This is our weekly compilation of newly released bite-sized song reviews from 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 María Becerra, Iza, and Alaina Castillo. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
María Becerra - “Automático”
Boasting thousands of views and plays single after single, María Becerra seems bound to claim the reggaeton crown in South America. La nena de Argentina goes full throttle in “Automático,” a ready-made single with powerful engines and a cheek-in-tongue attitude in lyrics. The highlights are the slow-paced bridge and the music video, filled with muscle cars and catchy dance moves. — Felipe Maia
Lara Project - “Altas Horas”
Long before brothers and producer-songwriter duo Manuel and Felix Lara became synonymous with projects like Kali Uchis’s single “telepatía” and Bad Bunny’s El Último Tour Del Mundo, the Venezuelan artists experimented with punchy 808s and new wave-era synths on their debut album Una Semana Antes Del Paraíso. While “Altas Horas” may be far from their lo-fi indie rock origin story, the brothers build off their affinity for nostalgia and ‘70s and ‘80s production techniques once more. The track channels the glow of nu-disco as Felix croons over a sleek, funk groove. – Nayeli Portillo
Alaina Castillo - "party in my head (ur not invited)"
Alaina Castillo stays making danceable alternative pop that hits right in the feelings. Her latest is “party in my head (ur not invited),” tapping into her sensuality to deliver a moody dance song reserved for VIPs only. The track starts with an electronic beatbox that carries throughout, with her mesmerizing, sultry vocals singing about a personal party for one, giving us FOMO while at it. – Jeanette Hernandez
MONKYMATIK - “La Cumbiamatika”
Adventurous Colombian alt-pop duo MONKYMATIK has been teasing their debut LP with a string of singles delving into acoustic balladeering and raunchy cumbiatón. Finding some of their strongest footing right in the middle, the masked simians have unveiled “La Cumbiamatika,” a love letter to Bogotá’s bustling Chapinero neighborhood and the many romances born and burned in its vibrant nightlife. Not slow enough to be considered rebajada nor wild enough to harness sonidero camp, the song instead leans on earnest storytelling and lurching, percussive production to create an earworm all their own. – Richard Villegas
Puppies In The Sun - "Light Became Light"
With a name like Puppies In The Sun, it would be weird for the music not to sound like it was transmitting from deep inside a faraway nebula. This Peruvian duo makes space rock with the melancholy of shoegaze and the experimental sides of free improv, making for some exciting, trance-inducing music. “Light Became Light” demonstrates that Puppies In The Sun can make cinematic rock music that’s as wide as the sky while delivering riffs and psychedelic soundscapes. The result is an epic soundtrack to a journey into inner spaces. — Marcos Hassan
Dogos - “Nardos”
Puerto Rican indie rock band Dogos celebrates this week’s release of their debut album Algo x Dentro with “Nardos,” its third and final single. The accompanying music video functions as a nostalgic stroll down memory lane, with curated footage of the group over the years — from their babyfaced beginnings to more recent gigs, culminating in the present as they gather props (flowers, appropriate considering the title) for the lead song’s performance. “Nardos” itself is a song imbued with melancholic sentiment in its lyrics, buoyed by catchy riffs and foot-tapping drums that renders the track with a poppy-yet-earnest air. — Juan J. Arroyo
Flash Amazonas - “Ululo”
Colombian artist Julián Mayorga and Japan’s Ryota Miyake are the masterminds behind the genre-bending project Flash Amazonas, and they’re ready to release their sophomore full-length uva-uva next month. “Ululo” is the second single off the album, and they get possessed by the frantic energy of arty dance punk to declare war on right-wingers. These “gusanos” don’t stand a chance against rebels Mayorga and Miyake, who become the owls that will turn them into their dinner. – Cheky
Iza - “Três”
Brazilian pop singer Iza’s latest project, Três, is a triptych with a powerful opening track. In “Mole,” Iza daydreams of being a Brazilian dancehall queen with moves as flamboyant as those seen in Beyoncé’s music videos. The lyrics don’t sound as strong as the punchy beat in this track, but this might be a good sign. Iza is expected to release a new album anytime soon, and fans crave that. With Três, she has a door opened. — Felipe Maia
Danny Bonilla - "Rather Be Alone"
Since 2017, musician and Dallas native Danny Bonilla has been cranking out nocturnal dance pop ragers and synthy R&B slow jams alongside his bandmates in the now Austin-based four-piece Luna Luna. “Rather Be Alone,” the latest single from Bonilla’s forthcoming solo EP, certainly coincides with the rising act’s adventurous spirit. However, the singer opts for a slower tempo and an emphatic falsetto. Fitted with a glam rock sheen, the piano ballad shows a more pensive Bonilla wrestling with his thoughts amid a period of extreme isolation. — Nayeli Portillo
Conexión Divina - “Odio”
The new wave of sierreño artists and their popularity come as no surprise. The difference in contemporary ensembles, though, is that they’re being led by Latinas changing the face of the usual male-dominated game (take Yahritza y Su Esencia, for instance). The Mexican-American group Conexión Divina is the genre’s newest conquest. They released “Odio,” a heart-wrenching ballad that describes an unrequited love sung by the rising Gen-Z trio. Although this is only their debut single, we can tell that there’s a lot of passion in the project through their lyrics and a well-crafted Norteño piece. – Jeanette Hernandez
Cynthia Fion, Nachi Cae - “Me Quedaré Solx”
We love a good cover, and so do Guatemalan crooners Cynthia Fión and Nachi Cae, who just released a moody reimagining of Amistades Peligrosas’ camp pop classic “Me Quedaré Solo.” Flipping the original’s orchestral jubilee into a droning dreampop dirge, the pair prove that good songs transcend genre and that covers should aspire to much more than karaoke cosplays. – Richard Villegas
Petbrick, Jake Bannon - “Grind You Dull”
There’s a big chance that if ex-Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera is involved in a project, it’s bound to be a heavy affair. Petbrick is his London-based electronic band that takes the tropes of hardcore into a new form of brutality, “Grind You Dull” being a perfect example. Although there are no guitars in this track, the stuttering, glitchy electronics give the song enough drive and power to shame even the most extreme outfits. Add the throat-shredding voice of Converge frontman Jake Bannon to the mix, and you’ll have something innovative to start a one-person-moshpit. — Marcos Hassan
Ari Lindo - “Talk to Me”
Ari Lindo’s journey towards his debut solo album, Cost of Giving (out Oct. 7), hits the home stretch with the release of “Talk to Me.” With this last single, the Chicago-based singer/songwriter and Late Nite Laundry guitarist quickens the pace as he playfully makes a case for full transparency between him and his partner. “Test those doubts,” he urges, because sometimes what’s on the other side of the door you avoid opening is not as bad as you’ve convinced yourself it will be. It’s a lively song that, in turn, also calls for living a more open and honest life. — Juan J. Arroyo
Dre’es - “Rushing”
With his new single “Rushing,” L.A. rapper Dre’es just announced his upcoming EP, Your Summer with Me. He leans on his most melodic side on this moving hip-hop jam produced by Goldwash, Ocean Rogue, and PONTIAC, a very fitting mood to sing and rap about the intoxicating feelings that come rushing when falling back in love with an ex. He’s lifted off the ground, swirling around with atmospheric sounds, but is still grounded with the beat’s low end, as he’s ready to give an old relationship a new shot. – Cheky