AP&R: Bummer pop, pit-stirring hardcore and a resurgence of Oi! punk
You’re welcome: We’ve made finding new songs by rising bands easy. Each week, we’re gathering the best from the underground and offering it to you in one concise AP&R list. Scroll below and check out our Spotify Discover playlist, featuring these tracks and more!
In return, we want to hear your favorite. Let us know what track you’ll be spinning for the rest of the week in the comments or anything you want to see on the next AP&R!
1. Nasty Cherry – “Live Forever”
Charli XCX-approved femme fatales Nasty Cherry continue to build momentum with their third single. Co-written by producer Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Angel Olsen), “Live Forever” embraces self-expression and freedom, stressing the importance of being “unconfined, unrefined and self-assured.” Upheld by triumphant hooks and vibrant alt-pop melodies, the song is an indicator of the quartet’s creative vision and a promising debut EP.
2. Future Teens – “So What”
Gaining ground as a “bummer pop” band, Future Teens reveal a change of pace in their latest single, “So What.” Paired with a charmingly lethargic music video, the song journeys through a tense, gradual build of sentimentality, fittingly resounding the confessional lyrics and interplay of cathartic harmonies between vocalists Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin.
3. Kailee Morgue – “Black Sheep”
Rising alt-pop songstress Kailee Morgue covers Metric’s “Black Sheep,” most widely known from the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack. In celebration of the film’s ninth anniversary, Morgue’s rendition tweaks the arrangement with fluorescent synths and melodious bass distortions, turning the iconic pop-rock number into an electrifying dance-floor anthem.
4. Wayfarer – “February”
Wayfarer take one of the most depressing months of the year and personify its despondent characteristics in three minutes of sentimental pop punk. “February” is succinctly crafted with gentle harmonies and melancholy guitar leads, perfectly capturing the cold and desolate emotional climate of winter. The band’s third full-length album, Reckless Spring, drops Oct. 25.
5. Selfish Things – “Hole”
“Hole” by Selfish Things is a candid representation of familial turmoil and the consequences of making lifelong choices. The band’s catchy single unabashedly confronts these issues with a bitter aftertaste, wavering in tonal contrasts of indignation and acceptance in the verses and choruses. Their upcoming debut album, Logos, will drop Sept. 20 via Pure Noise Records, and preorders are available here.
6. The Gospel Youth – “Talk”
The Gospel Youth make a favorable return with a bright, energetic EP, Thoughtless. As the first release to feature vocalist Nick Nowak, the quintet are back on their feet with a refined-but-familiar sound. “Talk” is an uptempo, pop-punk reclamation of their wistful musicality in Always Lose—an apt progression of their signature style they’ve employed in the past.
7. Grade 2 – “Graveyard Island”
Grade 2 raise their fists and keep the Oi! spirit alive in their new single, “Graveyard Island.” The English punk trio throw back to the classic punk aesthetic of the late ’70s, demanding the attention of the underground U.K. scene with pumped-up chants, gritty guitar riffs and raw, unfiltered energy.
8. Outsider – “Mind Of Misery”
Taken from Outsider’s latest EP, When Love Dies, “Mind Of Misery” is a concoction of thrash-influenced hardcore and the stamina of old-school beatdown. With dashes of No Warning and Madball giving rise to the potent heaviness, this track is a blood-boiling banger that unapologetically decimates every beat and stirs the pit for unrelenting chaos.
9. Patent Pending – “Punk Rock Songs”
Originally formed in 2001, Patent Pending have led a long career growing and evolving with their genre. Their new single, “Punk Rock Songs,” is their first song since their 2017 covers compilation album. The track is a far cry from what the title suggests, but it explores an intriguing trajectory of modern pop, injecting a twang of country undertones into their sugary, infectious chord progression.
10. Before We Burn – “Wasn’t Meant To Be”
Before We Burn’s debut single, “Wasn’t Meant To Be,” builds upon a taxonomy of metalcore strains. Tethered to the hard-hitting sounds of their influences, the song lures listeners with a dramatic piano overture and tears through the transition with a colossal breakdown. The downtuned guitar chugs coordinate seamlessly with the emphatic chorus, steadily pacing through the heavy and melodic passages.