Every month we take a look back at the best new releases from Northern Ireland in our featured playlist. A showcase for the sheer amount of talent coming out of the North, and a playlist worthy of repeat listening. This month’s cover artist is Lucy Gaffney. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Lucy Gaffney – Heartstrings
“‘Heartstrings’ is in some sense autobiographical but it could be about any two people when they first meet and are attracted to one another – the suspense, the thrill, the game playing, the overthinking and the fear of giving too much of yourself away too soon.”
Since her first release as a solo artist in 2020, Lucy Gaffney has put out a string of gorgeously 90s indie singles. The latest, ‘Heartstrings’, is as simple as you like, Gaffney’s voice carried along by steady acoustic guitar that just nudges towards lo-fi. Gaffney doesn’t need much else to shine.
Exhalers – Impersonal Relations
The first single from his upcoming second album (with a Christmas release date…) from Exhalers, best known as Alan Lynn, or the drummer from LaFaro. Whatever the name, ‘Impersonal Relations’ is a high energy, high tempo rock track with an understandably heavy dose of drums and guitars.
Kyoto Love Hotel – Fortune Tellers
A big 80s beat and dreamy synths carve open the new single from Kyoto Love Hotel, a year on from their last release. Laura Sheary’s vocals as always sound right at home but this sound is a lot more in your face than we’re used to from the duo, a song that grabs you from the start.
Big Daisy – Without Dreams
Another step forward for Belfast four-piece Big Daisy on their new single ‘Without Dreams’. Thrown together in the studio, ‘Without Dreams’ that builds from its dreamy, sparkling first half into something bigger towards its ending.
Garrett Laurie – Take Me Out Dancing
Another dreamy track, Garrett Laurie’s ‘Take Me Out Dancing’ has been produced with the haze and wonder of a soft focus filter. Intriguing bass and percussion give the track its drive, with Laurie’s soft and sweet vocals carrying an impassioned plea.
Thom Southern – Tongue Tied
Brother/sister pair Thom Southern and Lucy Gaffney previously played in MMODE and Southern together and nowadays as solo artists, there’s often a serendipity with their respective releases coming out close together. Thom’s latest comes alongside news of a debut album Plaza in February 2022. ‘Tongue Tied’ is some sweet, laid back but impassioned indie rock with charm.