Liner Notes (April 24th, 2020)

Beach Night

I’m here writing another newsletter, so I guess it’s Friday again. This week I look at the music I enjoyed throughout the week, including a nostalgic remembrance of Home Grown and a re-listen to Yellowcard’s discography. I also go through my usual media diet rundown, and there’s a playlist of ten songs worth your time. Also, I’ve started answering some questions via the newsletter, so if you have any of those you’d like me to tackle, let me know. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Two Things

  • This week was spent doing a whole lot of testing of the new website design on the staging server. We’re coming along. Optimization has been going well. One big part of bug testing for me is just spending days browsing around the site in various forms trying to find things that don’t work. Last night, randomly while watching TV, I noticed that some functionality seems to break quite badly when someone has a content blocker installed. I’m not sure why, so that will be what I’ll be working on for the rest of the day. Besides that, though, we’re getting very close to launch. I wrote up my explanation post yesterday and have my final to-do list all put together. Just need to do some more testing for bugs and edge cases, and then we’ll be ready to go. I’m excited. I can’t wait to share this with everyone.
  • My bookmarking app of choice, Raindrop, now has an Alfred Workflow. This is a great way to search your bookmarks using Alfred, and I’ve been using it all week. It’s a little slower than I’d like, but it’s good enough and has full-text search enabled to be able to find any of your bookmarks. This was the last thing I needed to be able to move away from Pinboard. Raindrop has been everything I could have hoped for in a bookmarking collection app and become an essential part of my workflow.
  • I shouldn’t have read all those iPad Magic Keyboard reviews. I need one.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I was asked on Twitter what my thoughts were of the new Knuckle Puck song, and what I thought about announcing a pre-order without putting out the actual release date. I’ll tackle that part first. Given everything that’s going on in the world right now, I understand not knowing when you’ll be able to release an album. For a lot of bands, they want to time releases with tours, tours are how they’re making a lot of their money, and building up attention around the new music leads to being able to tour on the songs, etc. And without being able to tour, releasing an album could relegate to a weird lost status with too much time passing before you can get out and play the songs. So this strategy makes sense and is better than having to postpone a release date, you can spend the time banking up pre-orders, hopefully keeping email addresses for tour announcements in the future, and then release the album when you have more information about what our whole “being around other people” situation looks like. It’s tough, though; we’re all just kind of trying to figure out what works best right now. As for the song, it sounds sonically better than their previous work, which was always a turn off for me. It’s still got this generic feeling for me without really having a hook that pulls me in and knocks me on my ass. I like the energy, but it wasn’t something I felt the need to listen to again. Honestly, it just made me wanna listen to Valencia’s This Could be a Possibility instead.
  • I’m not sure what got me on a huge Yellowcard kick this week, but I think it was Monday’s nice weather. It was sunny, it was warm, I was looking out at the park across the street and it made me think about summer. I did a discography dive throughout the week and was reminded just how great this band is. Southern Air is their under-appreciated masterpiece, and “Here I Am Alive” was the exact kind of pick-me-up track I needed to hear this week. Of course, now it’s raining and disgusting out today, so my summer pop-punk run probably needs to be put on hold for a few days.
  • Taurids is the new project from Will Pugh of Cartel. He released the full EP on Bandcamp a while back, but the single just hit streaming services today. It’s great to hear his voice again. The song has a real nice groove to it.
  • As I’ve written about in the past, I’ve been holding off on listening to the new The 1975 songs multiple times. I want to listen once to get a feel for them and then wait until I can hear the entire album to really dive in. I worry about overplaying before I can hear the album. However, I had to make an exception for the new single. I played that at least three times in a row. If the album has a few more like this, ohhh boy, that’ll be something.
  • This Cheap Cuts song featuring Pete Wentz doing a … spoken word? … feature is more fun than it has any right to be. I didn’t think I’d ever listen to it a second time, but then I was humming it around the kitchen this morning, and it may be a sneaky earworm.
  • Bad Suns’ new single is better than anything on their last album. I was completed disappointed with that album, and when I tried to go back to it a few weeks ago, I couldn’t even make it through. This is back in line with what I like from these guys.
  • I saw that Manchester Orchestra started a Patreon where they’ll be sharing unreleased music, updates, and other exclusive stuff with fans. I am willing to bet we’re going to see a whole lot more of that shortly from artists. I’m interested to see what the price for all of these ends up settling at. This one feels high, but you really only need a small group of your die-hard fans to buy in if you set it higher. I wish more revenue from streaming music went to the artists, I can’t afford to sign up for a whole bunch of these, but I’d love if more of the money I paid to Apple each month for my streaming plan went directly to the artists I was listening to.
