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Music... And things every audiophile must have! 

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CHRIS CORNELL

Many box sets fail to fully capture the entirety of an artist, but sadly Chris Cornell's 2017 suicide gives the new four-disc set simply titled Chris Cornell natural beginning and end points. Most impressively, it somehow manages to capture the full breadth of one of the Pacific Northwest's greatest voices and frontmen on those four discs in a way that should appeal to both long-time fans and relative newcomers. There's only one unreleased studio track included, and it's a mighty one in "When Bad Does Good." And the entire fourth disc is live performances that showcase Cornell's willingness to push well beyond the "grunge" label that stuck with him from way back in his Soundgarden days, and includes covers of artists like Bob Marley, Prince, U2, Metallica and Michael Jackson — all songs he did in his final Spokane show in the summer of 2016. Leading up to that live disc is a sprawling chronological run including songs from Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, his Jeff Buckley-inspired solo debut and later team-up with the Rage Against the Machine guys in Audioslave. The listener hears Cornell grow up across the four discs, but hopefully also hears the sound of one of the region's most-revered rock icon's willingness to push himself artistically right to his tragic end. (DN)

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THE WHITE ALBUM VINYL REISSUE

The Beatles' self-titled 1968 double LP, universally referred to as The White Album, is a cheeky, eccentric document of the most famous band in the world breaking down and breaking up, ripping apart its own carefully cultivated public image in the process. It was as much of a game-changer as its predecessor, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, as deliberately shambolic and ungainly as that earlier concept album was meticulously crafted and sequenced. For its 50th anniversary, The White Album has been remastered in stereo and reissued on 180-gram vinyl in a pristine collector's set (a CD version is also available), which includes dozens of studio outtakes and a book detailing the album's tempestuous recording history. It remains one of the most exhilarating and unpredictable rock albums ever made, and amongst the curiosities, doodles and fragments are some of the Fab Four's greatest late-period songs: "Dear Prudence," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Blackbird," "I Will," "Sexy Sadie," "Helter Skelter." It feels like a new record every time you spin it. (NW)

WU-TANG CLAN SOCKS

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Protect ya neck and protect your toes from the cold with some dope Stance socks paying tribute to Staten Island's finest. These black and yellow bad boys feature the familiar Wu-Tang logo as well as some figures showing off their Shaolin style. You can also get some more conservative socks that hide your Wu-Tang fandom from prying eyes by keeping the logo small and tastefully simple. If you're not a Wu-Tang fan, you should definitely consider cruising through Stance's other music-related socks. The quality of the socks is great; I've yet to wear a hole through the David Bowie or A Tribe Called Quest socks I got as a gift a couple years back. And with choices ranging from Johnny Cash to Beastie Boys, Misfits to Tupac, you're sure to find a pair or two that properly represent your favorite tunes. (DN)

DAVID BOWIE, GLASTONBURY 2000

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The Glastonbury Festival in England started roughly 100 years ago and has happened consistently since the early '70s, drawing nearly 200,000 music fans to an otherwise quiet farm for an epic slate of music. And for many, David Bowie's set at Glastonbury in 2000 is considered the best show the festival has ever seen. Now, for the first time, the entire show is available on CD and vinyl, and some packages include a DVD of the show that's only partly seen the light of day for some long-ago TV show. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on this document of Bowie giving the crowd an amazing 21-song run that spans his career. One of the reasons this Glastonbury set is so revered is that after a decade or so of largely eschewing his hits in concert, Bowie decided to pack this show with a bunch of them. Hence, you get a set ranging from his Ziggy Stardust persona through his '80s hits like "Let's Dance," with stops along the way for "Heroes," "Fame," "'Under Pressure," "I'm Afraid of Americans" and so much more. Both the audio and video have been cleaned up to a vivid sheen, and for those of us who never got to see Bowie in concert, this set should be a nice consolation prize. (DN)

TRUE STORIES CRITERION BLURAY

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Fans of David Byrne's 1986 film True Stories can now throw away that old, out-of-print DVD copy, with its grainy picture quality and cropped aspect ratio. The Criterion Collection, always the savior of the physical media-obsessed, has brought the cult favorite to BluRay for the first time with remastered sound and image, and its release will no doubt draw a new group of devotees to this singular, cockeyed comic vision. The Talking Heads frontman directed and co-wrote the film, and he stars as our narrator and deadpan tour guide through the fictional hamlet of Virgil, Texas, introducing us to its quirkiest denizens — a bachelor who takes out classifieds for a wife, a woman who never gets out of bed, a preaching conspiracy theorist and more. Special features on this disc include behind-the-scenes documentaries, deleted scenes and a CD copy of the Talking Heads soundtrack. (NW)


DJ CAT SCRATCHING PAD

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Your serious music geek friends aren't satisfied to keep their passion for tunes in their earphones. They wear clothes and adorn their children in T-shirts that let people know what their favorite bands are. They slap stickers on their cars and bikes to announce their allegiance to certain sounds. And they certainly decorate their apartments and houses with music-related artwork, whether cheap posters or expensive framed original prints or autographed memorabilia. Why stop there when you can also use your pets to show the world you're one hip cat? Get yourself one of these DJ Cat Scratching Pads and you'll not only give your little kitty another spot in your pad to stretch their muscles and sharpen their claws — you'll also have a cool little homage to hip-hop and DJ culture on your hands. And if your cat is particularly skilled at scratching in rhythm, you might even be inspired to write some rhymes. (DN)

