Editors' Choice for March, 2020

More Is More Records
A glitter-dipped exercise in '70s disco-era funk, rock, and soul that makes the most of Lambert's swaggering vocal charisma.
- Matt Collar
Orchid Classics
Not Now, Bernard and Other Stories features colorful musical presentations to entertain not only children but the whole family.
- Blair Sanderson
Real Gone Music
A stellar compilation of rare and unreleased tracks culled from the popular crooner's Columbia vault.
- Matt Collar
Domino
The singer/songwriter lets down her guard on raw, intimate versions of songs from Hunter with striking results.
- Heather Phares
Thrill Jockey
The ninth album from this long-running folk rock band finds them exploring both fiery cosmic sprawl and mellow, understated territory.
- Fred Thomas
Heavenly / Le Label
With this album, Dury perfects his formula of sneering asides and darkly witty observations over swooning strings and slinky trip-hop.
- Tim Sendra
Decca
Big, high-contrast Chopin concertos with a strong pairing of dramatic tutti and an often poetic soloist.
- James Manheim
Warner Bros.
Brandy Clark gets warm and intimate on the soulful Your Life Is a Record.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
ECM
The guitarist resumes his trio explorations for ECM with a diverse, beautifully played program of originals and standards on acoustic and electric guitars.
- Thom Jurek
Caroline Rose Music / New West
The onetime Americana singer/songwriter delivers an audacious and sly pop album about modern stardom.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
mcDJ Recording
R&B, Rap
Mashing and melding sounds, textures, feelings, and trips into a weird, wild, and wonderful mess, this is the second classic Gambino album in a row.
- Tim Sendra
Prolifica Recordings
The Liverpool indie rockers find the magic space between happiness and heartache on their literate, effusive fourth album.
- Matt Collar
The Royal Potato
The final musical will and testament of guitarist Neal Casal, this compelling, delightful release was completed a week before his death.
- Thom Jurek
Ample Play
Never more focused or fun, hooky, or political, the long-running band have crafted their masterpiece after nearly 30 years of making music together.
- Tim Sendra
Avie
A superb survey of 17th century keyboard music that uses the piano as a kind of investigative tool.
- James Manheim
BR Klassik
Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony present Richard Strauss' impressive Also sprach Zarathustra with the Burleske in D minor.
- Blair Sanderson
Mercury
Complete collection of the group's early recordings highlighted by remastered albums, radio sessions, rare tracks, and a previously unreleased live show from 1980.
- Tim Sendra
Erato
Penetrating Strauss readings that stick in the memory, even when one takes issue with them.
- James Manheim
Erato
Unconventional programming succeeds here thanks to Dreisig's considerable vocal subtlety.
- James Manheim
Thrill Jockey
The debut LP from this noisy sludge metal act pushes the aggression of Amphetamine Reptile-styled noise rock into new, ugly places.
- Fred Thomas
Trouble in Mind
Touching on post-punk, shoegaze, dub, and jazz, the Chicago trio's swift evolution continues with some of their most dazzling, freewheeling music.
- Heather Phares
Rune Grammofon
Mats Gustafsson presents a bracing, extended presentation of Krysztof Penderecki's historic 1971 score with new sonic and musical referents.
- Thom Jurek
Omnivore
A fine collection focusing on the little-documented final incarnation of the band, full of unreleased tracks and home demos.
- Mark Deming
National Symphony
Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra offer a program of touchstones of Americana by Dvorák and Copland.
- Blair Sanderson
Atlantic / Canvasback / Parlophone
The Los Angeles band's exuberant fourth album finds them drawing inspiration from their '90s indie rock influences with a surrealistic glee.
- Matt Collar
Thrill Jockey
The direct yet expansive fifth solo album from cellist/composer Alison Chesley.
- Paul Simpson
Northern Spy
Revolution-minded fourth studio album from Baltimore-based experimental rock quartet Horse Lords.
- Paul Simpson
130701 / FatCat Records
An emotionally heavy full-length from the Canadian composer, created during an intense period of environmental catastrophe and human tragedy.
- Paul Simpson
Harmonia Mundi
This fine historical performance of Mozart violin sonatas is sensitive to their innovative qualities.
- James Manheim
Fire Records
The Welsh trio's life-affirming third album celebrates the power of connection with contemplative yet lively songs.
- Heather Phares
Ghostly International
A captivating collection of pieces written for fantasy dramas and documentaries that plays like a cohesive, intentional work.
- Paul Simpson
Daptone
With a new backing band, the British-born R&B singer adds rhumba and cha-cha to his aural stew of retro-soul, jump blues, and jukebox R&B.
- Thom Jurek
Ropeadope
On this groove-drenched set of contemporary jazz and funky fusion the band pulls out all the stops.
- Thom Jurek
LSO Live
Live Schumann recording by Gardiner preserves and expands upon the virtues of his earlier Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique set.
- James Manheim
Chandos
John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London offer an orchestral showcase of exotic and evocative pieces by French composers.
- Blair Sanderson
Bella Union
Recording at Jack Clement's Nashville studio with a crack session band, the California-based singer/songwriter revisits his North Carolina roots.
- Thom Jurek
Hollywood / Polydor
The electro-rock crew contemplate life and society with typically addictive production and witty lyrics.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Hyperion
An unusually strong entry in Hyperion's Liszt song series shows the composer's attitudes toward various key writers.
