This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song and EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and more. This week, some of the featured artists include Andry Kiddos, Combo Chimbita, and Skeptic. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Andry Kiddos - "BB"
The young Venezuelan rapper Andry Kiddos unapologetically draws from emo-rap in “BB.” The utterly melodic lines, his falsetto-heavy singing, and an overdubbed chorus would be enough to confirm it. And not only do the sorrowful lyrics about a breakup live up to this atmosphere, but the music video… Well, it shows Andry Kiddos with his heart bleeding. Whether this is just a one-off take for a single or a path for Andry Kiddos to follow in his next releases, he has others to look up to. Big Soto, also from Venezuela, has skyrocketed to the top charts of Latin American hip-hop with some amount of love and sweet singing in his songs. — Felipe Maia
Combo Chimbita - “Oya”
Fresh off the heels of announcing a string of 2022 tour dates with Lido Pimienta, Brooklyn’s Combo Chimbita went on to share the smoldering lead single from their forthcoming album, IRÉ. On the near-hymnal “Oya,” the psychedelic punk meets cumbia four-piece offers up an otherworldly track that vitalizes just as much as it soothes. Here, Carolina Oliveros’s voice ascends to a splendent vibrato beside Niño Lento es Fuego’s warm and fluttery, reverb-drenched guitar work. The single’s visual includes a performance by queer Puerto Rican interdisciplinary artist Lio Villahermosa. — Nayeli Portillo
Silvana Estrada - “La Corriente”
The imagery presented in the lyrics of “La Corriente” evokes the power of nature, yet words can’t convey the force that pushes this song to the next level. Silvana Estrada settles on a folklórico sound punctuated by plucked strings, touches of saxophone, and little else for her vocals to take flight. Shooting to the sky in a falsetto like a kite before landing on her earth-shattering midrange, Estrada demonstrates how the human voice can speak directly to your soul. — Marcos Hassan
Robertito Chong - “Arrestau”
Storytelling raps can be the crème de la crème of the genre if done right—a throwback to the golden age of East Coast hip-hop when tales were shared via boombox. In “Arrestau,” Robertito Chong and producer Fly Twilightzone rewind us back to those days with a Mobb Deep sample and boom-bap beat to set the stage for Robertito’s quickie stroll down memory lane to one of his earliest arrests. A lowkey Puerto Rico underground rap scene legend, he’s winding up for a comeback after a years-long hiatus. Following a previous release, he now drops this single in anticipation of a new EP, also titled Arrestau, out next week. — Juan J. Arroyo
The Linda Lindas - “Nino”
Internet teen punk queens The Linda Lindas have returned before the holidays to gift us a ferocious single dedicated to a feline named “Nino,” giving us an early preview to a much-awaited upcoming debut album. A purr-fect ode to member Bela’s furry companion by the same name, the talented young rockers give us a wholesomely high energy track fueled by electric riffs, rapid drum beats, and complete riot grrrl attitude. — Jeanette Diaz
Mariposa - “Gang”
For her latest single “Gang,” up-and-coming Colombian-Italian rapper Mariposa takes a quick minute and a half to give her ride-or-dies a shout-out. The blown-out hip-hop beat provides the perfect setting for her confident lyrics, where she pays homage to her Latin American roots and both remembers and stands for the family that has helped her grow, even if they’re not blood-related. — Cheky
Hidrogenesse - “La Cita – Dos Años Después”
Catalonian pop visionaries Hidrogenesse have an uncanny ability for transforming simple, quotidian stories into melodramatic epics. With their latest single “La Cita – Dos Años Después,” the pair spins a tale of optimistic romance that quickly devolves into heartbreak, madness, and eventual death. Joined by avant chanteuse Elsa de Alfonso, Hidrogenesse has crafted an arresting ode to 1960s bandstands and old Hollywood films built on sweeping orchestral arrangements and Carlos Ballesteros’ signature deadpan. — Richard Villegas
Hurray for the Riff Raff - “JUPITER’S DANCE”
