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More New Songs, Including Olivia Rodrigo’s Eerie ‘Hunger Games’ Track


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A latticework of acoustic guitar and a building intensity drive “Can’t Catch Me Now,” Olivia Rodrigo’s brooding new song from soundtrack for (deep breath) “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” “You think that you got away,” Rodrigo sings through gritted teeth, adding an eerily pastoral feel to another of her signature tales of heartbreak and revenge. “But I’m in the trees, I’m in the breeze.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Megan Thee Stallion’s raps have constructed a persona that’s carnal, competitive and invincible even on bad days. But on “Cobra” — her first self-released single after leaving her old label — she hits “rock bottom,” admitting, “Yes, I’m very depressed/How can someone so blessed wanna slit they wrist?” The video shows Megan shedding her skin, but the song itself doesn’t declare victory; instead, a rock-guitar outro summons the bitterness of grunge. JON PARELES

Torres — the stage name of the singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott — sullies organic folk sounds with a mechanized, industrial crunch on “I Got the Fear,” the second single from her sixth album, “What an Enormous Room,” due in January. Images of panic attacks and climate catastrophe haunt the song, but love provides a sliver of hope: “The dread doesn’t pay any rent money,” Torres sings, “But as long as it doesn’t get ahold of my honey, think I’ll be all right.” ZOLADZ

The English group Mount Kimbie keeps figuring out different ways to fuse meditation, confession and snarl. Its latest single, “Dumb Guitar,” promising a new album, taps through three chords with ever-evolving loops and waves of synthesizers, keyboards and guitars. As it churns ahead, Dominic Maker and Kai Campos sing lines like “Find a suit to wear out/Take the selfish side out,” “Another day I’ll kill myself” and “Lose it all in silence/Dig a hole in my mind.” The estrangement keeps growing, even as the music ebbs into a calm coda. PARELES

A shuffle rhythm, usually the sound of jaunty confidence, gets pushed and pulled into nervous, angular permutations in Willow’s “Alone,” a seething and then explosive two-minute distillation of a relationship full of need, betrayal and confusion. “I’m so tired of being a liar, it’s true,” Willow sings, well before the final rupture. PARELES

Robin Perkins, who records as El Búho (the Owl), is an English electronic producer who has devoted himself to Latin American rhythms, natural sounds and environmental activism. He collaborated with the flamenco-influenced Spanish singer and songwriter Nita (Cristina Manjón), from the group Fuel Fandango, on “Cenizas de Agua” (“Ashes of Water”). The track smolders with suppressed agitation about the fate of the planet. Over a subdued cumbia beat, surrounded by glimmering, time-reversed sounds, Nita’s lyrics contrast cherished memories with dire expectations: “I open my chest,” she sings. “I break the silence.” PARELES

Majid Jordan — the Canadian duo of the singer Majid Al-Maskati and the producer Jordan Ullman — makes hypnotically self-effacing R&B: pondering, contemplating, doubting, never raising its voice. In “Slip,” from the new album “Good People,” the beat is muffled and the keyboards are like distant radar blips as Al-Maskati struggles to stave off a temptation, though it’s clear he longs to succumb. PARELES

James Elkington, an English guitarist based in Chicago who has worked with Jeff Tweedy and Eleventh Dream Day, made his new instrumental album, “Me Neither (LP 1)” — the first of two parts — on his own, mostly with folky acoustic guitars but not ruling out electronics. In “A Round, a Bout,” melodies slowly materialize above, and then below, a serene picking pattern, sounding reticent but somehow inevitable. PARELES

On “The Cell,” Nick Jozwiak’s bass and Michael Shekwoaga Ode’s drums buckle in together, creating a pulpy beat for the trumpeter Peter Evans to dive beneath and around. Joel Ross finds the open space that’s left and lets his vibraphone ring there, one or two notes at a time. Ross and Evans are both dexterous players who can blow your hair back: The vibraphonist is known for his prolix soloing, and Evans for his extended technique. On “Ars Memoria,” the second album from the quartet that Evans calls Being & Becoming, both simmer down and submit themselves to the group imperative. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

If you know Anthony Pirog, it’s probably as a fearless guitar slasher with a rack of effects pedals that let him encase himself in a turbulent cocoon. But on his newest album, “The Nepenthe Series, Vol. 1,” Pirog invites others to control the environment. During the pandemic, he asked peers and mentors to record one track each that they considered “ambient,” then he would play his way into the sound. The list of collaborators is impressive: Andy Summers, Nels Cline, John Frusciante. He made “Night Winds” with Wendy Eisenberg, another youngish guitar innovator; it is the album’s most cluttered and inclement-sounding track, and the most absorbing. Eisenberg’s growling, pseudo-industrial backdrop adds a high contrast to Pirog’s twinkly long tones, which pile up gradually until it all washes out into silence. RUSSONELLO


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