AP&R Playlist: Acoustic hard rock, airy indie and relatable alt-pop
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 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 which track you’ll be spinning for the rest of the weekend in the comments!
Moon Fever – “Shaking Off The Evil”
Moon Fever’s “Shaking Off The Evil” encompasses the heart of classic rock ’n’ roll and blends it with contemporary rhythms and beats. The song is a slow build with small hills throughout until it reaches its grandiose finale. Waves of guitars crash into cliffs of old-fashioned soul and harmonizing vocalizations before slowly fading out.
Phoenix Day – “Follow Me Down”
For fans of: Bad Omens, From Ashes To New, Nothing More
After a hiatus beginning in 2017, Australian post-hardcore quintet Phoenix Day are back with their powerful new single, “Follow Me Down.” Featuring dark synths and deep riffs, the track fluctuates between gritty, scream-filled lines and slick, clean choruses. The track peaks with overlapping verses and rhythms before coming to an abrupt end. Mix and mastered by bassist Julian Meyer and drummer Markus Meyer, the song was co-produced by Forrester Savall (Karnivool, Birds Of Tokyo.) Special effects in the accompanying music video are by Dave Hunter (Circles) from Band Factory Media.
Lauren Sanderson – “Frustrated”
For fans of: PVRIS, King Princess, UPSAHL
Lauren Sanderson delves into her own troubles with the alt-pop groove “Frustrated.” Rocking guitar riffs backed by Sanderson’s raw voice and meaningful lyrics all meld together to create a relatable track speaking on life’s anxieties. “That fear of being vulnerable can convince you your feelings are 'too much,' Sanderson says. “You can't believe those thoughts.” After having to postpone this year’s North American tour due to the coronavirus pandemic, the singer plans to hit the road for the Midwest Kids Can Make It Big tour in April 2021. Tickets and a full list of dates can be found here.
Betcha – “Closer To The Sun”
For fans of: DREAMERS, TWIN XL, Super Whatevr
Alt-rock’s Betcha share a high-energy dance track with the colorful new “Closer To The Sun.” As the follow-up to “July,” the track is the perfect summer groove with lighthearted rhythms and shimmering riffs. Captivating hooks, a catchy chorus driven by a steady keyboard make easy to get carried away in the bright ambiance.
Slow Pulp – “Falling Apart”
For fans of: beabadoobee, Reptaliens, LAUNDER
Led by notes from a swaying violin, Slow Pulp shell out a relaxing mood and dreamy vibes in “Falling Apart.” The track was made in the midst of the quarantine when singer Emily Massey was going through a rough patch. “Life felt completely surreal. Everything had drastically changed and at such a rapid pace,” she says. “It was especially strange because everyone was experiencing the same thing at the same time but couldn’t be with each other." The track will be featured in the group’s self-produced debut album, Moveys, set to be released Oct. 9 via Winspear.
Cold Years – “Life With A View”
For fans of: Nothington, Sam Russo, Nathan Gray
Scottish punk rockers Cold Years aim to enjoy life and not let the world’s troubles weigh them down with “Life With A View.” The four-piece boast a driving beat and raw, gritty vocals from lead singer Ross Gordon. A deep bass guitar resonates in the background as lively riffs ring through echoing cymbal hits. The track will be included on the band’s debut album, Paradise, which drops Sept. 4 via Inside Job/eOne.
PONY – “WebMD”
For fans of: Diet Cig, Ratboys, Charly Bliss
Mixing pop melodies and grunge basslines, PONY share their fast-paced new anthem “WebMD.” A slight reverb accompanies singer Sam Bielanski’s vocals throughout the two-minute song, with the backtrack holding down the guitar riffs and drums. The quartet’s debut full-length drops later this year via Take This To Heart Records.
Fame On Fire – “Scars Of Love”
For fans of: Picturesque, I Prevail, Palisades
Fame On Fire trade in hard-rock riffs and thundering vocals for an acoustic guitar on their latest single, “Scars Of Love.” A reflection on how it feels to be betrayed by someone he trusted, frontman Bryan Kuznitz says the track mirrors his thoughts on love. “As delicate and fragile as love is, we decided to take a softer and more dynamic approach to the sound of this song,” the singer shares. “We feel that 'Scars Of Love' is a song about the pain we have all felt at some point.” The track will be featured on the band’s upcoming debut LP, LEVELS, out Sept. 4 via Hopeless Records.
Run River North – “Cemetery”
For fans of: Twin Forks, Magic Giant, Colony House
Even though it’s based on a date to a graveyard, Run River North’s “Cemetery” serves as an amicable approach to what could otherwise be a dark topic. Like some of their previous tracks, their latest single is inspired by singer Alex Hwang’s fascination and understanding of dying. “With cemeteries, there's a quiet calm that draws me in," he shares. "I'm able to sit with death and not be overcome with fear.” The track itself is a mellow groove of light riffs and airy harmonies fitting of an early night stroll. “Cemetery” will be featured on the trio’s upcoming album, which is due for released later this year.
Careful Gaze – “When I Leave”
For fans of: Hot Mulligan, Circa Survive, Icarus The Owl
Careful Gaze share a thoughtful concept piece backed by resonating riffs in “When I Leave.” The song begins with vocalist/bassist Gabe Reasoner singing softly, following a gradual crescendo before reaching a tight bridge charged with piercing screams. The track is paired with its own short novel, which tells the story of “a young adult living in a dark and corrupt small town where people live to blend in and forget.” The book is the first installment of a series of stories and is available to purchase here.