Every week Apple adds tons of new media content on iTunes — music, books, movies and more. It's impossible to keep up with all of it, but it's not impossible to pick out the very best. Here they are! This week we've got the latest from Smashing Pumpkins, AC/DC's 17th album, a creepy new horror movie from Australia and much more.
Monuments to an Elegy - Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Corgan is back with Smashing Pumpkins' ninth studio album. This is a short album, especially by Pumpkins standards: nine tracks, with only one (barely) exceeding four minutes. It opens with Tiberius, filled with power chords and quick transitions to tinkling piano, leading into Being Beige, which is really Corgan at his best: breathy vocals and layered acoustics. Corgan certainly isn't trying to reinvent the Pumpkins here, but he's stripped it back to basics and come up with something that sounds timelessly Pumpkins and also completely fitting in with what alt-rock has turned into in 2014; a good synthesis that should satisfy Pumpkins fans old and new alike.
I joked when this appeared on iTunes Radio that it was indistinguishable from every other album that AC/DC has ever made. But that's rather the point, isn't it? AC/DC doesn't spent a lot of time navel-gazing or innovating, it's not in their DNA. Stop thinking, turn up the volume and rock your damn face off. Their 17th album is easily one of the best rock albums of the year. It's the first AC/DC album without guitarist Malcolm Young, who, sadly, is hospitalized full-time now and suffering from dementia. Yes, they are that old — lead singer Brian Johnson is the oldest at 67, but even Malcolm's replacement, his nephew Stevie, the young man of the group, is 58. Anyway, it doesn't matter. These seniors will still shake you all night long — 11 tracks, each one harder hitting than the next.
A genuinely terrifying horror story from Down Under. Amelia is a widow raising her son under difficult conditions: Ever since his father's death, young Sam has been troubled by imaginary monsters hiding in his room — enough so that his behavior has spilled over into altercations at school. Sam is convinced the monster is one that he's read about from the popup book he found on his shelf: The Babadook. Is the Babodook real, or Amelia's grip on reality falling apart?
Chadwick Boseman stars as the immortal James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, in this biopic about the famous singer's life. It tracks Brown's story from growing up dirt-poor in South Carolina, growing up later in a brothel and hustling on the streets before making a name for himself as a performer. Includes iTunes Extras like deleted, extended and alternate scenes, interviews with the producers and more.
One of SyFy's most hotly-anticipated projects, Ascension tells the story of what might have happened if a NASA program originally developed during the Kennedy administration called Project Orion had actually happened: 600 men, women and children sent into space to colonize another world on board a "generation ship:" A self-sustaining environment capable of supporting humans literally for generations. It's a murder-mystery set in the modern day, 50 years after the ship launches and as the ship reaches its "point of no return." Ascension won't be broadcast until later this month. But you can get a head start by ordering a season-pass for the three night mini-series event and get some content ahead of time. There are some free featurettes, too, so even if you don't subscribe, check out the free stuff.
Murakami is a Japanese writer who has more in common with Western counterparts like Kurt Vonnegut or Franz Kafka. His fiction work is often tinged with surrealism, and The Strange Library is no exception. This isn't new work — it's actually very old work, originally written in 1982, but illustrated and published as a stand-alone short story several years ago and translated into English only this year. The story begins with a boy returning library books and looking for more, where he's sent to a mysterious room of the library and a creepy librarian who sends him to catacombs beneath the library. It's unsettling, it's creepy, and it's vintage Murakami, presented with wonderful illustrations.