Jim Novak of Electric Fetus:
1 Mercury Rev, “Bobbie Gentry’s Delta Sweete Revisited.” The 1968 concept album lovingly re-imagined with Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Margo Price, Phoebe Bridgers and other great vocalists. The songs are given a warm cinematic treatment that’s perfect for headphones and keeping the cold weather out of mind.
2 Balthazar, “Fever.” A danceable and slinky indie-rock record from a Belgian band I stumbled across via my “Discover Weekly” playlist from Spotify.
3 Talk Talk, “The Colour of Spring.” This influential but often overlooked British band regained attention with the recent passing of singer Mark Hollis. Its last two albums are post-rock gems, but “Colour” shows a band pushing itself beyond ’80s new wave to completely new territory.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Taylor Swift’s “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30,” Elle magazine. She’s self-aware, thoughtful, introspective, honest, practical, real and smarter than you think. She talks about trying and failing, dealing with cancer in her family, fighting with loved ones, body image, aging, vitamins, politics, friendships and her hair, among other topics.
2 Robyn, the Palace. While the first half of her show was filled with repetitive Eurodisco, the purple-clad Swedish star turned things around by channeling Prince on “Love Is Free” and finally performing with joyful abandon.
3 Kiss, Target Center. Paul Stanley’s voice has seen better days, but I haven’t seen a better — and bigger — production from the band that always defined pyro and ambitious staging. Even though this is a farewell tour, Kiss never said “goodbye.”