Twenty One Pilots
(Fueled By Ramen)
Sounds like: The Columbus, Ohio duo’s major label debut after some self-made demos is a quirky mix of rapping over emo-synth pop and radio-friendly hooks.
Free association: Teens will eat this one up; adults wouldn’t bear multiple listens.
For fans of: Owl City x Travie McCoy + Bright Eyes, genre mash-ups, youth. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The 40-year-old Texas pastor’s side project is making good-for-its-kind contemporary Christian music that steals from Keane and Coldplay.
Free association: A love for Sister Act cannot make me feel music about God.
For fans of: Gavin DeGraw + Jesus, Matthew Sweet/West x church, gospel. (B.C.)
Sounds like: Whoa! Shockingly good pop music from Britain’s Justin Bieber, who’s got more edge, Timberlake flavor and cool sponsorship (Pharrell, Ne-Yo).
Free association: The cover’s misleading. He’s not a weak-ass Disney alum.
For fans of: Bruno Mars x Chris Brown + Selena Gomez, Rita Ora, teen funk. (B.C.)
Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory
Elements of Light
(Rough Trade US)
Sounds like: Hendrik Weber’s brilliant German-born production skills and ear for EDM are translated perfectly into a collaboration with a bell orchestra.
Free association: Takes a while to get into it, but then out come the beats.
For fans of: Animal Collective x Caribou + Four Tet, silver bells, slow builds. (B.C.)
Real Husbands of Hollywood
Tuesdays, 10pm, BET
Captive audience: Reality-show fans, reality-show parody fans, people who just love seeing Kevin Hart act a gotdamn fool.
Moment of truth: What was once an extremely funny bit that aired during the BET Awards has now became a full-fledged show. The question now is can it still be funny for 30 minutes? Kevin Hart returns as the head husband-in-charge of this crew of celebrity spouses (which include Nick Cannon, J.B. Smoove and blue-eyed soulster Robin Thicke). While making fun of reality shows may be seen as redundant, seeing Hart play an arrogant version of himself who constantly gets his ass handed to him—a kid literally beats said ass in the first episode—is always an amusing sight.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Saturdays, 9pm, BBC America
Captive audience: Police procedural watchers, British history buffs, people who are just waiting for the new season of Luther this summer.
Moment of truth: This latest TV police procedural from the U.K. has a tortured yet diligent inspector (Matthew Macfadyen, aka Mr. Darcy from 2005’s Pride and Prejudice) and his rogue team keeping law and order on the streets of 19th-century East London, six months after the last Jack the Ripper killing. With its gritty, period-piece setting and erudite dialogue, I’m sure people will start immediately referring to this show as Deadwood Abbey. And, yet, the strong performances and engrossing storytelling ward off the stench of derivativeness and make this a drama that demands and keeps your attention.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2