Liner Notes (September 25th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter has some thoughts on the new version of iOS and what I like (and don’t like) about it so far. There are also thoughts on music out this week (Poppy, One Step Closer, Third Eye Blind) and commentary on other bands I enjoyed this week (Joystick, Catbite, Heathcliff), as well as my usual running views on media. Plus, a playlist of ten songs worth your time and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Few Things

  • This week saw the release of new iPhones, which means it’s the yearly “do I or don’t I upgrade to the new iOS on day 1” debate. Last year, I knew iOS 14 was rough, but I wanted to play with the new widgets. This year, there’s not a huge feature I wanted to play with, but basically everyone I trust has said iOS 15 got itself to a good place in the betas, so I installed it. So far, there are a few bugs, but by and large, it’s just fine to upgrade. I didn’t get a new phone this year, but Hannah did. I’ve only had about 5 minutes total to play with it, but I was immediately blown away by the screen. I took a couple of photos as well, and yeah, the camera is as good as advertised. I have a little jealously, but I think I’m ok getting one more year out of my 11 Pro. There just wasn’t anything that spoke to me as a must get year, and I have no complaints with my current device. New OS, new case, and it’ll feel fresh for a little while anyway. Last night, I poured myself a drink, tossed on some mood music, and read all of Federico Viticci’s iOS review. If you’re going to read one review, this is the one. It’s always exhaustive, and every single year I discover things I didn’t know. I highly recommend it. So far, iOS 15 on the iPad has been excellent because I can finally put widgets on the home screen. I’m a big widget fan. It just works with how I like to use my devices. The first “wow” feature was when I used Live Text. It was one of those “holy shit; I can’t believe I can do this” moments. I’m giving the new Safari a chance. I think I like the iPhone version with the bar at the bottom, but I don’t like the color tinting on the iPad version. And the tab look is just bad. I can get used to new muscle memory, and being able to swipe between tabs and refresh with one hand is great. But I can’t get used to ugly. And the tabs on the iPad are ugly. I plan to use the new version for a while to see if I need to tweak anything on the website. The main site seems just fine, but the forums make me wonder if I need to make getting to the top of the page and navigation a little easier because that’s all even more difficult to reach now. Something I’ll need to think about. One very clear win is the addition of Safari Extensions. The 1Password extension is everything I could possibly want it to be. Amplosion was an instabuy for me; I hate AMP websites so much. I also grabbed Noir, which makes pages use a “dark mode” when your device is in the dark theme. (I use Dark Reader for the Mac to do the same thing.) And lastly, Achoo lets you view the HTML source of a website. This is an essential part of using a browser for me, especially if I’m doing any design work. I can’t wait to explore even more extensions over the next few months, and I’m still trying to decide how I want to use the new “focus” modes. All in all: iOS 15 gets my thumbs up so far. (I’m not touching the next version of macOS for a while if they don’t fix Safari, though.)

  • I read this article that made me feel old this week, and so now I am obligated to share it, so all of you feel old too. You’re welcome.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Hmm, ok, am I too old to be going through a ska phase? I’m not sure exactly how I got down this rabbit hole, but I checked out the new album from Joystick and was immediately hooked. It reminds me of being 16 and discovering a new band that was just full of promise, angst, and all of that energy comes through in every song. The album has a little grit; it’s raw but full of these ska-punk songs that make me want to jump around like an idiot. With that, I also recommend the latest album from Catbite. And the new ones from We are the Union and Flying Raccoon Suit are also worth your time. And, lastly, keep an eye on Bite Me Bambi; they have something brewing over there. Anyway, yeah, I don’t know what kicked it off, but I’ve been listening to more music than I have in a long time recently. My passion for music never really went away, but it definitely felt duller to me than it used to be. The scene itself was depressing me, and I just wasn’t feeling the same pull to discover new stuff or listen to old classics. Days would go by where I never even hit play on anything. It was kinda weird. Maybe it was Turnstile that kicked me out of that rut because music is back, baby. Wolf howl!

