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 MAVICA, Helado Negro, and Aldo Ranks. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
MAVICA - “no puedo decir que no (no regrets)”
Spanish singer-songwriter MAVICA’s debut LP, sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay), is an album-length meditation on the fragile nuances and relationship between melancholy, youth, and “the human need for intimacy, love, and affection.” All of those themes coalesce in the music video for the final single, “no puedo decir que no (no regrets).” The video, doubles as a visual essay, and was directed by MAVICA. It encapsulates the themes of its lyrics with images of couples of all ages, including her grandparents, to whom the video is dedicated. As she embarks on a promo tour, the video offers a sweet coda and ode to everything the album represents and that which inspired her to create it. — Juan J. Arroyo
Helado Negro - “LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros)”
This week, Roberto Carlos Lange announced Phasor, his eighth album as Helado Negro and follow-up to his successful Far In, set to drop next February on 4AD. The opening track “LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros)” references Fender amp builder Lupe Lopez and electronic composer Pauline Oliveros, and it’s the closest Lange has been to taking on rock in his own warm, psychedelic way. As he endlessly scrolls through his phone, he somehow reaches a state of meditation that allows him to see who he is, a unique take on our relationship with social media. – Cheky
Aldo Ranks - "Billete En Flores"
Aldo Ranks knows how to take you to the dancefloor. Following his smash collaboration “WATATI” with Karol G, Ranks is back with another certified earworm called “Billete En Flores.” The new single is an afrobeat-influenced track that echoes the Panamanian artist’s signature ‘90s sound. Lyrically, Ranks sings about someone getting over a hard breakup and realizing she’s worth so much more. With an eerie, hypnotizing, and rhythmic sound that carries throughout the track, Ranks delivers a catchy single that reminds us why he’s known as one of Panama’s best. – Jeanette Hernandez
Wendy Sulca - “Pachamama”
Peruvian singer and viral YouTuber Wendy Sulca has been fusing traditional Andean folk music with contemporary pop since the release of last year’s Evolucion. On her latest single, Sulca fuses the sounds of synthy electropop with pulsing cumbia-inspired rhythms. “Pachamama” shows off Sulca’s adventurous spirit as trebly guitar riffs and stacked percussion energize the track. – Nayeli Portillo
Rubio - “Llorar”
“Llorar” is Chilean singer Rubio’s contribution to Sad Girl Fall playlists everywhere. The second track of her new album. Venus & Blue. offers a free-flowing instrumentation, notably starting with raucous synths and closing with Spanish strings. She gravitated towards dembow and Spanish sounds, adding that “it is as if it were a lament and a thank you for crying.” Rubio’s voice aptly expresses the emotion, at times sounding delicate and brittle. “Llorar” is featured in her musical short film, Nacimos Llorando, which brings its narrative to life. — Chelsea Quezada
Holy Sunn - “PDV”
A jolt of punk adrenaline out of Culiacán, Sinaloa, Holy Sunn has spent the last few years carving a lane for gritty underground noise in the motherland of banda sinaloense, even throwing their annual mosh-pit spectacular, Holy Fest, later this month. With a new EP titled Grandes Fracasos slated for Oct. 30, the band has unveiled its final promotional single “PDV” (or “Pasado de Verga”), a melancholy ode to fleeting good times. The oddball, Helios-directed music video finds the scraggly pair of Israel Beltrán and Pablo Montoya roaming the city in makeshift cop uniforms, searching for a suspect guilty of exceeding the aforementioned verga limit. It’s kooky DIY fun soundtracked by buzzing punk riffs and booming choruses. – Richard Villegas
Mengers Vs. Progreso Nacional - "I"
