Talking Heads Chronology
This great DVD features more than a dozen live performances by the artsy NYC band, including some very early ones before keyboardist Jerry Harrison joined. Watching the jerky quartet slowly expand to a multinational funk party onstage is a kick, but it’s the songs themselves – from a sketchy “Psycho Killer” with different lyrics to a tight “Burning Down the House” from David Letterman’s show – that sell it.
Around the World Under the Sea
This campy adventure movie from 1966 stars Lloyd Bridges (father of The Big Lebowski‘s Jeff) as a scientist who’s part of a submarine crew setting up underwater sensors that detect earthquakes. It’s filled with plenty of groovy period sets, as well as a Bond girl and some cool action sequences. It’s the best release from the latest batch of manufacture-on-demand DVDs available at wbshop.com.
Best Music Writing 2011
One of our favorite annual compilations has gotten a little familiar and dull over the past few years, tapping the same writers again and again. This year’s volume breaks from the pack a little, including material from online sources like Tumblr and Stereogum. Of course The New York Times and Rolling Stone also check in. Together they look at Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and their own standings as rock critics in the 21st century.
Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond
Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s memoir looks back on his life as the director of the Beatles’ Let It Be and The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. But the big news here is behind the camera: Turns out Orson Welles is his dad. Lindsay-Hogg weaves this revelation throughout his book, tying his personal life to his professional one. It can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but it’s a fascinating read nonetheless.
The Very Best of Neil Diamond – The Original Studio Recordings
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has been making records for 45 years, and this excellent 23-song compilation spans his career – from the hand-clap-fueled “Cherry, Cherry” to “Hell Yeah” from 2005’s 12 Songs album produced by Rick Rubin. In between are a few misses (“Song Sung Blue” is soft-rock at its most cloying) and plenty of hits (“Cracklin’ Rosie” is one of the best-ever songs written to a bottle of booze).