Nuevo Culture

13 New Songs to Listen to This Week From Jean Dawson to Flores

This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song and EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and more. This week, some of the featured artists include Jean Dawson, Flores, and Francisca Valenzuela. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Jean Dawson – “Menthol” (ft. Mac DeMarco)

After being caught in the studio with SZA earlier this year and securing an opening slot in BROCKHAMPTON’s upcoming 2022 North American tour, Jean Dawson is finding his way to everyone’s ears. The Blaxican alt-pop artist is back with the Mac DeMarco-featuring single “Menthol,” a jam driven by electric guitars and a programmed indie-rock beat where Dawson takes an intense dive into the anxieties of what tomorrow holds for him, both the pretty and the ugly. This is an anthem we can’t wait to sing along to with our fists in the air. – Cheky

Francisca Valenzuela- “Salú”

Let’s face it–much like last year, 2021 was a rough one for so many of us. But Francisca Valenzuela is here to remind us that there’s still always beauty to be found in the bittersweet. The luminous new single, outfitted with subtle twangy overtones of lap steel and piano, gives a snapshot of her calm assuredness and clever wit. “Salú” also calls on us to honor and raise a glass to those new beginnings in every ending (the “fincipio,” if you will), and to wholly embrace life’s joys and wounds. – Nayeli Portillo

Coco & Breezy feat. Ye Ali – “Lemme See”

The Puerto-Rican DJ-slash-producer duo Coco & Breezy had a blasting 2021 with a skyrocketing path to achieve more than 4 million plays on Spotify. But the year is not over yet, and they made sure to release a new gem before the year is over. “Lemme See” is an instant classic ready to pump up soulful dance floors where new R&B, future beats, and modern disco set the tone. The single’s slick basslines and the rounded kicks goes just fine with the mellow vocals of Ye Ali, aka Traphouse Jodeci. The flaring harmony keys holding the track together are only surpassed by the shining piano outro—the chef’s kiss. – Felipe Maia

MICRO TDH – “Negro Matte”

It’s hard to imagine a much more fruitful year than the one Micro TDH is enjoying in 2021. The Venezuela-born singer-songwriter is becoming a pop star in his own right—evolving the mellow sound that made us fall in love with him to a much broader sound aimed at the masses. To cap off his 2021, Micro TDH has released 9, a 14 track album that best shows his availability to build a connection with the listeners via a series of stories that we can all relate to. The Ovy On The Drums produced lead single “Negro Matte” is a perfect example of how we start listening to a song that all of sudden connects to a past experience while a voice inside your head is saying: “this song is about me.” – Joel Moya

Mike Rodz – “Desde Que Te Conocí”

The credit goes to Mike Rodz and the team behind the music video for “Desde Que te Conocí” for crafting a visual narrative that’s just as playful and endearing as the song itself. Off his debut album, Mi Vida y Sus Loqueras, the track is a catchy bop about catching feelings and how Cupid’s spell can rewire you in amusing ways. The cherub himself makes an appearance in the video, this time as a binge-smoker who takes requests—all part of a charming plot that heightens an already fun poptón song from a new, promising talent. — Juan J. Arroyo

El Dragón Criollo – “La Número Uno”

From the get-go, you can feel a unique vibe emanating from this track by producer/multi-instrumentalist Paulo Olarte. Through analog synths and drum machines, “La Número Uno” is equal parts retro and modern, resulting in a psychedelic yet fun combination. As the hypnotic champeta beat and trebly guitar riffs take over, the listener is put on a journey of rhythm on the way to a blissful tropical destination. – Marcos Hassan

De Osos – “A Veces Siento Que Te Voy A Buscar El Resto De Mi Vida”

Audacious Mexico City producer Arturo Luna, also known as De Osos, has an impressive knack for crafting melancholy sound collages seamlessly melding the organic and digital realms. His latest release, the longing instrumental “A Veces Siento Que Te Voy A Buscar El Resto De Mi Vida,” weaves a mournful piano melody with crashing post-rock drums and glitching synthesizers into a maelstrom of sound that is as bewildering as it is cathartic. – Richard Villegas

Flores – “Fool’s Gold”

Indigenous Mexican-American singer Flores returned this 2021 with a new single called “Mayahuel,” and she made sure not to leave us without some honey before the year ends. “Fool’s Gold” succeeds in merging old-school soul aesthetics and contemporary R&B production, punctuated by electric guitars, string flourishes, and brass decorations. But those only support Flores’ stellar, dynamic vocal performance, where she puts a lover on the spot and spares no details on why she’s done investing herself in a relationship that’s going nowhere. – Cheky

Ruzzi feat. Tessa Ía – “Que Maldición”

Last year, Banda MS and Snoop Dogg linked up to bestow us with the ultimate G-Funk crossed with regional Mexican remix we never knew we needed. Now, Chihuahuense songwriter and musician Marian Ruzzi and artist Tessa Ía have unveiled their irresistible dream pop-studded reimagining of the hit single, which features producer Wet Baes on drums. Ruzzi and Ía swap out the signature horn section for streams of floaty key work as their velvety vocals ebb and flow and playfully intertwine. – Nayeli Portillo

Tiganá Santana, Baiana System – “Canto para Atabaque”

A skilled guitarist with a sweet, fulled voice, Tiganá Santana is a household name in the music traditions of the Brazilian state of Bahia. In “Canto para Atabaque,” he’s sided by another Bahia’s powerhouse, the group Baiana System. Together, they reshaped into music a 1960s poem originally written by the Brazilian leftist militant Carlos Marighela when the military dictatorial regime oppressed any kind of liberty in the country. The result is a powerful song about roots and Blackness with polyrhythms and overdubbed melismas that sound like Arabic chants. – Felipe Maia

Black Pumas x Kam Franklin – “Look at My Soul”

Black Pumas’ success over the past two years cannot be understated, racking up Grammy nominations for Best New Artist plus Record and Album of the Year. The Austin-based band contributes here to Look at My Soul: The Latin Shade of Texas Soul, a new compilation produced by Pumas’ own guitarist Adrian Quesada. A passion project for him, Quesada hopes to shine a light on the Latine influence on Texas rhythm & blues music and vice-versa. Along with fellow Lone Star State native Kam Franklin, their track “Look at My Soul” urges an appreciation of life over an ensemble of psych-soul guitars and warm horns. — Juan J. Arroyo

FM Krew – “Street Masons”

While current emcees are honing their skills to trap and drill beats, it’s surprising yet refreshing to hear a couple of Rhymesayers explore a primordial form of the genre. As FM Krew, KID Sánchez and Quike nod to the golden age of boom-bap to deliver “Street Masons,” a track that’s breezy yet packs quite the lyrical punch. Their alliance might lie with the old school—the hook is a Lauryn Hill sample—yet their vision is as contemporary as it gets. –Marcos Hassan

Peré Oudav – “Fata Morgana” feat. Alan Neil, Jonathan Suazo

Puerto Rican producer and multi-instrumentalist Peré Oudav cordially invites you to plummet down a rabbit hole of raga house laced with atmospheric sitar and hypnotic bass lines on his otherworldly new single “Fata Morgana.” The Spain-based sound artist is joined by sax player Jonathan Suazo and queer flamenco singer Alan Neil in a spellbinding concoction that unfolds like a sensual, psychedelic rave at the Alhambra. – Richard Villegas