SALFUMÁN - “Futura Mujer”

On paper, Valencia-based multi-instrumentalist SALFUMÁN seems to fit the criteria as the next hip thing. Her debut EP, is stuffed with plenty of shiny, slinky sounds to score a neon-lit nightclub or a contemplative after-dusk drive. Each song can be described as synthpop and if you close your eyes, the whole thing might zip by as a nebulous lump of slithering synthesizers, electronic ornamentations, and percussion bounces.

Where the concept of SALFUMÁN (not one related to chlorhydric acid) best manifests itself, though, is in Sandra Rapulp’s wholehearted embrace of sounds that might scan as completely cheesy if paired with more banal sentiments. “Futura Mujer” is a great example. With Rapulp’s voice ramping up humidity, what SALFUMÁN can accomplish with a tonally consistent palette is astonishing and palpable.

Colornoise - "Amalie"

Costarican triune Colornoise have never fit into a simple schema. Five years and counting as a band and it seems increasingly improbable that Sonya, Alison, and Mari ever will. Their music is a hybrid of what they call “experimental stoner rock” and a sort of heady sonic mischief that people could probably lazily call noise pop. But within each of their records we see attempts at odd pop, vocal loop experiments, and moments of humor. Their catalog plays like the work of an unfocused but charismatic music project.

Respectively renowned, Colornoise rectifies their overlooked dynamic in their latest single “Amalie” that extends to their incredible spirited onstage chemistry. Colornoise are here merely to address the lingering feeling of loving the unmanageable. And they appropriately placed it at our doorsteps. “Amalie” reigns in the band’s focus, allowing them to build a cohesive, coherent artifact. Aside from being both sonically and thematically tighter, —more than their previous efforts—it showcases Colornoise's musicianship. Ultimately, the combination of the two makes it a must-listen.

Video: La Mafia del Amor & El Combo Perfecto - "La Disco Resplandece"

As a music writer few things suck as much as not being around when an authentic hit drops. And with everything PXXR GVNG-related we can’t help but feel embarrassingly late to the party. In our defense, the following video was blocked stateside up until a few days ago. Having said that, i’ll skip any more contextualizing/padding and go right to the overstatements: FIRE. TAKIS FUEGO. SONG OF THE SUMMER. Alright, maybe we still don’t know about that last one. And at the rate Spanish collective PXXR GVNG, through their roster of MCs and producers, have been releasing music, we might end up with countless other songs of this caliber. For now all we know is that we’ve stumbled on something special.

As La Mafia del Amor, another incarnation of PXXR GVNG, we’ve heard sartorial dembow bangers like "En la discoteca en chandal” as well as built-for-radio pop (“Amor Bandido”). "La Disco Resplandece" invades the futuristic reggaetón championed by J Balvin and Farruko and perfects it by celebrating el perreo above all else. Verses from Yung Beef, Unai Sánchez, Khaled, and D. Gómez set up the standard depictions of flexing and woo, but the spirit of the track doesn’t really give a fuck about any of that (“No me importa si ella es guapa o fea / a mí me importa como ella lo baila / a mí me importa como lo menea”). What "La Disco Resplandece" achieves is a rare chance to re-appropriate whatever low-brow status is left in reggaetón and running with it. Throw in some diacritic beeps and frozen synths, and you have the brightest club anthem of the year. Now if we could just get Young Thug to pop up on the remix...

Silva de Alegria - El Silencio en la Tierra

El Silencio en la Tierra, Silva de Alegría
Independiente, Mexico
Rating: 79
by Sam Rodgers

Sergio Silva's parallel project to Furland, Silva de Alegría, showcases the artist's continuing development as a major composer of orchestral pop. Unlike his band's recent refinement of scope, and simplicity in themes and hooks, Silva de Alegría can at times be self-indulgent, but rightly so: this is an individual's concoction, a mishmash of styles, a Tumblr blog of inspiration. What makes Silva's music so intriguing is that he produces a lot, and we get to be privy to the artist evolve and strengthen his voice from album to album.

El Silencio en la Tierra is Silva de Alegría's first proper LP and it's a cohesive, surprising addition to his cannon of experimental-cum-easy-listening tunes. It opens with title track, and a direct hit of Silva's sublime grasp of melody. At first, there's a worry of straightforward tweeness, but within half a minute, strings add depth, a cello undulates with beats sounding like something new: and while Silva de Alegría's influences are noticeable, when a track sounds this confident, he becomes a formidable peer. The first track runs seamlessly into the next, "Adios Sr. Rey", forming a couplet of exuberant, 60s-inspired sunshine, tinged with folk and bluegrass. Third track, and first single, "Archipélagos" flaunts some country chops, before giving way to Silva's nostalgia for 8-bit synths (which find their way into several other tracks). Nevertheless, Silva weaves all these genres into each of the ten tracks, not succumbing to the showy, insecure genre-hopping that could have made a lesser album.

The album has a thematic focus of discovery and extinction, innocence, love and loss, with track names evoking antique maps: "El Pez Darwin", "El Ruido en el Mar", "Segundo Viaje del HMS Beagle", and the aforementioned "Archipélagos". This fascination and fixation on the natural world is reminiscent of Shearwater's The Golden Archipelago album, on which Jonathan Meiburg crafted personal songs inspired by geography and history. Unlike that band's output, El Silencio en la Tierra rollicks along with 'humor Beatles' on tracks like "Un Pato Atrás", and a subversive Jim O'Rourke-like melancholy on "Monografías", which has an uncharacteristic aggressive ending. The album also contains two mostly instrumental compositions, the flitting, frolicking "El Pez Darwin" and the final track, which recalls Silva's earlier, expansive work on Polifónica Polinesia,  which clocks at over fifteen minutes.

Silva de Alegría could be a bit of an underrated genius (he wrote, produced, recorded, and mixed the entire thing), especially with an LP as dazzling and concentrated as this, casually bypassing hype: you can even download it at your own chosen price at his Bandcamp site. El Silencio en la Tierra sits in an odd piano-and-strings led alternative universe to the works of Panda Bear and Astro, maybe in the quadrant of contemporary bluegrass, like Nickel Creek, 70s folk, and the harmonies of the Beach Boys. In comparison to Furland's latest offering, which seemed pulled in too many stylistic directions, the lead singer of that band has been able to indulge his every instinct with his own project, and stay focussed on an overall sound. This album quietly achieves that creative progress, which is no mean feat.

Video: Gepe (feat. Wendy Sulca) - "Hambre"

For the video of Gepe's latest single "Hambre", the director, Ian Pons Jewell, has gone with a literal take on the lyrics of the song. And why not? What Gepe, like most of his Chilean peers, has been crafting through his career is a redefinition and refinement of niche genre: this song takes his past major-key singles and shaves off their edges, narrowing down ideas, but retaining the essence of pure fuck-yeah ANDEAN POP! As 'Club guru, Carlos Reyes, stated in his first review of the song, there is always the worry these sounds (and collaborations) will slide into kitsch - what pan-pipers the world over have been actively promoting for decades. Aware of this, but not embarrassed by it, this video celebrates the "disfraces finos y elegantes" of the past and present backbone of the continent.

The video opens with a be-shorted hipster entering a cool establishment, greeted with a "Be Our Guest" enthusiasm, only to wind up as the main course. The wry humour, and deliberate gross out factor - that's just pork, isn't it? - subverts the theme of the song: the constant search for satiation, carnal or otherwise. We're all hungry, and there's a fine line between enjoying it, like a feast, and sacrificing each other to Wendy Sulca's high priestess. Dale de comer!