Yo La Tengo
Sounds like: The Hoboken-bred indie titans’ 13th is an unsurprisingly solid LP of moody, ethereal and pretty shoegazey fuzz rock to be worn like an oversized hoodie.
Free association: No song’s better than “Autumn Sweater,” but they can keep trying.
For fans of: Low x the Feelies + Galaxie 500, Lush/Pavement, ‘90s glory. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The Girls’ frontman’s first solo LP is the tale of his first Girls tour, but also just a pretty collection of his charming songwriting and wispy voice.
Free association: The songs are almost as fascinating as this man’s story.
For fans of: Mac DeMarco x Magnetic Fields, Donovan/Dylan, cult escapees. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The Philadelphia glam-rock darlings’ second is a far cry from their DFA debut, with more tightness, cleanliness and restraint, which is a shame.
Free association: James Murphy’s influence has evaporated; they’ve gone polished.
For fans of: Dr. Dog x Thin Lizzy, the Strokes + T. Rex, long blond manes. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The sophomore from the Brooklyn-via-Tacoma trio is dreamy, dark folk characterized by Molly Hamilton’s haunting, Mazzy Star-like vocals.
Free association: Creep country is so much better than normal, pop country.
For fans of: Wild Nothing + Cat Power x Woods, Neko Case, Brooklyn Vegan. (B.C.)
Light Up Gold
(What’s Yr Rupture)
Sounds like: A lively and loud post-punk debut of indie rock, with ample yelps and angular feedback tempered by grungy, classic guitar grooves.
Free association: Inspired by some great bands, but they’re not there yet.
For fans of: The Babies x Yuck + Hot Water Music, old Modest Mouse, mod grunge. (B.C.)
No Beginning No End
Sounds like: The soulful New York-based singer’s fourth is an inspiring and stunning batch of songs that blend jazz, hip-hop, R&B and modernized funk.
Free association: One of the most thrilling first listens in months. It haunts you.
For fans of: Miguel x Frank Ocean + Bilal, Marvin/Otis/Ray, neo-R&B. (B.C.)
Sundays, 9:30pm, HBO
Captive audience: Disenchanted middle-aged folk; the six or seven people who saw Year of the Dog.
Moment of truth: It seems HBO is now the home for shows about self-deluded women who think they have their shit together, but so don’t. Along with the acclaimed, award-winning Girls and Veep, there is also this dramedy, with Laura Dern (who co-created the show with co-star and School of Rock screenwriter Mike White) as a quietly unhinged yet incessantly optimistic woman intent on taking down the corrupt company that demoted her. Just like Girls and Veep, it’s a show you may admire more than like. However, it also might definitely hit a nerve with folks who wonder where their lives are going.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Craig D. Lindsey)
PW's Music Issue 2014