TOP PICK – CD
These two albums by the popular roots rockers — 1992's breakthrough Hollywood Town Hall and 1995's follow-up, Tomorrow the Green Grass — feature the band at its purest. Hall, their best album, includes five bonus tracks; Grass
gets a whole extra disc filled with "The Mystery Demos," 18 songs Mark Olson and Gary Louris recorded in 1992 but never released.
Yeah, we know — vampires are everywhere these days. And we swore we would drive a wooden stake through our own heart the next time we had to watch a bloodsucker brood over his fate. But this new series (premiering at 9 p.m. Monday) gives its vampire a werewolf and ghost for roommates, all trying to adjust to normal lives. It's funny, scary, and not at all mopey.
Best Music Writing 2010
One of our favorite annual roundups taps Los Angeles Times' Ann Powers as guest editor, and she gets the series back on track after a couple of blah years. Writers like Nick Hornby and Simpsons creator Matt Groening weigh in on some of the year's best music subjects — from Rihanna and Twitter to Lady Gaga and "Empire State of Mind." Plus, two Michael Jackson essays.
Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
Howard Sounes' bio doesn't get down and dirty with the ex-Beatles' life. It's mostly a detailed portrait of the artist — from his formative years through the very fab ones to his solo material and recent tabloid headlines. McCartney doesn't come off as complicated as John Lennon, but he's savvier, giving his adoring fans the silly love songs they so craved.
An Introduction to Syd Barrett
The former Pink Floyd singer fried out and burned away years before Dark Side of the Moon became a payday classic. This 18-song compilation gathers a few cuts (like "See Emily Play") from his old band, but it mostly focuses on his solo career, where songs like "Gigolo Aunt" and "Effervescing Elephant" were just as fractured as Barrett's drug-frazzled mind.
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