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 names from around the world who either just dropped music or have new music on the way very soon. These are the February up-and-comers, artists picked for their standout sound, from riveting post-punk to heavy shoegaze.
Read more: 24 of the most exciting rising artists to watch in 2024
On Feb. 6, Brooklyn shoegaze outfit MX LONELY released their delirious, gritty new EP, SPIT. The EP sees the band open up their sound, and both redefine and reemphasize the cerebral, visceral music that’s gotten them so far, leading to an iteration of shoegaze that’s not dipping its toes in other heavy sounds but rather, diving in with abandon. MX LONELY’s tracks lean into heavy-alternative, riffy ’90s grunge, and hardcore rhythms — a well-matched foundation for lyrics about escaping overwhelm, anxiety, and listlessness. And an apt theme, as the EP itself was born in a wild, one-month creative purge, during their very first studio session. —Anna Zanes
Minneapolis trio Prize Horse create spacey, fuzzed-out alt-rock that’ll intrigue fans of Nothing, Superheaven, and Built to Spill. The band — vocalist/guitarist Jake Beitel, bassist/vocalist Olivia Johnson, and drummer Jon Brenner — possess a sludgy heft, but their songs can get drifty at points, too, like on the single “Further From My Start.” Underneath lie Beitel’s reflective lyrics, which are concise and moody but always cut through the noise to reveal a greater depth. Following their EP from last year, the band’s debut album, Under Sound, is produced by Gleemer’s Corey Coffman and arrives Feb. 16 via New Morality Zine. Prize Horse will also play Sound and Fury later this year. —Neville Hardman
From the moment he emerged on the scene, Kevin Holliday has shown up as himself. He’s building a world that is unpredictably textured — slipping from soft and funky into hard, rhythmic guitars and soulful beats. And it is all a rolling landscape, against which his introspective lyrics shine. Holliday’s undefinable sound, as a whole, meditates on authenticity, intentionality, and quite literally being in tune with influences and inspiration. On the artist’s new, mostly self-produced LP, LADYBUG, which arrives this Valentine’s Day, he’s getting all the more honest, delivering his most vulnerable work yet — by way of a breakup album. Though, he adds, “It’s so much more than that.” —Anna Zanes
Last year, Phoenix shoegaze crew Glixen made an entrance through a series of swirly, intoxicating songs that felt indebted to their love of Beach House. Now, the band are adopting a heaviness in the vein of Deftones and Nothing with their latest single, and first preview of their second EP, “foreversoon.” The result is spectacular, blending Aislinn Ritchie’s sweet, delicate vocals with a fuzziness that’ll make you melt. Glixen recently embarked on tour, including dates opening for Interpol, Softcult, and Glitterer, as well as some of their own headlining shows. Plus, they’ll play the Philly date of Slide Away Festival in March. —Neville Hardman
New York’s self-described no-wave outfit Gustaf have garnered an avid audience through their rowdy shows and a habit of improvising lyrics while climbing over amps. Though their sound at first comes off chic and composed, with its angular guitar parts and a funky, steady bassline, once vocalist Lydia Gammill enters the chat, kicking and screaming, all bets are off, and the band drive it home around her. There are snarling, shrieking, clashing drums, while backing vocals shout out a wild, Ramones-esque call and response. Currently, they’re gearing up to release their sophomore album, Package Pt. 2, in April, an angstier, existential twist on their previous projects. On this new album, Gustaf get philosophical, pondering life’s purpose, venting about love, and growling about egotism — while maintaining their fun, breathless energy. —Anna Zanes
New York psych/garage outfit the Thing are deeply DIY. Formed in 2022, the band — Zane Acord, Jack Bradley, Michael Carter, and Lucas Ebeling — record at their East Williamsburg studio Onion Records and make their own music videos, including the black-and-white accompaniment to their single “Midnight,” which plays out like a slick spy thriller. The song, which comes from their newly released second album, The Thing Is, is a three-minute romp that captures their madcap spirit, takes inspiration from doomsday conversations, and ends in a freaky explosion that will appeal to fans of Ty Segall. —Neville Hardman