16 New Songs to Listen to This Week From Empress Of to Leon Leiden

Lead Photo: Photo by Charlotte Patmore.
Photo by Charlotte Patmore.
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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 Empress Of, León Leiden with Dannylux, and Bacilos. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Empress Of - “What’s Love” (feat. MUNA)

Lorely Rodriguez just announced her fourth Empress Of album, For Your Consideration. The LP includes singles “Feminine,” the Rina Sawayama-featuring “Kiss Me,” and also her brand-new single, “What’s Love.” With this track, Rodriguez takes another step towards pop perfection, and she does so with the help of the white-hot L.A. trio MUNA. Surrounded by atmospheric pads and rooted by a driving beat, they share their take on the pains of unrequited love and raise the point that, even if it hurts, it still transforms you. – Cheky

Leon Leiden, DannyLux - “awitado :(”

On paper, this collaboration between the young corridos fusionist DannyLux and pop polyglot León Leiden shouldn’t work as seamlessly as it does. On “Awitado,” both Mexican artists find common ground in their sense of melodicism and exploring heartbreak in their lyrics, tying this lovelorn song through their affinity for hooks. From there, they launch into each other’s territories, with Leiden lending his trap-infused pop sensibilities and Danny providing the sierreño flow to the track. “Awitado” might delve into some sad territory, but in their hands, it sounds like things will get better soon. — Marcos Hassan

Barbara Doza, Rawayana - “Get Down”

Is it too early to make a summer playlist? Following her single “Japon,” Venezuelan singer Barbara Doza released her newest collaboration “Get Down” with Rawayana. Produced by YetiBeats (Doja Cat), “Get Down” is a fresh Caribbean-influenced soundscape with a groovy bass line and pop elements that hype you up for a summer’s day on the beach. Rawayana’s feature adds a special flavor and captures the magic that happens when two Venezuelan talents merge. We can’t wait to hear more of her upcoming work.  – Jeanette Hernandez

BACILOS - "Anoche"

Pan-American band Bacilos is starting 2024 strong with “Anoche,” the first single from their upcoming record. The easy-going track is about the freeing, albeit terrifying, universal experience of telling someone you love them. The pop and rock arrangement is lively, and the accompanying video captures several musicians alongside the Grammy-winning group in an epic studio performance. The inviting melody inhabited group member and the song’s composer, Jorge Villamizar’s, head for years before fine-tuning it for “Anoche.” — Chelsea Quezada

EddyJae - “Modo Avión”

After building a career as the bassist for corrido phenom DannyLux, EddyJae is now primed and ready to step into the limelight under his own name. The Mexican-American singer-songwriter hailing from San Diego is debuting his project with his first single. “Modo Avión” is a yearning, slow burn that is sure to carve its mark in the stylistic leanings of sierreño. With sultry vocals carrying sweetly over a textured melody of guitar strings and, of course, heavy bassline strums, the young artist to watch enters the scene with natural charisma and seasoned versatility. – Jeanette Diaz

Como Las Movies - “La 6 (feat. Sabrina Ellis)”

Indie-pop meets cumbia on Austin band Como Las Movies’s latest track “La 6,” featuring singer Sabrina Ellis. Guatemalan animator and illustrator Oscar Donado steps in for the single’s accompanying video with shapeshifting, celestial visuals. “La 6” blooms with prismatic synths and tender levitating harmonies as the Texan outfit ascends into more ethereal territory for this feel-good jam. – Nayeli Portillo

Neysa Blay - “Úsame”

A cheeky, sleazy slice of ‘80s glam rock, Neysa Blay’s latest single “Úsame” is a devilish turning point for the pop-rock balladeer turned libidinous mistress of the night. Channeling Aquanet-doused, patent-leather icons like Alaska and Lita Ford, the brassy Boricua sings of pleasures of the flesh over a flurry of electrified guitars, seemingly possessed by the bad influences that make her feel oh so good. The social media promotional tagline, “Tell your lesbian friends,” underscores “Úsame” as Neysa Blay’s time to thrill, chill, and fulfill. – Richard Villegas


Rick Moon’s trajectory has taken him from Puerto Rico to Miami and back, exploring different sounds ranging from bedroom pop to folk rock. In his newest single, “MIEDO QUE ME COME,” he wades into bleaker sonic corners. The music video’s found-footage aesthetic heightens the song’s slow and borderline ominous melody, itself a reflection of the haunting lyrics. His distinctive voice carries the track’s emotions, a mix of desperation (“Anhelo dejar de llorar”), fear, and anger. Altogether, it’s a sensory experience that straddles the space between the waking world and the liminal, as well as the soundtrack for those who find their grim circumstances equally unbelievable. — Juan J. Arroyo

