With a sound that's unpredictable and a daring personal style, ko aka koala stands out in a crowded pop field. The daughter of scientists, she's created a universe inspired by Y2K punk, genre films, and '80s animation.

Her singles prior to 2022 were dark and dense. Recent releases, including her latest "hit & run," are more radio friendly, but the production and vocals retain an experimental touch.

Jordan Edwards and Demi Ramos talk to ko about the new single, her previous life as a DJ, and the intersection of music and visuals.

ko aka koala | It's Real with Jordan and Demi www.youtube.com

The last time we spoke to payton, he was making the transition from TikTok star to full-fledged artist. With the new EP insomnia, the journey is complete. Over warm retro synths and inventive beats, the 19-year-old previews a bright future as a musician.

Jordan Edwards and Demi Ramos talk to payton about the making of insomnia, dating in the public eye, collecting tattoos, and leaving LA for North Carolina.

payton | It's Real with Jordan and Demi www.youtube.com

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a decade since Echosmith released "Cool Kids." The 2013 hit was huge on both alternative and top 40 radio, and the Spotify streams stand at nearly 450 million. The country-tinged "Bright" also proved popular with fans. Their debut album, Talking Dreams, showed a young band on the rise.

The quartet became a trio and they didn't release a proper follow-up until 2020's Lonely Generation, which coincided with the Pandemic. A fantastic collaboration with Mat Kearney built momentum for new singles including their latest, "Hang Around."

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Photos and Interview by Jordan Edwards

Los Angeles musician 93FEETOFSMOKE released GOODGRIEF on Friday (July 29). The album includes previous singles like "OH NAH OH NAH" and "ALL I EVER WANTED." It's a fitting sequel to 2020's SOFUBI, albeit with upgraded production and a more positive outlook.

In an era where everyone claims to be genreless, 93 actually is. His obvious love for 2000s hip-hop combines with the yearning and lyrical specificity of one of his heroes, Connor Oberst. The sound is unpredictable, shifting from distorted chaos to an intimate acoustic ballad, sometimes within a few seconds. His original beats, an element that sets him apart, sound both expensive and home-cooked.

We hung out in LA with 93 (Marciel Bauer) before the release to talk about the music that inspired him and the making of the album.

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Photos and Interview by Meghan Marshall

Ariana and the Rose released their debut album Lonely Hearts Club today. The 14-track set features previous singles like "Fuck Boy" and "Setting Me Free." Sonically, the pulsing '80s synths and drum machines recall early Madonna and the retro-meets-modern pop of Carly Rae Jepson.

The songs themselves are pure Ariana. The New York-based musician captures the energy of the city and fun of her immersive Light + Space events. At a time when it's hard to pinpoint an NYC scene or sound, Ariana seems to embody the downtown spirit that once made it vital.

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Photos and Interview by Jordan Edwards

LØLØ recently released her latest single "THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!" The track is the latest in a string of singles that show a respect for the Y2K-era rock she loves while producing a sound that's original.

Currently on the road with Waterparks as part of the Sad Summer Festival tour, she'll take the stage this weekend at Lollapalooza. We talked to the Toronto native about current projects and how her music has evolved.

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