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CULTURE JAMMING

TOP PICK — CD

Social Distortion:

Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

(Epitaph)

The punk band's first album in six years picks up where they left off. There's a little twang, some snarl, and tons of hooks here, making it one of Social Distortion's tightest albums. Frontman Mike Ness piles on the symbolism and backing singers, and occasionally rolls the album into Stones territory. It's tuneful punk with attitude to spare. And a welcome return.

VIDEO GAME

Create

(Electronic Arts)

This game (for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) throws a number of things into its mix: empty landscapes for you to paint, plenty of objects to fill out your new worlds, and the ability to set them all up so they can tumble down like a stack of dominoes. Create is a puzzle game, but it also lets you explore different ways to build and destroy. All that power feels so good.

BOOK

Death Cab for Cutie

(Chronicle)

Photographer Autumn de Wilde first started shooting the indie rockers back in 2003, right when they were catching some buzz. She followed them all the way to their most recent album, 2008's Narrow Stairs, which debuted at No. 1. This hefty book gathers more than 200 pictures de Wilde shot over the years — everything from intimate studio portraits to onstage blowouts.

DVD

Machete

(Twentieth Century Fox)

It's bloody, brainless, and tons of fun. Robert Rodriguez's tribute to '70s exploitation flicks buries a political message beneath all the guns, knives, and explosions. But that's the point. Cult icon Danny Trejo plays a badass with the shiniest and pointiest arsenal you've ever seen. Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro also star, but who has time for actors in a movie like this?

TV

Onion News Network

(IFC)

The longstanding newspaper and website now brings the laughs to your TV every week. Culled from The Onion's online series, the show looks a lot like any other newscast, but funnier. The staff takes on morning hosts, alarmist anchors, and obnoxious reporters by playing them straight. Some jokes hit, some miss. But they're always smart. It premieres at 10 p.m. on Friday.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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