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 Robocobra Quartet. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Robocobra Quartet – Wellness
The latest release from a highly anticipated new album Living Isn’t Easy due next month, ‘Wellness’ is absolutely gripping. The escalating jazz punk sonics of ‘Wellness’ pulsate around the daily rituals of influencers. The simplicity and absurdity go hand in hand, the press release saying it best – ‘sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.’ Robocobra Quartet continue to evolve.
TRAMP – Frankenstein
A debut release from the North West’s TRAMP, ‘Frankenstein’ is the perfect start. An indie rock track with heart delivered with the confidence of a Derry Pillow Queens. Catchy guitar riffs and quiet/loud dynamics draw you in, but Siânna Lafferty’s spirited and accented vocals bring soul and wonder.
Mob Wife – The Dinner Lady, The Driver, The Fire
A winding epic of a track from Belfast’s Mob Wife, featuring vocals from Elaine Malone. ‘The Dinner Lady, The Driver, The Fire’ is the closing track to their debut album released last week, taking the band’s penchant for varied riffs and volatile vocals to even greater heights. Some big moments and a dreamy haze reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Soma’.
Cara Quinn – Pretty Promises
Another first release this month, this one from Tyrone’s Cara Quinn. Awash with bedroom indie-pop sounds, this straightforward emotive songwriting has charm from Quinn’s vocals to the hypnotic acoustic rhythm.
PORTS – Swimming Pool
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from PORTS. Their 2017 debut album and live shows set them out as some of Derry’s finest but new news has been sparse. Thankfully the beautifully serene ‘Swimming Pool’ comes with whispers of a second album.
Benjamin Amos – Never Far from Home
An old favourite at Chordblossom from his Sullivan & Gold days, nowadays Benjamin Amos is living in the North of England and releasing under his own name. ‘Never Far From Home’ is the gorgeous second single from upcoming album Letters, resplendent with strings. Recorded at home in Durham, there’s still an Irish link with drums recorded in Derry’s Caolan Austin.
Pretty Child Backfire – If We Can Last the Summer
A new release from 2014. It’s been a decade since we last heard from indie rock four-piece Pretty Child Backfire but here we are. The band recorded an album back in 2014, with the pandemic giving ample time and cause to put these unheard gems back out into the world starting with ‘If We Can Last The Summer’, a song that harkens back to the indie guitar band heyday of NI.