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 January up-and-comers, artists picked for their standout sound, from raucous surf rock to hyperpersonal confessionals and burnout anthems.
By the time Austrian-born, Berlin-based artist Uche Yara had extensively toured through Europe, played Wilderness and The Great Escape, and opened for the Rolling Stones in Vienna alongside Bilderbuch — she was barely 20 years old, and had never released a single song. Regardless, her stage presence — the fluid dance from drum kit to guitars, buttery vocals slipping in and out of distortion — and proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer had audiences mesmerized and hungry. This winter, Uche Yara released her first three singles, and they did not disappoint. Artfully, her sound glides from tango rhythms to R&B to psych rock with enigmatic ease, and in line with her remarkable live shows, the delivery of sound is far more than hooks and choruses, it’s still a performance. Keeping up the momentum, Uche Yara’s next release comes in February and her first headline tour in May. —Anna Zanes
NYC friends Sofia D’Angelo, Julian Kaufman, Charlie Kilgore, Layla Ku, Emma Lee, and Jamee Lockard have been creating hypnotic, velvety worlds of R&B, funk, and alternative under MICHELLE since 2018. After releasing a double single last fall, the collective are back with a new EP, GLOW, out Feb. 9 via Transgressive. Their latest, “NEVER AGAIN,” is a track that’s fueled by the regret of wasting energy on the wrong people against the breezy, magnetic instrumentals that have become their hallmark. It makes their year look all the brighter. —Neville Hardman
For the unfamiliar, Eliza McLamb’s “16” is the best starting point if you’re into gutting, hyperspecific songwriting. The details — crying to a song in the car after getting high, having someone track your eating habits — are key to her striking lyricism, backed by an electronic minimalism that casts greater emphasis on her traumatic teenagehood. The track comes from her debut album, Going Through It, where she tapped Sarah Tudzin (illuminati hotties, boygenius) to produce and traveled to Bear Creek Studio in rural Washington to record. The LP arrives Jan. 19 via Royal Mountain. —Neville Hardman
Rochester/Brooklyn’s Carpool have crafted a comforting, addictive genre of their own — one that upholds the chaos of punk, the boisterousness of pop punk, and the angst-ridden existentialism of emo, all glued together by vibrant math-rock riffs. Each anthemic track dropped reinforces that their refined emo/punk recipe doesn’t need sharp whining to be full of cheeky antagonism about growing up, f*cking up, and getting high. Having recently signed to SideOneDummy, they’re looking at a strong year ahead, with My Life In Subtitles, their sophomore LP, arriving in March, followed by a tour with Free Throw. —Anna Zanes
Southern California trio Sun Room play desert-baked, devil-may-care surf rock that dials up the energy and embodies showing up to your 9-5 violently stoned. Formed by Luke Asgian, Ashton Minnich, and Max Pinamonti, the band capture the reckless abandon of being in your 20s and barely scraping by, best heard on the rowdy, fast-and-loud cut “At Least I Tried.” The band are in the midst of an Australian tour and will release new music later this year. —Neville Hardman
Tim “Shogun” Wall, former frontman of Australian punk outfit Royal Headache and Shogun and the Sheets, is stepping back into the spotlight — this time alongside newcomer Finn Berzin. After his best friend left for overseas, Shogun formed a bond with the friend’s younger brother, Finn. What ensued organically, the writing and sharing of music, led the pair to form a deep and authentic new project, Finnoguns Wake. With Berzin’s fresh perspective and youthful cadence, and Shogun’s signature voice and well-rounded experience, both in life and music, the two entered this new creative space as partners, sharing all lead vocals equally. Unsurprisingly, the results are unique and great, at times sounding like a revved-up, grunge-y Guided by Voices. Finnoguns Wake will release their debut EP, Stay Young, on Jan. 26. —Anna Zanes