“Enough with the Cadillacs and the Hampton estates,” snarls Angelica Garcia on It Don’t Hinder Me, an arresting whirlwind of a track that sounds like Bikini Kill crashing a rooftop party in Mexico City. Instead of these faded markers of American glory, the 26-year-old Mexican-Salvadoran-American wants to talk about “mango peeling in the kitchen at night”, about “the cooking that my grandmother made”, about “guava trees”.
Garcia’s forthcoming second album, Cha Cha Palace, is full of hyper-specific moments like this, evoking vibrant vignettes from her upbringing in the Latinx community of southern California, via the east coast. Early 90s indie meets reggaeton and dancehall beats, along with traditional Mexican ranchera music (her mother, a Latin pop and mariachi singer, and grandmother both feature). Garcia’s voice ranges from sounding like she’s invoking ancient deities to a scowling teenager who doesn’t want to tidy her room.
It’s a winning combination. Barack Obama chose her song Jícama, a short, sweet celebration of Mexican-American culture, as one of his favourites of 2019. “This song is about not being seen for having a dual identity,” Garcia has said. “The US is a country made up of people from other countries. This song and video are a love letter to kids who grew up embracing two worlds just like me.”
Cha Cha Palace is released on 28 February on Spacebomb