San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

Listen: Peter Frampton, Elton John and more new tunes.

- By Adrian Spinelli The Chronicle’s guide to notable new music.

NEW ALBUMS

Peter Frampton, “Frampton Forgets the Words” (UMe): Frampton is giving the talk box a break and letting his fabled 1954 Gibson Les Paul lead the charge on his latest album.

“Frampton Forgets the Words” features instrument­al versions of what the English guitarist says are 10 of his favorite pieces of music, including Sly and the Family Stone’s funkified “If You Want Me to Stay,” David Bowie’s cosmic 1980s “Loving the Alien,” George Harrison’s triumphant “Isn’t It a Pity” and Radiohead’s sweeping “Reckoner.” The songs were recorded at Frampton’s Studio Phenix in Nashville, and backed by his full band he’s as fiery as ever on the guitar.

It’s in the vein of his 2007 Grammywinn­ing album of instrument­als, “Fingerprin­ts,” and it can hopefully help propel the bona fide legend into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where he belongs. Dinosaur Jr., “Sweep It Into Space” (Jagjaguwar): The fifth album since the band’s rebirth in 2005 after a decadelong hiatus is, once again, stellar stuff. The original incarnatio­n of Dinosaur Jr. was a touchstone for ’90s grunge rock bands like Nirvana and Soundgarde­n, but it’s the melodious postcomeba­ck era that speaks to today’s alternativ­e rock heads.

“Sweep It Into Space” is coproduced by incomparab­le singer and guitarist Kurt Vile, who also plays the 12string lead on “I Ran Away.” Along with tracks like “I Met the

Stones,” there’s a slew of signature moments from frontman J. Mascis herein. But bassist Lou Barlow also takes the microphone a couple of times on the album, like on the single “Garden.” It’s a thrill to hear the trio firing on all cylinders once again.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Alfa Mist, “Bring Backs” (Anti): Another standout in the recent inflow from London’s modern jazz movement, the pianist, MC and producer’s new album is a cool and reflective convergenc­e of atmospheri­c jazz and hiphop. Following three releases on his own Sekito imprint and

recent projects with the London Contempora­ry Orchestra and Blue Note Records, this is Alfa Mist’s debut on AntiRecord­s, and it’s his most wellformed exploratio­n of rhythm yet.

His couth flow and deft piano playing (which he learned by ear) on a Rhodes piano pair with a jazzy beat and smooth strings on “Organic Rust.” His cast of collaborat­ors shines throughout as well, namely drummer Jamie Houghton on “Coasting” and bassistvoc­alist Kaya

ThomasDyke on “People.”

Filled with refined avantgarde movements, “Bring Backs” calls to mind the sonic shades of the Soulquaria­ns collective at the turn of the millennium that brought together talents like Questlove, Erykah Badu, James Poyser and the late Roy Hargrove.

SONG OF THE MOMENT

Rina Sawayama and Elton John, “Chosen Family” (Dirty Hit): In a most unexpected but wholly welcome collaborat­ion, JapaneseBr­itish electropop singer Rina Sawayama has joined forces with the great Elton John for a new reworked duet of her song “Chosen Family.” The sheer elegance of Sawayama’s vocals pairs beautifull­y with John’s piano and singing on the ballad about an openarms approach to loved ones in the LGBTQ community who might have been pushed away by their own family and friends.

John, who discovered Sawayama when he was sent her hit song “Comme Des Garçons” for his “Rocket Hour” radio show on Apple Music, said he was floored by the singer.

“Rina doesn’t just represent the crosscultu­ral mix of inspiratio­n from which the best music always thrives,” he said in a statement, “but a generation who have grown up with the internet and the entire history of music at their fin

gertips and mix together whatever they please with real love and understand­ing, unconstrai­ned by old ideas of genre or boundary.”

LOCAL PICKS

Spellling, “Little Deer” (Sacred Bones): Oakland’s Chrystia Cabral, better known as Spellling, has announced the followup to the stunning “Mazy Fly,” one of the best releases to come out of the Bay Area in 2019. “The Turning Wheel’' is due out on June 25 and the lead single, “Little Deer,” is a flowering canvas of sounds that begs for more from the multidisci­plinarian.

Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s painting “Wounded Deer,” Cabral employs 17 different acoustic instrument­s on the song before synths wash through her resplenden­t vocals, taking listeners through a journey of Odyssean proportion­s. Horns, congas and even a bassoon pepper into the decadent arrangemen­t of what she says is “definitely a thesis track” for the upcoming album.

Zola, “Nosebleed” (selfreleas­ed): The daughter of a French mother and a South African father, the Bernal Heights native might just have the most gorgeous voice in the city. Her latest single is a delicious indie pop number that’s meant to make you perk up your chest and shuffle your feet.

Zola, who has sung in both English and French throughout her budding career, operates in the former this time around over a spunky groove and sticky guitar hook. The song is about finding comfort in trying times of solitude — something that we’ve become all too accustomed to during the pandemic. “Paint every room a different color/ season all my meals with ginger,” she sings.

Catch her on the Chapel and Fast Times’ upcoming Instagram live stream on May 5.

Written by Amy Alznauer and illustrate­d by Daniel Miyares Candlewick; 48 pages; $17.99; ages 5-9

One hundred years ago, an impoverish­ed and impassione­d boy in South India wonders about what is small and what is big, gnarly questions of little interest to his bythebook teachers. (He runs into lots of them.) In fresh territory, this picture biography shines overdue light on Srinivasa Ramanujan’s early life and his obsession with numbers. He scribbles numbers on his slate, the cool temple floor and later in notebooks. His difficult trajectory to the pinnacle of the math world, gracefully laid out, offers important reminders — that genius can pop up anywhere and that the contributi­ons of genius have lasting impact.

 ?? Daniel Knighton / Getty Images 2019 ?? Peter Frampton performs in 2019 in San Diego. His new songs were recorded at Frampton’s Studio Phenix in Nashville.
Daniel Knighton / Getty Images 2019 Peter Frampton performs in 2019 in San Diego. His new songs were recorded at Frampton’s Studio Phenix in Nashville.
 ?? Chris Pizzello / Invision 2020 ?? Elton John, seen in 2020, has teamed up with JapaneseBr­itish electropop singer Rina Sawayama.
Chris Pizzello / Invision 2020 Elton John, seen in 2020, has teamed up with JapaneseBr­itish electropop singer Rina Sawayama.
 ??  ?? “The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan”
“The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan”

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