The Playlist: Ashley McBryde’s Loner’s Lament, and 10 More New Songs

The Playlist: Ashley McBryde’s Loner’s Lament, and 10 More New Songs

The first single from the next Ashley McBryde album — the follow-up to her excellent 2018 debut, “Girl Going Nowhere” — is a catalog of lonely desperation, and the nighttime decisions you can wash off in the morning. “It’s just a room key, you ain’t got to lie to me/Can’t you just use me like I’m using you?” she sings, not one bit melancholy. McBryde sings and writes with a high degree of emotional acuity, and this song, written by her along with Shane McAnally and Nicolette Hayford, is cleareyed, unsentimental and a cold jolt of tragical realism: “Lonely makes a heart ruthless.” JON CARAMANICA

Aqueous metaphors and blurry-edged synthesizers define two new songs that preview the next album by Laetitia Tamko, the smoky-voiced songwriter who records as Vagabon; it’s due in October. Both songs are about relationships lingering too long. In “Flood,” she longs for a new start without an ex-partner, lamenting, “Even if I run from it, I’m still in it” in a march with reluctance built into its beat. Meanwhile, in “Water Me Down,” blippy synthesizers and a subdued four-on-the-floor beat carry mixed messages about an unexpected entanglement: “Never meant for you to love/never meant for you to trust,” she notes, but she’s not sure about breaking free. JON PARELES

For Pusha T, poet laureate of drug-dealer lore, the sins of the past are an opportunity for reflection and also celebration. So his two new songs walk parallel roads. “Sociopath,” with a low, mean and skeletal Kanye West beat — is a love story between outlaws: “All she know, if it’s my hands, it’s pie hands/All she want is the monograms and my bands.” And “Coming Home,” a collaboration with Ms. Lauryn Hill, has the lightness of gospel: “Now it’s jail poses and club pictures, airbrush backdrops and jail visits/This the dope boy song for the dope boys gone/Let ’em know it’s still snowing.” On the first one, he’s sneering and seething; on the second, he’s lost in reverie. Both are true. CARAMANICA

The bedroom-soul singing on Deb Never’s “Swimming” is the thing — it’s a little bit wounded, a little bit petulant. And that’s before she starts channeling the flinty rhythms of SoundCloud-era emo-rap, rendering them with polish, not angst. This song — from her new EP, “House on Wheels” — has aerated, downcast production, creating an air of extremely potent mope: “I keep swimming in a pool of phony people I don’t even know.” CARAMANICA

This instrumental track by Kiefer, a widely recorded keyboard sideman in and out of hip-hop, is a little out of tune, with a lurch in its beat: enough to give it ample charm as high synthesizers tone slide up and down, the bass ambles in and out of dissonance and a piano line hops around in a circle until it asserts itself as a melody. All the parts fit without sounding any less casual or jerry-built. PARELES

The old joke about James Carter — the play-anything-backward saxophonist extraordinaire who arrived on the New York jazz scene in 1990, seeming fully formed at age 21 — is that it must get boring to be this good. That’s one way to explain why someone might think to make an entire album of tunes by the Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with none other than a soul-jazz organ trio. In Carter’s hands, this unlikely marriage yields plenty of humor, joy and fascination. On “Melodie au Crepuscule,” the organist Gerard Gibbs starts by outlining the groove from Bill Withers’s “Use Me,” before he introduces the Reinhardt song’s driftwood melody. For the rest of the track, the trio-mates sit back heavily in their saddles, jostling and provoking each other and savoring the marriage of backbeat and melody. RUSSONELLO

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