Francisca Valenzuela - “Adentro”

For her latest single, “Adentro,” Chilean star Francisca Valenzuela reaches deep in her own experiences to give us an equally heart-wrenching and uplifting number that has us feeling all the feels. Pairing classic pop songwriting, smart production, and introspection, she gives us an emotionally rich song that deals with the complexities of breakup. Even if she’s tied up in knots with her decision to end a relationship, the music makes us feel like she’s going to get through it and come out of the other end renewed. – Cheky

Brainstory - “Hanging On”

Even in these most frantic of times, you can count on Brainstory to mellow out the harshness. With “Hanging On,” this L.A. trio gives us some chill stoner vibes, finding zonked-out soulful grooves well as a psych flavor within this song while injecting it with retro vibes to their execution, making it a clear stand out in their catalog. And they present all this in a neat, minimal package, clocking in at little more than three minutes. Add Claire “Clairo” Cottrill on backing vocals, and you have the perfect song to make you feel fresh and comfortable. — Marcos Hassan

PICASSO - "Como Un Bombón"

The emerging Mexican singer Pablo “PICASSO” Albarran’s new single “Como Un Bombón,” starts with sentimental piano chords and hard-hitting requinto strings that immediately captivate the listener. Lyrically, it plays on the endearing nickname “bombón” by using it to describe how sweet his new lover is, as the song’s name suggests. Though the lyrics may sound juvenile in some verses, they also capture the initial and universal naivety one has when smitten with someone new – which is endearing. Will he be the next Gen Z música mexicana heartthrob? Time will tell. – Jeanette Hernandez

canal de miramontes & youyousolo - “Oportunidad (feat. Cepillo Cuevas)”

Rising electronic hyperpop acts canal de miramontes and youyousolo linked up with fellow Mexican DJ and producer Cepillo Cuevas for their gutsy new single, “Oportunidad.” Fit for festival grounds, the thrashing beat of the chorus will get everyone jumping. There is nothing cookie-cutter about the duo — made up of Cecilia Villalba and David Quiroz, respectively — or the way they create music, whether it be through soliloquy-style verses or fresh yet frenetic production. Villalba and Quiroz are gearing up to release a couple of projects later this year featuring their innovative sound. — Chelsea Quezada

Varry Brava - “ROMAMOR”

Varry Brava returns with an electro-dance hit “ROMAMOR.” Incorporating elements of palm-clapping beats and notes of flamenco guitars, the single spins a fun Catalan twist on classic Italopop melodies. Building a career from lively dance music, their latest packs on the wild and carefree spirit that accompanies the journey of getting lost in the pursuit of looking for glimpses of love in a one-night stand around the allure of the Italian romance city and all of the life and dancefloor adventures that can come with it. – Jeanette Diaz

Gio Chamba, Principe Q - “Dern Kala”

Collaborating under the stage name of Gio Chamba, Houston-based musicians Gio Alejandro and Coffee Guzman crank out experimental grooves heavily inspired by psychedelic cumbias. Think Los Mirlos-inspired riffs with touches of modern-day electronic flair. Co-produced by Principe Q, son of AB Quintanilla, “Dern Kala” is the duo’s kaleidoscopic cover of a Khruangbin deep cut stacked with springy surf rock guitars and hypnotic percussion that stays true to the style of their ‘60s influences. – Nayeli Portillo

NSQK – “Bad Intenciones”

Savvy Monterrey singer and producer NSQK has been on a meteoric rise since releasing his prismatic ROY LP two years ago. Not just a notable representative of Mexico’s new pop generation, he is actively masterminding future production trends, like on his brand new, genre-voracious single “Bad Intenciones.” Swelling from twinkling electro to booming club perreo, his bars unfold like a stream of consciousness of frenzied heartbroken emotions and boozy “fuck around and find out” bravado. It’s riveting, not just the song but also NSQK’s raw hit-making potential. Someone lock this man in a studio with Álvaro Díaz and Diego Raposo immediately! – Richard Villegas

DNOVAN - “Bajo La Lluvia”

The music of DNOVAN has an air of storytelling more so than the average rock act. His last single, “Máquina,” was told through a second person P.O.V. This week’s release, “Bajo La Lluvia,” also plays with structure in similar ways, this time flirting with the third person. With roots in 2000s Puerto Rican rock en español, DNOVAN can craft a track that tickles the memory banks of that era while also fitting in capably in today’s sound. As he narrates the story of his protagonist and how they use their imagination to escape solace, it would be no surprise to find yourself lost in the music and its tale. — Juan J. Arroyo