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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, Julián Alejo Sosa, Margaux Williams.
Welcome to a new installment of La La Lista’s Monthly Music Roundup, where we turn to music to aid us in time of government-imposed curfews. Whatever is happening out in the world, we know there’s always new and exciting music happening in the Argentine independent music scene, and that’s no small thing. Here are some of our favorites from the month of April 2021.
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.
La Negra Nieves – “Mistereo”
Not much is known about La Negra Nieves besides the fact that they hail from Buenos Aires’ Zona Oeste and they’re a seven-piece, all-girl band with a penchant for dishing out funky, soulful tunes. Their latest single, the aptly-titled “Mistereo,” is, without a doubt, an allusion to both their elusive nature and their lush sonorities. It is also another teaser for their upcoming sophomore effort Después del Aire, which should be released sometime this year. Unlike their previous single, 2020’s overtly sexual “Todo Lo Que Quieras,” “Mistereo” offers a different brand of intimacy. A portmanteau of “misterio” and “stereo,” the track does justice to its title – it is best appreciated when listened to on a good set of headphones and dim lighting. From its opening lines, the song itself is an open invite to soul searching with its low-key funky instrumentation and its subtle brass flourishes serving as a velvety backdrop to the introspective lyrics. Approaching the end of the song, a sax solo and a plucked acoustic guitar signal the end of the journey, almost vanishing in a haze of smoke.
Club de Haters – “Todo Lo Que Quieras”
The Club de Haters album La Catástrofe es Universal made a real impression of us, earning a spot on our list of Best Local Albums of 2020. We were overjoyed to find out that the group was quickly following it up with new material. “Todo Lo Que Quieras” is just about everything we would want in a follow-up: a bolder, more confident and fully-formed version of their vision, bringing their trademark dreamy melodic naivete to a louder, more assertive, more propulsive shoegaze-inspired instrumental bed; it is a loud, it is ethereal, it is deceptively hooky, and it feels like it’s washing right over you before abruptly ending. A beautiful blast of bliss from the Trelew natives.
Fanzine – Untitled 4th track from Homo Gamer
Like many other bands squirreling away music while in hibernation and accumulating a back catalogue of tightly produced albums and EPs, Fanzine have come out with their latest offering Homo Gamer. The band have always had a penchant for instrumental tracks and brilliantly this is a fully fledged escape into that realm with no boundaries, barriers, or bullshit. By this point you’re probably wondering, why have I not mentioned a title? Well, because there isn’t one. The EP is one whole glorious track with interludes breaking into different themes and emotive cadence which catches you by surprise at each turn. My selection is the final “track” resting at 9:10, launching at great velocity without warning into a hopeful psychedelic pop rock number with beautifully phrased fuzzy jangly guitar, walking bass lines and beautiful washy drums. (God damn it’s catchy) The space felt in the recording makes every repeated listen feel like you’re sitting in the rehearsal room couch with them as everyone one vibes off the shared infectious melody… and then it stops. It’s as if the band knows that you want, and yet all good things must come to an end.
La Piba Berreta – “Loba”
If you go to La Piba Berreta’s Spotify profile, you will find a playlist entitled “Para andar en bici,” with a topless photo of La Piba herself. In a way, there’s no more fitting introduction to the former singer from Los Rusos Hijos de Puta’s musical sensibilities, put on full display with her latest release Golpe de (M) Suerte. The album as a whole is a 10-song dash through whimsy and riotous noise, at times aggressively dissonant and at others undeniably playful. In the leading single “Loba,” she appears to be channeling something of the late Rosario Blefari’s song of almost the same name. Slightly atonal and relentlessly upbeat, it’s perfect for making noodle arms while racing your bike through the near-empty streets right before curfew every night.
