This week’s newsletter has me revisiting some polar opposite discographies (Strung Out, Simple Plan) as well as looking at some new music I enjoyed this week (Hippo Campus, The Options, Hastings). And, as always, I look at some entertainment I’ve been consuming and share a playlist of ten songs I liked last week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
A Few Things
Last Sunday, I finally finished and published my piece on the Now Playing Raspberry Pi project I’ve written about a few times in this newsletter. I documented the entire process and included a bunch of links and resources, hopefully making it relatively easy to follow. I also posted a handful of photos of the final project, and I posted up all the server-side code on Github for those interested. I’ve been pretty blown away by all of the positive feedback, and I’ve seen my post linked in a bunch of blogs and YouTube channels I read and watch regularly. That’s always cool. It was a really fun weekend project, and I’m delighted with how it all turned out. As someone that appreciates a nice minimal desk, I find joy every time I look down and see this little device next to my monitor—also, thanks to everyone that read or shared the article and all the kind words.
In Case You Missed It
The new Josh Ramsay single (lead singer of Marianas Trench) has one helluva massive hook. Not surprising, but my word is that an earworm. The new 5 Seconds of Summer song is a nice little ditty as well, not my favorite from them, but enjoyable.
My week was pretty much dominated by going on a massive Strung Out kick. This is a band that once I start spinning one record, I soon find myself playing every single record of theirs … on repeat. They’re far and away one of my favorite punk bands and I love the diversity of their albums while always knowing you’ll get some great guitars and Jason’s unmistakable vocals. This time through I found myself drawn to Exile in Oblivion and, kind of surprising to me because it was always a little lower on my list, but Agents of the Underground. My most spun album ended up being Black Out the Sky, probably because I was also listening to that later at night. I just love this band, love the energy and aggression, and their albums always find a way to put me in a good mood.
And, going in a completely different direction … I also ended up on a Simple Plan discography run. I have no idea what sparked this, but I ended up listening to one of their songs, and suddenly, I’d listened to their last two albums and enjoyed them more than I remembered. They’re safe and mostly predictable, but there’s a lot of just simple fun pop-rock here that I think just lets me turn off my brain and tap my toes. I’m going to continue the walk backward since I don’t think I’ve heard their first two albums in maybe ten years. I remember when this band got super popular being the annoying asshole that had to tell everyone, “I liked Reset better.”
One of my favorite finds of the week is a band called The Options. It’s an acoustic duo with a new EP full of acoustic punk. It’s quite good, and we need more acoustic punk in the world. It’s a genre that almost always works on me.
The acoustic punk sent me down a few other paths this week; first, I ended up going back to some of the songs on the Punk Goes Acoustic compilations, and that had me needing to play the Starting Line acoustic EP multiple times (holds up), and finally giving The Ataris’ acoustic album a spin that I somehow had just never listened to. I also tried the Unwritten Law acoustic album, but something was just not grabbing me for some reason. I’ll have to try again.
As for new music, the new Hippo Campus album comes out in February, and I was unsure through the first three songs how I felt about it. But then it takes off and tracks 5–10 are as good if not better than anything they’ve done before. They do this quirky pop thing that sometimes gives me Hellogoodbye vibes, but in a really fun way. This is one to keep an eye on.
Next, I can recommend the new EP from Hastings. It’s synth-based pop music, but this kid has a real knack for a hook. The first time I heard “Blank Me,” I was smiling by the chorus and thinking, “yep, that’ll play.” Joan also put out two EPs, hi and bye, that work in a similar space, and if you’re into this genre at all, it’s definitely worth a look.
And, finally, the Underoath livestream is only available for a replay for another 12 hours or something, but if you like this band at all … get it. It’s one of the better livestream performances I’ve seen, and they play their new album front to back. And, no joke, the new album is incredible.
The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 49 different artists and 482 different tracks (547 scrobbles). My most listened to artist of the week was Strung Out, with the Black Out the Sky EP topping the album list. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.
Love Hard on Netflix is about as cliche of a holiday romantic comedy as you can be. But, after wanting to shut it off in the first 15 minutes, powering through, ended up sort of working on me. Or maybe the beer just made it a little more tolerable. Not good, but I’d call it a passible holiday romcom.
Spencer is a masterful performance from Kristen Stewart wrapped in a movie that I’m not quite sure about. Part of it feels like a psychological horror film, part of it plods along, but then there are moments of pure beauty and emotion. The costumes and soundtrack are incredible.
We’ve started a re-watch of Home for Christmas, which is definitely one of my favorite holiday tv shows ever. If you’ve never seen it, it comes highly recommended.
I thought the second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation was a slight step down from the first. Still good, still a lot of fun, but just not quite up to the same level as the first batch of episodes.
Random and Personal Stuff
Hannah got her wisdom teeth out yesterday, so we’re just taking it easy today. Going to run a few errands and probably keep it pretty low key for the weekend. Probably binge some TV while she eats soft foods and gets jealous about my food choices.
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.
The Options - Take the Blame
5 Seconds of Summer - 2011
Hippo Campus - Semi Pro
Josh Ramsay - Lady Mine
Hastings - Blank Me
Joan - Not Over You
Frank Turner - There She Is
Benjamin Gibbard & Tycho - Only Love
Fickle Friends - My Favourite Day
The Ataris - In This Diary (Acoustic)
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.
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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.