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.
Buscabulla – “Ta Que Tiembla (Empress Of Remix)”
Hypnotic as ever, this song adds a vibrant, more upbeat electro feel to the Puerto Rican duo’s original closer to the electro-pop dream that is Regresa. Remixes are rarely more than regurgitations of the original nowadays, but to see LA-based, Honduran-American artist Empress Of infuse new life into this track without having to say a word is refreshing. A bop, as they say—now in two BPMs for this Winter’s lulls. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo
La Chica - “La Loba”
French-Venezuelan artist La Chica is all about minimalism and intensity on her new album La Loba, and the title track is the best example. Using little more than piano strokes and her own voice, Sophie Fustec channels the spirit of La Loba, an anti-patriarchal mythological figure from Northern Mexico, to tap into the natural and magical essence of women. The song reaches its peak with Fustec yelling “El despertar de las brujas es real” in a whirlwind of noise, only to take a free fall into a cloud of delicate high-pitch piano notes. —Cheky
EEEKS - 20/20
Once upon a time in the landlocked country of Paraguay, a group of four young musicians who were inspired by the sound of surf-rock formed a group called EEEKS. Their unique sound helped them develop a local fanbase that quickly spread to neighboring countries, culminating in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of performing at Ruido Fest and Viva Pomona in the US.
That Paraguayan quintet has released a new EP, titled 20/20. Combining surf-rock elements with power pop and new wave influences, it’s a remarkable psychedelic journey of the imaginary coasts of Paraguay. The EP was recorded in Arizona while taking a short break from their US Tour in 2018. —Joel Moya
Natanael Cano ft. Snoop Dogg, Snow Tha Product, Ovi, and CNG - “Feeling Good”
As most of us know, feeling good can be a fleeting experience and it sometimes takes a lot to achieve. Natanael Cano taps into this energy mugging hard, taking names, and bragging; while Ovi and CNG stand to his side to back this sentiment. To his side, Snoop brings us his laidback delivery we know and love while Snow Tha Product brings supreme mic skills and fun bilingual rhymes. A true celebration, “Feeling Good” shows us the hard way to achieve that state as well as the small pleasures in life, like bringing the elotero to the club. —Marcos Hassan
Abbie - "Las Cosas"
With her debut single “Otro Lugar,” Costa Rican guitar pop pixie Abbie invited us into her world of effervescent melodies and unshakeable hooks. Now. she’s back with “Las Cosas,” a sobering but equally catchy melancholy bop about how nothing lasts forever—neither romance nor heartbreak—and the maturity of accepting such bittersweet realities. —Richard Villegas
Sandyalê – "Sua"
At first, “Sua” could be a song taken out of an aged, melancholic post-punk compilation. The reverberated chords exhale that ‘80s atmosphere. That’s only opposed by the soft drumbeat and, eventually, the voice of Sandyalê. With the help of multilayered trembling guitar lines, the artist effortlessly sings out her feelings of love—”I am yours,” she whispers. She isn’t surrendering herself but rather writing a self-conscious passionate letter that puts her in the same room as other Brazilian singers (e.g. Marina Lima, Letrux) who have once sung about love with some spleen. —Felipe Maia
Mr Eazi & J Balvin - “Lento”
After joining forces on the Oasis track “Como Un Bebé” alongside Bad Bunny, Nigerian star Mr Eazi and J Balvin pair up once again on their new collaborative single “Lento.” Produced by Killertunes, the track sits right at the intersection of Afro-pop and reggaeton. “Lento” is a smooth number that seduces with both its rhythm and lyrics, sung in Spanish, English, and Yoruba; and there’s even a little surprise involving a beloved Elvis Crespo hit. —Cheky
Belafonte Sensacional & Jovita María - "Ya Me Voy, Maravilla"
A brand new compilation benefiting the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement hit Bandcamp this week. The project is titled: De aquí y de allá: homenaje a la Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijos desaparecidos en tránsito por México, which translates to ‘From Here and There: a tribute to the Caravan of Central American Mothers searching for their children disappeared in transit through Mexico.’
According to a press release, the organization has reunited over 300 families thus far, with the funds and awareness from the album going towards spearheading future efforts. The collection includes collaborative cuts by Esamipau and Pahua, Torreblanca and Carmen Ruíz, and “Ya Me Voy, Maravilla,” a stunning ode the unbreakable bond between a mother and her children, written by Belafonte Sensacional’s Israel Ramírez and performed alongside his own mother, Jovita María. —Richard Villegas
Melii & 6LACK – “You Ain’t Worth It”
I have a theory that 6LACK (six-lack) features can do no wrong. Proof includes Sabrina Claudio’s “Belong to You” and Jessie Reyez’s “Imported.” On this post-breakup, comeback track, the “Icey” singer flaunts her brash lyrics and suave delivery with a welcomed addition from the East Atlanta rapper whose breathless verse is equally unapologetic. “I might pull up just to stunt on you/Cause you deserve it” she sings to an ex. “I might just pull up just to front on you/But you ain’t worth it,” they decide. Heard you. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo
Muse Maya – "Teu Sauce"
Muse Maya is an artist from Rio de Janeiro who has tried out many different genres and moods in less than a year. From the melodic drum ‘n bass in “Carioca” to the neo soul in “Labirinto,” she now seems to have decided to take the road opened by the single “Teu Sauce.” The song is an oozy, sexy R&B sustained by trap drum rolls and trip-hop aesthetics. Performed in a dark pitch room, Maya bridges the languid guitar lines of Massive Attack and the obscure club vibes of Kelela. —Felipe Maia
Anabel Lee - “La Mejor Canción del Año”
On the surface, “La Mejor Canción Del Año” is a snotty yet anthemic song about…well, writing the best song of the year. However, the track takes a new meaning once we remember we’re living through the hell year that is 2020; that is rising above adversity. Anabel Lee enhances the sentiment with help of the one-two punch combination of powerful guitar riffs and pounding drumming. With this song, Anabel Lee does a great job giving us the strength to make it through the days before the year is over.
Policías y Ladrones - “Brillo”
This young Tijuana band has been around for only a few years yet shown remarkable evolution so far. Initially making their impact with churning, Clash-inspired garage punk, Policías y Ladrones didn’t take long to show their love for gentle psychedelic music and this track announces a step to the next level. Their debut single for the venerable Arts & Crafts label, “Brillo” delivers trippy mid-tempo acoustic guitars, jangly melodies, swirling fuzz and hushed vocals that give it a nod to Dynamo-era Soda Stereo; resulting in a welcomed moment of soothing bliss for our chaotic existence. —Marcos Hassan