Editors' Choice

Selections for

May 2018

LateNightTales
LateNightTales
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The Danish singer/songwriter's entry in the popular artist-curated, U.K.-based compilation series feels like the soundtrack to a David Lynch-sponsored Ayahuasca retreat.
- James Christopher Monger
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6
Onyx
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An excellent place to start with a strong Vaughan Williams cycle from Andrew Manze and the RLPO.
- James Manheim
Calm Down
Bella Union
AllMusic
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Warm, tuneful full-length debut of Caleb Campbell, whose influences include Jason Schwartzman, George Martin, and Frankie Cosmos.
- Marcy Donelson
Brahms: String Quartet No. 2; Bartók: String Quartet No. 1
Avie
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An intelligent pairing of Brahms and Bartók, rendered with warmth and passion by a young American group.
- James Manheim
Salu2
Elefant
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Spanish indie pop group juxtaposes shocking, obsessive lyrics with candy-coated melodies drawing from punk, chiptune, and J-pop.
- Paul Simpson
Schubert: Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 3
Chandos
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Barry Douglas reveals different facets of Schubert's genius in this 2018 release on Chandos, the third volume in the series.
- Blair Sanderson
7
7
Sub Pop
AllMusic
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Working with Sonic Boom and live drummer James Barone, the duo delivers some of its widest-ranging, most exhilarating music of its career.
- Heather Phares
Percy Grainger: Complete Music for Wind Band, Vol. 2
Naxos
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Part of a much-needed series devoted to Grainger's music for wind band, beautifully performed.
- James Manheim
Panic Blooms
Rad Cult
AllMusic
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BMSR's first full-length in six years features some of their sludgiest production as well as their most introspective lyrics.
- Paul Simpson
Deran
Partisan / PTKF
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The acclaimed Tuareg guitarist leaves the West behind, recording in Africa on his fiery, unfiltered sixth album.
- Timothy Monger
Rest in Peace
Pnk Slm / Punk Slime Recordings
AllMusic
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Noisy, sweet, and impeccably arranged indie pop produced on a shoestring budget, but with widescreen ambitions.
- Tim Sendra
Seymour Reads the Constitution!
Nonesuch
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A warmly rendered set of originals and unexpected cover songs from the lauded pianist and his trio.
- Matt Collar
Music for Installations
Astralwerks / Opal
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Fascinating box set containing a selection of audio extracts from Brian Eno's immersive audio-visual installations.
- Paul Simpson
The Complete Capitol Singles: 1967–1970
Omnivore
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The second installment of Omnivore's Complete Capitol Singles covers the end of Buck Owens' imperial era.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Quieter
Constellation
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The gifted vocalist cuts back on the volume without losing her power in this subtle but challenging album.
- Mark Deming
Hollow Ground
Jagjaguwar
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Fine debut album from a band that loves the Everly Brothers and is able to masterfully re-create the feeling and spirit of their best records.
- Tim Sendra
The Horizon Just Laughed
Secretly Canadian
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The singer/songwriter's first entirely self-produced album blends Rockwellian portraiture and personal remembrances for a deeply affecting set.
- Marcy Donelson
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
Planet Mu / Timesig
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Uneasy but fascinating soundclash between guitarist/superproducer Daniel Lanois and breakcore overlord Venetian Snares.
- Paul Simpson
Deeper
Fire Talk
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The Chicago four-piece turns in a debut of anxious, lean post-punk with a vigorous attack.
- Timothy Monger
Knock Knock
Pampa
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DJ Koze follows his 2013 breakthrough Amygdala with another absurdly inventive, emotive full-length loaded with guest vocalists.
- Paul Simpson
The Good Is a Big God
Luaka Bop
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The Rio de Janeiro native elegantly filters Brazilian musical traditions through his distinctive pop approach on his sophomore set.
- Timothy Monger
Michael Daugherty: Dreamachine; Trail of Tears; Reflections on the Mississippi
Naxos
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Superb virtuoso works from American composer Daugherty that take his music in new directions.
- James Manheim
Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Nighttime
Reprise / WB
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A sweet, sad, and largely effortless-sounding 12-song set that caters to the L.A.-based folk-pop quartet's collective talent for pure pop craftsmanship.
