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Best New Zealand Music of the Week: May 20th-May 26th

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

Troy Kingi

Troy Kingi


As NZ Music Month / Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa heads into its final week, the flow of music releases shows no signs of slowing down.

Take a look back at our coverage of Voom, Reb Fountain, Park RD, SACHI, and Ringlets, and catch up on highlights from Neil MacLeod, Joe Ghatt, Mystery Waitress, GIBSON XCVIII, japes, Michèle Ducray, Mazbou Q, Lilly Carron, Troy Kingi, Nauti, 0800, Christoph El Truento, and Polite Company.

Neil MacLeod –  “Tunnel Vision” 

Neil MacLeod’s latest single, aptly named “Tunnel Vision”, hones in on the impact of this mindset, particularly within relationships. Starting with sparse piano, the song builds into a sleek and immersive beat, showcasing MacLeod’s evolving range.

He shares, “The chorus talks about not being able to see the forest for the trees. That’s something I’ve dealt with more than I’d like to admit, getting hyper fixated on things to a fault. The song resolves that a ‘little closer to the middle’s where we wanna be.’ I think that’s true – somewhere between focused and curious is where I want to exist.”

Joe Ghatt – “Orange October”

Follow Joe Ghatt’s lead and take a moment to soak in the day’s glow every now and then. That’s exactly how “Orange October” found its place on his upcoming album, Caper, one sunny Spring morning. Described as the most exotic-sounding track, “Orange October” is a 6-minute blend of lush, ascending flute and jazzy Bossa Nova-styled percussion, reminding you to lighten up amidst life’s hustle and bustle.

Mystery Waitress – “Nightbug” 

The latest addition to the Flying Nun’s excellent roster, Wellington quartet Mystery Waitress, is back with their first single from the upcoming album. “Nightbug” builds on the success of their debut, showcasing their moody guitar sound, while still being playful and fun.

japes – “Process” 

japes has shared the reflective second single from her new EP Omen, out on August 1st via Sunreturn. The song, appropriately titled “Process”, finds the Wellington songwriter contemplating the  irreversible nature of progress, even in hard times. It’s a relatable scenario: most of us have experienced our own battles, with victories and setbacks along the way.

GIBSON XCVIII – “See You Again” 

Even though it deals with heavy stuff like grief and moving forward, the Christchurch duo have given their latest song their indie-pop twist. It’s got a warm and laid-back sound that would’ve been a crowd pleaser on their recent NZ tour.

Michèle Ducray – “MADAME!” 

Michèle Ducray casts a spell with her latest song, “MADAME”, born from inner strength she found after toxic relationships. It serves as an anthem for anyone who’s felt betrayed by a partner, complemented by an appropriate “forest-witch” music video. As she puts it, “I want them to feel their strength in this song – to get them dancing and embracing their bad side.”

Mazbou Q – “CELESTIALS. (feat. Nardean)” 

Mazbou Q delivered a powerful and insightful opening for Washington rapper Oddisee’s show this month, and now the Nigerian/New Zealand hip hop artist is back with a new song. “CELESTIALS”, featuring Sydney-based artist Nardean, blends a bouncy beat with outer galaxy themes.  

Troy Kingi – “Ocelli” 

The first single from album eight in Troy’s “10|10|10” series (“10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years”) is here. Inspired by a trip to Joshua Tree, the Desert Rock album Leatherman & the Mojave Green kicks off with “Ocelli” (“a simple eye”). This aggressive, sweaty track is packed with gritty guitar riffs and pure dusty heat.

Lilly Carron – “Call Me Over”

The Muriwai-raised indie-pop artist shows off her range in her dreamy new EP, And the Clouds Came Undone, which explores Carron’s relationship with herself with heartfelt lyrics and polished production by LEISURE’s Tom Young and Balu Brigada’s Pierre and Henry Beasley. If you’re in Auckland, catch her opening for London trio Bar Italia at Neck of the Woods this Sunday.

0800 – Get Right 

The Auckland hip hop crew had loads to offer at their EP release gig at BIG FAN over the weekend. Their latest project, Get Right, serves up six tracks with thumping bass, fiery raps, and smooth R&B melodies. 

Nauti – “CRASH DUMMY MUZIK ft. Duke Deuce” 

From Memphis to New Zealand, homegrown rapper Nauti brings a full-bodied Southern sound in collaboration with Memphis artist Duke Deuce. This swaggering release leaves nothing off the table, with shout outs to Nauti’s homeland Aotearoa over fresh production.

Christoph El Truento – “Performer Dub”

Aotearoa producer extraordinaire Christoph El Truento is back with a new record, Dubs From the Neighbourhood, set for full release on June 1st. Featuring all-star talents like Julien Dyne, Cory Champion, Jeremy Toy, Mara TK, The Hongi Slicker, and more, the album’s four lead singles, including the sun-soaked “Performer Dub”, are already out.

Polite Company – Please Go Wild

Former Mutton Bird artist Alan Gregg is back with a new project called Polite Company, along with a fresh album titled Please Go Wild. The album explores whimsical and sometimes melancholic territory with melodic tunes, described by the London-based Palmerston North-raised songwriter as lively observations of an absurd world.

“I’m a firm believer that now, more than ever, the world needs more jingly-jangly music,” says Gregg.