Mxmtoon – rising

Rising is the beautiful second album from indie darling mxmtoon, here to fill all your Heartstopper-esque musical needs. Each song offers candid insight into her life, blooming with luscious production and soft, warm vocals. At only 21 years old, mxmtoon is an incredibly well-established performer, with songs like mona lisa and haze showcasing her perfect balance between tear-jerking lyricism and danceable beats. Sad Disco is an album highlight. It’s a digitised trip into a world of nostalgia, pulsing with the exact energy its title suggests. Rising can be summarised as a loveable coming-of-age journey, which shows how a kid playing ukulele in her room for YouTube can grow into an amazing musician for all of us to fall in love with.

Rina Sawayama – This Hell

Rina Sawayama is one of pop’s most interesting and versatile up-and-comers, and this first single off her sophomore album Hold the Girl proves that perfectly. This Hell is a campy blend of country, rock and Y2K pop as if she threw Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like A Woman into a blender. The lyrics twist the cruel words used against LGBT+ people and twist them into a celebration, shouting out Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Lady Diana and the devil himself. It all makes for an absolutely roaring banger to dance around in your room to, from an artist we should all keep an eye on.

Sky Ferreira – Don’t Forget

Almost ten years on from the success of her album Night Time My Time, alt-pop princess Sky Ferreira has finally dropped new music, right when it seemed like she’d never come back! This retro single sounds straight out of an 80s film, with gritty bass, thrilling synths, and Sky’s thick, emotive vocals. Her lyrics are as biting as ever, and her glowing, arcade-style visuals pair interestingly with her furious promise of “I don’t forget, and I don’t forgive”. If you’re an old fan, it’s the right time to fall back in love with Sky Ferreira, and new fans familiar with the likes of Nasty Cherry and Grimes will certainly find a new favourite artist in her, too. 

Meg Theron – ‘Til I Forget About You

Rising Wellington artist Meg Theron offers a fantastic kiss-off anthem with her brand-new single Til I Forget About You. The song opens with a dreamy alt-pop energy, that quickly gives way to explosive punk drums and hard guitars, narrating the difficult end of a recent relationship. Amongst the raging instruments, there’s a heaving emotional underbelly, presenting Meg as an exciting and creative young performer to follow. 

Conan Gray – Yours

For music lovers looking desperately for a good cry this week, Conan Gray’s latest single Yours is that heartbreaking ballad you need. It’s a simple piano-led song controlled by Conan’s incredibly emotional voice, with lyrics that cut like a knife, and a bridge so dramatic it’s only parallelled by Olivia Rodrigo’s iconic Driver’s License. The music video also has a completely gorgeous floral aesthetic that captures Conan’s vibe exactly.

Miss Leading – Woke 

This politically charged new release from Aotearoa alt-pop performer Miss Leading covers the hypocrisy of corporations jumping on the Black Lives Matter movement for clout. It’s an unsettling lyrical frenzy, set to eerie instrumentation and accompanied by a haunting metaphorical music video. There are worlds of ideas to be found in her incredible musical catalogue, and Woke is an excellent, fresh introduction.