It’s been nearly five years since the release of the semi-autobiographical Americana album, The Navigator, but singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra (aka Hurray for the Riff Raff) is back with another preview of their latest project, Life on Earth. The New Orleans by way of the Bronx artist conjures up a protection spell on the celestial “JUPITER’S DANCE,” making it the perfect antidote to assuage the fear that comes with living in these ever-troubling times. The single is anchored by a serene and steady reggaeton-like beat as Segarra’s soft, bluesy-tone vocals manifest “survival for a world in flux.” — Nayeli Portillo
Janu - "Vey"
Ahead of his sophomore album Miolo do Oxente, the Brazilian singer Janu showcases a small but dead-on target palette of electro, psychedelic pop-rock in “Vey.” With lyrics about resilience through hard times—something that sounds familiar for many of us today—, the single kicks off on flattened ‘80s drum beats only to grow into full-bodied synth sounds, sparkling guitar plucks, and catchy key lines. — Felipe Maia
Sadfields - “Irreversible”
As December arrives to bring us long, cold nights, Sadfields show up to deliver the perfect soundtrack to get in the mood. “Irreversible” sees the Mexico City trio dial back the feedback found on their previous releases and settle on a post punk groove, with added icy shoegaze flavor to the mix. There’s some Nine Inch Nails-inspired digital sheen to the track which helps to keep the atmosphere frosty as it invites you to move with its gothic rhythm. — Marcos Hassan
Skeptic - “Vampireo”
Skeptic has been toiling around for years, cementing his brand as someone who can straddle being both introspective and picaresque within the same lane. His newest album, Friki 2 Nite, continues that pace with more of his tongue-in-cheek naughty perreos and irreverent observational tracks about society and politics. “Vampireo” is more of the former, with Skeptic himself dressing like a Near Dark-bloodsucker and venturing out under the sun to perform a horndog serenade for his would-be maiden. The beat, also self-produced, is a catchy stew of reggaeton horns, techno drums, and choir vocals that’ll bring out the friki in anyone. — Juan J. Arroyo
Dorian - "Dos Vidas"
Spanish indie outfit Dorian release their latest single “Dos Vidas” ahead of their recently announced upcoming album Ritual. A slow swayed melody, hip-hop-influenced beats, and electro-synths make up this intimately emotional track that revels in the thoughts of being so captivated by a sentimental love that you express the desire for a second life just to be able to fully enjoy all that the experience has to offer. — Jeanette Diaz
Araya - “Blue”
Together with the announcement of his forthcoming 2022 album Ethos, Thai-Chilean artist Araya dropped his brand-new song and video “Blue,” and it’s a stunner. Built around electric guitar strums, the track’s R&B-inspired aesthetic cradles us, as Araya sings about the kind of love that has become stuck in complacency, waiting for a miracle to move it forward. But there’s hope in his delivery that drips on our hearts and brings us warmth. — Cheky
Pablo Swiss - “Cortometraje”
Floating in the ether of Latin American ambient, Honduran-Puerto Rican label Templo Animal has finally unveiled their third self-titled compilation, broadening their curatorial scope to include first-time entries by producers from Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Chile. Among the compilation’s many gems, label co-founder Pablo Swiss delivers an especially beautiful instrumental titled “Cortometraje,” led by melancholy piano stabs and minimalist percussion reminiscent of clanging wind chimes on a breezy summer’s eve. — Richard Villegas
CESRV feat. Febem & Fleezus - "Sobe o Morro"
Almost two years after the release of Brime, an EP that set a milestone in the growing scene of Brazilian grime, the producer CESRV has once again called upon the MCs Febem and Fleezus for a collab. In “Sobe o Morro,” the rappers go back and forth between pill-sized chronicles and punchlines about their lifestyle over sliding 808 kicks. Eyes open to the duo’s version of the “fuck the club up” sample, made famous by Travis Scott in “NO BYSTANDERS” and revamped into “Sobe o Morro”—something like “come up to the favela” in Brazilian Portuguese. — Felipe Maia