  • Another week with the new Noah Gundersen, and I am comfortable in saying this is my favorite album of his since Ledges. I cannot stop playing it. It is the perfect late-night, moving into fall/autumn album, and it walks the singer-songwriter mixed with just enough pop sensibility. “The Coast” destroys me every time I hear it. God damn, can this dude write a song.

  • I was pleasantly surprised by the new album from Poppy, called Flux, which came out on Friday. I liked the previous release but had to be in a particular mood to want to listen to it. This is much more accessible while still maintaining a level of uniqueness.

  • One Step Closer released one of the better hardcore albums I’ve heard this year, and it will be added immediately into my gym rotation.

  • Third Eye Blind’s new album … is either boring or will be something I’ll come back to in a month or two and enjoy more after listening to it late at night when it’s snowing outside. I don’t know; I can’t shake this feeling that some of these songs are just a little too half-baked.

  • The new Laura Jane Grace EP was a nice little surprise this week. “Lolo 13” is unlike anything we’ve heard from her in a while and really impressed me. Very good little EP.

  • I am not surprised that Angels & Airwaves is getting as positive a response as I’ve seen online. Almost every post about it I see is full of praise, and that was virtually my exact reaction to it. It’s easily my favorite thing Tom’s done since Blink, and while it’s not perfect, it’s fun, and while there are complaints to have, they’re easy to ignore. Credit where credit is due. Good shit.

  • There were a couple of days where I went on a bit of punk streak this week. The Copyrights new album isn’t out for a bit, but it’s quite good. If you have not checked out Chaser yet, they released one of my favorite skate punk albums in ages this year. The latest Authority Zero album is exactly what’s printed on the bottle, and my favorite discovery this week was a German band called Heathcliff. Their latest album is Stay Posi, and it’s full of some fast-paced rippers. Hell, who doesn’t want a punk cover of Iron Maiden?

  • In the old favorites category, I listened to a lot of Jimmy Eat World (Invented and Chase This Light are underrated, “Open Bar Reception” and “Dizzy” still make me cry). MxPx’s acoustic album has become something I turn to pretty often lately. I think it’s the different spin on songs I’ve heard often, but I like these renditions. And then there was a day of Blink–182 listening and a day of going through a bunch of Pennywise. You know, as you do.

  • For the late night, I’ve had on the new one from Andrew Belle and the latest from Hayley Williams. Every time I listen to that record, I fall for it just a bit more. (And of course, Noah.)

  • Did you know that like ten years ago Ben Jorgensen of Armor for Sleep released a solo album? Yeah, that was a thing I discovered this week that had gone completely under my radar, and I don’t know how I, of all people, didn’t know this existed—fun little time capsule.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 74 different artists and 611 different tracks. The most listened to album was once again Turnstile’s Glow On, and the most listened to band was Blink–182 (who beat out Jimmy Eat World by six songs). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We finished Clickbait, and my prediction was correct. Economy of characters mixed with a clear red-herring mixed with my mom telling me the twist had a double twist made me see the strings a little too early. It felt very mainstream networky, and I can see why it’s so popular.

  • Next up, we’re doing The Chair, which is giving Hannah higher-education flashbacks, and the internal bureaucratic politics makes me anxious. It’s good so far, and I’m enjoying the tight runtime of each episode.

  • Episode nine of Titans was my favorite of this season. I missed those characters and hope we get more of them as the season progresses. And, I’ve started watching the third season, finally, of Young Justice. I just had not had time but am enjoying where they’ve taken all these characters.

  • It’s taking a lot of willpower, but I am going to wait for all of Y: The Last Man to air before watching. I want to see it all together, and I’ve waited this long.

  • The last two episodes of Ted Lasso have been everything.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I have the place to myself today. Hannah has to work all day setting up a concert, so I’m just taking it easy around the house. Going to go order myself a pizza and binge some cartoons. You know, like an adult.

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. Anberlin - Two Graves

  2. Heathcliff - Bff

  3. Joystick! - Detonate

  4. Poppy - Lessen the Damage

  5. Catbite - Call Your Bluff

  6. Lil Nas X - Lost in the Citadel

  7. Angels & Airwaves - Automatic

  8. Laura Jane Grace - Lolo 13

  9. One Step Closer - Lead to Gray

  10. Spiritbox - Circle With me

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.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.