justice was in 2007, 'Aleph' is one of the defining sounds of 2013. You could say that it's the yin to Daft Punk's ('Random Access Memory') yang.
3. My Bloody Valentine - 'm b v'
The likelihood of a new My Bloody Valentine album appearing in 2013 was about as likely as Russell Brand being ordained Pope! But unlike the previous 22 year, the reclusive four-piece surprised us, and what an album 'm b v' is. Some call it Loveless part 2, which is the biggest compliment that you could give this long-overdue piece of work.
4. God Is An Astronaut - 'Origins'
They're the most underrated Irish band in recent memory. God Is An Astronaut tour parts of the world that many acts haven't even heard of. When they're not on the road, they record albums; damn good ones. 'Origins' is their sixth, and their best. A relentless barrage of sonic noise meets a subtle stream of tender melodies, and mix to form something truly special.
5. Julianna Barwick 'Nepenthe'
This is an album that I completely missed when it was released in August, but have been listening to it a lot recently. It's often categorized as Ambient or Experimental, but spiritual would perhaps be a better description.
DAN HEGARTY'S TOP FIVE SONGS OF 2013
1. John Grant 'Black Belt'
"What You Got Is A Black Belt In BS…" Those words alone deserve an award! What a tune this is; I'm trying not to bust some moves even thinking of it!
2. Steve Mason 'Fight Them Back'
He formerly of The Beta Band has written many wonderful tunes, but none quite as brilliant as this one. From the cleverly put together album 'Monkey Minds In the Devil's Time', this is a landmark song for me.
3. Le Galaxie 'Lucy Is Here'
Those intergalactic superheroes have done it again. In just over 2 minutes, Le Galaxie have managed to harness the slick style of James Bond, the charisma of 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair, and the sheer enormity of Mount Everest!
4. Deltron 3030 (Feat: Zack De La Rocha) - 'Melding Of Minds'
Maybe it's the primal howl of Zack De La Rocha's vocals, or perhaps that it sounds like a distant relative to 'Done Did It' by BlakRoc, but 'Melding Of Minds' is a mighty tune.
5. The Altered Hours 'Sweet Jelly Roll'
Simplicity is often overlook when it comes to writing a song, but not here. 'Sweet Jelly Roll' could have been released in any decade, and it would have been loved like it has been this year.