As one of the genres that continues to be highly beloved, pop punk has never gone away in the Puerto Rican indie scene. Thus, bands like Corre Forrest, Late Night Drive and Hoping Forever continue to experiment with the genre and making their contributions to it. The latter of these recently released the EP, For What It’s Worth, where they continue to develop their sound as a young group.
Starting off the project with the “Prelude,” which slowly blends into “Train,” Hoping Forever perfectly capture the youthful feeling of pop punk and prepare the listener for the EP they are about to consume. Next, “Full Moon Sailor” demostrates the band’s ability to create more fast-paced pop punk, the type that might create mosh pits in live presentations. Then, “The Perfect One” shows the band exploring the subject of love while showing influences from bands like Blink-182 and Sum 41. Finally, For What It’s Worth closes with “Colorful Moments (She’s My Yellow Paint),” a song that continues to display the group’s love for the genre while experimenting with heavier sounds and even a little bit of electronic feels.
In sum, For What It’s Worth continues to show Hoping Forever’s growth as a young group of musicians while maintaining their pop punk roots. Hopefully, they will continue to experiment with more sounds that set them apart from formulaic pop punk bands.
Listen to For What It’s Worth on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Hoping Forever’s Facebook
As punk continues to be a part of the Puerto Rican underground music scene, artists continue to explore the heavier sounds found within the genre. Thus, bands like Down&Out are not shy of exploring hardcore and crossover thrash, as they do for the most part in their most recent project, What Follows.
Kicking off What Follows is “Out of This,” a nice blend of hardcore and melodic punk. Afterwards, “Bassline Stomp” serves as a nice display of crossover thrash which will have listeners stomping in its second half. Then, “Life Trust” continues to show crossover thrash influences as the band touches on the song’s title subject. Next, the album’s title track is a fast-paced hardcore tune, a similarity shared with the following number, “Serenity.” Finally, the project finishes with “Runs Within” and “Bearer of Bad News,” two songs that perfectly balance melodic and fast-paced hardcore punk.
As noise, ambient and experimental music continue to be explored in the Puerto Rican independent scene, artists are going darker and darker in the releases, an achievement realized by Prepucio Galáctico in his EP, Kosmophilia.
Kosmophilia starts with “Necrosis,” a surreal and disturbing ambient tune that brings back images similar to those found in the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well as other horror-related exploitation films of the 1970s and David Lynch’s Eraserhead, particularly the scenes involving the baby. However, as the song progresses, one can imagine Lovecraftian stories and the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise as the track shifts into more electronic-based sounds. Next, “Aferrado a la Maldad” kicks off as an explosive noise tune that will have listeners remembering the monster scenes from John Carpenter’s The Thing and Cronenberg’s The Fly. Finally, “Me Vengo Dónde Sea” once again provides the apocalyptic Lovecraftian feel of “Necrosis” while continuing to display Galáctico’s electronic and industrial influences.
In short, Prepucio Galáctico’s Kosmophilia is a very surreal project that can provide a wide range of imagery as the artist uses his knowledge of ambient, electronic, industrial and noise music to his every advantage.
Listen to Kosmophilia on Bandcamp
As one of the biggest rock groups right now in the Puerto Rican indie scene, Los Bronson have made it their mission to make instrumental surf rock a staple of Puerto Rican culture by delivering a variety of danceable tunes that capture the life of the everyday island Boricua, a goal they accomplished with their latest LP, Fiebre Insular.
After starting with the brief “Intro,” which encapsulates the lifestyle of living near the beach and the city at the same time, Fiebre Insular kicks off with “Alacrán,” a highly danceable and infectious surf rock instrumental that will make everybody shake their bodies, a sentiment shared with the third song in the project, “Las Yales Quieren Calle.” Afterwards, “Místical” takes on some more funk-driven sounds while adding a few horns to their already established sound. Finishing the first half is “Pa’ la Luna,” a song that sees the band exploring their 1960s and 1970s rock influences as they blend their sound with a little bit of psychedelia.
The second half of Fiebre Insular starts with “El Velagüira,” a danceable surf rock tune that sees the group going back to their roots and expanding on the sound. Next, “Cucú ‘El Contact’” sees the ensemble once again experimenting with funk as they deliver some very groovy soundscapes. Then, “CaneKing es Ley” is a blend of high speed and danceable surf rock which will surely play well in dance floors and live performances. Fiebre Insular then finishes with “Outro,” a tune that captures the nature of the Puerto Rican nightlife. Finally, serving as a hidden track and closing the project as a whole is “Saico Sussy,” a surf rock tune that comes off as defiant and scary as the song’s title character.
