Summer passed us with the blink of an eye. Now we encounter a season of new classes, new beginnings, and, most importantly, an all-new playlist to start off the school year. September represents a fresh start, whether that’s for school or in our lives personally. It represents a time for new beginnings that can allow us to grow from everything we learned during the long, scorching summer.
With that being said, I carefully curated a playlist of fresh new releases that represent this moment of new affirmations from some of Los Angeles’s most promising rising artists, ranging from Do-It-Yourself bedroom pop to lo-fi beats and classic R&B licks. If you’re searching for a playlist to accompany the new semester, then you came to the right place–we have you fully covered. This is the selection, in no particular order:
One of the most promising artists emerging from the lo-fi underground scene in Los Angeles, Deb Never delivered a new EP this month titled “House On Wheels” that only hits the surface of what it’s like to go through a rocky relationship, all while using guitar riffs to create a somber sound. Never released music this year via WEDIDIT; she was signed by the label in 2018 and has recorded alongside other artists from the label such as Shlohmo, D33J, and Matt Champion from BROCKHAMPTON. The track “Ugly” is an emblem for new beginnings, even if they seem rough to get through.
Josh Hwang, who goes by the name CASTLEBEAT, from Brooklyn, New York brings us all the feels in this new track released earlier last week titled “East Coast.” CASTLEBEAT is a lo-fi independent bedroom artist who reinvents what it means to be in the DIY shoegaze and dreampop scene today. Hwang writes, records and produces dreamy soundscapes in his garage all while independently managing his own tours. The new track is a fuzzy ball of lo-fi guitar riffs, perfect for winding down at the end of the evening after a long day of dreadful classes, or even driving down Pacific Coast Highway.
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club has risen from the indie-rock scene in London, England in 2009. Taking a break from music in 2014 after the release of their last album “So Long, See You Tomorrow,” Bombay Bicycle Club now gifts us with a new track: the new single “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You).” The euphoric new track takes us on a journey of young love and not quite being able to sleep through all of the new feelings one might feel in the beginning. It’s a track that emphasizes the use of sweet and cheerful guitar melodies while also keeping a classic 2000s indie-rock rhythm, a track that will surely help us keep the excitement going for a new school semester.
Based in Birmingham, England, Mahalia Burkmar is one of the top alt-R&B/soul artists coming from the underground scene in the UK. Finding her stardom from appearing on London-based collectives such as Boiler Room, Mahalia has been writing and producing her own music since she was 13. Her new track “Square One” opens up with a toned-down piano-driven ballad as Mahalia details the difficulties of making a relationship work in a constant cycle of arguing. It’s a blissful track for starting something new and breaking away from old habits.
Hailing from Sweden, Persian singer-songwriter Snoh Aalegra exploded onto the scene with her album “Feels” in 2017, with the standout track “Time.” This record captured the attention of artists such as Drake, resulting in her feature on “Do Not Disturb” from “More Life”. Now, fans can rejoice because Aalegra released a brand-new single called “I Want You Around” just last month. The track takes you on a journey of struggling to want someone around, but not being fully ready to commit to them. Her soulful and jazz-influenced sound is one that can be jammed out to while lounging around and relaxing on a Sunday afternoon.
Surf Curse is the indie-rock project of Los Angeles-based artists Nick Rattigan and Jacob Rubeck. While being heavily involved in the Los Angeles DIY scene from playing at venues such as The Smell and The Echo, it is now moving up to festivals such as Tropicalia and Coachella. They are the embodiment of what it means to be in the culture of making music in our room. Their new track “Hour Of The Wolf” is a modern coming-of-age track that is also partly inspired by old mystery cult films. Creating a surf rock and grunge aesthetic all their own, they bring us a new LP set to release later this year by December.
One of the most crazed alternative boy bands of 2019, BROCKHAMPTON has released a new record titled “Ginger,” a summer-coming-to-end album. With the record not being as cheerful as their previous projects, it reveals that the group has gone through harsh times and brings in dark and dull synth melodies. At the root, BROCKHAMPTON is a group of misfits explaining all the different ways they don’t fit in. That’s at least part of the appeal–they speak to many brands of loneliness. The track “Sugar” explores that side of the group and how it can be mentally rough to navigate.
From the core of the backyard Inland Empire scene, Beach Bums is one of the top bands emerging. Beginning in 2013 by playing in backyard shows from Pomona to Los Angeles, they now strike out with a new album titled “Years.” The genre-bending group uses lyricism to define feelings of depression and anxiety, self-loathing and an unshakeable sense of entering your early 20s. From the record’s opening track “Ash,” however, that dark cloud is replaced by a triumphant air of satisfaction and excitement. This is the perfect anthem to start a whole new school year.