Gladyson Panther – “Copypaste”
“Copypaste” is the 6th of 12 tracks on Gladyson Panther’s latest album Pop del Futuro y del Presente (Pop of the Future and of the Present). A collaboration with co-producers and featured artists Lusio and Takadanobaba, it’s three minutes of edgy, angry shit-talking over a grime-y trap beat, with a noise-inspired interlude thrown in the mix (in case you were getting too comfortable). Sometimes you look around and realize that the music industry is chock-full of marginally-talented rich kids making mediocre music, paying for Spotify plays, fake Instagram followers, and cohesive brand identity and marketing strategies. And they’re out here getting their “big break” while sick-ass DIY musicians who’ve been putting out awesome lofi records for years…well, all they get is a stupid paragraph in an independent online magazine. Having a positive attitude is great, most of the time, but sometimes you just gotta hate. And if you can do it in a song, more power to you. Check out our recent interview with Gladyson Panther here.
Maikidd – “Húmedo”
Part of the alternative rock group Para No Morir, the Buenos Aires artist known as Maikidd is turning to a wholy different direction for her solo work. Featuring a decidedly dark, synth-heavy sound that reminds us of a more krautrock-inspired Grimes or FKA Twigs, the new track “Húmedo” pops and glitches and buzzes and hums above a hypnotic synth beat. A faint keyboard serves as our main instrumental throughline, as Maikidd adds to the beautifully disquieting cacophony with her own gasps and grunts in addition to her lyrics, which are at times abstract and at times surprisingly direct. A very tactile song, and one of the best things we’ve heard all year.
El Tony – “Campeonxs”
My first exposure to the new release by Antonio Hurtado, better known as El Tony, was a sensorial journey. The first thing that caught my attention about the song was its structure: a moving train in which you gently wobble with the swaying of the notes. The song starts with some very striking synthesizers and already the first chord produces a certain tension that feels like it remains unresolved. Then the rest of the instruments pop up: constant drums and a minimalist bass and guitar that provide a firm harmonic base to the voice. We also have a synthesizer that creates a watery atmosphere, contrasting with the harshness of the rest of the instruments. It is a non-stop journey full of tension and release, a duality also present in the lyrics. Later, he provides an exquisite trumpet solo on a delicious harmonic base. The song also has an animated video clip made by El Baile de los Salvajes, with whom we did an interview that you can read here. Without a doubt, it’s one of those songs that serves to accompany us during those moments when we feel we can do no right and find very little to love about ourselves.
Agathe Cipres – “Presa”
French-born, Argentina-residing Agathe Cipres has stuck the landing in her latest EP. As with most great records, the opener track “Presa” goes hard in both the songwriting structure and the production quality. The song starts with a pulsating synth arpeggio in a very 80’s synthwave style and builds an ever-growing tension as Agathe’s voice playfully bounces around the walls of ambient guitar swells. The buildup comes to a blissful and expansive climax where a mix of layered trumpets and effect pads explode while a booming, sluggish drumbeat seals the deal. There’s loads of little easter eggs for those who love to indulge in active listening as during the tail end of the tune, there’re even some faint 8-bit keyboards embellishing the song’s last movements. “Presa” is a very physical experience in how all its parts have a swagger to them: the tamer parts of the song feel like a slow climb up a mountain while the release comes in a surmounting and unhinged chorus which will have you muttering “damn” at least once. Check out our recent interview and artist profile of Agathe Cipres here.
Belun – “Quemas”
The new Belun album El Fin De La Comedia is a wonderful smattering of funk, indie rock, neo-soul and synth-pop sounds. Rarely does it linger long enough on a specific aesthetic to comfortably qualify it as such. And it’s all the stronger for it. Featuring collaborations with artists such as GULI (that track, “Jóven,” is itself worth checking out), the Córdoba native delivers an incredible and invigorating album that is a thrill to listen to from start to finish. But there is something about the repeated synth hook of the track “Quemas” that reminds us of M83 and thus has become permanently lodged in our brains. An extremely catchy piece of ear-candy pop.