  • Weekly Nostalgia: This week I want to highlight one of my favorite pop-punk bands growing up, Home Grown. I contend that Kings of Pop is as good of a pop-punk record from their era as any, and has fallen out of the memories and conversation when we talk about the best of that time. The opening track is incredible and never fails to get me pumped up. There was a time when I thought these guys had a chance to really blow up, but they just never seemed to catch the same wave as some younger baby-faced bands. Still, this album holds up. So, if you’ve never heard of it before, and the weather doesn’t look like it does outside of my window right now, turn it on, turn it up, and pretend you’re in sunny California.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Because we don’t have enough things to stress about, we watched Uncut Gems last weekend. It’s a good movie, a great (if not maybe a tad overrated) performance from Adam Sandler, but I have zero interest in ever seeing this again. It was just a downer the entire time and I abhorred the characters. I’ve re-watched Good Times, which I think was a far superior film, and I’ll let this just be that movie we watched that one time when we couldn’t go outside and expel the anxious energy aftward.
  • Our entire week was spent between two shows. The first is Netflix’s Outer Banks. Think The OC, with somehow more drama, meets The Goonies. It’s so over the top dramatic, with twists, and turns, and romance, and fights, and if you like that kinda thing, which I do, it’s perfect binge TV. We’ve got one left. We’ll finish it tonight.
  • The other show we’ve been watching is The Leftovers. I’ve seen it before, and it remains one of my favorite shows of the past few years, especially the second and third seasons. However, Hannah has never seen it before (I watched it alone during the period we had to do long-distance). It was entirely her idea to re-watch this, even after I warned of how dark it can get. Maybe there’s something about watching these post-apocalyptic stories during our weird timeline that is appealing, but I’m drawn to them too. We watched the entire first season this week. It still holds up and I forgot just how fucked up some of that first season gets. I’m incredibly excited to start season two tonight, one of my favorite seasons of TV in some time, and to see the look on Hannah’s face when it starts.
  • I’ve been continuing my new routine of stopping work at around 6 pm every night and reading for an hour. I read all of Dennis Lehane’s Since We Fell and enjoyed it. I’ve read, I think, everything he’s ever written. Some I like more than others, and I’d say this is toward the upper tier of his work, but not in the classic tier. Definitely a good, easy to read, quarantine-pass-the-time read.
  • After finishing Since We Fell, none of the books I had on hold at the library were ready yet. So, I googled “books like Perks of Being a Wallflower” because I wanted some sort of coming of age book. One of the first recommended, that was available at the library right now, was a book called Twisted. I hated it. I didn’t have anything else to read, so I just read it anyway. I’ve read better writing in our forums.
  • Thankfully, after finishing that trash, one of the books I had on hold, Truly Devious, became available. Now this Young Adult candy for the brain is very much what I was looking for. Teenage murder mystery spanning multiple timelines with a young Veronica Mars-like detective? Sign me up. I think I’m a little over 60% of the way done with this one so far, and I’ve been loving every second of getting lost in it. I’ve already got the next two on hold at the library to read next. I could pass the days reading stuff like this until I’m old and gray; it’s my perfect distraction.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • It’s probably not just me, but all of my Instagram ads are versions of face coverings or brass button pushers, and it’s quite dystopian. I ordered a three-pack of cotton masks from Los Angeles Apparel because I wanted something that felt tighter around the face, and wore this on our weekly grocery trip this morning. I’m getting more used to wearing a mask outside, and at least this one lets me feel like a ninja.
  • My fitness habits are a mess. I’m still working out each day, but it feels unsatisfactory. I’ve gained some weight. Which is to be expected when you’re doing things like splitting a box of Cheez-Its on a random Tuesday. Hannah and I have decided we have to stop buying the extra snacks and focusing on one or two additional things we’d like each weekend instead. Popcorn and fruits and veggies need to be the snacks during the week and then we can have more freedom on the weekends. If we don’t try and put some structure in it just becomes a free for all. The big thing I miss is our Sunday tradition. We’d always clean up the house and then get food at one of our favorite places in town, Laughing Planet, which had food that always felt more healthy than your regular fast food. They have really good bowls full of real foods and veggies. We’re going to try to make our salad bowl things this Sunday instead, you know, to start the week out right. We’ll see how it goes. Given everything else going on right now, I’m cutting myself a lot of slack, but I don’t want to build bad habits up again.

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. The 1975 – If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)
  2. Taurids – Chaos
  3. Yellowcard – Here I Am Alive
  4. Hayley Williams – Dead Horse
  5. Wanderer – Runaway
  6. Nightly – The Movies
  7. Live Lounge Allstars – Times Like These
  8. Bad Suns – I’m Not Having Any Fun
  9. Bright Eyes – Forced Convalescence
  10. The English Beat – March of the Swivel Heads

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 KidLightning in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for reading.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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