Some Recommendations

Now that summer is ending, we’re hitting a bit of a lull in terms of interesting new material to review. I’m working my way through Syndrome E and Christopher Farnsworth’s Latest Nathaniel Cade novel, and expect to finish one or the other by the weekend. So far, Syndrome E is engrossing, dark, and violent. He raises some interesting ideas about violence, and if the rest of the book continues to be as strong as the beginning, I will have many kind things to say about it.

Red, White and Blood, however, I can already highly recommend. Chris Farnsworth has been writing a kind of gonzo mash up of genres, very similar to early pulp action novels. Here he stirs together horror and political thrillers, with amazing tales of a 150+ year-old vampire battling evil in service to the President of the United States. Farnsworth has built a world populated by all kinda of monsters, and at their center is a sort of American Vampire James Bond. they’re every bit as fun as you know that sounds, once you finish pretending you’re too cultured for such fare.

For music I’m looking forward to the new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album, due out in September. I’ve been listening to his older stuff, Particularly Orange and Extra Width. JSBX is, hands down, one of the most electrifying live acts you can see, and one of the few great live performers who capture the same high wire energy on their albums. Track them down, you’ll be glad you did.

For movies, there are several great ones coming in the next few months, so for now I’m biding my time with Netflix and DVDs. Over the weekend I re-watched a great Japanese movie called Fish Story. I learned about it after reading a glowing review of the director, Yoshihiro Nakamura’s most recent film, Chonmage Purin (A Boy and His Samurai is the title they gave it in America). I was so intrigued I started looking for a copy, but couldn’t find one for download, streaming, or purchase. During my search, I learned about Fish Story, a movie he wrote and directed about a punk rock song that saves the world. In the past year I’ve watched it about 6 times now, it’s become a comfort movie. The story weaves stories from different points between 1975 and 2012, each one seemingly unconnected from the one before. By the end you see in a bravado sequence how they all connect perfectly, in ways you don’t suspect.

Give any or all of these a chance, there’s a lot to like in the titles above. And feel free to comment with any recommendations, I’m sure there’s plenty of there I’ve missed, feel free to fill me in on what else lurks out there, waiting to steal my free time.

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