Editors' Choice for July, 2020

Bella Union
The first album from this vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is a beautifully dark exercise in post-rock dynamics.
- Mark Deming
Hum
Ipecac
The masterful third solo outing by the guitarist, producer, and songwriter reflects deeply on loss, acceptance, and rebirth.
- Thom Jurek
PentaTone Classics
Fresh, energetic modern-instrument readings of the Vivaldi-Piazzolla Four Seasons pairing.
- James Manheim
Signum Classics
Pleasantly jazz-flavored, programmatic choral music, enhanced by the presence of the venerable Bach Choir.
- James Manheim
Wrasse
France's pre-eminent pop songwriter looks back at a life of joys, failures, relationships, musical obsessions, and Formula 1 Racing.
- Thom Jurek
Ropeadope
Debut offering from Dave McMurray's socially funky, multi-generational jazz group that reflects Detroit's vast musical landscape.
- Thom Jurek
Nonesuch
Ebullient interplay and a relaxed intensity mark the reunion of Redman's original '90s acoustic quartet.
- Matt Collar
Music for Nations / Sony Music
The British metalcore group's sixth effort delivers a weighty set that tosses melody and might into a blender and spams the pulse button.
- James Christopher Monger
Harmonia Mundi
An exceptional Renaissance motet collection focuses closely on a specific subject, the last years of Lassus' life, but has universal scope.
- James Manheim
Gearbox
A rare small-group date from the trumpeter and his first studio album since 2007's Grammy-nominated With Love.
- Matt Collar
Delphian
A strong collection of American works in which the British choral style produces novel effects.
- James Manheim
Mack Avenue
The jazz pianist draws inspiration from the philosophy and skill of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
- Matt Collar
Channel Classics
Highly listenable, often beautifully lyrical playing in works from the broad neoclassic French sphere.
- James Manheim
Fire Talk
With sharper production and an overall push for more electric performances, the Chicago indie trio's third album finds them growing deeper into their melancholic, twilight-toned sound.
- Fred Thomas
Lucky Number
The band's second album leans into their softer side with gently empowering and, above all, catchy songs.
- Heather Phares
Real Gone Music
R&B
The '60s pop/R&B star reinvents himself as a genre-spanning politically conscious singer/songwriter on this cult favorite.
- Mark Deming
Shelflife
On their first new full-length since 1993, this Australian indie pop band rewire their fuzzy pop sound into something more futuristic and daring.
- Fred Thomas
Blue Note
For his Blue Note debut, the pianist plays in quintet and trio settings, delivering a program of standards and originals at the storied N.Y. venue.
- Thom Jurek
Rune Grammofon
Commissioned by the Vossajazz Festival and re-created in the studio, this sextet outing is the fiery guitarist's first outside her longstanding trio.
- Thom Jurek
Reverberation Appreciation Society
The reliably psychedelic Texas combo add more synths to the mix on their nuanced and atmospheric fifth album.
- Tim Sendra
Hyperdub
The Hyperdub artist's third album is characterized by a stronger emphasis on lyrics and a sturdier post-disco R&B foundation.
- Andy Kellman
Lil' Chief
A post-breakup album finds the pop craftsman in a blue mood and dipping a toe into modern pop sounds.
- Tim Sendra
Chandos
An attractive, modestly sized Thaïs that leaves lots of room for story and characterization.
- James Manheim
Interscope
Rap
Posthumous studio album from genre-bending rapper/songwriter is some of his best, and saddest, material.
- Fred Thomas
Ninja Tune
On her first album after several life changes, the vocalist/producer explores creativity's therapeutic qualities with transcendent beauty.
- Heather Phares
Warp
On his second date as a leader, the keyboardist and producer offers a variety of familiar genres and styles as building blocks for a new sound.
- Thom Jurek
Inside Out Music
Four years on from Prelude Implicit, the American rockers returned to the studio to deliver an album comparable to their best work.
- Thom Jurek
Onyx
Conductor Petrenko's Elgar project moves into lesser-known territory, with impressive results.
- James Manheim
BIS
An exciting performance of Penderecki's mid-1960s masterwork, paying equal attention to its modernist and traditional aspects.
- James Manheim
Darla
Sounding like a lost gem from the guitar-heavy early '90s, the Canadian group's fourth album is a dreamy, gazey, near-grunge delight.
- Tim Sendra
Saddle Creek Records
The project's fourth album delves into healing and acceptance with subtly confident, sneakily catchy songs.
- Heather Phares
Naxos
Unusually deep fusion of Afro-Caribbean rhythms with modern harmonies from composer Roberto Sierra.
