Top Picks: Music from Sasquatch, Jennifer Lopez, Lord of the Rings, and more

Live recordings from the Sasquatch Music Festival, J-Lo and Marc Anthony look for talent in Latin America, Lord of the Rings returns to theaters, and more recommendations

Audience at the 2011 Sasquatch Festival
'The Snowman' by Jo Nesbo
'Playing for Change: Songs Around the World, Part 2'

Indie fest from your armchair

On Memorial Day weekend, just outside Seattle, 45 top indie musical acts showed off their talents at the Sasquatch Music Festival. The good people at National Public Radio were there, recording it for our listening pleasure. Veteran acts like Death Cab for Cutie, The Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips, and Wilco turn in fine sets. Brooklyn's superfunky Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings get the crowd moving, and gifted newcomers Wye Oak and the Head and the Heart lend their sweet harmonic blends. To listen, go to:

Another thriller cloaked in ice

Jo Nesbo, the latest in what's become a long line of Scandinavian authors mixing death and dour sensibilities amid snow-encrusted turf, conjures up another adjective: exhausting. The Snowman – an intricate tale of a serial killer, damaged souls, and the price of obsession – proves no less relentless than the earlier entries in Nesbo's Norwegian detective series starring Harry Hole. It will freeze and melt your heart at once. And leave you, yes, exhausted.

Country music defined

Brad Paisley's formula is hard to argue with: delicious guitar bits, from throaty back-roads roars to mournful sighs; solid vocals; and enough aw-shucks humble pie to serve an arena full of fans. It works to perfection again on his latest CD, This is Country Music, starting with a title track defining the genre's gifts while slipping in homages to Johnny Cash and other icons. "Remind Me" offers a well-honed duet with Carrie Underwood, "Old Alabama" is instantly catchy. You may not give a fiddle for Nashville, but when it comes to Brad Paisley, resistance is futile.

Looking for Latin talent

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony will be searching for talent in the villages of Latin America this summer for the show Q'Viva! The Chosen? to air live from Hollywood next year. To nominate someone, go to Facebook/qviva or visit

Playing for Change round 2

PFC 2: Songs Around the World is a global mix of rhythms and cultures in a two disc CD/DVD package from Playing for Change, a foundation and band. The set includes original songs as well as remixes of well-loved pop classics, ranging from Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" to Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" and John Lennon's "Imagine." Artists hail from such diverse locales as a village in Mali to the favelas (slums) of Brazil.

Ring revival

June is the month to head back to the theater for a three-night Lord of the Rings special. In some 500 theaters nationwide, "The Fellowship of the Rings" arrives on June 14; "The Two Towers" on June 21; and "The Return of the King" on June 28. The event will include new material, additional scenes, and interviews with director Peter Jackson from the set of the latest Middle Earth movie, "The Hobbit." For participating theaters, go to

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