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.
Dre’es – “2011” feat. Kiefer
With his latest single “2011,” California rapper Dre’es goes on a trip down nostalgia lane to celebrate 10 years since he started writing and recording music. With an appropriately touching beat crafted by Stones Throw producer Kiefer, the first-generation Mexican-American artist summons the joy of dreaming big and having true friends to back him up, filling our chest with honest emotion. —Cheky
Imanbek & Sean Paul ft. Sofia Reyes – "Dancing On Dangerous"
Those who dare to say that dancehall is a fad of the past are unaware of Sean Paul’s relentless campaign in bridging Jamaican club music with 2020’s global pop currents. A few weeks after the release of his latest album, Live N Livin, the artist teamed up with producer Imanbek and Mexican singer Sofia Reyes to bring to life the openly commercial dancehall-EDM “Dancing On Dangerous.” The easy-listening build-ups, the unavoidable drop, the multilayered singing of Sofia Reyes and the horns buzzing all over the beat make the single a first class competitor for next summer’s top-charts. —Felipe Maia
Vale ft. Kat Dahlia – "Oop"
Vale really said this one is for the “pretty girls with the big attitude” as she teams up with Kat Dahlia to bring us a fire track to add to our hot girl summer playlist. The song is a self-love anthem that radiates confidence, female empowerment and some trap-infused pop dance rhythms. Vale’s vocals remain poised throughout as she declares a stance of self-sufficiency and the duo flows about not being interested in being in love, but they are interested in stacking that plata. —Jeanette Diaz
Los Rivera ft. Pedro Capó – “Castigo”
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all enjoyed the occasional zoom party and danced like nobody’s watching (because they weren’t), but nights of sweaty throw downs are finally starting to reappear on the horizon and we can practically taste them. Capturing the essence of this longing, Puerto Rico’s Los Rivera linked up with Pedro Capó to release “Castigo,” a surprisingly tender ode to the art and community built around dancing melding bolero with reggaetón to deliver an all-ages, all-vibes bop. —Richard Villegas
Meridian Brothers – "Zombies Extraños Juegos (Zombies)"
Taking its cues from Fela Kuti’s immortal anti-militaristic anthem “Zombie,” Colombia’s mutant tropi-avantgardists Meridian Brothers link up Afro-Caribbean rhythms with afrobeat for a slice of glee and sabrosura with a hint of contemporary social message. Lyrically, the track takes aim at mobile phone use in a cheeky manner while busy accordion playing and rolling basslines provide the backbone of this future cumbia. —Marcos Hassan
Porsh Bet$ – “Peanut Butter”
If you happen to be looking for a track that evokes the feeling of driving around in the summer with your feet out, or getting drunk with your friends on the beach or a cookout, Porsh Bet$ has just the right thing for you. “Peanut Butter” is the Harlem native’s latest jam and sounds like the kind of jam you crank up and sing on the top of your lungs as soon as it comes up on the Top 40 radio. —Cheky
ULTRAVIOLETA – "Borrado Sistemático"
Few things are as hot right now as marrying noise and pop melodies under the hyper-pop banner; however, Concepción, Chile’s ULTRAVIOLETA have dedicated themselves to paying tribute to a time when the dissonance of noise pop was provided by guitars rather than software, and employ them to great effect in “Borrado Sistemático,” resulting in a euphoric and irresistible blend of broken guitar chords and catchy choruses. —Marcos Hassan
Carolina Zac – "Cierto"
Over the past year, rising Argentine synth-pop diva Carolina Zac has been teasing the release of her forthcoming debut album, promising a swirling hedonistic mass of synths, drum machines and strobe lights. “Cierto” is the fifth release from this new chapter, following thumpers like “Aparece” and “Paralelo,” upping the BPMs on a track that climbs steadily throughout until it explodes in prismatic dance floor rapture. —Richard Villegas
George Arthur Calendar – "Jazzcat"
Chicago based, D.F. native Arturo Calendar serves up a hot jazz track with a funky psychedelic twist for his latest single, “Jazzcat.” Released under his stage name George Arthur Calendar, the song was inspired by the beginnings of quarantine and the romantic happenings, or rather breakup, it came with. The bass-heavy, keys driven melody leaves us with an easy groove as it carries the tale of what it feels like to move from initial feelings of isolation to embracing independence. —Jeanette Diaz
Vírus, Moxca - "Eu Não Quero Sua Cruz"
For some, the urge to express is an unbearable burden that cannot be refrained into any sort of support or sign. These we call multidisciplinary artists in a vain effort of shaping and conveying subjectivities as words. Wearing as many hats as they can, Virus and Moxca are two Brazilian youngsters who are surely under this category. Moxca’s fierce, Basquiat-like brush strokes have already put him on the frontline of a rising vanguard in Brazilian visual arts. Virus, in turn, has been groping his way of speaking to the world with singing, rhyming and painting. “Eu Não Quero Sua Cruz” is the duo’s first song and it shines their potential. The track is a journey from ambient-IDM, glitch jungle and enraged spoken-word, a decolonial statement with out-of-tempo rhythms tamed by crafty producer JLZ. —Felipe Maia