Liner Notes (August 16th, 2019)

This was a fun one.

In this week’s newsletter, I offer first impressions on new albums from The Early November, Somos, Grayscale, and Refused. There are also some comments on a bunch of other music, my weekly media diet rundown, and the usual random other thoughts. And, we close out with a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. (If Somos were out on streaming services right now, I’d probably have led with “Iron Heel.”) This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Review: Oso Oso – Basking in the Glow

Oso Oso Album Art

My first thought when I heard “The View” – the second track on Basking in the Glow but first in earnest, with a full band and a chorus (the latter of which will prove to be very important on this record) – was that it sounds like it’s from 2003. A pop-punk song from 2003; from a major label band, and a song that would have stuck. We’d still know all the words today.

I guess whether this is a compliment or not depends on your feelings about 00s mall punk, but I absolutely mean it as one. More importantly, it seems that Jade Lilitri – the man behind Oso Oso – would take it as one, or at least isn’t afraid of hearing it. The harmonies, the bouncy chorus, the bridge that drops into half-time, they all feel crafted with such deliberate nostalgia, reverence even, for that era of punk. That’s the common musical thread of the record, all the way through – I hear, at different times, flashes of Dashboard Confessional, Saves The Day, All-American Rejects. (These are less cool influences than the ones I’ve seen critics assign to Oso Oso in the past, like Death Cab For Cutie and Built To Spill; then again, the way that nostalgia cycles means a whole generation listening to this is probably more attracted to the former than the latter.) Perhaps oxymoronically, though, it doesn’t feel like we’ve heard it before – it’s not a copycat, and most of the time you can’t pin it down to whom exactly it sounds like. It would have been an entry in the canon of that time in its own right, and it deserves the same in its own time too.

Why Music Isn’t a Top-Two Category on Patreon (Yet)

I found this conversation between Wyatt Jenkins, SVP of product at Patreon, and Cherie Hu of the Water & Music podcast absolutely fascinating:

So what Patreon is is a membership platform. And what that means as a patron, as someone who is a fan of a musician, is you are a part of that tribe. You have an inside view, you get the merch first, you get to understand what songs are coming out later, you can have creative input — those are all the kinds of things that happen in a membership that’s fundamentally different than a subscription. Back to what we’re trying to define here: we are defining membership on the web as a way to deliver really unique value to fans.

They do a deep dive into the music industry, where it’s going, and how musicians could better use platforms like Patreon to build meaningful connections with fans.

PVRIS – “Hallucinations” Video

PVRIS have dropped a video for their new song “Hallucinations.” The band also talked to Alt. Press about the new song and what’s coming next:

Gunn assures that more new PVRIS music is “guaranteed” to come within the next year. “It’s just a matter of when,” she says. “Absolutely within the next year. There’s a lot of new stuff coming.” As per usual, these songs will demonstrate that trademark PVRIS diversity. “No one song is going to be similar to the other,” Gunn says. “So [fans should] keep their ears peeled for a few different flavors.”

The band will release a new EP on October 25th, and a full-length early next year. The song is also up on all streaming services.