Liner Notes (August 7th, 2021)

Burger

This week’s newsletter has my thoughts on the new Foxing album and some early impressions of new releases from Wet and Grayscale. Plus, there’s some thoughts on other entertainment I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of ten 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. It was one of those weeks where I didn’t have much time to check out new articles or anything like that. I did, however, see the announcement from Apple about the “child safety initiative,” and I saw the backlash from privacy advocates, and I saw the wild misinformation-filled tweets. This was one of those times where I realized how much I dislike the social media sphere. With how quickly things spread around, and it all happens before anyone has the time to really sit down and think about what is going on, let alone actually understand what’s being discussed. Sides are drawn. Memes are made. And yet, it’s a topic that deserves the time to be understood. After spending the morning reading more about it, I think Gruber’s piece, and this FAQ from Tidbits are good places to start. Both layout, in an easy-to-read manner, exactly what is happening and the pros and cons. They’re informative, and I think fair. Personally, I lean far closer to the EFF’s stance on something like this. I believe when a tool is built that has the ability to be abused by authoritarian governments, on a long enough timeline, it usually will be. But I also understand that these are difficult questions, and many governments do require companies to have something like this built to stop the exploitation of children. I don’t think it’s a simple case of “Apple Bad,” but if there’s anything the internet is known for, it’s having reasoned and nuanced debates about complex ethical and moral topics.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Foxing released their new album yesterday, and honestly I think the best way to describe it is with a this gif. It’s a whole vibe. It’s a sprawling record that finds a way to be both accessible and yet just weird enough. It’s an album that feels almost tailor-made for someone like me; the stereotypical music critic darling. The kind of album that when someone asks me, Mr. mid to late thirties dude that is a self-professed music fan, “hey, what kind of music do you like?” The answer is pointing to a record like this. Unique, crafty, exciting, and the kind of album that just doesn’t really get made much anymore. I feel like there was a time where this kind of album and band had a real shot at being the next big artist. The sort of band that would get the right late-night shows, get the right festival spots, and would slowly creep out of our world into the public conscious at large. And that just doesn’t really happen for bands like this anymore. It’s a relic of a different time but an album that is wholly deserving of the praise and your ears. A cohesive work that leaves you like a jittery chain smoking stop motion animation little fox. As I said, a whole vibe.
  • The other album I’ve been enjoying from this week is the new EP from Hippo Campus. They have such a unique spin on alt. pop-music that I find everything they do bordering between “what the fuck” and “my word is that undeniably catchy.” It’s quirky and full of bold decisions.
  • I’ve also got my hands on the new album from Wet called Letter Blue. While I adored _ Don’t You_, I only liked Still Run, and I find this album much more immediate. I need some more time with it, but my first impressions are positive.
  • Another upcoming album I’ve been listening to a lot this week is Grayscale’s Umbra. Now, a few years ago, you would have never had me actively seeking this band’s records, but their last actively surprised me as a nice little pop-punk album with a good ear for melody and structure. I do not think the new one lives up to those heights, but it is extremely listenable and a very nice little mid-tempo pop-rock album that takes a few swings but mostly feels like a continuation of a formula that the band does well. Early favorites include “Bad Love” (shoulda been the lead track released), “Carolina Skies,” and the closer “Cigarette.” I wouldn’t call anything here groundbreaking, but it reminds me a little of how I’ve come to see The Academy Is… ‘s third album: a nice little album to throw on every now and again when you’re not sure what you want to listen to but know you are looking for a particular easy on the ears pop sound. I’d love to see the band try and step out of their comfort zone just a bit next time, but I have no real complaints here.
  • I am not sure what got me thinking about this, but I had a massive craving at the gym this week to throw on Nirvana’s Nevermind. My word does this album still kickass. I still maintain that “Breed” is one of the best songs in the band’s career, but I was struck on my nine-billionth listen of this album just how timeless and fresh these songs sound even all these years later.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I did not like the first Fear Street, but was shockingly happy with the second. It felt like it had a better control of the story it wanted to be, and I found it to be a perfectly passible facsimile of this genre. It was what I wanted the first to be: fun! And now I’ll actively watch the third.
  • Jungle Cruise was too long. It wasn’t bad, it was just too long. It did get me thinking that we need more adventure movies. But smart adventure movies. It’s a genre that feels underused and represented.
  • I was never into the original Gossip Girl. It always seemed like something I probably should like, but I think I was just a tad out of the right age range for it to hit and stick. I tried it once but couldn’t ever find that connection to the characters or story to become invested. I figured I wouldn’t like the new version of the show either, but I told Hannah I’d watch the first episode with her to see. I was correct! The first episode did nothing for me.
  • The final season of Atypical was not their best, but it was a nice and fitting end for all of the characters. I’m glad they got to go out on their own terms and give everyone a nice little wrap up. Good show was good.
  • The first season of Outer Banks was extremely silly, but I enjoyed the characters and was rooting for them in their teenage treasure hunting mishaps. The second season suffers from the silliness turning into making every character an actual idiot that makes mind-bending stupid decisions in the name of “plot.” I also need a show to give the characters I’m ostensibly cheering for a few wins every now and again instead of cramming drama and disappointment at them with every step. This has been less fun to watch than the first season so far.
  • We finished Loki; I loved it, I want more please.
  • I am extremely excited to watch The Suicide Squad tonight. Will report back next week!

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much to share this week here. We’re going to head to my dad’s to celebrate his birthday with a BBQ. And that’s about all I got.

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. Foxing – Go Down Together
  2. Hippo Campus – Bad Dream Baby
  3. Laura Stevenson – Don’t Think About Me
  4. Raye – Call On Me
  5. Charli Adams – Headspace
  6. Colleen Green – It’s Nice to Be Nice
  7. Walk the Moon – Can You Handle My Love??
  8. Lucy Dacus – Partner in Crime
  9. Nirvana – Breed
  10. The Weekend – Take My Breath

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 sophos34 in the “Kanye West – Donda (August 6th, 2021)” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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