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Portrait of Billy Ailish for abuse of power and 11 new songs



Cozy, pristine, Laurel Canyon-style acoustic guitars accompany Billy Ailish as she whispers and sings, “Try not to abuse your power.” Silent accusations accuse her: “You said she thought she was your age / how dare you?” Meanwhile, in the video she’s directing, an anaconda is slowly tightening around her. ION PARELES

The return of Willow – the daughter of Will and Jada – is a lively, cool pop-punk pulsation with a very specific kind of agonizing child. She hits deceptive ex-friends (and maybe some current ones) who “smile in my face and then put your cigarette on my back.” ION KARAMANIKA

Whatever hits, a girl in red – Norwegian songwriter Marie Ulven – can use it. In “Serotonin” from her new album “If I Could Make It Go Quiet”, she sings, trying to stabilize her wildly beating, self-destructive emotions with therapy and drugs: “I can’t hide from the corners of my mind / I’m terrified from what’s inside, “she declares. The music ranges from punk-pop guitars to EDM screams and bass drops, from distorted rap to ringing choruses, only to fall apart as it ends. PARALLELS

Perhaps the strongest evidence of DJ Khaled’s A&R understanding is that on an album filled with shiny cameos from Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Baby, and contemplative older moments from Nas and Jay-Z, he chooses to include the infinitely charismatic and extremely famous Cardi B from “Big Paper”, a song that sounds as if it raps to the old rhythm of DITC. It is relentless, with a sharp tongue and slippery: “A house with palm trees for all the times I was overshadowed.” KARAMANIKA

The power of “If You Care” isn’t in conventional text styles like “If you care, you’ll get a little closer.” This is in the constant rhythmic shift, from top to bottom: the way the rhythm, the bass line, the vocals and the rhythm of the guitar suggest a different low rhythm, requiring disorientation from the bottom up. They only align when the vocals turn into rap at the end; it had to end somewhere. PARALLELS

If you didn’t know better, you would think that the young country singer Priscilla Block is forever gloomy, the sum of one bad decision after the next. This is the mood of her impressive debut EP, which is strong, shamelessly pop-filled and full of sad songs like “Sad Girls Do Sad Things”:

Don’t get me wrong, I love beer on Fridays
But lately I’m at the bar more than my place
Another round of his exclusion
Two for one to too far

Block has a fresh and expressive voice and she telegraphs the pain well. But this EP skips the noisy greeting and random winks of her breakthrough single “Thick Thighs”. In other words, there is more to Block’s story than breaking a heart. KARAMANIKA

Teenage pop composer and producer Brye Sebring recreates the remnants of a long-term relationship in “I’d rather be alone.” Everything is fresh: her diction, her rhymes and the ping-syncopation of an arrangement that consists of single keyboard tones through percussion and applause to catchy harmonies back and forth. “I doubt you’ll even bother listening to this song,” she notes, another good reason to break free. PARALLELS

The drama continues to be built in “Swimmer”, from the upcoming album “Mythopoetics” by Half Waif: the songwriter, led by electronics Nandi Rose Plunkett. It’s a song about eternal love – “they can’t take it away from me,” she promises – that turns from an anxious rhythmic pulse into a chordal hymn bigger than life. PARALLELS

Prominent bassist Christian McBride has just released “The Q Sessions,” a collection of three songs that he recorded in high definition for Qobuz, an audiophile streaming platform. The EP features three improvisational musicians who, like McBride, already play their high-def instruments: saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Eric Harland. The band pursues McBride’s syncopated bass line through Brouhaha’s ever-changing funk, which he clearly wrote with Stern in mind – and its roots in the frisky fusion scene. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shu draws from jazz, Asian music and much more. Her new album “Zero Grasses: A Ritual of Loss” reflects loss, memory and perseverance. It opens with “Living’s a Gift,” a set of songs using lyrics written by high school students during the pandemic: “We lost our minds, we lost our time to shine.” The music is ingenious and resilient; leading his jazz quintet, Jade Tongue, Shyu multitracked his voice into a frisky, intricately contrapuntal choir, folding together corner phrases neatly like origami. PARALLELS

The elusive English electronic producer Burial has reappeared, sharing a four-track EP, “Shock Power of Love”, with producer Blackdown. “Space Cadet” hints at post-pandemic optimism – lively club rhythm, arpeggiators pumping up major chords, voices calling for “lift me up”, but Burial wraps everything in a static and echo-gloomy sound, leaving the rhythm to collapse repeatedly, until the track falls back into a void. PARALLELS

While preparing to make her upcoming album Umbral, Sofia Ray embarked on a trip to the mountainous province of Elki in Chile. She brought a charango and two backpacks full of recording equipment; during the journey, she recorded herself playing and singing, as well as the jingling sounds of the natural world around her. The album begins with “La Otra”, released on Friday as a single, in which Ray composed music for the Nobel Prize-winning poem by Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. Flutes flutter over a ricocheting synthesizer, stopping and releasing the rhythm and hum of the charango as Ray’s closed voice harmonizes with itself in fierce exclamations, splashing in the sky like a flame. РУСОНЕЛО


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