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The Playlist: Slipknot Roars Back to Life, and 9 More New Songs

Category: Entertainment,Music

It’s been five years since the last Slipknot album, and the band is neither closer nor further away from the center of the rock music conversation. It has been, and remains, a wildly popular cult act, still performing on terms it set more than two decades ago. “Unsainted” — the lead single from a new album, “We Are Not Your Kind,” which will be released in August — is a pleasant annihilation, juxtaposing soaring vocals about traumatic things against ferocious heavy-metal rapping, dexterous drumming alongside quirky turntable work and guttural guitars. “I didn’t come this far to sink so low,” Corey Taylor sings over and over again, bracingly. Did someone say rock is back? JON CARAMANICA

Oh, how deeply the ironies — racial, sexual, temporal — nest in “Doin’ Time.” It’s Lana Del Rey’s version of a 1990s song by Sublime — the California band that did a West Coast slacker version of Jamaican reggae — that was based on “Summertime,” from “Porgy and Bess,” the Gershwin opera composed for an all-black cast. “Doin’ Time” is also a guy’s complaint about a straying girlfriend. Del Rey’s remake has an echoey, nostalgic undertow, a crisply unhurried hip-hop beat and a choir of ghostly backup Del Reys; she keeps the original genders as she sings about the “evil” girlfriend. The line she digs out of the lyrics was thrown away when Sublime’s Bradley Nowell sang it, but she seizes on it: “We gonna run to the party and dance to the rhythm/It gets harder.” JON PARELES

The first posthumous music from Nipsey Hussle comes on this single from DJ Khaled’s new album, “Father of Asahd.” It’s thick with the luxuriance of Rick Ross’s glory era and crammed full with gospel overtones for good measure. In his trademark conversational style, Nipsey tells the story of the many generations of his family tree — arriving from Africa, miscarriages, being a son, becoming a parent. “Starting to see this life [expletive] from a bird’s view,” he raps. Fly on. CARAMANICA

The mood swings are even larger than adolescent life in “Nightmare,” a thoroughly calculated yet effectively visceral portrait of emotional whiplash. The lyrics, as Halsey usually does, stake out contradictions — “I’m no sweet dream but I’m a hell of night,” she sings in one of her gentler refrains — while the music brings the soft-LOUD dynamics of grunge to trap and electronics. Everything has high stakes; it’s a wild three-minute ride. PARELES

Jazz’s quintessential Gen X piano whiz Brad Mehldau is known for lithe and crisp improvising, and for letting pop-music influences spill easily into his acoustic piano playing. But once every five or 10 years, he changes things up on himself in a radical way, working in a fresh format and tinkering with his creative goals. That’s happening on “Finding Gabriel,” a new album laden with political overtones, on which Mehldau plays analog synthesizers as much as the piano, and bedecks himself with reeds or voices or strings. The 10 resulting originals — especially “St. Mark Is Howling in the City of Night” — are often propelled by a fugitive momentum, with an undercurrent of darkness spicing the splendor of Mehldau’s consonant harmonies. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

At least three continents — Africa, Europe and North America — are represented on “Zulu Screams,” yet another playful, sterling example of musical globalization. Goldlink, a rapper from Washington, D.C., raps alongside Malik Berry, a British-Nigerian producer and vocalist, the R&B singer Bibi Bourelly and others; the track is produced by P2J, a Londoner known primarily for his grime tracks. But “Zulu Screams” looks toward Africa. Its brisk beat peps up Nigerian Afrobeats, supporting twisty guitar lines that hint at Congo and Morocco. And the groove is so fulfilling that the vocals mostly register as added, snappy percussion. PARELES

That a collaboration between G-Eazy, Yung Miami of City Girls and Juvenile exists at all feels like the product of a few roulette spins. They have little in common — not rap styles, not hometowns, not subject matter. And yet the producer London on da Track found something unifying in them. On “Throw Fits” he delivers a beat heavily informed by New Orleans bounce music. Atop it, G-Eazy is fabulously filthy and Yung Miami is petulant and raw. But it’s Juvenile, the New Orleans rap titan and onetime bounce artist, who approaches the beat most intensely, slurring syllables between the rat-tat-tat percussion, a wily veteran who doesn’t sweat: “It’s Mr. Bounce Back/Spend it, get it all back.” CARAMANICA

Billed as Dolo Percussion, the producer Andrew Field-Pickering, also known as Max D, has been releasing EPs of what he calls “beat tracks,” using percussion instruments and drum machines to construct propulsive, evolving, uncannily textured pieces that thoroughly evade and scramble dance-music genres. He’s collected them on an album, “Dolo 4,” that adds four new tracks including the spellbinding “Dolo 13.” It repeats a melody line played on bells amid a rain forest full of transients and electronic bass lines that snort, pump, hiss, sputter, tick and chatter; the pulse is steady while the elements of the mix stay in flux. PARELES

Until now, the bassist Linda May Han Oh has typically stuck to small ensembles, in standard jazz formats — but her prismatic, smartly choreographed compositions have increasingly suggested the possibility of something more. Now we have “Aventurine,” a new album featuring a string quartet alongside a classic jazz four-piece; here, her talents as a composer and arranger find full bloom. On the title track, the vocal quintet Invenio joins in, and things start slowly, with every instrument and voice making its own lambent layer. Eventually, the violins and piano begin to make a spiraling motion, and the voices swarm and dive, as if swimmers exploring the depths of a new lagoon. RUSSONELLO

“Love Birds, Night Birds, Devil-Birds,” from the composer and keyboardist Kelly Moran’s new EP “Origin,” doesn’t seem to move forward linearly. It’s more like a circling peregrination within something sculptural, multifaceted and prismatic, revealing new glimmers and shadows with every tiny shift in perspective. Its cracked bell tones are from a prepared piano — a piano with assorted debris on its strings — while a slow procession of organ-like tones frames sounds that are constantly flickering in and out of earshot. PARELES


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