Editors' Choice

Selections for

June 2017

MOSAIC
311
BMG
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Three decades in, the quintet keeps the party going with an energetic 12th LP of tried-and-true reggae, hip-hop, and metal fusion.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Marseille
Jazz Village / JazzBook
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A gorgeous, dreamlike homage to the coastal French city that clearly holds a special place in the pianist's heart.
- Matt Collar
A Noble and Melancholy Instrument: Music for horns and pianos of the 19th century
BIS
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A historical-performance release where the talents of instrument maker, performer, and composer seem to converge.
- James Manheim
The Underside of Power
Matador
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On their militant second album, the quartet and producer Adrian Utley offer a soundtrack for the apocalypse, yet refuse to be swallowed by it.
- Thom Jurek
Other
Cooking Vinyl
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A confident, intelligent ninth LP that shares The Minutes' dramatic flare while adding acoustic instrumentation to electronics.
- Marcy Donelson
Last Young Renegade
Atlantic / Fueled by Ramen Records
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Surprising seventh set that finds the pop-punk quartet venturing into the pop mainstream with fun, satisfying results.
- Neil Z. Yeung
The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience
Omnivore
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This definitive reissue of Allen Ginsberg's musical rendering of William Blake's work includes a slew of indispensable unreleased material.
- Thom Jurek
City of No Reply
Columbia / Sony Music
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The former Dirty Projectors member goes solo with a beguiling post-breakup set full of sunny self-motivation and lush melancholia.
- Timothy Monger
A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
Blue Note
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A challenging, sprawling live album of all-original material from the trumpeter and his quartet.
- Matt Collar
The Optimist
Kscope
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Reaching back to 2001's A Fine Day to Exit for their muse, the Liverpool rockers push at the future to explore new possibilities.
- Thom Jurek
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3; Wagner: Tannhäuser Overture
Deutsche Grammophon
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Andris Nelsons leads the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a committed performance of the 1888/1889 version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 3.
- Blair Sanderson
Brahms: The Symphonies
BSO
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Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra present mainstream interpretations of the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms.
- Blair Sanderson
Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions, Vol. 4: With Bill Watrous
Omnivore
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The great saxophonist in a quintet setting with savvy trombonist Bill Watrous and pianist Russ Freeman. This may be the best volume in this series.
- Thom Jurek
Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions, Vol. 3: Lee Konitz
Omnivore
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The two Stan Kenton alums paired for this emotive, early-'80s date originally released on Japan's Atlas label.
- Matt Collar
Towards Language
Rune Grammaphon Nw / Rune Grammofon
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The Norwegian trumpeter and some longtime collaborators continue their exploration and discovery in expanding the boundaries of jazz.
- Thom Jurek
Somersault
Bayonet Records
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Beach Fossils' third album adds more collaboration and expanded instrumentation, both of which give their sound an impressive makeover.
- Tim Sendra
B-Sides and Rarities
Sub Pop
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The duo's odds 'n' sods collection reaffirms just how consistent -- and consistently beautiful -- its music is.
- Heather Phares
Witness
ATO
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A musically expansive and politically charged second effort from neo-bluesman Benjamin Booker.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Franz Liszt: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 46 - Berlioz Transcriptions
Naxos
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For Vol. 46 of Liszt's Complete Piano Music, Feng Bian plays several transcriptions of music by Berlioz that Liszt tirelessly promoted.
- Blair Sanderson
Louie Louie Louie
Savoy Jazz
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A vivaciously delivered tribute to the California outfit's three biggest influences: Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, and Louis Jordan.
- Matt Collar
Capacity
Saddle Creek Records
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A quietly powerful sequel to 2016's Masterpiece showcasing the raw lyrics and delivery of leader Adrianne Lenker.
- Marcy Donelson
Music for the 100 Years' War
Hyperion
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The 100 Years' War provides the framework for this album of Medieval and Renaissance music, sung by the Binchois Consort.
- Blair Sanderson
Funk Wav Bounces, Vol. 1
Columbia / Sony Music
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Leaving EDM behind, the Scottish producer assembles an all-star roster of rap, R&B, and pop guests for his nostalgic beachside getaway.
- Neil Z. Yeung
The Singles
Can
Mute
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Collecting all of Can's 7" singles in one place, this compilation spotlights the Krautrock legends at their most immediate, energetic, and enjoyable.
