Music from Another Dimension
Sounds like: The Bad Boys of Boston’s 15th studio album and first in eight years is a very mediocre but apt nod to all the styles they’ve fumbled over the years.
Free association: The last half drags, especially “Freedom Fighter.” C’mon, guys.
For fans of: Def Leppard/Cheap Trick/Bon Jovi x Kid Rock, American Idol, mic scarves. (Bill Chenevert)
The Abbey Road Sessions
Sounds like: A classy and subdued collection of Kylie classics reworked with the BBC to artfully span 25 years of pop perfection, Aussie charm and playful musicality.
Free association: She even makes “The Locomotion” sound almost unrecognizable.
For fans of: Madge x Robyn/Annie, Bananarama + Rick Astley, gay pop royalty. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The 30-year-old dancer/ producer/actor’s fifth LP is another record that has both slow jams and evidence that R&B’s got a crush on europop.
Free association: Usher did it better, and T-Swift’s got the better Red record of the fall.
For fans of: Chico DeBarge/R. Kelly x Lionel Richie, Chris Brown, endless guest vocalists. (B.C.)
Top Ten Hits of the End Of The World
Sounds like: Weirdo sisters who’ve teamed up with Ariel Pink’s Tim Koh and their ousted, sometime-guitarist Scott Colburn for conceptual, creepy witch rock.
Free association: Every track “channels” a fictional pre-apocalypse band’s “hit.” Yup.
For fans of: Avey Tare x Gang Gang Dance + Oneida, Ladytron on acid, BK witches. (B.C.)
The Vermilion Border
Sounds like: The 56-year-old Slits guitarist and ex of the Clash’s Mick Jones’ youthful but smart and sophisticated second solo LP of songwriter rock.
Free association: She’s come a long way from barely knowing how to play a guitar.
For fans of: Beth Orton/PJ Harvey/Tori Amos, St. Vincent, oddly well-preserved Brits. (B.C.)
The Inner Mansions
Sounds like: Vancouver, B.C.’s producer moniker, Jamison, makes records that are dreamy, synth-floaty, delicately beautiful and a relaxingly blissful listen.
Free association: Another contender in the Chillwave Battle of Bongrip Beach.
For fans of: Neon Indian x M83 + Delorean, Memory Tapes/Four Tet, headphone trips. (B.C.)
Thursdays, 9pm, NBC
Captive audience: People who still think The Office is funny.
Moment of truth: When a friend of mine recently told me that he still watches The Office, even though he knows it’s not as good as it once was, I decided to check back in with the show, now in its ninth and final season. With the show ending, it appears it’s trying to get back to its trademark, awkwardly funny tone after last year’s awful, James Spader-filled episodes. But it all reeks of desperation, especially since Ed Helms is now doing a bad Steve Carell impression as resident big boss man Andy Bernard. So, when it comes to hilarious mockumentary sitcoms, I’m still sticking with Parks & Rec.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Catfish: The TV Show
Mondays, 11pm, MTV
Captive audience: Those who saw Catfish (the movie), people who know not to get into heavy relationships on Facebook.
Moment of truth: The 2010 doc Catfish gets the reality-show treatment, with Nev Schulman (aka that schlub from the movie who fell for a hot Facebook pal, only to find out she was really a disturbed woman with a fake account) now going around the country, doing investigative work for guys and gals who want to pursue relationships with close-but-mysterious Facebook friends. Just like the movie, it shows the lengths insecure people will go to not be themselves online. Also, just like the movie, a lot of what goes down seems too convenient and suspect. All in all, it’s both intriguing and suspicious.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy? (C.D.L.)
The Baby Wait
Tuesdays, 10pm, Logo
Captive audience: Childless couples, people who like to have a good cry with their reality shows.
Moment of truth: Reality TV doesn’t get more efficiently tear-jerking than it does with this new show, which follows a different couple—gay or straight—each week as they try to adopt a newborn baby and hope that the birth mother doesn’t have second thoughts during the waiting period and decides to take the child back. The show doesn’t really examine what makes certain states invoke a waiting period for adoptive parents, as it mostly focuses on the relationships that form between the couples and the birth mothers—and the heavily emotional tolls they face once the baby arrives.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. But you’ll probably get phlegmmy from all the sniffles. (C.D.L.)
ON THE GUEST LIST
Philadelphia Improv Festival
Wed., Nov. 7, Prince Music Theater
Overall vibe: Pure, unadulterated fun. Serving as the unofficial kick-off for Philly Comedy Month, the first night of the eighth annual festival certainly set the right tone, with several solid sets of long-form improv comedy.
Most memorable moment: The hilariously awkward and totally unscripted first date as fabricated by the local Troika trio Chaperone.
Scene stealer: All nine members of the Philly Improv Theater’s rookie house team Davenger. From the moment they stepped on stage, they proceeded to blow minds with their collective energy and lightening speed wits. (Nicole Finkbiner)
The Pack A.D. are built for the road
PW's Music Issue 2014