This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song & EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases & more. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Xenia Rubinos - “Working All The Time”
For many, work has come to dominate their life in lockdown, and for those suffering from chronic labor burnout, Xenia Rubinos’ new joint is going to hit hard. Rubinos’ gift lies in her ability to sing soulful and angry at the same time while hectic electronics dance around her voice as if they were trying to throw the whole groove off. Not everything is doomed, though, as the “ave maría” coda clarifies that hope is not lost. — Marcos Hassan
Ana Macho - “Cuerpa”
Clapbacks to gender binary-bound haters are as formidable as they are witty on “Cuerpa” — its title reflects the social movement to degender the Spanish language or, in some cases, deliberately assume the feminine over masculine constructs. According to Ana Macho, the electro-reggaeton track is what perreo cuir, the Spanish-language equivalent of queer, is all about. “We deserve to move our bodies and enjoy our lives with our stories being sung in the background… It’s an F you to anyone who has ever judged, criticized, or shut down a queer body,” Ana Macho tells REMEZCLA. “We’re so powerful, and we don’t care what people think.”
Reggaeton has historically been an instrument of social change, Ana Macho points out: “I want that for my trans and queer folks.” — Jhoni Jackson
La Dame Blanche - "Veneno"
Premiered a few weeks ago in her outstanding COLORS session, “Veneno,” La Dame Blanche’s new single, is an unstoppable train of pure talent. Backed by a pounding hip-hop beat, the multi-talented Cuban artist threads words together with ease, rapping lyrics about how her voice can never be silenced but low-key, reflecting on the value of friendship and human displays of love. And do you hear those powerful flute solos? Yep, that’s her too. — Cheky
El tercer género del tercer mundo, that is, the third genre from the third world. This is Muxxxe’s business card, a cutting-edge motto for an artist minded to break boundaries. Following their newest EP, Porcelana Morena, the all-covered rapper drops a sample of their ferocious rhyming style with the single “Fina.” The track discharges loads of aggressive lines spawning from the point of view of the non-conformist Tijuana-based, Global South artist. All of that comes enfolded by the vicious post-dembow beat put together by Kid Robin. It’s a blast from the future. — Felipe Maia
Nutopia - "Suerte"
Puerto Rican indie rockers Nutopia found an unlikely catalyst in their pandemic stillness, going back to the drawing board and experimenting with new sounds and collaborators for an effervescent EP scheduled for release later this year. The first cut of this era is “Suerte,” a bouncy, funky hybrid of their rock & roll roots and electrified R&B influences, crafted in conjunction with Orlando-based electronic producer Cvrrent. While the song spins a happy-go-lucky tale of fluttering hearts and lucky stars, the dreamy animated video by Argentina’s Jultonic stands in cheeky contrast, putting our smitten protagonist through a Lemony Snicket-esque series of unfortunate events. — Richard Villegas
Stich - “Vicio”
Ecuadorian artist & producer Stich is back with a song for the lonely souls out there that ventured into the online dating game in the middle of lockdown. “Vicio” is simply an inside look into the Stich coping with a break-up and the subsequent complexities of getting back into the love game via virtual relationships based on algorithms and how he’s getting tangled in them.
“Vicio” is the first taste of Stich’s upcoming EP SNNS to be released later in 2021. — Joel Moya
Departments - "Take You Out To Dance"
Costa Rican newcomers Departments inject a jolt of adrenaline into the homegrown rock scene by straying from the now-ubiquitous garage of their peers and delving into faster, breezier cuts tinged with post-punk, shoegaze, and dream-pop. While you can certainly hear influences from the likes of Interpol and Bloc Party, their latest single “Take You Out To Dance” feels like an urgent plea from singer Gabriel Chavarria directed at a paramour he fears could slip through his fingers at any moment. — Richard Villegas
Inner Wave - “Take 3”
L.A.-based quintet Inner Wave recently announced their new album “Apoptosis,” slated for a September 30 release, and also dropped “Take 3,” its leading single. Directly in conversation with their 2017 track “Song 3,” the soulful, laid-back number does a great job capturing the repetitiveness of quarantine life, so mundane it can make us question reality. Driven by a tight bass line, the song’s chorus asks us over and over to wake up. However, we want to keep dreaming a bit longer with this jam. — Cheky
Lalo Ebratt, Bad Gyal - "Esta Noche"
Since his 2018 hit single, “Mocca,” Lalo Ebratt seems eager to shape his own way through the Latin music fauna. It’s refreshing to see artists take different paths, just as in “Esta Noche.” Drawing from hyper pop multicolored aesthetics and thriving on a PC music synth palette with upbeat and breezy keys, Lalo comes up with a sweet sunny jam made for soft perreo. Bad Gyal comes along with no more than a few bars. The Spanish singer might not be at her peak in this song, but it’s ok: She has been already filling our summer playlists with a number of new releases over the past weeks. — Felipe Maia
Totoy El Frio & Cauty - "Juguito De Perreo”
On the eve of DJ Pope’s birthday (no need for introduction here), his 574 label is kicking off “el parche” with the Totoy El Frio & Cauty’s collab “Juguito De Perreo.” The song was produced by 574’s producers Naobtz and Suena eso! and captures the essence of one of Medellin’s greatest contributions to humanity: “La alegria del paisa.” — Joel Moya
MONOGEM - “Dame La Fuerza”
Being bicultural often feels like being split in two: you aren’t enough of one or the other, so belonging is hard to come by. However, Monogem navigates her Mexican heritage as an L.A.-born woman by accepting that both are true; neither disqualifies the other.
Swathed in synths like silk ribbons, “Dame La Fuerza” feels soft, but trust, she’s wrapped up her point quite tightly: she takes a strong stance against feeling like a walking identity chasm. “Yo se que soy una pinche gringa,” she declares while, in the video, a smirk crawls across her face. The recurring “bienvenidos a mi vida” feels as much like a welcome as it does an invitation to leave her — and the work she’s put in towards acceptance of self — well alone.
Newcomers to Monogem should look back in her repertoire for more of this kind of empowerment. It’s embedded in her music, although never spoken so clearly until now. We look forward to what’s likely to be an even more direct address on Gardenia, Monogem’s upcoming bilingual album inspired by her abuela who, according to a press release, “she promised to never give up singing and speaking in Spanish.” — Jhoni Jackson