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. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Atomic Otro Way - “SICARIA”
The omnipresence of dembow has become harder and harder to argue against, as the genre becomes a powerhouse rivaling reggaetón in cultural dominance. Atomic Otro Way is one of the hundreds of artists making himself felt and heard in the crowd, and his particular talents give him an advantage in that venture. Armed with ratatat delivery of his lyrics and an uncanny ability to switch up his voice, raising and dropping octaves to the point you’ll imagine three different people in the recording booth, “SICARIA” wiggles into your eardrums and dares you to not run it back over and over. — Juan J. Arroyo
Çantamarta X Rusowsky - ‘LIIT'
The mantra “Dime si tú vas a volver” is the axis in which the new track from the Spanish trio —joined here by Rusowsky— sustains itself, as the music mutates underneath these lyrics. “LIIT” starts with a cool house beat that keeps things under control as warm synths and slight guitar funk chords bathe the listener. That is until the beat switch when a rumba rhythm brings to mind a nastier get-together. “LIIT” is the perfect analogy for the best kind of night out: lowkey starts turning into a wild time. — Marcos Hassan
Arca - “Incendio”
Only weeks after releasing her change, tuki-fueled flip on Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me,” Arca blesses us with a brand new track to set dancefloors on fire. Co-produced by Mark Luva, “Incendio” is a demolishing, amorphous dance track that finds Alejandra Ghersi still in KiCk I mode, jumping behind the mic with her Caraqueña accent to sing/rap about a leather-dressed badass girl thriving in a cruel world. — Cheky
Yordan Castro - "Cayendo Parriba"
After much online hype, Ecuadorian trap rookie Yordan Castro has finally unveiled his debut LP, Mucho Love — out now via Era Records — where he offers a futuristic vision of rap-rock hybridity on lead single “Cayendo Parriba.” Castro’s brooding, introspective lyrics grapple with death and a burning desire for survival, wailing for a lifeline over buzzing guitars and resonant drums paralleling the awe and promise of Jean Dawson‘s 2020 Pixel Bath LP. — Richard Villegas
Kali Uchis & SZA - “Fue Mejor”
Hell hath no fury like that of scorned lovers but if they happen to be Kali Uchis and SZA, we must say it feels, or sounds, a lot more like heaven. A track originally off Uchis’ highly praised Spanish language album Sin Miedo, the single delivers a whole new experience with the inclusion of R&B powerhouse SZA, who adds harmonizing vocals and a new verse that marks her first in Spanish. A dream collaboration teased on socials for some time, the remixed track is an automatic favorite that showcases the R&B powerhouses and soulful phenoms at the top of their game. — Jeanette Diaz
FENDA - Tenta (prod. Coyote Beatz)
“Tenta” is the new single by Fenda, the all-women hip hop collective that gathers upcoming MCs and singers from Minas Gerais — a Brazilian state that became a hotspot for national hip-hop over the past years. The song’s anti-racist and anti-sexist trope dashes from side to side, from mic to mic, from euphemisms to straight-forward punchlines. And the music video is crystal clear when showing the groups’ live-action vendetta rampage. The Coyote Beatz’ production kicks harder with Paige and her soulful, fantasmagorical vocal lines and Iza Sabino. She slides in with double entendres and an exquisite rhyme scheme in just a handful of bars. — Felipe Maia
"Si Tú Quieres Más" - Sebimor
One could be forgiven for overlooking the Latine rock output in Puerto Rico, but beyond the reggaetón and trap that dominates airwaves there’s also a substantial niche of rock acts hustling from venue to venue and making a name for themselves. Sebimor had a hit last summer with the upbeat “Hay Que Pichar”, and after a detour earlier this year with instrumental psych-rock EP Mermelada en Casa Fantasmes, they’re back with new single “Si Tú Quieres Más.” The track returns to the 90s-era Weezer sound they’d harnessed last year with an appropriately quirky music video to go with it. — Juan J. Arroyo
Irreversible Entanglements - “Lágrimas del Mar”
Racial injustice, social struggle, and spiritual yearning are crucial to the context of jazz; sadly, these aspects remain contentious to our day, a reason to explain why the music of Irreversible Entanglements sounds so contemporary as well as emotional. “Lágrimas del Mar” is anchored by subtle Afro-Latine rhythms as each instrument struggles not to break into skronking-free improvisation. The results are both surrealistic, exhilarating, and fiery. — Marcos Hassan
Lost Synths, Javier Cali - "Dónde Quedo Yo?"
A good ol’ synthpop thumper for late night drives and private tears, “¿Dónde Quedo Yo?” is the latest crossover from Merida producer Lost Synths and Playa del Carmen producer-crooner Javier Cali. The track hones in on the particular pit that forms in your stomach when you are no longer a paramour’s first choice for life or fun, leaving a devastating sense of “where does that leave me?” hanging awkwardly in the balance. — Richard Villegas
Kelman Duran - “For Whitney”
Last Saturday, Dominican producer Kelman Duran quietly dropped his latest album Night in Tijuana, which also marks the debut of Scorpio Red, his new imprint co-founded by visual artist Annie Mackinnon. “For Whitney,” an ambient composition featuring snippets of a Whitney Houston interview about music and inspiration, stands on the more spectral end of the album. She comes in and out of a cloud of synths like she’s sending us a message from beyond, and Duran caps things off with a moving string arrangement to shed a tear to. — Cheky
Lara Project - “Terror”
Venezuelan indie-pop duo Lara Project are ready to launch the beginning phases of their next album project Sobrenatural, out early October. Their leading single “Terror” flaunts the pair’s ability to master genre diversity and range as they reimagine retro sounds that propel them into the future of their music. While the single presents a somber narrative around the fear that comes with unreciprocated love, it does so with an incredibly upbeat fusion of sounds that include a hybrid blend of hyper disco-pop mixed with ‘80s inspired electronica synths that hardly leave any space to feel down. — Jeanette Diaz
Porsh Bet$ - "Neiman Marcus"
The Harlem native Porsh Bet$ is a potential newcomer for any playlist featuring hip-hop songs with those upbeat and yet slack vibes —one that reminds us of Aminé and Goldlink. “Neiman Marcus” is an LA rap tale with a bittersweet aftertaste. Hovering over high-pitched, gliding pop-rock guitars and flattened drums, Bet$ tackles the make-it-happen dream that still shines powerfully from Hollywood street and ‘gram posts. It’s a sing-along track with some deeper thoughts on that old saying: not everything that glitters is gold. — Felipe Maia
“Baila Baila” - Randy x Zion
Randy has been including the year 2021 as an ad-lib in songs for nearly a decade now — the origins of his fixation with that particular date still unclear. Back in 2017 he came out with his mixtape Romances de Una Nota Loka 2021, as one of only a handful of solo projects he’s done apart from his longtime partner Jowell. Now, the actual 2021 has arrived, and Randy knows it’s his moment: this month he drops Romances de Una Nota 2021, a full-fledged LP, and his most recent single “Baila Baila” alongside Zion with the characteristic swaggy perreo flow he’s known for. — Juan J. Arroyo