This year is shaping up to be one of the best and biggest in music, and although we try to cover as much as possible, there were so many stellar releases to talk about this month that we needed to take a step back and see what we missed. So with that in mind, we gathered some of the best albums, tracks, and videos that might have fallen between the cracks, but are nonetheless are very worthy of your attention. So stop your SoundCloud digging and check out our list of releases you may have missed this month. –Marcos Hassan
Listen to our playlist with these releases and other favorites from March below.
Maxine Ashley - "Lobster"
Discovered by Pharrell Williams at 17 years old, Bronx-bred songstress Maxine Ashley has been honing her craft under daft tutelage. Before she caught the mogul’s eye, at a mere 13, Ashley was singing for a UK record label and living between London and New York. She came onto the scene with her viral bedroom R&B covers of artists ranging from Little Dragon to Portishead. After releasing her 2013 debut EP Mood Swings via Williams’ i am OTHER, the “Puerto Rican misfit” has continued to work on her own sound.
Ashley has acquired over nine million views on her YouTube channel and is poised for a big year. Her latest release comes as a music video, entitled “Lobster.” The Joe Janiak-produced track fuses elements of pop, alt-R&B, and even a little trap. Shot in reverse, the Greg Cally-directed video follows the singer through a multi-story Bronx apartment building where most of her family lived.
“The inspiration behind ‘Lobster’ originally derives from her grandma’s love for cooking lobsters, which allowed the family to bond, congregate, and express of all around love,” Ashley’s manager explains. Although the video has a distinct Gwen Stefani circa “Hella Good” vibe, the hazy visuals serve as an ode to her hometown and the one thing that means the most to her: her family.
Having previously collaborated with Alicia Keys, Keyshia Cole, and K’naan, “Lobster” is the next step in the young singer’s road to stardom. –Zoe Montano
Munchi - Naffie Back/Pa Lo Under EP
The top-tier status that Dutch-Dominican underground bass legend Munchi has earned for himself remains unquestioned, thanks to his latest two-track release. The fiery “Naffie Back” and “Pa Lo Under” come via his Selegna Records label. By diving headlong into dembow-driven and soulful yet razor-sharp moombahton, Munchi continues to defy traditional genre classifications while crafting tracks that can anchor and amplify peak-hour sets.
“Naffie Back” continues Munchi’s homages to underground dutch rap/bass kingpin Naffie. According to him, Naffie’s sound “[feels like] the club is about to be destroyed,” and “[makes him cry] due to the amount [that his] mind was being blown.” The bubbling banger seems inspired by DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat,” as Dutch house breaks spin the laid-back classic funk energy into a powerful maelstrom. As for “Pa Lo Under,” it’s in close contention with “Dale Patra” for 2016’s most ratchet dembow anthem so far. Munchi’s moombahton legacy is iconic, and this track keeps that influence burning strong. –Marcus K. Dowling
Exploded View - “No More Parties In The Attic”
Two years ago, Swedish-British singer Anika was invited to perform at Nrmal in Mexico, but instead of bringing her band or attempting a solo set, she assembled a band of local musicians to play with, including ex-Fancy Free member Martin Thulin and producer/Robota mainman Hugo Quezada. Their chemistry was so good that they wrote and recorded some songs together, resulting in an industrial-tinged chanson called “No More Parties In The Attic.” Sacred Bones (Föllakzoid, The Holydrug Couple) has released this song on 7”. –Marcos Hassan
Céu - "Perfume do Invisivel"
With her honey-sweet vocal skills, Céu has become one of the most promising artists to come out of Brazil as of late. She has just dropped her album Tropix, and with it, a video for her song “Perfume Do Invisível.” The minimalist yet twisted black-and-white clip perfectly reflects the spirit the song: a groovy yet somber lullaby followed by a funky organic section. –Marcos Hassan
Salt Cathedral - “No Ordinary Man”
Juliana Ronderos and Nicolás Losada, who hail from Colombia but are now based in Brooklyn, make emotive, ambitious electronic pop. To complement their recent single “No Ordinary Man,” they have made a video featuring a volatile and emotional couple. The hypnotic song is fresh and exciting, and will get people pumped for new Salt Cathedral, since it’s been a while since we last heard from them. –Marcos Hassan
El Bles - "Soula"
On the first single from his EP I Am Latin Soul, we hear El Bles chop and screw the hell out of Ray Barretto into a sonic collage, kinda like a salsa Ouroboros dragon. At once dark and slippery, “Soula” is surprisingly catchy and danceable, becoming its own monster through sound manipulation. El Bles is one of the most interesting artists we have heard doing this sort of digital slashing and dicing, without losing sight of what’s important in the original rhythms. –Marcos Hassan
La Yegros - Magnetismo
Mariana Yegros is back with a brand new album. Reprising her influential nu-cumbia sound, this time around, Yegros also blends rhythms from Mali, Argentina, Jamaica, and beyond. It’s a hyper-fusion of global sounds that is easy to enjoy, thanks to La Yegros’ ultra-melodic and infectious delivery, as well as the energy that bubbles throughout the record. Watch out for guest appearances from Gustavo Santaolalla, Colombia’s Puerto Candelaria and Brazilian Girls’ Sabina Sciubba. –Marcos Hassan
Salfumán - “Viento”
This layered synth pop track from Valencia’s Sandra Rapulp will send you into a hypnotic state of sensual chill. After dropping the dreamy bedroom pop EP Serie Rosa last year, we’re excited for what she has in store this time around on her upcoming release F.M. “Viento” drips with sweet melodies, boasting plenty of attention to detail that will leave you sweaty and floating in the air. It’s just dark enough for the whispers to get scary before they return to their seductive mission. –Marcos Hassan
Mourn - “Evil Dead”
Barcelona foursome Mourn are winning hearts at home and abroad, thanks to their young enthusiasm and reinterpretation of 90s rock. They may be a little older and wiser on “Evil Dead,” but their energy remains in place. The track has some spooky undertones (perhaps a nod to its cinematic namesake), but there’s more emotional depth to what they are doing here. “Evil Dead” is the first single from their forthcoming album Ha Ha He., which will be released on June 3 via Captured Tracks. –Marcos Hassan
El Guincho - "Pegada Al White (Faded & Elebleu Edit)"
Not too long ago, we shared El Guincho‘s “Pegada al White,” a track off his The Life of Pablo-spoofing Michael Dior Mixtape. Even though the lyrics bitterly burn an unspecified love interest, its heavily auto-tuned vocals, tempo, romantic melodies, and beatless structure just screamed for a perreo remix, stat. Luckily, our buddies Faded and Elebleu came to the rescue and made an edit that pretty much answers that burning desire.
