Liner Notes (March 10th, 2024)

This week’s newsletter has some thoughts on the new Bleachers album and more of the regular newsletter things I always write about. 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.

A Few Things

  • My apologies, but I only noticed I referred to Daisy Grenade as Daisy Chain in last week’s emailed version of this newsletter. That’s one downside of email vs blogs – editing after they hit the inbox doesn’t work. I must have had the Slowly Slowly song on my mind. Anyway, the band is Daisy Grenade that is opening for Fall Out Boy/Jimmy Eat World; sorry about that.
  • I found this article about why product recommendations online are basically the same SEO spam garbage to track with my experience. Not to go full “grown man yells at clouds,” but, damn, do I miss websites that feel like websites. Now it’s social media or content spam, and very little in between. Seeing launch a redesign last week was a friendly reminder that there’s still an audience for these kinds of blogs.
  • I’ve sung the praises RayCast before, but this article this week about how you can combine it with other apps to let you do some quite powerful things on your Mac was the inspiration for me to spend some of my weekend tweaking a few scripts and little niceties. I finally moved all of my snippets into it and away from TextExpander. TextExpander has been one of my most used apps for over a decade, but the quality of the app has gone downhill over the past few years. I’ve found it flakey, and the app no longer feels Mac-like. I can replicate every snippet with RayCast and Keyboard Maestro, and this was a good time to audit everything and clear it all out. RayCast’s built-in system is quite good, and there were only a few I couldn’t duplicate exactly. For example, I have multiple expanders for things with ordinal numbers (like the title of this very newsletter). These were relatively easy to re-do in Keyboard Maestro.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • One of the more significant releases this week is the new one from Bleachers. My first listen was after coming home from the gym; it was late at night, and the weather was dreary and rainy. I was doing a few “wind down the evening” things, making coffee for the next morning, tidying up around the house, and had this on in the background. It was a perfect introduction to this album. Now, four or five listens later, I … kinda think I love this? It’s a tactile album, one that has an immediate hook and stickiness to it, but it also has a depth that I think will reward multiple listens. It felt like the last album was Jack’s rebellion against people saying everything he touched sounded the same, and it was drenched in intentional auditory mud. This, in contrast, is arguably the best mix of modern production with a tangible authentic tone to the instruments I’ve heard in ages. Everything breaths and ebbs with a classic Jack Antonoff songwriting buzz, always right on the edge of energy, sitting tantalizingly between the best of indie and pop. Listening to something like “Me Before You” is aural candy. The album blends a little from tracks 8 through 10, but on the whole, this is a complete win for me. Also, this absolutely rules.
  • Cold Years released the new single “Choke” this week. It’s (probably, time will tell) my favorite song on the album. Basically, as perfect as a punk song in 2024 can be. This band continues to be the most underrated band in the world and I’ll keep screaming that to anyone who’ll listen. I’ve had a few weeks with the new album and am still formulating full thoughts. It’s a lot harder when the previous album is one of your favorites of all time to let an album sit with you and form your thoughts. Expectations are so high that it takes me time to make sure I’m either not judging on two harsh a scale or, conversely, giving something a pass. I think I’ll be ready for a more in-depth first impression next week, but I will say: I fucking love this band, and this three-album run is one for the ages.
  • Arrows in Action’s new song “Cold” is great, and the band would be fighting off labels and bidding wars in 2006.
  • I haven’t loved an Ariana Grande album since Dangerous Woman. They’ve all been varying degrees of good, but nothing’s grabbed me in the same way that one did. The new one, Eternal Sunshine, is pretty good on first listen, but I’ll need a few more listens to see if it ends up like the others or finds a way into regular rotation.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 26 different artists, 38 different albums, and 351 different tracks (478 scrobbles). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We’ve started watching Masters of the Air as our next main show. I’d read some mixed reviews of it, but we’re just about caught up, and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s not Band of Brothers level, but not much is. There’s been some jaw dropping shots in a few of the episodes and I’ve felt a real emotion connection with quite a few characters. It gets a thumbs up from me so far.
  • I finished the Three Body Problem and am having trouble deciding how I ultimately felt about it. It’s wildly imaginative and tackles quite a few extremely interesting ideas. However, I don’t know if it worked for me as a standalone novel. It felt like a very long buildup without delivering the payoff and I didn’t find myself rooting for any of the characters. I put the next two on hold at the library, but for a book I was hoping would completely wow me, it left me a little cold.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I’ve been fighting off a cold the past week and I think I’ve finally turned the corner on it. Sinus pressure is finally subsiding. Just in time to lose an hour of sleep. And if we’re going to save the daylight, can we get some more sun here in Portland? The dreary rainy days are bumming me out.

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. Bleachers – Me Before You
  2. Cold Years – Choke
  3. Stretch Arm Strong – Illuminating
  4. Arrows in Action – Cold
  5. Ava Max – Maybe You’re the Problem
  6. The Faim – Ease My Mind
  7. Broken Glowsticks – Loose Took
  8. Zach Bryan – Us Then
  9. Andrew McMahon – Submarine
  10. Millington – THNKS FR THE MRMRS

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 Jason Tate in the “Accountability in Music” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Sign up for a free weekly newsletter full of thoughts on music, entertainment, technology, and other cool stuff. Your email address stays completely private.