Jackie Mendoza plays a mean ukulele, though it might be hard to discern the sound of the four-stringed instrument on the first spin of her just-released debut EP LuvHz. The sensuous electronic soundscapes crafted by the Mexican-American artist and EP producer Rusty Santos (Panda Bear’s Buoys) wash away most notions of traditional instrumentation. They envelop the listener with their multi-layered sound, with Mendoza’s vocals providing a welcoming tether to reality.
On “Seahorse,” the lead single from the EP (released in February), Mendoza’s psychedelic pop mutations swell with a cautious, almost melancholic optimism, as she takes the listener on a beach-side walk. “De Lejos,” finds Mendoza allowing her insecurities about a long-distance relationship to fly free as she bluntly professes, “Tengo miedo que conozcas a alguien más.” She breezes back and forth between Spanish and English throughout the EP, much like many border-raised Latinxs find themselves doing in their daily lives (She’s originally from Chula Vista, California).
The now Brooklyn-based Mendoza has made a quick splash in electronic indie-pop in a relatively short time, being featured everywhere from Billboard to The New York Times. And she’s eager to keep the momentum going. “I’m excited for the EP to come out, but I’m already working on an album and will probably join forces with Rusty again.” she recently told Billboard.
LuvHz is out today via Luminelle: