Songs In The Key Of… Belfast

Dark Tropics
Dark Tropics

Dark Tropics’ Gerard and Rio: It’s an incredibly exciting time for Belfast music. Photo: Wrapped In Plastic

We asked Northern Ireland pop-noir duo, Dark Tropics, to select the music which represents the capital city they call home

It’s an incredibly exciting time for Belfast music. It’s buzzing. There’s genuine camaraderie among musicians and with the ‘Oh Yeah’ Music Centre there’s an important avenue for musicians who want to gig, record and release but need help getting started. The music is so diverse and it feels like there are great songs being released all the time. You can go to a show with a pop act following a heavy rock band and it somehow works cause the crowds are so open.

In terms of where to see music, the Ulster Hall is one of the best venues we’ve ever been in, and for smaller shows Voodoo and McHughs are fantastic. The city seems to constantly have new bars and restaurants opening. It’s becoming more ‘European’ feeling all the time and the Cathedral Quarter nightlife is at the centre of that. It’s definitely a party town but it also celebrates and champions the vibrancy of its culture and art.

To listen to all 10 tracks in one go, check out the ‘Songs In The Key Of… Belfast’ Spotify playlist.

Joshua Burnside writes proper Irish folk. Although his song Holllllogram has an annoying amount of L’s in the title, it has an undeniably delicious melody. It’s gorgeous modern folk and one of Joshua’s many beauties.

This song has such a classic pop melody with a real Beatles-esque middle eight. It’s such a heartwarming, shiny love song and gets better and better with repeated listens. Alice’s vocals are always ridiculously brilliant and her songs snap and explode with pop hooks everywhere.

Dena is one of the leading lights of the emerging Belfast hip-hop scene. She just released an EP that takes her to a whole new level of greatness. Wavey is pure dreamy joy.

Possibly the best live band in the city. This song perfectly encapsulates their show; raucous in places and delicate in others.

The harmonies on this are straight out of the 60s but it sounds so modern and vital. Gemma’s voice overflows with an effortless soulful sun.

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This song bounces off the walls with life and has an absolutely majestic chorus. Cloakroom Q are pure punk perfection.

The Florentinas have come out of nowhere in the past few weeks and put out this incredible live single. The song builds so gracefully and the accompanying video is a must watch.

You can swim around in Leo’s music. His words are laden with filmic imagery and short snippets of stories from his life. He’s a poet.

After a couple of listens Older Now feels like it’s always existed. It somehow sounds both classic and modern and Reevah delivers each line with a velvety wisdom.

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JC Stewart is an incredibly prolific songwriter and Medicine is my absolute favourite of his. It opens with a glorious piano chord sequence and when the melody enters, the song floats beautifully.

Dark Tropics are Rio and Gerrard and their debut single Badlands is out now. Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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