Liner Notes (August 20th, 2022)


This week’s newsletter has first impressions of the upcoming Death Cab for Cutie album, a realization I’ve been tying my shoelaces the “wrong” way, and some other thoughts on music and entertainment I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Last Sunday, I finally sat down and put together a blog post detailing my new home office. I took some photos and tried to link to pretty much everything I purchased and explain my thinking on the entire project. In the end, I’m very pleased with how everything came out. It feels very me, which was my main goal. I wanted something that felt new and clean, but I also didn’t just want to follow all the current trends I see on Instagram.
  • I was getting caught up on the backlog of RecDiffs podcast episodes and heard John talking about an example of how learning the “proper” way to do something is important to him. Not surprisingly, this is one of those things I also think about a lot. Then he mentioned that a few years back, he learned he was tying his shoelaces wrong and that there’s a “right” way to do it that leads to a better and more symmetrical knot. I checked out the website they mentioned, and, low and behold: I’ve been tying my bows wrong my entire life. I’ve been leading with left over right like, apparently, a chump. I tried it the other way and immediately can see why it’s better. However, my brain is not used to this at all, and it feels bizarre to try to make this knot. For 30-something years I’ve had muscle memory doing a set of moves, and to change that just feels weird.
  • I think it was a gift guide a few years ago where I first mentioned Secret Aardvark hot sauce. It’s my favorite hot sauce, and I’ve been putting it on basically everything for years. I somehow missed that the company released three new flavors recently, but I had to scoop them up immediately. I tried the chipotle version on some lunch burritos this week, and it gets two thumbs up from me: good flavor and good heat. I’m a fan.


The Comfort have released “Supernova” featuring AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer.

The Comfort are back with their first new music in over two years. This is the third single from their upcoming album Experience Everything. Live and Die. Brisbane’s The Comfort first cemented their status in the music world with their far reaching Love EP (5+ million streams worldwide), then explored the limits of their creativity with their debut album What It Is To Be (“a beautiful, exhilarating and revelatory rock record that dives deep into our subjective journey for meaning, purpose and self-discovery” – Hysteria Magazine), before leaving us with the devastating single “Pain,” a brutally honest anthem for mental health. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Thrice, Circa Survive, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Don Broco. Now, they want to show you everything they’ve experienced through the journey of life and death.

