Liner Notes (April 17th, 2020)

Friday already, huh? This week’s newsletter has thoughts on new music, my favorite things I saw online this week, and a rundown of my quarantine media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here. I hope everyone is staying safe out there.

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Three Things

  • My dad got me a new Kindle for my birthday this year and I have been reading on it all week (I passed down my old one to Hannah, and she’s very excited). I’ve written before about how surprised I was at how much I love reading on the Kindle, and the new version’s no different. It’s great. The flat screen is a nice improvement, but the surface seems to be much more prone to fingerprints. I also don’t love that the word “Kindle” is in white at the bottom, and not black like on the previous version. It’s usually covered up by my thumb while reading, but alas.
  • Some stuff I think is worth looking at this week include this essay about how we’re not ready for the ultimate gaslighting we’re about to face, Adam Ellis’s great comics on Instagram, this video about how epidemics of the past have been represented in music, and these virtual tours of 12 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
  • This week was mostly spent in front of a terminal window. I have moved into the staging process for the new website design, and that means spinning up a new server, installing updates, installing dependencies, installing more updates, trying to figure out why something is all of a sudden broken, rinse, repeat. But, I now have the new website design (mostly) running on a staging server, and I’m optimizing and squashing new bugs. I’m, overall, delighted with how everything is coming out. Just playing around with the mobile version yesterday, and I had one of those moments where I felt real pride in my work. Still, a lot more to do, and quite a bit of testing before I’m ready to launch, but I am proud of the final product. It feels very me, and it’s the kind of website I’ve always wanted to build.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Wooooooow does this new Fiona Apple album go in. It’s one of the more creative, dense, and utterly original sounding records I’ve heard in a long time. A whole lot is going on, but at its core, it’s walking this creative and personal line in a way I haven’t heard in quite a while. It’s not what I would call instantly accessible, but there’s something wholly captivating in the songs. Take something like “Relay,” which is incredibly catchy, and how it shape-shifts throughout the song. This is an album that feels hard to pull out single songs to listen to and feels built for a full album experience. At the same time, it’s a whole lot. I’m going to love exploring this more over the next week.
  • Lauv has put up a bunch of acoustic takes, remixes, and “extras” from his recent album. I’m a big fan of that “I’m So Tired…” stripped version and there’s some other good stuff here too.
  • I’m liking the new A Day to Remember track more than I expected. I’ve always liked the band’s more poppy side in the first place, so this blends that world well.
  • All Time Low’s Japanese bonus track, “I Hate That For You,” continues the band’s hot streak. I don’t know if I’d replace anything on the album with it, but it’s a damn nice little tune.
  • I’m having a tough time coming back to Butch Walker’s new album. It’s never something that I want to put on and listen to, and at the same time, I haven’t heard enough of it to know what songs I’d want to pull out and experience. It’s not a fun listen. And maybe with everything else going on right now, that’s why I don’t feel like listening to it, I don’t want to be in the headspace the album often finds itself. This is one I’ll need to revisit again at some point.
  • I like the new Jamie XX song “Idontknow” and wouldn’t mind getting a new album this project.
  • The version of Blink-182’s “I Really Wish I Hated You” featuring Miley Cyrus leaked. And, I don’t hate it. I don’t think it does much more for me compared to the original, but the harmony is nice.
  • New Found Glory pushed back their album release. I feel bad for all these bands in this spot because without being able to tour behind the album, it feels like everyone’s just stuck in this weird limbo.
  • I randomly put on Eve 6’s Horrorscope this week. That album holds up surprisingly well. I’ve always loved the wordplay in the lyrics, and they all came back instantly.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We followed last week’s underwater adventure with Sea Fever this week. I’m always down for a good “weird shit is happening on a boat” movie. This is a little more of a slow burn, but it’s good, and the message of the ending feels oddly timely.
  • I gotta say, Emma was a great remake of Clueless.
