Sounds like: The Pittsburgh emcee’s follow-up to the awesome Rolling Papers is a bit of a bust, a whole lotta mid-tempo raps about weed and collecting paper.
Free association: You smoke tons of weed and are super-rich now. Got it.
For fans of: Cam’ron/Akon/2 Chainz/Pharrell/The Weeknd, Amber Rose, the Steelers. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The brash and crass party girl exudes an irresistible charm that translates into guilty pleasure dance-floor bombs that are well-produced delights.
Free association: She got Iggy Pop to show up on a track, and it’s not awful. Success!
For fans of: LMFAO x Britney, Kelly Clarkson + will.i.am, white trash comin’ up. (B.C.)
Sounds like: The enigmatic veteran turns in 73 minutes of challenging noise combining opera, ambient, punk rock and orchestral might, the finale of his trilogy.
Free association: There’s brilliance here. You just have to comb through the darkness.
For fans of: Sonic Youth x Laurie Anderson, Eno/Lynch/Bjork, difficult music. (B.C.)
Fall To Grace
Sounds like: A mediocre mixed bag from the U.K. native, a dancer and burlesque girl, whose work with two producers is a little sophomore slumpy.
Free association: There are just so many other girls who do this way better.
For fans of: Duffy/Lana Del Rey/Joss Stone, watery Amy Winehouse, girl pop. (B.C.)
A Wrenched Virile Lore
Sounds like: The Scottish post-rock legends’ sanctioned collection of remixes puts a quirky, electro spin on Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
Free association: Definitely makes them seem less ominous and more clubby.
For fans of: Don Caballero x Hot Chip, Neu! meets Hercules & Love Affair, peaceful punk. (B.C.)
Sounds like: Dayve Hawk makes pretty electronically charged chillwave pop music, and on this, his third, he lets tracks wander and get much longer.
Free association: This is good background music. S’about it; not much meat here.
For fans of: Teengirl Fantasy/Washed Out x Ariel Pink, stoner soundtracks. (B.C.)
Portlandia: Winter in Portlandia
Friday, 10:30pm, IFC
Captive audience: Hipsters. And the people who make subtle-yet-merciless fun of them.
Moment of truth: For those of you cool folk who can’t wait for new episodes of the offbeat skitcom Portlandia to hit IFC next month, Saturday Night Live weirdo Fred Armisen and guitar goddess Carrie Brownstein (a.k.a. the Nichols and May of Hipster Nation) give their fans a bonus, winter-themed episode to whet their appetites. Jack White, Jim Gaffigan, Little Britain’s Matt Lucas & fellow SNLer Bobby Moynihan join the pair as they once again amusingly send up the quirks and eccentricities of Portland townspeople during the holiday season. Even if you’ve never set foot in that city, this is still funny as hell.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. Definitely. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Two and a Half Men
Thursdays, 8:30pm, CBS
Captive audience: People who have basically given the fuck up.
Moment of truth: Can someone please tell me why this show is still on the air? Even with Ashton Kutcher filling the void notoriously left by Charlie Sheen as the women-attracting ying to Jon Cryer’s born-loser yang, it’s still the unfunniest, most misogynistic, dick-jokiest sitcom on TV. But it’s also gotten quite dull now that the former Mr. Demi Moore is front-and-center, blandly getting yuks. Is it any wonder why Angus T. Jones, who’s barely on the show these days as Cryer’s dim-witted son, called it “filth?” He wants to see this weekly travesty go away as much as we self-respecting TV watchers do.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. Definitely. (C.D.L.)
Monday, 9pm, HBO
Captive audience: Scorned women, Francophiles, people who think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is MILF-tastic.
Moment of truth: Since Louis-Dreyfus has made HBO her new home as the star of the political sitcom Veep, she’s also getting the cable channel to play a short film she stars in, written and directed by hubby Brad Hall. She plays a wife and mother who reluctantly goes on a trip to Paris intended for her and her husband—until he demands a divorce before they leave. Up until the what-the-fuck twist ending (which so panders to ladies seeking vengeance), this film gives the always wonderful Louis-Dreyfus the chance to find the humor and heartbreak in getting old and starting over.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. Up until the end. (C.D.L.)