Liner Notes (August 28th, 2021)

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This week’s newsletter has my first impressions on the new Every Time I Die album, thoughts on Turnstile’s masterpiece, and some other random commentary on music, movies, and TV shows I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of songs I enjoyed last week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • I hope everyone had a good week. Or at least you’re enjoying your Saturday so far. Last weekend my MxPx vinyl boxset came in, and I put up a little Instagram Reel going through all the records. I cannot even put into words my happiness with how perfectly these came out. Top-notch quality, incredible packaging, and just flipping through these records puts a massive smile on my face. Each one has such a firm memory lodged in my brain of the time and place I first heard it or what was going on in my life as it played. It’s a little box of nostalgia, a map of my musical history. I’m so glad I picked this up.
  • I thought this piece from Charlie Warzel, titled “I Need to Stop Scrolling,” really captured my thoughts on the internet as a whole lately. The push and pull of social media.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Yesterday was one of my favorite release days in recent memory. To start, let me just run through some of the albums I’ve already written about that are worth your time: Chvrches returned with a monster of a comeback record. I first wrote about it last month, and I’ve only fallen more head over heels for this album since then. It’s catchy, bombastic, brash, and “Final Girls” is one of the best in the band’s entire catalog. Grayscale also released their new one, Umbra, and I think it picks up right where their last ended. If you’re looking for something fresh in the whole pop-rock genre, these guys are doing it just about as well as anyone right now.
  • The new Halsey album is the first Halsey album that’s felt like it’s “for me.” I love the production choices, and there’s a nice slight theatrical feel to some of the songs that I vibe with.
  • The new Big Red Machine is the kind of album that in a couple of months will become all I listen to for like a week straight. The weather’s not quite right for it to dominate me yet, but all the signs are there. I also noticed that the Dolby Atmos version sounds delicious on this record. I think artists are getting more used to the fun things they can do in the mix, and it shines here.
  • Ok, onto the main event. I haven’t been this excited about rock records in maybe a decade-plus. You know that kind of excitement where you feel like pulling out the air guitar or trying to remember just where you stored your old skateboard, or wondering, “hmm, where can I play some Tony Hawk?” The kind of music that hits you right in the chest and becomes the only thing you want to listen to? That was my week. And it started with the new record from Turnstile. The album has been rightfully getting praise just about everywhere, and it deserves every accolade coming its way. It’s a front-to-back, zero skips, extremely fun album that makes me want to pound a Surge and run through a wall. It’s full of little artistic flourishes, but at its core, it’s an album that reminds me of the days where I had a Discman in my car attached to the tape player. And when I’d pull into school, I’d disconnect it and toss on my headphones as I made my way to class. Inside there’d be an album that was the obsession of the month. One record that I would listen to over, and over, and over again. A record that I had spent my own money on, and one that would become so ingrained in me it felt like an extension. I’d learn every lyric, every note, and it would feel like my little spot in the world that no one else knew about. My little secret musical sanctuary. If I were 16 right now, this would be that kind of record. This would be one of those bands I would need to tell everyone about. The sort of record that would make a little wannabe punk kid start a website just to write about it. God damn, what an album. It makes me feel young again. Yep, add me to the cheerleading squad.
  • Right up there with the new Turnstile in spins this week is the upcoming record from Every Time I Die. Look, if I wasn’t over my weekly quota for hype in the previous paragraph, I’m gonna push just right on past the limit now. One week in, and this is easily my favorite ETID record in a good while, and there’s a chance by the time it comes out, I’ll consider it their best. What it does so well is mix between the extremely fast, heavy music, a feeling of diversity. Instead of constant pressure, there’s an ebb and flow that makes the album not only extremely enjoyable but also immediately replayable. I loved Low Teens, but it was a record I’d listen to once and feel exhausted toward the end and need to move to something else. In contrast, I’ve had this on repeat for days. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s rifftastic, it’s catchy, it’s full of classic Keith-isms, and it’s had a meteoric rise on my favorite albums of the year list. Early highlights are “Planet Shit” and “Hostile Architecture,” with Andy Hull’s vocal addition to “Thing With Feathers” sure to be a fan favorite. “Sly” makes me want to pound beer, “White Void” makes me want to crush the can on my skull. While different albums, I have been pleasantly surprised by Turnstile’s triumphant bullying of my playlist over the past week. This is a style of music I’ve always enjoyed; hell, it’s very much at the core of what got me into music in the first place, and to see it represented so perfectly in these two albums has me excited about what I’ll oversimplify as “rock music” in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I have nothing except the highest praise for Radical. It’s everything I could ever want in an Every Time I Die record. It’s everything I want in music, period. Put it in a bag, put it in my arm, fill me up.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We watched The Lodge last night. I’d call it more psychological thriller than horror, but it was plenty dark. Good, but not great.
  • Everyone has been talking about The White Lotus, and after watching the first four episodes, I’d say it’s been rightly praised. What I think I love most about it is how wholly original it feels. I haven’t seen anything quite like it in a while.
  • Latest Titans was good; last week’s Ted Lasso was great (we watch the new episodes on Sunday, so we’re always a little behind on the latest compared to when this newsletter is released).

Random and Personal Stuff

  • No new news on the whole burglary thing from a few weeks back. Still no update from the cops. I re-ordered all of our Christmas Funko that were stolen, since they were such a fun tradition and I feel like they’ll only get more expensive if we wait. I had to cough up almost 20 bucks for the Spider-Man in a sweater one again … but it’s far and away one of my favorite decorations we … ugh, had. Oh well, it is what it is.

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. Turnstile – Blackout
  2. Chvrches – Final Girl
  3. Sigrid – Burning Bridges
  4. Grayscale – Bad Love
  5. Every Time I Die – Post-Boredom
  6. Turnstile – Underwater Boi
  7. Isiah Rashad – From the Garden
  8. Halsey – Easier Than Lying
  9. Kim Petras – Future Starts Now
  10. Turnstile – New Heart Design

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 Drew Baldy in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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