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Written by the La La Lista Music Writers staff: Evy Duskey, Jorge Farah, Jamie Larson, Emilyann McKelvey, Ezequiel Mancilla, Pablo Pérez, Margaux Williams.
Welcome once more to La La Lista’s Monthly Music Roundup, the only monthly column on the Internet that gives you a run-down of the best new tracks in the Argentine independent music scene. Well, there are almost certainly other columns that do this, but ours is unquestionably the very best.
So scroll down, click play, listen along as we wax poetic on our favorite recent releases. Despite of the absolute dumpster fire that we’ve lived through for the last year, the Argentine independent music scene has absolutely stepped up and released stunner after stunner.
Remember: we do this every month, so click here if you want to check out our selections from past months. You really should, because they’re really good. And one last thing — are you an artist? Do you have a recent release that you think we absolutely should check out? Hit us up on Instagram, or by emailing [email protected]. There are no guarantees that we’ll pick it for the column, but we will listen with open eyes and open hearts.
Pequeño Bambi – “Por Que Te Vas”
Pequeño Bambi is one of our favorite finds in recent memory. The ferocious five-piece brings a unique blend of punk rock energy with a theatricality and exuberant youthfulness that is more than refreshing. Their debut self-titled full-length album, released by Goza Records, opens with a punkified and gleefully confrontational cover of Alaska y Dinarama’s 80s hit “A Quien Le Importa,” setting the tone for the rest of the album. But it was track two, their thrilling cover of Jeanette’s 70s pop radio staple “Por Que Te Vas,” which immediately captured our imagination. Alternating between vaguely ska-tinged verses and power-chord chug-along choruses, the group manages to turn the song into an absolute rave-up while maintaining the vulnerable prettiness of its plaintive melody. One for the mosh pit.
Lalalas – “Flemari”
Rosario has always been a hotbed of musical artists – from renowned rock nacional figureheads such as Litto Nebbia and Fito Páez to more recent bands like Queridas, Mi Nave, and Matilda, the city’s music exports can give the porteño indie scene a run for their money. The same could be said about Lalalas, the latest addition to Lagunera Discos’ roster. Their music recalls the work of early New Order or Kraftwerk mixed with Los Encargados – a goth-tinged technopop that will make you wanna hit the dance floor while simultaneously sending chills down your spine. This quality is more present than ever on their first single of 2021, the icy “Flemari.” Featuring a plethora of analog synths and drum machines, the track marks a significant departure in style from their earlier releases, speeding up the tempo and trading atmosphere for textures. All in all, the move pays off for the duo of Florencia Vera and Catalina Lacelli, who offer a great teaser of their upcoming album to be released sometime during this year.
Melanie Williams & El Cabloide – “Mikelbjork”
There are few things more gratifying for music writers than when an artist’s superb singles are followed by the release of a thoroughly solid album — which is the case in Somos 2. While album opener “Mikelbjork” was not among the anticipatory singles, it immediately caught our attention with its varied sonic landscapes and the playfulness we’ve come to expect from Melanie Williams & El Cabloide. Kicking things off with rich, warm cascades of arpeggiated guitar, the first movement is a kaleidoscopic river of jazz-funk molasses with just enough string-bending pop hooks to keep things grounded. The groove continues for two minutes before it is gently interrupted with a sampled Bjork interview where the famous pop musician muses about Christmas and Iceland. Things pick up again with the raucous outro, where Melanie’s vocals bring it all back home, backed by a wall of jammy guitars and dancey drums.
Delfina Campos – “El Astronauta”
Delfina Campos provides a sneak peek at her upcoming debut album with “El Astronauta,” a gorgeously languid slice of otherworldly pop. With its sweetly lilting melody and assortment of strange and unusual sounds, there’s a beautiful melancholy to this spacey tune. As the track goes on, the instrumentation only gets weirder, sounding like a distant radio signal that is breaking into your frequency as your surroundings start to turn increasingly unfamiliar. The song really does evoke the image of an astronaut gliding placidly along through the cosmos, untethered from whatever machinery kept him fastened to his vessel, unsure of what he’s about to find but, at long last, at peace with it.
La Piba Berreta – “Yoyaki”
After garnering a cult following with her band Lxs Rusxs Hijxs de Putx, vocalist and frontwoman La Piba Berreta kicks off her solo career with an ambitious project: her very own movie-album. She’s released two singles and videos labeled as chapters, with “Yoyaki” being the most recent release. La Piba Berreta seems to be channeling the forces of singalong indie-punk with tinges of Viagra Boys-esque and Amyl and The Sniffers arrangements, which feature simple chord structures backed by lush and spacey synth lines that blur the line between synthesized modulated sounds and actual string instruments being played through multiple layers of chorus and distortion. As regards the lyrical content, La Piba Berreta talks about conformity and desire while seemingly painting herself as someone who’d be much happier if she had “better thoughts” but still manages to abandon all semblance of solemnity when she sings that she wants a neighbor who shares weed and wifi with her. “Yoyaki” sets the stage for La Piba Berreta’s nascent solo venture and we’re certainly here for it.
Flor Iribarne – “Cerca”
“Cerca” is a song off Flor Iribarne‘s new EP Ilusiones Necesarias. Produced in collaboration with Paco Leiva, all three tracks feel like an underwater dive into a world of pure emotion; “Radar” is almost shoegaze in its sonics and construction, and we almost decided to pick that one to feature here. But upon further listening, it was the laid-back charms of “Cerca,” with its immaculate pop composition and layers upon layers of found sounds, that ultimately won us over. There’s a chilled-out quality to the track that feels very much like being suspended in thin air for its entire duration, but its elegant piano line and ghostly background vocals keep us from being too comfortable throughout. The chorus recalls, of all things, “Volare,” with its gently unwinding melody. But the fact that it’s backed by this gorgeous bed of shuffling microbeats and warm, full keyboards makes it its own unique experience.
Dharma y Flora – “El Recuerdo”
Indie soft pop aficionados Dharma y Flora return with their latest track “El Recuerdo.” The Buenos Aires based outfit have shown nods to early 80’s & 90’s contemporaries in the past; however, their latest outing finds them jumping forward, carving out a crisp sharp track reminiscent of a more modern age with a sprinkling of funk. The driving four-to-the-floor rhythm keeps things bouncing along with toe-tapping delight, while trumpets play a prominent role in complementing the smooth soulful voice of Luciano Scattini (also, brass sections need to be more prominent in pop… just saying!). The breakdown is easily one of the stand out aspects, stripping everything back to its bare bones allowing you to appreciate the layers of slick production and musicality embedded within the short and sweet track. Without a doubt this is aimed at being a shameless summer song with all the components to set the scene for the perfect road trip or stroll through Bosques del Palermo.
CyberAngel – “La Era Sintetica”
In keeping with the apocalyptic, dystopian, 4.0 revolution vibes that have pervaded today’s music (and, well, today’s reality), Rosario artist CyberAngel has released “La Era Sintética” (the synthetic era). The single, their first release since their debut LP El Vuelo Del Águila Midi (Flight of the midi eagle), released last year, dropped at the end of March, along with its accompanying music video, inspired by the animated series Serial Experiments Lain. The lyrics tell a story we are all too familiar with, a screen-fueled fantasy coated in existential doubt and longing. Ambient sounds and calculated textural changes in the arrangement create a narrative-like dynamic landscape built in to the song’s structure. An acute and penetrating sense of yearning is present in the vocal takes. But despite being quite dark around the edges, this song manages to be fun, somewhat danceable, and even a little sassy at the same time.