Editors' Choice for April, 2020

Sony Music
The third album of hypnotic, electronic-tinged pop from the singer and harp player.
- Matt Collar
Dais Records
The duo explores sensory deprivation, suspicion, paranoia, and illusions on this ominously danceable set.
- Heather Phares
In the Red Records
The L.A. punk veteran delivers her toughest and most personal solo album yet, full of joyous rebellion and pride.
- Mark Deming
Harmonia Mundi
Focused, sensitive performances of Beethoven sonatas on an unusual historical instrument.
- James Manheim
Channel Classics / Channel Crossings
A rather low-key, elegant Rachmaninov draws the listener in if given a chance.
- James Manheim
Rhino / Warner Music
Ashley McBryde gets bold and empathetic on her excellent second album.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
ECM
Four albums into a deal with ECM, the trumpeter melts genre boundaries with the band he formed on returning to Israel in 2013.
- Thom Jurek
Bella Union
The American expat completes his excellent Manchester Trilogy with pop savvy, enigmatic arrangements, and plenty of gallows humor.
- Timothy Monger
Yep Roc
The Canadian trio's sixth album showcases a rousing and organic blend of '90s and '80s alt-rock influences.
- Matt Collar
DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
Attractive Bach that combines traditional German choral style with historical instruments.
- James Manheim
Mexican Summer
Debut album from former Regal Degal members moves from wiley experimentation to more intentionally crafted synth pop grandeur.
- Fred Thomas
Castle Face
The Oh Sees side project tackle the songs of psychedelic iconoclast Michael Yonkers with their usual twisted glee.
- Tim Sendra
Deutsche Grammophon
A diverse collection of music from the Belle Époque era reveals connections and contains attractive finds.
- James Manheim
Alive Records
With keyboardist Bob Patient fully integrated into the lineup, this crew serves up a wooly collection drenched in psych-blues rock.
- Thom Jurek
Hyperion
The Spanish Renaissance composer Juan Esquivel is well-represented by Eamonn Dougan and the all-male chorus De Profundis.
- Blair Sanderson
Chandos
A marvelously sensitive, often delicate Schubert performed at a very high technical level.
- James Manheim
Bella Union
The soundtrack for the popular British comedy-drama features plenty of new Furman originals as well as some old favorites.
- James Christopher Monger
Epic
A dense, unpredictable, and joyfully cathartic fifth album from Fiona Apple.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Bureau B
A slimmed-down selection of Cluster/Harmonia-era pieces from Roedelius that match the quality of his early solo albums.
- Paul Simpson
Paradise of Bachelors
A dazzling display of elegant folk-rock guitar craft and introspective songwriting from the British-born Chicagoan.
- Timothy Monger
Mack Avenue
The saxophonist offers a buoyant, harmonically nuanced album as an antidote to our divisive and troubled times.
- Matt Collar
Legacy / Sony Music
Eighteen albums in, the guitarist continues to showcase his innovative songwriting prowess in addition to his iconic playing.
- Thom Jurek
Sunnyside Communications
On his second large-ensemble recording, the New York guitarist and composer offers a meditation on America's obsession with armed conflict.
- Thom Jurek
BMG
With the assistance of producer Dan Auerbach, the hardcore country singer explores his mortality.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Peaceville Records
After a four-year break, Stockholm's favorite prog metal band emerges with a dynamic reflection on memory, loss, grief, and rage.
- Thom Jurek
Edition
Teaming with pianist Danilo Pérez and others, the singer examines poignant topics on a beautiful but uncharacteristically melancholy set.
- Thom Jurek
Anti-
A vivid panoply of heritage-rich, progressive global pop from this Canadian-Colombian singer/songwriter.
- Timothy Monger
Captured Tracks
Second album from this avant-pop project wraps vulnerable lyrical content in tightly constructed, somewhat neurotic synth pop.
- Fred Thomas
Warp
The long-awaited first Warp full-length by the Italian master of pointillistic trance.
- Paul Simpson
Tin Angel
The ever-consistent soft rock group called in Sean O'Hagen to produce, and the result is heartwarmingly smooth and reliably comfortable.
- Tim Sendra
Deutsche Grammophon
Stirring late Beethoven sonatas from a master who continues to explore.
- James Manheim
Carpark Records / Wax Nine Records
The Chicago band's second album is a thrilling blast of noisy guitars and sticky melodies that's brimming with energy and ideas.
- Tim Sendra
Decca
On their third long-player and first with new members, this Bristol outfit offers urgency and activism as exercises in joy.
