Henry Threadgill’s “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs”: A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music earlier this year for the album “In for a Penny, In for a Pound,” this saxophonist-composer released this album earlier this year, and it offers an inviting primer to the odd-angled musical structures that made him one of the most influential jazz artists today. Though he only appears as a composer here, his Ensemble Double Up delivers his ever-evolving message in sterling fashion on the strength of the shifting pulse of Jose Davila’s tuba against two twisting saxophones and a pair of modern piano giants in Jason Moran and David Virelles.
“Archer” on FX: With a visual style that recalls the Flash-video boom of the early ’00s and a title character whose personality may be akin to the loudest person at a fraternity party, this long-running series may seem easy to dismiss but it’s the smartest, strangest animated show on TV this side of “Rick & Morty.” Led by the voice talent of Jon Benjamin as well as a variety of comic favorites including Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler and Jessica Walter, “Archer” keeps getting better for its willingness to take increasingly absurd chances, including throwing its entire spy conceit aside. No series deserved its recent three-year renewal more.
Kanye West’s “Famous”: Debuted at the Forum a few weeks back with the sort of subtlety we’ve come to expect from rap star/pop culture troll Kanye West, “Famous” served its purpose in that for a moment people couldn’t stop talking about its image celebrity lookalikes naked and in bed with West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, who typically is so publicity shy. The Internet gasped and Lena Dunham wrote she was horrified, in particular for the use of a Taylor Swift lookalike, but now that the clip is on YouTube the real horror remains the song itself, which is so tired in its thudding beats and boasts that the video itself literally falls asleep.
Apple’s effort to protect artists: We’ve written before about the struggle between performers and their efforts to separate audiences from their phones. Now Apple has joined the discussion with word that it has been granted a new patent on technology that will allow for the ability to shut off the access to people’s cameras remotely to protect the images of a concert performance, movie screening, demonstration outside of, say, a political convention, what have you. Fortunately, given Apple’s sterling track record for ensuring musicians are given fair treatment (it’s also in talks to buy Tidal, its streaming music competitor) it’s tough to think of any potential downside.