Mavis Staples and Levon Helm’s Last Show, and 12 More New Songs

Mavis Staples and her band visited Woodstock, New York to perform at the band’s drummer Levon Helm’s barn studio theatre; they had appeared together on The Band’s “The Last Waltz” in 1976. Helm’s band joined hers, which included her sister Yvonne Staples on backing vocals, and they recorded the show. More than a decade later, an album, “Carry Me Home,” will be released on May 20. Staples gave “You Got to Move”, a gospel standard, her full contralto commitment; guitarists Rick Holmstrom and Larry Campbell traded twang and bluegrassy blues. It was just another timely show in two long runs, but it would be their last together; Helm died in 2012. JON PARELES

Nostalgia is not a concept often associated with Pusha T; even when he’s pulling material from his past as a coke dealer (and better believe it, he usually does), his rhymes have vivid immediacy of the present tense. But the classic Old-Kanye production heard on “Dreamin of the Past,” revolving around an up-tempo sample of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” gives the song a happy glow that contrasts playfully with its flow. unrepentant. As always, in this highlight from his latest solo album, “It’s Almost Dry,” Push’s lyrics pop with poetic detail (“Heaved the walls in the back of bodegas”) and unbridled cunning: at one point, he brags to keep people” on bikes like Amblin.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Robotic love, funky bass lines, Rauw Alejandro’s head in a refrigerator: Welcome to the first collaboration between Shakira and the Puerto Rican reggaeton star. “Te Felicito” is a bitter farewell to a lover whose love has been a farce that combines some of the trademark gifts of superstars: the Colombian singer’s eccentric choreography and Rauw’s penchant for funk-infused reggaeton. Shak’s seal of approval is a coveted trophy for young artists rising through the ranks of the industry, just another sign that Alejandro is here to stay in all his rare glory. Elizabeth Herrera

Marijuana anthems abound on April 20. Here’s one lighter than smoke from Nigeria, sung by the ever-masked songwriter Midas the Jagaban and a guest, Liya. The aerial polyrhythms of Afrobeats, topped by labyrinthine-echoing vocals, provide just enough propulsion and haze as women declare, “Whatever I do/I do better when I smoke my weed.” WALLS

To capture how a breakup can change everything, PinkPantheress enlisted two-beat experts, Skrillex and Mura Masa, to co-produce “Where You Are,” along with Willow (Smith), who delivers high-speed hooks. They sing about the limbo between wanting to move on and longing to stay together: “I know it will never be the same,” Willow laments. The song is a vortex of obsession, with a bouncy beat, a guitar-like picking pattern, and vocals that diffuse into echoes and wordless syllables as PinkPantheress (breathy) and Willow (desperate and dramatic) throw out all possibilities of separation, confrontation and wishing for a reunion. WALLS

Laura Veirs has been a fixture of folk rock since the early years, but in recent years she has undergone a great deal of personal and professional change. Shortly before the pandemic, she divorced her longtime collaborator Tucker Martine, who had produced many of her albums, including 2020’s “My Echo,” which was in part about her split. Her upcoming album “Found Light”, due out on July 8, is her first album without Martine and the first she co-produced herself. Veirs sounds appropriately reinvigorated and inspired by the lead single “Winter Windows,” a restless, guitar-driven meditation on motherhood and moving on. “I used to watch them watch you light up every room,” she sings, a gritty resilience in her voice. “Now it’s up to me, the lighting I can do.” ZOLADZ

On the lovely “There Are So Many People That Want to Be Loved” by London group Sorry, Asha Lorenz sings with the kind of sweet, sincere candour that Mo Tucker brought to the Velvet Underground “After Hours.” “Look at them in nightclubs, barking at walls, head in hands in bathroom stalls,” she notes of all the lonely people she sees. But as the song gradually transitions from understated to epic, “There Are So Many People” becomes less of a lament and more of a celebration of communal human longing, a sentiment that must be cherished and, ironically, shared. ZOLADZ

It’s been four years since Chicago R&B singer Ravyn Lenae released her “Crush” EP, a Steve Lacy-produced release that married her soaring voice with funky bass lines and luscious electro-soul textures. For “MIA,” her first single from her debut album “Hypnos,” Lenae teams up with producer Sango to create something a little more upbeat. Over an upbeat, syncopated Afrobeats production, a shimmering synth expands and contracts under Lenae’s airy falsetto, as she coos about finally making it: “I’m gonna run the town, there’s nothing in my way.” BLACKSMITH

“Is it easy to start over?” Ruth Radelet wonders about the chorus of her first solo single, and it’s safe to assume it’s an autobiographical sentiment. For nearly two decades, Radelet was the frontwoman of the ever-changing electro-pop outfit chromatics, which disbanded last summer amid the drama, mysterious surroundings (and possibly non-existent) final album. However, on glassy, ​​synth-driven “Crimes,” Radelet sounds ready to wipe the slate clean. The verses have a bit of steely bite (“I know what they’re telling me is true/I know I could never be like you”), but the exuberant chorus is suffused with her trademark dreamy melancholy. ZOLADZ

Helado Negro’s music can be dreamlike and twilight, but don’t confuse their songs with simple lullabies. “I’m No Longer Here,” his latest single, revisits the celestial meanderings that have defined his work: smooth, throbbing drum loops and reeling, echoing synths. The Ecuadorian-American artist sings about isolation and melancholy alongside harmonic melodies by Chicago singer-songwriter Kaina. “I wish I’m going crazy / At least I have someone I can talk to / Hallucinations,” she into tones (“I wish I’m going crazy / At least I have someone to talk to / Hallucinations”). Beneath that soothing exterior, Helado Negro’s music has a special power: the ability to engage difficult feelings. BLACKSMITH

Los Angeles songwriter Lou Roy juggles euphoria and disillusionment. His debut album “Pure Chaos” will be released on April 29, and on “UDID,” “You don’t I don’t” explores a relationship that seems on the verge of breaking apart. “I always want you here / but I’m starting to take the deal,” he sings. The song, which he co-produced with Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin, has an upbeat 4/4 pop beat, but some sonic elements (vocals, keyboards, guitar chords) linger like trails, suggesting the romance may already be a memory. . WALLS

One heavy day in 1973, Columbia Records dropped every jazz musician on its roster besides Miles Davis. Bassist and songwriter Charles Mingus (whose 100th birthday would have been on Friday) was among them. So were Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Evans. But just a few months before that, the label had arranged for Mingus’s new sextet to record performance at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. The tapes were eventually archived. They will finally be released on Saturday, Record Store Day, as “The Lost Album From Ronnie Scott’s” triple-disc set. On “The Man Who Never Sleeps,” Mingus lights up with the slapstick virtuosity of young trumpeter and Dizzy Gillespie protégé Jon Faddis, barely 19, who had just joined the band. Just before Columbia presses a final symbolic stamp on an entire generation of jazz, a torch can be heard passing. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

“Freedom is too close to slavery for us to rest easy with that imprisoned imagination,” says poet and theorist Fred Moten in a cool, controlled voice, speaking of the whisper of Gerald Cleaver’s drums and the dark pull of the strings. open casualties of Brandon López. There’s doom-metal energy here, and Sun Ra’s relationship with darkness is like substance. Lopez dangles from the high strings for a moment at the end of Moten’s phrase, aware that the thought needs time to settle and land, then she reaches the root of the minor key.