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Dirty Projectors Also Covered John Lennon, Thankfully, and 10 More New Songs


As the coronavirus takes its toll, a lot of musicians are going to be sequestered with their home studios. “Produced, performed and mixed” by Dirty Projectors’ songwriter, David Longstreth, this track sounds like one of the results. Longstreth dug out an appropriate song — “Isolation” — from John Lennon’s 1970 album, with sentiments like “People say we’ve got it made/Don’t they know we’re so afraid?” (Another, less successful Lennon cover is also out on social media.) He trades Lennon’s piano and studio band for an electronic beat and sustained synthesizer chords that make him sound thoroughly solitary and forlorn. It’s exclusively on Bandcamp, which on Friday is supporting musicians by giving up its commission on all the music and merchandise sold on the site. JON PARELES

Here is a reminder of how expertly crafted pop works. “Falling Asleep at the Wheel” is the second single from the young British singer Holly Humberstone, who has studied her Lorde and her Eilish, but also the peculiar optimism of the dance-friendly British pop of the last two decades. This song evolves in chunks, beginning as quickstep indie-pop, then shifting to pop-soul, then unfurling into dance floor bliss and finally opening up for a kind of post-genre ecstasy. All this while telling a story about letting someone down, the resiliency of her vocals tugging against the restless euphoria of the production. And while that production is deft, it’s only complementing what’s already there — in this keyboard-only version of the song from last summer, Humberstone is unvarnished, and resplendent. JON CARAMANICA

Perfume Genius — Mike Hadreas — succumbs to passion in “On the Floor,” carried by an upbeat soul groove of rolling triplets. As the vocals savor pleasures like “the rise and fall of his chest on me,” there’s a simultaneous mesh in the music: the way two rhythm guitars, in left and right channels, continually converse and syncopate, ending up in their own shared, rippling bliss. PARELES

It’s the early 1980s again in “The Buzz,” which harks directly back to vintage Pretenders songs like “Back on the Chain Gang.” It tops the band’s neatly layered folk-rock — twang below, peal above — with Chrissie Hynde’s unmistakable blend of tension, nonchalance and tremulous openness. She’s depicting love as an irresistible addiction, one she’s not necessarily willing to resist. PARELES

In this particular moment of global restriction on movement, here’s a lovely song that’s a reminder that plenty of people were frozen in place, physically and psychologically, long before the virus came, and will be that way long after the crisis dissipates. CARAMANICA

The Philly trio Control Top take aim at someone in need of a “Man in the Mirror” moment on its latest punky single: “You have to face yourself/To become someone else,” Ali Carter sings over a slashing guitar riff before a sampler pixilates her vocals into a stuttering haze. But the line that gives the track its title resonates most at the moment: “We’re all fighting for one good day.” CARYN GANZ

The singer and songwriter Anna Balfany, who is clearly no fan of uppercase or the space bar — introduces herself with a personal-brand statement in Auto-Tune-cappella, all vocals. She assembles the phrase “Hello I am” word by word, harmonizes it, then describes herself in fragments of melody, speech and laughter. “You’ll never know that I’m emotional/’cause I’ll always make you laugh even when I’m miserable/But really I’m OK,” she asserts. “I’m just some girl named Anna,” the track concludes, though it’s clear she’s just getting started. PARELES

Impermanence and transparency suffuse “Speaking of the End” by the English songwriter Lapsley. The barest minimum of piano chords join her voice as she sings, in splintered images, about separation and new companionship. “Oh the fragility my valentine,” she sings, but by the end, added voices arrive to suggest hope. PARELES

The Jazz Messengers were the quintessential outfit of the hard-bop era, but as a finishing school for young jazz musicians on their way to illustrious careers, the band had no fixed membership. One historic formation that existed only briefly (in 1959, jazz’s banner year) put the tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley alongside the trumpeter Lee Morgan on the band’s front line. No studio album has been released featuring this particular crew but enough material was recorded for one, at a session 61 years ago this month. That music will see the light of day in April, when Blue Note releases “Just Coolin’,” featuring six tracks from that session. They include two tunes that had never been released in any form — including “Quick Trick,” a sauntering ditty composed by the pianist Bobby Timmons (the author of “Moanin’,” the Messengers’ de facto theme song). Both Morgan and Mobley get brief star turns, the younger trumpeter blasting away first and the saxophonist rising to match his energy. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Before making “Inside Rhythmic Falls,” his latest album, the pianist Aruán Ortíz traveled back to his native Oriente, Cuba, to attend local ceremonies and reimmerse himself in the culture of his youth — specifically the old guitar-and-drum music known as changüi. You won’t hear many direct references to that tradition in this music; Ortíz is an experimentalist and a tonal provocateur, influenced by European modernism and contemporary jazz as much as by Afro-Cuban tradition. But with help from the Cuban percussionist Mauricio Herrera and the Haitian-American drum eminence Andrew Cyrille, Ortíz renders his own kind of sonic hypnosis, particularly on “Inside Rhythmic Falls, Part II (Echoes).” He moves in and out of restless, repeated patterns, sometimes in sync with the drummers and sometimes holding firm even as their cadence tumbles apart. RUSSONELLO

Social distancing made this year’s St. Patrick’s Day a deeply subdued one, but here’s a lovely contemplative postscript from Eileen Ivers, the Irish-American fiddler who has won multiple All-Ireland fiddle championships and was a founding member of Cherish the Ladies. It’s a modest but optimistic two-part melody, ambling homeward above a glinting string-band backdrop. PARELES

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