St. Vincent Channels Nine Inch Nails, and 11 More New Songs


“I can hold my arms wide open/but I need you to drive the nail,” St. Vincent — the songwriter and guitarist Annie Clark — sings in “Broken Man.” It’s a volcanic buildup of a song, from the sparsest ticking electronics to a hard-rock stomp to a full-scale pileup of guitars, drums and horns. Clark sings about power, defiance, abject need and imminent breakdown, riding an onslaught of a song that lives up to the title of her album due in April: “All Born Screaming.” JON PARELES

Over a hurtling beat and a chain of frantic, trilling, overdriven guitar riffs, the Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar insists that African leaders should work together and push back against foreign interests, to “Retake control of your resource-rich countries.” The band couldn’t sound more urgent. PARELES

Lots of well-used double entendres — doctor and nurse, workout coach, slipping and sliding — return in “Doctor (Work It Out),” a thoroughly calculated but still fun collaboration that puts Pharrell Williams’s funk and disco expertise behind Miley Cyrus’s knowing voice: “Just show me where it hurts,” she advises. Some impulses are eternal. PARELES

Cardi B offers a fiery status update on her latest single “Like What (Freestyle).” Atop a slinky beat that samples the 1999 Timbaland-produced Missy Elliott hit “She’s a Bitch,” Cardi puts the haters in their place (“It’s your birthday, but they talking ’bout me”) and brags humorously about her latest money moves (“I’m rich, I ain’t getting in a pool that’s not heated”). Is this another one-off, or could it be the first taste of the long-awaited follow-up to Cardi’s 2018 debut album “Invasion of Privacy”? A title card at the end of the Offset-directed music video is promising: “This is just the beginning … stay tuned.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Clothing is a duo of electronic musicians: Aakaash Israni from Dawn of Midi and Ben Sterling, a member of Cookies and Mobius Band. They enlisted Amber Coffman, formerly of Dirty Projectors, to sing the melody that’s the clearest through-line through “Kingdom.” Her symmetrical phrases and cryptic pronouncements — “Now all I have is this silence/It plays the sweetest melody” — waft over staccato, meter-shifting synthesizer notes and chords. She’s a flesh-and-blood voice that jumps over increasingly complicated digital hurdles. PARELES

Julia Holter displays a light touch on the celestial shape-shifter “Evening Mood,” the latest single from her forthcoming album, “Something in the Room She Moves.” Twinkling keys and Holter’s soft vocals are accompanied by subtle percussion which, in part, features the filtered sounds of her daughter’s heartbeat as recorded on an ultrasound. ZOLADZ

The grungy music that Alicia Bognanno releases as Bully usually pairs her corrosive voice with towering, distorted guitar, but she opts for a much simpler arrangement on the piano-driven single “Atom Bomb.” In such a minimal atmosphere, Bognanno’s vocal performance takes center stage, its every crack and blister spotlighted to wrenching effect. “I lied, I never tried to quit,” she sings to a faraway loved one during the devastating finale. “I just couldn’t get the hang of it.” ZOLADZ

Country and Mexican music have long been close neighbors across the Texas border. They’re both fond of three chords, hand-played instruments, lovers’ quarrels and aching vocals. Now the regional Mexican superstar Carin León has welcomed the country singer Kane Brown for a bilingual duet that has León warning someone that no one will love her like him, while Brown proclaims, “Whatever you’re looking for in love/You know I’m the one.” It’s a lean, acoustic Mexican polka underpinned by a sousaphone. With regional Mexican music in ascendance, Brown is the one making the crossover. PARELES

Is it romance or stalking? The longtime roots-rock producer and occasional songwriter T Bone Burnett is about to release his first solo album since 2006. His new song, “Waiting for You,” might seem cozily affectionate: It’s folky and acoustic, with Burnett’s gruff voice haloed by distant harmonies from the duo Lucius. “When I see you at the gate,” he sings, “The skies will then begin to clear.” But apparently he’s been waiting “since our last affair” while lurking “half in shadow, half in light.” His attention may not exactly be welcome. PARELES

Guitars and fiddle intertwine and nature metaphors pile up in Carly Pearce’s “Hummingbird,” which circles through three chords as she sings about how the “hummingbird flies on by/’cause it hates goodbye and so do I.” Oblique but heartfelt, the song mourns a breakup, but also sees it from a broader perspective, as a small event in a vast ecosystem. PARELES

Gnarled, minor-key, flamenco-tinged guitar lines, acoustic and then electric, gather and tangle in “Summer’s Last Rays” from “Time Is Glass,” a coming album by the drone-loving composer Ben Chasny, who records as Six Organs of Admittance. As the seven-minute track unfolds, the intricacies are gradually engulfed in the deep, somber, descending cycle of a passacaglia, but a lone acoustic guitar emerges, still picking, at the end. PARELES

Josh Johnson has been a saxophonist, keyboardist and musical director working with musicians including Leon Bridges, Makaya McCraven and Meshell Ndegeocello. He previews his solo album, “Unusual Object,” with “Free Mechanical,” which starts with an electronic construction — chords of overdubbed saxophones turned into glitchy digital syncopations — and moves toward a modal jazz solo. The electronic pulse doesn’t stifle an improvisatory voice. PARELES



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