- Paul Simpson
We're All Alright!
Big Machine Records
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The veteran rockers sound tight, rowdy, and energetic on this set that's as fun as anything they've cut in a decade.
- Mark Deming
Balsams
VDSQ
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The guitarist-composer switches to pedal steel for this album-length series of tender, atmospheric songscapes.
- Thom Jurek
Iteration
Ghostly International
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Composed as Seth Haley was adjusting to his new life in California, Iteration is the high-definition conclusion to the Com Truise saga.
- Paul Simpson
Waiting on a Song
Easy Eye Sound / Nonesuch
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A cheerful, bright salute to Jeff Lynne pop and '70s songcraft.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Dion Lunadon
Agitated
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Dion Lunadon, member of A Place to Bury Strangers and former leader of the D4, steps out with his arresting solo debut.
- Paul Simpson
America, Location 12
Bomber Records
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The New England roots rock power trio take a West Coast trip on their strong sixth LP.
- Timothy Monger
Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa Music / Warner Bros.
Pop
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Brimming with the confidence of a seasoned vet, this excellent pop debut strikes a deft balance between attitude and vulnerability.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Bioprodukt
Planet Mu
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Nick Edwards' fourth full-length for Planet Mu is slightly less hissy than prior releases, and subtly alludes to early-'90s acid house and bleep techno.
- Paul Simpson
EX EYE
Relapse Records
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An awesome debut from the uncompromising instrumental rock quartet challenges, realigns, and perhaps redefines post-metal's boundaries.
- Thom Jurek
Crack-Up
Nonesuch
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Following a lengthy hiatus, the band's debut for Nonesuch is dense, ambitious, and ultimately rewarding.
- Timothy Monger
Maurice Ravel: Daphnis & Chloé, Complete Ballet
Harmonia Mundi
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François-Xavier Roth and his period instruments ensemble Les Siècles re-create Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé with the sounds of its 1912 premiere.
- Blair Sanderson
Another Summer of Love
Alive Naturalsound Records / Alive Records
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Chiming slice of warm West Coast guitar pop with some serious Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers influence.
- Tim Sendra
Revolution Come... Revolution Go
Fantasy
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On their first record in four years, the quartet delivers their signature brand of heavy blues-rock tempered by soul, psych, and jazz.
- Thom Jurek
I Romanticize
Heavenly
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Adding more keyboards to his off-kilter guitar pop makes the Welsh singer/songwriter's fourth album his most accomplished and expressive to date.
- Tim Sendra
Mahler: Symphony No. 3
Channel Classics
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Iván Fischer leads the Budapest Festival Orchestra in a compelling performance of Mahler's longest symphony, the Symphony No. 3 in D minor.
- Blair Sanderson
Wintres Woma
Paradise of Bachelors
AllMusic
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The debut solo album of progressive '60s- and '70s-style folk from the British-born, Chicago-based singer/songwriter.
- Matt Collar
The Nashville Sound
Southeastern Records / Thirty Tigers
AllMusic
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The gifted songwriter aims for a more eclectic sound here, and he and his band deliver the goods with passion and skill.
- Mark Deming
On the Echoing Green
Mexican Summer
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The follow-up to the astonishing A Year with 13 Moons finds experimental guitarist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma increasing his pop sensibility.
- Paul Simpson
Telephone
Instant (UK) / Instant Records
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On their sophomore album, these rocking Detroiters up the ante with craftier songwriting, better production, and the addition of tough Latin rhythms.
- Thom Jurek
Trane: The Atlantic Collection
Atlantic / Rhino
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An enjoyably concise, single-disc thumbnail sketch of the legendary saxophonist's innovative Atlantic years.
- Matt Collar
Carl Heinrich Graun: Opera Arias
Decca
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The neglected arias of Carl Heinrich Graun receive sparkling world-premiere recordings from Julia Lezhneva and Concerto Köln.
- Blair Sanderson
Rachmaninov: Rare Piano Transcriptions
Naxos
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A highly recommended recording of music that is not really obscure, although it has been deemed so for a time.
- James Manheim
City Music
Dead Oceans Records
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The L.A.-based singer/songwriter returns to his New York muse, this time evoking a darker, rawer tone.
- Timothy Monger
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3
Sony Classical
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Khatia Buniatishvili plays Rachmaninoff's Second and Third Piano Concertos with extraordinary clarity, brilliance, and sensitivity.
