A Radiohead Spinoff’s Snarling Single, and 8 More New Songs

The latest Radiohead spinoff is the Smile, the quasi-power trio of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and the drummer Tom Skinner from Sons of Kemet. “Not the smile as in ha-ha-ha, more the smile as in the guy who lies to you every day,” Yorke told the virtual audience at the 2021 Glastonbury Festival. On the evidence of its online gigs in 2021, it’s a raucous, riff-loving project, especially on its first single, “You Will Never Work in Television Again.” Over a bruising 5/4 beat and flailing guitars climbing through three chords, Yorke snarl-sings his avenging fury at “some gangster troll promising the moon” who’d devour “all those beautiful young hopes and dreams,” and you can almost feel the spittle flying. JON PARELES
Amber Mark has been gradually unveiling her album due Jan. 28, “Three Dimensions Deep.” Her latest glimpse is a live-to-track performance of “Most Men,” a sisterly warning about giving in to lust, directed to those women who are “reckless with your heart.” As the track evolves from gospel organ chords to a funk strut, she is blunt — “most men are garbage” — but willing to entertain other rare possibilities. PARELES
The long-running Romanian pop megastar Inna remains relentless. “Champagne Problems” — from her new album, “Champagne Problems #DQH1” — is immaculate club-pop: ecstatic, bubbly, heartless. JON CARAMANICA
Quick, gruff and sinister, “Los Illuminaty” is a full-chested avowal of eminence. Rochy RD, the father of el bajo mundo (the underground dembow movement in the Dominican Republic) is well paired with the Puerto Rican reggaeton star Anuel AA: the full-throated grain of both artists’ voices lands with a satisfying sense of villainy. The linkup is mutually beneficial: It’s another international co-sign for Rochy, who has been quietly spearheading underground dembow’s sprawl, but also a much-needed injection of street cred for Anuel, who has further strayed from his trap roots into the world of pop. ISABELIA HERRERA
The slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein is what they call a musician’s musician: a decades-long veteran of the New York jazz scene, with the skills, the scars and the encyclopedic recall to prove it. But he’s a crowd-pleaser, too. And both sides are fundamental to the music of his Millennial Territory Orchestra, a nine-piece group that plays Bernstein’s airtight, feel-good arrangements of classics and hidden gems from the 20th century American canon. “Good Time Music,” the orchestra’s new album, was inspired by his old friend and collaborator Levon Helm, the Band’s famed drummer, who died in 2012, and whose late-career shows at his Woodstock barn drew from the same kind of repertoire. The vocalist Catherine Russell met Bernstein at one of those shows; on “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon” — Bessie Smith’s send-off to a “broke-down” lover — she’s perfectly in sync with the band. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind?” — a lullaby about the invisible power of nature, love and dreams, backed by Baroque-pop flute and harpsichord — was the B-side of John Lennon’s 1970 single “Instant Karma.” For “Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono,” a tribute album due Feb. 18, David Byrne and Yo La Tengo remade the song as a reverberant meditation: tinged with Indian drone, shimmering with a vibraphone pulse and gathering communal vocal harmonies. PARELES
Patient as a soft breeze, “J’s Lullaby (Darlin’ I’d Wait for You)” is about the awe of romantic intoxication, but never gets wide-eyed. Instead, Delaney Bailey’s startling whisper of a voice — which rests somewhere between lonely, parched country and indie resignation — marches on with resolve, both when she’s swooning (“I’d bottle the feeling you give me/shelve that stuff for years to come”) or sensing the object of her affection might be just out of reach. CARAMANICA
The pandemic has forced jazz musicians to become resourceful — in some cases, to the extreme. Before 2020, the tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby frequently hosted jam sessions at home that doubled as workshops. A few months into lockdown, he decided to recreate them in a Covid-safe environment: underneath an overpass on the New Jersey Turnpike, in a graffiti-splattered passageway that left him and his fellow musicians only sort of protected from the elements but did create a resonant chamber of echo. He named it the Cave of Winds. That name now adorns his new album, which features the guitarist Ben Monder, the bassist Michael Formanek and the drummer Tom Rainey playing Malaby originals. “Just Me, Just Me” is his lockdown-era play on “Just You, Just Me” — though it’s got more in common with Ornette Coleman’s wily harmolodics than with any prewar jazz standard. Malaby and Monder share the ragged, corkscrewing melody over a rhythm-section backing that’s never far from total disintegration. Monder’s solo is a scrabbling, distorted trip, and Malaby follows it up with his own shot of crisply melodic chaos. RUSSONELLO



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