Editors' Choice for February, 2019

Yippee Ke Yay Records
An impressively energetic and tuneful garage rock debut from the London-based trio.
- Tim Sendra
Bar/None Records
The Box Tops and Big Star frontman relaxes on this low-key, engaging collection of jazz-influenced vocal standards.
- Mark Deming
Bar/None Records
15-track collection summarizing the wiry, R&B-slanted recordings of the cult favorite's return to recording in the '80s.
- Mark Deming
Royal Potato Family Records
An exuberant road trip of an album cross-pollinated with Latin and New Orleans grooves, klezmer harmonies, and far-eyed jazz modalism.
- Matt Collar
CTM Classics
Bach's first three suites for solo cello, played on a cello once owned by Pablo Casals.
- James Manheim
Island / Republic
A swiftly delivered Sweetener sequel that confirms Ariana Grande's place as 2019's pre-eminent pop star.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
4AD
Recording experiments by bandleader Zach Condon and returning co-producer Gabe Wax pay off in uncommon vibrancy.
- Marcy Donelson
bis
Last Night from Glasgow
The recently re-formed trio's fourth album comes two decades after their debut and finds them at their goofy, jumpy, genre-mashing best.
- Tim Sendra
Merge
A thundering tsunami of guitars and drums accompanies a passionate emotional inventory from the alternative rock icon.
Knock Yr Socks Off Records / Slumberland
Mixing classic indie pop songs with deluxe late-'80s production techniques could be a bad thing, but not in the sure hands of Corey Cunningham.
- Tim Sendra
East West / Rhino / WEA
The British outfit recapture their pop-punk boy band roots on their fourth full-length, and second since reuniting in 2013.
- Matt Collar
Decca
Star mezzo soprano Bartoli is still in fine form on her second collection of inexplicably neglected Vivaldi arias.
- James Manheim
Silver Age
Rap
Rock-solid, exciting collaboration between the comic-inspired hip-hop supergroup and Wu-Tang's Ghostface Killah.
- Paul Simpson
Hyperion
Cédric Tiberghien reveals a strong aptitude for the late piano works of Franz Liszt in the Années de pélerinage, troisîème année and other pieces.
- Blair Sanderson
Deutsche Grammophon
A major new reading of the Brahms symphonies in a live recording.
- James Manheim
Hyperion
Sacred music of the high Renaissance is offered by early music authority Peter Phillips and the 33-voice chamber choir El León de Oro.
- Blair Sanderson
Naxos
The subject of Elisa Netzer's harp recital is the toccata, which she explores in virtuoso arrangements and pieces composed for her instrument.
- Blair Sanderson
Mascot Label Group / Provogue
With the assistance of producer Matt Wallace, the blues guitarist focuses on song and singing.
BMX
The bro-country superstars score with a successful blend of urban pop and redneck country.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Galactic Records / Tchoup-Zilla Records
NOLA's resident jazz-funk-pop, rock & soul sextet deliver a short mixtape blast of their hard-grooving sound with a handful of great singers.
- Thom Jurek
Ernest Jenning
A moody, sonically mature fourth set from the Philadelphia band, and first with added vocalist Shari Bolar.
- Matt Collar
Gbv Inc / Guided by Voices, Inc.
Robert Pollard and Company go from strength to strength with another rich, well-crafted, late-career triumph.
- Mark Deming
Desolate Spools
An impressive debut album of neo-disco jammers and synth pop melancholy from a trio made up of members of Moonlandingz and Soundcarriers.
- Tim Sendra
Hooky, ridiculously fun power pop from the former leader of the under-appreciated 2000s band Tsar.
- Tim Sendra
Mexican Summer
The third album from the understated singer/songwriter is her most complex without losing any of the subtlety or intimacy of her earlier work.
- Fred Thomas
Naxos
World premiere recording of Price's Symphony No. 4 in D minor, a superior work to the better-known Symphony No. 1.
- James Manheim
Ruf Records
On her Mike Zito-produced Ruf Records debut, the pianist, singer, and songwriter delivers a dazzling take on modern blues.
