Sounds like: His latest LP is a funky-as-hell batch of his one-man-band antics with some retro rhythms and jumpy, danceable beats to match his soul.
Free association: Anything a la Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis for Janet Jackson is bomb.com.
For fans of: Raphael Saadiq x Beck + Mark Ronson, British soul, beatboxers. (Bill Chenevert)
& the Bad Seeds
Push The Sky Away
(Bad Seed Ltd.)
Sounds like: The 15th from the Aussies via London, and this one takes a calm, dark and literary turn with stream-of-consciousness and riffs on poems.
Free association: There isn’t much here to blast from open windows. Bummer.
For fans of: Leonard Cohen/Patti Smith/Neil Young, Calexico, indulgence. (B.C.)
A Love Surreal
(Entertainment One Music)
Sounds like: A totally thrilling statement from Bilal; breathtakingly engaging and soulful songs that use all kinds of thematic, musical and sonic tricks.
Free association: Another champion! Sickening R&B and soul comes out of Philly.
For fans of: Prince/Funkadelic/Marvin Gaye/Jill Scott/the Roots, sexy sultry times. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The Danish punks aren’t teens anymore on their equally strong sophomore as they pummel drums, rip on guitars and scream with more maturity.
Free association: These guys rule this genre with piss and vinegar. It’s awesome.
For fans of: Lightning Bolt/Abe Vigoda/Fucked Up/Xiu Xiu, evolving punk music. (B.C.)
Sounds like: Brothers Andrew and Daniel Aged deliver a stunning debut that channels essential soul and R&B vibes while reflecting the great artists they’ve been working with.
Free association: Did Frank Ocean open up a weird R&B-catalytic virus? Praise be.
For fans of: Maxwell x How to Dress Well, the Weeknd, soul, baby-makin’ music. (B.C.)
We Will Not Harm You
(Big Dada Recordings)
Sounds like: The U.K. Soul II Soul producer who’s collabed with Björk, Tricky and Massive Attack does solo stuff that’s bright, far-reaching dancey house.
Free association: Samples, congas, drum ‘n’ bass, morse funk, beats—it’s all here.
For fans of: K-os/Daphni + Fatboy Slim, Le1f’s beats x Black Box, ‘90s house music. (B.C.)
Wednesdays, 9pm, TNT
Captive audience: Fans of gritty cop dramas, urban reality shows and/or anything that features Bostonians talking in their funny accents.
Moment of truth: Even though Donnie Wahlberg is already on the job over on the CBS cop show Blue Bloods, he’s also serving as executive producer for this hour-long reality drama, which follows cops around on Wahlberg’s hometown streets of Boston. If you’ve been watching Cops for more than 20 years, you know you won’t be seeing anything new when the cameras follow these cops on their beats. Thankfully, the show also dips into their personal and home lives, which prove to be far more fascinating than seeing them bust perps, although that can get quite intense as well.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Wednesdays, 10pm, A&E
Captive audience: Blue-collar reality show fans; duck hunters; people who miss the down-home comedy of The Andy Griffith Show and Green Acres.
Moment of truth: That long-bearded family of Louisiana, duck-hunting entrepeneurs returns for another season of shamelessly sitcommy shenanigans. The first two episodes alone have these sharp-shooting yokels doing stuff (going on an ill-fated camping trip, trying to lose weight before attending a high school reunion) you’d more likely see as subplots on Modern Family rather than on a reality show. Surprisingly enough, this show aims to make you laugh with these lovable rednecks, not at them—making this a guilty pleasure you don’t feel guilty about watching after all.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Online at screen.yahoo.com
Captive audience: Fans of reality-TV dating shows; comedy nerds; people who aren’t afraid to admit they watch web shows.
Moment of truth: I just gotta give a shout-out to this uproarious, Ben Stiller-produced web series, a relentlessly ridiculous sendup of The Bachelor/Bachelorette juggernaut. Now in its second season, one of the unhinged single ladies from the first season (June Diane Raphael, delightfully deranged) gets a chance to find a soulmate amidst a slew of equally f’d-up suitors. Michael Cera, Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell and Kroll Show’s Nick Kroll are just a few of the familiar faces who fill up this den of dysfunctional masculinity. This show is funny as hell. And it also doesn’t take up too much of your time.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014