It seems that big bands are taking things into their own hands lately, dropping the record label and releasing albums themselves… and the results are great. Pearl Jam escaped the bonds of the record industry and now releases Backspacer, arguably their best album in years with tight, concise tracks that bring back the grunge/punk sound full force. The new songs have a refreshing positive tone in sharp contrast to the previous anti-Bush rage. Long time fans yearning for a sound reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s early days won’t be disappointed with Backpsacer.

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Unzip your coat and have some mulled wine on the house—you’ve arrived at your final gifting destination: The Holiday Gift Guide. It’s like your friendly neighborhood one-stop holiday shop, except instead of balsa wood ornaments, ours is packed with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Future heirlooms, small-but-significant stocking stuffers, and gear for getting out there (or staying in)—are all right here. There’s no music playing in the background though, so you’ll just have to hum Bing Crosby while you click around instead.

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