Liner Notes (December 11th, 2021)

Snowflake

This week has a lot of thoughts about Underoath’s new album and then a walk through other music I enjoyed this week (American Football, Neon Trees, Faye Webster) before looking at some other media I consumed and sharing a playlist of ten songs I loved. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Jari Lehtinen took my Raspberry Pi now playing project and added some Spotify support. I enjoy seeing what other people have come up with and the various tweaks and additions to this project. It’s also been such a nice sweet spot in the cross-section of music and technology — two of my favorite things — and seeing others shared passion and creativity.
  • I forgot where I initially saw this linked, but if you’re on a Verizon phone plan, you should make sure to manually turn off all the privacy-invasive bullshit they opt you into.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • My week was utterly dominated by Underoath. First, because I took their live stream that aired last weekend and chopped it up into mp3s. (YouTube-Dl to grab the file, Fission to quickly cut up and export the various tracks, and then I added custom artwork and had the album available to me on all my devices because Apple Music rules.) The performance is incredible, and it quickly became just about all I listened to for the first few days of the week. I enjoyed it so much I was a little terrified that the real album wouldn’t be able to live up. Then, the advance for the studio album came, and I proceeded to play the living hell out of that version as well. So, first impressions. First, the live performance did not ruin the studio version. The studio version has the same electricity and intensity; it just sounds cleaner. The vocals, instruments, and music itself have a more crisp sound. They are shockingly close in many aspects, with maybe “Take a Breath” being the only song that hit just a little harder in the live version. As for the album itself, I absolutely love it. It takes my favorite parts of Define the Great Line and Lost in the Sound of Separation and mixes in just enough of the pop influence of Erase Me. Look, I liked Erase Me more than most, but this is just infinitely better because it doesn’t shy away from being catchy and having some extremely melodic moments, but it also feels far more like Underoath. It’s also a much more cohesive and whole album experience, which I think is why the live performance worked so incredibly well. Early takeaway is that if you liked the live performance, you’ll love the album, and if you haven’t heard either of them yet, but love Underoath, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. This has been one of those albums I’ve found myself just sinking into and keeping on repeat (as seen by this week’s listening stats). It’s out in a couple of weeks, and it absolutely starts 2022 off with a bang.
  • American Football released one new song and one new cover this week, and that got me back into a kick on their catalog. I know LP1 is a classic, but over the past week, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of LP3. The production on that one is immaculate. It has paired nicely with this cold and rainy week in Oregon and is far away my biggest regret for not spending more time with it in 2019. This also led to me going back to some Owen albums, and I forgot how much I enjoyed The Avalanche. I expect the next few weeks to continue to be Mike Kinsella heavy as I run through the rest of the Owen releases.
  • I watched about half of the first episode of the new The Beatles documentary, and it was fascinating. I can’t wait to find some time and watch more. It got me on a Beatles run, but there’s not really anything new for me to share in that regard. Uh, hot take? The Beatles are good. (And I still think I have Revolver as my favorite.)
  • I’ve been trying to make sure I go through and catch up on as much music as I can before the end of the year list-making (our lists should be out the week of January 3rd). I won’t make it through everything on all the other publication/user lists (especially with Underoath dominating my days), but I do want to try and listen to some of the albums I see repeated on a bunch of lists to make sure I didn’t miss too much. So far, one of my favorite finds has been Faye Webster’s I Know I’m Funny haha. But I also love Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders’s Promises (feat. London Symphony Orchestra. This has been one of the absolute best put on and have a glass of wine while just sitting and talking by the fire albums of the past week. It works in the background, but there are some breathtaking moments that demand everyone in the room stop and listen as well. It even comes approved by the resident Classical Music Expert™ of the home.
  • Neon Trees released a new EP full of redone versions of some of their old hits, plus a new song, and it’s a whole lot of fun. I really like this version of “Animal,” and the new song is pretty good.
  • I once again made an attempt at Weezer. This is one of those bands that just has never clicked for me. I figured I might as well give their two new albums a try and see if anything takes … hmm … it’s just not really doing it for me. I kinda liked my first run through Ok Human, but I only made it two songs in a few days later when I went back to try again. Van Weezer didn’t do anything for me. The black album felt, musically, like something I may be able to get into … and then “Zombie Bastards” had me looking around like I was trying to find the hidden camera.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 32 different artists and 417 different tracks (571 scrobbles). My most listened-to artist was Underoath, and their new album, in two forms, got far and away the most plays last week. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I thought Andrew Garfield was very good in tick, tick … Boom! and that overall the film was pretty good.
  • We finished our re-watch of Home for Christmas, and I still absolutely adore this show, and watching it around the holidays makes me happy. We’ve now started the second season of Pen15 again, to remember where the characters were left off so that we can watch the new episodes that just aired.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We’re having a few friends over tonight for a little Christmas party, so I should go help clean the condo now that Hannah’s made three billion cookies. I hope everyone has a great rest of their weekend.

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. American Football – Rare Symmetry
  2. Underoath – Numb
  3. Neon Trees – Animal
  4. Faye Webster – Sometimes
  5. Astrid S – Pretty
  6. Jazmine Sullivan – Put it Down
  7. Hastings – Asking for Friend
  8. American Football – Uncomfortably Numb
  9. Owen – I Go, Ego
  10. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders – Movement 6

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 Aaron Mook in the “Every Time I Die – Radical (October 22, 2021)” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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