Another month passes by and we’re still stuck inside. If you had given us a thousand guesses, we still would have never been able to predict that 2020 would shake out this way. It’ll be fun to look back on our early-January posts, full of hope and optimism and affirmations about how “this is my year — I can feel it.” A lesson in perspective!
Regardless, the way people have been looking out for each other and finding ways to ameliorate the crisis has been nothing short of heartening. And the fact that excellent music continues to be released has helped us swallow this particularly bitter pill. So, like every month, we’re here to tell you about the local releases that have caught our attention.
Also, click here if you want to check out our selections from past months. You really should, because they’re really good.
Las Cosas Que Pasan – “Limón y Mayonesa”
Mendoza’s garage-tinged power-poppers Las Cosas Que Pasan are back with their follow up to 2018’s triumphant Fundiendo Todo; “Limón y Mayonesa” is a powerful, anthemic, effortlessly catchy number that straddles the line between futbol-stadium singalong and weird desert-rock freakout jam; the big wash of guitars is broken up by the sound of distant transmissions breaking in through the amplifiers, a glitchy touch that contributes to the song’s off-kilter appeal.
Fin Del Mundo – “La Distancia”
Fin del Mundo, a four-piece all-woman indie/post-rock group formed by two former members of Boedo, released their self-titled debut EP this month through Anomalía. “La Distancia” is the penultimate of four dreamy, meticulously structured tracks that bring the listener on a journey through Patagonia-inspired emotional landscapes. One of the great things about this track is that, although the instrumental arrangements are the focal point, the vocals are intelligible in the mix, and not drowned out by delay as tends to happen in this genre. Layered overlapping guitar riffs and prudently utilized pedal effects fade in and out creating a dynamic reminiscent of a wave as it builds and crests. The vibe is calm, but in constant motion. The feeling is nostalgia, bitter-sweet melancholia coupled with tentative optimism.
Solo Juan – “El Tren”
Don’t you love it when you discover a band, and then they keep releasing good sh**? Two months ago, the villamarienses Solo Juan were brought to our attention with their charming single “Jupiter.” Their follow-up “El Tren” trades in the krauty indie beat of the previous release for jazzy percussion and a meandering vocal that bounces off the softly squaring keyboards until it peels off into a loose, loungey place where the song finally settles down to sleep. Thanks, fellas.
Alelí Cheval – “Os Estrangeiros”
Brazilian-Argentine singer-songwriter Alelí Cheval (one half of Telefonema) returns with a solo offering that harkens back to mid-90s trip-hop; its steady medicine-drip beat punctuates the slow swells of synth strings and elegant James-Bond-theme guitars, accompanying Cheval’s plaintive vocal performance. It feels like being suspended in space as time itself crawls to a brief halt, picking back up after the song’s abrupt closing.
Pablo Caputto – “Voy a Dejar de Amarte”
I’m going to stop loving you. I’m going to stop thinking about you. I am going to stop pinning all my hopes and dreams on a single human person. I am going to stop this cycle of falling apart. I am going to reshuffle my stupid living room. I am going to take refuge in funk guitars and horn sections. I am going to climb the tallest mountain and reclaim my life in a triumphant and heavily distorted saxophone solo. I am going to lie to myself, repeatedly, with no concern to my long-term mental well-being, hoping that the keyboard flourishes obscure my faltering resolve.
La Negra Nieves – “Todo Lo Que Quieras”
On “Todo Lo Que Quieras,” nine-piece, all-female band La Negra Nieves trade in their usual funk and soul tendencies for a more urgent, indie rock-oriented sound without losing any of the mystery or sensuality of their previous work. The song, featuring overtly sexual lyrics and prominent guitars, finds the group experimenting with a new sound palette that seamlessly alternates between the groovy demeanor of their first album (the eponymous La Negra Nieves) and a harsher, more dissonant aesthetic. Brass arrangements are present throughout the entire song, adding delicate little flourishes that provide a perfect counterpoint to the track’s more angular elements. The single might represent a departure from the band’s incipient yet fascinating oeuvre but it’s also a testament to La Negra Nieves’s defiant, genre-bending versatility.
Dulsemarinita – “Más Mimos”
Dulsemarinita, Marina Verduci’s eclectic and multifaceted alter ego surprises us with an out-of-nowhere single release on the heels of her debut Del Museo de Los Monstruos. On “Más Mimos,” Dulse’s warm tone takes us through what seems at first like a dark and somber song with the lyrics “ayer, estaba muy triste, no entendía la vida“. With slight harmonic detours, the song suggests a change of mood, and then the tune takes a sudden turn, just as sudden as the protagonist’s realization that she can certainly ask for more mimos. A funky guitar and a wild arpeggiated synth solo kick the song into high gear. Halfway through the song, Dulse compares cuddles to other creature comforts like chocolate and carbohydrates; it’s nice to get such a playful song about the importance of physical contact in times of isolation. On that front, and many others, Dulsemarinita delivers.
Emily And – “Ni Miedos Ni Nimiedades”
Emily And (yes, one of our very own — sue us) has been releasing music left and right. It’s no surprise that her latest album Alquimia is punched with those same intelligent, bilingual songs that get stuck in our heads for days. With mesmerizing harmonies and a cutting realness to her lyrics the acoustic album centers around a very timely subject: the battle to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. In “Ni Miedos Ni Nimiedades” we are pulled into the singer’s world and reminded that we’re not in this battle all alone and that even small victories are worth celebrating.
Antonia Navarro – “Remedio”
Chilean-born, La Plata-based singer-songwriter Antonia Navarro‘s take on the dream-pop subgenre is nothing less than immersive. It’s fitting, then, that her hypnotic new single “Remedio” is one of two songs we’re highlighting this month that feature a body immersed in water in its cover art. This deeply compelling tune takes you by the hand and, through expertly deployed production flourishes, brings you deeper and deeper into its hazy sonic landscape. There is an instrumental break towards the end of the track that manages to sound like a glitched-out synthwave take on the Donkey Kong Country underwater theme. Believe us, we mean that in the best possible way.
Poseidótica and Marina Fages – “Chica Rutera”
Every once in a while, it’s good to revisit a gem that originally went underappreciated. That seems to have been the logic behind re-releasing this explosive collaboration by Marina Fages and Poseidótica, originally recorded for an obscure compilation album back in 2016, and plucked out of obscurity by American record label Toys of the Masses. This brutal cover of El Mató a Un Policía Motorizado’s fuzzy “Chica Rutera” kicks off with a crushed 8-bit synth bass reminiscent of what you’d hear emitting from an Atari cartridge, leading into a thumping bass line driven by washed-out double-time hi-hats; then, instead of transitioning into the nostalgic summery strums heard on the original, they take you on a psychedelic journey with Fages’s vocals mirroring the angst of early 90’s grunge. This cover becomes increasingly chaotic, with the listener being kicked in the teeth by Fages’s guttural screams and the band’s sludgy precision, cementing this collaboration as one of those perfect musical matches you want to see more of.