As one of the young musicians slowly putting himself out there in the spectrum of pop and R&B, Al Norte released two EPs in 2018, Minutos de Experimento and 18 EP, the first of these saw the artist present himself to the world and the second saw him expand on the sound and ideas he explored in the first project.
18 EP starts with “Calma,” an R&B tune that shows Al Norte displaying his singing and rapping skills as he reflects on love and touches on subjects such as time, patience and forgiveness. Next, “Así Será” continues to demonstrate Al Norte balancing melodies and rapping over a more upbeat sound. Afterwards, “Canela Pasión” provides another passionate pop ballad influenced by today’s trap-inspired R&B. Then, “Ver” is another R&B tune which showcases Al Norte’s singing skills as he once again provides another love-driven track that touches on a variety of subjects such as hope, trust and taking chances. Finally, “Espero No Fallarme” provides Al Norte reflecting on his current personal and relationship goals while looking to grow in a song that can fit perfectly into a coming of age film’s soundtrack.
Al Norte’s 18 EP demonstrates the young artist’s growth personally and as a musician as he expands on ideas, goes deeper into the sounds he loves, balances melodies and rapping, and continues to work on his songwriting skills, thereby presenting his continuously growing mainstream potential.
Listen to 18 EP on Soundcloud
As the Puerto Rican independent scene continues to progress and grow, more artists are taking risks and chances when operating new projects. An example of this is Alejandro Rigau who, with his new project McLovin, is taking on a more experimental sound as he plays around with ambient music.
Starting McLovin is “Hello / Jahjah’s Organ,” a short organ-based instrumental that sets up the EP very nicely. Afterwards, “Howlers” is an interesting ambient song featuring some nice guitars and keys that help one easily remember a moment in time where one was innocent and life was easier. Then, “Mosquitoes” is a somewhat surreal tune that provides a bit of a disturbing image inspired by the works of David Lynch somewhat presenting the topic of loss of innocence. Next, “Meme” is an experimental psychedelic song which captures the feeling of exploration and time lost while scrolling through news feeds and timelines on social media. Finally, “A Streetcar Desire / Good-Bye” is another experimental tune that captures a variety of emotions, but perhaps the most prominent is a lack of self-discovery where one seeks for the first escape route in order to try and find said identity.
Overall, Alejandro Rigau’s first project under the McLovin name is a very interesting, different and thought-provoking presentation than other EPs found recently across the independent scene. Hopefully, he will continue to explore these sounds and deliver more music where he demonstrates growth and further experimentation.
Listen to McLovin on Soundcloud
As music becomes easier to record and distribute every day, the deconstruction and experimentation of pop music was bound to happen. Thus, the blend of indie and lo-fi aesthetics would eventually find their way into creating what is now known as bedroom pop. While the sub-genre hasn’t been fully explored in Puerto Rico, just like many other genres, musicians are taking a shot at it to tell their stories, one of said artists is Xavier Iglesias who, with Couldn’t If I Would, tells what he describes as “[a] mix of fact and fiction from love’s lost and found.”
Told in what seems to be a non-chronological order Couldn’t If I Would starts with “Salida,” which serves as the first date in the story. Then, “Saturnight,” uses its lo-fi aesthetic to provide the fuzzy effect memories can have as the narrator remembers what seems to be a very emotional moment in the relationship. Afterwards, “Labia Monga,” captures the beginnings of the love story taking place as the narrator sings about taking a chance and talking to the future lover with the aid of some keys and dreamy vocals. Finally, the project ends with the introspective “A Mistake,” a song that sees the narrator reflecting on the problems that happened across the relationship.
Overall, Couldn’t If I Would is a lo-fi dream/bedroom pop EP that shows Xavier Iglesias’s continuous experimentation and storytelling abilities as he leaves it all out there for the listener to interpret.
Listen to Couldn’t If I Would on Bandcamp
As the year slowly moves along, musicians in the Puerto Rican Independent Art Scene have been releasing new singles preparing listeners for new projects and keeping their presence alive across the internet.
“R.I.P.” by Negro Gonzalez
The first single for Negro Gonzalez’s upcoming sophomore album, RIMA, shows the rapper commenting on the state of hip hop as well as delivering some conscious and reflective raps on the current social, political and economic status of Puerto Rico.
