We’re back with another AltPress Weekly. Each week, we highlight the things we want you to check out. We shout out new discoveries and longtime favorites, the best new, old and everything in between. We’ll also always keep you up to date with the latest coverage over at Alternative Press, along with the stories we absolutely love.
We’ve got another week full of new music and compelling reads. There’s plenty to listen to, whether you love pop punk, metal, alternative or something else. As always, we’ve also got our regular haul of news, lists, exclusives, playlists and premieres. Let’s get to it!
Issue 395: AP&R
AP&R is the regular section where AltPress writers and staff share their favorite up-and-coming artists. Each month, we take time to think about the rising acts who are becoming regulars on our playlists. This week, we published the AP&R section from our June issue. Coinciding with Pride month, many of us wanted to highlight the wide range of LGBTQIA+ artists who are continuing the long legacy of proud and powerful alternative music. As always, the section delivered artists from all over the musical spectrum. From MAY-A and boyish to ENTITY and Tokky Horror, our list is sure to have something for everyone.
Musicians remember Biz Markie
Fans recently learned of the tragic passing of Biz Markie. The Juice Crew alum was a singularity in hip-hop. He was as equally known for his sense of humor and his pivotal role in the genre’s mass popularity as he was revered for his technical skills and his musical sincerity. Many musicians took to social media to pay tribute to the rap legend. The outpouring of love for the late artist reveals the depth of respect he won, a respect that crossed neat genre lines and reached across generations. From Questlove and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea to Missy Elliott and Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins, Markie touched so many lives through his career.
WILLOW live stream
Last week saw the release of WILLOW’s much anticipated new album, lately i feel EVERYTHING. On the new record, WILLOW teams up with punk icons Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker. Before the release, fans had already seen a hint of the artist’s work with the blink-182 star in the form of the collab “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l.” Now, audiences have a chance to catch a glimpse of the artist live in concert. In the new feature, WILLOW performs a number of tracks from the new record, joined at times by Lavigne and Barker. The performances are also overlaid with commentary from the artist, who details the journey that led to the new release. The performance can be watched here via Facebook Watch.
1980s music videos
The ‘80s saw the emergence of video as a medium for creative expression as well as musical promotion. Many people are familiar with the highlights of that story, especially the rise of MTV and the alleged death of the “radio star.” AltPress contributor Katie Schmidt has written a new article digging into what made the era so unique. In the article, Schmidt showcases the diversity of videos from the ‘80s. The artist highlights titans such as Prince, Peter Gabriel and Cyndi Lauper, who legitimated the art form and transformed popular music in the process. It also spotlights alternative visionaries such as Kate Bush, De La Soul and N.W.A., who enlisted the medium for artistic and social ends that still reverberate to this day.
Love letter to Oasis
This week, Tim Stegall did something a little different. Our resident Punk Professor decided to tackle the legacy of Oasis, a band as complicated as they were beloved by millions of listeners. Stegall looks not only at the influence of the band but also their centrality in the music of their era. “Britpop was the sound of England taking back rock ‘n’ roll after American grunge and alt rock had annexed the world’s airwaves and charts for the first half of the ‘90s,” Stegall writes. “Vox amps, Union Jacks, 1964 Paul McCartney haircuts, Ben Sherman shirts and Chelsea boots became all the rage, as bands plundered their British Invasion, David Bowie and early punk records for ideas.”
20 artists who define nü metal
Depending on your age, you might find it hard to believe that we’ve reached a certain historical distance from the first wave of nü metal. The vanguard of artists such as Korn and Linkin Park has given way to a new generation led by groups such as Nova Twins and Tetrarch. In a new article, Ali Cooper looks at 20 standout artists from the genre, revisiting the classics and thinking about how they have influenced the nü wave. What emerges from the study is the inescapable depth of the genre and the potency of its sound on first listen—whether during its initial moment or across an enduring legacy.
Punk vocalists of the ‘90s
Stegall also put together a list highlighting punk singers of the ‘90s, an era transformed by Green Day, Nirvana, L7 and Bikini Kill, among others. Stegall recalls not only the influence of artists such as Kathleen Hanna and Billie Joe Armstrong but also their pure vocal chops. “What is most notable in looking at the best punk singers of the ‘90s is how many could truly sing,” Stegall writes. “It’s as if someone flipped a switch and punk crooners like Joey Ramone or Glenn Danzig were now more influential than vintage punk screamers like Johnny Rotten or Richard Hell, or the drill instructor tones of hardcore heroes like Henry Rollins or Ian MacKaye. True, you could still find plenty of old-school non-vocalists out there. But a standard was now set—the best were those with truly golden throats.”
JAWNY – “Tombstone Grey”
JAWNY has released a video for the song “Tombstone Grey.” The track is from his recent EP, The Story Of Hugo. Ahead of the release of the new visual, Maria Serra spoke with JAWNY about the project. JAWNY says the video is less about any specific inspiration than it is a reflection of his approach to life. “I wouldn’t really say anything inspired it other than that’s how we really live,” JAWNY says. “Me and [director] Spencer [Ford] both are into the same crazy shit. We are two kids being given money to play out whatever crazy fantasy we want to create. We just want to see how far we can push this thing.”
AP RECS: Softcult
Editor-In-Chief Paige Owens spoke with Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn about their new project, Softcult. During the interview, the twins detail their musical project, as well as their plans for the future. More than that, they speak to their desire to inspire people to do more for the world. “If you have a dream or if you have a goal, don’t let society’s expectations or assumptions stop you from achieving that, no matter how you identify, your gender, your race, your class, in society,” Mercedes says. “None of that should be a factor that holds you back. And while we can keep trying to fight to make that a reality out there, you have to make it a reality here, too. Be that change for yourself and for your community as well.”