Liner Notes (August 9th, 2019)


This week’s newsletter contains thoughts on new music from Bon Iver, Colleen Green’s Dude Ranch covers, Shredders, and more. Plus, there’s my usual media diet rundown, a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, and my PSA to make sure your surge protectors are working and healthy. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

Three Things

  • This week I continued my yearly August tradition of pitching our supporter membership to readers of the website. As of Wednesday, I was 90 supporters away from my yearly goal. This isn’t the most fun part of running the website, but, I’m so close now I feel like this final push will be worth the awkward feelings I get focusing on this part of the business.
  • Last week’s project around the house was replacing old surge protectors. This is my PSA that if you have surge protectors around your home, know that they do go bad after a while and it’s worth upgrading them if you are still using the same ones you had in college like I was. I feel a lot better knowing our new TV is plugged into a more modern surge protector. I probably should have done this sooner. (These are the ones I bought, as recommended by the Wirecutter.)
  • One of my favorite iOS apps, Launch Center Pro, had a new update this week adding a significant icon creation feature to all the shortcuts. I used that as an excuse to re-think my main layout and re-organize the app to work better with how I’ve been currently using it. Mostly, I use it to quickly access things I frequently do on the phone. One thing I do all the time is use it to search various services quickly, or instantly call restaurants to place take out orders. I’m still playing around with it, but it’s working great so far. (Now I hope they update the app for the new iPads, once iOS 13 is officially out I want to start including this in my workflow on the iPad even more.)

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Bon Iver’s new album, i,i, was released today. And, unsurprisingly, it’s quite good. There’s a lot to digest here, but my top-line impressions are that while good, it’s not the same leap in ambition as we’ve seen with his previous albums. This one feels like more of a small step, or even sidestep, from 22, a Million. It plays relatively within that same space. Only time will tell if this one hits me the same as his previous, but I like it on first listen.
  • Colleen Green released a cover album of Blink-182’s Dude Ranch today. I liked her last album, I Want to Grow Up, and its lo-fi early 90’s grunge sound. So, this was a no brainer purchase for me. These renditions are sparse, barebones, and culled to their minimal state. And I think it works beautifully. I know every single one of these songs by heart, but hearing them in this state is like seeing an old friend with a new haircut. At first, a little shocking, but then comfortable and familiar. This feels like something I’ll reach for the next time I’m sitting out on the balcony on a warm summer night. A nice compliment to a summer sunset. (It’s a testament to how strong these songs are that they work this well in this setting and arrangement.)
  • The new Shredders album, Great Hits, is everything you’d want from four Doomtree members. It’s catchy, punchy, and trimmed of any excess. All of the P.O.S. verses have me clamoring from a new release from him, but this will hold me over for a little while.
  • A lot of this week was spent listening to Clairo’s Immunity. I feel drawn to this album in the same way I did The Japanese House. There’s just something about the mood and feel of this album that has been speaking to me this week.
  • Speaking of The Japanese House, she released an LA Sessions EP this week that is definitely worth your time. Good at Falling is still one of the best albums I’ve heard all year.
  • Strung Out’s new album was released today, and if you’re in the mood for some guitar-driven punk rock, this is a no brainer. It’s filled with big riffs, shout-along choruses, and is an excellent addition to their already stellar catalog.
  • Next up for me is to check out those two new Lana Del Rey songs, the re-recorded Touché Amoré album, and then finally dive into this Grayscale advance that’s been sitting in my inbox and I’ve heard good things about.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Most of our entertainment watching this week was taken up by Chernobyl. I know I’m late to the game on this one, but wow, what a mini-series. It’s genuinely compelling, heartbreaking, and extremely well done. I was impressed by just how much information was packed into the five episodes, and how tightly written it was so that you never felt like it was dragging. The genius came from interweaving multiple characters and personal stories into the overall plot, so by the end, you feel the weight of the disaster on a personal level. These kinds of dramatization of history projects, when done right, always send me on deep-dives into the deeper history after I’ve seen them. This was very good, and if anyone knows of anything similar that’s worth watching, please let me know.
  • I’ll watch just about anything Anne Hathaway is in. So, even though the reviews were atrocious for The Hustle, it was only an hour and a half, and we were in the mood for a lighter movie last night. The movie isn’t very good, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the reviews have it. It’s ridiculous and stupid, but watchable. It dovetailed nicely with the conversation we had earlier this week in the Supporter Q&A thread talking about the “unpopular positive movie opinion challenge.” The idea being, can you find a movie that you genuinely like, came out post-2000 and is rated below 50% on Rotten Tomatoes? There were quite a few good ones mentioned from people (my pick was Power Rangers). I could see someone picking this movie for that game. It feels like it would fit right in with some of the other films mentioned: not really great, but not really that bad.
  • We re-watched Crazy Rich Asians last weekend, and I still enjoy the hell out of that movie.
  • My sister came over for a movie and pizza night earlier this week, and of the movies we had that she hadn’t seen, we went with Shazam!. I still think the movie runs a little too long and starts a little too slow, but it’s still a fun movie that works more often than it doesn’t.
  • Netflix announced that they’ve canceled The OA. If you’ve been following this newsletter for a while, you’ll know I was extremely high on this show. I found it to be one of the more creative and interesting things on television, so this news bums me out. I hope someone out there continues to give Brit Marling money to make things because she’s extremely creative and talented and willing to take big risks. I’m upset she won’t get to finish this story, especially with the way the second season ended. I sometimes worry that as Netflix focuses more and more on trying to compete with new streaming services that they’re going to focus too much on only the things that everyone wants to watch, so we’ll get more Adam Sandler projects and fewer small, creative, ones. I hope that’s not the case, but I’m worried.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This week in wedding preparation we stuffed, stamped, and licked all our wedding invites and sent them out. I’m thrilled with how they turned out, and it does feel like “oh shit this is happening” now. We approved the proofs for our guest book, finished putting together our registry, and met with our officiant to begin building out our ceremony this week. Feeling on top of stuff at the moment.

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. Marika Hackman – The One
  2. Bon Iver – We
  3. Clairo – Sofia
  4. Strung Out – Ulysses
  5. Death Cab for Cutie – Kids in ’99
  6. Dagny – Ultraviolet
  7. Shredders – Suburban Base
  8. Colleen Green – Pay Attention
  9. The Early November – I Dissolve
  10. The Japanese House – Lilo (LA Session)

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 Tim in the “Accountability in Music” thread.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll leave you with a new comic from The Oatmeal that will hopefully bring a smile to your face.

Would you like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week? You can sign up to have it sent to your email right here.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.