Editors' Choice for January, 2020

Dine Alone
The band mark their 25th anniversary with passionate, poignant reflections on life's inevitable changes and endings.
- Heather Phares
Elefant
After a 16-year break between albums, the Baroque pop devotee returns with an even stronger set of lush, wistful chamber pop.
- Marcy Donelson
Matador
The Atlanta quartet refine their lyric approach while expanding their musical and textural palettes on their third album.
- Thom Jurek
Ba Da Bing Records
The Irish singer/songwriter's excellent debut is a pastoral, dark-hued set that pulls from chamber folk and psych-pop.
- Timothy Monger
Basic Plumbing Records
Rough-and-ready grunge-influenced power pop with a fragile heart and many memorable tunes.
- Tim Sendra
Harmonia Mundi
Seldom heard, Haydn's Missa Cellensis receives a historically informed reading by Justin Doyle and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
- Blair Sanderson
BR Klassik
Bernard Haitink leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a thrilling reading of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
- Blair Sanderson
Dead Oceans
The solitary English songwriter offers a sparse, vulnerable, generous and intimate portrait of his inner world in ten new songs.
- Thom Jurek
Ipecac
After a six-year absence, the progenitors of dark jazz return as a trio with one of their most affecting albums yet.
- Thom Jurek
Caroline
The London post-punk quartet return from a three-year hiatus with a textured, thoughtfully mature, and intensely stirring fifth album.
- Matt Collar
Six Degrees
The electro-bossa pioneers with composer and guitarist Roberto Menescal wed American blues to funky jazz charts, bossa, and beats.
- Thom Jurek
Rhymesayers Entertainment
Rap
Raw as hell, this cracking, soulful set was recorded live in three sessions at the makeshift studio of producer Evidence.
- Thom Jurek
BIS
Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra present Mahler's joyful Symphony No. 4, with soprano Carolyn Sampson as soloist in the finale.
- Blair Sanderson
Triple Crown Records
After five years of touring and writing, this Massachusetts outfit returns with a dynamic, nuanced, and expertly performed album.
- Thom Jurek
Rounder
The bluegrass band expands their sonic palette and addresses politically charged issues.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rhino / Rrw / Sire / Warner Bros.
Massive career retrospective box set that collects all 14 albums and 4 discs of B-sides and rarities.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Slumberland
A lovingly curated and presented collection of the combo's late-'80s singles and demos is jangle pop perfection.
- Tim Sendra
Temporary Residence
Long-form ambient pieces from Matthew Cooper, consisting of soothing, immersive waves of sound.
- Paul Simpson
Trouble in Mind
The Parisian band's sophomore set is a thrilling mix of tightly focused post-punk and indie pop played with both sophistication and abandon.
- Timothy Monger
Domino
The London native encapsulates everything that made her fall in love with dance music on her electrifying second full-length.
- Paul Simpson
Hyperion
Beautifully played early and little-known works by Bartók and Korngold make a convincing Romantic (or neo-Romantic) pairing.
- James Manheim
Holy F
On their fifth album, the Toronto electro-rock group exhibit tighter chemistry than ever while retaining the spontaneity of their previous releases.
- Paul Simpson
High Note
The trumpeter offers a lyrical ballads album featuring his drummerless trio.
- Matt Collar
Naxos
Delightfully melodic proto-neo-Baroque music by Saint-Saëns gets sensitive performances here.
- James Manheim
SDG (Soli Deo Gloria)
A fresh recording of Bach's concertos features a real exchange between conductor Gardiner and his longtime violin section leader Debretzeni.
- James Manheim
Persona Non Grata
Canadian quartet delivers jangly, intellectual punk on par with a lineage of excellence that reaches from the Modern Lovers to Pavement.
- Fred Thomas
Carpark Records
The full-length debut album of evocative, '80s-influenced synth and electronic pop from the New Zealand songwriter.
- Matt Collar
Capitol
A hushed and delicate collection that finds Little Big Town settling into a subdued but not necessarily settled middle age.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Hyperion
Fine Vaughan Williams performances, both spiritual and technically confident by Brabbins and the BBC Symphony.
- James Manheim
Linn Records
Maxim Emelyanychev conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a vigorous performance of Schubert's Ninth Symphony, "The Great C major."
- Blair Sanderson
Castle Face
The psych-rock band's third album is a bummer trip filled with melancholy melodies and soft washes of synths.
- Tim Sendra
Polyvinyl
The project's 16th album delivers an infectious set of electro-pop and dance-rock.
- Marcy Donelson
Thrill Jockey
Continuing in the direction of 2016's Popp, Oval returns to Thrill Jockey with another playful, exciting world of sonic maximalism.
- Paul Simpson
X2
The acclaimed synth pop duo deliver another late-period triumph on their third outing with producer Stuart Price.
- Timothy Monger
Erato
Philippe Jaroussky's second self-selected anthology conveys the breadth of his work and contains new material.
- James Manheim
Rough Trade
More quality songwriting and rustic indie rock exaltations from this remarkably consistent New Jersey combo.
- Timothy Monger
Sumerian Records
On her empowering third LP, the subversive pop star finds her own voice with a brash metal makeover.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Interscope / Polydor
The resilient singer's sixth album features her first number one single and a batch of empowering, honest, and fun pop songs.
- Tim Sendra
Hyperion
Stephen Hough explores Brahms' final piano pieces and offers insights into the moods and expressions of his final years.
- Blair Sanderson
BMG / Echo
A gargantuan set featuring nearly everything the brilliant Brit-pop band ever recorded, including seven discs of rarities.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Fika Recordings
Balancing the sweet and acerbic, the Glaswegian sextet deliver another set of consistently catchy post-twee indie pop.
- Marcy Donelson
Burger Records
Murky, subaquatic pop with strands of wobbly psychedelia and warped soft rock fighting for dominance.
- Tim Sendra
Onyx
Launching a series of Bartók's works, Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony offer the Suite No. 1 and Concerto for Orchestra.
- Blair Sanderson
Various Artists
Heavenly
The soundtrack to the acclaimed TV series' second season digs deeper, emotionally as well as musically.
- Heather Phares
Various Artists
Heavenly
With music by Unloved, the Troggs, and Brigitte Bardot, the soundtrack to the cult favorite TV show's first season creates a seductive, volatile world.
- Heather Phares
Pink Flag
On their compact yet complex 17th album, the legendary post-punkers reinvent their enduring strengths as they lament humanity's vicious, and violent, circles.
- Heather Phares
Sub Pop
The Canadian indie rock veterans sound strong and vital as they fuse vintage synth pop tropes with a new sense of urgency.
- Mark Deming
Orange Mountain Music
A fine revival of a 1987 Glass opera that, in many ways, anticipates his later work.
- James Manheim
L & H
The Russian-born pianist and composer and her top-flight rhythm section explore the lives of night creatures in a bracing, evocative set.
- Thom Jurek