Every week, we highlight some of our favorite releases in a handy list. Although we try to cover as much new music as possible, there are so many stellar releases to talk about. Consider this our genre-diverse guide to songs we have on repeat.
Isabella Lovestory - "Humo"
Finally, a seductive anti-cigarette anthem to play for the tobacco-stained cutie of your dreams. Honduran-born Montreal resident Isabella Lovestory intertwines pop star reggaeton vocals with synth staircases and sassy basslines to make the nicotine real talk of the hook linger on the brain. A listen for your lungs. –Caitlin Donohue
Milton James - "6,6"
Fans devastated by last summer’s news that generative Chilean indie band Dënver were breaking up can take heart, because both Milton Mahan and Mariana Montenegro are debuting new solo projects this year. Milton is the first to unveil his studio machinations, taking up James as a new artistic surname and delivering an EP of exquisitely crafted chamber pop titled Pop Barroco. Opener “6,6” is a notable progression from Dënver’s whimsical disco leanings into Milton’s growing proficiency with classical orchestrations, also reinvigorating our faith in his profoundly relatable songwriting with piercing lyrics like: “Y donde me escondo en esta ciudad/prefiero tu casa antes que mi hogar.” We swoon. –Richard Villegas
SKY – "Baja Cero" ft. J Balvin, MadeinTYO and Jhay Cortez
Those wondering about Balvin’s sonic move after “Reggaeton” will be intrigued to hear that he’s stepped out on another single, some months after the old school-inspired hit occasioned musing on Balvin’s upcoming musical intentions. The answer, of course, was not a string of grimy, bass-heavy hits but a return to a Latin trap version of the Medellín sound he’s used to rise to the top. The track in question is the Sky Rompiendo-curated “Bajo Cero,” which features MadeinTYO and Puerto Rico’s Jhay Cortez in bilingual posse mode. Here for that flute slipping through! –Caitlin Donohue
Sex Sex Sex - "El Cruce"
As rough and desperate as punk rock can get, Puebla, Mexico’s Sex Sex Sex has more going on than three chords and fast tempos. “El Cruce” showcases what makes punk exciting, yet the production and stumbling pace add a vaguely psychedelic feeling; considering these experimental elements, you can clearly hear their ties to traditional rock on first listen. This one will get you going. –Marcos Hassan
Ulldeter - "No+Magik"
Extraperlo member Aleix Clavera is days away from dropping his three-track Ulldeter EP, Peixos, and its first single is a tight little package filled with feelings and textures. When you unpack “No+Magik,” waves of the freshest sounds spring out, but what you find at the bottom is residue of nostalgia and resignation, after our Catalan friend realizes the places and interactions he’s dreamed of might be unreachable. –Cheky
Ness Heads - “Freak Show”
Trap artist Ness Heads has teamed up with fellow Chicagoan Jean Deaux for her latest single, “Freak Show,” a feelings-heavy bop about keeping your struggles with depression and anxiety hidden from the world. In the ever-expanding realm of sad trap, where conversations on mental health and self-destructive behavior are becoming increasingly flippant, Ness Heads’ vulnerable flow makes the track refreshing in its earnestness. –Richard Villegas
Deafkids - "Mente Bicameral"
There’s probably no other band on the planet that sounds like Brazil’s Deafkids. They are as heavy and as fast as any metal or punk band you can think of, but any fan of psych or other complex genres will appreciate their experimental tendencies. The frenzied “Mente Bicameral” could fit right in with early Sepultura and Sarcófago, but there are so many WTF elements to the track that it places Deafkids outside of time and space and makes for some of the most excitingly weird music around. –Marcos Hassan
Antonia Navarro - "Llévame"
Antonia Navarro’s take on lo-fi bedroom pop might not stray too far from her peers, but there’s plenty of ambition and desire to harness emotion in new ways. An ode to escaping to an idealized place with a loved one, the La Plata, Argentina musician uses blippy keyboards and wavy synths to great effect, and her delivery gives more than a knowing wink to Kali Uchis’ approach to R&B, building a fascinating vehicle for melancholy and seduction. – Marcos Hassan
María del Pilar - "Waiting on the Boys"
María del Pilar’s album Songs + Canciones II is right around the corner, but in the meantime, here’s something to tide us over. If the ball is in your male love interest’s court and you’re sitting around frustrated, waiting for their call, “Waiting on the Boys” will definitely be your new jam. This sun-kissed pop song is here to convince you that the wait is probably not worth it. –Cheky
Mán Cub - "Great Escape"
Somewhere between Seal and Jon Secada, Chicago singer Mán Cub is making music that floats and flutters like the stomach butterflies of a blooming romance. On his new single “Great Escape,” Richard Juárez sings about a world overrun with hatred and negativity, epitomized in his mind by the virulent digital mudslinging that has become commonplace on social media. Beyond these complex 21st century anxieties, the track’s closing IDM-flavored breakdown gives the atmospheric ballad an unexpected jolt, making it one of Mán Cub’s most captivating releases to date. –Richard Villegas
Lester Rey - "Feel"
In an exciting week for Chicago’s indie music community, Lester Rey has returned with a new single titled “Feel,” the first taste of his upcoming EP Santuario, out this February. “Feel” finds the soulful vocalist in the emotional limbo between realizing a relationship is in decline and its eventual parting ways, creating a suffocating sense of uncertainty that is amplified by the track’s slow-burning but perfectly saturated production. –Richard Villegas
Gaby G - "Come My Way"
Aura - "Pushback 5"
Rhode Island’s Aura Micaela makes a point of doing it all. As rapper Iris Creamer, the artist produced herself, laid vocals, and directed her own visual edge. Her newest single posits that Aura is also well-versed in cloudy dance musings. “Pushback 5” is prime after-party sound, a smoothing of the party’s roughest edges. –Caitlin Donohue
Neo Andromeda - “ONÁNIMES”
Spanish band Neo Andromeda recently debuted their first EP INDEX 01, which revolves around themes of love and sex, like its single “ONÁNIMES.” The spacious, understated club track with gelid guitar plucks and languid vocals portrays the way intimacy can be reached in long-distance relationships – by thinking of your significant other while you touch yourself, generating a beautiful connection in the process. –Cheky
Farruko - "Nadie"
Farruko is back with an irresistible, dembow-lite pop production about building self-worth and independence. This is posi perreo to kick off the year, and we’re here for it. –Isabelia Herrera