Liner Notes (June 7th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter is brought to you by a belly full of funfetti cupcakes.

In this week’s newsletter, I write about Apple’s WWDC keynote and announcements, share thoughts on new (and old) music I listened to this week, and do my usual media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week and some Chorus wallpapers. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Three Things

  • This week I am excited to launch a special limited pride edition of some Chorus.fm merch. I designed a rainbow themed version of our logo and put it up in our shop. I don’t make much money from the merch shop (like $3-$4 per shirt), but for the rest of this month, I’m going to donate 82% of what I do make from the entire store (not just this collection) to LGBTQ+ organizations and charities.

    I am delighted with how this turned out. I spent a lot of time trying to find the right colors for the rainbow design, something colorful and bright, because using the regular primary colors didn’t look right or unique enough. And then all the tweaks to the way the colors intersect the logo took an entire day of obsessing over many iterations. That said, I’m proud of the final design. I ordered myself a hoodie. Check out the entire pride collection here

image
  • My regular, every day, lock screen on my iPhone X is this wallpaper I made featuring the Chorus.fm logo. I think the all black background looks fantastic on OLED displays, and the colors pop. I created a pride logo version as well that I’ll be using this month and figured I’d share those with anyone that wants them. I shrink each just a tad and center them on the screen, with perspective zoom turned off.

  • Apple’s WWDC was this week and, as always, I have thoughts. From a top-line view, I thought the keynote was jam-packed and was flying at Mach speed. I couldn’t believe how fast they were going. The new iOS changes look nice, I’m excited they’re bringing Dark Mode to the iPhone, and it’ll look great with the Dark Mode version of Chorus.fm. I don’t install early beta software on my primary phone, but all the screenshots and stuff I’ve seen of the new features and tweaks look pretty good to me. I’m looking forward to playing around with some of the new Shortcut additions.

    The addition of iPadOS puts a stake in the ground for the future. I like that they’re saying “this platform matters to us” in this way. Some of the new text manipulation features look interesting. I can’t tell how good they’ll be until I use them, but as someone who edits a lot of text over the course of a week, and as part of my job, I am intrigued. My iPad is my only portable computer at this point and anything that helps me do my work faster, I’m all for. The new home screen changes and multitasking stuff I think is going to be a godsend. I’m already trying to figure in my head what kind of widgets will work best for quick access. (I think a combination of Copied and Shortcuts will be a must for what I use most often. And that means I need to have different Shortcuts available in the widget than I do on my iPhone, so I’m hoping there’s a solution for that.)

    All the language stuff like SwiftUI and Catalyst look great for developers. I do very, very, very, very little iOS development, so this isn’t something I’ll probably use (although, I do want to learn more about it if I ever can find the time). It looks awesome.

    The loud noise notification for Apple Watch is one of those things that seems like “don’t you know when it’s loud,” but I think it’ll be a friendly reminder to put in earplugs at concerts. (I still recommend and use these.) The new Music app appears to be a new skin on iTunes without a bunch of the visual cruft, so that’s good for those that were worried about losing local libraries. One day I need to write about all the ways Apple Music on the Mac could be improved, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

    My take on the MacPro is that a lot of people are looking at it in the wrong way. This is not a computer for 99% of computer users. I owned the last MacPro cheese-grater, and it was an excellent computer. But, after moving to the 5K iMac a few years ago, I know now I don’t ever want to go back to owning a tower. And I don’t need the specs. I don’t think, for what I do, I even need the iMac Pro (although I want one). The MacPro is for the kind of people that need a ridiculously fast computer and are willing to spend the money to make that happen. Video editors, audio editors, and those things that take a lot of processing power are going to love this machine. But for the rest of us? It’s just not the right machine, and there’s no reason to spend that much money on it. We’re all much better served, in the desktop realm, with one of the variations of iMacs.

    The monitor is being pitched as comparable to some of the $15,000 and up “reference” monitors that high-end video editors use. And, compared to those, at only at $6,000, it’s a bargain! Holy hell is that expensive for a monitor. It looks incredible though. The kind of thing I lust after and couldn’t afford unless about 3,000 more people sign up to support the website.

    That’s my final takeaway of the entire MacPro and display: it’s lust-worthy, will deliver incredible performance, and is expensive as fuck. And it’s not the kind of computer most people, or even I, actually need. I’ll look at it from afar, or drool over it at the local Apple store, but I’m much better served with this gorgeous 5K iMac I sit in front of every single day. And, when the time comes for me to upgrade this machine, I’m almost certain I’ll be getting another iMac. This last year of iMac during the day, iPad Pro at night, has given me the best of both worlds. Two gorgeous screens. One big one that I sit at and work from most of the day, and one that I can carry with me around the house and still get a surprising amount of work done from wherever I am. Plus, the iPad Pro is the best browsing the website/Twitter while watching a baseball machine in existence.

    Some cool announcements from Apple this week, a packed-to-the-teeth keynote, and a lot of software updates I’m excited to play around with it the next few months. A success in my book.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • This week ended up putting me on a pretty big Paramore kick. Their run from Riot to After Laughter is almost silly in how good it is.

  • A kind internet citizen has been posting up vinyl rips of Bleachers’ Terrible Thrills, Vol 3 release. While I still really want a high-quality digital release of these songs, this will have to do for now. Some great stuff here and I’m especially drawn to the new version of “Everybody Lost Somebody” with Julien Baker. After following Jack Antonoff’s career for all these years, I love the artist that he’s become and the success he’s seen. Well deserved.

