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 VALE, Rafa Pabön, and Jackie Mendoza. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
VALE - "Lo Que Me Harías En Otra Parte"
Colombian sister duo VALE clearly isn’t afraid of heights. On their new single “Lo Que Me Harías En Otra Parte,” which is dropping in conjunction with their new album A Contraluz, Valeria and Valentina’s vocals take flight over a spacey nu-disco beat. The women sing about an intense physical connection that makes them feel like they’re transported into another dimension. Whether it’s the swirling lights or the boozy lounge-pop production getting to them, VALE knows that love can be an otherworldly experience that transcends space and time. Flirty but casual, “Lo Que Me Harías En Otra Parte” makes a case that confessional love songs can co-exist across different universes and playlists alike. – Alex Ocho
Rafa Pabön - “Rosa”
Puerto Rican artist Rafa Pabön’s first album Galería has been years in the making, and it’s finally here. The album is a collage of musical influences from corridos to flamenco, afrobeats to bossa nova, and more. The grandiose closing track, “Rosa,” is a soaring merengue about needing a lover to return. Musically, it’s inspired by famed Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra. With the genre being so popular in Pabön’s home country, it feels like an almost four-minute celebration. — Chelsea Quezada
Gabito Ballesteros - “Fendi”
Undoubtedly, regional Mexican music is having a moment—and Gabito Ballesteros is part of it. Following his successful collaboration “AMG” with Natanael Cano and Peso Pluma, the emerging artist released his newest single, “Fendi.” As opposed to the aforementioned hard-hitting hit, “Fendi” comes in a tad more emotional, with sad sierreño acoustic guitars, a prominent electric bass, and Ballestero’s sentimental lyrics that talk about an imperfect yet perfect lover. Though it’s not a corrido tumbado, it was released through Cano’s record label, Los CT. Seeing as the genre is currently hot, we can’t wait to see what Ballesteros releases next. – Jeanette Hernandez
Monsieur Perine - "Prométeme''
This month, Colombia’s Monsieur Periné announced the release of Bolero Apocaliptico, their first full-length album since 2018’s Encanto Tropical. On “Prométeme,” the Latin Grammy award-winning band swaps out scintillating dembow rhythms and electronic pop pulses for a dark and woozy bolero. “Prométeme” presents itself as a concupiscent fever dream, but it’s just as sardonic as it is steamy, as singer Catalina García attempts to stave off the existential dread around ecological disaster and extinction brought on by climate crisis through reality-transcending sex. – Nayeli Portillo
Novalima - “El Tiempo (feat. Dom La Nena)"
2023 marks the acclaimed Peruvian band Novalima’s 20th year of activities. They’re setting off the celebrations with an international tour and a brand-new album, with “El Tiempo” being their new single featuring Brazilian artist Dom La Nena on vocals. Built around a magnetic African-inspired beat with flavorful, understated guitar and synth work, the band shows respect for time as a vital force. They acknowledge its destructive power, but they focus on the chance it gives to edify, planting seeds that they’ll reap with patience and care. – Cheky
Dogos x GRIIEGO - "Una Vez"
Dogos and GRIIEGO both released albums last year that were very well-received — the former with Algo X Dentro and the latter with METEORA — but also dramatically different from the other. One is an indie dream-rock band while the other is a hyperpop trap artist. But this week, they’ve decided to team-up for a cover of Bad Bunny and Mora’s hit “Una Vez”. The track is the first hint of Dogos’ upcoming project, wherein they’ll collaborate with other artists outside of their comfort zone in order to experiment with different sounds. Here, they switch from hip-gyrating perreo to head-bopping alt-rock without losing any of the song’s original vibes. — Juan J. Arroyo
Bianca Oblivion, ONHELL - “Sinais”
Los Angeles DJ and producer Bianca Oblivion has been busy making noise. When she’s not globe trotting setting dance floors ablaze, she’s busy dropping original heat in the form of thumping original cuts like “EZ 4 Me” and the “Bubble Pon Di Bed” Remix. Her latest banger is a grime and baile funk hybrid titled “Sinais,” crafted in collaboration with producer ONHELL and released via trailblazing Mexico City electronic label NAAFI. Surrender to the crashing percussion and echoing calls, while the song’s ominous synths haunt your rave-addled mind. – Richard Villegas
Riel - “El Fin”
