FKA twigs Seeks Angelic Intervention, and 10 More New Songs

FKA twigs’s new mixtape, “Caprisongs,” is woven through with snippets of conversations with friends, which she has said represents a kind of sonic antidote to the loneliness and self-doubt she was experiencing during the 2020 lockdown. The wrenching, shape-shifting “Meta Angel” is perhaps the purest distillation of this approach: After an introductory pep talk from a friend, twigs confesses her private vulnerabilities (“I’ve got voices in my head, telling me I won’t make it far”), before summoning all her defiance on an artfully Auto-Tuned, Charli XCX-esque chorus. “Throw it in the fire,” she belts, in a conflagration of emotion that sounds like the first step to healing. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

“L’enfer” — the “Hell” that Stromae confesses to in this single — is thoughts of suicide. Stromae, whose father is from Rwanda, is a Belgian songwriter, musician, dancer and YouTube creator who has been making a return after releasing his last studio album in 2013. This song suggests the reason for his absence: dark, self-destructive impulses that he has averted. It begins with Bulgarian-style vocal harmonies and moves to four mournful piano chords as Stromae considers how “It’s crazy how many people have thought the same.” A choir, stuttering electronics and a looming beat answer him, but there’s nothing sanctimonious about the song; Stromae sounds like he’s still grappling with his troubles. JON PARELES

“Doors are the way you leave/Open it up to me,” sings the ever-enigmatic Aldous Harding in “Lawn,” from an album due in March. The track is a wispy-voiced homage to Stereolab, serenely cycling through two-chord piano patterns over breezy syncopated drums, as Harding airily ponders “losing you” and the obligations of songwriting: “Time flies when you’re writing B-sides,” she observes. The video, co-directed by Harding, features human-lizard hybrids and actual reptiles, but she never sounds entirely coldblooded. PARELES

The first single from Maren Morris’s forthcoming album, “Humble Quest,” vividly conjures her earliest days in Nashville, hustling around town in a “Montero with the A/C busted” shopping “a couple bad demos on a burned CD.” Those details may feel lived-in and time-stamped, but Morris knows she’s operating within a long lineage — she was certainly not the first aspiring songwriter to drive circles around Music City in hopes of catching her big break, nor will she be the last. The song’s direct appeal to this country tradition makes it feel like a throwback to the days before Morris’s pop crossover, but she and the producer Greg Kurstin prove twang is no obstacle to a soaring, universally inviting chorus. “Thought that when I hit it, it’d all look different, but I still got the pedal down,” Morris sings from the other side of success, still hungry but now with a mature confidence in her talent. ZOLADZ

An infamous lore hangs over “Terror Twilight,” Pavement’s fifth and final album, from 1999. The alt-rock super-producer Nigel Godrich was hired in an attempt to make the band’s slacker-rock sound slightly more palatable to the mainstream, but his methods ended up hastening the already-fraying group’s demise — or so the story goes. On April 8, though, Matador Records will finally release a comprehensive deluxe edition of “Terror Twilight,” and perhaps enough time has passed since the LP’s polarizing release that it can finally be appreciated on its own terms. The first taste of the unreleased material, the loose and bluesy jam “Be the Hook,” already complicates the received wisdom that “Terror Twilight” was all streamlined melodies and smoothed-over edges, as Stephen Malkmus meta-vamps charismatically atop a crunchy riff: “Everybody get your hands together and cheer for this rock ’n’ roll band!” ZOLADZ

King Princess, a songwriter from Brooklyn, uses a programmed punk-pop beat, U2-style guitar chords, cascading vocal harmonies and the endorsement of a co-writer, Fousheé, to confront an ex who ended up being indifferent, treating her like a “little bother.” Pointedly, she asks, “Do you feel like you should-could have tried a little harder?” PARELES

Robert Glasper, a jazz pianist who maintains a close connection with hip-hop, works through three thick chords and enlists choir-like backup vocals behind Killer Mike (from Run the Jewels), Big K.R.I.T. and BJ the Chicago Kid to call for a “Black Superhero.” The song invokes 1960s activism and current unrest to call for ways to save “every block, every hood, every city, every ghetto.” PARELES

The Brooklyn-based producer Brian Piñeyro (a.k.a. DJ Python) has a reputation for tenderness. Consider the title of his website, a painfully veracious observation on contemporary texting behavior: “” That kind of soft-focus sentimentality also appears on “Angel,” the latest track from his upcoming full-length “Club Sentimientos, Vol. 2.” Over the course of the 10-minute production, Piñeyro collages oneiric, crystalline synths and drums into a suspended state of astral bliss. The song arrives alongside a custom perfume, whose description — a “gender-spectral” scent that draws on rave culture — only plunges the release further into the universe of daydreams. ISABELIA HERRERA

Jacques Greene has always been interested in weaving the textures of all kinds of club music, but on “Taurus,” he takes a more meditative path, perhaps inspired by the film scores he recently composed. Hard-edge drum breaks propel the production, recalling the rush of a distant dance floor, but a softness remains at the center. The vaporous whispers and echoes of the vocalist Leanne Macomber float on and over each other, curling into a small misty cloud, like visible breath on a frigid day. The effect is cold and cavernous, but it offers an unexpected sense of comfort. HERRERA

Gonora Sounds, from Zimbabwe, is led by a blind guitarist, Daniel Gonora, who had been a member of a top Zimbabwean group, Jairos Jiri Band. For years, he made a living performing on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. A documentary, “You Can’t Hide from the Truth,” revived his reputation, and on Feb. 4 he releases an album, “Hard Times Never Kill,” backed by some of Zimbabwe’s top musicians. His style is called sungura, which meshes Zimbabwe’s own traditions — guitar picking that echoes the plinking patterns of thumb pianos — with styles from across Africa. “Kusaziva Kufa” (“Ignorance”) taunts anyone who doubted that his music would survive; between drums, vocals and guitars, it’s a syncopated marvel that shifts to an even higher gear halfway through. PARELES

The Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Koné smiles her way through the video for “Kurunba,” and the beat she and the Irish producer Jackknife Lee — whose collaborative album is due Feb. 18 — worked up meshes a four-on-the floor thump, electronic swoops, quick-strummed guitars and West African percussion, an unstoppable groove. Yet her lyrics, delivered with a tough rasp, are about the ways a patriarchal culture discards women after they have raised their children, protesting with unquestionable vitality. PARELES

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