AP&R: BLACKSTARKIDS and other rising artists to check out this month
Every month, Alternative Press is sharing some of our favorite new releases. From rap and R&B to retro- and emo-inspired beats, this month's AP&R list spans across different genres, bringing you a unique list of rising artists. Check out these budding artists who will soon become your new favorite below.
CHECK OUT: “Ronin”
Eerie clock tower-esque chimes ring quietly in the background as Chester Watson commands the foreground in “Ronin.” Though his rapping is monotone, it’s anything but boring. The lyrics, which take up much of this track’s focus, are ripe with meaning. He easily switches between references from Japanese folklore (“Woke up to demons and yokai/Saw one was bleeding from both eyes/Dodomeki and Oni amok”) to U.S. pop culture (“Alien, I feel like Stitch”). Allow yourself to drift through the song, being carried by Watson’s vocals.
CHECK OUT: “Many Times”
There’s something ever so off-kilter in Dijon’s “Many Times.” It very much reads as someone, mid-jam sesh, in a fit of frenzy, finally allowing themselves to let some emotions off their chest — ones that they’ve been holding back for too long. Urgent vocals and jerky drum beats lay in juxtaposition atop a jazzy piano. This packs the track full of intensity. There’s something beautifully unsettling about “Many Times,” making listeners want to groove just as easily as it might compel some to scream-sing along.
CHECK OUT: “Girl Next Door” (feat. Wiz Khalifa, DVBBS)
Beware: The hook to “Girl Next Door” by SK8 will absolutely get stuck in your head after one playthrough. That is SK8’s superpower. The Omaha, Nebraska native crafts extremely relatable verses listeners can’t help but sing along to. He’s also carving out his own space in the industry, making music that sits somewhere between alternative and R&B. Grunge-y drum and guitar add a more pop-punk sound to the equally trap-inspired song. Wiz Khalifa and DVBBS also both make appearances on “Girl Next Door,” making the execution even more impressive.
CHECK OUT: “Watching Cartoons”’
The most appropriate way to listen to La Luz’s “Watching Cartoons” is actually not while watching cartoons, like one may assume by the name. Instead, I suggest listening to it while laying in the grass and watching clouds roll by. The retro twang to the guitar riffs and the hazy, almost downright hypnotic, harmonies creates the perfect soundtrack to trying to find shapes in the clouds above. The song leaves listeners wanting more, which is perfect, seeing as how La Luz’s self-titled album will be coming soon.
CHECK OUT: “FIGHT CLUB”
“FIGHT CLUB” is full of flexing from the Kansas City trio BLACKSTARKIDS. Appearing on their debut album, Puppies Forever, the group spit bars about confidence and social media alike. All the while, the beats sound like they’d fit right into a vibrant video game soundtrack. It’s the perfect anthem to add a little tenacity into anyone’s life.
Your Broken Hero
CHECK OUT: “Tommy’s Face” (feat. Spencer Chamberlain)
If there’s one thing you should take away from Your Broken Hero’s music, it’s that emo is certainly not dead. In fact, it’s alive and well through the project from YouTuber Matt Cutshall. Light a cigarette, throw on your favorite pair of Dr. Martens and play “Tommy’s Face” — that’s the only true way to fully dive into this powerful track featuring Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain. Really, the song is nostalgic in the best way. The aggressive bass and guitar riffs pair perfectly with Cutshall’s dramatic screams, taking listeners back to a golden age of music.
This feature appeared in issue 399, available here.