14 New Songs to Listen to This Week From Álvaro Díaz to Luna Luna

Lead Photo: Photo by WAIV.
Photo by WAIV.
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This is our weekly compilation of bite-sized reviews of newly released songs by 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 Álvaro Díaz, Luna Luna, and Bella Dose. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Álvaro Díaz - “YOKO”

Álvaro Díaz wrapped up his Felicilandia victory lap with three sold-out shows in Puerto Rico’s Coca-Cola Music Hall. Now, he further enters his Sayonara era with the release of “YOKO,” his upcoming sophomore album’s second single. Produced by Manuel Lara, Milkman, and Yoshi, “YOKO” shows Díaz at his most vulnerable, singing to a girl he wants to grow old with over a guitar-led instrumental that builds up until bursting into a blissful chant. He wants a love as eternal as his grandparents’ and as intense as John and Yoko’s. – Cheky

Luna Luna - "Dance With U"

Texas indie fourpiece Luna Luna recalibrates on their first official single of 2023 by swapping out their synthy, throwback R&B-tinted slow jams for thumpy and effervescent EDM. “Dance With U” finds the band embracing what singer Kaavi describes as their “crying at the club moment.” But the track’s stomping percussion and jaunty bass lines make for a raving-the-night-away-under-strobe-lights mood. Raucous rap-pop newcomer and fellow Tejano Shrt_Lyf pops in for a playful verse on this potent dancefloor anthem. – Nayeli Portillo

Daymé Arocena - “A Mover Los Pies”

Inspired by her new life in San Juan, Afro-Cuban songstress Dayme Arocena spent the past six months writing and recording with Eduardo Cabra of Calle 13 fame. On “Para Mover Los Pies,” Arocena blends upbeat Boricua rhythms with Cuban traditions as she previews her first album in four years. The lyrics express Arocena’s deep connection with Puerto Rico and her struggle with being away from her native country of Cuba. She sings about the pain of living in exile and the hope that she has found in Borinquen. “But the Caribbean sun, I know it will heal me, the love of Borinquen, I know it will cure me.” – Alex Ocho

Neqer - “Donde No Ve Dios”

As part of Mexican band AQUIHAYAQUIHAY, Neqer is used to breaking the mold. However, his newest track might present us with his most radical and inspired music yet. Infusing his hip-hop-based melodicism with a two-step garage-inspired beat, Neqer delivers his lines with confidence and vulnerability in equal parts. He glides through the track as smoothly as those jazz fusion basslines that propel the song into the stratosphere. “Donde No Ve Dios” is a nocturnal confessional that can get the club jumping in no time; it’s exhilarating as well as emotive. Neqer contains multitudes, showcasing all of them in a simple and effective way. — Marcos Hassan

Bella Dose - “Manifest”

Following “Mírame,” the bilingual girl group Bella Dose dropped “Manifest,” a love spell track about attracting the perfect man. The freshly released guitar-driven and upbeat song has flirty lyrics and sensual dance moves that help envision the girls’ next love conquest. Bouncing back and forth between English and Spanish, “Manifest” is yet another testament to the girls’ pop potential without language barriers. “Manifest” is set to be part of their upcoming EP. – Jeanette Hernandez

Nonô feat. Baby Tate - “ATM” 

Rio de Janeiro and Atlanta have a glowing reputation of being some of the most fun summer cities, and now two of their rising stars have teamed up for one of this year’s first legit summer bops in “ATM.” London-based Nonô, a rising pop star from Terra do Brasil, sings in Spanglish while her collaborator Baby Tate brings ATL heat and swaggy ‘tude with her catchy bars. The music video, filmed in L.A. by director Christian DK Long, fully realizes the lyrics and theme of the track; Nonô and Baby Tate are more than happy to share their well-earned spoils in the spirit of having a good time.  — Juan J. Arroyo

Lalo Cortés, N. Hardem - “N.D.C.”

