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Best New Zealand Music of the Week: June 3rd-June 9th

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



Nicola Sandford

Last week may have been short, but it was packed with exciting new releases from the local music scene. Check out last week’s coverage featuring Mel Parsons, Balu Brigada, and Georgia Lines, and explore fresh highlights from Brandn Shiraz, Melodownz, hanbee, Christoph El Truento, Jess B, Revulva, PRYNEE, Arjuna Oakes, Jason Parker, Diaz Grimm, and more below.

Brandn Shiraz – “Nobody Move” 

Tamaki Makaurau-based Cook Island rapper Brandon Shiraz has shared his latest single, “Nobody Move”. The breezy, percussion-heavy track was first previewed during DJ Gat’s Boiler Room DJ set in Rarotonga and featured in the platform’s Pacific Islands showcase, which aired on YouTube last month. 

Melodownz – “When I” 

One for the underdogs: Aotearoa hip hop heavyweight Melodownz drops “When I”, a reflection on his journey from hustling in Avondale to making a name for himself on the global stage.

hanbee – “lovers” 

Hanbee treated us to “lovers”, a dreamy single from her upcoming debut album Small Love, set to release on July 12th. The dreamy, synth-backed track is about “being faced with the defining step of a relationship,” she says.

Christoph El Truento – Dubs From the Neighbourhood

Aotearoa super producer Christoph El Truento continues his exploration of dub music with his latest release, Dubs From the Neighbourhood. This album follows the 2019 Aotearoa dub classic Peace Maker Dub, paying homage to dub music’s founders through a South Pacific lens. Inspired by road trips, sunshine, beaches, and green landscapes, Dubs From The Neighbourhood combines carefree joy with reflections on grief and loss. 

JessB – “Commando” 

JessB released another taste of Feels Like Home, the short, sharp, and light “Commando”, and it’s really just the tip of the iceberg for her debut album. “During the week I was there in the studio, the writing that I was doing all felt like it was more ‘serious’ in terms of lyrical content, so this was just a chance for me to have some fun,” she says.

Before Feels Like Home finally drops next month, read our conversation with JessB here

Revulva – “Bush Bash” 

 Te-Whanganui-a-Tara’s eight-piece femme-fronted soul/funk band Revulva have released the first single from their upcoming self-titled album.

Written by band member Phoebe Johnson, “Bush Bash” explores intimacy during lockdowns when physical touch was restricted: “My house isn’t free / Your house isn’t free / Gotta get out, just you me and the trees.”

PRYNNE – A Fleeting Moment of Clarity

PRYNNE has released her debut album, A Fleeting Moment of Clarity,  dedicated to her late father, Hello Sailor’s Dave McArtney. The album features a mix of synth-pop, electro-pop, and heartfelt ballads. With family ties running deep, Johnny Fleury, one of her father’s closest friends, played guitar on the album. It was produced by legendary music producer Alan Jansson, known for hit “How Bizarre” by OMC.

Arjuna Oakes – “Motel” 

Arjuna Oakes releases his new single “Motel”, marking his signing to the London label Albert’s Favourites. “Motel” explores feeling stuck in life and using that pent-up energy to propel forward.

“The imagery of being stuck in a shitty motel room just felt like it resonated well,” shares Oakes. “I wanted the groove to feel relentless, and the psychedelic production to hint at the darker themes at play.” 

Jason Parker – “The Bright Side” 

Following his single “Crash“, Jason Parker has released “The Bright Side”, the third single from his upcoming Fairy Bread EP via Bigpop Records. Produced by Maude Minnie Morris, Parker describes “The Bright Side” as a continuation of the story, reflecting on the aftermath of a relationship’s end.

“’The Bright Side’ is not just the afterglow of a relationship ending, it’s also the memories of being happily in love,” he shares. To celebrate the release, Parker will perform with indie-pop artist Isla Noon at Ponsonby Social Club on Saturday, June 15th. Tickets are available here.

Diaz Grimm –  Māui & the Sin

Diaz Grimm released his new album, Māui & the Sin. It’s a mix of sci-fi, Māori, and hip hop sounds, three years in the making. Alongside the album, there are cool visuals with 3D animation, showing digital versions of Grimm, blending his Māori background with futuristic elements.

Ray Leslie – Fantasy & Future 

Filipino-Kiwi alt-rap artist Ray Leslie has released a new EP titled Fantasy & Future. Produced by Auckland producers Abraham Kunin and Danny Do, the five tracks explore themes of resilience, hard work, and determination in chasing dreams as an independent artist in Aotearoa.

Ms. Mia – Living in the Shadows 

Aotearoa-Filipina artist Ms. Mia has released her debut EP, Living in the Shadows. The EP was built around the theme of ‘living in the shadows’, with a hint of  optimism. 

“I hope [listeners] go on this emotional, sonic journey and feel something – maybe be inspired to move out of the shadows and into the light,” shares Ms. Mia.

Luna Shadows – “bleach”

Luna Shadows released the final preview of her upcoming album, the grunge, guitar-heavy “bleach”. Lyrically it’s about “the pain of watching loved ones fall into false belief systems,” according to Shadows. 

“I wrote this song in the midst of the pandemic, during which I observed a troubling pattern, in which so many people were losing friends and loved ones to false belief systems and the entrapments of abuse.”