Best New Artists

Our favorite new and rising artists to listen to in June, 2023, featuring Zukö, 4kmichael, Godly The Ruler, feeble little horse, BashfortheWorld, and Matilda Lyn.

Every month, we round up some of our favorite new music discoveries. Look back at all of our Best New Artists features here and keep up with them all on the Best New Artists playlist.


The pre-Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors adopted a slogan, “Strength in Numbers,” a depth and teamwork ethos now adopted by corporate workspaces. As much as music depends on collaboration and community, this Nigerian-born, Baltimore-bred artist stands alone. 4kmicheal’s music finds empowerment in his loneliness. When everything crumbles around you, there’s nothing to do but say, “fuck that,” and continue on your path.

4kmicheal’s appeal has been rumbling through Baltimore airwaves and internet circles since before 2019 when he released his debut mixtape, Forgive Me, I Am Alive. The moody and brooding production paves the road for his critique of those who wronged him. In mid-May, he dropped another tape, FREE THE BIRDS [FTB], and continued his quest for discovery and salvation.

FTB is for everyone I ever loved and lost,” said 4k. Throughout the tape, he details failed relationships, difficult conversations, and moving on from it all. It reflects a moment in time, as he explains that he made the songs 2-3 years ago and that, “in Baltimore, you lose a lot of people.” 4kmicheal is fully transparent about his pain and suffering. You can hear it in his voice. You can feel it in the desolate guitar chords. You can tell that relationships have never recovered and bridges have burned.

“The people I was around when I made it aren’t around anymore, so it was like a chapter in my life I had to close,” he says. Despite acknowledging your past demons and moving through grief, 4kmicheal is confident in his vision for brighter days. Other than believing FTB is a compilation of his hardships, his vulnerability allows for growth and a better sense of self-worth. “You gain love, you lose love. Life is a crazy ass cycle."

Though the city spawned much of the baggage he carries today, 4kmicheal thoroughly represents and “loves” Baltimore. He might not be the musical champion of his stomping ground, but he’s building a community of his own. He recently had a son, so most of his time is spent “in the house watching Motown Magic with a 7-month-old” or being on a plane. With FTB existing as a time capsule, we all look forward to what happens with 4kmicheal’s next chapter.—Patrick Ong

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feeble little horse

Hailing from the steel city of Pittsburgh, feeble little horse introduces an infectious energy that you won’t find anywhere else.

At the heart of feeble little horse is their enigmatic lead singer, Lydia Slocum, whose voice drips with soulful angst, weaving tales of heartbreak, disillusionment, and rebellion. Her tone exudes an effortless coolness, almost as if she couldn't care less about being in the band in the first place. Joined by guitarists Ryan Walchonski and Sebastian Kinsler, the two further drive home the booming creativity that this band emanates. It all wouldn’t be complete without ethereal but heavy drumming from Jake Kelley rounding off the groups eccentric energy.

feeble little horse recently dropped off their second album Girl with Fish, an intense sonic landscape that captures the essence of their tempestuous style. The rhythmic backbone, driven by relentless drums and pulsating basslines, provides the foundation for their raw sound. As they navigate the depths of shoegaze and noise pop with their unique blend of influences and unforgettable melodies, they express a multitude of emotions throughout the entire album.

Girl With Fish is the follow-up to 2021's Hayday, which was made in a rush before Walchonski left town. On this album, the band took more time, whether working together or apart, and the result is a truly collaborative album that bursts with ideas and can serve as a source of inspiration to aspiring artists anywhere. "I want a kid to hear this album and buy an audio interface and a microphone," says Kelley. "I want them to think, 'If they can record in their bedrooms, I can do it myself too.'"

With a magnetic aura that combines vulnerability and defiance, feeble little horse is here to disrupt the modern music landscape.—Jack Sperling

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BashfortheWorld is the prime definition of music speaking for itself, quite literally. The North Texas native seemed to mysteriously pop up on everyone’s radar during the first half of the year, quickly building a devoted and unwavering fanbase even with very little information available on him. Bash doesn’t say much on social media about himself or anything in general and photos of him are few and far between. In response to questions seeking more information for this feature, his answer is simply: “Knowledge is power. Get money or die.”

Yet, this elusive aura only adds to his allure of the music. Bash's lyrical content is an honest reflection of his love life and drug experiences, intricately woven into captivating and unconventional trap production that produces an innovative sound. And the results don’t lie: He’s already done a headline tour selling out dates in most major markets, playing his own set on OVO’s Sound42 radio, and received monster co-signs from the late Virgil Abloh, Erykah Badu, and Brent Faiyaz.

Even more impressive is how self-sufficient his rise has been, distributing each record fully independently and with only one noted feature across his discography so far. It's a testament to the pure strength and confidence in his own artistry.

