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 Gemma Bradley. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Gemma Bradley – Better
“This song is essentially about searching for something better. We’ll always meet people in our lives who think that they know what’s best but only you can know for yourself what that is. And sometimes, you don’t know until you find it and that’s what this song is, it’s that part in between knowing and finding what’s better for us.”
The calendar may have just hit October, but Gemma Bradley’s latest single ‘Better’ will take you right back to late summer. While Bradley’s music has taken in various sounds, the influence of this collaboration with celebrated NI jazz musician David Lyttle shines through. ‘Better’, also featuring rapper Jamel Franklin, takes things down to a smooth RnB as Bradley sings of looking and finding something better.
Ferna – Lapsed
It’s wonderful to welcome the return of Hannah McPhillimy, under new project Ferna. McPhillimy’s timeless vocals deliver lyrics that reflect on 100 years of Northern Ireland in a very human way. Wonderful orchestration including strings and deep Fender Rhodes keys are a perfect mix for the track’s emotive swirls.
Mob Wife – Brand New House
A contemplative look back on heady, younger days from punk three-piece Mob Wife. ‘Brand New House’ is typically weaving and discordant, Mob Wife snaking between quiet guitar, driven tempos and riff breaks. Chris Leckey’s impassioned vocals and smart songwriting hold it all together, and even in the quieter moments the song sounds really to explode again.
Invaderband – People Who Are Happy Are Ill
Invaderband’s Adam Leonard’s love, and knack, for smart, often lampooning lyrics continues on new album Peter Gabriel and indeed on ‘People Who Are Happy Are Ill’. Off-kilter punk that sounds like another era in only the best way. Sharp guitar pops around Leonard’s vocals before a noisy finish. Lyrically, it does exactly what it says on the tin. A gloriously funny sentiment.
Cormac Neeson – Precious Cargo
A departure from his previous work, The Answer frontman co-wrote ‘Precious Cargo’ during lockdown, uncovering a whispered singing style thanks to working from home with children sleeping upstairs. Production and affected vocals that lift influence from Bon Iver, ‘Precious Cargo’ is an ode to paternal instincts and protection.