Editors' Choice for February, 2020

Steinway & Sons
A highly detailed, subjective Bach from Rangell: a worthy addition to his large Bach catalog.
- James Manheim
BTS
Big Hit Records / Bighit
The K-pop septet dives into concepts of identity and self through fame, relationships, and Jung.
- Neil Z. Yeung
DNA
Because Music
A scientifically conscious space-disco epic from the French dance pioneer, recalling his visionary work from the late 1970s.
- Paul Simpson
Barsuk
An infectious five-song EP of finished recordings cut from 2019's Young Enough -- but definitely not due to quality issues.
- Marcy Donelson
Mack Avenue
The bassist movingly frames the words of four iconic Civil Rights leaders with harmonically sophisticated jazz and choral arrangements.
- Matt Collar
Shelflife
On their first new full-length in over 30 years, the Scottish indie rockers pick up exactly where they left off.
- Fred Thomas
London Philharmonic Orchestra / LPO
An opera left unfinished by Shankar at his death in 2012, both entertaining and musically profound.
- James Manheim
Ghostly International
The Chicago duo's self-assured debut album brings more depth -- and lightness -- to their ultra-smooth blend of R&B, dance, and pop.
- Heather Phares
Muddguts
Sophomore album from Brooklyn garage pop band finds them developing both their songwriting hooks and willingness to explore.
- Fred Thomas
Sub Pop
The Dutch trio's excellent Sub Pop debut is a mesmerizing amalgam of post-punk precision, pop melodicism, and lean psychedelia.
- Timothy Monger
Editions Mego
Mouse on Mars' Jan St. Werner revisits an installation piece he composed with help from the late Mark E. Smith.
- Paul Simpson
Naxos
Franz Liszt's late piano works are explored by Jenö Jandó, a major contributor to this comprehensive series on Naxos.
- Blair Sanderson
BIS
Violin prodigy Johan Dalene delivers impressively distinctive performances of two very different concertos.
- James Manheim
Italians Do It Better
Haunting dream pop tunes and cinematic instrumentals composed during the Australian musician's constant touring as part of Bryan Ferry's band.
- Paul Simpson
Houndstooth
The producer's painful, beautiful, and powerful tribute to her late mother engulfs listeners in her grieving process.
- Heather Phares
True Panther Sounds
Archy Marshall again turns on the bleak charm for the third and most outward-looking album under his foremost alias.
- Andy Kellman
Rise Records
The studio debut for vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen, the Norwegian black metallers pick right up where 2016's Nattesferd left off and never look back.
- James Christopher Monger
Dead Oceans
R&B
The well-matched Lone Star State natives, previously touring partners, take a short romantic detour.
- Andy Kellman
XL
The jazz drummer employs his trademark production and ace studio musicians in offering a view of Gil Scott-Heron that balances past, present, and future.
- Thom Jurek
Barsuk
A literate, deeply philosophical and ambitious album, rife with power pop shimmer and moments of poetic introspection.
- Matt Collar
ECM
On his ECM debut, the composer and saxophonist leads his quartet through a series of intimate, resonant, and elegant musical conversations.
- Thom Jurek
Epic
The first solo album in ten years from this longstanding icon of metal is surprisingly spontaneous and energetic.
- Fred Thomas
Nonesuch
The jazz composer and guitarist assembles a new quartet and orchestra on his first recording of new studio material in six years.
- Thom Jurek
Linn Records
Phantasm's 2020 release on Linn offers transcriptions of Bach's keyboard music, arranged for viol consort.
- Blair Sanderson
Sony Music
On his sixth album, the "prince of bachata" delivers a sprawling double-length record chock-full of hit singles and soulful new directions.
- Thom Jurek
Stones Throw
Dreamy yet focused set of psychedelic R&B from Stones Throw-signed Israeli producer Yuvi Havkin.
- Paul Simpson
Nuclear Blast
For the first time in two decades, the Brazilian metal outfit's 2020 album displays the power, aggression, and sophistication of their earliest work.
- Thom Jurek
Drag City
There's a modernistic blend of earthy stability and distractive sonic chatter on this exciting entirely solo outing from Ben Chasny.
- Timothy Monger
Provogue
Reunited with producer R.S. Field after 14 years, the Louisiana guitar slinger delivers a killer batch of down-home grit and groove.
- Thom Jurek
Domino / Geographic
The band's second album is a wild, woolly, and weird trip that pushes them past the restrained melancholy of their fine debut towards something magical.
- Tim Sendra
Domino
The experimental U.K.-Indian folk trio gamely tackles the nine emotions of the Navarasa on their third outing.
- Timothy Monger
Interscope
The band's fourth album delves smoothly into elegant disco, echoing chillwave, and Madchester beats while also dealing with serious lyrical concerns and big emotions.
- Tim Sendra
Mutually Detrimental
The long-running indie pop duo tweak their dreamy, romantic sound a bit here and there while still delivering the sonic and emotional goods.
- Tim Sendra
Madlib Invazion
Returning after a three-year break, this outfit combines psych, Afro-beat, broken beat, funk, jazz, and Eastern sounds in an exotic and heavy sonic stew.
- Thom Jurek
Yep Roc
Dave Alvin and a band of intuitive instrumentalists invite the spirit in this semi-improvisational project.
- Mark Deming
Various Artists
C90
Cherry Red
Another entry in Cherry Red's year-by-year look at the U.K. pop underground captures a scene being pulled in many fascinating directions.
- Tim Sendra
Various Artists
Él
Ambitious, informative triple-CD compilation which outlines some of the key non-rock influences on several artists during the 1960s.
- Paul Simpson
Alpha
Marc-Antoine Charpentier's two works on the Orpheus myth receive sparkling performances from Vox Luminis and A Nocte Temporis.
- Blair Sanderson
Thrill Jockey
A sorrowful but ultimately healing song cycle which manages to find positivity in the most dire situations.
- Paul Simpson
Deutsche Grammophon
Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra mark the centennial of the U.S. premiere of Mahler's Eighth with this Deutsche Grammophone release.
- Blair Sanderson