It's been seven years since he's released a CD and today is the day: Tom Waits is back with Bad As Me, and as I sit here and listen to his trademark growl, I can say that, thus far, it seems to cull from the best of his previous work. And no song clocks in longer than five minutes. The Holiday Season (yes, I capped that) has begun, what with the release of holiday albums and all, but there's no reason to run and hide just yet since this week brings us A Very She & Him Christmas. Smart, considering Zoey Deschanel's awful TV show is doing so well. But her singing voice, coupled with M. Ward's (and his awesome guitar picking), is delightful. And I can listen to their version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" over and over again in 75 degree weather, no sweat. The short and expectedly weird EP from The Dirty Projectors and Bjork, called Mount Wittenberg Orca, has also been released. I like it. Also out today: Surfer Blood's new one, called Tarot Classics, Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's Changing of the Seasons, and Deer Tick's latest, Divine Providence. The big gift-y item of the week is the new box set of Of Montreal's 10-LP-long Cassette Box Set (and it includes MP3s of all of the songs). Remastered goodness includes Paul Simon's Graceland (among others of his solo releases) and Laura Marling's A Creature I Don't Know. Oh, and pop princess Kelly Clarkson has a new one out. I'm sure it's all about break-ups. Aren't they all? ---
In DVDs: music is the name of the game what with three interesting releases: First up is Cameron Crowe's love letter to Pearl Jam, called Pearl Jam Twenty. No. 2 is The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary that features over 25 performances from the likes of organizer Neil Young, Patti Smith, Fleet Foxes, REM, Pearl Jam and Tom Waits. Third release is Peter Gabriel's New Blood, a live performance of his greatest hits with a big orchestra behind him. Also out today: the documentary The People vs. George Lucas and that Captain America movie that I've heard is actually pretty decent.
In books, the big news is that 1Q84 is out now by one of my most favorite writers, Haruki Murakami. To read a review, head over to Salon. Or the Post. Or NPR. Or Vanity Fair. People are talking about it. The book is almost 1,000 pages, which will translate to, like, 3,000 on my Nook. Can't wait. Also out: I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum about the glory days of the music channel and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Of the latter, Publisher's Weekly called it "a lucid, marvelously readable guide to spotting—and correcting—our biased misunderstandings of the world." I could use a little of that.
I probably don't need to remind you to buy local. Online shopping is easy, but you'll get more out of some face-to-face time with your local, small book, music and movie sellers.