Sounds like: A killer debut from a team-up that bore beautiful fruit: Danish mutli-instrumentalist Robin and delicate, angel-voiced Milosh.
Free association: Everyone’s getting on the R&B train, and it’s picking up speed.
For fans of: Inc. + Jessie Ware x soft house music, Bilal with Norwegian flavors. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The relentlessly productive Venezuelan-raised hippie rock Pied Piper’s got another one, and it’s a beautiful, thoughtful, quiet statement of purpose.
Free association: Thought it’d suck didn’t you? Nope, totally solid folksy rock.
For fans of: Donovan/Joanna Newsom x Ariel Pink/Will Oldham, men in skirts. (B.C.)
How to Destroy Angels
Sounds like: The hypnotic spawn of Trent Reznor and his singing wife, Mariqueen Maandig, plus Atticus Ross; trippy electronic dirges and grooves.
Free association: The band’s named after a Coil single, but it’s a terrible name.
For fans of: NIN, Sneaker Pimps + Poe, The Social Network/Dragon Tattoo soundtracks. (B.C.)
The Cave Singers
Sounds like: Another gem to cherish throughout the spring and summer, Pretty Girls Make Graves’ remnants’ jangly, folksy and eclectic rock is just so good.
Free association: After No Witch, we were pumped for this one. and it’s excellent.
For fans of: Fleet Foxes + Wye Oak x M. Ward, Black Mountain, stoney hippie beards. (B.C.)
People, Hell and Angels
Sounds like: An exceptional posthumous collection of fading-Experience Jimi with the help of Billy Cox and Buddy Miles that’ll stun even Hendrix superfans.
Free association: One of the biggest talents ever proves it (again) from the grave.
For fans of: The Who/Zep/Animals/Jefferson Airplane/Jeff Beck, blues explosions. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The pioneers of experimental techno ride again with 120 minutes of glitchy, trippy electronic music for those two hours you need to waste.
Free association: Seriously, don’t try to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.
For fans of: Aphex Twin, Boom Bip x Plaid + Mouse on Mars, wordless trips. (B.C.)
Mondays, 10pm, A&E
Captive audience: Psycho fans (especially those who preferred the blasphemous 1998 remake); people who think serial killers are misunderstood.
Moment of truth: Well, someone thought it would be a good idea to take iconic movie villain Norman Bates, drop him in the iPhone-and-flat-screen-infested 21st century and make a TV show out of it. This drama attempts to serve as a sympathetic origin story for Bates (played by Freddie Highmore), seen here as a shy yet girl-attracting teenager who has a questionably close bond with his mom (Vera Farmiga). With a pilot episode that’s more ridiculous than terrifying, here’s hoping Lost mastermind Carlton Cuse (who serves as executive producer) injects some actual suspense in future episodes.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Top of the Lake
Mondays, 9pm, Sundance Channel
Captive audience: The Killing watchers; Jane Campion fans; people who can’t wait for Mad Men to drop next month and need their Peggy Olson fix now!
Moment of truth: Filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano) comes to TV with this seven-part miniseries, which won raves at this year’s Sundance Film Festival when it was shown all at once. Elisabeth Moss drops the sheepish act she perfected on Mad Men and stars as a New Zealand detective who investigates the disappearance of a pregnant teen in her old, misogyny-riddled hometown. With a tone that’s intense one minute and quirky the next (Holly Hunter shows up as the blunt, spacey founder of a female commune), the show may leave you with mixed feelings. At least in this, Peggy Olson is a badass.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)
Sundays, 10pm, ABC
Captive audience: People who loved that Catherine Zeta-Jones subplot in Traffic.
Moment of truth: Here’s a new primetime drama I was surprised to find is actually good. Based on the Dutch drama series Penoza, this show stars Radha Mitchell as a wife and mother who gets involved in her husband’s drug-smuggling business after he gets mysteriously gunned down due to a drug deal gone wrong. With its intriguing pace and well-written characters (including ER’s Goran Visnjic as a sinister businessman), this could have the potential of becoming a female version of Breaking Bad, with Mitchell’s soccer mom eventually turning into a MILF-ier Walter White.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
New City Stage Company’s Hurly Burly
Through March 24, Adrienne Theatre. newcitystage.org
Overall vibe: Burnt out. In 1984, while Nancy Reagan was campaigning around the country just saying no to drugs, this David Rabe play about Hollywood executives—i.e. self-professed cocaine-snorting, Jim Beam-swilling, joint-toking misogynists—premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theater. New City Stage Company’s three-hour production makes one feel like the original 1984 production never stopped running, the gloss of Hollywood worn off the head shots on the center-stage coffee table, the lines of cocaine next to them no longer injecting Dopamine-charged urgency into the dialogue. The immediate-gratification party of the 1980s is over; its actors are addicts maintaining to stand upright. What this production desperately needs is a speed-through, no pun intended.
Most memorable moment: Self-medicated Eddie, played by Russ Widdall, is numb and so lost in the sad self-absorption of addiction that all the other characters are extensions of himself, one-dimensional cardboard cutouts orbiting in the background of his life. This play could be boiled down to a one-man show for Widdall. Eddie is at his most venerable when he is alone in his big house in Hollywood Hills. In an attempt to blot out the loneliness, he turns on The Tonight Show and reads the obits to Johnny Carson by the glare of the television.
Scene stealer: Or the largest problem: Director James J. Christy didn’t allow the women of the play to be real people. Yes, when they walk through the front door of Eddie’s two-story house, they may be sexually objectified, but this doesn’t mean Rabe wrote them as dim-witted. (Jessica Foley)
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014