- James Christopher Monger
Not Everything Beautiful Is Good
Nettwerk
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Elegant, reflective, and more self-assured follow-up to the more melancholic folk-pop of 2015's Slow Light.
- Marcy Donelson
Be More Kind
Interscope
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The British singer/songwriter returns to politics and social issues with an exhortation toward tolerance and understanding during insane times.
- Thom Jurek
Rausch
Gas
Kompakt
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A year after the triumphant return of Wolfgang Voigt's most revered alias, Gas offers another hourlong glimpse into its majestic dream world.
- Paul Simpson
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3
Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
AllMusic
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Gerd Schaller and his Philharmonie Festiva perform the 1890 version of Bruckner's Third, as published by the composer and the brothers Schalk.
- Blair Sanderson
The Dufay Spectacle
Linn / Linn Records
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Gothic Voices presents Guillaume Dufay's music as it might have been performed at a Burgundian wedding celebration.
- Blair Sanderson
Beyondless
Matador
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A study in sonic evolution delivered with more clarity and bombast than before, underpinned by Rønnenfelt's signature, sardonic drawl.
- Liam Martin
Vibras [Slipcase Version]
Universal
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The Colombian songwriter and singer ignores the language barrier, doubles down on reggaeton, and furthers his quest for pop domination.
- Thom Jurek
Electric Light
Republic
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James Bay ditches handsome classicism for brightly colored pop on his excellent second album.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Another Time, Another Place
BMG / BMG Rights Management
AllMusic
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On her first recording in 17 years, the award-winning singer/songwriter delivers a gracefully, emotionally committed collection of covers and originals.
- Thom Jurek
Not Too Far Away
BMG / Joan Armatrading
AllMusic
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The ever-reliable U.K. songwriting icon returns with a smartly crafted, self-produced, and self-played album of warmly confessional pop.
- Timothy Monger
Singularity
Domino
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The proper follow-up to Jon Hopkins' 2013 breakthrough Immunity is more intense, reflecting a deeper spiritual quest.
- Paul Simpson
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 4; Academic Festival Overture; Tragic Overture
Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
AllMusic
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The final volume of Jukka-Pekka Saraste's Brahms cycle presents the Fourth Symphony, the Academic Festival Overture, and the Tragic Overture.
- Blair Sanderson
Campfire
Essence / Essence Records
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The Australian country firebrand strips her music to the frame on this powerful acoustic album.
- Mark Deming
Relax
Luaka Bop
AllMusic
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The Brazilian music renaissance man delivers an irresistible collection of pure summer fun in these 11 tracks filled with quark strangeness and charm.
- Thom Jurek
Good Thing
Columbia
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The singer adeptly builds off and deviates from the early-'60s foundation of his Grammy-nominated debut.
- Andy Kellman
Lost Souls
Loreena McKennitt / Universal
AllMusic
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The Canadian songstress returns with a richly detailed and alluringly cinematic set of worldbeat-infused modern folk pieces.
- James Christopher Monger
Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2
Contender / Contender Records
AllMusic
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Deepening their attack without abandoning their signature, Low Cut Connie deliver their most complete album to date.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Blue Mesa
Bloodshot
AllMusic
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The virtuoso guitarist digs deeper into electric blues on his sixth album, sounding sharper and more satisfying than ever.
- Mark Deming
Schubert: Piano Sonata in B flat major D 960; Four Impromptus D 935
Hyperion
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Famed for virtuoso performances, Marc-André Hamelin turns to subtler music in Schubert's final Piano Sonata, D960 and the Four Impromptus, D935.
- Blair Sanderson
Gabriel Fauré: 13 Barcarolles
Oehms Classics
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The gentle elegance and sophistication of Fauré's Barcarolles are captured by Michael Endres in this collection from Oehms Classics.
- Blair Sanderson
It's a New Day Tonight
Wick Records
AllMusic
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The Canadian rocker channels the Beatles (both as a band and solo) on this album of melodically sweet, impeccably crafted songs that revolve around sleep and dreams.
- Tim Sendra
Welcome Strangers
Fire Records
AllMusic
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The Scottish chamber pop quartet's ambitious sophomore set announces the full might of their communal power.
