Music » Culture Jamming

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

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CD -- Alright, Still: After months of building MySpace buzz, Brit cutie Lily Allen's debut album finally reaches our shores. The peppy Allen bounces from sunny ska to socially conscious hip-pop. Along the way, she muses on blowjobs, booze, and her beloved London. And in her best song, "Smile," she kicks a dumped boyfriend when he's down. Sassy, smart, and worth the hype.

TV -- Black History Month: Starz InBlack pays tribute to African Americans with a week's worth of '70s blaxploitation movies. On tap, such action-packed (and excellently titled) flicks as Cotton Comes to Harlem, Scream Blacula Scream, and Black Mama, White Mama. Right on! They air at 8 p.m. every night, starting Monday.

BOOK -- Build This Bong: Instructions and Diagrams for 40 Bongs, Pipes, and Hookahs: Finally -- a how-to book we can actually use. It features handy illustrations and easy-to-follow directions for more than 40 different projects -- including a rubber-duck hookah and a coconut bong -- which can be made out of easy-to-find objects. Plus, the snow-globe bong rewards procrastinators who haven't put away their Christmas decorations yet.

CD -- Not Too Late: Norah Jones' third album is more of the same sleepy-time pop-jazz that made her a coffeehouse hit a few years back. The arrangements and playing are tighter this time around, and Jones has settled into a nice little groove. We particularly like the lazy-day "Thinking About You" and "Sinkin' Soon," which features backing vocals by indie-rock hipster M. Ward.

TV -- Soundstage: New York Dolls: The two surviving Dolls -- singer David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain -- recorded their first album since 1974 last year with a bunch of hired hands. It was way better than anyone expected. That momentum carries over to this blistering live performance, which includes new songs as well as a bunch of classics like "Pills" and "Personality Crisis." It airs at 10 p.m. Thursday on PBS.

DVD -- SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4 -- Volume 2: This two-disc set features 20 episodes, including the Kill Bill tribute "Karate Island," which was recently voted the top SpongeBob ep ever by fans. There are also five new shorts inspired by The Best Day Ever, the tuneful CD in which the absorbent yellow star jams with Brian Wilson and Tommy Ramone.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- David Crosby: Voyage: Former crack fan Crosby has always been the weak link in the Byrds and CSN. On his own, he's even more unbearable. This three-CD boxed set includes solo demos, live cuts, and collaborations with members of the Grateful Dead, Phil Collins, and the equally wimpy Graham Nash. The sperm he gave Melissa Etheridge had more life.

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