MANO’s 2022 May Music Playlist

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Let’s get new music into your playlists with this diverse, empowering, and imaginative array of 20 new singles, EPs, and full-length albums ranging in sound from socio-politically charged R&B, reggae, and electro-pop to feisty rock, funk, and hip-hop. MANO’S 2022 May Playlist is a stimulating collection of songs perfect for all music lovers.



FLORES is an R&B artist whose music reflects her indigenous Mexican-American culture and her views on immigration, gender roles, and colonization. Her upcoming EP, The Lives They Left, was co-produced by Math Times Joy, and she says, “My EP is a tribute to honor the sacrifices of my family, a love letter to our heritage.  An intimate view into my head, through my journey of Love, Culture, Revival, and Hope.”


Xenia Rubinos & Carolina Oliveros

Wow! What more can I can say about this coming together of powerhouse performers Xenia Rubinos and Combo Chimbita’s Carolina Oliveros. This is pure magic.

“No Me Dejes Caer” is a new version of the track “Darkest Hour” from Xenia’s most recent album, Una Rosa. The song is intense and personal, and Xenia explains it’s about the isolation felt while touring, despite the connection felt by an audience fueled by her music.

“I remember it hurt so much because I wanted to feel like them, transformed by the show and I didn’t—I just smiled and thanked everyone, took photos with people after the show,” she recalled. “For me, the show continued until the last person left the venue. It was always so important to me that the audience would take away any image of what they had of the show each night and that my ‘real’ self wouldn’t get in the way or break their good feeling or inspiration.”

When Carolina came on to the new edit of the song, she wrote her own version inspired by the story behind it. “It speaks very vulnerably about those feelings that emerge in an artist’s path,” she said, “reflecting the relationship between one’s art and the passionate messages we share from the heart to those willing to listen.”


Katia Morales

We love how Katia Morales’ new single, “Lento,” brings together elements of regional Mexican music with a bit of hip hop. The video for the song was filmed in Guadalajara and follows Morales as she attempts to forget someone in her life by going out and looking for fun.

The singer also forms part of the award-winning Team JukiLop, which brings together some of Mexico’s most successful social media influencers. 



Los Angeles post-punk trio Automatic just debuted “Skyscraper” off their new album Excess, which “rides the imaginary edge where the ‘70s underground met the corporate culture of the ‘80s; or, as the band puts it, ‘That fleeting moment when what was once cool quickly turned and became mainstream all for the sake of consumerism.'”


Camila Cabello & Maria Becerra

Cuban singer-songwriter Camila Cabellos joins Argentine movimiento artist María Becerra in their new video for the song “Hasta Los Dientes.” The song is included on Camila’s upcoming full-length album Familia


The Aquadolls

Oh boy, this song is sassy and I love it. In part, the lyrics for “help im falling 4u and i can’t get up” say “I wanna eat your face/ I wanna suck your toes/ I’m gonna tie you”—and I’ll leave it right there so you can find out for yourself.

Band member Melissa Brooks explains: “This song tells the story of falling for someone and starting to obsess over them. It’s about imagining all of the things we could do together, both romantic and twisted, showing the darker sides of having a crush and longing for more to come from it.”

The track was produced by Fake Mike of NOFX and John Graber. This summer the SoCal trio will support Incubus on a national tour that runs through September. 


La Vela Puerca

​​These Uruguayan rockers worked on their new album between August of 2021 and February of this year, finalizing their recording in Montevideo with production and final mastering between Argentina and New Jersey. The result is Discopático, a 12-track album that reflects the band’s rock expertise since its formation 25 years ago. La Vela Puerca is celebrating the release of this new album, which includes guest appearances by rapper Diego Arquero, Tito Fuentes of Molotov, and Andrea Echeverri of Aterciopelados, with an initial tour across Spain throughout the month of May.


Ambar Lucid

This is a great affirmation about embracing our own power. Mexican-Dominican singer Ambar Lucid recently debuted the new single and video for “girl ur so pretty,” which presents Ambar as “Estrella,” a Tarot guide.

The singer explains why she wanted to portray this character in the video: “Inspired by the color pink, sparkles and characters like Rue and Jules from Euphoria, GUSP is the first introduction to Estrella, the bold and confident woman I am becoming, embracing and owning my fluidity, identity, and self-confidence. Estrella is a voice and a space for others who, like me, grew up in similar communities that challenged self-acceptance and the ability to be your authentic self.”



We are totally digging the empowering pop sounds created by Chicago native Liska in her new single, “Eye Candy.”

Liska says: “Eye Candy is about the trials I’ve faced to get to the level of confidence I have today. The song is somewhat a message to my younger self, but mostly a message to those who think they have me figured out. I feel like there have been instances in my life where I have been around people who think they can use me as their own personal punching bag because they ‘think I can take it.’ I’m a very private person and I don’t particularly enjoy being vulnerable around others, which is usually interpreted as either high self-esteem or an easygoing and happy life when that is absolutely not always the case. The lyrics represent a newfound understanding of how much control we actually have in our lives—and a warning that I will no longer serve as anyone’s emotional-baggage dumping ground.”

Hell yeah!


Andrea Lovera

Venezuelan pop artist Andrea Lovera worked with director Miguel Mardeni on the new video for her song, “Es Tarde,” which was filmed in Caracas. The song takes on the topics of love and heartbreak and relationships that will never be the same.

Andrea explains: “I wanted to write about how sometimes we get locked into relationships that take us nowhere, make us feel insecure and full of fear until the day comes when we manage to see reality and change everything.”