- Blair Sanderson
Bravado
Terrible
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The sophomore outing from the Aussie pop provocateur finds Callinan flexing his EDM muscles, while maintaining the nervy post-punk foundation that made his 2013 debut such a prickly affair.
- James Christopher Monger
Ruinism
Brainfeeder
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British producer Lapalux boldly reinvents his sound with third full-length Ruinism, a fascinating work which ponders the space between life and death.
- Paul Simpson
Mozart: Coronation Mass; Vesperae solennes de confessore
Erato
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Equilbey forges clean contrasts between the rich choir and the vibrato-free strings for a superb reading of the Mozart warhorse.
- James Manheim
Melodrama
Republic / Virgin EMI
Pop
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Lorde broadens her sonic and emotional palette on her excellent second album.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Hey Summer
Dirtnap Records
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The second record by the duo of the Marked Men's Jeff Burke and Suspicious Beasts' Yusuke Okeda is a power pop meets garage punk delight.
- Tim Sendra
Miss Taken
Castle Face
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The band's third album in three years is a reliably hammer-tough, hatchet-sharp, gnarly-sounding slice of garage punk.
- Tim Sendra
Bach: Johannes-Passion
Erato
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Minkowski and musicians deliver an interpretation that is sharp and biting.
- James Manheim
I'm Not Your Man
Sub Pop
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Marika Hackman's shift to a grungier sound on I'm Not Your Man is also a triumph of wit and heart.
- Bekki Bemrose
Shostakovich: 24 Preludes Op. 34; Piano Quintet Op. 57
Decca
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This is a satisfying, high-spirited Shostakovich album that runs counter to the composer's grimly ironic tone.
- James Manheim
Existential Beast
75917 Invisible Hand / IHM / Invisible Hands
AllMusic
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The L.A. songwriter and successor to the Laurel Canyon sound delivers lush psych-folk and timely protest songs on her fourth LP.
- Marcy Donelson
Prayer for Peace
Legacy / Songs of the South Records / Sony Legacy / Sony Music
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The Dickinsons dig deep into their roots on a set of originals and covers of blues, gospel, and folk with reckless abandon, and select friends.
- Thom Jurek
Voyages
Erato
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The unusually satisfying program alternates between fun and intellect, with a bright, slightly splashy sound reminiscent of E. Power Biggs.
- James Manheim
The Excellency of Hand: English Viola da Gamba Duos
Resonus
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Listeners are taking pleasure in discovering these obscure treasures that deserve to be better known.
- James Manheim
Halt and Catch Fire [Original Television Series Soundtrack]
Lakeshore Records
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A refreshingly back-to-basics score for the AMC drama series, composed by former Tangerine Dream member Paul Haslinger.
- Paul Simpson
How the West Was Won
Domino
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The first solo album by the former Only One spins tales of drugs, love, and politics shot through with hard-won wisdom and slashing guitars.
- Tim Sendra
Purple Rain [Deluxe Expanded Edition]
GC / Rhino / Warner Bros.
AllMusic
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The expanded Purple Rain marks the first deep dive into Prince's legendary Vault.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997 2017 [2 CD]
XL
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A complex, textured release that finds the group moving into new realms and leaving the Britpop tag behind.
- Nate Knaebel
Rips
Faux Discx / Light in the Attic Records
AllMusic
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Brooklyn quartet with a love for N.Y.C. bands of the '70s and '90s, but with a totally up-to-date energy and vision.
- Tim Sendra
Monteverdi: The Other Vespers
Decca
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Motets of Monteverdi have been combined with music of his near contemporaries to create a work to compare with his Vespers of 1610.
- Blair Sanderson
Howard Skempton: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Only the Sound Remains
NMC
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Despite a sparsity and the unchanging rhythm of Coleridge's quatrains, the narrative drama of the poem is realized in full.
- James Manheim
Is This the Life We Really Want?
Columbia / Sony Music
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A politically charged album that harkens back to prime mid-'70s Pink Floyd.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Bells for the South Side
ECM
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Recorded at Chicago's Museum of Modern Art, four of the artist's trios play separately and in various combinations to deliver a monolithic and inspired document.
- Thom Jurek
Precious Art
SideOneDummy
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A tuneful slab of deeply entertaining, '90s-indebted fuzz-pop from this West Virginia quartet.