Fresh off her resplendent performance at this year’s Estéreo Picnic, Bogotá jazz and soul singer Lalo Cortés has unveiled “N.D.C.,” the third and final single ahead of her debut album Re-Encuentro, out on May 19 via essential Colombian label In-Correcto. The acronym stands for “Negros de Carretera,” unfolding as an impassioned celebration of Black identity in Colombia’s chilly, metropolitan capital, as well as a searing indictment of the racism engrained into the fabric of Latin American society. On the song, Cortés gets a riveting assist from illustrious rapper N. Hardem, who jabs at the prejudice that has seen him pegged as “too Black” and “not Black enough,” concluding that in the face of racism, no effort is ever enough. – Richard Villegas

Jam City - “Wild n Sweet”

Two singles into his forthcoming third full-length Jam City Presents EFM, the London-based producer seemed to have kicked the club’s door so hard he opened a portal to an early-aughts dancefloor. And with his new Empress Of-featuring track “Wild n Sweet,” we’re jumping right into it head-first. Lorely Rodríguez gets into her house diva mode, shining right in the center of this euphoric party moment that’s all about love and connection. – Cheky

Midnight Navy - “Crema”

Austin singer, songwriter, and producer Francisco Jose Rosales (aka Midnight Navy) melds the soft and weightless choruses of R&B with the sounds of sweet psychedelia on his newly-released De Melón EP. Earlier this year, Rosales previewed De Melón’s mellow soundscape with the lead single “Flower Child,” a nod to dreamy old-school Chicano soul. Slinky guitar solos stretch out across blissful hooks on “Crema,” one of De Melón’s standout tracks, as Rosales details the initial euphoric “fireworks” stage of falling in love. – Nayeli Portillo 


Alaina Castillo - “éxtasis” 

On her latest single, “éxtasis,” Alaina Castillo has taken a bold step away from her signature style of introspective dreampop. The result is a hypnotizing, pulsating warehouse banger that explores the singer’s complex relationship with a romantic partner. Despite their issues, Castillo compares their connection to an addictive high, highlighting the difficulty of letting go. The song marks a refreshing departure for the Mexican-American artist, showcasing her versatility and willingness to experiment with more uptempo flare. – Alex Ocho

Ani Cordero - “One Hundred Years (De un siglo a aquí)”

A bewitching quality to this track by this boricua artist is felt right away, and this is before you realize that this song is a means to communicate with her family line from centuries past. The percussive track guides you through some mystical-sounding elements yet defies expectations by invoking an uplifting sensation. Vocally, Cordero delivers her lyrics with assurance and repeats the chorus like a mantra, bridging the appeal of pop and musical ancestry. “One Hundred Years (De un siglo a aquí)” aims to take the listener time-traveling in the most imaginative and emotive way. — Marcos Hassan

Rubby - “Monster”

The queer Dominican singer Rubby released “Monster,” an interesting fusion of electronic pop, techno, and dembow. In “Monster,” the listener is immediately enthralled as the seducing tune starts with sharp orchestra-like synthesizers accompanied by Rubby’s sultry vocals. At the track’s middle mark, the song delivers a dembow-influenced drop that joins the initial menacing electronic sounds, ultimately making this song a unique and experimental treat. It inevitably ends in a dark, sinister tone paired with Rubby’s echoing vocals that leave us wanting more of the artist’s musical brain. – Jeanette Hernandez

Ghost the Kid x Young Wong - “Historia”

By May, engines are fully revved up for the year’s summer tracks, and Puerto Rico’s indie scene is no exception. This week, Ghost the Kid and Young Wong join together for “Historia,” an infectious dancehall-R&B fusion song that argues love and desire can overcome shared history. Ghost and Wong’s voices seamlessly mesh with the rhythm, and the former even handles double-duty as the music video’s director and editor. The creative split-screen approach shows dueling storylines, marrying them visually in the same way as the two novice artists do over the beat. It’s extra synergy that heightens an already inventive project. — Juan J. Arroyo

Alexis Play, Bomby - “Que Aparezca el Viche”

On his new album, AFROCOLOMBIA, rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Alexis Play takes us on a tour through the country’s culturally diverse Pacific Coast, amplifying its rich afro-descendent heritage with chants of resistance and a buoyant musical palette. Cuts like “Nostalgia Africana” and “Resistencia” underscore the plight for dignity of Black Colombians, using reggae and hip-hop to express solidarity and connection to other communities of the African diaspora. But joy is also a powerful weapon against oppression. Album closer “Que Aparezca el Viche” is an infectious party anthem centered around one of the Pacific’s most delicious and ubiquitous liquors. The song’s canvas of marimba and horns pays tribute to regional chirimía ensembles, while the actual wellspring of viche signifies the enduring legacy of ancestral traditions, as well as the party actually being worth the price of admission. – Richard Villegas