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 Sasha Samara. Words by Aaron Cunningham.
Sasha Samara – Problems
The long wait for new music from NI favourite Sasha Samara ended this month with ‘Problems’. The signature ukulele opens the track but the song quickly grows in scope with glittering synths and big rhythms, while her vocals reflect even bigger confidence. ‘Problems’ has Samara dealing with conflicted feelings but it’s channelled into a big indie pop song, one that charts Samara’s evolution over the last few years.
Rebekah Fitch – No Pressure
Another artist who’s kept us waiting for new music, London based Rebekah Fitch returned with slick new single ‘No Pressure’. A galloping beat and bassline sits under Fitch’s powerful voice as she deals with the contradictions of youth mentality.
Joshua Burnside – Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)
Released with the promise of a new EP later this year, ‘Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)’ is a compelling vignette of Belfast and the Westlink, which fastens light and dark together, wrapped in intimately fingerpicked guitar, gentle rhythms, strings and looped textures.
New Pagans – Better People
Their first release of the year, ‘Better People’ dropped just ahead of dates in the UK and Germany. ‘Better People’ shapes some of the band’s harder instincts into a melodically uplifting anthem that celebrates the best of people.
Dutch Schultz – Levil9
Dutch Schultz returned after a long time in 2020 with album Friends Like Brutus. Now following a two year break, they’ve come back with new single ‘Levil9’, a driving rock song that throws back to the heyday of Northern Irish bands while still sounding fresh in 2022.
Aoibha – I Know You Well
‘I Know You Well’ is the debut single from Belfast based songwriter Aoibha. The track’s bare but building arrangement draws focus to Aoibha’s alluring vocals and lyrics on the tale of an unfulfilling relationship.
Garrett Laurie – Goodbye to That
‘Goodbye to That’ closes out Can I Play Too or Is It Just For Boys?, the new EP from Belfast songwriter Garrett Laurie. A more stripped back release from Laurie, gently quivering piano and Laurie’s soft and genuine vocals make this a gorgeous listen.
Lucy Robinson – Reverie
Lucy Robinson, formerly known as Nicha, formerly known as Lucy Robinson is a scathing track about her former manager and her imposed lack of control. Her frustration is in contrast to the light and playful tone of ‘Reverie’ complete with handclaps and whistles.