TV Lists

The 9 Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes to Watch on Turkey Day

Celebrate thanksgiving by hiding from your family and watching these fictional families enjoy turkey day!

Celebrating Thanksgiving usually entails a day of eating, answering uncomfortable questions from your family about your career and romantic life, hearing about your grandma's bunion surgery, and, if you're lucky, a well-earned doze in front of the TV. This year, given the social distancing guidelines, you may bypass the family time and go straight to the couch.

Regardless of your plans for Turkey Day, when that second helping of turkey starts to settle in your belly and your eyelids start to feel heavy, it's time to shove your cousin (or cat) over on the couch, settle in, and turn on one of these classic Thanksgiving-themed episodes.


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Angel Olsen - Kylie Coutts

Angel Olsen's first release, Strange Cacti, sounds a bit like it's being played through a speaker from another dimension.

With her latest release, Whole New Mess, Olsen is returning to where she began, bringing her knack for spaced-out, cosmic, bare-bones folk to the expansive songs that comprised her ambitious 2019 album, All Mirrors. Her latest release takes those songs and distills them down to just guitar, synths, and voice, all filtered through a fog of reverb and overdrive.

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MUSIC

Sorcha Richardson Talks "Honey" Ahead of Debut Album

The Irish bedroom-pop artist shares a new single and the details of her process with Popdust, a few weeks out from her debut album, First Prize Bravery.

Cait Fahey

Sorcha Richardson's debut album is on its way, and "Honey," the latest single from the album, is a powerful snapshot of a beautiful, exacting voice.

The Irish singer-songwriter's new single is the second release from her debut, First Prize Bravery, out November 1st. The new single follows in the foot steps of "Don't Talk About It," released early this summer. Richardson has been making music for nearly a decade, and she's perfected a delicate tightrope walk between hard-edged irony and gentle emotionality in her songwriting. But "Honey" arrives in the fallout of heartbreak, with Richardson's liquid vocals and soft piano spelling out the disorienting feeling of love leaving you behind. It's a change of pace from her usual casual cynicism, but a welcoming introduction to her first album, the culmination of years of work.

Popdust got the chance to catch up with Richardson, discussing her songwriting approach and how her music's grown with her.

Your debut album, First Prize Bravery, is coming out in November, and you've been making music at least since 2012. What's that journey been like for you? How has it been to grow into different versions of yourself, as an artist?


It feels like there's been many stages to it all, but I'm very glad I took my time in making an album and did things at my own pace. At the very beginning, I was just making demos in my bedroom on GarageBand. Once I started letting other people into the process, it made me realize how much more was possible, how much I could learn from other musicians, and how much more fun it could be.

I could have put out an album way sooner, but I was enjoying the process of just making music to make it, without too many rules. It feels like things have kind of come full circle in a weird way. Nearly every song on the album began as demo I made by myself in my bedroom, and everything is very guitar driven, like the very first songs I wrote, just with a lot more confidence now than I had back then.

What's the significance, to you, of the album's title? How did you land there?


It comes from the title of one of the songs on the album. I sometimes have a habit of giving my demos two alternative titles. So this one was originally called "1st Prize/Bravery," and then over time it became First Prize Bravery. I don't want to decode it entirely, because I think it's important for people to attach their own meaning to it. But at a very basic level, I think I realized as I got older that one of the greatest achievements you can have in life is just to build up the courage to face your own demons. I think the biggest battles we have to face in life are with ourselves. That is definitely true for me. So that title has a lot to do with that. Having the courage to be honest with yourself. Acknowledging what an achievement it is just to do that.

When did it become clear to you that you were ready for a full length album? Was it a matter of having the right material, or was it just about the right time?


I think some time toward the end of 2017 I just decided that I wanted to make an album. I was back in Dublin after living in New York for a few years, and I spent about four months playing shows around Ireland with my band. Towards the end of that run of shows, it just started to become really clear to me what kind of album I wanted to make. And as soon as I said to myself, "I'm gonna make an album," it completely changed the way that I was writing, and I felt much more excited about the songs I was writing. I guess there's a different freedom in making an album, than there is in releasing singles. You can write songs that might never work as singles but can live as a part of a bigger world on a record.

