· More five-star entertainment is due Tuesday as Shout Factory Records releases its long-awaited two-DVD documentary on The Flaming Lips, by childhood friend Bradley Beesley. As a member of the Lips' inner sanctum since his first music videos for the band in 1982, Beesley's reels of footage along with Wayne Coyne's super-8 family home movies present an intimate portrait of a band born in Oklahoma City when the punks started taking acid. Entitled Fearless Freaks, the DVD's title comes from the street gang of athlete stoners, led by Coyne's older brothers, playing a bloody version of football in the 1970s. The band's history is a wild ride - from a muscle-bound quarterback as the first singer to outrageously bad haircuts to the car-stereo and boom-box experiments to current plushy bliss. The journey shows the heartwarming, everyman joy of Coyne's vision, happy to live near his old childhood haunts on the wrong side of the tracks, cutting his own grass, and wondering if the props from his Santa Claus movie-in-progress will take over his back driveway. Coyne walks the streets in his signature white suit and talks with the neighborhood children, unaware of the musical genius in their presence, like a cross between David Byrne and Mr. Rogers ...
· Shout Factory has another must-see due next week, as it presents the Sex Pistols' 1980 film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle on DVD domestically for the first time. Directed by Julien Temple, the new DVD edition features a commentary track with the director, offering his musings on the Pistols' place in the tradition of musicians from the days of the Canterbury Tales, his admiration of Williams S. Burroughs' cut-up method, and the incendiary Bill Grundy Show interview ...
· My pick of the week is Georgia Hard, a masterpiece from roots-country singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks, backed by a who's who of Nashville players from Redd Volkaert to Alison Brown. The Yep Roc Records CD feels like a history of country music itself, every song rich with the soulful sweetness that dominated AM radio and the Billboard country charts from the mid-'60s through the '70s. While the sweeping barroom waltz of "Leave It to a Loser," the creepy "Hotel California" vibe of "Coldwater Tennessee," and the rebel yell of "Countrier Than Thou" serve up that lonesome-pine perfection, things get hillbilly silly too, in the spirit of Roger Miller and Bob McDill, as Fulks' wife Donna is terrific in the drunken-bar-lout duet "I'm Gonna Take You Home (& Make You Like Me)."
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno features Mariah Carey tonight and Carlos Santana on Thursday and Friday nights; The Late Show with David Letterman hauls Garbage on Thursday, Sting on Friday, and the Dave Matthews Band on Monday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien has a royalty streak with Louis XIV on Thursday overnight and Robert Plant on Friday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson hosts Tori Amos this evening overnight, Spoon Thursday overnight, and the John Butler Trio Monday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly serves up the lounge-cheddar love of schmaltz singer Richard Cheese on Friday overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live gets '80s with it on Friday overnight with Erasure; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Queens of the Stone Age.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, May 17:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change
Angel: Live Fast, Die Never- music from the television series (Rounder) featuring music performed by cast members Christian Kane and Andy Hallett
The Avett Brothers- Live, Volume 2(Ramseur) pop melodies hovering over old-time banjo, upright bass, and acoustic guitars
Jonathan Butler- Jonathan(Rendezvous) with guests Jonny Lang and Gerald Albright, and a cover of James Taylor's "Fire & Rain"
Circus Devils- Five(Fading Captain) strangely titled fourth album from Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard and producer Todd Tobias
Cowboy Troy- Loco Motive (Warner Bros.) head-shakin' hick-hop with this hillbilly rapper, featuring the single "I Play Chicken with the Train"
Kid Creole & the Coconuts- The Conquest of You(Rainman) re-issue from 1997
DJ Rap- Bulletproof(System) new from turntable queen and First Lady of jungle beats
The Epoxies- Stop the Future(Fat Wreck) cool "wave punk" buzzing with vintage synthesizer swells and melodies
Fall Out Boy- From Under the Cork Tree(Island/Uprising) remastered reissue of their debut CD, now with new artwork and a bonus label sampler
General Elektriks- Cliquety Kliqk(Quannum Projects) new home-grown electronica from Herve Salters
Juliette & the Licks- You're Speaking My Language(Fiddler) debut full-length album from actress Juliette Lewis
Van Morrison- Magic Time (Geffen) his 38th album, also available on LP vinyl and in a special CD box set
Mercury Rev- The Secret Migration(V2) domestic release of the group's new album
Moping Swans- Lightning Head to Coffeepot(Fading Captain) new EP from Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard, Greg Demos, and Jim MacPherson
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz- original motion picture soundtrack (Disney) featuring Ashanti
Nobody- And Everything Else ...(Plug Research) cubist, hypnotic hip-hop with a blunted, psychedelic stroll, featuring a cover of The Flaming Lips' "What Is the Light?"
P:ano- Brigadoon (Mint) third album from this Vancouver quartet that paints pop symphonies in the vein of the Beach Boys and Yo La Tengo
The Shield- original television soundtrack (Lakeshore) 19-track slammer with music from Theory of a Deadman, The Black Maria, Ill Nino, Brujeria, and more
Supermachiner- Rise of the Great Machine(Undecided) featuring members of Converge and Daltonic
System of a Down- Mezmerize(American/Columbia) disc one of the band's Mezmerize/Hypnotize conceptual two-CD "set"
Troubled Hubble- Making Beds in a Burning House (Lookout) produced by Dismemberment Plan guitarist Jason Caddell
Paul Westerberg- Besterberg(Rhino) anthology with bonus B sides
various artists- A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver: Live(Compadre) recorded last year at his 65th-birthday tribute concert, with Todd Snider, Robert Earl Keen, Dale Watson, and more
various artists- Wildcat Jamboree: Rockabilly Broadcasts(Norton) late 1950s radio broadcasts from the Dixieland Jamboree in Corinth, Mississippi