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Best New Zealand Music of the Week: April 15th-21st

Stay up to date with all the standout tracks released last week with Rolling Stone AU/NZ’s weekly roundup

Ha the Unclear

Ha The Unclear


Every week, Rolling Stone AU/NZ dives into our favourite New Zealand music released from the seven days. Today, explore fresh tracks from JessB, Casual Healing, Ha The Unclear, Treenurse, Sam Cullen, Aro, and Molly Payton. 

JessB – “Talk of the Town”

JessB keeps the heat turned up on the release front this year with “Talk of the Town”, flaunting swaggering vocals over a pulsating beat. But there’s more in store – her highly anticipated debut album, Feels Like Home, drops July 5th.

Feels Like Home is a marker in my journey that has been and is still evolving,” JessB shares. “Navigating a career in music, whilst also navigating finding identity & self simultaneously. One could not have expanded without the other. For me, the music that has been created over the last 4 years for this album is a direct reflection of the changing sounds of my life. It has been a process of finding a home in how I see myself & how I choose to show up in the world.”

Casual Healing – Driftwood

Casual Healing, AKA Nikau Te Huki, brings summer vibes to the autumn scene with his debut album, Driftwood. Featuring early favourites like “Mauri Tau”, “Chasing Rainbows”, and “Up & Down”, the 12-track collection is all about feeling good. Based in Wellington, Casual Healing mixes soul, R&B, reggae, and marae-style tracks, with his smooth vocals giving you those laid-back feels.

Ha the Unclear – A Kingdom in a Cul-de-sac

Ha The Unclear have finally unveiled their third studio album, A Kingdom in a Cul-de-sac, freshly singed to Paris-based label Think Zik. Featuring early singles “Strangers”, “Growing Mould”, and “Secret Lives of Furniture”, A Kingdom in a Cul-de-sac sees the Ōtepoti-born band create their most hook-laden, vocally rich material yet, influenced by recent live performances.

“This is an immense release for us, stylistically, the album shifts through a lot of our gears and so we feel like it represents a good chunk of who, how, and what the band is about,” shares the band. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to put it to the wider world, to tell a bit of our story, and excited for what’s next.”

Treenurse – “Scared of the Dark”

Treenurse, the musical project of Tāmaki Makaurau-based singer-songwriter Lucy Campbell, makes “plant-punk” music, which should be enough to lure any listener in.

“Music helps me express myself and it’s also so much fun making a lot of noise!” Campbell told RNZ in 2021.

Their thrashing new single “Scared of the Dark” is out now, from their upcoming debut album set for release later this year.

Sam Cullen – Love Again EP

Invercargill-born Sam Cullen has dropped his new EP, Love Again. This four-track collection of driving rock tracks explores life in your twenties, with songs about growing up and missing home, especially the pub culture in Invercargill. It features lead singles “Forever” and “The Cold Midwinter” along with fresh tracks “Written in the Wind” and the title track. Sam describes it as “me wearing my heart on my sleeve, talking about being homesick, growing up, and trying to figure out who I am.”

Aro – He Rākau, He Ngārara

Shortlisted for the APRA Silver Scroll Award in 2023, Aro is the musical project of husband and wife duo Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Mutunga) and Emily Looker from Tāmaki Makaurau. Their fourth bilingual album draws inspiration from five native Rākau (trees) and four waiata linked to native Ngārara (insects and reptiles) to celebrate these significant elements of nature.

The process involved researching Māori knowledge, legends, and whakatauki, with each song written in collaboration with members of Charles’s iwi and hapū.

Molly Payton – “Accelerate”

Molly Payton hits the gas on her new indie rock anthem “Accelerate”, set to feature on the London-based, New Zealand-born artist’s upcoming debut album. Watch the accompanying video directed by Oscar Keys, filmed at the Beachlands Speedway in Ōtepoti.