The sexy and rediscovered collection of Nina Simone and 9 other new songs

Just a week later performance At the historic Black Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., in support of James Meredith March against fearNina Simone was on fire as she walked on stage to play to a very different audience at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 2, 1966. Her interactions with Newport’s New England bourgeoisie were barely warm: In the middle of an acid-washed version of “Blues for My Mama,” she dismissed them—”I guess you’re not ready for that, shut up for them”—and then “hushed up later.” But she pours every ounce of vitriol she’s ever been into the show, especially into the play “Mississippi Goddam.” She first released the song in 1964, and two years later it felt as topical as ever. Meredith had just been shot while walking through Mississippi, and the unrest was rippling through red-lined black neighborhoods across the country. In Newport, she adapts a verse to deal with the oppression of the black community in Los Angeles: “Alabama/And whats It made me lose my cool / Everyone knows about Mississippi, dammit! The entire Newport performance is now available for the first time as an album titled “You Must Learn”. It’s magical and heartbreaking stuff, reminding us of how much Simon still laments today. Giovanni Rossonello

Snoh Aalegra sings of her inability to let go of her misery, slowly undulating “Be Summer.” She admits, “I can’t change how I feel / I tried to move on but I’m here where we left off.” The song arrives with a tangle of voices—some consonant, some fugitive—and they return in choruses that are never unanimous, hinting at the misgivings behind her pleas to “protect me from the rain.” John Pareles

“Bring me silence so you can start to hear voices,” English R&B songwriter Ama Lou purports in a song that oscillates between sadness and spite. The production isn’t muted but it does sound minimal and dry. Her vocals flow over two chords evidenced by sustained bass riffs and a kick-starting hollow drumbeat. With bursts of vocal melody that reference Janet Jackson, Ama Lou mixes accusations and remorse, making it clear that she wasn’t the traitor. “I guess I was convinced you were really okay,” she sings, shuddering in disbelief. parallel

“I just looked at my life and all I saw was you ain’t coming back,” Damon Albarn sings wonderfully at the beginning of “The Ballad,” an obvious highlight from Blur’s new album, “The Ballad of Darren.” Lush backing vocals from guitarist Graham Coxon and powerful percussion from drummer Dave Rowntree provide buoyancy, and layers of vocal detail give “The Ballad” a sort of dreamy, weightless vibe. Lindsay Zoladz

Filipino-English songwriter beabadoobee keeps a light touch as she sings about crumbling relationships like the one on “The Way Things Go.” She accompanies a bouncy, steely guitar pluck as she claims the romance is only “a distant memory I used to know”. But then she descends into accusations—”I never thought you’d stoop so low”—as a distant orchestra floats with flutes gushing about, a fanciful backdrop to her carelessness. parallel

Prior to Bon Iver, Justin Vernon was a member of DeYarmond Edison, which also included Brad Cooke, Phil Cooke, and Joe Westerlund, who would form the band Megafaun. “Epoch”, which was recorded in 2005 and 2006, is the title track of a boxed set due in August and a harbinger of Bon Iver. It is a resigned and measured song, with ambiguous lyrics that contemplate death and technology: “Throw the new in the old / Wavelength falls into knots”. Behind the sumptuous melody, the vocal instruments that open the song—banjo and tambourine—encounter surreal echoes and noise incursions. parallel

In 2002, the Mountain Goats—then John Darniel’s solo project—released one of the most beloved albums in their extensive catalog, “All Hail West Texas,” a collection of haunting personality studies beamed in a boombox accompanied only by an urgently strummed acoustic guitar. More than two decades later, and now with a full band behind him, Darnielle will revisit those same characters on the upcoming album, Jenny from Thebes. The first single, the energetic “Clean Slate”, suggests he isn’t going back to the lo-fi sound of the previous album; The new track has the grandeur of rock opera and the brightness of ’70s AM radio. The lyrics are filled with closely observed despair and stubborn glimmers of hope — and that is to say, it’s a Darnielle classic. As he sings: “It never lights up outside when they get on the truck.” “Remember at your peril, forget what you can.” ZOLADZ

There are worse misfortunes than having no space on a cellphone because it is full of ex’s photos. But that’s the situation on “Ojitos Rojos” (“Little Red Eyes”), the latest collaboration by well-connected Mexican-American band Grupo Frontera, from Texas – this time with another cumbia band, Ke Personajes from Argentina. During the shouts of the accordion and the cumbia beat, the singers trade grimaces about their memory’s maxed out capacity and constant, almost haunted sincerity: “Even though you tell me no and fool yourself with another child / I know I love your life,” sings Emmanuel Noir of Ke Personajes. Is it a heartache, or does cloud storage help? parallel

One win, three big names, and an SEO-optimized title make “K-Pop,” a calculated round of swagger coming and going from Travis Scott, Bad Bunny, and The Weeknd. The track, which was produced behind the scenes by the hit makers — Bynx, Boi-1da, Illangelo and Jahaan Sweet — nods to unmistakable Nigerian Afrobeats, motivating three distinct over-the-top strategies. Travis Scott is fast, knocking, and tight in tone. The big bunny jumps and groans. Sustained, temperamental, and on-brand, The Weeknd sounds like she’s “mixing medication with pain” and promises energetic, long-distance sex. As in K-pop, hooks are flaunted, then tossed aside when a new one arrives. parallel

Texas band Explosion’s in the Sky has been playing instrumental rock – “post-rock” – since the late 1990s, relying on patterns, textures and dynamics to make up for the absence of lyrics. “Ten Billion People” is one of her perfectly paced wordless novels: starting off with a clockwork and skeleton, swelling with keyboards and guitars, swaying with stereo dueling drum kits, stopping the beat, then rebuilding towards something more majestic and reassuring. It is simple and dramatic at the same time. parallel