Ten years ago, we were in the middle of the first production schedule for a new Irish music magazine. In advance of this, we were about to hit publish on the first article on the accompanying website and see where it took us… and here we are 10 years later! The print magazine ran into the worldwide financial nosedive of late 2008, but through hard graft on the website by the many who passed under the State banner, we kept the damn thing afloat. We won a few awards, we shared a few music memories and hangovers, but most of all we gave a platform to an endless variety of amazing music, especially that being made on this island. And it has been, and still is, so much fun to do this.
These ten years have passed in the blink of an eye. It seems only yesterday that the then editorial team of John Walshe, Simon Roche, Niall Byrne and Phil Udell (plus of course our wonderful publisher Roger Woolman) picked up the very first issue of the print magazine – featuring REM on the cover – and officially began the great State adventure. We’d love to look back a little, if you’ll indulge us, so let’s kick off this milestone by asking State writers old and new to tell us their favourite albums released since we came into being.
50. The Winter Passing – A Different Space Of Mind (2015)
Tipperary punks with a knack for a killer, and at times off-kilter, pop hook. Purely glorious noise.
49. Fight Like Apes – The Body Of Christ & Legs Of Tina Turner (2010)
FLA go to the dark place on their underrated second album.
48. Ham Sandwich – Stories From The Surface (2015)
It took a while but finally Ham Sandwich hit the commercial heights they always deserved.
47. James Vincent McMorrow – Early In The Morning (2010)
The start of something wondrous.
46. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City (2013)
New York band complete the hat-trick.
45. Mastodon – Crack The Skye (2009)
Metal for modern times. Great set of beards, to boot.
44. Lethal Dialect – 1988 (2014)
Paul Alwright speaks from the heart.
43. Florence and the Machine – Lungs (2009)
Ms Welch arrives on the scene in spectacular fashion.
42. Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (2013)
A return to the long player format that had served them so well, BoC’s legacy of spaced-out glitch continues with heft.
41. Super Extra Bonus Party – Night Horses (2009)
Newbridge radicals nail it and then disappear until last year.
40. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time (2014)
The king of nu-disco dons his colourful sonic attire to uplift ravers once again.
39. Shit Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave (2010)
Ireland’s DFA representative distills years of electro-disco grit and experience into a banger of an LP.
38. Ray Lamontagne – Gossip in the Grain (2008)
That voice though – and a record that continues to be a State playlist favourite.
37. Bon Iver – Bon Iver (2011)
Big step up from the big emotions heard on For Emma, Forever Ago but no less poignant or triumphant.
36. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz (2009)
One of the greatest band leaders of modern rock, It’s Blitz saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs become a household name – and rightly so.
35. Django Django – Django Django (2012)
Art-pop-rockers with a touch of wit only a Derry man could muster. Wonderful stuff.
34. And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs (2011)
No second album difficulties for Northern Ireland’s instrumental kings.
33. The Jimmy Cake – Spectre and Crown (2008)
Dublin instrumental legends go large.
32. Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)
Dark pop masterpiece from Karin Dreijer’s singular vision.
31. Bicep – Bicep (2017)
A left-field turn from the Belfast duo, but one that continues to dominate dance-floors.
30. The Jimmy Cake – Master (2015)
Dublin instrumental legends go larger.
29. Cathy Davey – The Nameless (2010)
A commercial and creative success all round on album number three.
28. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)
Harmonies as rich as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but with a mind-blowing post-modernist folk bent.
27. Beyonce – Lemonade (2016)
Reinventing herself yet again, Ms Knowles runs the show.
26. Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands – Golden Syrup (2011)
Dark disco floor fillers on the Dubliner’s second outing.