- Timothy Monger
Home Counties
Heavenly
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Produced by Shawn Lee, the band's ninth album is a comforting nostalgia trip that sums up their career in lovely fashion.
- Tim Sendra
Lingering
Joyful Noise
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The Joyful Noise debut of Brian Batz's established post-rock project can double as surreal background music or engrossing headphone material.
- Marcy Donelson
In a Mood
ATO
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Late-night soft rock that sounds like it was made of half Christopher Cross and half Van Morrison.
- Tim Sendra
Perfido!
Signum Classics
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Soprano Sophie Bevan sings recitatives and arias by the young Mozart and Beethoven, as well as the mature Haydn.
- Blair Sanderson
So You Wannabe an Outlaw
Warner Bros. / Warner Music
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The uncompromising singer/songwriter looks back to his country-rock days without forgetting what he's learned since then.
- Mark Deming
Brahms: Piano Concertos
Hallé
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Sun-Wook Kim and the Hallé Orchestra, led by Sir Mark Elder, deliver expressive performances of Brahms' two piano concertos.
- Blair Sanderson
Wild Imagination
Moshi Moshi Records / Moshi Moshi Singles Club
AllMusic
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An optimistic and affectionate sixth LP from the whimsical tunesmith intended as a small tonic for the turmoil of 2016 and its aftermath.
- Marcy Donelson
Remember Terry
Upset the Rhythm
AllMusic
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The Australian group's second album is another low-key charmer made up of scrappy indie pop, singalong tunes, and hooky chants.
- Tim Sendra
1967: Sunshine Tomorrow
Capitol
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A clearinghouse of strong outtakes and live material from the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey era.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Felt
Caroline / The Chain Gang of 1974
AllMusic
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An uplifting, deeply emotive fourth album from Kamtin Mohager's synth pop outfit, featuring production from the Naked and Famous' Thom Powers.
- Matt Collar
Ablaze with Light: Choral Music by William Petter
Novum
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This album of choral music by British singer and composer William Petter is a memorial tribute, with proceeds going to Sarcoma UK.
- Blair Sanderson
You Don't Own Me Anymore
New West
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Produced by Brandi Carlile, the Rogers sisters' third LP is a marvel of quiet grandeur and steely Southern pragmatism.
- James Christopher Monger
Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
Saga / Sam Records / Universal
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Long thought lost to time and previously unreleased, this revelatory soundtrack to Roger Vadim's painstakingly restored film is offered in a deluxe package.
- Thom Jurek
Sugar at the Gate
Arbutus Records
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The Montreal indie electronic outfit returns the heavy-hearted sophisti-pop sound established on 2014's Picture You Staring.
- Marcy Donelson
PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland, Jr.
HHBTM
AllMusic
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Sprawling, brawling, and sweet experimental noise pop from an adventurous Athens, Georgia quartet.
- Tim Sendra
The Joshua Tree [30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
U2
Island
AllMusic
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U2's crowning moment and the definitive sound of late '80s mainstream rock.
- Pat Sullivan
Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht
Various Artists
Numero
AllMusic
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Brilliantly chosen, well-documented deep dive into a bevy of private press and barely heard soft rock treasures from the '70s.
- Tim Sendra
C88
Various Artists
C88
Cherry Red
AllMusic
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Comprehensive three-disc set of indie pop hits and misses that captures all the jangling, chiming sounds of the underground U.K. music of 1988.
- Tim Sendra
Welcome to Zamrock, Vol. 2: How Zambia's Liberation Led to a Rock Revolution 1972-1977
Various Artists
Now-Again
AllMusic
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Now Again's second collection exploring the distinctive mid-'70s rock scene in Zambia.
- Timothy Monger
Big Fish Theory
Def Jam / Virgin EMI
AllMusic
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Sophomore LP from the Long Beach rapper features an impressive list of guests and producers on a footwork-inspired set full of his typically dense lyrics.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Jan Dismas Zelenka: Sonatas, ZWV 181
Accent
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A major Baroque release of music by a composer who looks better and better with each passing decade.
- James Manheim
Excellent Musician
Moshi Moshi Records
AllMusic
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A colorful guitar-absent debut that pulls from a panoply of influences from the Beatles to Donny Hathaway to XTC.
- Timothy Monger