Helado Negro returns with This Is How You Smile, an album that freely ickers between clarity and obscurity, past and present geographies, bright and unhurried seasons. Miami-born, New York-based artist Roberto Carlos Lange embraces a personal and universal exploration of aura – seen, felt, emitted – on his sixth album and second for RVNG Intl.
Following Lange’s personal-as-political 2016 album Private Energy, re-released as Private Energy (Expanded) in 2017, This Is How You Smile nds vitality in turning the privacy dial further inward. On “Please Won’t Please,” the album’s rst o ering and opening track, Lange sets the scene with a spare drumbeat that moves the music forward in a more maligned than militant march, his voice tenderly permits himself weariness: “We light ourselves on re, just to see if anyone believes.” Something must be reserved, “will anyone rescue what’s left of me.” This Is How You Smile only grows and glows brighter from there; an album that meditates on the slow, eternal love of family, and gently proposes revisiting those feelings as a way to relate to and beyond our core of familiarity.
Born and raised in the border city of Chula Vista, California, Jackie Mendoza blends the cultural influences of her hometown and her motherland of Tijuana, Mexico, creating eccentric electronic pop, Latin-driven dance beats and vibrant soundscapes. Latin-pop, indie pop and electronic music have all had strong but equal impacts on Jackie’s musical path at different times in her life. Mendoza has been experimenting with electronic ukulele-based pop, expanding the instrument’s sound to its maximum potential by layering it with beats while singing in both English and Spanish. Her debut EP, LuvHz (Love Hurts), out later this year on Luminelle Recordings, was mostly written during a precarious time in Mendoza’s life, and is a six-track exploration of love and relationships.
The slow-building single “De Lejos” was written while she was on tour in Mexico, shortly after she returned to San Diego after graduation. Released earlier this year, the song was written for her girlfriend, and toils with the emotional hardships of being in a long-distance relationship.