The Flower Lane
Sounds like: Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile’s side project takes off. There’s great guests, a fuller band and a rich variety of sounds, including funk, jazz and glam.
Free association: Worth an all-the-way-through listen; stellar tracks at the back.
For fans of: Cults + Mac DeMarco, Steely Dan x Panda Bear, lo-fi bedroom bliss. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The highly-anticipated follow-up to the astounding Gorilla Manor is maybe not as potent at first, but nonetheless excellent quiet indie rock.
Free association: Tough to live up to their debut, but it’s a noble, valiant effort.
For fans of: Animal Collective x Fleet Foxes + CSNY, Givers/the Shins, the Keds, Brooklyn. (B.C.)
No Fairy Tale
Sounds like: The queen of the nerdy ‘90s’ first adult record in more than eight years isn’t far from her Reality Bites days, but with less grungy angst, more Clueless girl power.
Free association: Just think of all the girls in glasses and Doc Martens who’ll love this.
For fans of: Liz Phair/Paula Cole/Shawn Colvin/Jewel, Elaine Benes, retro florals. (B.C.)
Tegan and Sara
Sounds like: The 32-year-old twins from Calgary’s seventh could be their most pop, commercial and accessible—enjoyable way beyond indie-lesbians appeal.
Free association: Some whiners might accuse them of going too mainstream. Stop it.
For fans of: Ani DiFranco + Beth Orton x Metric/Eisley/Rilo Kiley, indie romance. (B.C.)
The Spinto Band
Sounds like: The fourth from the Delaware dudes, Nick Krill’s quintet, is another delicately pretty batch, full of dreamy, wistful indie folk.
Free association: Local love to these guys. How often does Wilmington get love?
For fans of: Yo La Tengo/Superchunk/ Pavement x Of Montreal, handclaps & harmony. (B.C.)
Regions of Light and Sound of God
Sounds like: My Morning Jacket’s frontman and primary songwriter’s first honest-to-goodness solo record is an unsurprisingly outstanding piece of music.
Free association: After the fantastic Circuital, he must’ve just kept the juices flowing.
For fans of: Neil Young x Galaxie 500, Lambchop + Roy Orbison, Louisville, Ky. (B.C.)
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Mondays, 9pm, Logo
Captive audience: Fans of cross-dressing, burlesque revues and neverending drama.
Moment of truth: It’s strange. The last time I reviewed RuPaul’s Drag Race in this space, I had a gay ol’ time with it. So, why am I not feeling the new, fifth season much? For starters, there are too many damn drag queens this time around! There are 14 contestants this season (with names like Alaska, Detox and—my fave—Penny Tration, the first cast-off), some of them not so much entertainingly bitchy as just plain bitchy. (There is one narcoleptic drag queen who I’m sure the show will have fun with.) Hopefully, RuPaul herself can keep this divafest delightfully campy with her double-entendre-spitting fierceness.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlemmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
House of Cards
Currently streaming on Netflix.com
Captive audience: Political dramas; people who love watching Kevin Spacey when he’s hammy.
Moment of truth: While everyone waits for that new season of Arrested Development to hit Netflix Instant in May, the streaming video service has another original series you can sample. Adapted from a BBC miniseries and produced by David Fincher, this savvy, sinister political drama has Spacey rocking a Southern-fried accent as a congressman who sets a vengeful plan in motion after getting passed over for Secretary of State. Netflix has released the whole season, so you can “binge watch” the entire thing or take in this modern-day Richard III slowly, the way I’m gonna do it.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Mondays, 9pm, Fox
Captive audience: Police-procedural watchers, serial-killer thriller fans; people who can’t get enough of seeing gory shit on network TV.
Moment of truth: Fox and Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson somehow got renowned actor’s actor Kevin Bacon to come to TV and headline this weekly thriller, where he plays a troubled, retired FBI agent who gets brought into an investigation when a killer (James Purefoy) he caught rounds up a cult of followers to do his bidding. While the pilot looked both promising and menacing, I’m uncertain whether they can keep this going on a weekly basis, especially when the serial killers-in-training are more callow than cold-blooded. At least Bacon is around, looking exceptionally pensive.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlemmy. (C.D.L.)
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014