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Hello, friends of La La Lista! Welcome to the weather-confused Argentine winter, when the question about whether to take a light jacket or a large one looms large in Argentine’s heads as they’re holding on for dear life due to the political twists and turns that the election season brings. Amidst the chaos, we find solace in one constant: the unwavering brilliance of Argentina’s independent music scene. And so, we bring to you another edition of our Monthly Music Roundup, reminding us all that amidst the chaos, music endures.
Our indefatigable La La Lista Music Staff explores the vast expanse of Argentina’s indie scene every month to curate the freshest tracks. Once we’ve discovered these auditory treasures, we compile them into a list that’s as rich and colorful as our vibrant country, designed to bring a bit of rhythm to your bustling life.
For June, we have carefully selected an array of musical gems that embody the spirit and versatility of the scene we love so. As the political and economic drama unfolds, our local musicians respond with creations spanning from energetic punk anthems to soul-stirring ballads, and daringly experimental compositions.
So, grab your headphones and prepare to embark on a mesmerizing journey through the enchanting landscape of Argentine independent music. And remember, we do this fairly often, so don’t hesitate to explore our past roundups for even more auditory gems.
If you’re an artist with a hot-off-the-press release that you believe deserves our ears, reach out to us on Instagram or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. While we can’t guarantee your track will make the cut, rest assured we’ll give it a listen with eager ears and open hearts.
Proyector Escalante – “Liverpool”
Sure, Proyector Escalante‘s single “Liverpool” first came out in 2022, but we’re using this as an opportunity to talk about their excellent album as a whole, an enthralling testament to their musical evolution. Comprising the dynamic duo of Luigi Escalante and Lola Grosz, the band has undergone a dramatic transformation since their early days. Their distinct blend of vintage Latin pop and sychedelic rock comes into full bloom in this track. Seamlessly weaving elements of 80’s soft rock into their traditionally eclectic soundscape, they successfully evoke an air of matured poise.
The engaging structuring of the song is a sight to behold, complete with unexpected time changes and melodies that serve as a captivating auditory journey. Adding to the intrigue, the band skillfully detours down different time signatures, luring the listener into an immersive sonic landscape. The beats are brilliantly tight, interlocking seamlessly with the rhythmic strumming of the acoustic guitar, offering nostalgic nods to their past work before launching into yet another dreamy bridge.
Their previous work showcased their unique fusion of rock, indie pop, and Latin American rhythms, as well as their explorations of self-discovery and introspection. “Liverpool” continues this musical discourse, standing out with its upbeat, hopeful tone, and brimming with love, positive vibes, and dreamy undertones. Unlike the bustling Merseyside county city from which it borrows its name, Proyector Escalante’s ‘Liverpool’ serves as a vibrant and uplifting celebration of their artistic journey and evolution
Mujer Cebra – “Y No Me Digan Nada”
Released two years after their debut album, Mujer Cebra‘s “Y No Me Digan Nada” teases their forthcoming album and signifies an intriguing evolution in their sound and approach. The band, who have been making waves in the national alternative rock scene, have outdone themselves with this single, steeping the verses in the profound influence of Peruvian poet César Vallejo to explore themes of mental alienation.
As the track kicks off, listeners are met with an explosion of punky guitar chords that swiftly make room for a rhythmic, bouncy bassline. The melodies nod to the infectious energy of 80s indie rock, transporting listeners to a bygone era while retaining Mujer Cebra’s unique modern touch. As the song unfolds, the chorus takes flight, its soaring melody imbued with a poignant sound that stirs the soul. The band masterfully manipulates dynamics throughout the track, transitioning from raw intensity to moments of emotional introspection, thereby painting a rich, multifaceted sonic landscape.
“Y No Me Digan Nada” also serves as an emotional outlet for the band. Frontman Santiago Piedra describes the song as an “emergency brake” in the face of life’s tumultuous whirlwinds. Despite numerous challenges, Mujer Cebra have managed to compose and record the forthcoming album in a mere month and a half, demonstrating their relentless creative spirit. This latest single serves as a herald of a “new beginning” for the band, promising an album that further cements their unique identity within the Argentine music scene. Mujer Cebra’s exploration of emotional spaces, coupled with their musical dynamism, marks “Y No Me Digan Nada” as an exciting precursor to what’s to come.
