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Beck and Phoenix’s Bouncy Synth-Pop Team-up, and 8 More New Songs

Double bill challenge: write a song with the act sharing the tour to prove compatibility. Beck and the French electro-pop band Phoenix, who will hit the road together this summer, have done just that. Their collaboration, “Odyssey,” finds common ground in synthesizer-centered 1980s pop, specifically Talking Heads’ 1980 “Once in a Lifetime” plus a lot of marimba or xylophone overdubs. Homer’s “Odyssey” was a long, brutal journey home. This “Odyssey” is much more comfortable. JON PARELES

“If the man says that he wants you in his life forever — run!” That’s what the English songwriter Maisie Peters advises after a relationship with someone who was “too good to be true.” It’s a brisk, beat-driven battle-of-the-sexes song that could be a slogan. PARELES

Brooding synthesizer chords and dependable but ever-shifting drumbeats run through Aphex Twin’s first official release in five years, the inscrutably titled (as usual) “Blackbox Life Recorder 21f,” from an EP due July 28. Melodically, the track is a dirge, but until the rhythm drops away at the end, the percussion is there to party no matter how grim the surroundings. PARELES

The trumpeter and bandleader Jaimie Branch, who was 39 when she died last year, left behind raucous, defiant recordings that will be released in August as a posthumous album, “Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((World War)).” Branch determinedly fused jazz, electronics and punk spirit, and in “Take Over the World” she starts out chanting “Gonna gonna take over the world/and give it back-back-back-back to the l-l-land,” whooping up high as she’s joined by pummeling, New Orleans-flavored drums and rhythmically droning cello and bass. She plays a taunting, growling trumpet solo; she puts her vocals through an electronic warp. Her fury gathers a fierce, joyful momentum. PARELES

“We broke up on Independence Day, crying while the next door neighbors raged,” El Kempner begins on this single from indie-rockers Palehound’s forthcoming album “Eye on the Bat,” atop a chord progression that chugs wearily, like Wilco’s “Kamera.” That memorable line sets the scene for this bleary, blurred snapshot of a relationship’s end, full of wry humor and hard-won wisdom. “Even if I could, it would kill me to look back,” Kempner sings, musing on the sadness of the road not taken. “No, I don’t wanna see the other path.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

The country artists Amanda Shires and Bobbie Nelson recorded the generation-bridging album “Loving You” shortly before Nelson’s 2022 death at age 91, and the result is a testament to the collaborative spirit and light, intuitive touch as a pianist that she retained up until the very end of her life. The album’s opening number “Waltz Across Texas,” the Western swing classic made famous by Ernest Tubb, showcases their easy musical chemistry: Shires’s fluttery voice is playful but reverent to the source material, and Nelson’s notes are as elegantly spaced and glimmering as stars in a night sky. ZOLADZ

Faye Webster trades in deceptive nonchalance. She brings her sly, sleepy voice to “But Not Kiss,” singing about the wary, ambivalent beginnings of a relationship: “I want to see you in my dreams but then forget,” she sings, “We’re meant to be — but not yet.” Each quiet, folky declaration is answered by a rich burst of instruments: physical responses outpacing rational decisions. PARELES

What would it feel like to drive off a Mediterranean mountainside? Leave it to the Smile — Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead with the jazz drummer Tom Skinner — to consider that possibility in this nerve-racking eight-minute track. “Bending Hectic” moves from contemplating the view to getting suicidal on curvy Italian mountain roads, from quiet guitar picking and contemplation to disaster scored by Greenwood’s dissonant string arrangements. Takeaway: Choose that van driver carefully. PARELES

Ambrose Akinmusire recorded his newest album, “Beauty Is Enough,” at Paris’s towering Saint-Eustache cathedral, without an audience or a band — just his trumpet and the natural reverb of the hall. He approached the album, which is entirely improvised, as something of a rite of passage: So many of his horn-playing heroes had done solo albums at crucial career junctures, he’d known he would at some point too. Akinmusire has a huge knowledge of jazz history, but he pushes himself to avoid relaxing within it; you’ll never hear him falling back on references. Instead he’s built one of the most ineffable styles in jazz, full of smoldering feeling, but with a startling quietness at its core. (The LP’s cover art approximates this well: a faint, almost bodily shape, barely emerging from an all-black background.) On “Cora Campbell,” the last of the LP’s 16 tracks, you’ll hear him squeeze his notes tightly, letting them tremor and wriggle a bit. Seventy seconds in, he turns the notes he’s been toying with into a steady pattern, then challenges himself to splice higher pitches and glissandos into its gaps. It’s not overloaded, but he’s never at rest. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

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