Sounds like: The heralded Oxford boys’ third is another delightful batch of ethereal, pretty indie rock with bits of stacatto funk and bouncy dance rhythms.
Free association: They keep getting better, even when Total Life Forever slayed.
For fans of: The XX + Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema Club, Brit groove experts. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: Local heroes! This eardrum-rattling opus of sludgy, roaring punk tempered with thoughtfully brilliant lyrics could be Philly’s best of 2013.
Free association: For the desire to go on a strangle-rampage of idiots and asshats.
For fans of: X/Sonic Youth/the Jesus Lizard, Clockcleaner, cathartic noise. (B.C.)
(SCI Fidelity Records)
Sounds like: The Indiana brothers Miller ride again! Easily their best yet, the instrumental band of funk, synths and vaguely jammy electronica goes hip-hop.
Free association: This will do wonders for their loss of that dirty word jamband.
For fans of: Tortoise x Ratatat + DJ Shadow, Empire of the Sun, wordless tunes. (B.C.)
Sounds like: Thoroughly mediocre but inoffensive debut from Provo, Utah rockers who peddle synths and studio-polished pop disguised as alt-radio rock.
Free association: This is what happens when bands are inspired by Coldplay.
For fans of: The Killers x Owl City + the Lumineers, U2/fun., religious rock. (B.C.)
How I Knew Her
Sounds like: Belgium- and France-raised, Stanford-educated and startlingly talented, this official solo debut (she’s half of Pomplamoose) is a pretty work of art.
Free association: Hopefully this one does well, and she’ll keep making records.
For fans of: Feist/Regina Spektor/Joni, The Bird and the Bee, pretty lady rock. (B.C.)
Sounds like: A 30-year-old singer/ songwriter from California on Jack Johnson’s label who’s not cheesy or whiney; retro-flavored folksy goodness.
Free association: Even if you’re not into stuff like this, it’s a pleasant listen.
For fans of: Donovan + Belle & Sebastian x M. Ward, Van Morrison, Quicksilver. (B.C.)
Thursdays, 8pm, NBC
Captive audience: Cult-sitcom watchers; pop-culture nerds; people who hate seeing good TV shows basically treated like shit by their own network.
Moment of truth: NBC has finally let the red-headed stepchild of its programming stable out of hiding so it can run its much-postponed fourth season. Now, since the sitcom has lost prized creator/showrunner Dan Harmon, it kind of seems like a facsimile of itself. The season opener, which halfheartedly mocked The Hunger Games, certainly felt that way. However, the annual, usually crazy/clever Halloween episode (which aired on Valentine’s Day) felt like a return to form. Being the fan that I am, I’ll most likely stick it out until the end—which I can’t help thinking will come sooner than later.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Fridays, 10:30pm, IFC
Captive audience: Fans of South Park, King of the Hill and other animated sitcoms that are crude, cute and clever.
Moment of truth: People who dig the crudely drawn small-town satire Mike Judge, Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought to their iconic animated programs may certainly get a kick out of this new show. It revolves around Chad (voiced by creator and former South Park animator Ryan Quincy), a furball-headed teen going through the adolescent motions in the quirky hamlet of Holford. Fred Armisen, Megan Mullally and King of the Hill alumna Pamela Adlon provide some of the other voices on the show, which could definitely become a cult item for comic-cartoon lovers and stoners alike.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Rules of Engagement
Mondays, 8:30pm, CBS
Captive audience: Bad ‘90s-sitcom nostalgists; people who can’t change the channel because they don’t have arms or they have locked-in syndrome or something.
Moment of truth: The most mediocre sitcom on the Tiffany Network that’s not overseen by Chuck Lorre has inexplicably returned for its seventh season. That well-chiseled weirdo Patrick Warburton is still the show’s saving grace, giving Christopher Walken-esque line readings of the lame jokes the writers saddle him with, while David Spade continues to play the world’s most implausible ladies’ man, usually delving into a loathsome-douchebag shtick and hurling offensive comments at his Indian assistant, Adhir Kalyan, another bright spot. My God, I hate CBS sitcoms.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014