(5 things that should come as a surprise to no one.)
1. I saw "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" last night. It blazed my face off. I loved it. Not as much as I loved "Sunshine" but it is at a pretty solid number 2 on my favorite movies of the year.
2. The new Iron & Wine record: "The Shepherd's Dog" is great. I highly recommend it. A great album. Once again, Mr. Beam does not disappoint. There are signs of growth (this is more of a 'band' record) but it never feels unfamiliar.
3. The new Dashboard Confessional album is pretty good. It totally feels like it should have come out between "The Places You've Come To Fear The Most" and "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar." With his last two records there was a pretty high "skip" quotient (the number of songs I skip vs. the ones I... don't.) but this one is actually much lower. The best songs on the album are (in my opinion): Where There's Gold, Matters of Blood and Connection and the title track The Shade of Poison Trees, which, I'm sure will either be the soundtrack a million high school proms or a million lame teen TV melodramas- but I say that with love because the song is really good.
It's just, y'know... yeah.
4. "Blankets" by Craig Thompson is good even on the 2nd reading- though it felt very strange to read again because when I read it the first time, I was still with Heather and so now when I read it, I had a totally different perspective. Now I read it and it feels even closer to me. Even more intimate. Even more specific. Now I relate to his heart break in a way that I didn't before. When I read it before, I had a more vague memory of what it felt like to watch love die but now it is still so fresh in my mind. Heather and I had read it together and felt its connection to our lives in a mostly sort of 'hindsight' point of view- which, while my reaction to it before was intense, it never felt as intense as it did when I read it this time. It brought back so many memories. Not only of experiences that it reflected in my life but of the person I was when I read it the first time. It made me feel drunk on melancholy and nostalgia in that painful and yet slightly pleasurable way that only great art that you connect with your life can.
That said, the ending still bugs me. Him falling away from his faith feels so rushed. I'm sure in real life it was much more of a journey but it felt like he kinda jumps to the end of that journey in the book. I still pray for him though. I still hope that he comes back to the faith because his work is so inspiring.
I wanna read a new great book. I need something that is new to me that will inspire me for the first time. Life always feels just a little more dramatic, just a little more special when you're sharing it with a great character. The last one I read was The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I need another one of those. A new "Blankets". Maybe it will be Tompson's next book although I doubt it since it has (reportedly) something to do with the middle east. But I am excited to read it. He posted some pages from it and the sight of new artwork by him made me feel warm inside. Like an old friend.
5. It's always a little bittersweet whenever Adrian Tomine releases a trade paperback of his comics. The new one "Shortcomings" was like 8 years in the making. I've already read all of the individual comics (though I'm sure I'll still by the trade- I did with the last one "Summer Blonde"). I wasn't a huge fan of the story and knowing that he's probably going to wait another 2 years before he publishes even another issue of Optic Nerve kinda pisses me off. Bro needs to get on it. If a band even put out stuff as infrequently I'd be annoyed. Especially if it felt as rushed (ironically) as these three issues did. Anyone who knows me or has read any of my blogs in the past knows this rant so I'll spare you all- but I'll say this, if you haven't read the Optic Nerve issues, check out the book but be warned that it is a let down. It is not as good as "Summer Blonde" or "Sleep Walk" and does not bode well if this is what we have to look forward to with Mr. Tomine- another 8 years for what is (in my mind) a disappointing result. Just a fair warning, that's all.