Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

New albums from... Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Cash?

I opened my iTunes this morning and what do I see featured but a new album from... Jimi Hendrix. The album includes the original lineup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the recordings come mostly from the period following the release of 1968's Electric Ladyland.

Another recent major posthumous album was Johnny Cash's "American VI: Ain't No Grave." In a beautiful bit of serendipity, the title song seems like the perfect leadoff for a posthumous album as Cash sings "Ain't no grave gonna hold this body down." You can tell that the song selection is a bit weaker this time around as the available material from the recording sessions which also spawned "American V: A Hundred Highways" ran out.

We've had posthumously released albums for years, but it seems there's been an upsurge recently. I expect it's largely due to technology making it easier to salvage older recordings and the Internet making it easier to distribute and get the word out about this material.

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Comic books coming to the iPad

In the latest round of categories listed for Apple's iBookstore, one of them is "Comics & Graphic Novels." With the iPad being such a visual presentation medium, it seems like a natural fit.

Comic publishers have been somewhat hesitant to make their content available online. Most offer a small selection of titles, most of them older releases. This has started to change a bit with comic book apps on the iPhone that offer more content from a variety of publishers. But the big boys of DC Comics and Marvel are still largely holding back.

Will the power of Apple be able to convince the comics giants to open their archives and sell comics (hopefully at a reasonable price) as Apple moves into the digital publishing game? As a comic fan, I'd love to see it (and would love to be able to store comics digitally rather than in box after box), but realize that institutional momentum can keep companies from jumping into the digital world with both feet.

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The 2 Coreys - not as linked as one would think

I read this morning about the untimely death of Corey Haim and realized I'm fairly certain I've never seen a Corey Haim film. I ran down his filmography and don't think I've seen a single one. (I have added "The Lost Boys" to my Netflix list, along with a million other people.)

However, I've somehow managed to see five Corey Feldman films that don't include Corey Haim. I'd always thought of the two (in the few moments of my life that I've thought about the two) as being a team, as forwarded by things like the reality show "The Two Coreys," but apparently not. Given that Feldman was in hits like "The Goonies," "Stand By Me," "Gremlins" and the fourth and fifth "Friday the 13th" movies, I think I'm also going to have to give Feldman the nod for the more successful career.

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Conan O'Brien leaves late night, starts Twitter account

Long-time late night host/short-lived Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien is keeping his brand alive in the online sphere through the use of Twitter, which he started using last month after leaving NBC. Conan's been poking fun at the life of an out of work television host with tweets like "Hey gang! Look for me at the Oscars tonight. I'll be in the parking lot, wearing my prom tux and listening on the radio."

Wielding his power, he also picked one person to randomly follow Friday afternoon, Sarah Killen, who went from three followers to almost 19,000 in the wake of becoming Conan's chosen one. Conan announced the moment with the message "I've decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change."

Killen's riding her 15 minutes of fame, appearing on Larry King and MTV, getting a free computer and upping her Twitter production as she finds herself with a platform out of thin air. She also used the excitement of Conan fans for good, using her Twitter to raise money for charity.

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Singer/songwriter David Bazan plays Long Beach; $2.99 album on Amazon

Singer-songwriter David Bazan, hailing from my former homeland of Seattle, is doing a concert tonight in Long Beach. He recently released his first solo full-length album, Curse Your Branches, after previous being known as the mastermind of indie rock darling Pedro the Lion.

While with Pedro the Lion, he was part of the Christian indie rock world inhabited by artists like Sufjan Stevens and would play Christian rock festivals. However, in recent years he left behind Christianity and struggled with alcohol abuse, including getting drunk at one of those Christian rock festivals and getting kicked off the grounds.

Curse Your Branches is an introspective look at his relationship with his spirituality and the challenges he's faced in recent years. The opening track, "Hard To Be," takes a harsh look at the story of Adam and Eve. Check out this video of Bazan playing the song at a house show last December:

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