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 there's so much good music I don't even know where to start. I've got movie, TV and book picks for you too.
Sonic Highways - Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl is a student of rock history; that much we learned in 2013 with the release of the documentary Sound City, which recounted the story of the famed LA recording studio responsible for laying down tracks for huge rock stars for 40 years. Sonic Highways, the documentary on HBO, follows the same track as Grohl and the Foo Fighters crew travel from city to city to record tracks for their new album in historic studios. You won't get much of a sense of history from listening to the album, though, which is more or less straight up Foo Fighters. That alone makes it worth getting, though. A lean album of eight tracks, Sonic Highwayssounds like a Foo Fighters album, even if there are a few guest appearances along the way (Joe Walsh, Joan Jett and others).
The last album of new material from Pink Floyd, ever. That's the promise of The Endless River, released this week. David Gilmour and Nick Mason went back into the archives of the material they recorded for 1994's The Division Bell, sifting through 20 hours of unused material to come up with 18 tracks of new material. I won't say that this is a cohesive work; it's disjointed at times, with some of the sound clearly dovetailing with the sonic themes explored on The Divison Bell while also pulling on much older work like Ummagumma. In the end, The Endless River is largely a showcase for the late Richard Wright's prodigious keyboard talents. It's largely wordless; only one track has any lyrics. But it's new music from Pink Floyd, and if their music is as meaningful and important to you as it is to me, you'll want to add this to your collection and enjoy it for what it is.
It's a fitting and deliberate title for this work: Swedish electronic duo Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland say that this is their last album together. Don't worry, they're still going to make music: Röyksopp is careful to explain that they're saying goodbye to the album as a format for expressing themselves creatively. The Inevitable End has moments of pure danceability, but also swings to almost funereal melancholy as well; if you're looking for pure electronic Scandipop bliss, you'll be disappointed. But it's a rich tapestry Röyksopp weaves on this final album outing, including more collaborations with Swedish pop superstar Robyn, including reprised tracks from the Do It Again EP Röyksopp recently produced with her.
As one half of the synthpop duo Yazoo (or Yaz), Alison Moyet created a signature sound of the 1980s with her powerful, bluesy contralto vocal performances on tracks like Situation and Don't Go, over Vince Clarke's unforgettable fat analog keyboard sound (Clarke would go off to found Erasure with Andy Bell, a singer with an amazingly similar range as Moyet's). Moyet went on to release a number of solo albums in the intervening years, culminating with 2013's The Minutes, a collection of modern electronic music featuring the torch song delivery you'd expect of Moyet. Minutes and Seconds Live is a collection of 13 live tracks from the accompanying tour (including some Yazoo songs). Thirty years on stage haven't dulled her voice or her delivery: Moyet's a dynamic and powerful live performer, and her talent shines through here.
James Cameron isn't just a movie director behind some of the biggest tentpole movies in history (Aliens, Titanic, Avatar). He's also an avid deep-sea explorer. In 2012, Cameron piloted a single-seat submersible called Deepsea Challenger to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly seven miles below the surface of the ocean. It was a record-breaking dive for a solo pilot, and this documentary recounts his efforts.
Dusty's air-racing days are over, but the intrepid little plane isn't down for the count: He decides to become a firefighter. Joining forces with Blade Ranger, Li'l Dipper, Windlift, Cabbie and The Smokejumpers, Dusty's greatest adventures lie before him as the team battles a raging forest fire. Fun for the whole family with this latest hit Disney franchise.
Nothing says holiday time like a few Peanuts television specials. Now you can play them whenever you'd like with this collection of six Peanuts classics, including It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (okay, Halloween's passed but it's still fantastic), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Happy New Year Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and more.
The eleventh installment of Anne Rice's enduring The Vampire Chronicles saga is considered by the author to be the sequel to The Queen of the Damned. While there is the standard Ricean exposition and bloviation you'd expect, this story ultimately tells the tale of Lestat's journey from "brat prince" to savior of digital-age vampire-kind. It can be a tough read with its shift back and forth from first to third person, but it shows Rice writing her vampire stories with renewed vigor, reopening the storyline that readers — and Rice herself — had thought sealed with the disappointing Blood Canticle.