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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 back to La La Lista’s Monthly Music Roundup, where we share with you all our favorite songs to be released in the independent scene during the last month. Before we move any further, I’d like to take a moment to briefly acknowledge the absolute insanity of it already being July 2021. Just live with that for a moment. Let it really seep in. Do you feel it? The terror? The dread? Alright, then, we can proceed.
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.
Ruiseñora – “Tanta Data”
“Tanta Data” sees the return of local favorites Ruiseñora. The band previously caught the ears and hearts of our team here at LLL who patiently awaited the release of their first album back in 2019. The group returns after an almost 2-year hiatus with the groovy new single, making fans of their previous work all the more excited about the possibility of more new material. “Tanta Data” kicks off with bluesy heavy guitar and sluggish drums, with some influence of 60s girl-groups poking through. The song reaches a dreamy psychedelic rock distorted chorus, but going against the grain continues into a floaty verse with flute and synth changing the dynamic from that of a plodding blues number and charging into something far more ethereal. Also with munchkin-like background vocal stabs chanting, it would be hard not to be led down this yellow brick road.
Deportivo Alemán – “Veinticinco”
First and foremost, I have to admit I’m a sucker for a motorik beat. There’s something about the repetitiveness of it that gives the song an industrial, assembly-line feel that really hits the sweet spot for me. Coming on the heels of their 2020 EP Manifiesto, “Veinticinco,” the latest single from Temperley’s very own Deportivo Alemán, is one of those songs. Featured on the EP Negroless, the track perfectly marries dream pop with straight-out krautrock, launching listeners into the cosmos while keeping them anchored to the ground through its automatonlike electronic drums. Both catchy and entrancing, “Veinticinco” sounds like what would’ve happened if Indio Solari had grown up in Düsseldorf listening to Neu! records.
Chechi de Marcos – “Casi Nunca Entiendo Nada”
Some songs win you over as soon as you read the title. When I first heard of Chechi de Marcos’s “Casi Nunca Entiendo Nada,” it was when her acoustic performance of the song earned her top marks at last year’s #StayAtHome edition of the Camino a Abbey Road competition. The Entre Rios native has just released the studio version of the song, which builds on the original’s nervous energy, built over a stop-stutter guitar pattern, to create an wonderfully earwormy burst of weirdo pop. With the collaboration of Feli Colina and Esmeralda Escalante, the song reinforces the great first impression Chechi de Marcos left us with her previous single “Qué Te Hizo Ir.”
Pasajero Luminoso – “Bizcochuelo Maravilla”
I usually listen to music when I’m working. But since I work with words, it’s difficult for me to concentrate if I listen to tracks with lyrics. That’s when I turn to the cherished instrumental bands, and how I found Pasajero Luminoso and their most recent release, Pujol. Even though they released it back in April, I didn’t want it to go unnoticed. The quartet works with an assortment of sounds that have strong tinges of local chacarera, tango, rock and jazz. “Bizcochuelo Maravilla” is the first song of the album and a great way to introduce themselves, not only because it has an amazing name, but also because of its aesthetic. The song starts with a clean guitar that sets the tone, with a drum and a piano joining the mix, while the bass takes the lead and delivers a melody on which the rest of the song will continue to develop. It progresses until they present us with two exquisite piano and guitar solos. It creates a pleasant ambient full of enjoyable harmonic games and catchy melodies. Without any doubt, it is the best soundtrack for our working hours.
Emi Franji – “Hoy”
Claridad is the debut album of composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Emi Franji, who for years has been weaving their musical threads into the fabric of diverse corners of the local music scene, from the underground to stages as big as Luna Park. “Hoy” is the second of six songs, each one a gentle “caress of the soul,” as we say in Argentina. Emi speaks, both through their lyrics and the music upon which they are delicately cradled, of allowing oneself to be carried along through the lessons that life manifests from moment to moment; of opening oneself toward the horizon over which the sun spills itself on each round of its unending route, just like yesterday yet somehow always different; of submerging oneself in the boundless sea of what was, what is, and what is to come, all of which coexist within us on the omnipresent and unrepeatable day, of today.
Telefonema ft. Violenta Josefina – “Romper”
If there’s something Telefonema is good at, it’s applying their sonic palette to create uneasy, sometimes unnerving musical climates through the course of their tightly-wound pop songs. The duo, made up of Aleli Cheval and Gustavo Plaza, bursts back into the scene with the new album Mitad Metade, which presents their artistic identity more clearly and confidently defined than ever. “Romper,” the labrynthian slice of murky post-punk goodness that features Violenta Josefina, was a clear highlight for us: syncopated drum machines, cinematic synth lines, and creeping Bond-theme guitar arpeggios. The song is dark, oppressive, and mysterious in all the best ways. The irresistible hook in the chorus, punctuated by Violenta Josefina’s wordless vocalizations, really does feel like a lost outtake from the early 80s. And a wonderful one at that.
Carolina Donati ft. Jazmín Esquivel – “Culpable”
It’s been interesting to see the progression of Carolina Donati’s career, going from an acoustic-based singer-songwriter folk-based sound of her earliest work, through her pop experiments (such as her contribution to a Micro Discos compilation), the more more indie-pop leaning debut LP Lo Que Quedó, and now her second full-length album Arde. This new album is both a step forward and a reiteration of Carolina Donati’s interests as a songwriter: lilting melodies, hushed confessions, broad-strokes recollections of moments from across entire relationships to paint a wistful picture of what love is. This time, though, she explores these themes through a wider array of styles, incorporating elements of synth-pop and neo-soul into the mix, as well as some wilder aesthetic choices. For example: opening track “Culpable,” which features Jazmín Esquivel, is built around a delightfully off-kilter synth part that both serves as the main hook and the main destabilizing element for the song.
Tomi Porcelli – “Cuerpo”
After an album release of his previous band formerly known as De Menta, singer-songwriter Tomi Porcelli has been very active after joining the Elefante en La Habitación label. “Cuerpo” is his latest single and it captures the essence of this ever-evolving artist’s creative vision. The odd time signature and the emotional chord progression transform the tune into a sordid ballad about feeling aimless, detached, and essentially lost in one’s body. What initially seems to be an acoustic piano and guitar ballad quickly shifts into a beat-centered track with a myriad of deeply atmospheric effects such as a vocoder, pulsating bass synth lines, and stuttering glitch melodies. What’s so great about “Cuerpo” is its ability to combine elements you’d normally find in contemporary trap and make them work in the context of a relentlessly somber proggy ballad. It certainly makes us feel excited about Tomi Porcelli’s new artistic horizons. Some insider info teased us that an EP might be in the works. We’ll just have to patiently wait to see if these rumors materialize.
Pablo Neptuno – “El Eco Que Hizo Tu Voz (En Mí)”
“El Eco Que Hizo Tu Voz (En Mí)” is one of the most delightful throwbacks you’ll ever hear. It’s not a pastiche for the sake of nostalgia, attempting to tug at the heart-strings of a specific generation. Rather, it is a song that utilizes tropes, conventions, and sonic resources of a previous era to further its themes. Everything from its kinetic rhythmic base to its wobbly synths, the dash of vocoder that makes a quick cameo at the end, and lyrical lines that seem to unlock keyboard arpeggios like some kind of secret keyword. When we say Pablo Neptuno made perfect 80s pop song, we mean it in every sense of the word, and we say it as an enormous compliment.