Editors' Choice

Selections for

October 2017

Phantom Anthem
Fearless Records
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The metalcore veterans deliver a balanced, brutal, and almost relentlessly efficient set that deftly utilizes every inch of sonic space to its advantage.
- James Christopher Monger
Crazy Girl Crazy
Alpha
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Virtuoso vocalist, gifted conductor, and theatrical phenomenon, Barbara Hannigan displays her many talents in works by Berio, Berg, and Gershwin.
- Blair Sanderson
For Those Who Came After: Songs of Resistance from the Spanish Civil War
Important
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The avant rock band and Velina Brown deliver ingenious renditions of Spanish Civil War-era songs that still resonate.
- Thom Jurek
I Tell a Fly
Behind / Virgin EMI
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Britain's theatrical pop eccentric follows up his Mercury Prize-winning debut with a wildly ambitious and deeply challenging second effort.
- Timothy Monger
SpiderBeetleBee
Drag City
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The follow-up to Land of Plenty develops the intuitive, relaxed dialogue between the two guitarists into a full-blown musical language here.
- Thom Jurek
Tenderness
Arbutus Records
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Returning after a four-year hiatus, the duo delivers bold, sensual electro-pop inspired by the end of an online relationship.
- Heather Phares
Bunny
Tin Angel
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Indie pop with soft rock and chamber pop influences done with style by Drew Smith of the Bicycles and a bunch of his friends.
- Tim Sendra
Echo in the Valley
Rounder
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The second stellar offering by the picking married couple is banjos only; every recording element had to be reproducible in concert.
- Thom Jurek
Losing Sleep
RCA / RCA Nashville
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A decade into his career, Chris Young emphasizes his skills as a balladeer.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Reaching for Indigo
Drag City
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Haley Fohr interprets a powerful moment of cosmic inspiration on her sixth full-length as Circuit des Yeux.
- Paul Simpson
British Music for Violin and Piano
Naxos
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An obscure corner of repertoire, even for lovers of British chamber music, done in quietly graceful, precise readings.
- James Manheim
A Flame My Love, a Frequency
Thrill Jockey
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These serene yet constantly changing meditations on fear, hope, joy, and loss are some of Colleen's most vulnerable, beautiful songs yet.
- Heather Phares
Rat Film [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Domino
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Dan Deacon provides a fascinating score to an eye-opening documentary about Baltimore's rat infestation.
- Paul Simpson
Cherry on Willow
Tough Love
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Second solo album from the very prolific musician is his most focused and impressive to date, drawing on T. Rex-ian grooves and indie pop warmth.
- Tim Sendra
Ken
Ken
Merge
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Beloved art rock curmudgeon Dan Bejar embraces synths on his post-punk-hued 11th album.
- Marcy Donelson
Blue Maqams
ECM
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With an all-star rhythm section, the Tunisian oud master delivers a nearly perfect meld of Arabic modal music and jazz improvisation.
- Thom Jurek
Monteverdi: Vespers 1610
Linn / Linn Records
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John Butt and the Dunedin Consort are joined by His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts in this luminous recording of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers.
- Blair Sanderson
Love Rides a Dark Horse
ATO
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The mercurial Americana troubadour turns in a dark gem of lonesome and bittersweet balladry.
- Timothy Monger
The Last Island: Chamber Music by Peter Maxwell Davies
Delphian
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Some of these late Maxwell Davies works are death-haunted, but ultimately this is marvelous, life-affirming stuff.
- James Manheim
You Can't Stay Here
SideOneDummy
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The Long Island punks' debut for SideOneDummy is a viral and rousing tribute to their fallen comrade.
- Timothy Monger
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
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The third album from the Oklahoma-born rocker finds him digging into a gritty, '60s R&B sound.
- Matt Collar
Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998
Sacred Bones
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Horror master John Carpenter revisits the themes to 13 of his films from the '70s through the '90s.
- Paul Simpson
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang"
LSO Live
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Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir bring something distinctive to the work in this live performance.
- James Manheim
The Kid
Western Vinyl Records
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Blending orchestral arrangements with kaleidoscopic electronics, Smith crafts a highly advanced form of futuristic new age pop.
- Paul Simpson
Sketches of Brunswick East
ATO
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Wonderfully peaceful and trippy psych jazz collaboration between the sonic explorers of King Gizzard and the woozy mindtrippers of Mild High Club.
- Tim Sendra
Mnestic Pressure
Hyperdub
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Lee Gamble makes his Hyperdub debut with this challenging yet stunning album of deconstructed jungle and electro.
- Paul Simpson
As You Were
Warner Bros. / Warner Music/Cinram Logistics
AllMusic
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A modern, mature, colorful, and fiery solo debut from the Oasis singer.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's Alright Between Us as It Is
