The Invisible Way
Sounds like: Two decades of marital rock beauty is distilled into one of their most approachable and simplest yet—haunting, sparse rock with a touch of doom.
Free association: These vocals are super-crisp, and they sing beautifully together.
For fans of: Pinback/Wire, Galaxie 500 x Rainer Maria, delicate ominousness. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: Constant lonelyman crooner Matt Houck loves Willie Nelson, women and the drink—and always pulls together a bang-up gang for a good time.
Free association: Houck’s one of the best jangly indie folk rock men in the biz.
For fans of: Iron & Wine x Jeff Mangum + Will Oldham, mariachis and sunshine. (B.C.)
The Next Day
Sounds like: The 60+ icon’s back with an absolutely killer bang. It’s simultaneously searing and comforting, full of hooks, headbobs, choruses and crashes.
Free association: Perfectly produced and, guys, this is a huge Bowie moment.
For fans of: Jimi Hendrix + Trent Reznor, Aladdin Sane + Iggy Pop, postmodernism. (B.C.)
Sounds like: Well, he’s 67 and still playing, I guess; these reggae and surfy versions of Otis Redding and Peter Tosh tunes are sunny and stonery. Dude’s chilling hard.
Free association: Slowhand Lebowski who loves Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats.
For fans of: Jeff Beck and the Allmans, Paul Simon x Jack Johnson, margaritas. (B.C.)
Heaven in This Hell
Sounds like: The Australian and Greek axe master’s third is extra country, even though she’s mostly goth and metallic, and it’s a little hard to listen to.
Free association: Even friends of Santana, MJ and Alice Cooper can fail admirably.
For fans of: Kelly Clarkson x Ashlee Simpson, Carrie Underwood goes to Hot Topic. (B.C.)
Sound City: Real to Reel
Sounds like: Dave Grohl is pissed that analog is dying and that everything’s digital, so he made a documentary about the legendary studio and its sound board.
Free association: Yup, this is where Paul McCartney sings with a Cobain-less Nirvana.
For fans of: Josh Homme, Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, unpolished classic studio rock. (B.C.)
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014