Most recently, Bash released a single “Mundo” teasing the release of a possible full length project from him. But, in classic Bashfortheworld fashion, there are currently no slated release dates or any other information available on this potential upcoming project.—paradisee

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The barrier to entry in music is too low. It can be tempting to talk about "leveling the playing field" and the upside of making it so easy to produce music that even amateurs and robots can do it, but we're starting to see the impact of that: way too much music, and so much of it is sterile, boring, and formulaic.

This disappointing reality is partly why an artist like Zukö stands out. His music is something only a human could make—it's sloppy, unapologetic, and I don't even know what keywords you'd have to plug in to get AI to spit this kind of thing out.

Zukö is 20 years old and from South London. Talking about his music, he references Yung Lean, The Smiths, A$AP Rocky, British punk from the '70s, early 2000s indie rock, and cloud rap. He pulls from all of it on his new EP my beloved popstar.

Zukö's music is a hodgepodge mix of half-baked sounds, mumbly deliveries, and mostly indiscernible lyrics. But it buzzes with rebellious urgency, and on songs like "MP3" that urgency translates into undeniable moments of immediacy. Even if you can only understand a handful of words, that hook can't be denied.

Who knows what the future holds, but if technology can copy formulas and recreate infinite variations of the hits, hopefully artists like Zukö keep making messy, weird, human music that challenges the notion of what moves us and good music even is.—Jacob Moore

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Godly The Ruler

Born in Nigeria and raised in Chicago, Godly The Ruler (they/them) brings a raw and raucous energy to all of their music, an unpredictable intensity that's more about overall feeling than genre. “I am a really extreme person," Godly explains. "If I'm sad, then I'm the saddest person in the world. If I'm happy then I’m the happiest person in the world. If I am succeeding at something, then I am the most successful person in the world."

"Breaking out of the Midwest, my view on the landscape of the music industry was very tailored to my Midwestern experience," they add. "Having had the opportunity to see more of the world over the past two years, I’ve been able to realize that there are other people much more tormented than me, there are people far happier, and more successful than me, and there is just much more to the world that what happens in my little Midwestern bubble. The realization is shocking, but there is nothing that needs to be done other than for me to get over my own narcissism and continue down the path. The title of my new EP,  the world is big, get over it, is simply me affirming this fact.”

On the upcoming EP, out in August, Godly teams up with artists including Brevin Kim, SAIAH, babebee, Billy Lemos, Internet Girl, and fellow Pack Records acts CONNIE and Jackie Hayes, for an eclectic collection of angsty songs. Even with a wide-array of collaborators, Godly's vision and personality shines through, not just in the music but across their videos, arwork, and presence on social media.

“I think it’s a really intimate sort of thing to make a song with somebody," they say. "Most of the people that i have worked with in the past have been long time friends of mine and I believe the intimacy in our personal relationships help push the music forward. [Whoever I'm working with], I try to make an effort to to form some intimacy with my collaborators before we get into the music, whether that’s going out for dinner, going out to sing karaoke, or just sitting in the studio shooting the shit for a couple hours before we even touch our laptops. Intimacy within my group of collaborators is really important to me when it comes to who I work with.”

Look out for Godly The Ruler's new EP in August, and check out the eye-catching artwork here.—Alex Gardner

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Matilda Lyn

Don’t let label executives, data scientists, or music nerds fool you—making music industry predictions in 2023 is a crapshoot. There are more wildly uncontrollable variables than ever before, but one thing remains a safe bet: Sweden’s tradition of great songwriting will continue.

This month, Matilda Lyn emerges from Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, with her debut single “A Bowl Of Unripe Fruit.” Lyn cites influences like Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers, and Joni Mitchell, but traces of other Swedish figures also come to mind. There’s the fragility of Lykke Li’s vocals, the whimsical nature of Fever Ray, the heart-wrenching folk of José González, and (of course) a touch of ABBA-established pop sensibilities.

“I think that’s still in me somewhere,” Lyn says of the supergroup she listened to as a child. She didn’t come from a musical family, but she was drawn to music from a young age. She got her first guitar at 10, and that’s when she started writing songs in school with some help from a teacher. She followed that passion in a high school that specializes in music, then was accepted into Musik Makarna, a prestigious university focused on songwriting, production, and preparing artists for a career in pop music.

Lyn learned to do it all, from writing and singing to producing and instrumentation. After finishing school, she worked a part-time job and produced for others, but a handful of inspired months in 2022 led to her writing what would become her debut EP, A Bowl of Unripe Fruit.

As a stripped down, mostly acoustic song, the title track and first single is just scratching the surface of what Lyn’s capable of, but it’s a powerful introduction to the world she’s building. It’s restrained, but still sweeping and cinematic, and surprising details give it depth even in its simplest moments.

“I wrote ‘A Bowl of Unripe Fruit’ in my bedroom 1.5 years ago with the feeling of always wanting something else,” Lyn says. “Playing with the thought of. ‘What if all my dreams stood in front of me? Would that really make me happy and fulfilled?’”

Lyn’s debut EP is set for release on November 10 with Giant, a new label from Harry Styles’ manager Jeffrey Azoff.—Jacob Moore

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