Any advice on the blades for the DE shaving newbie?
Well, my advice is, go to badger and blade or shaveden and look around there for a while.
Then, get a sampler pack. Here's an example of one:
Note that they're in the UK, so shipping isn't gonna be extraordinarily fast to the US, but they're a good site to deal with (and $14.16 shipped for a 60 blade sample pack isn't bad at all). There are certainly others that offer sample packs. West Coast shaving [westcoastshaving.com]
charges $21 for their 65 blade sample pack (w/o shipping) for example.
Most people seem to like the Astra SP's with this razor, but everybody's preference is different. Some HATE the Derby's and some swear by them. Pretty much everybody agrees that Feathers are the sharpest available, but that doesn't necessarily make them the best. Personna medical prep's are often praised as well (and they are made in the USA to boot...)
Ultimately, you're going to have to decide for yourself though. Good luck.