“Me Llama” by Bryan Lopez feat. La Perla
An active member of the scene recently, Bryan Lopez’s latest collaboration with La Perla is an R&B and pop rap blend that displays a fair balance between singing and rapping while displaying storytelling skills over a very moving beat.
“Mala Mia” by Yung 17
A new single that displays the young artist’s storytelling abilities, Yung 17’s latest trap tune continues to see him explore the genre alongside producer eMe.
“東京ナイツ” and “ïdk” by Marlon Frank
As one of the most active musicians in the scene right now, Marlon Frank delivered a few singles this month. The first is a trap beat influenced by the Teriyaki Boyz’s “Tokyo Drift” in the form of “東京ナイツ” which continues to show his growth as a musician. Meanwhile, “ïdk” is another relaxing single by the young producer and beatmaker that sees him blending soul and modern trap influenced R&B.
“La Cherry” by Rampolla
A nice boom bap hip hop tune mixed with reggae and G-Funk influences, the latest Rampolla single celebrates weed culture as a form of escaping the current crisis in Puerto Rico.
“ELEVÉ” by Jan Merce
Another young trap artist from the underground that shows mainstream appeal, Jan Merce’s “ELEVÉ” shows the musician’s lyrical skills and ability to present a banger with some assistance from producer Avila.
“Pa' Fumal”,”✧...CRUISIN'... ✧” and “Hoy no dormí pensando en esta noche ●︿●” by Kampo
As one of the most active beatmakers in the scene, Kampo has been one to deliver at least one single every month for the past few months. “Pa’ Fumal” continues to show him exploring the lo-fi genre along with psychedelia as he provides yet another relaxing and trip inducing production. Meanwhile, ”✧...CRUISIN'... ✧” is a psychedelic blend of lo-fi boom bap and trap vocals. Finally, “Hoy no dormí pensando en esta noche ●︿●” is a blend of electronic, ambient and psychedelia that continues to show the artist’s growth.
“No hay flores pa' las tumbas ❀” by Kampo ft. Cosculluela
A mix of Kampo’s lo-fi experimental sound with samples of Cosculluela’s music, “No hay flores pa’ las tumbas” is a very relaxing tune that will have listeners banging their heads or laying back.
“FEKA” by PLANETA ZETA
One of the new rap projects to come out of the scene, PLANETA ZETA recently delivered their debut EP, FEKA, which displays many of the project’s wild influences. The first tune is “Arranca,” a surreal boom bap tune heavily influenced by the sounds of Cypress Hill and elements of reggaeton that displays lyrical skills and conscious rap attributes. Meanwhile, the EP’s title track is a very funky, moveable and psychedelic song that features D+’s vocals as the musicians explore identity, love and trust while displaying some unique storytelling skills.
“No sé si eres Tú (o soy yo)” by Krey
An ethereal trap influenced R&B tune, Krey’s “No sé si eres Tú (o soy yo)” shows him providing a hypnotic beat as he displays his singing skills and explores the theme of love.
“AMBICIÓN” by PHNTMFLEX (Feat. Jace & Zaya's // prod. Jace & OAKERDIDIT)
Featuring a relaxing yet banging production by Jace and OAKERDIDIT and additional vocals by Jace and Kaya’s, PHNTMFLEX’s “AMBICIÓN” is a melodic auto-tune trap track that explores the theme in the song’s title alongside themes such as drugs, sex and the rockstar lifestyle.
“MI DIA DE SUERTE (Calling My Spirit freestyle)” by Tommy Blanco
A blend of trap production with what seems to be an acoustic guitar, Tommy Blanco’s latest single shows the young musician displaying his rapping and singing skills as he explores themes such as man’s defects, death, trust and lyrical prowess.
“Dance Of A Nuclear Bomb (demo)” by The Mona Passage
A demo version of the alternative and progressive rock tune, The Mona Passage’s latest single displays the band’s multi-layered instrumental talents and the passion they have for their Latin heritage through their poetic lyrics.
“En Play” and “Suci” by Jib The Mist
Another of the very active musicians in the underground, Jib The Mist has been another to deliver singles consistently. The first of the Savage Minds produced singles, “En Play,” shows the artist exploring the trap genre as he presents some rap and singing skills as he explores the field of gangsta rap. Meanwhile, “Suci” is a danceable sex-fueled afrobeat tune which will definitely have listeners moving their bodies in one way or another.
“Quiero” by Miko
Featuring trap production by Vanga Records, the latest single by Miko sees the young multi-talented artist displaying rap and melodic skills as she expresses her ambitions.
