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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!
It’s now November, which means we’re quickly approaching the end of the year, which means it’s almost time to start posting your “best albums of the year” lists. So if you’ve been slacking off on finding new music, here’s a list of excellent new tunes from the Argentine music scene that were released over the last month.
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.
Bonifacini – “Soy Yo”
Bruno Boni, also known as Bonifacini, encapsulates that really wavy indie that dominated the 2010s: a cool mixture of jangly guitars and ramshackle drums. Yet Boni has gone against the grain by offering a more poppy melodic vocal delivery compared to the usual slack dragging monotone plod offered by others who became synonymous in the space. “Soy Yo” is fun and bouncy, a subversion the sad-boy persona sometimes associated with this genre. Boni shows tremendous promise, and we are eagerly awaiting for an EP.
Carolina Zac – “Frágil”
Carolina Zac knows how to mine the sounds of millennial nostalgia. Listening to her stellar new album Posible, there are tracks where you’d be forgiven for thinking Ben Gibbard was about to swoop in and sing a line about the District sleeping alone tonight. There are also strong synthpop hooks and nods to after-hours 80s bangers. But this isn’t a mere collection of familiar sounds; through the course of 36 perfect minutes, Posible takes the listener through nightlife ruminations of the duality between introspection and danceability. Carolina Zac understands that these are not opposing forces, and that they often go together. It’s what usually results in the most memorable nights.
Costas – “Cacao”
Since the release of their genre-defying first album Disecciones in 2017, Costas has been consistently challenging our preconceptions of what it means to make pop music in this day and age. By blurring the limits between traditional song structure and sheer experimentation, the band achieves a truly unique and personal sound; a sound that’s simultaneously ethereal and grounded, comforting yet unpredictable. Take, for instance, “Cacao,” their latest single: the first part of the track features lead singer Juanjo Bordenave’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics set to a bed of synth swells and organ. On the other hand, the second half is instrumental and brimming with arrangements and textures, each one subtly and gradually introduced with clinical precision, only to appear once and then vanish in thin air as if in a reverie. With “Cacao,” Costas has once again proved that you can let your freak flag fly and still make catchy, forward-thinking earworms.
Emily And – “El Calor y la Velocidad”
The last time we checked in with singer-songwriter Emily And, it was in the punky and viscerally immediate “Mom, Are You A Robot?” y Otras Dudas Existenciales Falopas de Cuarentena, an album whose jagged edges and tonal shifts reflected the curious uncertainty we felt during the early days of the pandemic. Just before that, she’d released the bare-bones, acoustic and confessional Alquimia. And now with her new single “El Calor y la Velocidad,” we find her fronting a synth-laden indie-pop track complete with synthetic beats and her trademark self-harmonizing. Despite the aesthetic shifts between these projects, Emily And remains as true to her artistic voice as ever, and this winsome pop single about taking emotional cues from changing seasons is a testament to that.
Fervors – “Grey Age”
Listening to a new Fervors single feels a bit like snuggling up with your favorite comforter. “Grey Age” is the first single of their much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Ortúzar and the band sounds as dreamy and nebulous as ever. And though the song is identifiably poppy, it’s also slightly askew, sporting a decidedly math-rock-sounding guitar hook and a 6/4 time signature. The discreet breaks between sections are punctuated by what sounds like melodic conversations between the guitars and various synth lines, with vocalist Evy Duskey cutting through with lyrics about anxiety and isolation. We missed them tremendously, but maybe it’s good that we had “a little space to make the heart grow fonder.”
Linxes – “Entender”
Los Restos de lo Que Transformé is the new EP by up-and-coming duo Linxes and it’s a lovely listen from start to finish. But while the first four songs offer up-and-mid-tempo indie rock tracks with clearly discernable melodies and thoughtful arrangements, its closer “Entender” slows things way down. The band appears to give in to their shoegazey impulses, with roaring guitars accompanying the mournful vocalizations that serve as the song’s chorus… before it all falls apart and is reborn as a kinetic guitar freakout with frenzied drumming under a beautifully unnerving vocoder. This song takes you places, and for that reason it’s one of our favorite songs of the month.
Medalla Milagrosa – “Confesional”
We don’t usually cover two singles from an upcoming album. But seeing as it’s been 3 years since Medalla Milagrosa‘s last full-length release (Fantasía Peligro, 2018), and both songs are extremely strong, we couldn’t help ourselves here. Channeling the most tender side of Spiritualized and Galaxie 500, supported by soft harmonies and melodic guitar trills, “Confesional” continues the reflective musings of lead single “Rival.” Lead singer and principal songwriter Fabián Tripi is in his finest form here – his voice is plaintive and warm, inviting us to occupy a kneeler in his private sonic chapel.
Nan Que – “Ya Sé”
With his heart in his hands, producer, singer, and songwriter Nan Que presents Viuti, (pronounced like “Beauty”), an exquisite pop tapestry, painstakingly crafted with unique and ingenious sounds and textures which converse back and forth across the seven tracks that make up the artist’s debut album. Viuti brings us something undoubtedly fresh and one-of-a-kind, derived from a spectrum of aesthetic influences on which we can identify the pop of Argentina’s beloved Miranda, the electro-hyperpop of Charlie XCX, and the experimental goth-pop of Billie Eilish, as well as contemporary Argentine indie and trap. The wonderful little world of Nan Que traps us in a strange intersection between the cute and the creepy; it carries us from tantrum to empowerment and back again several times, sometimes calmly and other times hysterically, always vulnerable, and never without a earworm-worthy hook. “Ya sé”, which features Mechi Moreno and Mermelada de Morcilla, is the fifth song on the album, and one of the ones that aesthetically falls more on the lighter side of this “beauty” of an album.
Valen Bonetto – “Al Florecer”
“Al Florecer” off of Valen Bonetto’s recently released sophomore record OTRX II is an emotionally potent zamba that ties into the narrative of Valen’s musical repertoire: liberation and acceptance of oneself in a way that asks no question nor approval. It’s a declaration of freedom and a guitar-based tune that oozes with a positive outlook. Valen’s crisp and clear voice fuses with string arrangements that can be real tearjerkers at certain points of the track, specifically the instrumental interludes and the chorus. The subtle guitar embellishments during the verses are also one of the highlights and they are tastefully peppered throughout the almost 5-minute long song. Perhaps the greatest thing about the track is how it coud easily be a great entry point for those who are not familiar with folklore since it plays to folklore’s strengths and although it doesn’t necessarily step outside of these conventions, it manages to tell a tale that resonates with anybody who’s gone through a rough patch in their lives and it does a great job of being cathartic in that regard. We encourage anyone to not only listen to this tune but also OTRX II in its entirety since Valen Bonetto surely knows how to offer a fresh take on traditional argie folklore.