AP&R: Mallrat, Jhariah and other rising artists to check out this month
Every month, Alternative Press is sharing some of our favorite new releases. From chiptune-infused arrangements to no-wave groove, this month’s AP&R list spans various genres, bringing you a unique list of up-and-coming artists. Check out these rising artists who will soon become your new favorite below.
CHECK OUT: “Hysteria”
Defying its name, Death Bells' “Hysteria” is a relatively calming track. Will Canning repeats existential, dread-inducing phrases that periodically come to resemble mantras. The song simultaneously finds strength in echoing these statements and in urging listeners to make peace with their powerlessness. That’s not to say “Hysteria” aims to be the death of hope. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They promise victory in the calm that eludes those who fight against forces that are too big to conquer. Doing what you can is fine, and taking life one day at a time is braver than you know.
CHECK OUT: “DEBT COLLECTOR”
Jhariah’s tracks could all be described as theatrical and hectic, but “DEBT COLLECTOR” represents the crystallization of these qualities. His Broadway-esque vocals blend and clash with the chiptune-infused arrangement. Jhariah sings of the titular debt collector in an increasingly frantic fashion until the end, when his vocals become tinny, warped and even more sinister.
CHECK OUT: “Moving On”
“Moving On” is from Foreign Air’s latest EP, Why Don’t You Feel The Way I Do? Many of the tracks on the project focus on possibility, lost love or fleeting experiences, but halfway through the EP, “Moving On” crashes in with a refreshingly pragmatic message. The chorus begs listeners to let go of what doesn’t serve them, saying, “What is it you’re waiting for?/Demon’s knocking at your door.” With a progress-focused message, it’s a welcome reprieve from the self-pitying and ex-bashing takes on other breakup anthems.
Winnetka Bowling League
CHECK OUT: “fiimy - fuck it, i miss you” (feat. Demi Lovato)
Matthew Koma and Demi Lovato put your heartstrings in a vice grip on Winnetka Bowling League's “fiimy - fuck it, i miss you.” The two find themselves trapped in memory as they reencounter pieces of past partners and try to choke back any love that still lies in their chests. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and both end up relenting and admitting that they miss their exes. The song is magnificently bare, inviting you to remember, fight back and ultimately fill the emptiness with that same regret.
The Living Strange
CHECK OUT: “Close”
The Living Strange channel their desire for connection in “Close.” The song bleeds with disappointment during each verse, as the lyrics lament an inability to be around those you love. Fortunately, the chorus provides solace and reminds listeners that the unfulfilled want is still beautiful. “Closeness was all over my mind during lockdown, so I wrote this genuine love song about wanting to be around someone,” lead singer Eli Sokolow says. “Whenever I play it to an audience now, I can’t help but smile at the closeness between us.”
CHECK OUT: “Teeth”
“Teeth” is a reverb-rich song that sees Mallrat blending concepts associated with prayer, pain, pleasure and self into one giant “omnipresent it.” At times, the figure is a terrible passenger that Mallrat can never be rid of, and at others, it becomes a nurturing patron. The track’s construction mirrors this ambiguity with a dark bass that tries to consume everything, even itself. All the while, Mallrat’s vocals stand against this force, cutting back with luminous highs and an attempt to describe what defies definition.
CHECK OUT: “(Herman’s) House”
Special Interest’s “(Herman’s) House” is endlessly indicative of their genre-bending finesse. The track takes cues from punk and house music to ease listeners into a booming but not overbearing groove. “(Herman’s) House” is named for Herman Wallace of the Angola Three, a group of Black revolutionaries held in solitary confinement for decades. “This song bears witness to our wonder and desire to dismantle the oppressive systems that hinder our possibilities,” vocalist Alli Logout explains. If you’re going to speak truth to power, a good beat can only help.
CHECK OUT: “Nobody Can Dull My Sparkle”
“Nobody Can Dull My Sparkle” is infectiously positive. The track defies gravity while floating atop cymbal-based percussion and jubilant brass. JER’s vocals further brighten the song’s radiant zeal. Every line is another assertion of their unwillingness to be tarnished by the world’s muddiness. “I started being real with me/I can’t be bothered by you/Ain’t nothing but a leech.” Anytime you need a pick-me-up, don’t hesitate to check out JER’s discography. Chances are, they’ve got something for whatever you’re going through.
CHECK OUT: “Illusions”
On “Illusions,” Yumi Nu gracefully drifts through a nightscape of her own creation. The song begins with a growling synth, reminiscent of a revving engine. This mechanical beast is tamed by her frosty, glittering vocals, and it becomes little more than a hum that plays alongside and elevates the other elements of the track. There are few things better than a drive through the dark, streetlights twinkling overhead, but gas is expensive. Why not opt for this dazzling sonic substitute instead?
This feature appeared in issue #407, available below.