CD -- Four Winds: Bright Eyes' six-song EP tides fans over till next month, when the new album drops. The title tune anchors the upcoming Cassadaga, but it's the five exclusive B-sides that make this worth picking up. Conor Oberst has gotten even more wordy since 2005's double whammy of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Thankfully, the new songs sound more like the former's indie folk than the latter's electronic blips.
BOOK -- The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures: Louis Theroux wrote for the late, lamented Spy magazine. He also spent time on Michael Moore's equally late and lamented TV Nation show. So the guy knows smartass. In this funny and entertaining read, the Brit journeys across the U.S., where he comes across a pimp-turned-rapper, a teen folk group led by a pair of neo-Nazi twins, and a guy who quit the Air Force to try his dick in porn.
VIDEOGAME -- Crackdown: This Grand Theft Auto-inspired action game for the Xbox 360 loads up on blood, bullets, and plenty of super-cool moves. Gamers -- armed with big-ass guns and gravity-defying vehicles -- rid the city of various mobsters and thugs who have taken over. Best of all, no worries if you're short on ammo. Just pick up whatever's handy -- say, a car -- and hurl it at an enemy. You'll be amazed at the damage you can do.
CD -- Joan Jett reissues: The rock and roll badass' three best albums (plus a live record made with the Gits in the '90s) get the deluxe treatment, complete with bonus tracks and live videos. Tops is Jett's 1981 debut, Bad Reputation, which piles on all of the glam riffs she picked up in the Runaways. I Love Rock-n-Roll was her commercial breakthrough, and the terrific compilation Fit to Be Tied has all the hits.
DVD -- Romeo + Juliet: Music Edition: Baz Luhrmann's musicals (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge) break convention by winking and nodding at their contemporary influences. His 1996 reworking of Shakespeare's tragic romance features Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the star-crossed lovers. But the real star is the soundtrack. This bonus-stuffed disc includes extras that break down the tunes (by Garbage, Radiohead, and other '90s hipsters) and pump up the volume.
DVD -- Shut Up and Sing: Following their Grammy-sweeping victory last month, the Dixie Chicks' doc scores an even bigger win. Plus, it works better on the small screen, where the gals' battle with country radio (which boycotted their music after singer Natalie Maines dissed the prez) becomes life-threateningly intimate. Watch the Chicks make the triumphant Taking the Long Way and, in the process, become cause célèbres.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Halfway Home: This laugh-free Comedy Central show (which premieres at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday) mixes reality-show hijinks with improv-style goofiness. Five ex-cons -- including a pyromaniac, a male prostitute, and a rich-kid terrorist -- shack up. Hilarity is supposed to ensue. Unfortunately, the jokes and themes hit all the obvious targets (sex, drugs, violence). Our verdict: life, no parole.
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