“Muevelo (Spanish Remix)” by J REMERS ft. Jovan & Piotripz
A danceable hip hop tune influenced by 2000s hip hop and today’s strip club anthems, the latest collaboration by J REMERS, Jovan and Piotripz will play well in the late night scene.
“Mami Tienes Que ParaL” by Piotripz feat. Fonfi
A trap tune somewhat influenced by electronic music, the latest collaboration between Piotripz and Fonfi is a sex-fueled track that might play well in dance floors all around.
“Bitcoin Messiahs” by Yuca Brava
A conscious and political rap tune, the latest single by Yuca Brava is a boom bap lyrical rap track that will definitely make heads bang and have hip hop heads pleased.
“Ansi” by Ade-Line
A pop punk tune at heart, the latest single by Ade-Line shows the group’s clear influence on their sleeves as they reflect on anxiety and the current state of mental health.
“Con Nadie” by Sharif Rafael feat. MAXPR
A blend of hip hop and R&B produced by Malu Music, the new collaboration by Sharif Rafael and MAXPR is a tune that shows the artists’ chemistry, ability to tell a story and seamless way of mixing the aforementioned genres.
“Heaven (As seen through Angel eyes)” by syx13
An emotion driven techno tune, the latest single by syx13 shows the musician exploring with auto-tune vocals and storytelling as well as pop and R&B elements.
“De Mi Fin” by Fenix Castro
A boom bap tune influenced by bolero, the latest Fenix Castro single presents the rapper’s lyrical and poetic skills as well as his ability to deliver reflective, introspective and conscious raps.
“Ferrari” by Los Dannis
After delivering their first EP in 2017, Los Dannis come back with the first single to their follow-up project this time around changing their sound from punk and hardcore to a more math rock driven flow.
“Numb Numb Juice [Freestyle]” by Blxxdshot
As a very active member of the scene Blxxdshot is always delivering singles and freestyles every month. This time around he takes over the beat of the latest Schoolboy Q tune and displays his rapping skills while flexing over the competition.
“Close My Eyes” by Blxxdshot ft. 13:00AM
A trap single with potential to perform well in live events, the latest collaboration by Blxxdshot and 13:00AM is a blend of rapping and melodies that will have some dancing and others vibing across the night.
“Intro (Autobiográfico Cartas y Buzones)” and “Contradictorio” by Cartagena Rosario
Serving as the introduction to his upcoming year, “Intro” shows Cartagena Rosario presenting himself to the listener, putting everything out there as if he was reading a short version of his autobiography. Meanwhile, “Contradictorio” shows his rapping skills as he takes over a boom bap beat and touches on a variety of subjects through the route of conscious rap.
“MIENTES” by Bryan Lopez
A blend of reggaeton and sounds familiar to the Middle East, the latest single by Bryan Lopez shows the young artist experimenting with different soundscapes as he attempts to deliver a danceable track.
“Brand New” by Envy
As one of the most active members of the independent rap and R&B scene, Envy yet again delivers another single, this time in the form of “Brand New,” a track that displays his rap skills over a trap beat.
“10 Blone’” by Fabian Gutierrez del Arroyo
A psychedelia and reggae influenced tune, the latest single by Fabian Gutierrez del Arroyo continues to show the young musician’s different layers while demonstrating his lyrical skills.
“Alana’s Track” by KEVS
An R&B influenced boom bap rap tune, the latest single by KEVS is an emotional song that displays his rapping and producing skills while making sure to tear at some listeners’ heartstrings.
“Cheapvakation” by Seint
A mix of Frank Ocean’s “Nights” from the album Blonde and some bossa nova, the latest single by the New Orleans based Boricua is a relaxing tune that will surely have listeners chillaxing.
“My head is everywhere (BOOTLEG DE LA SESION EN MDORKS)” by Los Mongos
A lo-fi bootleg version of the group’s “My head is everywhere,” the tune still displays the band’s hardcore punk sound influenced by old school bands like The Misfits.
“Cansao’” by Young Crowley
Featuring production by Serge Crown and SAINTMIST, the latest single by Young Crowley is an emo rap tune that shows the artist struggling with his past, present and future.
As found in previous months, the Puerto Rican Independent Art Scene has continued to stay alive in the Post-Maria era. While 2018 demonstrated a bunch of activity, 2019 has slowly displayed the movement’s continued growth and existence thanks to mediums across the internet.
Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit, The Occulum and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.