  • I listened to that new Remo Drive album, Natural, Everyday Degradation, and enjoyed it enough on first look. Kind of reminded me of Saves the Day in a few parts. Maybe the vocal melodies? It didn’t grab me enough to go back to it, but I’ll probably revisit it again in the future. Or it’ll fall way down my “Recently Added” section into obscurity. It really can go either way at this point.

  • The new song from Strung Out is giving me life. It’s everything I want from this band, and my excitement for this album is off the charts. They’ve been one of those bands I’ve loved for years but don’t write enough about. They keep putting out incredible music and this album, from what I’ve heard, sounds like exactly what I need right now. I am impatiently waiting for it to show up in my inbox.

  • I liked the new City and Colour song way more than I was expecting. This project has always been hit or miss for me, but this song felt like a bullseye. I’m curious to see what comes next, but this has my interest.

  • I gave the new Jonas Brothers’ album a listen this morning, and it’s got some good pop-songs on it. Nothing that completely “wowed” me, but it’s a good summer record. I’ll probably listen to it a few more times and forget it. (Random pop-group thought: I’ve found myself coming back to the last 5 Seconds of Summer album more than I expected.)

  • I’ve got the new albums from Much the Same and Oso Oso sitting in my inbox, and I plan to listen to both when I finish this. Hopefully, I’ll have more to say about those next week. (No Sum 41 advance this week, but I’ve been assured it’ll be coming “soon.”)

  • The new MUNA song is exciting; I love that groove, and their last album was one of my surprise finds in 2017. (Ended up sneaking in at #2 on my end of the year list.) I have high expectations for the follow-up.

  • While everyone seems to be concern trolling over Blink–182 and if their new single is successful (it is), or their tour is selling (prices seem too high), or if they’re doing the Enema of the State shows because they’re worried about tickets, I’m just over here glad they’re making music and touring at all. I guess with everything else I could be upset, or worried about, right now in 2019 … Blink–182 don’t even make my top 50. This band’s supposed to be about having fun and enjoying life, so why are so many of their fanbase always looking for a reason to be upset?

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The Kid Who Would Be King wasn’t a great movie, but it was what I always figured those Percy Jackson movies were going for. It was a movie made for kids that had enough heart and moments to work.

  • We tried to watch Netflix’s Rim of the World because that movie, on paper, should be right in my wheelhouse. We couldn’t make it more than 15 minutes in. Not good at all. However, since we were in the mood for some kinda kids meets aliens sort of movie, we watched Attack the Block and enjoyed it. It’s low budget, but well made and catches a couple of big names right before they had their break into their more known roles. Fun sci-fi movie.

  • Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe was a fun rom-com. I am a sucker for these kinds of movies, and that’s probably why Netflix keeps making them. Fun movie with some good jokes, nothing more, but nothing less.

  • We finished season two of The Bold Type and I liked it just as much as season one. The issues tackled were on point, the chemistry between the three leads is great, and the show continues to feel like a warm blanket to wrap up in after a day of hellfire.

  • After a recommendation from someone in the forums, I gave All American a shot on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of Friday Night Lights so I’m always willing to give anything someone says is in that vein a try. I’ve only watched four episodes so far, and it’s entertaining. The fish out of water story, going from one part of the city to the riches of Beverly Hills, all with a little bit of football mixed in. There’s a lot of drama already for only four episodes, but I like the main character, and I’m probably going to keep this as something I’ll throw on when Hannah is working late, and I want something to watch while browsing the internet.

  • I enjoyed the first episode of Swamp Thing. I thought it was well constructed, interesting characters, and had a few genuinely gross scenes. (The autopsy scene was fucked up.) However, it looks like it was just announced it’s been canceled already. Apparently, something to do with the AT&T/Time Warner merger ended up getting in the way. After the first episode, that sorta bums me out. I’ve got more than enough other things to watch, but this looked like it had promise. I’ll probably still watch this season and hope they don’t end on some cliffhanger.

  • I watched a couple of episodes of season two of Supergirl, and it continues to be a fun show. I like their take on Superman and thought the chemistry between the two actors was great. He nails the playfulness that I think other incarnations of the character have … let’s just say failed to capture in recent years.

  • I’m still working my way through all the WWDC podcasts, but of the ones I’ve listened to so far, I think “The Talk Show Live,” “The App Stories Interview with Craig Federighi,” and “ATP’s Live Episode” have been the most interesting.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • It was Hannah’s birthday yesterday, so we went out to eat at a Korean smokehouse and came home and ate way too many funfetti cupcakes. It turns out at 36 your stomach hates you the next morning when you do that.

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. Strung Out - Daggers

  2. City and Colour - Astronaut

  3. The Dangerous Summer - Starting Over/ Slow Down

  4. Jonas Brothers - Love Her

  5. MUNA - Number One Fan

  6. Paramore - Crushcrushcruch

  7. Bon Iver - U (Man Like)

  8. LAYNE - Leave It Now

  9. Blink–182 - Easy Target

  10. Dave Hause - Warpaint

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 theLordMangus in the “The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature (June 14, 2019)” thread.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Mine will be spent doing Hannah-birthday-things with family and friends, so prepare yourself for lots of Instagram stories with a beer in them.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.