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.
YENDRY – "YA"
Mortality isn’t anyone’s favorite subject, but on “Ya,” YENDRY makes a convincing case for accepting our inevitable terrestrial finality. The Dominican-Italian singer-songwriter’s near-whisper introduction to the song’s crux—divulging that she could “die right now” like it’d be just fine by her—is bone-chilling. But powerfully to-the-point bars about self-sustainability juxtaposed with chiling, sky-high vocalizing, and the repeated bold belting of that critical line, drive home the point: to “live without fear of death,” she explains in a press release for the track, “is the bravest approach we can take in life.” —Jhoni Jackson
Martox – "Gucci"
Ever since the late-2019 release of their EP Canciones Que Puedes Usar en Mi Contra, Dominican Republic-based duo Martox have kept themselves busy, releasing half-a-dozen new tracks to appease fan demand for their brand of Latinx rare groove R&B. This week they debut “Gucci,” their newest single which wades deeper into sensuality than they’ve explored before. Accompanied by a minimalist music video starring actress Anny Samir as a woman going through different phases of modern longing in 3 minutes, the song feels like Shuggie Otis meets Sin Bandera, and all the soul and emotion that implies. —Juan Arroyo
Farruko ft. CJ – “Love 66”
From Pop Smoke’s “Dior” to CJ’s “Whoopty,” the Latino footprint on drill is far from being a fad—it’s a game-changing fact. Farruko enters that club with “Love 66” and the help of CJ himself. Drawing from 808 slides and phantasmagorical vocal samples, the Puerto-Rican MC clenches teeth with his blend of melodic singing and ferocious bar-spitting. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, as for the music video, Farruko’s entire hood and friends might have been invited to show up to the shoot. Maybe we can expect more of that vibe on his upcoming album, La167. —Felipe Maia
juliana – “Y SI NO VUELVO”
The same story told by her abuela, sister, aunt and mother repeats itself. “Yi Si No Vuelvo” is an exploration of transgenerational trauma, which the Puerto Rican singer conveys from the very beginning as the appearance of bruises without having been recently physically struck: these are wounds inherited. The song is dramatic in its minimalism, folkloric yet experimental—like an enduring, deep ache in the soul. —Jhoni Jackson
Manitas Nerviosas – “A Love Supermeme”
Since the 2014 demise of her beloved and influential psych band Bam Bam, Valis Ortiz a.k.a. Manitas Nerviosas has been on a rollercoaster journey of self-discovery—both personal and artistic. This constant state of delirium is the basis for her debut solo LP A Love Supermeme, which hits a convulsive zenith on the the aptly titled “D’Lirio.” Unfolding like a wormhole of hazy memories and intimate confessions, the track melds Ortiz’s psychedelic past with elements of jazz and electronic witchery, also enlisting guitarist Alda Arita for some trippy, inspired licks. —Richard Villegas
Enyel C & Irepelusa - "Hola!" (Remix)
Enyel C has been quietly laying the groundwork for a breakthrough year, and after his catchy single “Polaris” last October, the stage is now set. In anticipation of Angelito, his debut EP set to release later this summer, he runs it back to an even earlier hit, this time with a guest. “Hola! (Remix),” alongside Venezuelan songstress Irepelusa, doesn’t fix what isn’t broken and keeps the same Lost Boyz production and music video aesthetic that made the original so endearing. Enyel contributes a new verse while Ire gives voice to the track’s love interest, with surprise cameos from Villano Antillano and friends. —Juan Arroyo
Encarta 98 – “Ciudad de los Mil”
Bogota quintet Encarta 98 are finally ready to drop their debut album this summer, but before that, they share a gorgeously expansive new single titled “Ciudad de los Mil.” The song is a reflection on loss, whether physical or sentimental or both, and it uses elements of post rock and shoegaze together with Ivanna Palacio’s breathtaking vocals to make us feel it all very intensely, especially when it reaches its climax and those horns come in. —Cheky
Le 1991 ft. Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – "Si En Tu Voz"
Aguascalientes natives Le 1991 have teamed up with Lorena Quintanilla of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete for a new single titled “Si En Tu Voz,” landing smack dab in the middle of ethereal bliss and noisy dissonance. Contrasting layers of fuzzy guitars and punishing drums against gauzy, otherworldly vocal harmonies, the result is a remarkably cathartic dose of rock distortion and a towering ode to their collective influence in psych and shoegaze. —Richard Villegas
Microhm ft. Anafauna – “Anoche”
Experimental electronic music may take many forms, from gallery soundtrack to dancefloor explorations. Mexican artist Leslie García has been exploring the farthest reaches of the genre under the Microhm pseudonym, from ambient to techno and everything in between. For “Anoche,” she hooks up with fellow experimentalist Anafauna to make a song that splits the difference between pop melodies and spoken word, finding the emotional core of the music in the process. —Marcos Hassan
The Red Pears – “Not in the Cards”
We’re not sure if it’s a thing already but the early ‘00s rock scene might become nostalgia fodder in the near future. El Monte, California’s The Red Pears are getting ahead of the pack by incorporating some of the elements that made The Strokes and Interpol so exciting back in the day while keeping their own flavor intact. “Not In The Cards” might nod to the past with its simple riffs and half-slurred/half-shouted vocals, yet their fun and rebellious spirit makes them timeless and serves us with perhaps exactly what we need right now. —Marcos Hassan
Lastmonday - "Llamada Borracho"
Bronxite LASTMONDAY gets mellow with more than a few sips of alcohol on his new reggaeton-fueled single. On “Llamada Borracho,” the Dominican rapper gets drunk enough to start filling up an ex’s voicemail begging her to have him back for at least one more night. In an unexpected twist, said ex answers his plea and joins him for a last chorus, now in the key of trap. Was this really the best idea? Maybe we’ll know in a future song. —Cheky
El Experimento, Gailen, La Manta, Jc La Nevula, Paramba, El Chuape, Young Gatillo - "BOBOLONGA"
Together, the artists featured in “Bobolonga” show off roughly 5 million followers on Instagram. Numbers can be misleading, but they also help us to see the big picture: the cipher led by El Experimento lines up some of the hottest and up-and-coming dembow MCs from the Dominican Republic. Besides the snappy beat, laid over a groovy bassline, Gailen LaMoyeta draws the song spotlight. La rappera shoves up her peers throwing gnarly and sharp rhymes with her own view of the bobolonga type. —Felipe Maia