Watch the video for “Supernova” and pre-order the new album.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Let’s start this week with some of the new releases. First up, the Panic! at the Disco album that I’ve been cautiously worried about for a few weeks now. After about four listens, I find half of it to be pretty fun, with some lovely little toe-tap moments. The other half is almost nails on a chalkboard hard to listen to. Vocal stretching, lyrical fumbles aplenty, and parts that sound like self-indulgent theatre kid tryouts. And those parts miss hard. There’s still enough that I enjoy where I’m going to keep listening to this for a bit and see how it shakes out, but not only am I not really hearing a hit here, it’s the first time in forever I’ve paused, rewound, and been like “wait, is he out of tune there?” It also probably doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to Butch Walker’s far better piano-man bar rock album, Glenn, for the last month or so.
  • Demi Lovato’s Here We Go Again, from 2009, is a sort of forgotten pop-rock gem. There are some legit bangers on there that go right up with other emo/pop-punk songs from the era. It never gets mentioned in those conversations, which I understand, but I invite you to revisit it one day with that context in mind. I’ve always kept an eye on their albums, but it’s been a while since one grabbed me. I thought the last one was almost unlistenable. However, the new album, Holy Fvck, is shockingly fun. In many ways, I think it does what Avril Lavigne’s latest was going for, but better. (And, for the record, I like the new Avril album.) It may be a little too long, with some filler in the back half, but there are some undeniably good pop-rock/alternative/pop-punk adjacent songs. I’m not even really sure what genre to put it in. Anyway, I think it’s fun and worth a listen.
  • I enjoyed my first listen to The Berries’ new album, but I think I’m going to need to wait until the weather turns a little colder and darker to really dive into it. My brain’s not in the mood for that sound at the moment.
  • I’m a massive fan of the new Cartel song. That chorus melody is awesome. I love the grove and that this one plays more in the mid-tempo. It’s Cartel without sounding forced, and I’m very into it.
  • I’ve also had the chance to spend the week with the upcoming Death Cab for Cutie album, Asphalt Meadows, due September 16th. I’m one of those Death Cab fans that finds something to love in all their albums. I have my favorites (Plans and Transatlanticism), but I also have never really been let down by one of their releases (Codes and Keys is maybe the closest). I was a big fan of their last album, and in many ways, this feels like taking that one to the next level. It builds on the sound in natural ways, adding almost a little post-rock in some of the guitar work, and continues their melodic identity intact. The title track is an early standout, the beat and chorus in “Pepper” is addicting, and the entire album brings a smile to my face. After I finish writing this newsletter, I need to run a few errands around the city, and what I’m most looking forward to is putting this album into my headphones. It’s making me reflect on my history with this band. For example, when Narrow Stairs came out, I remember sitting on a park bench listening to it on my iPod, feeling pretty shitty. 2008 was a challenging year for me. And yet right now, the sun’s out, I’ve got nowhere I need to be, nothing I need to be doing, and I’m feeling pretty damn good. And while the rest of the world just may be going to hell in a handbasket, I’m at least reminded that not everything terrible stays that way forever. And with a new Death Cab album in my ears, I’m looking forward to spending the end of my summer surrounded by their music.
  • I’m also still very high on the new Pale Waves album and feeling an itch to return to the latest from Coheed and Cambria and Underoath next week.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 26 different artists, 51 different albums, and 481 different tracks (572 scrobbles). My most played artist was Death Cab for Cutie, with their upcoming album, Asphalt Meadows, being my most listened to album. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Hannah refused to watch the latest Jurassic Park after the last one was so patently awful. She’s clearly the smarter of the two of us. The first Jurassic Park is seared into my head as one of my favorite movie-watching experiences ever. I went with my dad not long after it was released and it blew my mind. It was also the scariest movie my ten-year-old self had ever seen, but that didn’t stop me from becoming obsessed. This obsession from my generation is clearly what they’re still banking on as they crank these out because some of us idiots will keep watching them, hoping they can recapture the magic or spark from our childhood. They cannot. The new one is practically unwatchable. And probably the biggest sin is that it’s just flat-out boring. And somehow, Chris Pratt has lost all charisma and is now a walking wet paper bag. What a waste of an evening.
  • Watcher was alright. Nothing extraordinary, but not bad either. I liked that there were no subtitles, it really helped you feel the same sort of isolation of the main character in a foreign country.
  • We finished our re-watch of Dark. Easily top-5 for me now. Truly magnificent and I cannot believe they pulled that story off.
  • Our next watch is the new League of Their Own. We’ve only seen two episodes, and the verdict is still out. There are some excellent parts, but then there’s some of the most network-y sitcom crap that should have been left on the cutting room floor. The new The Wonder Years was able to capture the nostalgia of the past, of a past property, and use it to create something both entertaining and heartfelt while also feeling new and yet tied to the original. So far, this has some really odd editing choices and often leaves me thinking extra scenes are kept in to stretch the run time. I’d have preferred a tight 35 without the need to add in extra heavy-handed side-plots that feel tacked on and a very early ’90s sitcom way. And yet the core of the show I’m still invested in and want to see more of. We’ll see how it plays out.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Hannah is visiting her cousin and a friend down in California wine country this weekend, so I’m on my own. I picked a very bad movie to watch last night, so I need to redeem myself tonight. Unsure what I really feel like. Maybe the new season of The Boys? Maybe catching up on Cobra Kai? I’m not really sure what mood I’m in at the moment. I am planning to order some very unhealthy cheeseburgers though, so I’ve got that going for me.

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. Cartel – The End
  2. Panic! at the Disco – Say it Louder
  3. Demi Lovato – Skin of My Teeth
  4. Death Cab for Cutie – Here to Forever
  5. Andrew McMahon – Stars
  6. Relient K – The Lining is Silver
  7. Pale Waves – Only Problem
  8. Gordi – Way I Go
  9. Less Than Jake – History of a Boring Town
  10. Strung Out – All the Nations

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 Max_123 in the “2022 NFL Season” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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