THE FLAMING LIPS
The Fearless Freaks Turns out the Lips’ 22-year career isn’t as carefree as their onstage personae. This doc culls 15 years of footage, capturing the agony (former-addict member Steven Drozd about to shoot up) and the ecstasy (amateur pyrotechnics!) of the band’s rise to alt-rock fame. Our favorite scene? The bittersweet moment when singer Wayne Coyne takes us to what used to be a Long John Silver’s where he worked — and recalls being held up at gunpoint. (Out 5/17)
SNEAKERS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTORS’ GUIDE
Take a gander at the cornucopia of colorful kicks in this lavishly photographed volume, with one fatal flaw: Where are the white Keds once sported by the Ramones? (Out now)
WE LOVE THE ’90S
These best-ofs — the rambling alt-country of Son Volt (A Retrospective, out 5/24), the power pop of Sloan (A Sides Win, out now), and the soulful grunge of Screaming Trees (Ocean of Confusion, out 5/24) — will leave you nostalgic for flannel. But it’s Paul Westerberg’s Singles anthem ”Dyslexic Heart” (on Besterberg, out 5/17) that best captures the period’s strengths: sensitive but not sissy, peppy but not too cheerful. It’s an artifact of an era when men were men, women were smitten, and coffee flowed like wine.
POST-PUNK CRASH COURSE
If you dig the catchy riffs of Franz Ferdinand, spend a semester abroad at The Glasgow School (out 6/28). Here, late-’70s/early-’80s Scottish originators Orange Juice offer an education in hip-shaking pop. Other reissued Brit study aids: an expanded version of Gang of Four’s 1979 dance-rock classic Entertainment! (out May 17) and The Compact XTC (out now), a collection of the guitar rockers’ singles from 1978 to 1985.
THE NEW ELECTRO
Enter a beat-based utopia where Aphex Twin mingles effortlessly with Kraftwerk and DJ Shadow on The Milk of Human Kindness (out now) from London-based Caribou and Everything Ecstatic (out 5/31) from the Radiohead-approved Four Tet. Awash in trippy guitars and propulsive drums, these CDs seamlessly (and unpretentiously!) mix electronic effects with acoustic instrumentation.
LEGO STAR WARS
(Eidos; PC, PS2, Xbox; E) As charming as it is twisted, this licensed title re-creates scenes from the three Star Wars prequels — including the upcoming Revenge of the Sith — using animated Lego figures. You can play Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, and other SW characters in a trippy and surprisingly enjoyable adventure that reflects a sensibility less George Lucas and more Michel Gondry. (Out now)
THIS AIN’T NO DISCO: NEW WAVE ALBUM COVERS
For a genre so tied to the visual, this neon-toned collection by Jennifer McKnight-Trontz is only fitting. From one-hitters (Haircut 100, Taco) to legends (Blondie, Iggy Pop), the book offers 256 eye-popping pages of rubber-braceleted, skinny-tied time-capsule glory. (Out now)