- James Manheim
Warner Classics
Superb wind chamber music rediscoveries by a group specializing in neglected wind music.
- James Manheim
Deutsche Grammophon
An innovative crossover release with unusual material on a theme of cities and their music.
- James Manheim
Solitaire Records
A gently sprawling and imaginative journey with heavy spiritual undertones and plenty of folk-rock craft.
- Timothy Monger
Cantaloupe
An austere, minimal work using various texts to describe a failed love affair receives brilliant performances from Lorelei Ensemble.
- James Manheim
CN Records
The veteran singer/songwriter turns in another reliably poignant and warmly crafted collection with a deeply personal feel.
- Timothy Monger
Signum Classics
A vivid, beautifully balanced performance of works in the neglected genre of the English verse anthem.
- James Manheim
Reference Recordings
Urgent, exciting Tchaikovsky with some aspects of the score goosed by the conductor.
- James Manheim
Far Out / Far Out Recordings
Privately pressed in 1976, this set lives up to the "holy grail" hype with a perfect beat-centric fusion of jazz, funk, samba, and classical harmony.
- Thom Jurek
Loma Vista
The country maverick broadens and deepens her musical purview with production assistance from Sturgill Simpson.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Artists Share
The composer and her 18-piece orchestra offer a double-length meditation on humans as the battlefield between natural and digital worlds.
- Thom Jurek
Decca
A delightful collaboration that betrays nothing of the advanced ages of the performers.
- James Manheim
Paradise of Bachelors
The solo debut from the leader of the abrasive Purling Hiss is a stunning turn towards gentle acoustic beauty and understated arrangements.
- Fred Thomas
Decca
A taut, muscular Elgar concerto that seeks a middle ground between muscular and lyrical approaches.
- James Manheim
Novamute
A startling set of complex audio constructions that challenge the conventional framework of techno.
- Paul Simpson
II
Ropeadope
The guitarist's sophomore date began life as in-studio trio improvisations transformed by instrumental overdubbing into masterful compositions.
- Thom Jurek
Memphis Industries
Michael Lovett's satirically funky third album decries the issues of the 2020s and has fun doing it.
- Heather Phares
Ghostly International
More refined and detailed than his earlier releases, Max Ravitz's first Ghostly LP is a moody, vibrant collection of IDM, electro, and acid tracks.
- Paul Simpson
Island / Universal
The demos of the singer/songwriter's brilliant debut album let the beautiful, nimble bones of its songs stand on their own.
- Heather Phares
Domino
The Detroit post-punk heroes add flashes of free jazz and experimentalism to their formula and reach a new high in artful bad karma.
- Mark Deming
BMG
Following diversions into opera, a lush, often gorgeous return to pop recorded with producer Mitchell Froom.
- Marcy Donelson
Thrill Jockey
The Chicago post-rock fixture presents his most focused and emotionally resonant set of electronic instrumentals yet.
- Fred Thomas
Domino
The British folk icon returns to the recording studio to create a strong, confident, and forward-thinking album at the age of 85.
- Mark Deming
Ba Da Bing Records
The second album from these Scottish folk-rock advocates blends British cool and American warmth and twang with gorgeous results.
- Mark Deming
Because Music
The singer/songwriter moves on from trauma with uninhibited songs that blur joy, loss, and sensuality together beautifully.
- Heather Phares
Taylor Swift
A moody, contemplative surprise from Taylor Swift.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Carpark Records
Born from 18 months on the road, the more reflective follow-up to their breakout debut makes room for slower tempos without skimping on catchy hooks.
- Marcy Donelson
Columbia / Sony Music
The Chicks leave country and the past behind on this richly emotional and defiant album.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Somewhat Damaged
The Los Angeles-based New Zealand-bred synth pop outfit pares down to a duo for their effusive, uplifting fourth album.
- Matt Collar
Erato
Extremely compelling, unique interpretations of French Baroque works on lute and harpsichord.
- James Manheim
Various Artists
Cherry Red
Cherry Red pulls another three discs' worth of lovingly curated, mostly obscure New Wave of British Heavy Metal gems from the forge.
- Timothy Monger
Various Artists
Grapefruit
This rarities-packed triple-disc collection emphasizes the raucous side of pub rock.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Dais
The confrontational Brooklyn duo produce a challenging, unstable mixture of broken industrial and power electronics on their bracing second LP.
- Paul Simpson
Merge
Tyler's humble playing and rustic minimalism create a lovely backdrop to Kelly Reichardt's poignant frontier film.
- Timothy Monger
Bar/None Records
Peacefully dreamlike and melancholy album that skillfully blends the softness of dream pop with the sonic overload of shoegaze.
- Tim Sendra