Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who will soon become your new favorite. Below, we're rounding up a handful of up-and-coming names who either just dropped music or have new music on the way very soon, from indie-pop singers and DIY duos to experimental electronic artists. 

Anna Shoemaker

Anna Shoemaker has become one of the premier talents born from the Dimes Square scene in New York. Evoking the spiraling charm of Phoebe Bridgers, the sweet lilt of Holly Humberstone and the raw vulnerability of '90s icons Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow, the singer has become a staple of the downtown NYC scene. She sings about everything from the anxiety of "playing it cool" ("Holly") and embracing all facets of yourself, even the messy ones ("I Think I"). With her forthcoming EP Hey Anna due June 16, there's likely to be even more of an outpouring of vulnerability on the way. —Ilana Kaplan

dba James

After his project Bay Faction disbanded back in 2020, James McDermott has been shaping his maximalist emo-pop-meets-punk ethos via dba James. Also a staple of the downtown New York City scene — even hosting monthly parties at Heaven Can Wait — the musician channels Lil Huddy’s sound with Matty Healy’s flair for dramatics. His songs tend to tackle existential dilemmas (“Trad Future” and “7*") and loneliness (“Comeback”). Following the release of his solo debut EP Check "Yes" To Connect last year, dba James has continued to be one of the singular forces shaping the post-pandemic sound of the city. —IK


No one’s creating shoegaze like Draag. What began as the solo project of Adrian Acosta, who’s a trained mariachi singer, has transformed into something greater and more heavenly, with their warped doomgaze making you go from feeling blissed out to bummed out. With tape samples, despair, and chilling songwriting coloring their new record, Dark Fire Heresy, feeling gutted about the state of the world never sounded so good. —Neville Hardman

Hannah Jadagu

Summer somehow makes big feelings feel even bigger — and Hannah Jadagu’s indie-pop has the possibility to be your summertime soundtrack and magnify them even more so. The 20-year-old artist signed to Sub Pop when she was still in high school, and now at 20, the New-York-by-way-of-Texas artist just dropped her debut album Aperture on the label. Jadagu’s indie-pop pulls from dream-pop, folk, psychedelic, and jazz influence, all made fluid by her gentle, sublime vocals and a dazed production. Each song, too, is as if it bottles up a feeling — like a camera’s aperture clicking to capture a moment — from mulling over words that went unsaid to fearing intimacy and romantic disappointment. With her keen sense of universality and earworms, you’re basically looking at Gen Z’s next indie-pop star. —Sadie Bell

King Isis

King Isis is an Oakland-bred, LA-based rising recording artist who just released their debut EP, scales, through indie-star incubator Dirty Hit and No Matter. Like how a reptile’s scale shows a spectrum of colors depending how the light hits, it’s as if each track on the EP highlights a different side of King Isis’ artistic palette. They see themselves as a part of an Afro-futurist lineage — and they’re right. Their grunge-pop sound spans everything from Y2K pop-rock to alt-R&B, all streamlined by their soulful voice. They sing about intoxication (“taste”), but their sound is just as alluring — so get ready to bow down to your rising indie-pop king. —SB

Mandy, Indiana

Do you want to dance — but in a way that’s fierce, extra hedonistic, and maybe even a little bit violent? Mandy, Indiana are dying to get in front of your ears and bring that energy out of you. The Manchester-based industrial-dance band started making music in 2019 and gained traction with their 2021 EP, and now they’re releasing their debut album, I’ve Seen a Way, via Fire Talk. They have a brutalist sound that features chilling noise elements — but all with a hint of sex appeal and a caustic wink, as vocalist Valentine Caulfield sings in French in a fiery tone about misogyny and scorned lovers. Allow their harshness to freak you out, but in a way that’s, like, hot. —SB

Maya Ongaku

Maya Ongaku are the latest addition to Guruguru Brain, the premier psych label that’ll put you on to some of the greatest, and strangest, music coming from the Asian underground. Composed of three childhood friends — Tsutomu Sonoda, Ryota Takano, and Shoei Ikeda — the band are building their own world of ghostly psych-folk, one song at a time. The single “Nuska” offers proof enough, with the track conjuring soaring flutes, field recordings that sound pulled from a Boards of Canada outtake, and a serenity that’ll make you feel like you’re on another planet. Their debut album, Approach to Anima (out May 26), isn’t to be missed. —NH

Snow Strippers 

Every Snow Strippers song sounds like the coolest party you can imagine. It’s at a warehouse; strobe lights make it hard to see anybody, but you can be assured they’re all dressed impeccably; and the music is so good, not for one second do you want to leave the dance floor. It’s the electronic project of Detroit-based Tatiana Schwaninger and Graham Perez, who originally met in Clearwater, Florida — which makes sense, considering you can imagine their music soundtracking Spring Breakers if it was released in 2023. They call their sound EDM, which isn’t a misnomer, but there’s a melancholic luster to even their tracks in overdrive; party music that knows you might cry in the club, but would rather you quit the tears and rage instead, if you will. They just released their latest mixtape with distribution through cult collective SURF GANG, and it’s what every underground club should start spinning ASAP. —SB

Water From Your Eyes

Rachel Brown and Nate Amos’ project Water From Your Eyes has been making the rounds in the DIY circuit since the mid-2010s. The two started making music together one summer in Chicago before deciding to collaborate long distance when Brown moved back to New York, and once Amos made his way out East, they became NYC DIY faves and along the way racked up an extensive discography. Now, they’re gearing up to release their first album on Matador, Everyone’s Crushed (out May 26), and there’s never been a better time to dip into their delightfully idiosyncratic indie-pop that’s full of calculated scattered sounds and vast synth arrangements. Put their weird-pop on your playlist and your friends may ask, “What is this?” but they’ll quickly follow it up with, “Oh, this is cool as shit.” —SB


There are a lot of artists coming up right now who grew up with Alex G. His emotionally raw, sparse DIY guitar-pop in the early-to-mid-2010s was clearly on repeat among Jarett Denner and Dan Poppa, who make up waveform*. But if Alex G was considered an old friend to them, their emo indie-folk is sure to instantly feel like one to you. Like their namesake, it’s as if the Connecticut-based duo innately understand the wavelength of mood — loneliness, fragility, the ordeal of letting love in — captured through their slowcore compositions and acute lyrics. They just released Antarctica, their first album on Run For Cover as one of the cult-loved label’s latest signees. But like Alex G before them, new fans will be glad to know they have quite the backlog, as they’ve been churning out material from their bedrooms since they started collaborating in high school. —SB