AP&R Playlist: Empowering rock, driving hardcore and mellow indie-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!
Read more: FOB and Craig Owens join 100 gecs on “hand crushed by a mallet (remix)”
Shehehe – “...but I’m Tryin Hard”
For fans of: The Dollyrots, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Masked Intruder
Starting with an explosive first verse, Shehehe don’t let up the momentum throughout their fast-paced single “...but I’m Tryin Hard.” Though just under two minutes, the energetic song is enough to get anyone up and moshing. The track will be featured on the band’s upcoming LP, Pet Songs, which drops July 31 and is available to preorder here.
Luke Wild – “Easier To Lie”
For fans of: Godflow, ilham, Billie Eilish
Luke Wild laments the struggle of wanting to please others in the title track to his upcoming EP with “Easier To Lie.” Wild’s bold lyrics are complemented by swaying guitar riffs and consistent rhythms. “[The song] is about the difficulty of expressing oneself honestly,” he says. “And how with people, it is often easier to tell them what they want to hear instead of disclosing how you feel.” Easier To Lie makes its debut Sept. 18 via Terrible Records.
DMA'S – “Criminals”
For fans of: Ocean Alley, Gang Of Youths, G Flip
Taken off their latest LP, THE GLOW, DMA’S search for partners in crime with their most recent single, “Criminals.” The Australian trio begin the track with a subtle hi-hat and a lone vocalist. With smooth crescendo throughout, the song finishes with a full chorus of harmonies, shining piano and glowing guitar riffs. THE GLOW is available on all streaming platforms, and physical copies can be ordered on the band’s website.
Evann McIntosh – “WIYULD” (feat. Lil Mop)
For fans of: UMI, LAUNDRY DAY, Peach Tree Rascals
In “response to grown women being intimidated by a young, confident feminine energy,” Evann McIntosh gets personal with her latest release “WIYULD” featuring Lil Mop. Recorded in her bedroom using GarageBand, the follow-up to her debut album MOJO flows with soft rhythms and echoing synths. On top of that, the 16-year-old delivers her callout with hard-hitting rhymes and a powerful bridge. McIntosh is set to play Outside Lands next August with additional 2021 tour dates to be announced soon.
Wafia – “Hurricane”
For fans of: Vera Blue, G Flip, Mansionair
Wafia remembers those closest to her in the vocalist’s latest uplifting single, “Hurricane.” With an upbeat backing to match her vibrant voice, the track serves as a celebration of her family and friends who were there for her after a difficult breakup. The accompanying lyric video was shot throughout Los Angeles as she delivered flowers and cakes to the people she cared about. The track will be featured on the artist’s upcoming EP, Good Things, out Aug. 21 via Atlantic Records.
Honour Bound – “Brittle Bones”
For fans of: Underoath, Memphis May Fire, Northlane
Post-hardcore quartet Honour Bound make their debut with the first single off their upcoming self-titled EP, “Brittle Bones.” Ripping breakdowns, melodic guitars and flowing vocals encompass the song, fitting for a spontaneous headbanging session. The Canadian outfit’s debut EP drops on all streaming platforms July 27.
The Academic – “Acting My Age”
For fans of: The Metric System, The Night Café, SPACE CAMP
The title track of their latest EP, the Academic’s “Acting My Age” will get you dancing from the first beat. The Irish four-piece combine lighthearted beats and melodic riffs with a sweet indie-pop groove to create a catchy, feel-good track. Acting My Age is available to stream here.
Mascots – “Figure It Out”
For fans of: Youth Fountain, State Champs, Neck Deep
Paired with a retro-filled music video, Mascots dropped their first track since 2018 with “Figure It Out.” Led by steady drums and lively guitars, vocalist Chris Henderson sings relatable lyrics about life’s trials on the track produced by Seth Henderson (Real Friends, Knuckle Puck). "One moment you might feel like a failure and you're not really getting anywhere, “ the singer says. “Other times, you feel like you have really figured out the puzzle of life."
Kelsy Karter – “Stick To Your Guns”
For fans of: King Princess, Cyn, Hey Violet
Following the release of “Devil On My Shoulder” in April, New Zealander Kelsy Karter is sharing her next single with the empowering pop-rock anthem “Stick To Your Guns.” Taking inspiration from artists such as David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, the singer melds bright vocals with a heavy rock ’n’ roll guitar to create a powerful tribute to her inner “puckish” self. Karter is currently in the studio working on her debut album, expected to release later this year.
The OBGMs – “Not Again”
For fans of: Danny Denial, Big Joanie, the Dirty Nil
The OBGMs’ “Not Again” boasts classic punk vibes mixed with contemporary garage guitar licks. Produced by Dave Schiffman (PUP, Rage Against The Machine), the track is singer Densil McFarlane’s own high-speed exploration of his own struggles with “bad advice, wrong choices” and fake people. “‘Not Again' is about the lies I tell myself when I look in the mirror,” he shares.