Liner Notes (April 9th, 2022)

This week’s newsletter has thoughts on trying a new “Day’s Over” focus mode on iOS, some first impressions of the new Cold Years album, and random thoughts on other entertainment I consumed over the past week. Plus, a playlist of ten songs I loved and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Ever since the debut of the new “Focus” modes on iOS, I’ve been searching for a way they would work well for me. I have a simple “Work” one that I use during the day that shuts off most notifications from apps that aren’t work-related, but I knew I wanted something more. This week I finally came up with a new use case. Each night, at around 8:30 pm, Hannah and I sit down and watch something on TV. I wanted to create a Focus mode called “Day Over” that changes up my home screen to be more related to what I need, and more specifically don’t need, at the end of my day. I wanted to remove distracting social media apps and put my TV tracking app more central. Here’s my current “Day Over” screen. I have Things behind the top widget, just like on my regular home screen, and MyNetDiary behind the bottom right photo widget. There’s quick access to Messages, tracking apps, and my alarm, but virtually nothing else. I’ve paired this with Downtime to limit my use of certain apps from 8:30 until the next morning. Specifically, not allowing the use of Discogs or eBay. Because a couple of drinks and then going vinyl shopping is a habit I should not have! And I want to spend less time on my phone in general—less time on social media. The only real flaw is Downtime has a few weird mannerisms. I don’t like that it blanket blocks every website and you need to “allow” access. I wish you could allowlist Safari the same way you can other apps. However, I do like at 8:30 each evening my phone shifting to this home screen automatically. It’s a reminder not to mindlessly scroll Twitter or Instagram, and the first week with this automation and change, I’d call it a success.
  • IconFactory updated CandyBar to continue to work with current operating systems. If you like customizing your Mac icons, this is a very cool utility.
  • Every few years, I rediscover this quote from Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, and feel inspired once again: “Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • My favorite reviews that I’ve written over the years are the ones where I have an opening line early. This one, this one, and this one were all cases of me listening to an album and having a very specific opening line come to me. And then the theme of the whole review spawned from there. It’s usually a good sign because it means I very clearly know what I want to say about an album. About mid-way through the week, I had a line shoot into my head for the upcoming Cold Years album, Goodbye to Misery, and over the past two nights, I started working on a review. It still needs a little work and needs some editing, but since I am going to post a full review, I’m going to hold back on my first impressions. I’m going to save the review to post on the Thursday before the album release, so April 21st. That way, I can focus the next week on giving A Wilhelm Scream’s new album some love and then share the review right before the album is available for everyone to hear. But, I do have a little sneak peek for newsletter readers. First, the album’s fucking incredible. If that’s all you want to know before reading the review and hearing the album in two weeks, you can skip ahead. But, here’s a first-impression-like paragraph from the review: “I’ve always used music as a metric of remembrance, with periods in my life defined by the albums I was listening to. But it goes further than that. At the core, music is what we have long used to tell our stories. To pass down the legacy, the learnings, the trials, and the current mindset from one generation to another. You can listen to music and hear the pain, hear the joy, hear the triumphs, and feel the defeats. It’s a way to mark our personal lives and a way to build milestones of collective memory. And Goodbye to Misery is an album that could only have been birthed from the well of COVID. An album that paints the state of the world with an American Idiot like clarity and mirrors a generational attitude back through the speakers. And it’s done with a maturity and grace far beyond expectations for a band on just their sophomore release.“ Ummm, yeah, you could say I like it. Get ready.
  • I checked out the new Father John Misty album yesterday and don’t have many thoughts on it. It seemed like perfectly passable background music, but not an album that made me sit up and pay attention. I’ll probably give it another spin in an upcoming late night.
  • Jedha is the new electronic project from Ryan Key and Ryan Mendez (formerly Yellowcard). They released a new EP yesterday, and if you’re looking for something in the same sort of world as Tycho or Bonobo, this is it. Very vibe-y. I am enjoying watching Ryan explore various other sounds and moods because he’s just so damn talented.
  • I also spent some time with The Stereo’s new album, Thirteen (due out May 13th), and they did pick right up where they left off. They’ve always been one of those bands that are the favorite band of your favorite band, and they deliver a really solid pop-rock record. It’s one of those just tried and true, straightforward pop-rock albums that don’t get made that much anymore.
  • I’ve only had time to give the new Vince Staples album one spin so far, but I was into it. Liked it more than his last on the first listen and am looking forward to spending more time with it.
  • This week, I also started going backward through mewithoutYou’s catalog. There’s such an interesting and unique band, but I always forgot about how much I like them until I put on one of their records and have one of those “ohhh yeah, these guys are great!” I also ended up playing through a bunch of New Found Glory records. They’re such a fun band and the weather this week had me itching for that classic pop-punk sound. (Of course, now it’s the weekend and raining.) I am going to need a Sticks and Stones re-press, and let’s get a Catalyst pressing while we’re at it! Clapping hands meme: press more New Found Glory records.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 27 different artists and 402 different tracks (691 scrobbles). My most played artist of the week was Cold Years, duh, and the most played album, by a healthy margin, was their new one, Goodbye to Misery. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I liked the Taylor Tomlinson Netflix special. Some good laughs, hit a little close to home on some of the bits, and it was well done. There are worse ways to spend a night. Such as …
  • We turned off The Kings Man about halfway through. It was just boring. I thought there was supposed to be action scenes? Instead, it’s weird shit mixed into supposed real history? It didn’t work at all for me, and I usually will power through most anything we start.
  • Season one of Atlanta was incredible, season two is just as good. We’re about halfway through the second season now, and I’m enthralled.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Baseball is back! Opening day was on Thursday, and I’m spending this afternoon writing on the iPad on the couch with a game on. There’s just something about the sounds of the game that bring joy to my heart. I’m once again reminded of the monologue from Ken Burns documentary, which reads in part: “It is played everywhere. In parks and playground and prison yards. In back alleys and farmers fields. By small children and by old men. By raw amateurs and millionare professionals. It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed. The only game where the defense has the ball. It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime and ending with the hard facts of autumn.”

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. Cold Years – 32
  2. Jedha – Dividing Pair
  3. Father John Misty – Kiss Me (I Loved You)
  4. The Stereo – Kings of No Hope
  5. Brian Fallon – Proof of Life
  6. Elway – The English Wishbone
  7. Green Day – Nice Guys Finish Last (Live)
  8. Hit Like a Girl – Wanna Be Loved
  9. mewithoutYou – Dormouse Sighs
  10. New Found Glory – Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing

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 chris in the “Accountability in Music” thread.

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of their weekend.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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