- Thom Jurek
Mute
Two sets of instrumental pieces from the Australian composer -- a film score and a four-part suite for string quartet.
- Mark Deming
Cambria Instruments
Nathan Fake's strongest, most exciting album is a rapturous collection of spontaneously recorded analog techno tracks.
- Paul Simpson
Castle Face
The psych/prog trio's second album offers consistently engaging material to back up their technical skills.
- Marcy Donelson
Lawo Classics
A compelling, vivid reading of Strauss' stroll in the Alps, and his evocation of death.
- James Manheim
ATO
A collection of sumptuous and dark '60s-leaning orchestral folk-pop that often evokes the Wally Stott string arrangements of Scott Walker.
- James Christopher Monger
Alpha
A fine example of contemporary music with national roots, highly idiomatically performed.
- James Manheim
Western Vinyl Records
A self-described "dystopian farm/phone-themed album" made up of smart, wide-ranging indie folk.
- Marcy Donelson
Naxos
A wonderful product of the exciting and growing collaboration between minimalist Esenvalds and the Portland State Chamber Choir.
- James Manheim
4AD
The duo's first album in five years brings more confidence, eloquence, and substance to their moody electro-pop.
- Heather Phares
Delphian
An impressive confluence of music, instrument, and performer: an essential organ release.
- James Manheim
Drag City
A typically eclectic, well-crafted, and rewarding set from the former Sun City Girls guitarist.
- Mark Deming
Club AC30
The Austin shoegaze trio expand and open their blown-out sound here to let in more atmospheric dream pop.
- Tim Sendra
RJ's Electrical Connections
The producer digs into vintage funk and hip-hop on this outsized love letter to creativity and the power of music.
- Heather Phares
Act Music
A love letter to the culture and music of the U.S. from two top-notch European-born jazz talents and an iconic American guitarist.
- Thom Jurek
Deutsche Grammophon
A unique take on Beethoven's Diabelli Variations includes variations from both 19th century and contemporary composers.
- James Manheim
Onyx
Quiet, detailed readings of late Schubert sonatas reward close hearings.
- James Manheim
Everso Records
This self-titled offering is a candid, poignant, and nakedly honest meditation on the complexities of romance, desire, and love itself.
- Thom Jurek
RareNoise Records
The Belgian-born, Berlin-based singer and composer delivers an expertly wrought demonstration of skill and creativity on her accessible RareNoise debut.
- Thom Jurek
Modern Harmonic
A truly joyous set from the Philadelphia-period Arkestra, mixing jazz and swing standards with Sun Ra originals.
- Paul Simpson
Trouble in Mind
Fourth album from this psychedelic free rock band streamlines their vision for heavier, more consistent compositions.
- Fred Thomas
Innovative Leisure
A cinematic fifth album of post-punk noir anthems from the Los Angeles outfit.
- Matt Collar
Forty Below Records
A vibrant, rollicking showcase for the group's "garage cabaret."
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Coro
An unusually attractive release from The Sixteen that has something for Renaissance listeners at all levels.
- James Manheim
Cult Music / RCA
Complicated, ambitious, and emotionally raw, the band's sixth album is a surprising and rewarding triumph.
- Heather Phares
Deutsche Grammophon
An excellent Adès recording with two world premieres including a crackling new piano concerto.
- James Manheim
Brainfeeder
R&B
Shaken by the death of Mac Miller, Stephen Bruner nonetheless reaches a new peak with his fourth album.
- Andy Kellman
Musique TOPS
Another batch of reliably warped, well-crafted songs from the AM pop-inspired indie outfit.
- Marcy Donelson
Roadrunner / Roadrunner Records
Pushing their creative envelope once more, these Floridians reference their catalog while opening the gates to new sonic frontiers.
- Thom Jurek
Sonic Ritual Recordings
After a 15-year gap, the emo-pop trio return with a witty, zippy, and occasionally mature blast of amped-up rock & roll.
- Tim Sendra
Various Artists
Light in the Attic Records
R&B
A valuable document of neon-colored Memphis soul in the decade after the death of Stax and Hi.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Capriccio Records
A superb performance of Bernstein's Mass that clarifies its multi-stylistic world.
- James Manheim
Mint / Mint Records
Singer/songwriter Cassia Hardy comes into her own on these tender, defiant outsider anthems.
- Heather Phares
Not Not Fun
Crystal Dorval addresses personal troubles on her most lyrically direct album as White Poppy to date.
- Paul Simpson
A softer album from the Austin-based singer/songwriter that emphasizes her slyly idiosyncratic Americana.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine