AP&R: SaintAhmad, VIAL and other rising artists to check out this month
Everyone loves to jam out to their favorite artists and classic hits, but let’s not forget about all the fresh talent constantly popping up around the world. From pop and indie to punk and post-hardcore, there’s always a new name in music waiting to be heard.
We know there’s a lot of faces to sift through, so we’re here to help. Each month, Alternative Press writers and editors are sharing their favorite rising artists, and we’re putting them all in one place. Check out some new artists you might have missed below.
Check out: “Clouds”
SaintAhmad cites Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean as key influences. The comparison is definitely apt. Like that pair, SaintAhmad also dialogues with the history of R&B in novel ways, drawing from the past even as he twists his source material in the direction of something unique. Even so, more direct comparisons for “Clouds” might be to Rick James’ “Mary Jane” or D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar,” two of the all-time great (and often misunderstood) love hymns to... a different kind of musical inspiration. What makes SaintAhmad’s contribution to that tradition unique is his ability to spin a tale of queer love from delicately placed double entendres, a perfect sonic portrait of same-sex desire for a confident new generation. —JP Ervin
Check out: “All This Art”
Dewan-Dean Soomary operates under Teenage Sequence, a dance-punk outfit whose debut single, “All This Art,” isn’t dissimilar to James Murphy’s self-deprecating rants in LCD Soundsystem. In six-and-a-half minutes of spoken word, Soomary manages to name-drop Dischord Records, interrogate an industry that still breeds racism and make quite an introduction over a swirling loop (which he jokingly calls “pop career suicide”). RIYL Hot Chip, ESG and Liquid Liquid. —Neville Hardman
Check out: “Stupid Head”
“Stupid Head” from Camille Jeanne’s debut EP, New Room, is an alternative feminist anthem. In the track, she calls out a shitty ex-lover with extremely personal—yet all-too-relatable—storytelling. The combination of Jeanne’s soothing vocal harmonies, angsty guitar riffs and vulnerable lyricism define her music. Any song on the EP is sure to please, given they were designed to make listeners “experience different sensations during each song, as if they are entering a new room.” —Taylor Linzinmeir
Check out: “No Smoke”
If the initial COVID-19 lockdown had you ruminating about life like an angsty teenager again, you’re not alone. What started as a way to pass the time while locked down in their grandmother’s house in the Welsh countryside, Tiberius b’s debut EP, Stains, rethinks what pop music could be. Their melancholic guitar riffs certainly complement their diaristic lyrics about love, gender, psychedelics and all the complications human existence has to offer. Like an in-your-face ’90s Fiona Apple song, Tiberius b lets out those repressed emotions, just with a stripped-down and modern indie-pop sound. —Katie Schmidt
Left To Suffer
Check out: “EVENT”
Those who forget the past may be doomed to repeat it, but sometimes they’ll just never replicate it. So it is with nü metal, a genre quickly turned into a simplified groovefest with none of the creepy vibes introduced by Korn. That band didn’t only keep you on the edge of your seat—they damn near kicked it. Atlanta nü-deathcore prodigies Left To Suffer maintain the emotional heft and eerie atmosphere of their sonic and spiritual predecessors. And therefore have the best chance of breaking off deathcore’s not-so-freaky leash. —Bradley Zorgdrager
Check out: “Last July”
Brace Yourself are a pandemic baby started by some Tucson pals in March 2020. The band blend punk influences such as softcore guitar work, Xander Mason’s poppy vocals and drummer Braden Matsuzawa’s Travis Barker-eque tendencies on the popular track “Redemption.” Aptly named, Brace Yourself play like a scaled-back A Day To Remember, with more intricacies and experimentation than the genre giant’s early work. —Ryan Piers
Check out: “Save It For Myself”
If you’re a fan of the iconic emo music that defined your early 2000s playlists, you need to be listening to U.K. artist WALWIN. All fans of Punk Goes Pop are required to check out WALWIN’s cover of “Castle On The Hill,” which will blow away even the most die-hard Ed Sheeran fans. Destined to be an alternative icon, this artist brilliantly blends acoustic elements, soulful vocals and well-crafted narratives. Each track is dazzling and melancholy, vibrant and introspective, which is exactly what the new age of emo calls for. —Maria Serra
Check out: “With Weight.”
It’s hard to keep track of whatever emo wave the internet has decided we’re in now, but Stars Hollow have a place in it regardless. Hailing from Des Moines, this twinkly Midwestern outfit started out as a remarkably candid form of release for lead singer/guitarist Tyler Stodghill while going through the motions at Iowa State University. With drummer Andrew Ferren and bassist Gavin Brown by his side, the band’s new LP, I Want To Live My Life, sounds like it could fall anywhere between Gulfer and a more melancholy Algernon Cadwallader. —Joshua Carter
Check out: “Violet”
VIAL are bringing ’90s queercore into the 2020s with honest lyrics and unbelievably hypnotic guitar riffs. Splitting vocal duties, the four-piece—drummer Katie Fischer, bassist Kate Kanfield, keytarist Taylor Kraemer and guitarist KT Branscom—are an incredibly unique group. Their riffs are reminiscent of the B-52’s, and their lyrics hark back to the days when riot grrrl and queercore dominated the punk and indie underground. 2021 is shaping up to be an exciting one as they prepare for the release of their second album, Loudmouth. Fans of Daddy Issues, Pool Kids and Future Teens can find a new favorite band in VIAL. —Marian Phillips
This list originally appeared in issue 396, available here.