By Ally Rosbotham – Arts and Entertainment Editor
It’s hard to believe February is almost over. It’s been a big month for music releases globally, with LPs from Black Country, New Road, Mitski, Alt-J, Beach House and Big Thief among many others. However, it’s also been a great month for the local music scene. Here are some of this month’s releases from some Northern Irish bands that I’ve enjoyed throughout February.
Don’t Choke – Casual Riots
Belfast five piece “Casual Riots” follow up their last single “Caramel” with the incredibly catchy “Don’t Choke”. Lead singer Luke Baxter’s unique vocals float beautifully over the upbeat guitar riff and punchy drums as he sings about the heartache of parting ways with a long-distance partner. “Don’t Choke” translates across to a live performance fantastically and the bands high energy sets are infectious, definitely a must see band regardless of whether they’re headlining or supporting.
Shane McGowan’s New Teeth – Touts
Derry’s own three piece Touts make a return with “Shane McGowan’s New Teeth” ahead of their upcoming EP. Their punk influences shine through, taking after their NI born and bred punk ancestors that have gone before. In the band’s own press release, they described the single as “a simple desultory philippic… against the overlooked absurdity of our modern lives… and the “seeming inescapable throwaway culture that many of us celebrate.” This single has definitely garnered some well deserved attention and has left us excited for new Touts in the future!
A-Ok – WOHN
North coast alt rock band WOHN unveiled their first release of the year earlier this month in the form of “A-Ok”, where we hear lead singer John Wisner give a emotionally vulnerable performance to some harrowing lyrics. Alongside this new single, WOHN’s back catalogue of releases are influenced heavily by 90’s alternative rock/shoegaze, and it’s clear to hear WOHN’s predecessors positive influences throughout “A-Ok”. Certainly excited to hear more tunes that are hopefully on the way!
It’s Not in Vain – The Florentinas
Having recently supported two sold out Nothing But Thieves concerts and recently sold out their Ulster Sports Club headliner, The Florentinas are garnering well deserved attention, and fast. Following their debut track “Sandcastles” at the end of October to much praise, they have followed up with “It’s Not in Vain” with impressive vocals by Paddy Boyd, Jacob Frokane on bass, backed by some incredible drumming from Jakob Swann and powerful guitar riffs courtesy of Luke Swann throughout. It’s a big statement to make, but The Florentinas have somehow managed to blow their previous single out of the park and have let me super excited to hear what they have lined up next, If you’ve not gotten yourself tickets to their Ulster Sports Club gig on Friday 4th March prepare yourself for some serious FOMO.
Moonsoake – Wynona Bleach
Released just last week, Wynona Bleach released their debut album “Moonsoake”. Hailing from Belfast and renaming themselves as Wynona Bleach in 2018, they have since released their EP “Sugar” and a couple of singles here and there up until now! “Moonsoake” has been a long time coming thanks to the pandemic, however it certainly has not disappointed after all this time. With “Moonsoake”, the albums title track being as it’s first single, it demonstrates Wynona Bleach in all of their pop glory. They experiment with their sound throughout, from heavier shoegaze to more upbeat pop moments. Title track “Moonsoake” is a fantastic entry point, and if you find yourself enjoying it, then I can guarantee you’ll love the rest.