Carolina Donati – “Sin Dormir”
Since Carolina Donati‘s debut album Lo Que Quedó in 2019, she has been capturing hearts with her distinctive style. Her sophomore album, 2021’s Arde, crafted a nostalgic lo-fi soundscape, marked by impressive collaborations with artists like Jazmín Esquivel and El Zar. This spirit of collaboration extended into 2022, as she worked with Yago Escrivá (from Ainda) on the single “Te Extraño” and the EP Dos.
Carolina’s latest single, “Sin Dormir” (2023), stands as a testament to her musical maturity. This track, which explores the end of a relationship, is steeped in empowerment, displaying a perfect balance of melancholic yet defiant lyrics. What sets “Sin Dormir” apart is its atmospheric, mood-driven sonic palette. Chill hop beats blend seamlessly with jazzy guitar chords, giving rise to a bouncy, easygoing vibe. The song’s relaxed and dreamy mood is contrasted by vivid and pleasing percussion, providing an appealing texture. Further enriching the track, Carolina incorporates sound samples from movies, adding a unique dimension to her musical narrative. All these elements coalesce over a smooth R&B groove, offering an intriguingly seductive beat that leaves listeners captivated.
As she prepares her third album, with various singles set to release throughout 2023, Carolina ushers in a new artistic era, marked by innovation and rejuvenation. “Sin Dormir” serves as a tantalizing taste of this forthcoming phase, its story of indecision and anxiety delivered through a dreamy, relaxed soundscape that showcases Carolina Donati’s prowess as a musician. Her consistent growth and evolving sound suggest that her upcoming releases will continue to enrich the Argentine indie scene and captivate listeners worldwide.
xX nenu Xx, Camilo Desorden – “Skinamarink”
“Skinamarink,” a track from the EP Behelit, is a riveting collaboration between xX nenu Xx and Camilo Desorden that masterfully weaves together disparate sonic elements to create an eerie, otherworldly auditory experience. xX nenu Xx, whose voice might be familiar to some from their work with Tomisaurio, brings a unique vocal style to the song. Their voice, manipulated and processed, evokes an almost ghostly vibe that lingers long after the track concludes.
Complementing these vocal explorations is Camilo Desorden, known for creating immersive, fascinating soundscapes. In this collaboration, their input becomes an integral component of the track’s character, providing a compelling backdrop of jungle and drum and bass influences intermingled with traces of hyperpop. Yet, there’s a darkness that permeates through the synth-drenched sounds, stripping away any overt sweetness typically associated with hyperpop, in favor of a moodier, more introspective feel.
“Skinamarink” takes its name from the 2023 experimental horror film and the connection is instantly discernible. There’s an edgy, foreboding undertone in its sonic architecture, which echoes the film’s macabre narrative. One of the standout elements of the track is the haunting refrain, “veo sombras al pasar,” or “I see shadows passing by,” which punctuates the composition. The phrase, repeated intermittently, underscores the disquieting essence of the track and gives a sense of unease that aligns perfectly with the experimental horror aesthetics.
Mecánico, TELESCOPIOS – “Un Espejismo”
“Un Espejismo”, the latest offering from Telescopios in collaboration with Chile’s indie pop duo Mecánico, is a vibrant exploration of eclectic musical influences. The track beautifully amalgamates Telescopios’ psychedelic charm with Mecánico’s dynamic indie-pop soundscape, resulting in a bold and refreshing musical experiment.
The song begins with a funky groove, immediately catching the listener’s attention. Ingeniously integrated camera clicks serve as percussive flourishes, adding a layer of complexity to the rhythm. Throughout the track, there’s a tangible hint of nostalgia brought on by the use of 80s throwback synth sounds. This retro influence lends a vintage charm, contrasting yet complimenting the modern and innovative production elements in the track.
One of the highlights of “Un Espejismo” is its creative structure. The song effortlessly transitions into a half-time prechorus, offering an ethereal, almost dream-like soundscape. This pause in pace is beautifully surprising, serving as a captivating build-up to the catchy chorus, showcasing the bands’ meticulous approach to song construction.
“Un Espejismo” not only represents the creative prowess of Telescopios and Mecánico but also underscores the close-knit and vibrant indie scenes of Argentina and Chile. As both bands gear up to launch their new albums in 2023, this single serves as an exciting prelude to what promises to be a groundbreaking year in Latin American indie music.