Heartbreak is nothing new for you, but there's a lot of pain in "Honey," from its production to your lyrics; it sounds like it's pulling from somewhere deep within you. How did it end up sounding the way it does?


I guess I do have a lot of sad songs. "Honey" was the first song I wrote after I decided I was going to make an album. I wrote it at the piano in my parents' house in the middle of winter and the song itself didn't really change at all from the day I wrote it. Sometimes you just feel things so intensely that it feels like you're going insane, and the only way to try and get a handle on it is to write about it. That's kind of what "Honey" is for me.

The way you write about love and want is so interesting. It never seems idealized or unrealistic in your songs, but there is a layer of sentiment, even wistfulness, in your work. Where does that come from for you?


I guess all of my songs are about very specific people in my life, so they're always going to be grounded pretty heavily in reality. But I want them to feel almost like mini-movies. A lot of times I write just because a day or night felt special, and I don't want to forget it. I think life is pretty cinematic anyway. I'll be at a party or driving around Dublin and just the simplicity of people going about their lives feels like there's an entire movie in that.

How do you think about character in your songwriting? There's a really interesting balance between cynicism and romanticism in your voice, even in your early stuff; does that come to you naturally, or is that a conscious piece of your craft?


It's not something I think about consciously at all when I'm writing songs. I studied creative writing and fiction in college, so that probably has a lot to do with why my songs are so narrative-driven. But I think I can be both cynical and idealistic in equal measure. I guess they just meet halfway when I'm writing songs.

Let's say a listener's introduced to you through "First Prize Bravery." What's the most important lesson you want to share with them?


Hmm. That's a hard one. Maybe just that life is hard but friendship makes it worth it.

Follow Sorcha on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

MUSIC

Season of the Witch: 9 New Albums to Ring In Fall

It's witching season, and the wave of releases from the week of Friday the 13th did not disappoint.

It's September, which means that fall is almost here.

That means that it's technically Halloween, and thankfully, artists have given us all the music we need to soundtrack the Northern Hemisphere's brief descent into the cold (and our planet's eventual descent into a heat death because of climate change, but that's another story).

Here are some of the best new albums released within the past few days (as well as suggestions about what autumnal activity they'd best accompany).

1. For getting a pumpkin spice latte on your way to the last party of the summer: Charli XCX, Charli

Charli XCX throws it back to her early days on her latest release, which is sweet, synthetic pop colored with overtones of millennial anxiety. The music is all crisp snaps, tightly wound arpeggiation, and glittery peals of guitar; at its best, it manages to sound as sincere as the average Carly Rae Jepsen track. While songs like "White Mercedes" can feel a bit artificial and saccharine, Charli hits her stride on slower songs like "Official," with its twinkling bell motif, heartfelt lyrics, and delicate build combining to form a charming pop ballad. This album may not convert too many new fans, but Charli's legions of dedicated followers are sure to find a lot of bittersweet euphoria in their queen's newest release. At the end of the day, it's the perfect album to spin while watching the sun set on another summer.

Charli XCX - Official [Official Audio] www.youtube.com


2. For running away to live in the woods and/or sprinting through a field of wheat carrying a sparkler: Angel Olsen, All Mirrors

Angel Olsen's 7-inch features two songs—"The Lark" and "All Mirrors" and both of them are wild, cathartic, and spellbinding. Over the past few years, Olsen has transitioned from sad-folk songstress to pop wannabe to a powerful, fully actualized combination of both, and you can hear that newfound confidence in the expanded vision of both these songs. In particular, "The Lark" soars to new heights, guiding the listener into and out of a dream state with its carnivalesque string section and heartbeat-like rhythms. It's the perfect song for getting lost in the woods and watching the sunset from besides a secluded lake that you'll never be able to find again, no matter how many times you go looking for it in the future. It's also perfect if you want to feel like you're starring in your own angst-ridden autumnal music video. In truth, these songs can feel excessively theatrical at times, enchanted by their own imaginations, but that's part of their charm.