Mexico City’s Mengers have proven to be envelope-pushing artists taking scuzzy guitar rock to the next level. For this project, they teamed up with their go-to producer Hugo Quezada — who has honed his musical chops with avant-garde projects like Robota and Exploded View — to go further than they have ever gone. Starting with a blast of metallic feedback, “I” synthesizes this energy into a funky groove underneath a pile of sonic rubble. Conjuring influences from industrial and breakbeats from the most experimental side of hip-hop, Mengers and Quezada break the mold of garage rock to express something that is both subdued and unsettling. — Marcos Hassan
Sebimor - “Huella”
Indie tropi-psych band Sebimor walks listeners through the looking glass in the music video for their latest single, “Huella.” The trio have gained a notable following over the past years for their catchy hooks and mind-bending sound that freely infuses Puerto Rican lingo into their lyrics as they explore everything from the rambunctiousness of youth to the tension between love and, well, horniness. The latter is the focus here, and the music video expands on the premise further, delving into what’s actually happening behind the words and sentiments of the song’s narrative. It’s a perfect introduction to the group, with the added treat of a gnarly guitar solo to cap it off. — Juan J. Arroyo
Sael - "En Perso"
Sael is back with a sensual reggaeton anthem. Following his latest single, “MotaMoto,” the versatile Argentinean artist is back with “En Perso,” a song about being head over heels for someone after realizing they’re more enticing in person rather than on social media. The new track is “100 percent dedicated to having a good time,” per the chameleon-like artist who has previously shown us his bachata-influenced side. Moreover, the track gives a wink at Bad Bunny’s hit “La Difícil” by echoing the Puerto Rican icon’s lyrics, “Tiene a to’ lo’ nene’ loco y a la nena’ loca,” which we can’t help but appreciate. – Jeanette Hernandez
2WIN$ - "FIGHT"
Los Angeles-based skater fashionista turned headbangers 2WIN$ unleash their rowdier side on their latest single, “FIGHT.” Blending elements of rap and pop-punk, the Pedrosa twins’s fire-spitting earworm is sure to win over fans of misfit artists like Teezo Touchdown and Jean Dawson. “FIGHT” is an experimental yet melodic mosh-worthy anthem charged with playful bravado and buzzing lo-fi guitars. – Nayeli Portillo
Chicocurlyhead, RENEE - “Ahora O Nunca”
Chicocurlyhead’s newest release “Ahora O Nunca” features a snappy drum beat and bassline, which proves to be a great foundation for a memorable pop song. Joined by Mexican songstress RENEE, both artists urge listeners to seize the moment with their crushes or love interests — like when they send their location and are on their way five minutes later. Sonically, you can feel the adrenaline rush of that scenario throughout the song before a mellower outro makes it all sink in. As the follow-up to his summer tune “Conejita,” Chicocurlyhead continues to show us his vision, embracing many genres along the way. — Chelsea Quezada
Playa Gótica - “Malos Pensamientos”
After years away from the spotlight, Chilean dance punk darlings Playa Gótica have unveiled Cadabra, their first new record since 2017’s cult favorite Amigurumi. The five-track EP delves into pop, reggae, and nowave, finding fresh inspiration in the likes of Sonic Youth and Nina Hagen. Among the kaleidoscopic range of thrashing fuel, “Malos Pensamientos” updates the band’s classic formula of body-shaking bass lines, dissonant riffs, and Fanny León’s staccato yet hypnotic vocals. The track unfolds at lightning speed to become a pulsating amulet against intrusive thoughts, offering salvation and levity at the center of a mosh-pit. – Richard Villegas
Sexores - "Magallanes"
With temperatures getting colder every day, the season is ripe for some inspiring dream pop to get into our playlists. Sexores have proven to be one of the most forward-thinking bands in the genre with their past discography, and their return with the Mar Del Sur EP is more than welcomed. Lead track “Magallanes” unrolls like an icy tide on a gentle sea, drums pulsating calmly while synths provide dark yet tranquil atmospherics. Emi Bahamonde’s vocals reaffirm and subvert our expectations, bringing melodic richness in hush tones and delicate harmonies creeping from the shadows. “Magallanes” brings enough Halloween spookiness with sexy and tender doses. — Marcos Hassan