From Nomi Ruiz To Pahua, Here’s What We’re Listening To This Week

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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.

Nomi Ruiz and Sam Sparrow – “Like a Ghost”

If you’re in need of a smooth, ‘90s-reminiscent R&B jam about missing a former lover, this is it. “Like a Ghost” has everything a ballad-bop should: thunderstorm sounds, a sultry synth breakdown, and Nomi Ruiz and singer-producer Sam Sparro vocalizing separately and harmonizing together, packaged into a silky but bumpin’ groove. The track is organically universal in theme, but it’s also specific to Ruiz’s character in the upcoming film Haymaker—and to her own life, too. Via press release, Ruiz explains, “It’s taken me a while to realize I’m worthy of love. There are elements of your past that never really go away, especially as women of trans experience. Our trauma will always live in our bodies and maybe our love lives too.” —Jhoni Jackson

Pahua – “Caramelo”

Following her debut solo single “Vayayó,” Mexican artist and one half of Sotomayor, Pahua, has dropped the second preview from her upcoming Ofrenda EP, out on February 26. On “Caramelo,” she gives us an ode to self-love encapsulated in a syncopated R&B-inspired beat and a soulful chord progression wonderfully played on electric guitar. For Pahua, we can give the world the best version of ourselves once we heal on the inside, and this blissful tune can certainly help us get there. —Cheky

Parsek – “Nautilus”

Yucatec duo Parsek have unveiled their new single, “Nautilus,” a mellow, melancholy bop about drifting through life and love. A fitting soundtrack to the lonely voyages of its seafaring namesake, the song is a perfect example of simplicity done right; built on little more than droning drums, soothing guitar melodies and delightfully earnest vocals. —Richard Villegas

Belmar – “Frappé” (ft. Sunsplash & Bestia)

With his new single, Belmar continues his exploration of tropical sounds to create warm jams that smell of salty sea breeze, and this time he’s joined by two fellow Venezuelan artists who help him realize this beachy fantasy: Sunsplash and Bestia. “Frappé” is a pop-and-reggaeton concoction served ice-cold for anyone who’s going through heartbreak. Bestia takes on the lead vocals, mournfully trying to erase the memories of a failed relationship, while Sunsplash supports her with his laid-back rap. —Cheky

Buarky – “Auto da Compadecida”

The Brazilian outback, known as sertão, is an enormous reservoir of folkloric music and century-old traditions. A staple in the return of Brazil’s movie production in the ’90s, “Auto da Compadecida” takes place in this arid, yet fantastic landscape. Buarky drinks from this same source to build his own “Auto da Compadecida” with a remix of the movie leitmotif “Rói Couro.” As if the heavy kicks and the baile funk vocal shots were made to match the original song, the young producer energizes the embolada—a form of music and spoken word practice—and brings it with the flute-like pífano to the dancefloor. —Felipe Maia

Adriel – “Prólogos”

Somewhere at the intersection of future funk, synthwave and chiptune, Dominican producer Adriel’s new single “Prólogos” is an exciting herald of experimental dance sounds to come. Influences from video games and anime are also apparent throughout the iridescent, digitally animated video, resulting in an intriguing first look at his forthcoming album. —Richard Villegas

Parsek – “Nautilus”

Yucatec duo Parsek have unveiled their new single, “Nautilus,” a mellow, melancholy bop about drifting through life and love. A fitting soundtrack to the lonely voyages of its seafaring namesake, the song is a perfect example of simplicity done right; built on little more than droning drums, soothing guitar melodies and delightfully earnest vocals. —Richard Villegas

Hospital De México y Los Robots de Observatorio – “Vida Virtual”

Esteban Alderete’s work as Hospital de México stands out as the perfect soundtrack to the harsh realities of living in one of the biggest and most chaotic cities in the world. “Vida Virtual” trades his usual brutalist guitar approach for synths, giving a brighter and even hopeful sound to the melancholy of succumbing to living life online. Bleak music never sounded so soothing. —Marcos Hassan

Mengers – “Golly”

The moment seems right to enjoy some weird and rocking psychedelic punk, and we have plenty thanks to Mengers. The title track from the new album by this Mexico City trio combines energetic delivery, catchy groove, and repetitive riffs that don’t skim on the distortion while revealing its glorious weirdness. Harnessing plenty of hypnotic power, “Golly” is a trippy yet rocking track that will fit into our surreal surroundings. -Marcos Hassan

Chico Chico & João Mantuano – “A Cidade”

Cliffhangers and crescendos are a clever trick exhaustively used in pop music (just think about all the EDM drops we’ve been listening to). Thus, it’s alleviating to see some creativity hidden in the form of composition Chico Chico and João Mantuano managed to make in “A Cidade.” The liveliness of this song is not only found in the well-constructed drumming phrases or throughout the enraged singing—it’s also packaged in the lyrics, an open letter about urban and emotional inequities. —Felipe Maia