Angel Olsen - Lark www.youtube.com

3. For when you're suddenly paralyzed by climate change panic at the county fair: Jeremy Ivey, The Dream And The Dreamer

This quiet album takes a macroscopic look at time and history, exploring the lostness that has always defined the human condition. Ivey's music evokes the faded California vibes of icons like the Mamas and the Papas and the Blue Jean Committee but veers towards country and the folk-pop gloom of early Bright Eyes or Iron & Wine. Ivey is a detached and impartial narrator, viewing the world through a thick fog and speaking more in metaphor than in specific and tangible observations. Through this lens, his carefully spaced-out observations about impending doom will feel familiar to anyone conscious of the state of the world but still going about their everyday lives. In spite of this, the album maintains a dogged optimism, buoyed by its resolute tempo and slightly weather-worn awareness of just how much humanity has already survived.

Jeremy Ivey - "The Dream And The Dreamer" (Full Album Stream) www.youtube.com

4. For getting stoned before watching a horror movie in your friend's basement: Djo, Twenty Twenty

Part 70s trip-rock, part hyper-modern synth music, Djo's newest release is the perfect way to impress your friends with your hipster music taste, or to follow your bliss while wearing a skeleton costume and feeling your poison of choice set in. "Tentpole Shangrila" is a highlight, blending Tame Impala's dreaminess with Flying Lotus's experimental textures, Radical Face's folky warmth, and guitar lines evocative of George Harrison's later work. Spacey, ethereal, yet deeply human and always expressive, this album has the makings of a modern classic.

Tentpole Shangrila www.youtube.com

5. For going searching for the Blair Witch and/or possessing your neighbors: Jenny Hval, The Practice of Love

This is electronica with teeth. Hval's music is high-anxiety, spiteful, and ritualistic, and it feels like an incantation from start to finish. Hval and her counterparts shriek, sigh, and whisper their ways through these maze-like songs, which sometimes feel more like collages than cohesive musical entities. Laden with dozens of instruments, from reverb-drenched horns to trap beats, The Practice of Love is classic Jenny Hval, who's basically Stevie Nicks with a MIDI synthesizer and a little less cocaine, or Cascada with a book of words like rabbit hole and church bells. Sometimes it's not clear what scenario this music is intended for, as it often feels too cluttered and abrasive to be chill but too eerie and disjointed to work as a club soundtrack—but then again, maybe that's the point.

Jenny Hval - Ashes to Ashes (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

6. For late-night drives and road trips: Sampa the Great, The Return

Sampa the Great pulls from [?] a number of impressive features to create her intricate and expansive debut album, but the rapper always takes center stage. Kendrick Lamar is a clear influence here in terms of the album's sonic makeup, lyrical complexity, and Sampa's subdued yet declarative flow. It's the kind of music that sounds effortless, though in truth it's anything but. Melding hip hop with jazz with African rhythms and Motown influences, The Return is a modern symphony that marks the entrance of a powerful and mature voice in rap. This is Sampa the Great's debut LP, but it's definitely far from the last.

The Return


7. For when you're decorating for Halloween: Devendra Banhart, Ma

This album sounds like what would happen if a Woodstock-inspired hippie took guitar lessons from a traditional Venetian balladeer. Here, acid-fueled, Jefferson Airplane-type basslines meet breathy Lou Reed vocals, but the arrangements veer away from traditional rock band stylings and become elegant, abstract, and warped at times. Hints of Spanish guitar run up against nostalgic elements of woodsy folk, and together they meander quietly, occasionally giving up the restraint and surging up into walls of electronic sound. The album is whimsical and light as cream, a fusion of genres tied together with gossamer strings. It's the perfect album to play while filling your entire house with pumpkins.

Devendra Banhart - Taking a Page (Official Video) www.youtube.com

8. For summoning demons and/or watching the news: Chelsea Wolfe, Birth of Violence

Chelsea Wolfe became well-known for her unique brew of harsh noise and folk as well as her Marilyn Manson-meets-Lana Del Rey aesthetic. On Birth of Violence, she leans towards her psychedelic-folk side but doesn't relinquish any of her prophetic mysticism or propensity for dark themes. Thematically, the album is a look into the corruption at the heart of America, a glimpse into some of the wounds that plague the nation and that have gotten us where we are today. In that, it's some of the most eloquent and subdued protest music of the era, ideal for languishing in a haze of doom-and-gloom or for summoning a few demons of your own.