- Thom Jurek
Ladytron Recordings
The band's first album in eight years proves that their skill at crafting glamorous, dystopian pop is as sharp as ever.
- Heather Phares
Aparte
Superb, sensuous performances of Couperin's set that claimed to evoke national styles.
- James Manheim
Yep Roc
Finding a sweet spot between country and folk, the group's sixth album is a master class in the art of the high-lonesome sound.
- Mark Deming
Drag City
On his fourth solo album, Ghost's former leader delivers a psychedelic collection of acoustic songs about spirituality, death, rebirth, and hope.
- Thom Jurek
Anti-
R&B
The gospel and soul legend celebrates her 79th birthday and shines throughout a set drawn primarily from her 2010-2017 albums.
- Andy Kellman
Partisan / PTKF
The band's affectionate recreation of Bobbie Gentry's conceptual classic plays like a mystical dream of the original album.
- Heather Phares
Paradise of Bachelors
The venerable British guitarist looks back toward his musical roots in a cycle of poignant songs that reflect on the passage of time.
- Thom Jurek
Steinway & Sons
Driving, compelling interpretation of the Mussorgsky warhorse, innovatively paired with a contemporary work.
- James Manheim
Atlantic / Fueled by Ramen Records
Their heroic ninth album finds the former Japanese pop-punks graduating to stadium-sized motivational anthems.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Sub Pop
The debut solo album from the Polish artist is a rising tide of dark, goth-tinged electronica and synth-based balladry.
- Matt Collar
Bella Union
Members of Lush, Elastica, Moose, and Modern English join forces on an invigorating, forward-thinking debut.
- Heather Phares
ECM
Evocative third ECM date from the trumpeter, and first to feature his This Against That group with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.
- Matt Collar
New West
The singer/songwriter takes a welcome left turn that brings him toward eccentric Nilsson territory.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Domino
Seventeen years after Out of Season, Rustin Man's second album proves Paul Webb's intimate, haunting music has only deepened with time.
- Heather Phares
HHBTM
The U.K. feminist punk combo is pared down to a guitar-and-drum duo on their rugged sophomore set.
- Timothy Monger
By the Time It Gets Dark
The Norwegian indie rock trio meld wild, statically post-punk with warm power pop melodicism.
- Timothy Monger
Memphis Industries
A member of Dua Lipa's backing band takes the lead on a debut packed with vibrant, funky alternative dance tunes.
- Marcy Donelson
Atlantic / Fueled by Ramen Records
A mature fourth set from the Bay Area punks that absorbs garage rock and post-punk influences.
- Neil Z. Yeung
BMG
Sophomore set from the Irish singer/songwriter that builds upon his ethereal style with swelling beauty and power.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Fantasy
After a couple of years of poignant losses, this 12-piece outfits returns bloodied but unbowed with soulful, spiky, and adventurous music.
- Thom Jurek
Omnivore
The first studio album since 1987 from the Paisley Underground heroes is subtle, but as smart, passionate, and heartfelt as ever.
- Mark Deming
Tapete Records
Stepping back from the noise abyss of their previous album, this record charts a more hypnotic, almost soothing course.
- Tim Sendra
MDG
Thomas Zehetmair takes Bruckner's Third at a brisk clip and delivers a clear-headed and clean performance with Musikkollegium Winterthur.
- Blair Sanderson
Ba Da Bing Records
An appreciably more expansive sound enriches rather than overwhelms Hollie Fullbrook's sophisticated folk.
- Marcy Donelson
Heavenly
A near-perfect union of style and substance, the trio's second album is seductive, dangerous, and a lot of fun.
- Heather Phares
Various Artists
Light in the Attic Records
More than just pleasant background music, this wide-ranging collection of Japanese environmental music serves as a history lesson.
- Paul Simpson
Alpha
Lionel Meunier and Vox Luminis perform Purcell's semi-opera King Arthur, or the British Worthy, in this exceptional 2018 recording from Alpha.
- Blair Sanderson
Polyvinyl
The band returns to their challenging side and finds new ways to describe and confront the world's horrors.
- Heather Phares