Unleashing the Spotlight on Extraordinary Talents.
7 New Songs You Should Hear Now

7 New Songs You Should Hear Now

There’s often an unnerving poise to the music of St. Vincent — an almost eerie iciness that Annie Clark delights in shattering with sudden blurts of guitar. All that tension is dialed up to great effect on “Broken Man,” the corrosive first single from her forthcoming seventh album, “All Born Screaming.” One of my favorite things Clark has ever done is her menacingly badass live cover of Big Black’s “Kerosene,” and there are certainly echoes of that thrilling industrial sound here.

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I wasn’t familiar with the music of the 29-year-old Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter Zsela before Jon Pareles selected this track for last week’s Playlist, and her low, trembling croon and boldly deconstructed production instantly caught my ear. It also led me back to her sparse but emotional 2020 EP, “Ache of Victory,” which is worth checking out if you like “Fire Excape.”

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Even as Willie Nelson approaches his 91st birthday on April 26, his recorded output is showing no signs of slowing down. On May 31, he will release “The Border,” a 10-track album that takes its name from this cover of a 2019 Rodney Crowell song. “I work on the border,” a gruff Nelson sings in character as a border patrol agent, “and it’s working on me.” The influence of Latin American bolero shows music’s ability to transcend arbitrary divisions.

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Last July, I saw the great Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar and his band play some new material at a free show in Central Park; I left with my hair blown back, feverishly anticipating their next album. I am happy to report that it now has a release date — May 3 — and an extremely metal title: “Funeral for Justice.” Like many of the songs they previewed at that show, this title track is even more pummeling than the band’s 2021 breakthrough, “Afrique Victime,” but it is still a signature showcase for Mdou’s intricate, lightning-quick style of playing.

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An antic energy flows through the eight minutes of “Prologue,” the misleadingly named closing track from the jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s upcoming album, “Fearless Movement.” As Pareles put it when he selected this song for a recent Playlist, “Double time drumming, frenetic percussion and hyperactive keyboard counterpoint roil around a melody that rises resolutely over descending chords, while breakneck solos from Dontae Winslow on trumpet and Washington on saxophone exult in sheer agility and emotional peaks.”

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