Music » Culture Jamming

Here are the week's best releases from the pop-culture universe:

BY MICHAEL GALLUCCI

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CD -- Rabbit Fur Coat: After Rilo Kiley's shimmering 2004 More Adventurous CD, we'd follow singer Jenny Lewis into the bowels of hell. Mercifully, Lewis' debut solo album is a heavenly slice of what she does best: a frothy blend of indie-pop, girl-group harmonies, and boiling torch and twang. Added bonus: a cover of the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care," with members of Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie taking the Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison parts. It's the new year's first great album.

CD -- Al Green reissues: Five remastered albums -- Livin' for You, Al Green Is Love, Full of Fire, Have a Good Time, and Truth N' Time -- chart the creative stamina and slow decline of the legendary soul man. The first two discs (from 1973 and 1975, respectively) come on the heels of Green's classic early '70s records. By 1976's Fire, he was burning fumes (he also found God around this time. Coincidence?). Truth N' Time, from '78, however, simmers, filled with baby-making music that even R. Kelly can wrap his freaky mind around.

TV -- Austin City Limits: Our favorite Redneck Woman, Gretchen Wilson, performs a bunch of songs from her splendid sophomore CD, All Jacked Up, on the venerable concert series (airing at 9 p.m. Saturday on PBS). Skoal, trailers, and picking fights with women twice your size have never sounded so inviting.

TV -- Blues Divas: This concert (airing at 8 p.m. Sunday on Starz InBlack) pays tribute to Black History Month by inviting nearly every living blueswoman worth her wang dang doodle onstage. Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles, and Bettye LaVette -- the 60-year-old belter who released the best album of her career, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, last year -- show contemporary divas how it's done.

BOOK -- The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have: Dennis DiClaudio hit upon the idea for this hilarious page-turner while working for a medical publishing company. He'd go home scared shitless every night, worrying that he'd contracted one of the many diseases he was writing about. Now you too can lie awake at night, wondering whether you'll wake up with a case of syphilis that's transferred without sex (bejel) or looking like Keith Richards (that would be progeria, which causes you to age rapidly).

DVD -- Live Freaky! Die Freaky!: This stop-motion-animation musical based on the Charles Manson murders is pretty standard, as far as stop-motion musicals based on lunatics with Christ complexes go. What makes Freaky special is the awesome voice talent of Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Rancid's Tim Armstrong, and a slew of other alt-rockers. Sure beats Wallace & Gromit's mute pooch.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Trick My Truck: We're all for Xzibit pimpin' the rides of hip-hop-lovin', cash-strapped fans. But this country cousin (premiering at 8 p.m. Friday on CMT) lacks its predecessor's flash and sass. Good ol' boys strip big rigs and rebuild them using the hillbilly equivalent of bling so that truck drivers can impress others in their highway-hogging convoys. It's a big 10-bore, good buddy.

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