This is our weekly compilation of newly released bite-sized song reviews from our talented music writers. Discover new favorites, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and much more. Who knows, you might walk out of this with a new fave or two. Some of the featured artists include Aleesha, Tiago PZK, and Danny Ocean. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Aleesha - “Amigos”
Ibiza-born singer Aleesha released the Ben10k, Danes Blood, and Dirty Dave-produced track “Amigos,” a fun synth-pop song that lyrically describes the art of friend-zoning someone. Ouch! With post-punk basslines and electronic elements on the vocals, “Amigos” details the need of wanting to stay only friends – regardless of what the other person wants. The track showcases Aleesha’s dynamic sounds: she goes from yelling “siempre detrás de mi,” embodying frustration, to showing off her ethereal vocal range towards the end of the track. – Jeanette Hernandez
2DEEP - “Siempre Happy”
Ecuadorian-Colombian DJ and producer Luis Cardenas (aka 2DEEP) knows a thing or two about taking musical risks, and his latest single only further attests to his experimental approach when doling out brisk, up-tempo arrangements. “Siempre Happy” is a crowd-rousing jam fueled by elements of guaracha, traditional electronica, and a high-energy pop BPM. While global hits like Farruko’s “Pepas” may have catapulted guaracha into the mainstream conversation last summer, 2DEEP and artist Rickstarr bring it back to the intimate yet vibrant, low-lit local dancefloor. – Nayeli Portillo
paopao - "paopao"
Ahead of her first solo EP, Puerto-Rican singer-songwriter paopao delivers a straight-forward reggaeton track with some tasteful twists — a trademark found in all of her last releases. In the self-titled single, the artist flaunts all the braggadocio an MC can and leaves no place for haters. Her soothing and yet abrasive vocals are perfectly enfolded by a beat that blends ethereal textures and highly-nuanced otherworldly synth leads. — Felipe Maia
AJ Dávila - “Always Something”
If there was ever a time AJ Dávila gave us a glimpse at the demons that haunt him, it’s been with the rollout of his forthcoming album, El Mar. His recent single “Superstar” was a raw confessional about Dávila’s struggles with addiction, while his latest release, “Always Something,” strikes an existential tone addressing the loneliness that becomes all-consuming in your darkest hour. Featuring buzzy New Orleans rocker Benjamin Booker, and a DIY music video directed by Kate Clover and Allan Wan, “Always Something” unfolds with bittersweet humor as AJ knocks on doors but struggles to find the hug he so desperately needs. – Richard Villegas
Yamila - “Visions II”
You can feel the drama and passion at the center of Yamila’s music from the first seconds of this track, a highlight from her new release on venerable experimental label Umor Rex. The Spanish artist and producer conjures electronic soundscapes that evolve naturally into textural shapes and melodies, with a steady and minimalist beat driving the tension. “Visions II” harnesses the power of flamenco without actually playing the style, giving it a stark and passionate impact to a wordless track, resulting in a bigger emotional release. — Marcos Hassan
Keysokeys - “C O N E”
A true promise is something that you recognize instantly, like a flash that pushes all your buttons and lights up every synapse. That promise and fire are what Keysokeys, or “Keys” to her fans, brings with her electric new trap thriller “C O N E.” Packing more verve and nerve in her frame than most dudes could ever muster, she injects every bar with an inimitable swag that can get even the most ardent wallflowers head boppin’ and mean muggin’. In the music video, director Shoury Santana takes full advantage of Keys’ natural screen presence and compelling look, centering her as often as possible to cement for those watching that for raw lyricism, Keysokeys is their plug. — Juan J. Arroyo
Danny Ocean - "Volare"
The Venezuelan singer and producer Danny Ocean released “Volare,” a track inspired by two elements: ukulele chords and a conversation about long-distance relationships. Composed in a studio in Mexico, the artist mentions that the song was inspired by a trip that he took to Italy three years ago. Fast forward to now, the result starts off a simple, easy-listening romantic song that evolves to a soft reggaeton pop track that details the challenges of being separated by the Atlantic ocean. – Jeanette Hernandez
Marion Raw - "Ghost In The Machine"
Marion Raw’s music occupies a “not quite here, not quite there,” in-between state that isn’t easy to categorize but also impossible to ignore. Haunting yet romantic and dream-like vocals foreground songs that harken back to the era of the ‘50s jukebox classics, but the Los Angeles by way of Mexico City artist also maintains a very contemporary sense of lo-fi indie coolness, like on “Ghost In The Machine.” Twangy, distorted guitars build to a high point as she croons on her latest single, the title track off of her new record (out July 8) made in collaboration with rocker AJ Dávila. – Nayeli Portillo
Mi Amigo Invencible - “La Araña”
Mendoza sextet Mi Amigo Invencible have just announced their eighth full-length and follow-up to their 2019 album Dustiland, set to drop later this year and produced by Uruguayan artist Martín Buscaglia, sharing a folk rock-tinted new single titled “La Araña.” The band keep their indie pop quirk and songwriting intact while turning to a ‘70s acoustic rock vibe to create a song about crossroads, moments when decisions are necessary, even if they’re hard to swallow. – Cheky
Tiago PZK - “Casa de Chapa”
One of the leading names in Argentina’s new wave rap, Tiago PZK keeps making his way into the freshest sounds of the hip-hop field. “Casa de Chapa” is a deep dive in the hyper-rage type beat, a sonic fusion of extremely filtered bass layers and game-like melodious tones. Indeed, the instrumentals could suit just fine a fast-paced video game track and that’s the same drive embodied by PZK’s bars: from the bottom to the top, the rapper boasts of his achievements and his place at the top of the rap game. — Felipe Maia
Nino Augustine - “Mine”
In case you haven’t gotten the memo, Nino Augustine does reggaeton better than most. His excellent 2021 LP Global Ninz showcased not only his encyclopedic knowledge of the genre’s roots in his native Panama, but also his effervescent versatility by dipping into salsa and synthpop. Now, as he prepares the release of his afrobeat-soaked follow up Champion Ninz, Augustine has dropped a sensual new single titled “Mine” that bridges African electronic music and Latin American swagger. Elegantly produced by Colombia’s Blvck95, the track’s silky amapiano beat becomes the perfect canvas for Nino’s effortless, bilingual delivery, temporarily trading bellaqueo for grown and sexy seduction. – Richard Villegas
niño viejo - “ya no puedo más”
With electric guitar in hand and a keen melodic sensitivity in his heart, niño viejo demonstrates a mature approach to songwriting that pays big emotionally on the bridge. “ya no puedo más” makes the most out of his six strings, pushing for clean strums on the verses, distorted chords on the chorus, ethereal shoegaze soundscapes, and even a discordant guitar solo that ramps up the intensity. It’s all in the service of the song, giving us a bummer anthem for the summer. — Marcos Hassan
Así Así - “Nómada”
Chicago-based indie rock band Así Así was founded by frontman Fernando de Buen López. After moving to the Windy City from Mexico City, he was inspired by the scene there and decided to resurrect his fledgling band from back home with a new ensemble. Now, their debut album Mal de Otros is on the verge of release on Aug. 19, and their last single, “Nómada,” arrives today. The song, like most of their repertoire, deftly balances their rock sensibility with other genres — in this case, tinges of dancey surf rock with a melancholic undercurrent that serves the song’s message of trying not to feel lost when you’re so far away from home. — Juan J. Arroyo