Friday Thoughts (August 31st, 2018)


I thought the new format for these “Friday Thoughts” worked really well last week, so I’m going to use it again this week. They’ve slowly been becoming longer and more fleshed out. Not quite a weekly newsletter yet, but almost.

This week looks at new music from Alkaline Trio, Pale Waves, Young the Giant, The Night Game, and more.

Three Things

  • The new Alkaline Trio album is out this week. I did a full first impression/first listen for it. The album ended up leaking right in the middle of my writing about it, which was kinda funny. It’s a good album and I think fans will be happy with it.
  • I tossed out a random thought on Twitter about if the mainstream music world would swing back to guitar based “rock” music again in the future. The mainstream music cycle has usually had a return to that kind of “sound” once a decade or so, but it doesn’t really seem to be leaning that way. The low guitar sales and ease of creating music electronically may mean that cycle is dead once and for all. I like to imagine, and romanticize, the idea of someone picking up a guitar and changing the world again at some point.
  • Today’s the last day of August, so it’s the final day of the month where I tried to highlight getting people to sign up as supporters. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone reading this for being a supporting member of this website and making it possible for me to do what I do. This past month has seen a good uptick in subscriptions and it meant I could spend a little more time writing these past few weeks. It’s felt great. I want to do more of that. I’m not sure what the next year is going to entail quite yet, but I have some options to get us to where we need to be. Running a business is hard, but thanks to all of you, it’s a whole lot less stressful than it could be. So, thank you, sincerely.

Music Thoughts

This week brought quite a few new album advances. I wrote up some quick thoughts on a few of them after my first listen and I’ll link to those posts below for those that missed them. I went back into a Lagwagon deep dive this week. Not sure what sparked it, but I just felt like revisiting their entire discography.

  • As I expected, the new Young the Giant album is growing on me with every listen. His voice is just so good that I can’t help but be drawn to it. I think the album’s a little long and there’s still some songs that don’t quite do it for me, but as a whole, it’s something I think I’ll continue to dive into as the weather gets colder. I plan to try and write something more substantial about this one before it’s released.
  • I am blown away by how much I like The Night Game’s new album. It comes out next week, which means it’ll probably leak at some point soon, but I hope to write some kind of review about it next week. I just feel like I want to get some of my thoughts down about how this album acts almost like a flip through an old yearbook. I find myself thinking about my past and who I was and who I once thought I would be. I’ve got a lot about this one I want to say, it’s hitting me just right. (I still don’t like the last song.)
  • I’ve only spun the new Pale Waves album twice now, but I’ve enjoyed both listens. At times the songs run together for me, and I was hoping for more diversity, but there’s some real standouts. “She” and “Red” are just really good songs. I think the album as a whole could have used a little more editing, and I don’t find it as instantly accessible/catchy/earworm as the Fickle Friends album. But, the band sounds good, the vocals are solid, and there’s some good songwriting here. I plan to do some more writing on this one in the next few weeks as well.
  • I spun the new Tash Sultana album while posting news this morning and really enjoyed it. I will need to spend some more time with it.
  • That new Matthew Theissen album sounds good from what I’ve heard as well. I only got through a few of the songs, but it’s something I could see myself listening to a lot in the fall. His lyrics kinda crack me up. He pulls it off though. This just feels like something I’ll enjoy listening to when it starts to rain in a few more weeks.
  • Troye Sivan’s new album was a fun first listen. It feels like a step up from his last album.
  • I listened to maybe a handful of the new Eminem songs. They aren’t good. He might as well just be rapping a random word generator because what he’s saying is just as meaningless. He feels so irrelevant and so clearly mad that that’s the case.
  • The new No Rome EP is quite good. Definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
  • Next up to listen to today: Big Red Machine, Iron & Wine, Muncie Girls, and Gang of Youths (after reading a recommendation in the Q&A thread earlier this week I added it to my library).

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I finished The Obstacle is the Way this week. I’m trying to rotate between fiction and non-fiction, and making myself finish my non-fiction books before I start a new novel. The new novel I wanted to read came in from the library on Tuesday, so that was good motivation to finish this one up. I ended up really liking it. It’s not well written, but I think it’s a very good introduction to stoicism. It does a good job breaking things down into a modern lens and I found it easy to read and instantly applicable. My highlights are on Goodreads.
  • Next up to read is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It’s a pretty massive book, but I’m looking forward to getting lost in a fictional world for a little bit.
  • I just saw that the new Amazon Jack Ryan show downloaded to Plex. I hope to find some time to watch that in the next few days. I always liked the character, I like Jim from The Office, so it seems like a good way to waste a few evenings. (I have the Amazon Prime app on the Apple TV, but I’ve found it doesn’t keep track of where I left off very well. I’m in the middle of the Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary, and it’ll forget I’ve watched 30-40 minutes sometimes. So, that’s why I stick to my favorite way to watch anything: Plex.)
  • Sidebar: The new TV has been fucking incredible. We’re so happy with it.
  • Chappaquiddick was good, not great. Some good performances and they did a good job telling the story, I think. What a fucking weird story, what a fucking weird period of time. I like to think “no way would he get away with that today” — but then I think about all the movies and TV shows that can come from this era, and no way people are going to believe all this shit in 20 years. So, what do I know.
  • Summer of ’84 was a fun watch. Thanks to David for that recommendation. A thriller set in the ’80’s is definitely right in my wheelhouse. The ending was darker than I expected. As a whole, it was a good watch though. Acting was a little rough, but if what you want is a throwback to that period of time, it did it well. It’s interesting to watch people of my generation, or a little older, starting to make entertainment that throws back to our childhoods. From Stranger Things, to Ready Player One, to something like this … at some point it’ll become too much, but for now, I’m still enjoying them.
  • The new HBO version of Fahrenheit 451 was enjoyable. It’s not great, but I’ll watch anything Michael B. Jordan is in at this point and I thought he did a good job. I was ok with the changes from the book were alright, they didn’t bother me as much as they seemed to bug other people.
  • We’ve been watching random It’s Always Sunny episodes again at night. Just hitting shuffle and picking a random one. That show is pure gold. I’m looking forward to the new season.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Wedding planning has officially started. It has as project in my task manager, so, that means it’s official. We’re still going to take our time, but we’ve got a better idea of a budget now, and we’re slowly putting some ideas together. Hannah’s Pinteresting like it’s her job.
  • As soon as I get a little more work done, it’s “clean the closet and storage unit” day. It’s the only way we have coming up where we can maybe get this done and our main closet, here in my office, is getting out of hand. This is the most adult thing I’ve ever typed.
  • Down 18.6 lbs since we started the diet thing (about 80 days ago). This was my smallest week-to-week drop in a while. Probably a combination of doing more strength conditioning and lifting this week compared to cardio. Not bad, hoping to drop this last 1.4 lbs in the next few weeks though. Then I can evaluate how I feel and what the next steps are.
  • This weekend is some family stuff and the awkward budget/money talks with family. Fun. Next week on the website I am going to look at what the supporter “drive” did last month and evaluate what the next steps are in being a business. Also fun. I have a couple bugs to fix and then I’ll be looking at new features to add to the forums.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.