- James Manheim
Blue Note
Pivotal vocalists spanning genres and generations are honored in fine style on the Blue Note singer and pianist's third album.
- Andy Kellman
Audite
Fine Liszt performances including a real rarity; a second rarity is available digitally by streaming or as a download.
- James Manheim
Pi / Pi Recordings
On his first date as a leader since 2015, the guitarist/composer and his stalwart sextet offer a kaleidoscopic overview of modern jazz.
- Thom Jurek
New West
The singer and songwriter ups her game across the board on this well-crafted and expressive fourth album.
- Mark Deming
Verve
An understated, impeccably produced comeback full of reflective songwriting and a smooth, late-'70s West Coast pop feel.
- Timothy Monger
Yep Roc
The L.A. close harmony folk duo turn in a breezy homemade gem on their strong sophomore set.
- Timothy Monger
Hallé
Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra complete their exceptional cycle of the symphonies of Sibelius with the Fourth and Sixth.
- Blair Sanderson
BIS
Suzuki modulates his Bach keyboard style successfully in these performances of free, dramatic early works.
- James Manheim
BIS
Suzuki's second traversal of the St. Matthew Passion sharpens his general approach rather than rethinking the work wholesale.
- James Manheim
Nuclear Blast
Despite threats of life-threatening illness, lineup changes, emotional strain, and doubt, these British metallers deliver the goods in spades.
- Thom Jurek
Relapse Records
The shift away from black metal in favor of acoustic neo-traditional, gothic folk, offers listeners drama, resonance, tenderness, and mystery.
- Thom Jurek
Capitol
The former 1D member explores the aftermath of a breakup with emotional heft and polished production.
- Neil Z. Yeung
London Philharmonic Orchestra
A pairing of classic and recent Penderecki, splendidly conducted by the composer.
- James Manheim
Modern / Modern Recordings
The sixth album from this German electronic producer opens up into more acoustic ambience than ever before.
- Fred Thomas
Monkeywrench / Virgin EMI
Pearl Jam grapple with climate change and the Trump era on this charged, adventurous album.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Faux-Lux / Gare du Nord
A lovingly played and sung covers album of songs both old and new that have made an impact on the singer/songwriter throughout his life.
- Tim Sendra
Pbj Musik Ab
The venerable trio's eighth album is a bracing reminder that they have never stopped making hooky, inventive, and sneakily heartfelt indie rock.
- Tim Sendra
Deutsche Grammophon
Mozartissimo is a compilation of Rolando Villazón's performances of Mozart, selected to create a well-rounded portrait of singer and composer.
- Blair Sanderson
Nonesuch
A futuristic jazz standards album from the saxophonist and electronic musician that pushes the songs into ever-more-cosmic galaxies.
- Matt Collar
Alpha
Stirring Sibelius, uneasy in some places, by one of Finland's most exciting young conductors.
- James Manheim
Impulse!
On their Impulse! debut, Shabaka Hutchings' South African band delve deeply into spiritual and Township music to prepare humanity for extinction.
- Thom Jurek
Cherry Red
This well-crafted box set collects the power pop combo's three albums made for Elektra, plus a wealth of demos and a rare live EP.
- Tim Sendra
925
Domino
The stylistic shape-shifting of this London indie band's debut album never outshines the strength of the songwriting.
- Fred Thomas
Signum Classics
A live recording of the St. John's Ash Wednesday service, with a striking sense of immediacy.
- James Manheim
Grapefruit
A definitive expanded collector's edition of this early masterpiece from a pre-ELO Jeff Lynne.
- Mark Deming
Red House Records
The husband-and-wife duo shade their earthy Americana tones with a vintage West Coast feel on their Shooter Jennings-produced fourth album.
- Timothy Monger
Northern Spy
The 21st album by Australia's long-lived trio is a masterwork of composition, communication, investigation, and mystery.
- Thom Jurek
Full Time Hobby
Second set of whispery, ruminating indie pop from a duo who draw on '50s exotica and gentle jazz to create a universe all their own.
- Marcy Donelson
Hyperion
A confident, striding Symphonie Fantastique and a group of wonderful and forgotten small works make for a satisfying Berlioz release.
- James Manheim
World Circuit
A ten-year-old recording documenting a historic meeting gets dusted off, completed, and lives up to its title.
- Thom Jurek
Craft Recordings
Previously unissued live date from 2008 from the American banjo master and the Malian kora legend that reveals two improvisers at their peak.
- Thom Jurek
4AD
Seventh album is another stylistically shifting collection of heady pop featuring an extended crew of backing vocalists and themes of hindsight and nostalgia.
- Fred Thomas
Alia Vox
Andrew Lawrence-King and the Utopia Chamber Choir perform selections from the Piae Cantiones, a collection of sacred songs.
- Blair Sanderson
Various Artists
Grapefruit
This 56-track, three-disc, annotated anthology is arguably the very first comprehensive overview of the British blues scene.
- Thom Jurek
PentaTone Classics
Very strong Brahms chamber music from musicians who know each other well and pay attention to detail.
- James Manheim
Odradek
A beautiful song recital on the theme of wandering that builds innovatively on Ralph Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel.
- James Manheim
Kranky
One of Michigan's beloved space rock duo's most concise albums, and perhaps their rawest since the early days.
- Paul Simpson
Warner Classics
A rare example of Chopin concertos conducted by the pianist, Yundi's version achieves compelling rhythmic flexibility.
- James Manheim