12 NI Musical Artists Coming to the 2022 Soundtrack
It’s no secret that the pandemic era has been particularly cruel to the music industry. However, our local craftsman-composers remain more engaged than ever both to soundtrack these turbulent times and to provide a much-needed escape hatch from the outside world.
There are a dozen of our best and brightest artists who will mark your year ahead.
The savages of the woods
Over the past two years, this punk-soaked indie has endured more bumps on the road than Fred Flintstone driving around the Giant’s Causeway. The pressure is creating diamonds, however, and these Derry boys are set to deliver absolute gems over the next few months in the form of their as-yet-untitled new album.
Led by the unstoppable Paul Connolly, one of the most enlightened and erudite leaders of his generation, this year sees the heavyweights of the NI music scene put their Covid-caused issues behind them and return to the ring.
In addition to releasing the sequel to their NI Music Prize-winning debut album Stability, the Wood Burning Savages are also returning to the stage this year and we can’t wait to see this act return to action.
Listen: We love you
Alpha Chrome Yayo
Much like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, the mysterious musical force of nature known only as Alpha Chrome Yayo prefers to keep his real identity a secret.
Much to the relief of local miscreants, the artist chooses to wield synths instead of canvases and prefers to knock you out with dizzying soundscapes. Alpha is currently building up an impressive cult following across the world (its album Page Me appears on Bandcamp’s all-time best-selling list for Northern Ireland) and is one of the most entertaining and industrious bands in the current scene.
Last year he released four albums inspired by Japan, nature, family, spooky shenanigans and uh, taking a bath, and this year the sonic pigeon smashing shaman has even bigger plans. Fans of synthwave, g-funk, jazz, classical, old 8-bit video game soundtracks, and new school mashup meet your new favorite act.
Listen: Funeral in my brain
This Draperstown-born songwriter has been an absolute force of nature for the past two years.
When she’s not broadcasting to millions of music fans on BBC Radio One, she creates her own songs and each release sees Gemma grow as an artist and performer in her own right.
Taking inspiration from Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae and Lauryn Hill, Bradley has more firecrackers in his locker than a Halloween booth owner and his head-turning performance at Stendhal last summer affirms his star is booming. Gemma promises a lot of new material over the coming months and we can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve.
Inspired by many tastemakers for really big things, Reevah (AKA Derry-bred Aoife Boyle) looks set to dominate 2022.
Armed with a growing catalog of jaw-dropping singles inspired by Hope Sandoval, Cat Power and Lana Del Rey, this folk-minded, indie-pop artist creates tracks that will stop you in your tracks. momentum.
Creativity runs through Reevah’s veins (her mother is an artist and her father a musician) and after a successful stint as artist-in-residence at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, it seems the sky is the limit for this very talented.
This Bangor-born group is perhaps best described as heirs to the Outcasts throne.
Much like the aforementioned Ulster punk legends, Gender Chores has more hooks than a fishing convention and they rage against the proverbial machine with the best of them.
They are one of the most exciting live bands on the scene today and their shows, which celebrate life, love and freedom, are fun and frenetic.
The three musicians are also not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and write songs that mobilize against slum landlords, patriarchy, bigotry and more. We can’t wait to find out who and what they’ve set their sights on over the next 12 months.
Listen: Night in the woods
Since bursting onto the scene, Beauty Sleep have served up more spellbinding firecrackers than Hogwarts canteen staff.
Led by Cheylene Murphy and Ryan McGroarty, the band’s scintillating brand of indie pop could rock even the most devoted wallflower bust and their debut album Be Kind has been rightly praised by punters and press alike.
After enjoying a little nap for most of 2020, Beauty Sleep returned to action last fall recharged and ready for action with their single Go.
This promises to be the dynamic duo’s best year yet and in March they will travel to Texas to perform at the music industry’s iconic South By South West festival.
Those of you compelled by the power of the riff prepare to worship at the altar of Elder Druid.
Born in Ballymena and based in Belfast, this band has steadily climbed the ranks of the metal scene and perfected the art of guitar beheading (it’s more fun than it sounds).
Boasting riffs so ferocious they’d make Surtur tremble, the band gained new admirers after their jaw-dropping performance at Britain’s Bloodstock festival last summer.
This year, they will gain even more followers by unveiling their latest album Carcosa in a few months.
Sludge and doom metal fans will love them.
Those of you who have Veruca Salt, Blake Babies and Tad albums in your record collection should feel compelled to check out this teenage songwriter.
Hailing from Newry and inspired by the decade fashion forgot (yes, the 90s), Lauren Ann is putting a new spin on her famous grunge sound and after signing with Dublin-based label Faction Records, the future looks very bright. for this star in the making.
Last fall, the devilishly talented teenager released the distortion pedal single Lucy and she promises many more mosh pit anthems in the works in 2022.
While most of us have spent quarantine eating our own weight at Tayto, watching Tiger King, and debating the merits of wearing those little plastic gloves while shopping, this singer/songwriter has decided that when things got tough, the tough guys got into it and launched a successful music career.
Hot on the heels of a musical treat hat trick last year, Nicholson officially unveils his highly anticipated debut album Fallen From Grace on February 18.
We’ve had a sneak peek ahead of time and it’s a rich and rewarding roller coaster ride loaded with stories of heartbreak, happy endings and more.
Inspired by Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Fleetwood Mac, the opus sees this songbird soar.
Listen: The wrong side of town
Warriors of the Dystotheque
Born out of a love for lo-fi music and electronic culture, Warriors Of The Dystotheque are a transatlantic supergroup set to make waves on the global dance scene.
Led by Derry-based DJ Jonny Mac, who earned his stripes sharing stages with bands like the Happy Mondays and Prodigy’s Leeroy, the quartet peppers their music with jazz, trip hop, house and techno influences and refuses to be related to any genre.
Their latest album comes out on February 18th and is produced by legendary studio wizard Howie B (who has worked with U2 and Bjork) and it promises to be nothing short of spellbinding.
Listen: Broken Spirits
When the pandemic forced pubs, clubs and venues around the world to shut their doors indefinitely, this enterprising act invited us all to his home (virtually) for a series of Facebook Live shows that lifted the spirits of many music lovers. .
In the year since, Tour Alaska (AKA Gerry Norman, former frontman of rockers A Plastic Rose) has evolved into one of the most exciting bands around and New Ways For Us To Fall, his second album recently released under the pseudonym, is a must for folk fans.
Featuring a who’s who of Irish musicians lending a helping hand, Gerry made lemonade from lemons and it’s very tasty too.
Listen: Apple Disguise
Hailed as one of NI’s most thrilling acts by the press and adored by rock legends Therapy?, this trio from Derry delivers more explosive fizz than a six-pack of bubbly pop on a bouncy castle.
Formed in this always fertile bed for pop punk that is Derry, Cherym signed a deal with the independent label Alcopop! Records last year and released some of the catchiest singles of 2021 in the form of Listening To My Head and Kisses On My Cards.
Fans of the Go-Go’s, the Muncie Girls and the lingering sounds of the Undertones will pick up on what this trio is up to.
Listen: We’re just friends