Listen to “Take Us to the Start,” by Matt Hires
Fans of Mat Kearney and Counting Crows will dig this soulful acoustic-rock artist. Standout tunes from the Florida native’s debut solo album include the romantic “Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song” and the pleading “Perfect Day.”
To buy: $8, iTunes.
Animation director Hayao Miyazaki’s Little Mermaid–inspired tale of a precocious goldfish’s quest to become human has already achieved box office success in Japan. The English translation features the voices of Tina Fey, Matt Damon, and Liam Neeson. With imaginative animation and a gorgeous orchestral sound track, this fairy tale appeals to both kids and grown-ups.
Read “Italian for Beginners,” by Kristin Harmel
Cat Connelly is a 34-year-old control freak. And after being on the receiving end of one too many pitying glances at her younger sister’s wedding, she impulsively heads to Italy to find the love she left behind after a semester abroad. There, she learns that spinning out of control may be good for the soul.
To buy: $14, amazon.com.
In this endearing comedy, Ryden Malby (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’s Alexis Bledel) has a plan: get good grades in high school and college, graduate at the top of class, then land dream job at a book publishing house. The glitch? The dwindling job market forces Ryden to move back home with her adorably embarrassing dad (Michael Keaton) and overly supportive mom (Glee’s Jane Lynch). After stints as a luggage store sales rep and an infomercial production assistant, Ryden figures out that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
Listen to “Light,” by Matisyahu
Three years after becoming instant pop royalty with his hit “King Without a Crown,” Matisyahu (shown) is finally releasing his third studio album. This go-around finds the Hasidic artist venturing from his reggae roots with different sounds. In “So Hi So Lo,” the New York City native rocks out, while he hits a folky note on “Silence.” (Out August 25.)
To buy: $12, amazon.com.
Tune in to “The Rachel Zoe Project” on Bravo
The stylist behind Hollywood’s most fashionable women pulls back the curtain on the clothing process in the second season of her reality show, premiering August 25 at 10 p.m. EDT. While Zoe (shown) calls in frocks and baubles from designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Diane Von Furstenberg, her two assistants, Brad and Taylor, continue to butt heads.
Rent “American Son” on DVD
In this haunting drama that earned a 2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award nomination, Marine Mike Holland (Drumline’s Nick Cannon) returns home for the holidays before being shipped out to Iraq. As Mike reconnects with family and friends, he deals with the fear of duty. Extras include a making-of feature and deleted scenes. (In stores August 25.)
To buy: $30, amazon.com.
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