Magna Carta Records has just released a snarling six-string shredfest specially designed for metalheads in need of a blazing beat-down. Guitars That Ate My Brain is a dozen ax-grinding instrumentals that signify the state of the metal arts with a devil-horns salute. The who's who of squeal merchants include Guns N' Roses' Bumblefoot, Testament's James Murphy, Daath's Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler, Korn's Shane Gibson, and Strapping Young Lad's Devin Townsend.


The Flight of the Conchords should look over their shoulders, as the comedy-music department gets some stiff competition next week from Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg and staff writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, calling themselves The Lonely Island. Their new CD, Incredibad on the Universal Republic imprint, features the smash Saturday Night Live hits "Lazy Sunday" and "Jizz in My Pants," plus new songs with guests Jack Black, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, T-Pain, E-40, and Norah Jones. The cover spoofs the film E.T., and the CD adds a bonus DVD with eight of the group's videos, including the new singles "Just 2 Guys" and "We Like Sportz," and the YouTube sensation "Dick in a Box" with Justin Timberlake.


Willie Nelson is "on the road again," spending next month touring the East Coast with Asleep at the Wheel and their new album of western swing. Austin's own Bismeaux Records releases Willie & the Wheel this coming Tuesday, an album that the late producer Jerry Wexler had been imagining for 30 years, now fully realized with his hand-picked song list. One selection, the 1927 instrumental favorite "South," features guests Vince Gill and Paul Shaffer. A deluxe edition is also available, with bonus postcards and stamps tucked in the digipack CD and vinyl LP.

Dark Was the NightA new collection in the "Red Hot" series benefiting AIDS research is due next month. Dark Was the Night promises two CDs curated and compiled by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, who contribute their own "So Far Around the Bend" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Was Young When I Left Home." Like previous Red Hot releases, the lineup is topnotch with notables Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Cat Power, Iron & Wine, the Kronos Quartet, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. A number of intriguing collaborations highlight the set, including Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch, Dirty Projectors and David Byrne, the Books and Jose Gonzalez, Blonde Redhead and Devestations, and Feist with Ben Gibbard.


717.5musicnews.jpgFans of Galaxie 500 and Luna can find new music from Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips in a transfixing environment worthy of their haunting, ethereal sounds. The pair, as Dean & Britta, has composed a soundtrack of sorts to a series of mute screen tests filmed by Andy Warhol at his factory, holding time as the subjects stare deeply into the camera's eye. Plexifilm releases the DVD experience next week, as 13 Most Beautiful ... Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, with the duo jumping out of its current Mercury Rev tour to perform the songs live on select dates, with projections of these vintage films as accompaniment. Two different editions of the DVD are available, with a deluxe edition featuring a hand-printed photo, selected from a single frame from one of the original films. Among the anointed by Warhol's eye include Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, and Nico.

SuperchunkMerge Records keeps on giving to those who pony up for the label's SCORE! 20th Anniversary Box Set with the fourth in Superchunk's live Clambake series, Sur La Bouche: Live in Montreal 1993. Next Tuesday the concert from the On the Mouth tour is available online at the store, but comes free as another bonus for subscribers to the box-set series that mails its first CD this month.

The Rock BibleIs there a hole in your stocking, or pink slips paper-clipped to the tree in a festive display? Times are tough, but the simple joys do survive. Pile on the blankets and give a gift to yourself this season, in the pleasure of a new book from the Dewey 780.9 section of your public library or your hip local bookseller.

Christmas a Go GoIf you are just starting to build or are looking to add to a collection of yuletide tunes, this year's offerings have something wonderful for any holiday hipster. Following six volumes in his Coolest Songs in the World series, Little Steven Van Zandt and his Wicked Cool Records imprint collect 20 of his holiday favorites in Underground Garage Presents: Christmas A Go Go. Featuring The Ramones, Electric Prunes, Darlene Love, and Rufus Thomas, highlights include Bob Seger's rare "Sock It to Me Santa," Soupy Sales' "Santa Claus Is Surfin' to Town," and Joe Pesci's "If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas."

Tom Jones - 24 HoursAlthough he's almost 70, there's no slowing down Tom Jones, as the Welsh sex symbol returns with his first stateside album in 15 years. 24 Hours has just been released by S-Curve Records, and rather than take the sparse, dark, and pensive path of many of his seasoned, sunset peers, the new album is flawless, big-strutting, sweat-inducing Tom Jones fever!

Old Rare NewFor those of us who grew up thumbing through endless peach crates of vinyl records, the thrill of the hunt for coveted slabs of licorice pizza is still alive and forever under the skin. We may not feed the turntable as often or stumble in and out of the long-lost record stores of an earlier era, but the hunger is there. Downloading a selection from iTunes isn't the same as examining a wall of import seven-inch singles, finding the new bass player for your band in the aisles, or hearing Miles Davis for the first time on a battered tube-amp stereo.