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Rhys Langston, Strange Ranger, and underscores are rising artists

We’re rounding up rising artists you need to know right now. This month, Rhys Langston, Strange Ranger, underscores, and more are the AP&R new music picks to listen to. Continue reading…



Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who are on their way to becoming your new favorite. Below, we’ve rounded up a handful of up-and-coming names from around the globe who either just dropped music or have new music on the way very soon, from LA indie rappers and free-wheeling punk outfits to Southern California legacies.  

Read more: 25 best albums of 2023 so far

Rhys Langston

Rhys Langston knows that a love of language is intrinsic to making great art. Whether he’s casting dizzying flows or publishing his own poetry, that ethos runs deep as his catalog grows stranger and more brilliant. On his latest, Langston takes his chops a step further by linking up with shadowy psych duo Pioneer 11 with the new album To Operate This System (out July 26 via POW Recordings). Here, they’re interdimensional travelers whose disregard for convention and celebration of possibility is bound to inspire more rappers to head toward the outer limits. —Neville Hardman

Strange Ranger

Strange Ranger, the nomadic indie-rock band, once known as Sioux Falls, have erupted in New York City’s downtown music scene as one of the scene’s newest mainstays. It’s been a chaotic couple of years for the band, relocating from Montana and Portland to Philadelphia, releasing their 2021 album No Light In Heaven, and now moving to New York—where they’re gearing up for their newest project Pure Music, out July 21. The physical transition comes with a departure from their lo-fi indie sound into something heavier. With new singles “She’s on Fire,” “Rain So Hard,” and “Way Out,” the tracks reverberate with an industrial, underground pop sound that will suck any listener in. —Alessandra Schade


Hyperpop star on the rise underscores, who remains adamantly independent even after inking a deal with Mom+Pop Music, released their latest single in June. underscores has made headlines for their collaboration with 100 gecs and work with Travis Barker, both of whom had fallen for their genre-fluid electronic sound — which at times borders on emo, can stray into dubstep-adjacent territory, and leans into the glitch-heavy soundscape of post-internet culture. There’s something inherently special about underscores’ way of moving through these sonic spaces — an earnest, irony-free appreciation of nostalgia that is thoughtfully updated with consideration of contemporary culture, and their own unique, obsessive style. —Anna Zanes

Mother Tongues 

Mother Tongues, the duo of Charise Aragoza (vocalist/bassist) and Lukas Cheung (guitarist/vocalist), are imagining a different future. “It’s queer, it’s free, a little goth, everyone’s wearing eyeliner,” Cheung explains. But as strains of shoegaze, alt-rock, and breakbeat unfurl across their debut album, Love In A Vicious Way (out July 21 via Wazy Haze), their vision becomes clearer and headier. Whether you’re into songs that feel like incantations or 2000s homages to movie theater game rooms, these cybergoths from Toronto’s DIY punk scene are onto something profoundly their own. —Neville Hardman

Jakobs Castle 

At the end of last month, we were formally introduced to Jakob Nowell, the son of the late Sublime vocalist Bradley Nowell, and a talented musician in his own right. Nowell released his debut single with his new band, Jakobs Castle. The song, “Time Traveler,” co-written with Rancid and Operation Ivy’s Tim Armstrong, is a powerful, almost ethereal web of electronic sounds and punchy guitar. While his crooning voice could be confused with his father’s, and the past certainly informs a facet of his work, Nowell’s sound is very much of the modern world. His key inspiration is in mixing “California’s past with the fresh mystery of internet underground culture.” And with this single, and that sentiment, we can’t wait to see what he gives us next. Anna Zanes


The alt-pop project of siblings Savannah and Brandon Hudson, BETWEEN FRIENDS, are in the business of making relationship anthems. But with their new project, I Love My Girl, She’s My Boy, dropping at the end of August, the Los Angeles-based pair are expanding their DIY-pop sound and dipping their toes into the gritty world of ’90s alt-rock. With the June release of “Smiley,” the driving basslines and angsty vocals are reminiscent of Hole’s softer tracks. The 14-track record will be a testament to the brother-sister duo’s experimentation with the harder edge of hyperpop. Alessandra Schade


The art-punk trio from New England have made a name for themselves as one of the most bombastic, raucous rising rock outfits on the East Coast. Perennial have made waves in the post-hardcore space with their improvisational, free-flowing sets that combine a potent mixture of British mod pop, ’60s soul, ’90s punk rock, electronic music, and free jazz. Their latest project, The Leaves of Autumn Symmetry, out Sept. 1, reworks five tracks from their scrappy debut, taking the feverish heartbeat of the band’s original works and using a slightly updated recipe: a cocktail of modernist, intrepid experimentation that Perennial, now eight years into their career, have discovered and honed over time. Alessandra Schade


Your early 20s can breed tremendous growth, and Benét taps into those rich emotions with precision on their forthcoming debut album, Can I go again? (out Sept. 22 via Bayonet). The first preview, “Insensitive,” is a tight love song that sees the budding star coming out the other side cloaked in self-assurance, even when they’ve been rejected. Fans of Bartees Strange, Indigo De Souza, and Dijon should stay tuned, as Benét is clearly onto something great. Neville Hardman


From hardcore and house music to underground rock, some of the most promising emerging bands in North America can be traced back to Chicago. And leading the charge in the Windy City’s sonic uprising is the gritty trio Lifeguard. On July 7, Matador Records released Crowd Can Talk / Dressed in Trenches, a composite of two EPs by Lifeguard, and it’s truly an exhibition of Lifeguard’s limitless potential. Holding hooks and noise to the same standard, and heavily inspired by the sound, and feeling of live music, the group give us a fresh point of reference as to what punk music means in the modern world — and to younger generations, hungry to experience and create an underground scene of their own. —Anna Zanes

Sad Park 

Los Angeles’ own Sad Park released NO MORE SOUND, their third full-length, this month. And it appears the emo/alternative outfit have been tightening their unique, stripped-down sound and dark, evocative lyricism for this very moment. Soaring from pop-punk notes to a ska-inspired horn-filled track, the group give us their truest selves on this album — their first with Pure Noise, and with AJJ’s Sean Bonnette on production. Amid many other great Los Angeles bands, like their peers Together Pangea and FIDLAR, they’re finding themselves and leaning into what sets them apart, capitalizing on their internal chemistry. On this album, Sad Park are taking space from being a “DIY band,” without leaving the DIY ethos behind.


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