It happens every year: just before a large batch of releases in the fall, there are always a few left over from late summer that we need to highlight. Consider this the calm before the storm, but don’t sleep on them. Big names and indies share space on the playlist this week, each a treasure in its own way.
Dimelo Flow, “El Favor (feat. Nicky Jam, Farruko, Sech, Zion, Lunay)”
This summer, Panamanian rapper Sech’s “Otro Trago” has outperformed the litany of coverage devoted to reggaeton by non-black artists (and non-Latinx, in the case of Rosalía). The song’s undeniable chart presence is, in part, due to its sharp producer, fellow Panamanian Dimelo Flow, whose debut feature track “El Favor” on Interscope Records gathers a host of the usual suspects who owe their genre’s platform to Panama (plus the reigning Sech).
From the outset, Sech’s liquid melody over an anguished R&B guitar in the first 30 seconds is honestly the best part of the song before giving way to a still-solid performance by the rest of the crew. Do not underestimate. — Stefanie Fernández
Ximena Sariñana, “Cobarde”
Ximena Sariñana‘s relatively young career has been embraced by music fans largely because of her intimately expressive voice. Her debut album, Mediocre, was nominated for best Best Latin Rock Or Alternative album in 2008. Her new album, ¿Dónde bailarán las niñas?, is a powerful statement of feminine independence and survival dedicated to all the female relationships in her life as daughter, musician, friend and most importantly, mother. I spoke with her during this year’s SXSW festival while her daughter was being passed around band members doubling as baby sitters. It was a touching insight into Sariñana’s inspiration for this new batch of songs. — Felix Contreras
Reyna Tropical, “Tristeza”
We at Alt.Latino are big fans of Fabi Reyna, the founder of She Shreds and the guitarist and vocalist behind Reyna Tropical and Sávila. Reyna Tropical, Reyna’s project with DJ and producer Sumohair, just released Sol y Lluvia, a collection of six songs written and recorded, as with all Reyna Tropical songs, in a short improvisational session. Sol y Lluvia, like last year’s self-titled EP, is a diasporic soundscape that fuses Reyna’s tropical cumbia style of playing with electronic elements, and its improvised nature makes that fusion feel organic. “Tristeza” is a sunny collection of loops grounded in a bright guitar riff and bass pulse, a fast-acting antidote against its title. — Stefanie Fernández
Francisca Valenzuela, “Héroe”
Francisca Valenzuela has been putting out engaging music so consistently that it would be easy to take her talents for granted. But that would be a grave mistake because, as she proves on her latest single, her music stands out for exquisite writing and a musicality that always impresses. This song comes with a message and, in Valenzuela’s hands, it’s a powerful declaration of self determination. — Felix Contreras
Diamante Electrico, “Solo tú, dueles (feat. Vicente García)”
Diamante Electrico’s sound is ageless and contemporary at the same time and, as this collaboration with Dominican vocalist Vicente García shows, it is infectious in its understated grace and power. This track is a major statement for both camps as it adds a depth of expression to their individual musical talents. — Felix Contreras
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