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My Chemical Romance’s Prog-Emo Surprise, and 12 More New Songs

My Chemical Romance — the New Jersey band that fused the momentum of pop-punk, the crunch of hard rock and the opulent productions of glam — announced its breakup in 2013 and released its last new song in 2014. Although the band reunited to tour in 2019, “The Foundations of Decay” is its first new material since then. There’s no punk sarcasm for now; as the music builds from measured dirge to pummeling anthem, the lyrics both recognize and rail against the ravages of time, even on the verge of a new tour. JON PARELES

On its debut album, “A Light for Attracting Attention,” the Smile is Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead joined by a different drummer: Tom Skinner from Sons of Kemet. The new band’s ingredients add up largely as expected: a leaner take on Radiohead’s longstanding thoughts of alienation and malaise, pushing rhythm into the foreground. Skinner starts “The Opposite” by himself, with a sputtering, shifty funk beat that’s soon topped by an accumulation of overlapping, stop-start guitar riffs, each one adding a new bit of disorientation. Yorke might be describing the track itself when he sings, “It goes back and forth followed by a question mark.” PARELES

“Welcome to Hell” announces the third album by black midi, “Hellfire,” due July 15. It’s a jagged, funky, speed-shifting mini-suite, by turns brutal and sardonic, with lyrics about the dehumanization of a soldier. “To die for your country does not win a war/To kill for your country is what wins a war,” Geordie Greep sings. The music is exhilarating; the aftertaste is bleak. PARELES

Kendrick Lamar has made a series of songs called “The Heart” to preface his albums. “The Heart Part 5” arrived a few days before his new one, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.” As always, Lamar’s work is multilayered, self-questioning, thoughtful, rhythmic and bold. The track’s jumpy, insistent conga drums, bass line and backup vocals come from Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” a title that Lamar repurposes to address his fans. On the sonic level, Lamar’s fast-talking vocals challenge the congas for syllable-by-syllable momentum. His mission is to “Sacrifice personal gain over everything/Just to see the next generation better than ours.” The song’s video clip uses deep-fake technology to make Lamar look like charged cultural figures including O.J. Simpson, Kanye West and Nipsey Hussle. This is hip-hop working through its own implications, contradictions and repercussions. PARELES

Flores’s voice has luster, but she can also envelop messages of pain and pride into moments of gentle acuity. On “Brown,” from her debut EP “The Lives They Left,” she meditates on her upbringing on the El Paso-Juárez border: the violence of government agencies like ICE and C.B.P., as well as the small joys of quotidian life, what she calls “brown trust” and “brown love.” A lonely saxophone resounds under the production, as Flores reflects on the resilience of the Indigenous ancestors that preceded her: “When they ask you where you people come from/16,000 years we here/Valleys stained of blood and tears/Mexica let ’em know/ This the land we’ve sown/Laid the seeds that grow.” ISABELIA HERRERA

“Michael” is a relatively subdued song for an artist as antic and kaleidoscopic as Remi Wolf, but she puts her stamp on it nonetheless. Written with the Porches mastermind Aaron Maine — their first time working together — and Wolf’s touring guitarist Jack DeMeo, the track is a sing-songy depiction of romantic desperation, with Wolf singing from the perspective of someone clinging to an obsessive relationship she knows is doomed. “Michael, hold my hand and spin me round until I’m dizzy,” she begs atop a murky electric guitar progression. “Loosen up my chemicals.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

The Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin’s music is a gradual accumulation of small, sharp lyrical details, and “Lydia Wears a Cross,” the first single from her forthcoming album “Pre Pleasure,” is full of them: Two young girls “listening to ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ soundtrack”; a child “singing every single word wrong” on a parade float; a catechism teacher instructing her pupils to pray for Princess Diana. Such snapshots create a larger atmosphere of religious indoctrination and Jacklin’s youthful questioning: “I felt pretty in the shoes and the dress/Confused by the rest, could he hear me?” The arrangement is sparse — drum machine, echoing stabs of piano — to spotlight Jacklin’s storytelling, but a subtle unease creeps in when she gets to the haunting chorus: “I’d be a believer, if it was all just song and dance/I’d be a believer, if I thought we had a chance.” ZOLADZ

Ben Gibbard sings about numbness and detachment, claiming “I am learning to let go/of everything I tried to hold,” in “Roman Candles,” the preview of an album due in September. But the music belies any claim to serenity. Drums, bass and guitars all overload and distort, pounding away in a relentless two-minute surge. PARELES

There’s usually some angst tucked between the brawny classic-rock riffs on a Black Keys album. The duo’s new one, “Dropout Boogie,” includes “How Long,” a betrayed lover’s confession of desperate devotion. Just two descending chords, a cycle of disappointment, carry most of the song, with layers of guitar piling on like heartaches. “Even in our final hour/See the beauty in the dying flower,” Dan Auerbach sings in the bridge, but the obsession isn’t over; the song ends with the narrator still wondering, “How long?” PARELES

It’s not the Jimi Hendrix song. “You and I know that love is all we need to survive,” Joy Oladokun insists in her own “Purple Haze,” preaching togetherness in the face of dire possibilities. A syncopated acoustic guitar and Oladokun’s determined voice hint at Tracy Chapman as the song begins; more vocals and guitars join her, insisting on optimism even if “maybe we’re running out of time.” PARELES

Ambar Lucid may be known for her brassy, arena-sized voice, but on her new single, she ventures into new territory. “Girl Ur So Pretty” glitters like pixie dust: in an airy, gossamer falsetto, the 21-year-old artist serenades her crush over sparkling synths and ’00s girl group handclaps. It’s a welcome spin on the bubble gum pop of a bygone era, and she brings her tongue-in-cheek humor along, too: “Can’t tell if I’m in love or high,” she sings. “I’m not usually into Earth signs.” HERRERA

There’s a nervy, bated-breath feeling about the music that the drummer and vibraphonist Ches Smith is making with his new quartet featuring Mat Maneri on violin, Craig Taborn on piano and Bill Frisell on guitar. It’s not fully dread, but not simple anticipation either. For an LP led by a drummer, “Interpret It Well” is full of extended passages with no drumming; latent tension hangs where the percussion might have been. On the title track, Smith taps the vibraphone in a pattern of resonant octaves, and the rest of the quartet grows restless behind him. A bluesy aside from Frisell sends the band into silence, and Taborn plays a long cadenza. By the end of the nearly 14-minute track, the four are charging ahead together. This is the peak, but the stench of expectation still lingers, as if something else even louder — or completely peaceful — waits just ahead. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik treated his new album, “Assembly,” as a canvas for some impressive formal experiments, and there’s rarely a dull moment. Its tracks include spontaneous improvisations reframed via overdubs; complex compositions mixing two different tempos; and dissections of pieces of the jazz canon. On the fast-charging “Fanfare,” as Garchik and the soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome harmonize on a series of descending and ascending patterns, the rhythm section’s off-track backing gives the illusion that things are speeding up. Then suddenly a long, cooled-out passage begins, just trombone and piano, with Garchik sounding as buttery as Tricky Sam Nanton over changes borrowed from Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.” RUSSONELLO

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