The Mexican producers’ version of the track boasts a dembow riddim and a deep, buzzy bass line that kicks you in the chest. The rest is hasta abajo history. This is the closest El Guincho has sounded to reggaeton since his HiperAsia track “De Bugas,” which stands somewhere between J Balvin and Sensuous-era Cornelius. It sounds so natural, it’s a little scary. –Cheky
Nistra - “Ab Dassad”
Through swinging techno and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Nistra have gone out of their way to craft a perfect track for those who love electronic music with a pulse and heart. The Galician duo are readying their new EP Mästra, which will be available to the public on April 8. To get everyone pumped, they have shared “Ab Dassad,” which will definitely help you get your tropitechno on. –Marcos Hassan
NA - Cellar EP
Earlier this month, NA (aka Daniel Pineda), one half of L.A. duo Nguzunguzu, released Cellar, a six-track EP that continues the floor-shattering themes of his previous work Xtreme Tremble.
Cellar finds Pineda pushing the possibilities of club music, with the destructive ambition we’ve come to know him for. The record boasts thunderous kicks, filthy saturation, disorienting metallic sounds, and a goosebump-inducing eerie vibe that’s omnipresent on every track. It also sounds like he wanted to reference genre convention, but in a deconstructed way, making smart decisions that convey the message without sounding obvious at all. Grime-like opener “Cellar Theme” makes it clear that this is a visceral affair, with growling bass lines and sinister melodies that support the gut-busting beat. The simple and frantic hook on “Brass Claim” makes us immediately think of rave, while the kick drum actually cites Jersey club. Then the track goes half-time, briefly moving to trap territory, without using the typical hi-hat rush.
Cellar cements NA’s punishing vision of the dance floor. The club is no longer a nightlife space, but a foggy dungeon where pain and pleasure are inflicted through his music. If that’s the move, then we’re masochists. –Cheky
Francisca Valenzuela - “Catedral”
In addition to organizing a feminist festival that sheds light on the struggles women face in the music industry, Chilean singer-songwriter Francisca Valenzuela is still promoting her 2014 album Tajo Abierto with her newest single “Catedral.” Instead of going the traditional route of creating a video for the single, Francisca decided to leave it in fans’ hands to do it themselves. If you visit www.catedr.al, you can build your own music video in a choose-your-own-adventure platform. Now go and have some fun! –Marcos Hassan
Mondragón - Glas EP
In a relatively short period of time, Mondragón has become a very active project, and his affinity for left-of-center composition has helped him stand out from the ranks. Edgar Mondragón has been making music for a few years now, but only recently has he taken his project in a more serious and hard working direction, highlighting his skills on such tracks as “Presentimiento Complejo” and “Sincronía.” His Glas EP showcases his intricate yet direct production style, and cements him as a Mexican producer to watch. –Marcos Hassan
Pirámides - “¿Por Qué No Puedo Mentir?”
Mexico is experiencing a new golden age of psych music, as bands are popping up across the country with trippy new sounds. The latest group to build buzz around their brand of psych revival are Monterrey’s Pirámides, who balance their harmonious take on fuzzy rock with twisted melodies in the intoxicating “¿Por Qué No Puedo Mentir?” The video mixes kitsch and retro clips, producing a totally disorienting – but very chill – viewing experience. –Marcos Hassan
Yoga Fire - "Higher Level"
After a surprise performance at Mexico’s Festival Ceremonia, Yoga Fire was invited to have his own set, prompting him to become an emcee to watch. He has now dropped “Higher Level,” featuring production from Danny Brasco and BrunOG. The beat somehow channels both the 90s old school and today’s trap present, showcasing Yoga Fire in fine form. –Marcos Hassan
Acidandali - Ácidolandia EP
This trio of Mexico City guitar wreckers have quietly become one of the best bands of the underground scene, having played virtually everywhere in Mexico, including last year’s Nrmal. Ácidolandia sees the band take a direction few would have guessed: weaving a cinematic tale painted in hushed tones, sourced from tons of samples and distinct narrators. The result is an abstract exercise in subtle droning and meditative exploration. It’s not that they have gone soft (their edges are still there); they just made a grand statement using the other side of the sonic spectrum. –Marcos Hassan