Bebi – “Mumsi”
Los Besos – “Nadie Duerma”
“Nadie Duerma,” the latest offering by perennial favorites Los Besos, teases the promise of their upcoming album with the band’s refined sophistipop sound. The group band has always been adept at blending diverse musical influences, a trait that has made their releases something of a sonic treasure hunt. This single is no exception and shows the group continuing their tradition of fusing varied styles into a harmonious whole. “Nadie Duerma” skillfully traverses yacht rock terrain, its melody buoyed by an irresistibly funky bassline that forms the backbone of the song. Tasty synth embellishments decorate the contours of the track, providing a complementary sonic texture to Paula Trama’s alluring vocal delivery. It gradually progresses into an instrumental coda that is as delightful as it is unexpected, further highlighting the band’s creativity and innovative spirit.
Complementing the vibrant soundscape of “Nadie Duerma,” Paula Trama delivers lyricism rich in both romance and introspection. The shared title with “Nessun Dorma” might at first seem coincidental, but there appears to be a thematic connection in the chorus. Much like the aria from Puccini’s opera Turandot, where the protagonist defies sleep until he wins his beloved, Trama’s lyrics speak of a troubled love that keeps sleep at bay. The recurring line “No te duermas si tiembla nuestra estrella” (Don’t sleep if our star trembles) invoke a sense of restlessness, symbolizing the anxiety and uncertainty of love, the fear of losing something precious, and the hope of resolution and stability, all tied to the trembling of their shared star.
Moreover, the lyrics detail a poignant realization: “Y al final supe que el sol / Ni subía ni ardía solo para mí” (And in the end, I knew that the sun / neither rose nor burned just for me). This suggests a sobering recognition of one’s place in the world and in the grand scheme of love, where the sun – or love itself – does not revolve around a single individual. These evocative lyrics, paired with the band’s distinct sound, enhance the emotive depth of “Nadie Duerma”, solidifying its place as a standout track from Los Besos.
Luis Baumann – “Ser”
Who doesn’t love the sound of acoustic guitars and sneering defiance? Luis Baumann has been a consistent presence in the local cultural scene since 1996, both as a musician, producer, and graphic artist. Having been a founding member of an impressive array of bands, his contributions to the music scene are as diverse as they are substantial. In addition, Baumann has managed the conceptual independent label Postales Discos since 2010 and has actively collaborated in self-managed cultural activities. 2023 saw the release of his 13th solo album Errante, released via Fuego Amigo Discos and Casa Folk Discos. A standout track from this album, “Ser,” serves as a potent declaration of independence that rebels against societal norms and expectations.
This harmonica-led, folk-punk gem echoes the defiant attitude of Baumann’s artistic ethos, captured in its irresistible refrain, “no voy a ser lo que quieras que sea.” The song offers an engaging fusion of styles; imagine Social Distortion meets Bob Dylan, wrapped up with rockabilly guitar leads peppered throughout its runtime. Its catchy chorus, characterized by its melodic ingenuity and infectious energy, stays with listeners long after the song ends.
“Ser” is emblematic of Baumann’s authenticity, embodying the spirit of independence that permeates his work. It perfectly showcases his talent for melding different musical styles, blending folk-punk with rock nacional, and creating a distinctive sound that captures the essence of his artistic journey.
Pacifica – “Anita”
Pacifica, the magnetic duo of Inés Adam and Martina Nintzel, found fame through their YouTube covers of The Strokes (read our interview with the duo). They knew they had something here and that it would be a shame for the project to stay a YouTube cover band, so they started working on their own originals. With their debut single “With Or Without You,” they marked themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the local music scene.
Their new release, “Anita,” is a vivacious track that echoes the raw energy of 2000s garage rock bands. Powered by a potent, slinky bassline, the song serves up audacious melodies and lyrics that depict a femme fatale fed up with “indie boys.” The song is brimming with youthful, rebellious attitude as well as an undeniable charm. A clever play on words in the chorus—juxtaposing “I need” and “Anita”—adds a catchy alliterative twist, while pleasingly chunky guitar strums crescendo into an exciting solo.
Pacifica’s “Anita” not only showcases their musical capabilities, but also solidifies their standing as one of the most promising new acts on the scene. This track is a testament to the group’s sound, which is fresh, infectious, and primed for international acclaim. Let’s see where they take us next.