This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song & EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases & more.
Fousheé - “Single AF”
This is the antithesis of the coupling-celebrating, romantic love-lauding, cuffing season single of the season, and it’s the energy I’m here for right now. 21-year-old Fousheé sings about the reintroduction of oneself to oneself and the dating pool after an untethering. This is nothing to be down about though. “I’m finally moving on/It’s such a beautiful thing/I can proudly say I’m… single as f*ck,” she sings, not only flaunting her solo status but encouraging the listener to do the same. The video includes a commercial with an actual, functional telephone number embedded to facilitate the viewer’s personal path to riding solo. While most folks are looking to link up in time for sweater weather, this young smooth operator’s not pressed about a thing. –Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo
Big Bllakk ft. SD9, "SIRENES"
Brazilian grime has gained momentum in the past months after a couple of releases that blended the music genre from London with baile funk. Now it seems that UK drill is the next in line to be largely reappropriated by Brazilian kids, and artists like Big Bllakk are on the frontline. In “SIRENES,” the twenty-something-year-old MC uses names like Martin Luther King and Andrei Starkovisk to depict his idea of Blackness in the rough, filmlike streets of Rio. Bllakk not only rhymes, he also sings with a rash, deep voice over a beat solidly packed with 808s sub-bass attacks. By his side, the grime MC SD9 shows off his good pen game a few months after releasing his debut, 40º.40. –Felipe Maia
Cancamusa - “Late”
After fronting Amanitas, Mexico-based Chilean artist Natalia Pérez has found her own voice with her solo project Cancamusa. Earlier this year, the Mon Laferte drummer released her first album, Cisne – Lado Negro, and she’s already giving it the deluxe treatment, adding her new single “Late” to the tracklist. Produced alongside Sinclavi, Cancamusa created this romantic escapade to fly away from quarantine and into an R&B daydream. Groove, harmony, and heart-melting imagery come together to make our lonely days brighter. –Cheky
Gio Bravo & Helen Ochoa - “Diabla”
The last time we caught up with Gio Bravo, the rising música regional crooner made it clear that evolution would be the name of the game moving forward and nowhere is that more obvious than on “Diabla,” his new collaborative single with pop bombshell Helen Ochoa. Drawing from his background in banda and corridos, Bravo uses his trusty acoustic guitar to build a syrupy melody before digital kicks and high hats transform “Diabla” into an inescapable reggaeton banger. The sexy, playful banter between Bravo and Ochoa only heightens the mood, and cheeky bad girl antics turn into a cautionary tale of hating the game, not the players. –Richard Villegas
Mengers - “Santa Fe”
For those not in the know, Santa Fe is a part of Mexico City that’s both upscale and residential, and an area full of corporate offices and shopping malls. Noise punk trio Mengers dedicate this ode to the neighborhood in true punk fashion: throwing a frenetic middle finger its way and raising hell with a three-chord garage romp. “Santa Fe” is phlegm spat towards The Man and a chaotic approximation of life in the city. –Marcos Hassan
Liniker - "Psiu"
Liniker is one of the best artists from the new generation of Brazilian singer-songwriters. Her lyricism keeps a tradition of sophisticated poetry in the Brazilian cancioneiro and brings new themes to MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) such as openly LGBTQ+ topics and cosmopolitan love stories. In her new single, Liniker cleverly unfolds Brazilian Portuguese with double-entendres wordplays singing a groovy romantic song. “Psiu”—a Brazilian onomatopoeic equivalent to “psst”—starts as a subtle call for attention and travels on a crescendo to become a sound-hug under the rising morning sun. –Felipe Maia
Luna França - “Minha Cabeça”
On her new single, São Paulo singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Luna França gives us a journey into her own mind in a little under three minutes. The seasoned artist is finally dropping her debut album in the next months, and on its first cut, “Minha Cabeça,” she isn’t afraid to let us into her fears and doubts, sharing feelings of being trapped inside her own head while dramatic vocal and instrumental arrangements take us to an existentialist maze that ends in a hopeful note. –Cheky
Bruno Capinan – “Quando Te Encontrei”
Toronto-based, Brazilian singer-songwriter Bruno Capinan has released his fifth studio album Leão Alado Sem Juba in which he finds vital and cathartic inspiration in a year of global turmoil that just refuses to end. Confronting police brutality, systemic impunity and working with collaborators within the constraints of the pandemic, the album reads like a deeply personal diary entry of an artist grappling with the end times. “Quando Te Encontrei” is one of the brighter, more comforting cuts, with Capinan finding solace in every word, glance and embrace with a fellow human; what were once trivial gestures now become rare commodities. –Richard Villegas
Estrella del Sol + Concepción Huerta - “Cotidianidad”
Sometimes you need to sidestep traditional songwriting to really hone a vibe. Estrella del Sol takes a break from the more traditional psych flair of her band Mint Field to team up with Mexico City sound artist Concepción Huerta to deliver a slice of gorgeous ethereal ambient dream pop. Like a more abstract and noisier take on Cocteau Twins’ sound, “Cotidianidad” is a breathless piece of music that pushes the
Masego – “Sides Of Me”
Jamaican-American artist Masego has released his follow-up to 2018’s Lady Lady. The EP, Studying Aboard, presents a bite-sized collection of suave songs exploring relationships after opening up. “In the second verse, we talk about whether monogamy is meant for me. It’s that fear and frustration,” he told BET of the EP’s third and perhaps most memorable track featuring rapper Don Toliver, followed by the Shenseea-assisted track “Silver Tongue Devil.” From exploring “Polygamy” to expressing resistance to intimacy and avoiding those personal “Sides of Me,” Masego is relatably in his feelings in this 6-track collection. Whether single AF or coupled or ruptured, this is a fun ride. –Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo