For years, San Diego native Jackie Mendoza has been honing her own personalized version of experimental pop. Lately she’s taking it somewhere truly fascinating and unique. It’s fun to trace the through-line from 2013’s earnest ukulele strum “Closer” to 2016’s colorfully skittering “Islands” to the alluring new single she unveiled this week.
In contrast to those older songs mentioned above, Mendoza sings her new ambient pop song “De Lejos” in Spanish. It builds from an impressionistic shimmer to a disorienting thump without ever abandoning its minimalist ethos. There’s some crossover with the sound of Panda Bear’s new Buoys, and indeed the two artists share a producer in Rusty Santos. The change in language might also call to mind Maria Usbeck or even a more lo-fi Rosalía. What I hear in it mostly, though, is an artist reaping the rewards of continuing to push herself.
02/22 New York, NY @ (le) poisson rouge
03/12-17 Austin, TX @ SXSW
03/27 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
“De Lejos” is out now on Luminelle Recordings. A new album is supposedly on the way.