Known for their skronky cool pop take on alternative rock, Argentine duo Riel mix it up with their latest offering off their new album. “El Fin” feels intimate, like a lover’s embrace in the middle of darkness. Expanding their typical guitars and drums instrumentation, this song sounds lush yet bouncy, fun yet layered, complementing that feeling of melancholy and desperation of wanting only to be with the person you want. “El Fin” uses fatalistic language to describe longing, but Riel keeps the song from feeling morose and fuses it with life-affirming energy. — Marcos Hassan
Zulia - "Euterpe"
Ahead of the release of his debut EP Musas y Mariposas, Zulia’s newest single directly references a mythical muse: Euterpe, the Greek goddess of music. The rich R&B-infused track is a sensuous love letter to his own musical muse. “Euterpe” effortlessly conveys the message that nobody compares to them in his eyes. The Latin Grammy-winning producer is making a name for himself as a pop artist, and he’s determined to continue pushing the boundaries of genre. — Chelsea Quezada
Ama Rey - “Agua que Sana”
The Dominican-American singer-songwriter Ama Rey — also known as the journalist and author Amanda Alcántara — released her debut and exciting single, “Agua Que Sana.” By meshing dembow, reggaeton bits, and Afro-diasporic spiritual hymns inspo, all within a hypnotic beat by the producer funsize, Ama is taking us on her personal healing and self-discovery journey through her new medium: music. This catchy, rhythmic track is part of her upcoming EP that truthfully, we can’t wait to listen to. – Jeanette Hernandez
Veronique Medrano - “Que Hueva”
Brownsville, TX, singer and songwriter Veronique Medrano is one of the most promising artists to fuse the sounds of country with the Tejano and conjunto-rich roots of the Rio Grande Valley in recent years. Written in response to the overturning of Roe V. Wade, “Que Hueva” lambasts sexism in all its forms—from body-shaming to outdated gender roles—with unmatched wit. Beside a twangy guitar and acordeón, Medrano alternates between harmonic belting and incisive punk singer snarls in this powerful anthem that salutes “las mujeres chingonas”: “Si me dices que me veo mas bonita calladita/ Te parto el hocico…no te metas!” – Nayeli Portillo
Rusty Santos - “Halo Dive” (ft. Jackie Mendoza)
On her recently-released debut full-length, Mexican-American artist Jackie Mendoza worked hand-in-hand with frequent collaborator Rusty Santos, and she’s now returning the favor. “Halo Dive” is Santos’s first single from his upcoming solo album New Wave in California, and it’s a laidback pop jam with bubbly off-kilter synth lines that tickle our ears. The lyrics add to the track’s weightlessness, depicting dreamy images of flying up in the stratosphere. – Cheky
Blackwill feat. ARAGOTH - “CREAK”
For any listener intrepid enough to search the Puerto Rico indie scene, they’ll find even the most niche subgenres well-represented by artists who commit wholeheartedly to the music. One such example is Blackwill, whose dark trapcore can go headbutt-to-headbutt with anyone outside the archipelago. Trapcore, ostensibly a mix of rap and metal, might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it has a loyal following, and Blackwill’s choice to sing in English certainly goes a long way toward expanding his fanbase. His newest single, “CREAK,” shows off his earnest dedication to the sound as he raps and roars over thrashing instrumentals like a trap star possessed. — Juan J. Arroyo
Alkaloides - “Espacio Tiempo”
Following the success of their 2021 sophomore LP Astral Dopamina, Ecuador’s Alkaloides are back with a new slice of guitar-driven psych pop titled “Espacio Tiempo.” A bouncy ode to serendipity, the song ponders the inexplicable universal forces that can bring two individuals together through space and time in perfect harmony. Retro keys and whimsical whistles become the fluttering canvas for Charly Espinosa’s earnest vocal delivery, resulting in a swoon fest for the ages. – Richard Villegas
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - "Dínamo"
Like a menacing lurching hybrid of a beast and a machine, “Dínamo” prowls and won’t stop until it gets you. The much-awaited new single from the Mexican outfit trades their signature psych-rock/dream pop sound for something evil yet melodic. Guided by a distorted bassline, “Dínamo” finds vocalist Lorena Quintana intoning a sing-songy lyric that feels innocent and catchy, but soon the song devolves into a noise pop gem that evokes the trapdoors of psychedelic music with sharper edges. Lorelle Meets The Obsolete takes the right turn to something interesting that retains its core while reaching for a new sound, resulting in a scary good time. — Marcos Hassan