Through Her Music, Arca Evokes Nostalgia to Reimagine Queer Freedom

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This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song and EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and more. This week, some of the featured artists include Ela Minus, Flor de Toloache, and Andrezka. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Ela Minus – “N19 5NF”

Ela Minus’ latest single, acts of rebellion opener “N19 5NF,” and its music video are inspired by a life-changing event where Gabriela Jimeno spent two days unconscious in an ICU in London, making this one of her most personal audiovisual pieces. She uses the occasion to preview an intense new techno track that soundtracks the opening strobe light-showered club scene, only to fall into the realm of dreams with “N19 5NF” and its sea of cleansing ambient synths. And just like in real life, we’re transported to a hospital bed and life begins again. – Cheky

PUTOCHINOMARICON – “DM”

Spanish pop agitator PUTOCHINOMARICÓN has unveiled a shimmering new single titled “DM,” channeling the most saccharine platitudes of mainstream love songs into a gossamer hyperpop ballad. The song’s music video follows a boy band on the brink of stardom, playing into cutesy vs smoldering vs bad boy archetypes that perfectly capture PUTOCHINOMARICÓN’s ability for melding finely crafted pop and biting satire. – Richard Villegas

Flor de Toloache – “De Música Ligera”

The past gets reinvented with the latest single “De Música Ligera” performed by all-woman Mariachi powerhouse Flor De Toloache. The classic song, originally performed by Argentinian rock band Soda Stereo, gets a cultural shift as it trades in its heavy electric guitars, bass, and drum beats for the acoustic stylings of melodic guitar and vihuela strings, harmonized violins, and serene trumpets. Blended with the entrancing (and Latin Grammy award-winning) voices, the track delivers a fresh and dynamic spin on both a traditional Mexican musical styling and a beloved iconic rock song prove there is nothing these women can’t do. – Jeanette Diaz

La Armada – “La Fe No Basta”

After experiencing global levels of death, injustice, negligence, and all-around hate in recent memory, a song like “La Fe No Basta” might just be what we need to let it all out. The Chicago-via-Dominican Republic quintet stirs a hardcore brew that hits all the right boxes: fast verses, mean breakdowns, and dissonant guitar riffs, making “La Fe No Basta” a passionate call to not remain idle amidst the “fucking cancer of the world.” With such incendiary music, La Armada can inspire even the apathetic crowds. — Marcos Hassan

Reno Cruz – “Heart Is a Window”

Love can be lonely even when you’re sharing it with someone, despite everyone’s best intentions. Reno Cruz captures that feeling in a heartbreaking way with his new single “Heart Is a Window” off his upcoming debut album Falling In Love Is Not That Hard. The California native of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent strums the guitar and croons lines that could devastate whoever recognizes themselves in them. “You wanted to be like a movie/ but playing pretend doesn’t work in the end” paints an all-too-familiar scene—sung so beautifully you listen again like holding your hand over a flame. — Juan J. Arroyo

BAGUM – “Era Você feat. Livia Ner”

“Era Você” is the newest single by the Brazilian jazz trio BAGUM. For this one, they’ve teamed up with the indie artist Livia Nery and her gentle vocal melodies. Whether articulating airy vowels or sustaining long notes, Nery blends in smoothly with the group’s tension-and-release game. The hazy guitar plucks and sparkling keys steer the listener into a journey that may sound familiar to those who are into bands like BadBadNotGood. – Felipe Maia

Andrekza – “Miedo”

Venezuelan multi-faceted artist Andrekza recently shared her latest single and visuals for “Miedo” via Dim Mak En Fuego. The sentimental track flows as an emotional, reggae influenced ballad that navigates the fear of losing everything you’ve built with your partner that lingers amidst the ending of a toxic relationship. The slowed, but upbeat melody provides an ideal backdrop for the rumination of fears that alternates between the heartbreak of a relationship that has served its time and the strength found in the desire to let go of an unhealthy situation. The visuals, directed by Sebas Coto, indulge in the sentiment following a couple whose relationship needs to end, but they don’t learn to let go until the toxicity takes over every moment spent together. – Jeanette Diaz

Magia Bruta – “Lo Merezco”

Aries, the precious project by Spanish artist Isa Fernández Reviriego, mutated into an equally stunning duo now called Magia Bruta with the addition of multi-instrumentalist María Romero. They’re about to drop their debut album Un Día Nuevo in February next year, but to give us an idea of what’s in store for us, they shared “Lo Merezco.” Here, all kinds of synths swirl, ripple, and flourish before our ears to help Fernández Reviriego paint a warm image of a Sunday afternoon love so beautiful she doubts if she’s even deserving of it. – Cheky

Pablo Ignacio Ferreira – “El Vacío”

We’ve all processed nearly two years of pandemic trauma in different ways. Some recreating a semblance of normality in digital spaces and others taking in the bitter realities of an uncertain world to turn proverbial lemons into artsy lemonade. Argentine singer-songwriter and producer Pablo Ignacio Ferreira is in the second camp, rallying within his isolation to create an introspective yet cinematic new album titled, Junté Mariposas De Un Mundo Roto. At the center of it all stands “El Vacío,” a soaring piano-driven ballad lamenting the chasms that have formed between us and the rest of the world, staring into the existential abyss and climbing out one step at a time. – Richard Villegas

Bial Hclap – “Tus Latidos feat. Solitario Mondragón (Toy Selectah Remix)”

Veteran producer and DJ of the Mexican hip-hop scene, Guadalajara’s Bial Hclap has been updating the scene thanks to a constant supply of beats throughout the years. For “Tus Latidos,” Bial he connects with legend Toy Selectah to rework the track in his image, housing emcee Solitario Mondragón’s crude rhymes into constant rhythmic shifts from four-on-the-floor to trap and back. The result is a future-leaning track that will get you in the mood to party. — Marcos Hassan

Akim – “Facetime feat. Lyanno”

In “Facetime,” Akim gives closure to another year of his career filled with singles and features—a strategy that so far has been pushing the Panamian singer to the top-tiers of the Latin charts. The song’s laid-down, minimalist beat is a wide-open road for Akim’s mellow tones and Lyanno’s high-pitched falsettos. Melding together references as diverse as Burna Boy, Toy Story, GoPro, and Story, “Facetime” is a lovesong for a world ruled by screens and social media. – Felipe Maia