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Best New Zealand Music of the Week: April 1st-7th

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

Luna Shadows

Luna Shadows

Lissyelle Laricchia

Every week, Rolling Stone AU/NZ dives into our favourite New Zealand music released from the seven days. Today, explore fresh tracks from Luna Shadows, Luke Buda, PNC, D.C. Maxwell, Liam Finn, Church, Double Parked and more below.

Luna Shadows – “heroine”

Rescuing you from life’s daily grind is Luna Shadows’ newest song. Described as a “kind of fantasy about fulfilling your wants and needs without having to consider others,” Shadows’ radiant vocals float above twinkling guitar strums and a hazy beat, crafting an undeniable bop. “heroine” is the fourth single from the Los Angeles-based NZ artist’s new album, bathwater, coming out in June, exploring themes of memory, love, loss, and grief.

Luke Buda – “Very Special Feelings”

The Phoenix Foundation co-founder drops his first new music since his Taite Music Prize-nominated 2021 solo album BUDA. The glistening dream-pop track, “Very Special Feelings”, is sprinkled with contributions from Motte/Anita Clark, Olivia Campion, and backing vocals from TPF’s very own Samuel Flynn Scott. It arrives just ahead of his tour across Aotearoa this month with his live band, kicking off this weekend. Auckland and Wellington shows get an extra treat with the addition of Phoebe Rings

PNC – “SJ23” 

Aotearoa hip hop veteran PNC (AKA Sam Hansen), behind 2009’s seminal Bazooka Kid, is teasing tracks for his new project Unbothered Rapper. His latest release, “SJ 23”, hits you with nostalgia and ambition, flowing with his signature smooth style. It comes after the powerful “Mazda Familia” produced by 41 beats, who also worked magic on David Dallas’ latest project, Vita. The Palmerston North MC has started a Substack page to talk more about the project, dropping songs as soon as they’re made.

“My aim is to create a project that remains fluid, yet retains the spirit of an LP. This means essentially releasing songs as they are made. Once one song drops, then it’s on to the next. This real-time, iterative approach emerged early on as the sole path forward, both for the allure of attempting to craft a cohesive project under the public’s gaze, and to seize the opportunity presented by the current, rule-free nature of releasing music.” 

D.C. Maxwell – “The Last Stand of the Killer” 

The experimental country-pop artist fully inhabits his characters in his music, so it’s no surprise his latest visual creation is an absolute riot. Bringing to life a standout track from his remarkably assured debut album Lone Rider, the clip sees Maxwell take on the role of an adrenaline pumping maniac during a bank robbery gone awry. Buckle in and see it out to its bitter end. 

Liam Finn – “Purple Dress”

Liam Finn, of Crowded House fame, has been using the Twitch stratosphere to work on his solo music, doing everything live while getting feedback from viewers. All leading up to his new solo project he’s calling Hyperverse coming out later this year. And the music? Skilfully crafted indie rock with a lot of heart. One of his latest tracks, the evocative “Purple Dress”, follows the more upbeat tone of “I Just Want You To Be So Happy”. Plus, it features homemade cover artwork by his nephew. 

Thomas Powers – “Permanent Holiday”

The Naked and Famous’ Thomas Powers continues his solo explorations with the announcement of his debut album, A Tyrant Crying In Private, out May 17th. His latest single “Permanent Holiday” featuring US indie rock band Now Now, reflects on a decade of his life and a special friendship. It’s a sequel to “Best for You”.

Church – “Fairytale” 

Church more than delivers on his promise of a new sound with his striking single, “Fairytale”, teased in an interview with Rolling Stone AU/NZ before his solo debut at Auckland’s Laneway. Drawing from jungle and drum and bass genres, “Fairytale” combines pulsating synths and a powerful marching beat. Excited for more from the prolific Tāmaki Makaurau rapper, who has previously made his mark under Church & AP.

“This is one of my favourite songs I ever wrote. for two years I cherished it, keeping it between me and my car stereo. todays it’s out for the world to hear. as the ownership changes hands, I hope it’s able to give you the same joy it gave me.” 

Lola – “Portal” 

Tāmaki Makaurau based producer and vocalist Lola reintroduces her shadowy electropop sound with this atmospheric track, co-produced by Carly Gill (Kédu Carlö). With multimedia visuals taking centre stage for the emerging artist, keep an eye out for the music video coming out later this month.

“When I wrote ‘Portal’ I was experiencing the kind of love that makes you feel transformed. Like the human heart can be a portal to a new metaphysical place, so long as we relent and let it guide us.”

Double Parked – “Living Room Floor” 

Finally, the West Coast group brings us another infectious surf-rock tune with “Living Room Floor”. The music video, directed by Tom Grut and shot on Super 8 film, captures the track’s nostalgic energy with compiled live performance footage.