Jose Conde

Souls Alive in the 305 is the fresh new album by the amazing Cuban-American artist Jose Conde. The album’s sound is a wonderful experiment that features electronic wizardry with instruments like the Moog synthesizer, a looper, Yamaha vintage organ, a wah-wah electric guitar, plus acoustic and electric beats.

This is his second album, available on PiPiKi Records, and co-produced by Miami superstar DJ Spam (Andrew Yeomanson). The first single from the new album is “Dale Pa ‘Ya,” which includes the fabulous Anna Copa Cabanna.


Zona Ganjah

Indie reggae/hip-hop band Zona Ganjah has just debuted their ninth studio album, Cristal 9. The group, founded by Chilean vocalist, songwriter, and producer Jose Gahona, emerged with a mission to create conscious music and has done so successfully for almost 20 years. The new album encourages introspective journeys while in search of spiritual evolution. The album was self-recorded in Argentina and is available on CC Records. 



“Suena Tu Canto” is Mexican producer Pahua’s (Paulina Sotomayor of the duo Sotomayor) latest single and the first she’s worked on with Argentine producer Terror/Cactus.  It’s a wonderful reflection of her tropical pop sounds. 



Indie rapper Matlock is described as “an upper-echelon lyricist, gifted songwriter, and underground hip-hop luminary.” His latest release is Coffee & Cannabis, a wonderful soundtrack to start your day. 


Diamante Eléctrico

Colombian alternative rock duo Diamante Eléctrico just debuted “Daniboy,” the first single from their upcoming album, Leche de Tigre. The song is a tribute to Daniel Bustos, who formed part of the duo’s sound since their formation and passed away suddenly in November of 2020. The duo explains that the song is not only dedicated to him but also to all those missing in Colombia, “hoping they are in a better place.” 


Julio Bustamante

Beyond his Valencian music compositions, which include jazz, bossa nova, folk, rock, and pop, Julio Bustamante is also a poet, writer, philosopher, and cartoonist who has earned somewhat of a cult following for more than 35 years.

He is set to release a new album, Sueños Emisarios, about which he says: “In March 2019 I started recording the first tracks with Montse Azorín (sound technician/vocals). Once the confinement was proclaimed, which I spent together with my son Lucas, (bass/vocals), he proposed to record an old song, ‘Visiones,’ whose lyrics he found very appropriate for the new times. When normality began to return, Andreu García (electric guitar/ukulele) was able to join the recording. Later it was possible to count on the other musicians in the group, Ferran Pardo (piano/keyboards) and Antonio J. Iglesias (percussion).”


Caramelo Haze

Nacional Records just debuted “Window Seat” the first single from powerhouse group Caramelo Haze, which features Beto Martinez of the Grammy-winning—-and famously Prince-backing band—Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, along with Alex Chavez of Dos Santos, Victor “El Guámbito” Cruz of Nemegata, and John Speice, master drummer and percussionist of Grupo Fantasma and offshoots Brownout and Money Chicha—and regular house drummer for Adrian Quesada’s (Black Pumas).

“Window Seat” is described as “a dreamy bedroom pop track where roasted backbeats meet G-funk synth.” The band’s debut album NOESTASAQUÍ (You Aren’t Here) will debut later this summer. 


Jimena Amarillo

We can’t get enough of Jimena Amarillo’s romantic pop creations. The Spanish artist’s new EP, Mientras Ando, will debut at the end of the month, but in the meantime, she’s released a couple of badass singles, including “Pantalones de Pana” and “3 Amigas Tuyas.” 



Mexican pop singer-songwriter Caloncho just debuted a new song and video for “Somos Instantes,” from his upcoming album.

Caloncho says: “The song says it all. It’s a song with a hook, it’s about living in the moment and taking full advantage of living life to its fullest without fear because it is short. I’ve been practicing Hedonism and retook the concept a while ago. I am convinced that I am here to have a good time. To love and to enjoy my existence.” 


Daniel Villareal-Carrillo

“Patria” is described as a song with “rumba-inflected rhythms, sparse drum breaks and reverb-heavy guitar lines that are a fitting tribute to Villarreal’s birthplace, Panamá.” The single is the third from Daniel’s debut album Panamá 77, due later this month via International Anthem.

The drummer and DJ, based in Chicago, is known for his music as part of bands like Dos Santos, Ida & Vuelta, The Los Sundowns, and stints with Wild Belle and Rudy De Anda, among others. Although he started his career playing drums in Panama’s punk scene as a teenager, he later learned new drumming styles, including reggaetón, from Freddy Sober who was the drummer for El General and Nando Boom.



Argentine rockers Babasónicos recently dropped their new album Trinchera, which “offers a retreat from the current world, an ethereal paradise where the band displays all of their art in a manifesto of 11 songs that combine desire, mythology, awareness, existentialism, and banality.”

Well damn!

The album was recorded in Buenos Aires at Junmo Studios during the pandemic and was recorded and mixed by Gustavo Iglesias and mastered by Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone in New York.

Check out this crazy animated video for the single, “Bye Bye,” which also happens to be the name of their upcoming tour and brings them to the Latin alternative festival Ruido Fest this summer. 

Featured image: Indigenous Mexican-American R&B artist FLORES (Twitter)


Sandra Treviño is a music journalist, DJ and radio host living in Chicago. Listen to her on the radio Friday afternoons on 91.1FM Vocalo and every second and fourth Monday at 6 PM CST on 105.5FM Lumpen Radio. she is also one half of the female selecta duo The Ponderers. #futurerootz #theponderers #djangelfuk

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