MUSIC | I'm always leery when a member of one of my favorite bands launches a solo career while said band is still functioning, but Craig Finn makes a good case for being able to do both on his new album FAITH IN THE FUTURE. While his band The Hold Steady seems the outlet for bigger, louder narratives, Faith and its predecessor Clear Heart Full Eyes are tamer affairs, offering the chance for some sonic and stylistic experimentation beyond The Hold Steady's straightforward barroom blowouts. Even so, Finn's cutting way with words comes through on songs like "Newmyer's Roof": "No, I've never been crucified, I've never suffered and died. I've never been shot. But I've been lied to a lot."
TV | If you're not the kind of person who jumps into mid-season replacement shows, you might have missed one of last season's sleeper hits, FRESH OFF THE BOAT. Based on the memoir of Taiwanese chef Eddie Huang, it's about childhood Eddie and his family's move to Orlando in the mid-'90s. The laughs come not so much from tired "fish out of water" tropes, but rather from unexpected sources like the father's decision to open a cowboy-themed steakhouse, Eddie's obsession with gangsta rap, and especially from Constance Wu, the family's "Tiger Mom" trying to help her family navigate the confusing Land of Disney. It airs Tuesdays at 8:30 pm on ABC.
BOOK | You might know Leonard Pitts as the Pulitzer-winning political columnist in your morning paper, but he's also a pretty mean novelist. GRANT PARK, his new book, is a bit of historical fiction that bounces between 2008, on the eve of President Obama's election, and 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was dealing with a troubled campaign for equality in Memphis. In blending the stories of an aging black journalist trying to end his career with a bang and that of his longtime friend and white editor — as well as some bumbling white supremacists — Pitts navigates four decades of race relations in America. The book comes out Oct. 13. ♦