TOP PICK — CD
Stax remasters series
Curiously, the first three reissues in this new series that focuses on one of the all-time great (if not the all-time greatest) soul record companies come from the '70s, rather than the more celebrated '60s. No matter, the albums — Booker T. & the MGs' McLemore Avenue, the Staple Singers' Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, and Johnnie Taylor's Taylored in Silk are prime R&B.
Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica
Good thing Mick Wall is such a discerning Metallica fan. It lets him offer historical perspective (there's a lot of info here about the pre-fame early days) and call bullshit on some of the band's boneheaded moves over the years (like the whole Napster thing and those crap albums). He talks to key players and rarely takes anything at face value — a wise move with Metallica.
MGM Records onscreen
In the mid-'60s, MGM promoted its record division with a string of movies produced by Sam Katzman, the guy behind '50s sci-fi duds like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. They feature Herman's Hermits (Hold On!), the Animals (Get Yourself a College Girl), and Roy Orbison (The Fastest Guitar Alive). Get lost in the cheese with these remasters, available at warnerarchive.com.
Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection
Speaking of Orbison, the velvet-voiced singer's legendary songs from 1960-1964 are gathered on this three-disc (two CDs, one DVD) set featuring every single he released on Monument Records. Best of all, they're in their original mono versions, so classics like "Only the Lonely" and "Oh, Pretty Woman" pounce out of your speakers. The DVD is a concert from 1965.
South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season
All 14 episodes from one of the funniest shows on TV (which aired some of its strongest and sharpest episodes during the 14th season last year) are here. So is commentary by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and deleted scenes. The 200th episode takedown of Tom Cruise is hilarious. Better is "You Have 0 Friends," a spot-on Facebook slam complete with a subplot about Farmville.
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