Feedelity
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Norwegian producer Lindstrøm's first solo album in five years adds a darker undercurrent to his trademark space disco sound.
- Paul Simpson
Boy Crazy and Single(s)
Bloodshot
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The singer/songwriter's outstanding 2013 EP is expanded to album length with the addition of non-LP single sides.
- Mark Deming
All American Made
Third Man Records
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On her second album, Margo Price broadens her musical and lyrical horizons.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Heaven Upside Down
Loma Vista
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Continuing his late-era hot streak with producer Tyler Bates, Manson's tenth merges heartbreak and blues with a jagged industrial edge.
- Neil Z. Yeung
Martha Argerich & Friends: Live from Lugano 2016
Warner Classics
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A fine tribute to an artist who has been not only a star, but a great inspiration to others.
- James Manheim
Garden Party
OUR Recordings
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Petri explores the character piece, delightful miniatures, with clarity, tonal precision, and warmth.
- James Manheim
Montrose [Deluxe Edition]
Rhino / Warner Bros.
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The hard rock band's debut comes alive thanks to Ronnie Montrose's guitar heroics and Sammy Hagar's rowdy vocal prowess.
- Tim Sendra
Sun Bridge
Bella Union
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An elegantly sculpted, more ambient fourth LP that rewards repeat listens but still offers instant gratification.
- Marcy Donelson
Christopher Tye: Complete Consort Music
Linn Records
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Phantasm explores Christopher Tye's instrumental pieces, which are among the earliest examples of English chamber music.
- Blair Sanderson
Carry Fire
Nonesuch
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A rich, restless hybrid of American and British folk-rock.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Sab Se Purani Bab
Thrill Jockey
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Yoshimio, enigmatic vocalist and longtime member of the Boredoms and OOIOO, explores complex, cosmic raga-rock as part of Saicobab.
- Paul Simpson
The Tchaikovsky Project: Manfred Symphony
Decca
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Bychkov plans out vast arcs with precision and depth; the pleasures of the performance are too numerous to list.
- James Manheim
Masseduction
Loma Vista
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The singer/songwriter's fifth album weaponizes pop's trappings, transforming them into sad, witty songs about desire and destruction.
- Heather Phares
There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light
Last Gang Records
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The Canadian indie pop establishment's excellent eighth release is a master class in amorous rumination.
- Timothy Monger
Nightbringers
Metal Blade
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With Arsis guitarist Brandon Ellis now in the fold, the Detroit death metal quintet deliver a blistering, tight 33-minute set that ranks with their best records.
- Thom Jurek
Man Woman Life Death Infinity
Unorthodox
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The Australian band's 25th album is an illuminating mix of astral-toned space rock and goth-psychedelia.
- Matt Collar
Going Grey
Fueled by Ramen Records
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The New Jersey indie punk weirdos exhibit signs of growing up on their more polished fourth effort.
- Timothy Monger
Murderburgers
Ernest Jenning / Khannibalism
AllMusic
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The garage-punk firebrand shines on his first solo album, with excellent accompaniment from the Gris Gris.
- Mark Deming
Blue Field
Shelflife
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The band's second album finds them expanding their lineup and sound, resulting in a richly melodic and suitably melancholic dream pop delight.
- Tim Sendra
For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986
Rhino / Sire
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Superlative document of a 1986 club show that captures this band at its combustible best.
- Mark Deming
The Wild
Saddle Creek Records
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Indie folk with a rock & roll heart that specializes in sweat-inducing, stadium-ready anthems for a crowd of 20 of your closest friends.
- James Christopher Monger
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Vol. 7
Coro
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Either alone or as part of the Sixteen's ongoing project, this is a highly recommended outing.
- James Manheim
Shame
Mint Records
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A cross-country relocation and fairly dramatic tonal shift characterize the Canadian punks' third LP.
- Timothy Monger
The Sin and the Sentence
Roadrunner Records
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The Florida-based decibel pushers continue their sonic metamorphosis from thrash-blasted metalcore to melody-driven (almost) trad-metal on their eighth full-length effort.
- James Christopher Monger
Vol. 1
Rise Above Records
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Magpie metal band's first album recorded in lo-fi, warts-and-all glory.
- Tim Sendra
Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973
Various Artists
Light in the Attic Records
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The first fully licensed comp of obscure acid folk and underground rock from Japan, handsomely presented by Light in the Attic.
- Thom Jurek
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1
Signum Classics
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Ashkenazy is the conductor you want in this work, and this is a tremendously exciting performance.
- James Manheim
Rule 62
Six Shooter Records
AllMusic
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A casual, assured Americana tour de force.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine