There’s a lot of pop culture to sort through week after week. Times staff writer Chris Barton offers his take on what’s up and what’s down in music, movies, television and just about anything else out there that’s worth considering.
“Baskets” on FX
Co-produced with typical absurdist-tragic flourish by Louis C.K., this show is as tidy an encapsulation of the bizarre comic aesthetic of Zach Galifianakis as can be made without constructing an actual window inside his head. Following the misadventures of Chip Baskets, a Paris-trained clown chasing his dreams in a Bakersfield rodeo arena, surrealist images, silly slapstick and a deadpan tone are mixed for a show that doesn’t resemble anything else on TV. It’s hard to decide which surprise appearance makes the biggest impression: the main character’s twin brother or Louie Anderson.
Adrian Younge’s “Something About April II”
Sounding like an imagined score for an unfilmed blaxsploitation space opera, the producer-arranger-songwriter’s new album is tough to categorize but easy on the ears. After working on the music for the 2009 spoof “Black Dynamite” and a 2013 album-length celebration of Philly soul band the Delfonics, Younge teams with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and R&B gadfly Bilal for tracks that incorporate swirling Morricone strings and psychedelic keyboard textures for a record that could have either been unearthed from a dusty analogue past or transmitted from a boundless future.
The return of “The X-Files”
Fans searching for another narcotic-grade hit of nostalgia after an homage-heavy “Star Wars” sequel are celebrating the series’ return for a six-episode run. However, the revival has yet to escape its own shadow, as it remains so reliant on familiar ground (Roswell) that even its “truth is out there” tagline has received its own crowd-service showcase. For all the warm feelings in seeing Mulder and Scully chase flashlight beams again, it’s not as if “The X-Files” movies proved there was much left in the tank. The only way this comeback will make sense is if Joel McHale reveals the series as an alternate timeline from “Community.”
This year’s candidate for the wildly overpraised up-and-coming act to allow music obsessives to scold friends who still listen to the xx or Rhye traffics in a comfortingly unobtrusive brand of laptop-pop that mixes wispy R&B with autotuned digital detachment on a highly anticipated major-label debut, “All the Ways.” While Wet’s song structures are fine enough as something pulled from a ‘90s R&B compilation that’s been filtered through a Brooklyn organic clothing boutique, the outlets heralding this as the new sound of pop have either forgotten some of Wet’s recent antecedents or the future sounds awfully familiar.