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 Hunters of the Alps, Malxs, and Argentinian trap star Tiago PZK. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Hunters of the Alps - “Costumbres” (Juan Gabriel Cover)
Just in time to celebrate El Divo de América’s birthday, Miami-based artist Mario Giancarlo Garibaldi takes a shot at one of Juan Gabriel’s most beloved anthems, “Costumbres,” with his Hunters of the Alps moniker. The dramatic ballad also popularized by Rocío Durcal takes a carefree bossa nova-driven pop twist that takes us from the bottom of a cantina to a lighthearted singalong, clashing with the original’s emotional weight to produce a magnetic result. – Cheky
YUNGATITA - "Raindrop"
The eclectic bedroom pop project of Valentina Zapata, YUNGATITA welcomed the new year with two new singles at the top of the year. “Raindrop” sparks a standout with a dreamy, mid-tempo alt-rock single that takes us back to the reminiscent melodic sounds of 1990’s coming-of-age film soundtracks. Sonically, the retro aesthetics are thanks to its production use of double vocals and low bass guitar, while the song’s theme is a timely narration of navigating the ebbs and flows of early adulthood and relationships fueled by sentiments of disconnection, self-discovery, and a yearning for a more hopeful and meaningful future. – Jeanette Diaz
Tiago PZK - “Bzrp Music Session 48”
While most Bzrp Sessions pack their share of excitement and surprises, some of the most remarkable entries find rising stars coming in hot and dazzling listeners with their talent. This is the case with this up-and-coming Argentine rhymer who takes the opportunity to showcase his skillful singing and rapping. Not content with this, he and producer/host Bizarrap concoct a magical piece of music: a hooky song with wild verses presented in a fun and carefree manner. By the time the track gets rebajado, you’ll be ready to queue it up all over again. – Marcos Hassan
Aladin Fox - “En La Calle”
The South of Mexico is often overlooked as a thriving garage rock haven, but bands like Chetumal’s Aladin Fox are quickly rising through the ranks with a punchy swirl of buzzing rock, colorful psych, and even tinges of synthpop. Their latest single is “En La Calle,” a thrashing gem if for nothing else the simplicity of its core message: “We’re tired of being at home, our life is in the street and on the road.” With 2022 getting off to a shaky start for live music, this song rings with particularly loud relatability. – Richard Villegas
Mahmundi, Rubel - “Aposta”
Over the past 10 years, Brazilian artist Mahmundi has been sharpening her craft of music-making. She has shifted from a one-off indie, synth-pop act with 2014 debut Efeito das Cores to a resourceful singer-songwriter, as shown by her latest album, 2020’s Mundo Novo, and the song “Aposta”. The new single is an upbeat collab with Rubel with folk, sunny tones about a resilient love. Maybe it’s involuntary, but the duo’s work revamps the Brazilian classic intimate guitar school that spans from bossa nova staples to indie rock household names like Los Hermanos. – Felipe Maia
Manchado - "Mona Lisa Feat. Xhosa"
Bogota-based, Colombian artist Manchado offers a new single to start the new year on a high note with intentions to get you ready to drop it really, really low. Recruiting the feature and fiery flow of fellow Brooklyn-based Xhosa, the bilingual track presents their version of a deconstructed perreo. Breaking down the typical structure of a reggaeton beat, the song infuses a multitude of synths, electronic sounds, and an otherworldly beat drop that elevates you to a new dancefloor dimension. Chronicling a relationship built on a façade, where one day someone’s in love with you and the next day they disappear, the song takes inspiration from the Mona Lisa, whose legacy lies in that its true intentions can never be deciphered and are always up for interpretation. – Jeanette Diaz
Syntrovert - “Loreto”
Chilean producer Syntrovert is closer and closer to dropping his Amuleto EP, the final episode in a trilogy started by previous albums Sword and The Gathering, and its single “Loreto” has now gotten the video treatment. The austere kizomba-splashed club track is built with precise percussion shots and emotive synth work suited for introspection (very on-brand,) and together with the visuals, it takes us to an oneiric exploration of a natural world through a synthetic lens. – Cheky
Rebeca Lane - “Si yo pudiera quedarme”
Rebeca Lane is an outstanding rapper from Guatemala, and “Si yo pudiera quedarme” is her straightforward, punchline-only song about the daily immigrant’s life across Latin America—and elsewhere. With few bars, and an ostinato beat blending trembling keys and baile funk-slash-dembow drums, Lane throws a cry for people that struggle to live in a world ruled by boundaries and frontiers of all sorts. — Felipe Maia
Carolina Zac - “No soy De Nadie”
After unveiling her highly anticipated debut LP Posible in the fall of 2021, you might have thought Carolina Zac would be ready for a break. But the Argentine singer-songwriter and producer decided it was time for a new challenge, bringing her gauzy synthpop soprano to a string of head-turning covers. Closing out the year with an ethereal reimagining of Carola Bony’s post-punk and delightfully lo-fi independence anthem “No Soy De Nadie,” Zac trades middle fingers for meditative reasoning of why preserving our own agency is paramount to life. – Richard Villegas
Malxs - “TBT”
For many, the first days of the year are filled with nostalgia. With their newest single, this Spanish duo perfectly captures this particular feeling. An ode to running into an old flame in order to relive their love and see if the spark is still there. “TBT” flows easily with the rhythm beating like two hearts searching for one another. However, in the end, there’s nothing more than hope that powers the song; yet that might be exactly what we need to get us through an overwhelming start of a new year. – Marcos Hassan