Best New Artists

September's line-up of best new artists includes Hemlocke Springs, Dash George, Monét Ngo, Marco Plus, Fazerdaze, and Riovaz. Time to get familiar.

Best New Artists October 2022
P&P Original


Best New Artists October 2022

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

Dash George

Dash George

We’ve been publishing the Best New Artists series for many years now, and one of the few loose rules we’ve tried to follow is this: don’t include an artist based on one song. Too often, great debut singles are flukes or we realize that we shared too early instead of waiting for the right moment.

But fuck it—Tallahassee raised, Bronx-based artist Dash George’s self-produced debut single “Joy Ride” is too good not to share. George has been writing and producing music for years as a coping mechanism of sorts, and they are quietly working on a debut project set for 2023. “I want to leave my mark,” George says via email. “I need people to know I was here, experiencing things the way I do.”

At under two minutes long, “Joy Ride” is a brief but powerful mood-setter. Like the video, which shows George biking down the boardwalk as a full moon reflects sharply off the water, there’s a melancholy and slightly surreal feeling present. Pitched up ad-libs, calm flows, a hypnotizing guitar phrase, and a beat drop half-way through the song all add up to one of the most casually impressive debuts we’ve heard this year.—Jacob Moore

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Hemlocke Springs

Hemlocke Springs

Hemlocke Springs is a 23-year-old North Carolina-based artist who released her debut single “gimme all ur luv” in May. Springs, whose real name is Naomi, is currently getting her master’s degree, but she’s been making music as a “well-explored hobby” since high school and the pandemic inspired her to finally share some of it and see what happens. “What was once a hobby to me is now something more,” she explains. “That transition is odd, but I’m trying to welcome the peculiarity of it all.” So far, so good—“gimme all ur luv” already has over a million streams and is steadily winning over thousands of new fans on TikTok, including one named Bella Hadid

The self-produced “gimme all ur luv” has the DIY appeal of all the best bedroom pop, but it also showcases soaring, whimsical melodies, the panache of an ‘80s hit, and an unusual structure that keeps things interesting even after 100 listens (I can personally confirm). “During that time, I was trying to broaden my music horizons, so I listened to a lot of Kate Bush and Spellling,” Springs says. “I’m sure I also listened to my daily dose of K-pop and ‘80s music. Interestingly, I remember listening to a song by NOAH called ‘Separuh Aku’ right before making ‘gimme all ur luv.’ I was feeling particularly numb that week, and that song always makes me wanna cry every single time I’m listening to it!”

In the vein of lo-fi hits like Clairo’s “Pretty Girl” or beabadoobee’s “Coffee,” part of the charm of “gimme all ur luv” is how personal and unrefined it feels, but it’s obvious that Springs’ songwriting could easily evolve into more ambitious productions. While her debut takes off, she has been teasing snippets of other demos, asking for feedback from followers, and deciding what comes next.—Jacob Moore

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Monét Ngo

monet ngo photo by Anastasia Velicescu

Monét Ngo has a lot going on at the moment. He just released his debut EP, After School Club, packed with underdog stories and positive affirmations in the form of expansive indie rock songs with big hooks. He also has an active and highly engaged social media presence where he shares a glimpse into his life and interacts with the community. And if he has a show, Monét can’t stay out too late because he’s got school in the morning, in the form of his day-job as a kindergarten teacher.

“It can be hard to make time for music especially after a long day of teaching, but if Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend can write a hit album and manage to teach eighth grade English, I can definitely find time to record my songs and teach kindergarten,” Monét explains. “One of the challenges about teaching and doing music is preserving your voice. After teaching, my voice is usually pretty strained so it’s hard to record music right after.” 

Monét Ngo’s description of the positives of his dual life shines a light on the open-minded approach he takes and the power of pursuing passions. “It’s inspiring to be around so much vulnerability and innocence that kids naturally have,” he says. “A lot of my job plays into who I am as a person. Because of my day job, I’m in touch with the inner child in me. This factors into my music making process and how it ultimately sounds. There’s a sense of nostalgia, coming-of-age and spontaneity that can be heard in my music due to the fact that I’m constantly surrounded and inspired by young minds.”

The Vietnamese-American artist grew up in San Jose, California, playing piano as a child and then picking up guitar and starting to widen his music palate to rap and beyond. Now, he draws inspiration from across the board, noting the influence of genre-bending artists like Jean Dawson and Brockhampton on the After School Club EP, as well as Nirvana, Liam Lynch, and many others. “One of the aspects I’m most proud about in my music, is that no song sounds too similar to another,” he explains. “I really like when artists can sing on soft ballads, then rap on electronic dnb beats, and then switch to alternative rock bangers. I love the idea of being a multifaceted artist who can do any genre without being tied down to any one particular sound; I predict that all music in general is headed in that direction.”

Through his art and his teaching, Monét Ngo is focused on making a difference in any way he can. With growing support, a tight-knit community behind him, and songs that hit the spot whether you’re looking for nostalgia-inducing rock or heartfelt modern indie pop, Monét Ngo’s After School Club EP is an inspiring new addition to your rotation.—Alex Gardner

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Marco Plus

marco plus photo by moja

Rappers like MARCO PLUS are becoming increasingly few and far between. These days they’re often superannuated by their contemporaries—young self-starters racing to grab headlines by chasing trends or emulating iconoclasm. In a world plagued by clout-chasing and the endless pursuit of virality, MARCO PLUS stands out. His last LP, a love letter to South Atlanta titled Tha Souf Got Sum 2 Say, showcases a burgeoning talent with undeniable versatility and incisive vision. Above all, MARCO PLUS is an artist with a story to tell.

