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 Dea Matrona. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Dea Matrona – So Damn Dangerous
The latest from the rock & roll two piece who have spent much of their summer touring Europe, and playing in the UK and Ireland. ‘So Damn Dangerous’ plays on their heavy classic rock leanings with smokey vocals, guitar breaks and a 70s feel.
Ciaran Lavery – Communion
Oh it’s a gorgeous return from Ciaran Lavery, his second standalone single this year. Written with Morgan MacIntyre of Saint Sister, ‘Communion’ is full of beautiful textures and vocals that search for answers. Musical contributions from Joshua Burnside and Robocobra Quartet’s Tom Tabori elevate proceedings.
Niall McDowell – Personal Hell
Taken from a new EP out last week, ‘Personal Hell’ shows McDowell’s evolving songwriting. There’s a bounce to the music, but lyrically ‘Personal Hell’ is a melancholic croon of a track, replete with dark humour – “but that’s ok, I didn’t like sports anyway”.
F.R.U.I.T.Y. – BT9
Varied beats and shifting synths (a musical nod to Clair de Lune) lie under Dan O’Rawe’s unique, accented vocal delivery. Taken from their second EP release, BT9 is off-kilter electro pop with vocals that lean into hip hop.
Cathal Francis – Lamppost 49
The undeniable presence of Elliott Smith watches over the second single release from Co Derry’s Cathal Francis. The gently plucked acoustic guitar and Francis’ soft vocals recall Smith’s work but there’s plenty of Francis’ own personality in here to entice.
Mima Merrow – Jelly Tots
Glasgow based Mima Merrow returns her second single of 2022 with ‘Jelly Tots’. Her searching vocals, delivered with NI accent at the fore, sit atop a dynamic bed of alt folk of meandering, twinkling piano, bird sounds and the brief inflection of percussion.