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 Ibeyi, Omar Apollo, and Jay Wheeler. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Ibeyi - “Sister 2 Sister”
The twin-duo Ibeyi have released a binding love poem that refreshes a close-knit relationship in “Sister 2 Sister” off their upcoming album Spell 31. This smooth synth track serves as a powerful ode that asks for a reconnection; a rekindle to any type of relationship. Through their beautifully haunting-like vocals, they gracefully thank each other for their past and all they’ve gone through, but at the same plead for a clean slate to allow themselves to change and grow. – Jeanette Hernandez
Omar Apollo - “Invincible feat. Daniel Caesar”
Earlier this week, alternative R&B heartthrob Omar Apollo announced the release of a new album, Ivory (out April 8), and dropped one of its 16 tracks, “Invincible.” The single briefly teases listeners with a drum and bass-like dose of high-octane as Apollo indulges in a splashy rap verse, marking a subtle shift from the funk-tinted, steamy slow jams the 24-year-old has become synonymous with. But Apollo’s colorful, guitar-driven arrangements and sweeping vocal range, perfectly intertwined with Daniel Caesar’s falsetto, continue to serve as the centerpieces in his latest material. – Nayeli Portillo
paopao, iZaak - “tenemos que hablar”
From the tense synth chords in the song’s intro, you can tell “tenemos que hablar” is about to get serious. On this perreo he said/she said, both Puerto Ricans give two perspectives on a relationship over dembow and some minimalistic electronics. The protagonists of the song agree that their chemistry in bed is unmatched, yet the problem lies everywhere else — paopao delivering her lines with melancholy, iZaak with desperation — the only thing keeping them together is their desire to get lost in the rhythm. – Marcos Hassan
PinkPantheress - "Pain (LSDXOXO Remix)"
Over the past few years, buzzy electro-club fire starter LSDXOXO has become the go-to remix alchemist for some of music’s biggest names, including Lady Gaga and Kelela. One of his latest reimaginings comes with vibey PinkPantheress ditty “Pain,” infusing the mellow original with hedonistic house production reminiscent of downtown ‘90s discos and throbbing strobe lights. — Richard Villegas
Afrocidade - “Lua Branca (feat. Luedji Luna)"
Following their 2021 EP Afrocidade Na Pista, Salvador, Bahia collective Afrocidade just dropped their debut album Vivão, which included a dazzling collaboration with fellow Brazilian artist Luedji Luna titled “Lua Branca.” The song is a flavorful take on Afro-pop, and it’s a prayer to a higher force, the full moon, to give them and everyone from the African diaspora strength and wisdom in every step we take in our life path. – Cheky
Francisca Valenzuela - “Como La Flor”
Chilean pop artist Francisca Valenzuela returns with an intimately delicate single “Como La Flor.” Through ethereally harmonized vocals, gentle guitars, and soft piano riffs, she explores the beautiful fragility of the love in her life that surrounds her. The title alludes to how unconditional love — like flowers— holds the power to be planted, bloom, and thrive even in the darkest of times. The single serves as a tender sonic expression of gratitude to the family and friends that have helped shape the affection in her life and extend listeners a chance to take a stroll through their own gardens and take a moment to reflect on their own support systems through difficult times. – Jeanette Diaz
Fernando Catatau - "Nada acontece (part. Juliana R e Giovani Cidreira)"
From stage guitarist for several Brazilian artists to bandleader of his own rock group, Fernando Catatau has become a remarkable figure in Brazil’s indie —and yet, he had never released a solo album up until now. The self-titled LP released this week, opens up with the sparkling, trippy synth keys and full-bodied bass lines of “Nada Acontece.” Along with up-and-coming singer-songwriters Juliana R and Giovani Cidreira, Catatau paints contemporary-urban nausea, a static city where nothing happens, as stated by the song title. – Felipe Maia
Girl Ultra & Little Jesus - “Punk”
Mexico City’s Girl Ultra continues to surprise us with her chameleon voice that is fit not only for R&B, pop, or neo-soul but now for alt-rock in this collaboration with indie band Little Jesus. This catchy, flirty music video that shows Girl Ultra and Little Jesus’ frontman Santiago Casillas’ journey to find each other, pays tribute to Mexico City’s southside, where they eventually meet to jam out. Throughout blurred scenes and walls of graffiti, we see a very punk look from each vocalist while their voices shyly harmonize with one another – Girl Ultra with red hair and fishnets, playfully sucking on a lollipop, Santiago Casillas smoking a cigarette — all brought together to create the careless-in-love punk vibe. – Jeanette Hernandez
Maria Sanchez (Groovy_MS) - “Hey Love”
Riverside, California singer and songwriter Maria Sanchez (also known as Groovy MS) strikes retro-soul gold on her latest single “Hey Love,” a nod to both doo-wop group vocal stylings and some of her ‘60s-era R&B influences, like Brenton Wood. On “Hey Love,” Sanchez comes to terms with the end of her relationship after thinking she had found “the one,” and reminisces about the good times “before they just become a distant memory.” The track is the A-Side on her forthcoming 45” slated for release in Spring/Summer of this year. – Nayeli Portillo
Jay Wheeler - "EaZt"
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Jay Wheeler is sharing a joint sung in the language of love with us. The Puerto Rican delivers an all-out ballad for those romantics who are lucky enough to be with the one. Over piano and appropriate sonic ambiance, Jay declares how much he wants to spend his life with the person he loves — an unadulterated sentiment to get lost in and be swept up in fantasies of pure romance. Every time Wheeler reaches the chorus, he belts it out to become the perfect beacon of passion. – Marcos Hassan
Giorgio Siladi - “Qué Jodido”
Dominican singer-songwriter Giorgio Siladi has been slowly peeling back the layers of his forthcoming album with intimate, elegant singles delving into the trials and tribulations of modern love. The Mexico City-based crooner’s latest offering is “Qué Jodido,” a cathartic wail of romantic frustration built on atmospheric production that ends up sounding like an unlikely hybrid of Radiohead and Jon Secada. — Richard Villegas
Pachyman - “All Night Long”
These cold winter nights don’t stand a chance to the warmth Pachyman’s music can conjure, and if you don’t believe us, just listen to the irresistible lovers rock sounds of the Boricua artist’s new single “All Night Long.” Sitting on the B-side of his upcoming 7” release El Nuevo Sonido de Pachyman, the song is a sonic blanket that gives us the comfort of late-night romance by mixing his dexterous studio work and emotive songwriting, and the mellow vocals courtesy of Brazil’s vocalist Winter. – Cheky
La Perversa - “Los Metales Feat. Bulova”
One of the rising acts coming out of Santo Domingo, and notably making space for women in a male-dominated genre, La Pervesa releases a rowdy dembow track that lives up to her moniker and guarantees to get bodies moving. Joined by Bulova, who delivers a heavy dose of Dominican flow, “Los Metales” pulsates with massive bass, punching beats, and island rhythms that only become increasingly catchier as the song goes on. As we break away from the winter, this track surely turns up the heat as we head into warmer days and even hotter nights on the dancefloor. – Jeanette Diaz
Melii - “Hey Stranger”
Melii released a single following her break with a remix of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” and a good first LP, 2019’s phAses. “Hey Stranger” is the A-side of her latest EP and, we hope, the sign of a sophomore album to come. Effortlessly, the NY-rapper finds bars and different flows in less than two minutes, going from melodious riffs to sped-up lines. – Felipe Maia