PLAYLIST: Jackie Mendoza’s Audiosyncrasies

The Latin American songwriter offers up a taste of the experimental pop artists who helped inspire her forthcoming LuvHz EP.

Now that everyone’s on the Internet, music generally feels like it was influenced by an unreasonable number of tabs open on your browser. Aside from the new genres emerging entirely from recording software downloaded from the web, pre-existing genres are continuously fusing together, and we’re very quickly losing our suspension of disbelief when it comes to who’s hopping on what remix.

One artist who clearly embraces this open-border approach to applying influences is Jackie Mendoza, who also happens to have been raised on the U.S./Mexico border. For Mendoza, both nations’ influences are equally present in her songwriting, just as warped electronic pop and traditional Latin beats lend themselves in equal part to her unique vision.

On her debut release, the colorful LuvHz EP, the bilingual chanteuse also sounds as grounded in the Euro nightclub scene as she does submerged in the same aquatic soundscapes as Panda Bear. It comes as no surprise that LuvHz was recorded by Buoys co-producer Rusty Santos, considering Mendoza’s warbly Lennox-esque harmonies about trying to get some shut-eye on “What I Need.”

Though Centipedes Hz didn’t make the cut, Mendoza opened up to us about the artists who helped inspire her own Hz. “My playlists consist of peculiar songs for moments of curiosity,” she explains. “Whenever I write and produce music, I go back to the sounds that spark creativity. Some of these artists inspired my new EP, so I’ve included more than one song to really get a feel for it.”

LuvHz is out next Friday, April 26 via Luminelle Recordings. You can get a sense of what to look forward to by streaming her playlist below.

The Space Lady, “Born to Be Wild”   

This is one of my favorite covers of all time. The Space Lady knows how to take a song and make it her own. Her production is so simple but unconventional, and her voice is really soothing. Her music makes me feel like gravity doesn’t exist.  

The Space Lady, “Synthesize Me”

I want to be like The Space Lady when I grow up! Her lyrics are so carefree and straightforward. This song sounds effortless and dreamy; it’s one of those songs I hear and wish I had written it.

Andy Stott, “Luxury Problems”

I love all the different parts of this song—the beat, the vocals, and the sudden interruptions.

The Auteurs, “Daughter of a Child” (μ-Ziq Remix)

My manager, Walter, showed me this album about two years ago while I was writing songs for my EP. He thought it would inspire me and it reeeeaally did! I can’t believe these songs were written and remixed when I was one year old. I easily connected with the blending of rock with whimsical electronic beats, and this album influenced me when I was writing my song “Seahorse.”

μ-Ziq, “Inclement”  

This is a newer one by μ-Ziq from his album Challenge Me Foolish. He is definitely one of my favorite producers; he can tell stories with sounds and beats without saying a single word. I love how playful but badass this album is. It reminds me of playing The Legend of Zelda with my cousins when I was younger, but it also makes me want to drive around San Diego with the windows down.  

Laurel Halo, “Moontalk”

This is a song I always go back to because it’s so fun to listen to. It has unexpected sounds and transitions, and when you listen to it you can’t tell if you’re at a family party listening to Latin music or on the dance floor.

Helado Negro, “Todo Lo Que Me Falta”

I admire Helado Negro so much, and I listen to his music when I’m feeling any emotion; happy, sad, bored, lonely, etc. I think he is an amazing producer and songwriter and this song from his new album is one of my favorites at the moment. When I write songs in Spanish, I keep his music and lyrics in mind.

Céline Gillain, “Fight or Flight”

When I first heard this song, my jaw dropped. Not only is the production great, but her lyrics are so straightforward, and I like that she switches between singing and talking throughout. I recommend listening to the whole album, Bad Woman.  

Juana Molina, “Lo Decidi Yo”

Ever since I found out about Juana Molina last summer, I haven’t stopped listening to her. She’s an Argentinian musician and she makes interesting music that falls somewhere between psych rock and electronic pop. Her instrumental loops and vocal harmonies in this song are what caught my attention.

Juana Molina, “Cosoco”

This is the first Juana Molina song I heard before I dove into her entire discography. It’s bouncy and groovy and her sound influenced me a lot when I was recording my EP. It’s almost all I would listen to during those four days in the studio. 

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