Chelsea Wolfe - American Darkness (Official Video) www.youtube.com

9. For letting loose at the Halloween party and/or getting lost in the local haunted mansion down the street: JPEGMAFIA, All My Heroes Are Cornballs

This is blissful, gorgeous R&B at its most succinct and effortless. JPEGMAFIA blurs Frank Ocean's experimental dreaminess with grit and nuanced bursts of rage. This is the perfect soundtrack for a Halloween party; it sounds like losing your mind, but in the best possible way. Blurring industrial noise with abstract samples and bars that will leave you with your jaw on the floor, All My Heroes Are Cornballs is dark acid rap for the schizophrenic Twitter era. Listening to it can feel like being lost in an abandoned mansion that's much bigger on the inside than it seems from the outside, but once you surrender to the labyrinthine hallways and strange noises, it can feel like a macabre kind of freedom.

JPEGMAFIA - Grimy Waifu www.youtube.com

Honorable Mentions:

The Lumineers, III

(Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar

Alex Cameron, Miami Memory

Long Beard, Means to Me

MUSIC

Mark Ronson's "Late Night Feelings" Is Soulless Pop

Despite its technical perfection, Ronson's album feels soulless in parts.

Mark Ronson called his new album a collection of "sad bangers," and as promised, Late Night Feelings is full of upbeat tracks about heartbreak.

It features an impressive array of musicians, but even the undeniable talent of each singer and Ronson's proven skill—he's fresh from the success of "Uptown Funk" and "Shallow"—can't save the album from its own soullessness.

Late Night Feelings is plagued by issues that taint many producers' similar albums: It feels like each singer popped into the studio, learned the song, recorded it, and left. In this way, it sacrifices each artist's originality in its effort to package them into Ronson's vision. There isn't the cathartic blood-letting that comes from a cohesive album by a single artist or group. Ronson's album is technically perfect, but often, it's not alive.

One of the greatest missed opportunities comes on the three-song set by YEBBA, the extraordinary Arkansas gospel singer who rose to fame after her mind-blowing Sofar Sounds performance. Like Sia on the unfortunate L.S.D. album from a few months ago, YEBBA's raw vocal talent and singular emotiveness can't shine through her producer's zealousness; instead, she's held back by a straitjacket of beats and unnatural vocal lines. Overall, though a great deal of today's best music involves unexpected convergences of very different genres, Ronson's funk infusions don't always mesh with the styles of his featured artists. It's hard to know where some of these songs are supposed to be played—outside of department store aisles.

YEBBA - My Mind | Sofar NYC www.youtube.com

In particular, these issues plague "Late Night Feelings" by Lykki Li and "Find U Again" by Camila Cabello. "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" by Miley Cyrus and "True Blue" by Angel Olsen are stronger, though they still feel overly processed and a bit insubstantial. None of the tracks on the album are without redeeming qualities: The mesh of orchestral elements and glossy, noirish synths are often elegant and refined. Perhaps it's simply the knowledge that Ronson could have done so much better that makes some of these songs feel stale.

The album finds its footing as it goes on. "Why Hide" featuring Diana Gordon takes a piano motif that's oddly evocative of "Somebody To Lean On" and actually gives Gordon's ethereal vocals their due. Gordon's voice is better suited to the track than some of the other singers', or maybe the track is better suited to her style. Either way, the sultry and cohesive tune allows her emotion to shine through and leaves enough space for its lyrics to simmer and resonate.

"2 AM" by Lykki Li is the best track on the album. Melodic, dreamy, and radiant, listening to the song feels like floating under the surface of a swimming pool for a moment, completely escaping the reality of the world above. Its sultry beat, wrenching lyrics, and comfortingly familiar chord progression make it feel like a classic, perfect for late night smokes or long drives spent watching the sky turn from orange to purple to black.

Mark Ronson - 2 AM (Audio) ft. Lykke Li www.youtube.com

The final track, "Spinning," processes Ilsey's vocals a la Imogen Heap in "Hide and Seek" and places them over a windy synthesizer and a magnetic rhythm. It's beautiful enough to stop the world for a moment. If only all the songs had room to breathe emotion into Late Night Feelings and what it could have been.