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 new J-Pop music with a vampire theme, Saw, Treehouse of Horror, and new work from cyberpunk author William Gibson!
Bloodsuckers - Vamps
OK, it's Halloween this week, so I had to throw something in here that was at least thematically appropriate. I recognize Japanese rock, or J-Rock, isn't for everyone, but Vamps is positive J-Rock royalty: Hyde, vocalist of L'Arc-en-Ciel, and K.A.Z, guitarist of Oblivion Dust. Bloodsuckers is a very different sound, though: More of a poppy commercial sheen. They sell the sexy urban vampire mythology in 13 tracks, sung in English. A good starting point for anyone who's been interested in J-Rock but have found it impenetrable up until now.
Andy Barlow and Lou Rhodes released their sixth album together a few weeks ago; Backspace Unwind doesn't fall too far from the formula they've established. Lamb falls within the electronic music genre, with influences from drum and bass, trip hop and jazz solidly in place. Rhodes' soulful vocals are offset by Barlow's haunting arrangements — too downtempo to be club-friendly, but great mood music that's not just ambient background noise. Four of the tracks include string arrangements, which add some nice flair. If you liked Portishead back in the day, there's a lot to enjoy on this new album.
Looking for something creepy to watch on Halloween? How about Saw: The Complete Movie Collection? All Seven saw movies from the original all the way through to the Final Chapter, here, budget-priced at $29.99. A terminally ill psychopath is intent on teach his victims the value of life by trapping them in a game of survival. Brutal, gory fun featuring Jigsaw, one of the most memorable characters in slasher film history.
I'll admit that when I heard they were rebooting 21 Jump Street as a buddy comedy I had my doubts, but those doubts were allayed by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's hilarious depictions of two bumbling undercover cops back in high school. 22 Jump Street finds our ridiculous heroes on an undercover job in college, instead. Hill and Tatum are a great bromance, and a fun cast of supporting characters including Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell and others make this a hilarious romp.
Among my very favorite episodes of The Simpsons are the annual Treehouse of Horror episodes, which always air around Halloween and often send up pop culture and current events with the usual Simpsons flair. Now the Treehouse episodes have been gathered into value-priced collections, each with six episodes, all of which are worth getting. If you're looking for something Halloween-themed that's not quite as horrifying as Saw, here's a great choice!
William Gibson, cyberpunk author behind the seminal Neuromancer is back, this time with The Peripheral, a near-future story set in the world after "the jackpot," an economic and ecological collapse. Gamer Flynne Fisher is helping her brother a new game when she witnesses what she thinks is a gruesome murder. What happens next has ramifications for Flynne and humanity as Gibson weaves together a time-traveling tale as only he can.