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 Ferna. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Ferna – New City
Songwriter Hannah McPhillimy’s renaissance as Ferna continues with new release ‘New City’. Fresh off the back of a well deserved Single of The Year win at this year’s NI Music Prize for last single ‘Wasting’, ‘New City’ continues Ferna’s foray into new sounds. A track with hypnotic mantras and lyrics that capture Ferna’s move from NI to Michigan in 2017. The tension between new beginnings and holding onto your old self is soundtracked by synths and pop sounds.
Emily McCormick – Afraid of Flying
The artist formerly known as Bairie returns with the gorgeous ‘Afraid of Flying’. McCormick’s deeply affecting vocals sit in a perfect groove of jazz and R&B, with piano and guitar finding the spaces between understated percussion and roaming bass. ‘Afraid of Flying’ revolves around unrealised dreams and the fear of failure. The first chapter of the gifted Derry songwriter’s return.
TRAMP – Snakes & Rabbits
North-west four-piece TRAMP have been flying high on the back of debut single ‘Frankenstein’ and their fervent live shows. ‘Snakes & Rabbits’ is a worthy follow up, as Sianna Lafferty’s intriguing and unique vocals come to life on a chorus that’s awash with harmonies, fuzz and synth.
BLÁNID & Ciaran Lavery – Bad Decisions
A song full of intrigue with its slow building and ethereal production and combining two fine Northern Irish songwriters. Backed by co-writer Ciaran Lavery, BLÁNID’s extraordinary voice melds with the slow pulse of the music for an immersive and cinematic experience that hits the right notes lyrically and musically.
No Oil Paintings – In Passing
Belfast band No Oil Paintings scarcely need an introduction, their mix of Americana and folk rock has reverberated round many Northern Irish venues over the years. Latest single ‘In Passing’ came with news of an album launch in January and a successful Kickstarter campaign. ‘In Passing’ combines heartfelt rolling folk with the band’s signature vocal harmonies.
May Rosa – Spotless Mind
There’s an undeniable late night atmosphere in May Rosa’s ‘Spotless Mind’, enhanced by her characteristic 80s production from frequent producer Ryan McGroarty. Her first single in a year, ‘Spotless Mind’ draws inspiration from Kate Bush and the track’s near namesake Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Slow Healer – One Hour
Slow Healer have emerged with fresh impetus following a name change from Peace Evan. The band have already released two new singles two weeks apart, but its the debut ‘One Hour’ that’s caught our ears. A great alt rock sound and a clear development from the four-piece, ‘One Hour’s steady rhythms underline a great chorus and riffs.