BY DANICA BRYANT

The Aces – Girls Make Me Wanna Die

This fresh pop-rock bop from girl band The Aces is what would happen if you dragged a Y2K movie soundtrack into the 2020s and dialled the drama up to one hundred. Filled with romantic imagery and carried by a frantic, fast melody, it’s another exciting release from this American alt-pop quartet, exploring the excitement of a newfound crush. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it’s a fleeting taste of what’s sure to be lots of their fantastic new music coming in the next few months. 

Jack Panther – why don’t you come over

From the striking, spooky artwork of his sophomore EP why don’t you come over, it’s clear Jack Panther is a presence that’s larger than life. His new music is pure magic, with pulsing, vibey production and intensely honest lyrics. Feels Right is a track perfectly tailored for late nights in your room, whilst the EP’s ultimate highlight, Ski Lift 001, offers a stripped-back, soft moment of reminiscence for people who have left your life. This EP captures the best and worst moments of life. It’s a captivating collection of alt-pop songs from Auckland’s rising pop star Jack Panther, saturated in neon green lights and evening nostalgia.

Jake Love – Better

Jake Love has an undeniable track record of fantastic pop tunes. But Better is, as its very title promises, even more exciting than previous releases. It’s exactly what happens when you “pull the stars apart and put them back together”. With its dreamy, expressive alt-pop production and dry, weary vocal delivery, Better is a relatable track, covering the choice to save a relationship in stunning detail.

Angel Olsen – Big Time

Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen has an extensive catalogue of incredible folk-pop music, but her latest album Big Time is a particularly stunning offering, with more country influence than ever before. The title track shines with a laidback, folksy style, taking you back to slow-rising summer mornings and love for the great outdoors. As with her entire musical catalogue, Olsen captures a specific kind of golden, nostalgic emotion, drawing you strongly into her experience of love. But there are incredibly sad moments on offer too, such as the haunting style of Ghost On, or album closer Chasing The Sun, which feels incredibly cinematic amongst its orchestral sounds and huge, trembling vocals. If Kacey Musgraves and Phoebe Bridgers made music together, it would almost certainly be Big Time, Angel Olsen’s latest indie epic.

St. Vincent – Funkytown

Absolutely nobody expected the soundtrack for the upcoming Minions sequel to be the album of the year, but this single from St. Vincent seems like it’s shaping up to be stacked with total bangers. Produced by pop legend Jack Antonoff, this cover of the disco classic is colourful, fun and fresh to the sounds of today. St. Vincent’s robotic vocals and quirky guitar playing make for a song that you can groove away all day to… and equally imagine the minions, of all things, dancing to as they get up to all sorts of antics.

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