Northern Ireland…ahhh…the country where technically it is still illegal to go to the cinema on the Sabbath and where under 16’s make up 25% of the population. It’s no surprise then that the wealth of new and young music is booming. It’s just tricky to choose a Top 5! Hence two lists…one of all time favourites and one consisting of the best outputs in the past couple of years. So in no particular order here’s our Top 5. Let us know who you think we’ve missed! I might do another one in a couple of months…there’s just so many! Go and educate, it’s a lot of fun.


Hot Cops – This three piece from Belfast are reviving our old favourite slacker-rock with essences of Pavement, Placebo and Deerhunter. It’s a joy to hear such effortlessly cool rock coming from these shores. They swap in and out of crunchy melodic rock to droney-atmospheric tones. I’m yet to hear anything like this out of Belfast. Hot Cops are paving their way onwards and I love it.

exmagician – This two piece who once made up elements of the fantastic Cashier no. 9 are back and ready for action with their shimmery and joyful sound. Their debut full length, ‘Scan the Blue’ was released in March and is full of great song, after great song. A pyschy guitar driven gem with luscious organs and choruses that make you want to raise a fist and chant along.

Sea Pinks – Dream Pop is an ever popular genre at the minute and can be quite hit and miss. These Belfast boys don’t miss. With pounding pop tunes like ‘Yr Horoscope’, jangly guitars and verby vox, the summer vibes are strong with this one. For fans of Django, Django, Real Estate and Kowalski.

Katharine Philippa – Ok well this one’s not a band…but my word is Katharine worthy of this list. I’m a big fan of breaking the mould and having the confidence to do just what feels right. These songs feel so right. A mix of great choruses with irregular song structures and production. The sort of music that could be background music, soundtracks or just getting totally absorbed by. Aided by beautiful instrumental arrangements and a passionate lead vocal.

Pleasure Beach – The Belfast 5 piece are a fully formed pop force to be reckoned with. Their synth driven pounding pop is another cog in the ever turning dream pop wheel. Combining chemicals of Best Coast and Arcade Fire, these new comers are demanding attention and receiving it in vast amounts. Having released new single ‘Magic Mountain’ in the past couple of months, we hope to see an album on the plains soon. It’s always nice when a bands name depicts all you need to know about their sound.

pictured: Pleasure Beach