- Timothy Monger
Only for You
Frenchkiss Records
AllMusic
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The L.A. singer/songwriter offers an alluring and more streamlined sequel to the lovelorn synth pop of 2015's Advice from Paradise.
- Timothy Monger
Sister Orchid
Palmetto
AllMusic
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A dusky, intimate, and often theatrical standards album from the idiosyncratic singer/pianist.
- Matt Collar
Let Your Light Shine On
Universal
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The Italian composer and bandleader with his live band and guests deliver a captivating exercise in what he calls "Cosmic Afro Soul."
- Thom Jurek
Awase
ECM
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Reconvening Ronin for the first time since 2012, the composer and pianist builds out his brand of pulsing, improvisatory Zen funk.
- Thom Jurek
Machaut: Fortune's Child
Hyperion
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The fifth volume in the Orlando Consort's series of Machaut's vocal music presents songs on the topic of fortune.
- Blair Sanderson
Mahler 6
BIS
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Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra continue their audiophile cycle of Mahler's symphonies with the Symphony No. 6 in A minor.
- Blair Sanderson
Gentle Leader
Mint Records
AllMusic
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With help from her live band and friends, Allie Hanlon's fourth Peach Kellie Pop album is the brightest, best, and most diverse sounding yet.
- Tim Sendra
Olivier Messiaen: Catalogue d'Oiseaux
Pentatone / PentaTone Classics
AllMusic
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These are likely definitive readings of Messiaen's great remaking of programmatic music in a modernist context.
- James Manheim
Miserable Miracles
Club AC30 / Shelflife
AllMusic
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Russian dream pop outfit Pinkshinyultrablast embrace energetic '80s new wave on their excellent third full-length.
- Paul Simpson
Schubert: Winter Journey
Signum Classics
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Roderick Williams' English-language performance of Schubert's Winterreise swaps out familiar associations for a challenging listening experience.
- Blair Sanderson
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Concerto No. 5, 'Egyptian'
Naxos
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More-than-competent performances of criminally neglected music.
- James Manheim
The Prodigal Son
Fantasy
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On his first studio offering in six years, the guitarist, singer, and songwriter digs into his past and delivers a fine collection of roots tunes.
- Thom Jurek
Deafman Glance
Dead Oceans Records
AllMusic
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The Chicago-based guitarist and singer/songwriter indulges many whims in reinventing himself here; all of them are intriguing.
- Thom Jurek
Flickers at the Station
Drawing Room Records
AllMusic
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More gently psychedelic wanderings from an under-the-radar sonic sorceress who has quietly built an impressive résumé over the years.
- Tim Sendra
Wildness
Republic
AllMusic
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Earnest indie rock outfit return after a seven-year hiatus with a message of hope, healing, and acceptance.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Sparkle Hard
Matador
AllMusic
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A dazzling, diverse, and sincere record from Stephen Malkmus.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Life Of
ECM
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On his first recording in eight years, the guitarist/pianist, with percussion and cello, gently examines the episodic nature of life along.
- Thom Jurek
Black Out the Sky
Fat Wreck Chords
AllMusic
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California punk stalwarts take a mature turn into acoustic territory to mark their 30th anniversary.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Do Right
Joyful Noise / People in a Position to Know / Piaptk
AllMusic
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The Oakland chamber-psych outfit turns its gaze to less tranquil waters on its fourth outing.
- Timothy Monger
I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer.
Thrill Jockey
AllMusic
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Incorporating more electronics and orchestral instruments, the Body have produced perhaps their most emotionally heavy work to date.
- Paul Simpson
Claudio Monteverdi: Messa a quattro voci et Salmi of 1650, Vol .2
Coro
AllMusic
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Sharp, exciting performances of neglected music from late in Claudio Monteverdi's career.
- James Manheim
Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music
Nonesuch
AllMusic
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Bartlett (Doveman) and Muhly fashion exquisite, often poignant original songs inspired by Colin McPhee's piano transcriptions of gamelan music.
- Marcy Donelson
Tracyanne & Danny
Merge
AllMusic
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Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura and Danny Coughlan of Crybaby combine forces for a magical batch of heartbreaking ballads and gently rambling indie pop.
- Tim Sendra
Andrew Hamilton: Music for People
Various Artists
NMC
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Gripping works in a minimalist style of a whole new kind.
- James Manheim