  • I am not sure what brought us to watching The Wandering Earth one evening, but we did. It was fine. Some beautiful scenes interrupted by over the top Fast and Furious action with a pretty one-dimensional protagonist that I never got around to liking.
  • The first, I dunno, one-third of Like a Boss was funny enough that we felt like we were in too far by the time it got atrociously bad. So we powered through. I’ve already deleted the memory from my brain.
  • Someone in the Q&A thread said that Fantasy Island, with its whopping 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, wasn’t as bad as the score. Not-quite-that-bad-bad-teenage-horror is sometimes a genre I can pass the time with. Uh. The “twist” at the end of this movie had me on the floor laughing. It might be one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. The movie’s own internal logic is so twisted and convoluted it rivals Lucy Hale’s dye job in the film.
  • The final episode of Devs aired this week, and I wouldn’t say I was disappointed by the ending, but I think it left open too many questions that it just decided not to answer. It’s a good show, worth your time, but it doesn’t quite get to the level of other “prestige” dramas of the past few years. It did have the unfortunate timing of being the first thing we watched after Mr. Robot, which I just think was on a whole other level.
  • Run stars two actors I like and was written by Vicky Jones, a frequent collaborator of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. So, this was high up on my anticipated list. It’s a show I wish I could binge. I’d have already finished the entire thing if I didn’t have to wait. I think I’m going to be in on this, but I need a few more to see how it shakes out.
  • Of course we started watching Outer Banks on Netflix. This kind of stupid show is Jason-quarantine-catnip.
  • What We Do in the Shadows is back! This is probably the funniest show we’ve watched in the past few years, and the one I quote the most often to looks from friends and family of “what the hell are you talking about?” More people need to see this show; it’s excellent! And I need more people to understand my “and now I’m a wizard” references.
  • Months later, and I have finally finished The Stand. I started this riiiiiight before the whole pandemic thing because I’d never read it before, and then the world went to shit, and then it was awkward to read for a while, then it gets really slow in the middle, but then it picks up and has a pretty solid ending. I’m glad I read it, I liked most of the characters, and it was a nice distraction for a little while. Damn long.
  • After The Stand, I felt I should break up the reading with a bit of non-fiction. I went with Creative Selection from a former Apple employee who worked on the original iPhone and was responsible for the keyboard, amongst other things. This, compared to my last book, was a breeze to read. I finished it last night. There’s a lot of good lessons in here about “the Apple way” that I found interesting. Still, the best parts were the behind-the-scenes discussions of the technical problems faced and how they pushed through, often by luck, usually by pure grit and determination and just continuing forward no matter what. Some of it got a little too Business School for me, but I’m glad I read it.
  • My next book is determined by what shows up first from my holds list at the library. It looks like it’ll be fiction of some sort.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I will never want to know what the before/after quarantine photos of my liver look like.
  • I miss the gym. I miss not having anxiety walking around a grocery store. I miss listening to music via speakers during the day. I miss sitting down at a restaurant and having a beer, the sounds of people around, and enjoying a hot meal. I miss Super Deluxe, and Justa Pasta, and Papi Chulos. I miss seeing my family in person. I miss wandering around the city aimlessly on a Saturday. I miss a somewhat competent government, a retirement account, and not seeing multiple jaw-dropping insane push notifications each day.

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. Eve 6 – Rescue
  2. A Day to Remember – Mindreader
  3. The Living End – Too Young to Die
  4. John K Samson – Millennium for All
  5. Trace Mountains – Lost in the Country
  6. Bon Iver – PDLIF
  7. Jamiexx – Idontknow
  8. Ruston Kelly – Brave
  9. Lauv – I’m So Tired (Stripped)
  10. Fiona Apple – Relay

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 Justin Roux in the “Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (June 19, 2020)” thread.

It looks like the weather is starting to get a little warmer here. I’m looking forward to more nights on my balcony; some warm fresh air sounds divine right about now.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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