Best Tracks of 2012

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TRACKS: 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

by Hello Seahorse!

Tucked away in the rustic confines of Sonic Ranch studios in the states, Hello Seahorse! hid out for 6 weeks in the pecan orchards of west Texas. The esteemed recording complex, noted as one of the world’s largest, has been home to the creation of countless Motown record artists as well as contemporary artists like Enrique Bunbury, At the Drive-In, Zoé, Plastilina Mosh, Girl in Coma and many many more. With that kind of history, it’s no wonder Hello Seahorse! put together such a marvelous album this year, Arumina. This track delivers all the goods. With that quintessential easy-flexing musical muscle, Denise is a well oiled machine. Her vocals spill over this suave dance track like butter on a warm biscuit. She makes it seem so easy, but we know she’s working hard, and Hello Seahorse! even harder. -José Luis Benavides

by Carla Morrison

In the words of the grand sir Plato, “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” Carla Morrison definitely came a long way since her departure from her first indie-rock band Babaluca and has matured into a remarkable young poet. Besides gaining recognition throughout Latin America and beyond, including two Latin Grammys, Ms. Morrison clearly showed us all the depths of her songwriting skills, accompanied by the dolce timber of her voice. This song almost makes me shed a tear, it penetrates my skin. “Hasta La Piel” is about being eager to love again and not being afraid to choose the one you love, even if your family prefers that clean cut conservative person. But you say, NO! And go for the artsy looking dude instead ’cause he’s cooler and definitely more interesting. All in all, it’s a truly gorgeous, romantic polka ballad about love and heartbreak, and the radiant things it inspires. Isabela Raygoza

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by Andrea Balency Trio
[Mexico / Paris]

The worst turned out to be true and this is, in fact, this amazing trio’s final single. Thankfully, composer/singer Andrea Balency will continue working solo so it’s not a huge loss. Hopefully, she’ll continue to write songs like this one: hypnotic combinations of classical, pop, and jazz centered around Balency’s beautiful voice. Afroxander

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by Juan Cirerol

Mexicali’s balladeer Juan Cirerol has no boundaries. Taking on a ranchera/norteña mantle by singing Mexican songs in traditional form, his performing aesthetics are charged with punk rock and corrido swagger. For this and many other reasons, Cirerol not only resurrects the music of our Mexican ancestors, but becomes one of the most promising and rising, modern “alt-norteño” artists of today, a term coined by our contributing writer. With Haciendo Leña and several singles under his buckle, his work contains interesting contemporary narratives and lyricism; after all, he’s dubbed “El poeta del pueblo” for a reason. If this track gives you goosebumps, you probably have no idea what awaits you when you see Cirerol live, if you haven’t done so yet. I’ll call him the cruel one for getting me addicted to his music, but that’s not a bad thing. We assure you, you’ll be hearing a lot more modern norteñas very soon by others thanks to this guy paving the way. Isabela Raygoza

by Hello Seahorse!

You fall asleep with wishful thinking. You pray that your morning will be filled with rays of sunlight to feed your wandering jew plant, and you hope that somehow this new day will be as clear as fine ice. Your gut longs for that toothy smile again. But instead, you realize that you’re in the middle of a thick hazy cloud, and your fingertips feel a bit numb. Still, you try to shake it off and strive to see beyond the black smog. For a split second, you stop to think, “How did I even get here in the first place?” “How did I let it become this way?” As the song keeps progressing, and night takes over again, you surround yourself with lost souls who yearn for bodily affection. The music blasts louder, and the synths and percussion go into that break, and they entice you with their glorious arrangements. The music swerves all over your mind, body, and soul, until all is forgotten. When, thereafter, you regain consciousness, and look at the first gorgeous pair of almond eyes, she says to you with a familiar voice, “Esto es la flotadera.” Isabela Raygoza

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