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 Travi the Native. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Travi the Native – IShouldBeSleeping
The latest step in Travis Gilbert’s rise is a new single by the name of ‘IShouldBeSleeping’, out last Friday. ‘IShouldBeSleeping’ is about the tired limbo and longing of a long distance relationship, fed through the smoothly crafted pop with emotional yearnings that he’s been polishing over the last number of years. A pretty slick video from Jamie Neish/Broken Film too.
Clodagh May – Say So
We gushed over Tramp last month and now Clodagh May is proving there’s plenty more rock from Derry to shout about with her debut single ‘Say So’. Simply an energetic indie rock track that harkens back a little to early 00s pop punk.
Sam Wickens – The Devil’s With Me Now
His first release for a year, Sam Wickens’ latest is an about turn for the songwriter. His usual slow burn has been replaced by an uptempo Lumineers-esque number. ‘The Devil’s With Me Now’ proves that Wickens’ voice works just as well on country-folk-pop, which despite the light tone deals with turning to alcohol in a bad time.
Ava Calii – Brighter Days
There’s an undoubted cinematic quality about Ava Calii’s debut. ‘Brighter Days’, born out of the troubles of comparison, is a well-formed dark pop song with electronic flutters and beats that echo around piano and vocals, and an ultimately uplifting message.
The Heathen Choir – The Raging Song
Darren Doherty and The Heathen Choir return with a change of pace from last year’s ‘Drunk on the Mourne’. A touch closer to his A Northern Light days, ‘The Raging Song’ swings for the fences with big guitars, melodies and message.
Thom Southern – Strange Invitations
Thom Southern’s first release since his brilliant album earlier this year is a throwback to his MMODE days. The hypnotic bass and Stone Roses’s lite psychedelia give ‘Strange Invitations’ its indie cool.
ROE – A Temporary Thing
‘A Temporary Thing’ is the most openly vulnerable recording we’ve heard from ROE, with its raw nature allowing her emotional songwriting to rise to the surface.
Ferna – Walk On
A beautiful exploration of the conflict of devotion, ‘Walk On’ is a captivating release inspired by Coretta Scott-King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.