Yo La Tengo
Release date: Jan. 15
Sounds like: Lucky 13 for the Hoboken-born super powers of fuzzy, subtle rock.
Free association: There’s probably nothing they could do that fans wouldn’t love.
For fans of: Galaxie 500 x Spiritualized + The Sea and Cake, indie rock pioneers.
No Fairy Tale
Release date: Jan. 29
Sounds like: Her first “adult” record in nine years; hopefully there are some gems.
Free association: Where would the ‘90s be without “Do You Sleep?” and “Stay?”
For fans of: Jewel/Natalie Imbruglia, Fiona Apple + Shawn Colvin, glasses rock.
(Entertainment One Music)
Release date: Jan. 29
Sounds like: The mighty return! Her first in five years after ruling the early aughts.
Free association: Ever catch her brutal attempts at acting? Stick with music, boo.
For fans of: Ja Rule/J. Lo x Nelly Furtado, Mya/Monica/JoJo, basic R&B queens.
Ra Ra Riot
Release date: Jan. 22
Sounds like: We’ve been waiting for these guys to do something great for years.
Free association: This could be real bland, but if it’s not, it’ll be a sweet surprise.
For fans of: Mumford/Bon Iver x Vampire Weekend + Feist, cold rock.
Honorable mention: Tegan & Sara’s Heartthrob (Jan. 29), J. Cole’s Born Sinner (Jan. 28) and the Joy Formidable’s Wolf’s Law (Jan. 22).
On the Idiot Box
Mondays, 9pm, ABC Family
Captive audience: Gilmore Girls fans, teenage girls and James Wolcott. I know he definitely digs shit like this.
Moment of truth: As it returns for a winter round of episodes, this dramedy from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has comfortably settled into being the sort of kooky, rapid-fire-dialogue-filled, girl-power fest that her minions have been dying to get again from her. The premiere finds hapless-yet-beloved ballet instructor Michelle (Tony-winning Broadway vet Sutton Foster) slumming it in Henderson, Nev., as eye candy for a magic act, while her young students back in the fictional California town of Paradise sorely miss her. This just may be the only show on ABC Family worth a damn.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Craig. D. Lindsey)
Fridays, 10pm, IFC
Captive audience: White people—and the people who find the shit that white people do hilarious.
Moment of truth: After whetting our appetites with that holiday special a couple weeks back, SNL’s Fred Armisen and indie-rock queen Carrie Brownstein return to the Pacific Northwest’s quirkiest city for a third season of hipster satire. The season premiere certainly has them starting off on the right foot as they round up some familiar, former MTV personalities to help take back the network. Patton Oswalt, Martina Navratilova, Jeff Goldblum and Chloe Sevigny (as Fred and Carrie’s new roommate from rival city Seattle) are other guest stars who join in on the incessantly laugh-inducing hilarity this season.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Mondays, 10pm, NBC
Captive audience: Fans of tawdry soaps, murder mysteries and shows with a beautiful black woman as its lead star.
Moment of truth: Now that ABC’s Scandal has proven that a prime-time drama headlined by a sister can become a hit, NBC is going down the same road with this new show, which is basically a Scandal/Revenge sandwich. Meagan Good (Think Like a Man) stars as a San Francisco cop who goes undercover to investigate the wealthy family of an estranged friend who died under mysterious circumstances. The show’s more silly than scandalous, especially since the family—which includes Alias’ Victor Garber as the patriarch—doesn’t do anything to cover up how suspicious and sheisty they are.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)
Calendar: Sept. 30-Oct. 7