2018 FILM SOUNDTRACKS

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If you're looking to please both cinephiles and music obsessives in one fell swoop, consider digital or physical copies of some of the best movie soundtracks of the year. Marvel's Black Panther became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and its soundtrack of original Kendrick Lamar songs (SZA, Vince Staples, the Weeknd and others make appearances) was just as exciting as the movie. Although it wasn't a hit, the retro mystery Bad Times at the El Royale boasted a great soundtrack of 1960s hits, with R&B classics "Hold On, I'm Coming," "This Old Heart of Mine" and the Four Tops' "I've Got a Feeling" rubbing elbows with underrated pop gems like "Bend Me, Shape Me" by the American Breed and "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)" by the Mamas and the Papas. But it was Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star Is Born that produced the soundtrack smash of the year, with highlights like the melancholy ballad "Maybe It's Time," the insistent dance pop of "Hair Body Face" and the soaring duet — and future karaoke staple — "Shallow." (NW)

QUEEN: ALBUM BY ALBUM

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Speaking of popular soundtracks, the financial success of this year's Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has cemented the legacy of the dynamic performer and his band Queen, who are still getting stuck in our heads in the years since the frontman's 1991 death. Queen is also the subject of the latest entry in the Album by Album book series, wherein longtime music critic and journalist Martin Popoff studies the band's process and influence through each of their 15 studio albums. From Queen's self-titled 1973 debut to 1995's posthumous Made in Heaven, the book provides song-by-song analysis, archival photos and interviews with other writers and musicians — among them Paul McCartney, Dee Snider and Darius Rucker — about their own experiences with the band. It's a format that should both please Queen die-hards and inform the newbies. (NW)

PUTUMAYO PRESENTS SKA AROUND THE WORLD

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Ska music catches a lot of static from rock fans, and for that you can probably thank the pop-ska likes of No Doubt and Mighty Mighty Bosstones. But if you don't have any of those hangups and are one to embrace, you know, actual fun in your music, it's hard to beat the horn-blasted good vibes of one of Jamaica's finest musical styles. Putumayo Presents Ska Around the World, from the Putumayo World Music record label, delivers 10 songs from artists spanning the globe, and shows just how popular ska became once it exploded off its island home. (Really, you can't go wrong with any of Putumayo's releases; they're the best at turning on Western audiences to sounds from throughout the world.) You quickly realize you don't need to understand Spanish to love Spain's contribution from a band called the Pepper Pots, or any of the other non-English selections from Brazil or the Netherlands and beyond. My favorite is probably the Skatalites' "Glory to the Sound," the only selection from Jamaica, but you also don't want to miss the Russian cover of Depeche Mode's "Policy of Truth." It's weirdly wonderful. (DN)

NIGHT MOVES BY JESSICA HOPPER

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Jessica Hopper has been entrenched in America's music scene since she was a teenager, when a bad review of a band she loved — the Minneapolis punk trio Babes in Toyland — inspired her to start her own zine. In the years since, she's worked on the inside of the industry (publicizing and managing bands) and as a pioneering journalist (leading Pitchfork and MTV News at times). Three years ago she collected her stirring music writing in the excellent The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Now she follows up with this memoir that recounts her experience of falling in (and falling in love with) a local music scene, and all the strange characters, late nights, crappy band houses and memorable parties that entails. Hopper might be focused on Chicago in Night Moves, but anyone who's ever loved local music will find themselves in her book. (DN)

VINYL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

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Seemingly every product has its own subscription service these days, and the recently resurrected vinyl industry is no different. You've got some options. First up is Vinyl Me, Please (vinylmeplease.com), which gets you one limited edition or collectible record every month for $25. The site's curators select three acclaimed records at the start of each month, and you choose one — to give you an idea, a recent batch featured Muddy Waters, Mavis Staples and Lil Wayne. If you get the record and it's not your cup of tea, you can swap it out for something else in their library. VNYL (vnyl.org) is another monthly record-shipping service, but it's more of a crap shoot. For $39 a month, you tell the site about the artists you like — and the artists you don't — and then curators choose you a monthly box of three LPs based on your taste profile. Fingers crossed you like them, because there's no swap-out with this one. Still, the gambling aspect is part of the fun. Magnolia Record Club (magnoliarecord.club), meanwhile, is more of a music lover's Loot Crate, sending you curated boxes at $27 per month that include an LP and a collectible art print. All services offer gift cards for multiple months of service. (NW)

PRINCE, PIANO AND A MICROPHONE 1983

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We all knew that Prince's legendary vault of unreleased material would be plundered after his 2016 death, and Piano and a Microphone 1983 is perhaps the most interesting artifact that's been unearthed so far. It's a one-take recording of a solo jam session in Prince's home studio, and we hear the Purple One, then 25, working through several in-progress lyrics and melodies. He tears into the gospel standard "Mary Don't You Weep," fiddles about with his idol Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and stumbles through snatches of songs that would eventually coalesce into classics like "Strange Relationship," "17 Days" and "Purple Rain," the latter of which would anchor the album and film that made him a megastar the following year. Piano and a Microphone runs barely over half an hour, but it's nonetheless a fascinating snapshot of a critical point in Prince's career, and a glimpse into the creative process of a musical genius who left us way too soon. (NW) ♦

The original print version of this article was headlined "Music"

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