As The Beach Boys once said, “They’re just tryna keep summer alive” – who wouldn’t want to stay in a summer haze for a little while longer? As the school holidays draw to a close, the summer might as well feel like it’s nearing her end; but it’s really only just begun.

The summer of 2020 wouldn’t be complete without tunes to soundtrack your moments of freedom in what I like to call the “3 key essentials of summer” – lazy beach days, road trips, and of course, festivals and parties.

We’re bringing you the essential summer tunes from your favourite local bands to global superstars. Slap on the sunscreen and get ready to get groovy.

*NZ artists marked with an Asterix

For your lazy beach days

Libra Sign – stupid rich kid*

If one things for certain, it’s that you’re gonna be hearing the name ‘stupid rich kid’ a lot this year. Kiwi Lucian Rice has built a reputation as being one to watch in the coming year, with his standout track “Libra Sign” – a cheeky and upbeat track filled with Rice’s standout vocals and lyrics.

Sugar – Brockhampton

The self-described “best boyband since One Direction” Brockhampton are dominating the world stage at the moment, and for good reason. The 14-piece’s Sugar is a soulful RnB track filled with layered harmonies and chill vibes – ideal for a long day at the beach.

Drink from the Water – Mako Road*

If you live in Auckland and haven’t been to a Mako Road show yet – WHAT are you doing? The band has been killing the game lately, and their latest release ‘Drink from the Water’ is packed with the sound of summer.

Good News – Mac Millar

Although Millar tragically passed away in 2018, his new album – Circles – curated of previously unreleased tracks, is a display of his versatility and clever lyricism. The track is simplistic, to the point and packed with the hazy summer heat. Give it a listen.

Can I Call You Tonight? – Dayglow

Ok – so you may have heard this song on TikTok – but that doesn’t mean that it’s not an absolute tune. Dayglow’s pop hit has taken the internet by storm, and it’s dreamy riffs and relaxed vocals will take you back to that hazy summer feeling.

Waste Away – Lazy Ghost

“I’m starting to waste away!” declares Lazy Ghost’s Kyle Leeming – yet the psychedelic surf-rock band definitely has a huge future in front of them. Lazy Ghost may be relatively underground at the moment, but their most recent release – the energy packed Snacks – is sure to establish them as one’s to watch for the coming year.

No One Else – Molly Payton*

Since moving to London at 16, kiwi Molly Payton has been building momentum towards the release of her debut single “No One Else” this January. Produced by close friend and music Oscar Lang, Payton’s debut is a dreamy ode to the uncertainty of falling of love. Filled with harmonies and Molly’s strong vocals, this track will become a staple in your playlists.

For your next road trip:

Apologise – Marianne Leigh*

We spoke to Marianne Leigh a few weeks ago, and since then, her debut EP Timeline and has dropped and is already picking up steam! Leigh describes the punchy track as “One of those songs that you just have to get right”. The rhymical and catchy tune is bound to become a staple in your road-trip playlist.

Mean it – Lauv & LANY

Sometimes long drives are tiring. Need something a little melancholy yet still super vibey? Look no further. The latest collaboration from Lauv and band LANY is a relaxed tune filled with layered harmonies and a catchy beat. Stare out the window dramatically and listen.

Me And You Together Song – The 1975

The 1975 have become a household name, and for good reason. The Manchester-natives are currently topping the charts and selling out arenas globally with their experimental synth-pop. Their latest release, “Me And You Together Song”, garage pop/rock love song and is bound to get even the pop music hater dancing in the backseat.

Sunflower, Vol 6 – Harry Styles

Harry Styles has come a long way from being the pop star from One Direction – his sophomore album Fine Line proves him to be a versatile and experimental artist; always with a hint of 70’s funk. Sunflower, Vol 6 is a brightly coloured track filled with a variety of eclectic sounds and rhythms, keeping it always interesting.

Colours – Bailey Rodrigues

Need a chill rap track to get you through the holiday traffic? We got you. “Colours” is the latest release of 19-year-old Bailey Rodrigues, and the Gold-Coast based artist is proving himself to be one to watch. While Colours seems to borrow beats from Mac Millar, Rodriguez has managed to create something seemingly brand new.

Brat – Hayley Mary

Hayley Mary has attitude, and she wants the world to know it – “I’m a brat and I want more!” she croons in her latest release “Brat”. The track is part of a new solo project from Australian band The Jezebel’s frontwomen, and she has delivered an anthemic, upbeat tune packed with fire. Pack the crew into your car and go hard to this one!

For your next house party:

Bury Us – The Naked and Famous*

The Naked and Famous have had a knack for creating anthemic, explosive pop since their first hit single, “Young Blood”, was released back in 2010 – and their latest release nearly a decade later certainly delivers. “Bury Us” is an electrifying, synth-heavy track, perfect for turning up the energy at your next party.

Thinking About You – Isaiah

If there’s one name you’re going to be hearing a lot of throughout 2020, it’s going to be Isaiah. The Australian native won The X Factor back in 2016, and has since been gaining momentum as one to watch. His latest release “Thinking About You” delivers a thumping bassline, which, accompanied by Isaiah’s vibrant falsetto, produces an irresistibly danceable track.

Under The Sun – J Cole

Since his sold-out show at Spark Arena back in 2017, J Cole has established himself as one of the most well-known and versatile rappers in the industry. Collaborating with DaBaby and Lute, Cole’s latest track delivers a fiery lyrics over a soulful gospel-esque sample cut with hard drums.

Lose Control – Meduza x Becky Hill x Goodboys

Need a track that you know everyone will love? Try “Loose Control”. Although they may be new on the scene, the Italian DJ trio Meduza are building reputation of producing hit after hit. This bass-heavy dance track is certainly gonna get your party pumping. The bright vocals of Becky Hill alongside a disco-like drone are infectious.

A Kiss – The Driver Era

Not all Disney stars can shake off their roots and establish themselves as respectable artists – but Ross Lynch has definitely succeeded. The Driver Era consists of Ross and his brother Rocky, and they have quickly built a dedicated following all over the world. “A Kiss” is an energetic track filled with punchy synth lines and heavy guitars, which, alongside Ross’ crooning vocals, produces a catchy pop hit.

Typical Story – Hobo Johnson

Hobo Johnson isn’t your typical rapper – sometimes more conversational than rhythmic and unapologetically honest, Hobo Johnson (Born Frank Lopez) is a powerhouse of a musician. “Typical Story” is an aggressive, anthemic and sometimes chaotic song that takes you on a rollercoaster rise, featuring soaring backing vocals and lyrics to scream.

Boys – Daffodils*

If you haven’t heard of Daffodils, where have you been? The Auckland natives have been killing the game the past year at sold-out shows and festivals up and down the country. Since dropping their debut Boys EP last October, they’ve been gaining more momentum than ever. The title track “Boys” is an energy-charged homage to The Smiths, complete with catchy lyrics and fun synths.

Feisty, always up for a debate and smashing down the patriarchy, ZOE MILLS is a politics nerd with a huge passion for social justice. Keep up with her antics on Instagram: @zoeemills_

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