With a discography that includes multiple projects in 2021 alone, MARCO isn’t totally new to the game, but his presence is especially critical right now, as he cuts through the noise with narrative, delivery, and no gimmicks. Many of his tracks are meditative and soulful, and others are heart-wrenching and outspoken, with moments like “Lately” decorated with lines that feel more like scars. One moment, MARCO PLUS tells listeners, “My dog can’t smoke no weed / I smoke enough for both of us / My partner just OD’d / I toke enough to cope with stuff.” The next he’s wrought with internal tension on “10 Dayz Freestyle.” Though he might seem laid back, his incendiary flows illuminate tension lurking beneath the surface.

Despite MARCO PLUS’s hectic 2021, which included the release of several full-length projects and a few tracks with affiliates from ATL creative collective Backseat, he’s kept a low profile for most of this year, emerging only to deliver guest verses on tracks with mynameisntjmack, Wakai, and Malik Elijah. MARCO PLUS’s first solo release of 2022 came earlier this month with the ominous and minimalistic “Brink.” With a haunting melody intensified by hard-hitting mechanical percussion, “Brink” is more than just a new style for MARCO PLUS to flex; it’s a harbinger of his forthcoming project Tha Soufside Villain LP. The new project, his first with Cinematic Music Group, is set to release later this year, so you’d be wise to keep MARCO PLUS on your radar as summer turns to fall.—Carter Fife

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This is one of those times when we get a little flexible with the word “new.” New Zealand singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Amelia Murray—who goes by Fazerdaze—has been releasing music for years. She started gaining traction with her debut project, 2017’s Morningside, but while her music was finally spreading beyond her isolated home country, she started to feel stuck.

“I lost a lot of confidence during that time,” she explains, “and I just broke down and eroded. I eventually had to surrender to the truth of the whole horrible situation I was in personally and professionally.” For the next couple of years, she went silent and worked on changing her situation. And then the pandemic hit.

“New Zealand had a three-month lockdown just after I’d moved in by myself and everyone was so worried about me living alone, but it was the happiest I’ve been in years,” Amelia says. “I spent all this time finishing music, writing the most I have in years, getting into my zone.”

After half a decade of silence, Fazerdaze returned with the excellent, grunge-y “Come Apart” in July of 2022, then in August shared a short film to explain her absence. In the accompanying post on Instagram, King Krule commented “Wahooooooooo!” and fellow New Zealander Lorde added: “I’d say welcome back but as someone who also dips for extended periods, I know you were always there, just charging up.”

The upcoming EP Break! will officially mark the return of Fazerdaze, and it’s coming October 14. “This new music I’ve made is pretty raw and gritty and messy,” Amelia tells us, “but it’s everything I have needed to get out of me post-relationship break up and post-pandemic. I love it because it feels uninhibited and free which is the opposite to how I have felt the past few years. This music punctuates the end of a very long and dark period in my life and I’m excited to say there is a lot more music to come.”—Jacob Moore

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riovaz best new artist by Sam Cones

Typically seen rocking a pair of Airpods Max headphones, oversized cargo jeans, and a solemn look on his face, Riovaz isn’t the loudest, most boisterous person in the room. He tends to keep to himself and his tight knit group of friends, reluctant to open his world up to those that he’s not well-acquainted with. Prior to the success of his debut single “Prom Night,” Riovaz was even hesitant to show his face online, something which largely stems from attending high school in white suburbia.

“I went to school in a suburban town full of rich white kids,” he says, “so any time a person wanted to do something creative, they just pushed it down. They wouldn’t take it seriously.” At his recent show in NYC, surrounded by hundreds of fans who spewed each and every syllable of his songs, he appeared to step out of his shell.

Riovaz is an 18-year-old artist hailing from New Jersey and though he’s not yet a household name, many have heard his work whether they know it or not, as his music has soundtracked more than 100,000 TikToks since his song “Prom Night” went viral back in 2020. These days, Riovaz has been concentrating on soundscapes he describes as “Rio Rave”—a style created by the Jersey City native that encapsulates his eclectic sound. 

Starting out in music at the age of 13, Riovaz almost cut his tenure as an artist short, sharing with us: “I remember I wanted to quit when I was, like, 14. One of my earliest music friends was Trendy. I texted him I wanted to quit, and he called me for three hours and just kept telling me to be consistent. Now, I live by that every day. If you’re consistent, one of these days

something’s gonna happen.”

His first true influence was rap music—namely SoundCloud rappers such as Nebu Kiniza, Yung Bans, and Famous Dex. His early songs were recorded in his brother’s bedroom, and as time progressed this newfound method of expression quickly became the most important aspect of the teen’s life. Since these foundational moments, Rio has constantly evolved, with each addition to his discography showing off a new side. Though rap was a big influence in his youth, Riovaz is now leaning into aspects of house music, pluggnB, and various types of electronic music as inspiration. His spring EP Better Late Than Forever exemplifies this perfectly, and since this April release, Riovaz has continued to explore. With a new EP on the horizon, Riovaz is hoping that his newest body of work will act as a formal introduction.—Shamus Hill

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