Monthly Music Roundup | May 2022

Para leer la versión en español de este artículo, hacé clic acá.

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, the only place on the Internet where you’ll find our specific selections from the Argentine independent music scene. Yes, you might find other people’s selections elsewhere, but this is the only place you’ll find ours.

It’s been a fertile period for local musicians, and this month we have everything from punk to sludgy blues-rock to the weirdest freaky rap song you’re likely to hear anytime soon.

Remember: we do this (just about) 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.

Oh, and as an added bonus, do you want to actually hear us talk about these songs (in Spanish)? You can hear us on this podcast episode of Nuevos Pero Rotos, which originally aired in Buenos Aires on Radio Colmena this week. Check it out on Spotify above or, as the ads say, wherever you get your podcasts. On to the songs!

Natalia Spiner – “El Truco”

What does “liberty” sound like in 2022? We venture it might sound like the gnawing, purring vocal sample that serves as the common sonic thread for Natalia Spiner’s “El Truco,” the second leading single from her forthcoming album Natrum. The macabre chorus – deboned, distorted, rearranged, and autotuned – dips in and out of the glassy groove of the track. Spiner’s silky smooth vocals accompany the listener on their “paisaje raro,” providing a cool contrast to the crooning saxophones, trilling arpeggiators, and organic drums keeping the pace. Impeccably co-produced with GULI and Moreu (whose influence is felt in the best possible way) – it lends itself to infinite looping, preferably while you crawl across a carpet in a dimly lit room, or maybe saunter the streets at night. 

Furioses ft. Jaz Pimentel – “Picantear”

And the truth is that we can’t even walk down the street, let alone venture out to play music, without having to endure a few shitty giles and shitty situations in which we are violated, we are ignored, we are disrespected, we are mansplained the basics of the trade; they take advantage of us, they shit on us and they don’t get their comeuppance. And when we’ve had enough and we can’t help the urge to make fun of them, we’re the ones who are out of line? “Picantear” is one of four punkish songs designed to keep the assholes at bay and which make up the tracklist of Furioses, a collaborative album that brings together the voices of several singers from the local underground scene. This track features Jaz Pimentel, singer-songwriter and member of the band Les Presentes, and fierce detractor of giles bolicheros who seek to run their business based on the unpaid work of independent musicians who bring people to their venues.

Ambassador – “Insatisfacción”

What is rock music if not a tool to vent about unhappiness, frustration, and toil? Ever since the bloody, screaming birth of rockn’roll somewhere in the 1950s, bands have taken the foundations of blues and distorted them nearly beyond recognition to let some steam off. The mighty Ambassador, a band that’s been cranking out tunes with deep grooves and saturated amps since 2014, return with a brand new album titled Insatisfacción. The title track says all that needs to be said.

Carolina Donati & YAGO – “Te Extraño”

It’s been fun watching Carolina Donati’s career progress, each new release representing a step forward in her aesthetic and artistic identity. After releasing one of the best albums of 2021 with ARDE, her new single “Te Extraño” — a collaboration with Ainda’s YAGO — is a sweetly melancholic track. As the name implies, it’s about missing someone dearly, but more specifically about the little details of it — the differences in time zones, the changing of seasons, and the many ways in which one feels a little less than whole during a significant other’s extended absence. A beautiful little tune for a gray winter morning. 

Santi Grandone – “Durmiendo Mal”

We’ve all been there. That horrific feeling of being extremely tired but also somehow utterly unable to fall asleep. The way nights stretch into eternities as you pass through brief little windows of sleep which are usually interrupted by your own overactive brain. Feeling like you’re letting vital parts of yourself go. Santi Grandone’s “Durmiendo Mal” is a great track because it manages to capture this feeling lyrically and musically while remaining a tuneful piece of bedroom pop. Big fans of this one. 

El Féral – “Olas de Amor”

This project by musician Fernando De Marco provides a lot of variety while taking you on a journey where this variety gels together perfectly and effortlessly. This is certainly is proved further with the recent release of his new album QUEMALO. A spacey heavy reverb guitar line reminiscent of jangle pop meets you at the beginning of the track “Olas de Amor” before taking a complete U-turn and pulling to the side of the road to cruise along to a sexy pacing beat, with delicate key stabs pulling you towards a beautiful and warm string section. Marco’s soulful voice works to bring about a jazzy, funky pop track with elements of psychedelia. The rest of the album is also phenomenal and well worth checking out.

Nahuel Briones & Fernando Kabusacki – “Todo es de Fuego”

After an extensive touring period with a new band formation, Nahuel Briones has been releasing a string of singles following his album El Nene Minado. One of those releases is “Todo Es de Fuego,” a powerful and imposing track featuring Nahuel’s singular approach to melody and welcome use of grim metaphors. The dry and syncopated drums contrast starkly against the juicy and playful bassline that jumps around the verse’s all-encompassing 12-string guitar lines  Fernando Kabusacki’s ambient and EDM background helps give the track a chaotic vibe as his soaring distorted guitar wails and Nahuel and Carolina Basso meld their voices in haunting harmony near the tail-end of the song.  While it’s been confirmed that “Todo Es de Fuego” won’t be part of Nahuel’s soon-to-be-released third album, it’s always enjoyable to see Nahue and Fernando join forces and venture into these more atmospheric and borderline menacing tunes.  

Lionel Demian Celaya – “Pasti Smith”

In the span of roughly four minutes, Lionel Demián Celaya namedrops La Mona Jiménez, sorta raps about having brain soup to a vaguely trap-inspired beat, and tops it off with pun of dubious quality during the chorus. That is “Pasti Smith” in a nutshell, Celaya’s first single as a solo artist (or at least the only one we could find online). But there’s more to it than my half-assed description could ever convey. A Frankenstein of sorts, “Pasti Smith” was assembled by Celaya with the help of longtime collaborator Nahuel Briones and features a beat programmed by Mariana Michi. Additionally, the man behind the song’s kooky synth sounds is none other than synthesizer guru Ernesto Romeo, known for his work with electronic music trio Klauss. If you’re not sold yet, please make yourself a favor and watch its accompanying video. As we would say here, “no tiene desperdicio.”

Every month, we ask a musician from the local scene to pick a favorite recent release they want to share. This month, we asked the great singer-songwriter Agathe Cipres.

Melile – “Piel”

Piel is a very horny song, but it’s also quite romantic, in a way that doesn’t fall into the cliché descriptions of romantic love. The production reminds me of the R&B I used to listen to as a teenager, minimalist but at the same time full of surprises, as Melile’s music usually is. The harmony of the song is beautiful and the melodies and guitar riffs are exceptional. I love that it makes reference to Nazca Avenue near which I lived for quite some time.

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