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.
El Individuo - “Obvio”
El Individuo’s “Obvio” is a fusion of rap with melodic singing — and a cry for honesty with a uniquely Afro-Cuban soul sound. It tells the harsh yet familiar story of a love gone wrong over ominous drill beats. With features from Dariel Cabrera and Franko, “Obvio” is part of El Individuo’s latest EP No Me Mientan. It’s also the first from the space called El Espacio, where he makes music with different Cuban artists. “I wanted to collaborate with friends and this is what came out,” he told Remezcla, smiling because it was a song about heartbreak and trust. The chorus sings “deja atrás el odio” soulfully, while El Individuo raps “Confiésame todas tus dudas de paso” in his signature fresh style. –Amanda Alcantara
Jarina de Marco - "Vacío" (ft. Empress Of)
Longtime friends Jarina de Marco and Empress Of finally join forces on the upbeat, Caribbean-splashed jam “Vacío,” where they weave their mellow voices together to give up control and surrender to love. Created with help from Los Angeles-based producer STINT, the song deals with the insecurities that come with being on the brink of falling in love, and this pair is ready to trust their hearts and take a leap of faith. –Cheky
Soy Emilia - “High”
The first preview from Soy Emilia’s follow-up to her 2019 album Reconstrucción comes in the shape of a breezy, colorful number titled “High.” Producer Julian Salazar (mitú) leaves his tropical techno print all over the single, as the Colombian singer opens her heart to celebrate a new love that stands above old heartbreak and makes her float up in the clouds with softness and romance. –Cheky
Brian Rodsal - "Verde"
While we’ve come to expect a certain affected heartbreak from Dallas crooner and producer Brian Rodsal, his latest single “Verde” takes an exciting, neck-breaking turn into experimental beat making. The track melds synthpop, glitch, and hints of chiptune, swirling together in an electronic maelstrom that never loses sight of the emotional core of Rodsal’s compositions; even finding room for bursts of spoken word that both narrate and encapsulate his creative journey. –Richard Villegas
Lilly Yan - "Pesadilla"
For an artist just starting to take flight, Honduran-American singer-songwriter and producer Lilly Yan has already cultivated a comfy, lived-in sound. From her thumping Tegan and Sara-flavored single “Rear View Mirror” to today’s more soulful, mellower “Pesadilla;” the Georgia-based newcomer is melding vintage synths with seductive –if a bit bashful– vocal melodies from contemporary R&B. This latter cut in particular highlights Yan’s classic meets modern approach, unspooling a tale of harrowing internal turmoil over a canvas of synth and bass-driven soft-rock. –Richard Villegas
Karma Rivera - "Got Me Hot"
Chicago-born, Portland-based entertainer Karma Rivera has got us hot with her latest single — a slow-burning rap flow that delivers bars of hard-hitting confidence. With its roots in trap beats, the queer Afro-Latina rapper navigates her verses on “Got Me Hot” around the sentiment of being so immediately struck by someone, you’re ready to do it all for them. Rivera may be the one pursuing, but with an undeniably tenacious poise, it’s hard to believe that any potential suitor on the receiving end wouldn’t be the first to notice this powerhouse whose fiery nature has no limitations and demands all the space and attention. –Jeanette Diaz
Divino Niño - "Drive"
The Chicago-based Colombian dream-pop band return with their first release of 2021, “Drive,” along with an announcement of a forthcoming album Winspear. An intoxicating new sound for the group, “Drive” fuses an influence of hybrid sounds from reggaetón to electronic, as well as a blend of bilingual lyricism to create a new lane in psych-pop. Experimenting with a new way of developing their work, the band was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” and took it for a spin by infiltrating the soul of Latin America’s nostalgic sounds of rap-injected rock to create this sonic joyride to confront your demons and disappointment head-on. –Jeanette Diaz
Martox - "Pausa"
When Dominican duo Martox came out with their terrific 2019 EP Canciones Que Puedes Usar En Mi Contra, it was a project that leaned more into R&B and sultry jams, which thereafter defined their brand of music to listeners. This week in anticipation of their upcoming second EP, they drop “Pausa,” which is a decidedly more up-tempo track. The shift is less of a marked rebrand but a presentation of their versatility instead, with the song still employing the melodic songwriting of their past joints. — Juan J. Arroyo
Nicki Nicole & Mora - "Toa La Vida"
“Toa La Vida” is a duet that boasts a title that could be interpreted as a typical romantic song, there’s so much more going on. The Argentine rising star pairs up with the Puerto Rican reggaetonero for an ode to damaged love — when lovers do each other harm but never seem to break up. The story is delivered through a soft-focused dembow that’s perfect for couples that can’t really let go of one another. –Marcos Hassan
Daniel Arp - "Yei"
This Mexican electronic alchemist returns with a bold gamble, where he tries to connect the past with the future. On “Yei,” Arp employs avant-garde sonics with a tribal guarachero beat that progresses from contemplative to disorienting to frantic and back again. The result is a track for daring ravers who need more adventurous songs in their playlists. — Marcos Hassan
Mau y Ricky, Maria Becerra - "Mal Acostumbrao"
Following the single “3 de la Mañana,” the Venezuelan brothers Mau y Ricky called up Maria Beccara to join them in the ‘80s-flavored “Mal Acostumbrado.” The upbeat, utterly catchy song melds together spaced out kicks, sci-fi velveted keys, and lots of beatless bars. It’s an open-up walk for the trio and the song’s sweet lyrics, a good fit for the pop charts in all Latin America. After all, not only Mau y Ricky are high-scoring hit makers in Venezuela, but Maria Beccera is also the most streamed artist in Argentina today. The new song shows the three of them aiming higher. –Felipe Maia
Juçara Marçal - Crash
“Crash” brings on some of the best left-field and future-forward artists from São Paulo. Ahead of Juçara Marçal’s next solo album, Delta Estácio Blues, the single shows a talented, artful singer going down the rap route with fierce deliveries. Her lines come from Rodrigo Ogi’s pen, and his flâneur, chronicle style, interlocked rhymes, and lavishing double-entendres sound even stronger with Marçal’s voice. What was already a raspy, abrasive track—a mirror to São Paulo grey streets—is only paired by the reversed odd samples, intertwined rhythmics, and languishing wall of sound built up by producer Kiko Dinnuci. –Felipe Maia