Each week we check out the new releases in music and DVDs to see what's worth your time and money, and what's more fit for the garbage can. It's Tuesday Taste, and here's what's coming this week:
Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett first caught my attention with her breakthrough to North American audiences, How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose EP, and I'm as excited for her first full-length — Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit — as I am for any album coming this spring. Here's a taste of her deadpan vocals and chiming guitar-rock, via new tune "Pedestrian at Best:"
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is one of the great under-appreciated rock bands of the last 20 years or so — if you need proof, go check out their show in May at The Bartlett and thank me later for the best night of your spring. Freedom Tower — No Wave Dance Party 2015 is the band's 10th full-length, and it's full of the joyfully sloppy, greasy grooves and heavy riffs that the trio has pretty much perfected at this point.
JEFF the Brotherhood have been making sweet garage/psych tunes of twisted genius for more than a decade, even landing (for a while, anyway) on major label Warner Bros. for a spell. Freshly dropped by the big corporation, the duo returns with Wasted on the Dream, arguably their best set yet. Here's a solid interview with the band, and here's a sample via audio-only video of "Black Cherry Pie," featuring, in a totally "WTF!?!" moment, none other than Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson on flute!:
MOVIES & TV
If you didn't make it out to catch all the blockbuster movie releases over the holiday season, they're all trickling out to home video now, including this week's releases of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Hours Better Spent Doing Anything Else, the musical Into the Woods and Unbroken, the much-hyped and little-seen war movie directed by Angelina Jolie.
Your time would be better spent delving into the past for a couple of reissues coming out this week:
The Thin Blue Line is an unsettling Errol Morris documentary about a man wrongfully convicted of murdering a Texas policeman, and the corrupt and incompetent Dallas criminal justice system that let it happen. Originally released in 1988 (here is Roger Ebert's original review), The Thin Blue Line is now getting the Criterion treatment, and includes a new hi-def digital restoration, new interview with Morris and more special features. Here's a look at the movie's trailer:
The Sure Thing is easily one of my favorite '80s flicks (and apparently I'm not alone), and helped introduce John Cusack as the lovable leading man we later saw in Say Anything, and Rob Reiner has a solid rom-com director. In The Sure Thing, he's a college freshman at a stuffy East Coast school catching a cross-country ride at the holidays with some fellow students (including Tim Robbins) to visit a buddy in sunny SoCal — a buddy with a so-called "sure thing" of a girl waiting for him. Naturally, things don't go as planned. This release is the Blu-Ray debut. Here's a taste: