Liner Notes (September 11th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter has broad impressions of the new album from Thrice, first impressions of the new Angels and Airwaves record, random other thoughts about the music I listened to this week, and musings about organizing my music collection (both physical and digital). There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • Last week, my younger cousin got married. It was a lovely wedding, and it looked like the bride and groom had a wonderful time. It was pretty weird being around people like that again. I haven’t been around that many people in … over a year? I’ve lost track of time. Besides one of the guests falling and breaking her leg, everything went off without a hitch! Just, you know, a minor “omg, what just happened?!” moment. But the bride and groom had a great day, and that’s really what matters most. I enjoyed many Rice Krispies treats and watching all my cousin’s friends, who are all about ten years younger than me, having a good time. No one does a good job of explaining how much aging really messes with your head. (And I was relieved to see that sweet negative COVID test on Tuesday as well.)

  • On Sunday, I spent a good part of my morning organizing my record collection. It was starting to get a little unwieldy, with records just kind of haphazard put everywhere. I wanted to make sure everything was alphabetized, and everything was properly added to Discogs. So I pulled everything out, reorganized it all, and made sure to put the records in plastic slipcases that needed them. It felt good to get everything back into places where I could easily find them. Vinyl records are interesting to me because I do listen to them, but not consistently. I consider it a few things, one, it’s absolutely a “collection” - it’s something that brings me joy to look at, like a bookshelf full of books you love, or even artwork on a wall, it’s something that makes me happy. It’s also a way to show support for music, for the artists I love, and I find it more appealing than a giant wall of plastic CD cases (which at one point in my life were actual bookcases stacked top to bottom like I was a mid–90’s DJ). After getting everything organized and cleaned up, I realized I was missing 3–5 albums I consider in my top 20 of all time. A few of those are going to be next to impossible to get, but a few others I’m going to pick up. I’m not as into the “rare pressing” or different variants; I’m more of an “I just like to have the record” kind of ‘collector.’ Records (and my cat) are pretty much all I post on Instagram these days, and I have some fun stuff coming this week, so if you’re into that at all, you can find me here.

  • In last week’s newsletter, I wrote a bunch about starting to take Last.fm seriously again. Which, admittedly, is a hilarious sentence to write. But I want to have more data around what I listen to the most, and I think they’re far and away the best place for that. It also makes writing things like this newsletter easier when I can get a great look at what I listened to and how often, and it helps as a backstop to make sure I don’t miss something. Part of this “project” also involved making sure that the metadata that was currently on my profile was organized as well. Since I’ve had the account since 2005, there was a lot of improperly categorized data. Things like early blink–182 listens being in there as “Blink 182” and therefore not being counted as one whole, or albums being named wrong and having weird duplicates. So, I spent some evenings pouring over everything and cleaning it up. To be able to do this, you need to have a “Pro” account, and then I highly recommend looking at this Github project. It’s is a browser extension that makes bulk editing on the website a breeze. All of this should be built into the service, and it’s a real shame that it’s not. But you can merge albums, mass edit, and do all sorts of fixes once it’s installed. After all that work, I enjoy looking through all the charts to see what artists are my most played, which albums of theirs I spin most frequently, and what years correlated with which albums. 2009 was the year that I used the service the most, and it has a like double the number of scrobbles as all the others. I was diligent that year. But it also means that everything that came out around 2008–2009 gets a little extra boost. It’s kind of funny, but it is what it is at this point. Most of the artists and albums make a whole lot of sense. Well, clearly all of them do because I listened to them, but you know what I mean. However, there are also things like Years of Refusal, which I haven’t heard since I spun six songs in 2014. It turns out being a world champion toxic racist asshole has a massive impact on if I give a shit to listen to your music, even if I once loved it. It is interesting to be able to dive into things like that, though, and see what and when I was listening to different things. And, the more I use the service, the more value I’ll get out of it. (Seriously, Apple, build this into Apple Music.) Of course, this is also probably opening me up to criticism at some point when someone is going to deep dive into my account to find the problematic art I’ve consumed, but I’m just kind of accepting that at this point.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Organizing my Last.fm profile had me looking at a bunch of albums, and bands, that I haven’t listened to in a long while. It made me nostalgic. I spend a lot of time each week going through “the new” and not getting away from the “Recently Added” section of my collection. Which is great; I love listening to new music and diving into and really spending a lot of time with the latest. But, there’s also a massive catalog of music that is part of my life, my history, and I want to make sure I listen to that sometimes too. So, for the next few weeks, it’s my goal to revisit some of my favorites. This week, I went with My Chemical Romance. Extremely strong discography. Black Parade is an all-timer, but Danger Days really has grown on me. And I’m a big fan of those Conventional Weapons tracks as well.

  • I saw a bunch of Thrice reviews posted this week. Which feels a little side-eye at the September 13th embargo, but, who knows, we live in a lawless society! Over the past week, I did a catalog dive through the band’s work. I started with Illusion of Safety and then returned to their new album to see if I could best put how I feel about it in context. The other albums surrounding it made me appreciate it even more. Sure, it’s out of the vein that has come to define Thrice; however, it’s a much more lush, subdued power. While I’d define Beggars as an album with a groove, I’d define Horizons/East as an album with a pace. Where Vheissu had a weight that often felt like being hit by a sledgehammer wave, this feels like the pressure from a strong tide. A pull. An ebb. A flow. A connection that grows with subsequent listens and rewards the patient listener. I get a sense of more confidence from the band here and that they trust their fans to join them as they continue to shift and morph just what it is to be Thrice. And this is a band that has played in so many different genres and carried so many different aesthetics. And while I see pieces of all of those in this record, it’s that the band can still surprise me by injecting new life and motifs into their sound that impresses me so much. Play 1: Hmm, this is good, interesting, not sure how I feel. Play 2: Oh, that’s a really unique way to do that; yeah, this is pulling me in. Play 3: After all these years, I’m still just at my core a Thrice fan. They got me again; I just respect and enjoy the feeling that listening to their music brings me. It was 2001 when I first discovered this band, a wide-eyed college freshman. Some twenty years later, and with everything that’s changed in my life, it’s nice to have a few constants. Early favorites include the opener, “Northern Lights,” and “The Dreamer.” I look forward to talking even more about this one with everyone in the upcoming weeks.

  • I saw some online disappointment in the new Kacey Musgraves album. After listening a couple of times, I guess I understand. It does carry with it a different sound than the previous. It’s a little more subdued, and there’s definitely a different weight to the lyrical content, but the songwriting is still top-notch, and I think as a whole, it’s a very strong record. It has a clear intent, and it achieves it. It’s interesting because it doesn’t ultimately make a pop turn, and it doesn’t have the same breezy feeling of her last masterpiece, but I think there’s a lot to chew on here. I’m curious how this one grows on people or if they’ll just write it off and move on to the next? I’m also interested in a more extensive discussion at some point in this more subtle, mellow, and much more melancholy era of pop music we’re going through right now.

  • Earlier this week, I saw this nostalgia post for when Tom DeLonge announced Angels and Airwaves in the AbsolutePunk forums. Now that was a weird day. I’ve always been a little back and forth, to put it mildly, when it comes to this band. There are times where I’m extremely impressed with Tom’s gumption, drive, and singular vision for his art. And there are times where I think it gets a little too much and that he could greatly benefit from an editor of some of his more … out-there ideas. I, personally, have always preferred Mark’s more pop approach to songwriting and therefore connected more with +44 than I did AVA. But, of course, I’ve always kept my eye on the band. I’ve had the chance to spin the new album Lifeforms twice, in full, now, and my first impressions are maybe(?) shockingly positive. At times I feel like AVA songs can become weighed down under the extra studio machinations; however, I think the synth and electronic elements heighten many of the songs here. “Losing My Mind” is probably the best song in this collection, but “Timebomb,” “Automatic,” “Restless Souls,” “A Fire in a Nameless Town” are all up there with, in my opinion, the best of the Angels and Airwaves catalog. “A Fire in a Nameless Town,” specifically, deserves a shoutout as something I was unprepared for. I had to listen twice to confirm, but yep, that’s as good of a song as I think Tom’s written in a good while. On the flip side, “No More Guns” has an admirable message that I think is poorly executed. Brass tacks: This is the AVA album that most resonates with me in years. Mainly because it plays in a sonic space I enjoy and is in line with my current tastes.

  • I’ve been a massive fan of the last two MUNA albums, so sign me all the way up for this new record. The first single features Phoebe Bridgers and it’s a nice little pop-bop. This is an album to keep on your radar, and if you’ve never checked them out before, now’s a damn good time to start as both of their previous have featured highly on my best of the year lists.

  • Some quick hits: That Jail Socks record remains awesome and I’ve had quite a few people reaching out after I recommended it last week. Someone said it reminded them of the Armor for Sleep era in our music scene, and I think that’s just about dead on for a comparison. That was a fun time. The new record from The Band CAMINO (seriously, this band name and weird stylization still makes little sense to me) has some decent tracks on it. But it feels very disjointed, very “we wrote a bunch of songs over the course of a few years looking for hits and meshed them all together” - I don’t find it very cohesive, and while the highs are very radio-ready, there’s also an underlying feeling of a band searching for an identity. Reminds me a bit of FAIM. After loving the new Blindspotting TV show, I realized I missed the creators (Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs) had put out Seven Nights in Chicago in 2019. I very much enjoyed it and paired with the two Blindspotting EPs from the movie, that’s a nice little collection of music. (Rafael Casal is also a very good Instagram follow, and his thread on that new “Activist” TV show is well worth a read.) The latest Hot Milk EP is a little hit or miss for me, they absolutely have something here, and it’s bursting with potential, and when they grab it, it’s captivating. I think those “yep, that’s it” moments make some of the other songs feel a little underdeveloped, but I would not be shocked if this band has a major crossover hit at some point. The new Colleen Green album has a tremendous end-of-summer feel to it, and the Cheat Codes and All Time Low song continues All Time Low’s streak of getting me to say, “hot damn, that’s good!”

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 46 different artists and 309 different tracks. Kacey Musgraves’s Star-Crossedwas my most played album, while My Chemical Romance were the most played artist. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I had never seen I Kill Giants but thought it was a lovely coming of age story with a well-executed premise.

  • Those Who Wish Me Dead felt like a mediocre streaming film that just tossed a bunch of ideas into a blender and hoped it would work. It was passable but ultimately unrewarding and a poorly edited mishmash.

  • I highly recommend the TV show Blindspotting. You don’t need to have seen the movie to watch the show, but you should because it’s also great. The actor that plays Earl gives a star-making performance, and this season is intelligent, funny, poignant, and artful. The final scene left me slack-jawed. I hope they get another season because we need more like this out in the world.

  • With everyone, including Hannah’s and my mother, having seen Clickbait and talking about it, we figured we might as well. We’ve seen two episodes, and I don’t really have an opinion yet. This could easily go either way …

  • We’ve also now watched two episodes of The Other Two, and they both had multiple laugh-out-loud moments. I’m in for more.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Nothing much here this week. I just hope everyone has a wonderful rest of their weekend. We’re heading out to meet my sister and her boyfriend for a little wine tasting. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Probably run a few errands after and then probably watch my depressingly embarrassingly bad favorite baseball team continue to shit the bed.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. All Time Low & Cheat Codes - Ghost Story

  2. The Band Camino - Underneath My Skin

  3. Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs - At This Point

  4. Hot Milk - Split Personality

  5. Kacey Musgraves - Camera Roll

  6. MUNA - Silk Chiffon

  7. Victors - Hey, U Up?

  8. Aaron Sprinkle - Impossible

  9. Great Good Fine Ok - See Me Here, See Me Now

  10. More Than This - Jail Socks

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by mescalineeyes in the “Kacey Musgraves - Star Crossed (September 10, 2021)” thread.

Haha, wow. Well played.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (September 4th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter is not allowed to review the new album from Thrice, so instead, I hint at first impressions. I also talk a little about my rediscovering my enjoyment of Last.fm stats, more love for Turnstile, and some other thoughts on music I listened to this week. And, of course, there’s some commentary on the entertainment I consumed and a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • Later today, my younger cousin is getting married, so we’re going to see how much of this newsletter I can crank through before I have to get ready and head out. There’s a holiday on Monday, so if I am unable to finish, I figure I can always write more tomorrow as well and delay sending this out by a day. The fun thing is, by the time you’re reading this, you’ll know which one happened. This wedding is the first that really has me looking at the ’ol hourglass of time. Every other wedding I’ve been to has been peers, friends, or when I was younger, older family members. This is the first one where I see someone I have watched grow up, someone I remember being born, get married. It is one of those events that makes you sit back and remember just how fast time can go by. I am extremely happy for the couple and am looking forward to getting dressed up for the first time in like two years. I wish COVID were less of a thing right now, but I think we’re all just trying to figure out how to move forward the best we can. So, vax and mask it is for the time being.

  • Anyone that follows this newsletter, or my website, over the past however many years, knows I like tracking things. Be it movies, TV shows, or even little things like water consumption; I like having the stats and data behind all of these things to look back on. For something like movies, I just like knowing what I’ve seen and what I thought of it, and with all that the Apple Watch and the Health app can track, I like being able to look at all this historical data and look for trends. I dunno, tracking things is a brain comfort to me. In that vein, I’ve long used Last.fm to follow my music listening habits. According to the website, I’ve been doing it since 2005. However, around 2009 I reset my stats. In hindsight, that’s something I wish I hadn’t done. I think what happened is that I went away for a weekend and by accident left an album playing on my computer with the volume low, so it screwed up all my play counts. I also just didn’t really care about this sort of stuff back then. Alas, but it would be really cool to have that. Since 2009, it’s been spotty what I’ve actually been able to “scrobble.” For a few years, I just didn’t use the service consistently, and then there wasn’t a great way to use it on the iPhone and/or I didn’t have it configured with iTunes/Apple Music on my computer. The most consistent data is probably from the years of Rdio when it was just built right into the system. (Damn, I miss Rdio.) Lately, I’ve been much more diligent in making sure my listens are being tracked by using Soor on iOS and Neptunes on the desktop. I will try and use that data to better steer what I write about in this newsletter. I’ll be including a weekly Top 9 on Instagram story with an album cover collage of the top albums I listened to over the previous week. It’s a new way I want to experiment with promoting music I enjoy and this very newsletter. (Side note: If I were running Apple Music, adding features like this to really dive into the stats behind music listening would be the second feature I would add to the app. The first would be creating an album release feed that would show new releases and let you filter by genre, by what’s in your library already, by what’s in your friends’ libraries, by song and/or album, and highlight algorithmic recommendations. One of these days, I should just spec out my ideal music service; I have many opinions.)

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Turnstile continues to dominate my stereo. As I tweeted randomly after a few beers last night, “Turnstile are the kind of band that will change a kids life. Get them into music in a way they weren’t before and make them see it differently forever after. The rest of the Discourse is whatever to me, but that single fact is everything.” That really is how I feel about this band and album; it’s special and reminds me why I love music. When so many other things in the world make me unhappy these days, this little slice of musical heaven lifts my spirits. It’s just that simple: I love the album, and it makes me happy.

  • Of the new releases from Friday, I think many people will enjoy the new Jail Socks album. It’s a pop-punk meets emo sort of sound, but I’d put it more in that early Vagrant part of the genre instead of the bouncy or pizza obsessed group. They could have opened a Midtown and Early November show in 2004.

  • While the rest of the musical world was discussing two new hip-hop albums released over the past week from Big Artists, I just decided to check out on those. I have no real interest in engaging in the chatter, and neither of the artists make me happy to listen to; I’d be listening just to partake in the “cultural moment.” And really, I don’t have a whole lot of interest in that. At some point, I’ll probably be curious enough to listen, but I don’t see much of a reason to seek out something I know will just make me feel … weird? icky? defeated? I dunno. Everyone has their own story and history and connection with different artists, and I think, above all, it’s important that you listen to yourself and what you’re feeling. How and what art you consume is a personal choice, and navigating those feelings is part of being a critic and consumer. With all that said, I did get in a hip-hop mood for a stretch this week, and I absolutely love the new album from Isiah Rashad.

  • I need to thread this needle. Thrice’s new album is under review embargo until a couple of days before it comes out. So, I’ll have to save my lengthier thoughts until the newsletter after it’s released. Now, how do I give my first impressions while making sure not to walk into any review category? Hmm. The album has a slow heaviness to it, more of a thickness to the songs. I like it and need to spend more time with it to flesh out my feelings. I think what I really need to do, is do a deep dive back through the band’s catalog to be able to put the album into context with their discography. My very first impression was, “hmm, this is not the same vibe they had on their previous two,” and I want to see how that holds up after another week or two. I’m sorry for the vagueness, but I do want to respect the review embargo while also offering a minor glimpse into my current thinking. More thoughts soon, I promise.

  • The new New Found Glory EP is a solid little EP. I couldn’t get into their last album at all and found it a big step down from Makes Me Sick. This walks the line between those two albums a little more, and I think Will Pugh’s influence shines through. I’d love to see that collaboration continue.

  • I got back into that latest Angel Du$t album for a bit this week, and also spun the hell out of the new Every Time I Die at almost every single gym visit. (See last week’s newsletter for lengthier thoughts.) I continue to enjoy the new ones from Halsey and Chvrches, and also enjoyed the latest albums from Higher Power (hard rock/punk) and KA (hip-hop).

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 50 different artists and 248 different tracks. Turnstile’s Glow On was far and way the most played. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We watched Coda last night, and Coda is exactly what I expected it to be. It was a very well-made, very well acted, heartwarming film. It did precisely what it set out to do and got the exact emotions it was trying to pull from me—nothing more, but also nothing less. In the end, I’d recommend it to just about anyone.

  • I respect the feeling of originality that emanated from The White Lotus. It felt completely unlike anything else on TV right now. It is the perfect kind of small mini-series that tells a story, tells it well, and leaves you at just the perfect time.

  • It was all the way back in January of 2019 that I wrote about the movie Blindspotting. I loved it. Now, there’s a TV show that uses the same world and some overlapping characters to tell a new story. It’s delightful. It’s grounded in fantastic performances, but it’s the little artistic flourishes, the dramatic moments mixed within the humor that makes it work so well. We’re only four episodes in, but I can highly recommend the film, and the TV show, at this point.

  • Yeah, we’re rewatching the Harley Quinn cartoon. Still maybe the best “superhero” content released in the last five years? I love this show so much.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Nothing much for this section this week. It’s about time to start getting ready for the wedding. I used the wedding as an excuse to buy myself some new dress shoes (which I really don’t ever need and hopefully will last a lifetime?) and some new sunglasses. Gonna go get fancy.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Turnstile - Dance Off

  2. Charli XCX - Good Ones

  3. Jail Socks - Caving In

  4. Florrie - Human

  5. Joan - Something Special

  6. Angel Du$t - Bang My Drum

  7. Isaiah Rashad - RIP Young

  8. New Found Glory - Puzzles

  9. Higher Power - Lost in Static

  10. Great Good Fine Ok - So Far So Good

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by sophos34 in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (August 28th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter has my first impressions on the new Every Time I Die album, thoughts on Turnstile’s masterpiece, and some other random commentary on music, movies, and TV shows I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of songs I enjoyed last week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • I hope everyone had a good week. Or at least you’re enjoying your Saturday so far. Last weekend my MxPx vinyl boxset came in, and I put up a little Instagram Reel going through all the records. I cannot even put into words my happiness with how perfectly these came out. Top-notch quality, incredible packaging, and just flipping through these records puts a massive smile on my face. Each one has such a firm memory lodged in my brain of the time and place I first heard it or what was going on in my life as it played. It’s a little box of nostalgia, a map of my musical history. I’m so glad I picked this up.

  • I thought this piece from Charlie Warzel, titled “I Need to Stop Scrolling,” really captured my thoughts on the internet as a whole lately. The push and pull of social media.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Yesterday was one of my favorite release days in recent memory. To start, let me just run through some of the albums I’ve already written about that are worth your time: Chvrches returned with a monster of a comeback record. I first wrote about it last month, and I’ve only fallen more head over heels for this album since then. It’s catchy, bombastic, brash, and “Final Girls” is one of the best in the band’s entire catalog. Grayscale also released their new one, Umbra, and I think it picks up right where their last ended. If you’re looking for something fresh in the whole pop-rock genre, these guys are doing it just about as well as anyone right now.

  • The new Halsey album is the first Halsey album that’s felt like it’s “for me.” I love the production choices, and there’s a nice slight theatrical feel to some of the songs that I vibe with.

  • The new Big Red Machine is the kind of album that in a couple of months will become all I listen to for like a week straight. The weather’s not quite right for it to dominate me yet, but all the signs are there. I also noticed that the Dolby Atmos version sounds delicious on this record. I think artists are getting more used to the fun things they can do in the mix, and it shines here.

  • Ok, onto the main event. I haven’t been this excited about rock records in maybe a decade-plus. You know that kind of excitement where you feel like pulling out the air guitar or trying to remember just where you stored your old skateboard, or wondering, “hmm, where can I play some Tony Hawk?” The kind of music that hits you right in the chest and becomes the only thing you want to listen to? That was my week. And it started with the new record from Turnstile. The album has been rightfully getting praise just about everywhere, and it deserves every accolade coming its way. It’s a front-to-back, zero skips, extremely fun album that makes me want to pound a Surge and run through a wall. It’s full of little artistic flourishes, but at its core, it’s an album that reminds me of the days where I had a Discman in my car attached to the tape player. And when I’d pull into school, I’d disconnect it and toss on my headphones as I made my way to class. Inside there’d be an album that was the obsession of the month. One record that I would listen to over, and over, and over again. A record that I had spent my own money on, and one that would become so ingrained in me it felt like an extension. I’d learn every lyric, every note, and it would feel like my little spot in the world that no one else knew about. My little secret musical sanctuary. If I were 16 right now, this would be that kind of record. This would be one of those bands I would need to tell everyone about. The sort of record that would make a little wannabe punk kid start a website just to write about it. God damn, what an album. It makes me feel young again. Yep, add me to the cheerleading squad.

  • Right up there with the new Turnstile in spins this week is the upcoming record from Every Time I Die. Look, if I wasn’t over my weekly quota for hype in the previous paragraph, I’m gonna push just right on past the limit now. One week in, and this is easily my favorite ETID record in a good while, and there’s a chance by the time it comes out, I’ll consider it their best. What it does so well is mix between the extremely fast, heavy music, a feeling of diversity. Instead of constant pressure, there’s an ebb and flow that makes the album not only extremely enjoyable but also immediately replayable. I loved Low Teens, but it was a record I’d listen to once and feel exhausted toward the end and need to move to something else. In contrast, I’ve had this on repeat for days. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s rifftastic, it’s catchy, it’s full of classic Keith-isms, and it’s had a meteoric rise on my favorite albums of the year list. Early highlights are “Planet Shit” and “Hostile Architecture,” with Andy Hull’s vocal addition to “Thing With Feathers” sure to be a fan favorite. “Sly” makes me want to pound beer, “White Void” makes me want to crush the can on my skull. While different albums, I have been pleasantly surprised by Turnstile’s triumphant bullying of my playlist over the past week. This is a style of music I’ve always enjoyed; hell, it’s very much at the core of what got me into music in the first place, and to see it represented so perfectly in these two albums has me excited about what I’ll oversimplify as “rock music” in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I have nothing except the highest praise for Radical. It’s everything I could ever want in an Every Time I Die record. It’s everything I want in music, period. Put it in a bag, put it in my arm, fill me up.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We watched The Lodge last night. I’d call it more psychological thriller than horror, but it was plenty dark. Good, but not great.

  • Everyone has been talking about The White Lotus, and after watching the first four episodes, I’d say it’s been rightly praised. What I think I love most about it is how wholly original it feels. I haven’t seen anything quite like it in a while.

  • Latest Titans was good; last week’s Ted Lasso was great (we watch the new episodes on Sunday, so we’re always a little behind on the latest compared to when this newsletter is released).

Random and Personal Stuff

  • No new news on the whole burglary thing from a few weeks back. Still no update from the cops. I re-ordered all of our Christmas Funko that were stolen, since they were such a fun tradition and I feel like they’ll only get more expensive if we wait. I had to cough up almost 20 bucks for the Spider-Man in a sweater one again … but it’s far and away one of my favorite decorations we … ugh, had. Oh well, it is what it is.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Turnstile - Blackout

  2. Chvrches - Final Girl

  3. Sigrid - Burning Bridges

  4. Grayscale - Bad Love

  5. Every Time I Die - Post-Boredom

  6. Turnstile - Underwater Boi

  7. Isiah Rashad - From the Garden

  8. Halsey - Easier Than Lying

  9. Kim Petras - Future Starts Now

  10. Turnstile - New Heart Design

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by Drew Baldy in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (August 21st, 2021)

This week’s newsletter has thoughts on the new albums from Lorde and Deafheaven, as well as some commentary on other music, movies, TV shows, and much more I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • Another week in the bag, huh? This week had an interesting wrinkle for me as I was summoned for jury duty on Friday. And it was for Grand Jury duty, which would have carried with it a month-long service. I honestly do not know how anyone can actually do that. Spend a month having to go to the court and hear cases from 9–5? Like, what? Thankfully, I was not selected. The whole experience was pretty weird, though. Sitting in a room with about 50 other people watching videos that look like they were made for 4th graders? Reminded me of school. And not in a good way. I firmly believe in a trial by jury, but watching this play out, gave me even less faith in our systems and institutions than I had before. Just a weird-ass day. But, after it was over, I had the rest of the day off, and I watched TV and baseball and took a mid-day nap. That was pretty damn nice.

  • I cannot believe it’s almost September. My rented suit for my cousin’s wedding came today, and the wedding is in only two weeks now. It felt like that wedding was so far away just a little bit ago, and now it’s here. The weather’s cooling (thankfully) just a bit, and we’re moving toward fall. Weird year. It feels like every year for the past half-decade has had some caveat like that thrown into it.

  • John Oliver’s latest show about ransomware got me thinking about my setup and ensuring I have things locked down and set up in a way that I’d be best protected if my computer was ever compromised. It’s a good episode and worth watching, plus now’s always a good time to do a little security audit for yourself and your family.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Angel Olsen EP of 80’s cover songs? Yeah, of course, that’s in my wheelhouse.

  • Lorde released her third album yesterday, and I spent some time listening to it and then spent some time reading the “discourse” around it. And, you know, I think I just feel like I’ve seen every single conversation so many times now that I … just don’t care. The Jack Antonoff debate. The how much influence does a producer have debate. The should have worked with another producer debate. It’s usually not a good sign when that’s the conversation more than the music itself. But, the music itself doesn’t feel like it has a lot of meat on the bone. The album doesn’t do anything for me to elevate itself out of background music territory. The low-key vibe is breezy fine, but has never hooked me, grabbed me, excited me, or interested me in a way that makes me feel like I’d be dying to return to it. Something to have on in the background, sure, fine, I suppose. But if anything, it feels like the solo album from a band’s frontperson, missing a few ingredients but solid enough.

  • Deafheaven took a hard left turn on their new album. Moving from their patented sound to clean vocals and a much more, I suppose I would call it an atmospheric album. My early impression is that they knocked it way out of the park. Tape measure home run. It’s an engaging and a pristine listening experience. I thought Ian Cohen’s piece on The Ringer captured just about all you can about the album, from the shift in the band’s style, to where it came from, to how successful it was. I’ll need more time with this, but this hits the coveted “shortlisted for the AOTY list” spot for me, and I am excited to spend even more time with it.

  • New Andrew Belle is a solid Andrew Belle album, in my opinion. I consider this more of an early fall kind of album, so I’m holding it a little on call for a few more months, and I expect I’ll be reaching for it again come October. It’s grabbing me much more than the last one, and those lush harmonies are effortless to sink into.

  • I’ve still been all about that new M.A.G.S album. Adam reviewed it this week and captured it pretty perfectly. It’s just about everything I want in music these days and comes highly recommended.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We didn’t know what to watch last weekend, so we re-watched Superbad … and it’s still pretty much a perfect film.

  • The Green Knight is one of those films where I cannot deny the art. I cannot deny the moments of genius. I cannot deny the audacity of scope. And yet, I don’t think I liked the film. I felt my mind drifting. I felt myself wanting to just read up on the myth/story/poem on Wikipedia to learn about the story I didn’t know well enough. An undeniably well-crafted film, but one where I think you need to know more about the story before seeing it. Hmm, I just don’t know about this one.

  • I was delighted with the first season of [Superman and Lois](* https://trakt.tv/shows/superman-lois). I think it’s one of my favorite takes on the Superman character in a very long time. There’s humanity here that’s well captured, and I looked forward to every episode. It’s not a perfect first season, but it is an enjoyable one. And it’s the most I’ve liked a Berlanti-verse show in quite some time.

  • We finished the first season of Euphoria and the two specials. Very, very good. Also, very dark and very difficult to watch at times. But a vision-first, very well-written show. I am not sure what we’re going to watch next, but I feel like I need a palette cleanser to brighten up the ’ol brain.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Some friends are having a wine tasting party in their backyard this afternoon, so we’re going to bring some wine and go hang out there for a little bit. I’m going to bring the All Time Low rosé, because why wouldn’t I? It’s good. Besides that, nothing much else on the plate this weekend.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Deafheaven - In Blur

  2. Angel Olsen - Forever Young

  3. Andrew Belle - Spectrum

  4. Kississippi - Twin Flame

  5. MAGS - Choked Out

  6. The Killers - In the Car Outside

  7. The Offspring - Guerre Sous Covertures

  8. Verite - He’s Not You

  9. Boyband - Please Don’t Waste My Time

  10. Ben Platt - Dark Times

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by Drew Beringer in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.

I hope everyone has nice rest of their weekend.

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (August 14th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter has thoughts on The Killers, M.A.G.S., Ben Platt, Meet Me @ the Altar, and much more. Plus, there’s commentary on various things I’ve seen over the past week and a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. I think it’s a pretty good one if I don’t say so myself. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • I hope everyone is having a good Saturday so far. My week was a slightly annoying one. Last Sunday, we woke up to being informed that our building’s storage units had been broken into and burglarized. Sure enough, a group of people had tripped the outside motion detector, come inside, picked the lock to the storage units, and then used bolt cutters to get through the lock and gate. They stole all our luggage, my camping backpack, our air mattress, all our winter coats, all of our Christmas Funko, and various other things we had stored there. I still need to go through everything to see if I can catalog exactly everything that went missing. They came back the next night, but a neighbor heard the door open and called the police. They ended up arrested three people, and apparently, it’s been part of a larger ring of break-ins around the neighborhood in the past few months. One of them had a loaded handgun on them. So, by and large, I am just happy that no one was hurt. This could have been so, so, so much worse. After talking with the police some, I don’t have any hope of us getting any of our stuff back. I think what bums me out the most is our fun holiday Christmas Funko collection that Hannah and I had been building together over the past few holidays. And, it’s just the overarching feeling of violation. At the end of the day, it’s just stuff, but that bubble being burst is a hard feeling to shake. Of course, the insurance company was of very little help. Basically, saying we had a deductible, but even if we wanted to use our insurance, it would then sit on our record for five years, and our premiums would go up. So, not a help at all. I’m glad I give them lots of money every year; it makes me feel good inside to do it. eyeroll Anyways, that was our eventful week. Fun times.

  • I thought this article breaking down the recent IPCC report on climate change did an excellent job distilling the entire report down in a way that’s a little more readable. It’s… not great, Bob!

  • My sister is out of town for a wedding this weekend, so we came over to her place to feed her cat. The cat is currently hiding under the bed and wants nothing to do with us. But we’re hanging around for a while and eating sandwiches, and I’m going to write a little bit. The iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard really is a great little writing machine. I feel like I can take it anywhere, and with Ulysses never feel like the experience is second class.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Quite a bit of music to write about this week. Let’s start with The Killers. They released their new album Pressure Machine, and my first impressions have me thinking this just might be the band’s best album? It’s exceptionally well written. A storytelling dynamo. The funny thing is that on my first listen, I kept thinking, “wow, this is really great, but I can’t understand why they decided to record it so muddy with the vocals pulled so far back.” I was very much into it but was ready to complain, as I did about the recent Bleachers album, about bands intentionally making their great songs sound worse with production choices. And then I flipped over to the new Foxing album. And it also sounded like complete ass. It turns out there was some issue with my Apple Music, and it was streaming the songs at like 28kbps or something, in the absolute worst quality. I rebooted the app and then listened again. It turns out … zero problems with the production! And the album’s even better when it’s not some low-bitrate tin can version! Wow! Who knew!? Pretty telling that the songs stood up even in that version, but, damn, what an achievement record. I blame Jack Antonoff for me thinking that the weird bad sound was just a choice they made and not immediately being like, “hmm, something is off here.” Dammit, Jack, look what you’ve done to me.

  • Next up is the new M.A.G.S album. Think everything great about Hellogoodbye’s Would it Kill You? and the summer feeling that just pours from that album. Would that interest you? Would that be a thing you would like to listen to? Then you’re going to want to run, not walk, to Say Things That Matter. This could very well be your next obsession. I’m addicted to the melodies and to how this album makes me want to lay in the grass and close my eyes. I mean, it’s a billion degrees in Portland this weekend, but on a weekend where it doesn’t feel like we’re actually living on the sun, that’s a weekend where I’d go lay in the park with this in my headphones and let it consume me.

  • The Starting Line’s fantastic livestreams are now on streaming platforms. If you missed these when they aired, I can’t recommend them enough. It truly helped make the whole pandemic year a little bit better, and I can’t thank the band enough for that.

  • This week also saw the release of Ben Platt’s Reverie. And, look, this is just exactly right in my wheelhouse. It’s got a nice synthy sheen on top of a songwriting style that just does it for me. Personal, catchy, and entirely danceable. This will be in rotation for quite a while.

  • And, last but certainly not least, the new EP from Meet Me @ the Altar is now available. There are a few bands over the years of writing online that I remember specifically talking about the first time and watching the hype build and build until they pushed over into the rest of the internet/world. And ever since I first wrote about this band in this very newsletter, I’ve felt like I was back in 2001 writing about Fall Out Boy for the first time. That this band had it, that special thing that could resonate with more than just my little corner of the internet, and that all I wanted to do is share it with any and everyone. It’s a perfectly crafted brand of easycore pop-punk, and I’d love nothing more than for this band to take the world by storm; I want to see this band have gold records on their walls one day.

  • I’m still waiting for the new Thrice album in whole (hopefully next week?), so I only spun the new single once. And my exact thoughts were, “Oh, this is very good.” More when I’ve heard the whole record.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The Suicide Squad was so weird, so completely ridiculous, and I loved it. It was just a fun movie that knew to go all the way to eleven and amp up every single absurd thing. As a massive fan of the Harley Quinn cartoon, I was very much here for King Shark. Between this, Birds of Prey, and the Harley cartoon, it’s been a good time to be a HQ fan. The first movie in a while where I’ve known upon completion that I’ll absolutely be watching it again in a few months.

  • Oh, so the second Fear Street was the only good one, huh? The third bored me to tears for an hour, then became a Home Alone movie, and these were so very much not for me. I did like the second one a bunch though, wish they all were that fun and leaned into it a bit more. Oh well.

  • The second part of The Long Halloween didn’t change my opinion from the first. It’s a pretty good rendition of one of my all-time favorite comics. I don’t think it’s a replacement, but I enjoyed it.

  • The next TV show we’re watching is Euphoria. I’d only heard about it but didn’t really know much about the story. Welp, it’s dark and funny and well done and dark, and uh, dark, and we’ve been really enjoying it. Ok, “enjoying” feels a little weird to use for a show like this. A couple more left.

  • Titans is back! Since it first debuted, I’ve been writing about this show because seeing these characters in real life on the screen is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. I just flat out never expected something like this to exist, and now it’s here, and even when it’s bad, it’s perfect to me. I’ve watched the first episode, and the only miss I think the show’s had for casting has been Bruce Wayne. I just don’t believe he’s Batman. But, I still think just about everything else is close to perfect. The two new character introductions were spot on. And seeing Nightwing in the suit will never not make me smile. I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with the season, and I can’t wait to dive into episode two later today.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Hmm, I can’t think of anything to write here today. Ah, ok, so earlier this week I had to lead a global meeting, and we needed an “ice breaker,” so I went with, “What was the last piece of art (music, movie, tv show, book, painting, video game, etc.) that really spoke to you/moved you, and why?” I tossed the question into the Q&A thread, and I really loved reading everyone’s responses. If you have an answer you want to share, I’d love to know so I can add anything I haven’t heard of to my lists. For me, I started thinking about the question because I’ve been re-watching Mad Men, and that show just hits me. So, my answer would be that, and Bo Burnham’s Inside and Ted Lasso. One has made me actively want to be a more optimistic and helpful person to those around me, and one made me question life and our obsession with the internet and social media, and both touched me deeply and in a profound way.

  • I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the weekend. Stay safe out there.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. The Starting Line - Best of Me (Live at Studio 4)

  2. MAGS - Golden

  3. Ben Platt - I Wanna Love You But I Don’t

  4. The Killers - West Hills

  5. Sigrid - Mirror (Apple Music Home Session)

  6. Aaron Sprinkle - Slow Stop

  7. Kalie Shorr - I Heard You Got a Girl

  8. Meet Me @ the Altar - Wake Up

  9. Joey Cape - A Good Year to Forget

  10. The Starting Line - Ready (Live at Studio 4)

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by emt0853 in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Fuck yes!

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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