Liner Notes (March 22nd, 2019)

It’s a lot harder to write when basketball games are going on.

In this week’s roundup, I look at the music I listened to and enjoyed last week, go through my usual thoughts on entertainment, and share a playlist of ten songs I loved. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • I turned 36 on Monday. Pretty crazy that I’ve started the first step on the second half of thirty. I feel old in the sense that I’ve been doing all of this for so long now that I kind of can’t believe this is my job, but at the same time I feel like there’s so much ahead that I don’t feel like I’m out of my prime, so to say. I’m getting married this year, I feel as good as I ever have health-wise, and I feel like I’m still learning and enjoying what life has a little more each year. I have very few complaints, once we calibrate for Trump-adjusted terms. Not a bad spot to be.
  • I made two slight adjustments to the website this week. First, I fixed a bug that was not keeping some supporters logged into the main website as long as I wanted, and then I made it so that you can Command+Click on a video link on the main page and it’ll open that video in a new tab instead of the video lightbox.
  • My mom got me an Amazon Echo dot for my birthday to put in our bedroom to easier control the lights. I bought this little plug thing that works great for mounting it discretely on the wall.
  • This coming week I’m working on link embed previews for the website. A feature similar to when you send someone a link in iMessage, and it automatically populates with an image/link title and description. I think this would be helpful for all the links that get shared on the website daily, but it needs to work just right, or it could end up being more annoying than helpful.
  • March Madness is here! If you want to join in on the conversation during the games, the official thread is a whole lot of fun and a yearly tradition.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I enjoy quite a few songs on the new album from Blaqk Audio, but I think as a whole I like it less than their last album. Maybe even a little less than the Dreamcar release as well. It’s enjoyable, but like the previous AFI album, never entirely takes off to that next level I expect. Some of the lyrics are a little weird for me, and a few songs don’t work. But, it’s still an enjoyable listen that plays around within a genre I like, and I think as the weather keeps warming up I’ll be coming back to it.
  • The new Bad Suns release kind of defied my expectations. I was thinking it would be coming out right before summer and be full of a little more bombastic, synth, pop-tunes. Instead, it’s a bit more mellow, a little more organic, and I’d describe it as breezy. More of a late night summer album compared to a full-on windows down, long drive, summer album. I saw someone describe it as fitting on an old soundtrack for The OC, and I think that’s incredibly fitting. It’s not as instant of a hit for me as their last two albums were, but it’s not a strikeout either. I need a little more time to wrap my head completely around it.
  • I gave Bleed American a spin earlier this week and I still absolutely adore that album. From the first note to the last.
  • The new one from Charly Bliss got the most plays out of anything this week and it continues to grow on me every time I listen. It’s got this undeniable energy and pep to it that calls to me. I feel better about my call that this is going to be hit with this website with every passing play.
  • I really can’t get enough of this Sigrid album.
  • The new Damned Things song is good! This album is shaping up nicely. I should go see if I can get a copy of that.
  • Someone in the Q&A thread mentioned The Beths earlier this week, and I had forgotten about that album. Huge thanks to them for getting that back into my rotation. If you missed it last year, it’s worth a look. Catchy indie-rock.
  • Next up to check out are the new albums from La Dispute, Lambchop, Jenny Lewis, and then dive into this advance of the new Ceres album. I’ll report back on thoughts next week.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Hannah let me pick the movie for my birthday this week, and I wanted something fun that I hadn’t seen all that recently. I went with a re-watch of Ready Player One and my thoughts from the first viewing are basically the same: It’s a fun movie that took a lot of the things I enjoyed about the books (fun adventure with friends) but removed some of the stuff I liked most (the puzzles being more intelligent). The result is a pretty good movie that never rises past that level.
  • My sister recently went through a break-up, so she came over to hang out one night when Hannah was working late and wanted to watch something light and funny. I put on Isn’t it Romantic and she enjoyed it. My thoughts from last time hold up: fun movie of just the right length.
  • I adored Bumbleebee. It had such a charm and whisper of nostalgia that it brought me back to watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. I think what’s great about this movie is its decided smallness. It’s this smallness of story, of scope, that lets the greatness come through. It’s the opposite of everything Michael Bay did with the series, and it ends up being a story of friendship and growing up. Big fan of this one.
  • They finally aired some new Superstore episodes. I still can’t believe this show isn’t more popular; it’s a delight.
  • We binged the entire third season of Queer Eye, and I already miss it. This show makes me happy. There’s a joy to the episodes, to helping someone, to moving past just helping someone ‘look better’ but also reach the person on a different level. In a world of cynicism that I too often frolic in, this is a breath of fresh air that makes me feel warm. There are laughs, there are tears, but more than anything there’s an air about the show that’s freeing and makes me want to help people.
  • I went looking for a book like Ender’s Game but without the baggage of the author and saw Insignia by S.J. Kincaid recommended a few places. I checked it out from the library and thought it was … ok. It’s a young adult novel that’s extremely fast to read, with some interesting ideas, but I found so many scenarios where the characters would do something, or the plot would force them to do something, that makes no real sense. It felt like it was trying to be Ender’s Game meets Harry Potter but with technology instead of magic. I can’t say I’d recommend it.
  • I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the college basketball tourney the last couple of days, even if my bracket is, predictably, busted. I pretty quickly move into “fuck it I want upsets and fun games” mode.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • After a week of birthday dinners with family, my weight did some fluctuating, but ended up staying pretty much right in the range I want it to. It hit the upper end around Wednesday but is back to relatively where I want it to be today. One last dinner tonight with my dad, and then I’ll be able to get back to a better routine.

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. PUP – Scorpion Hill
  2. Hailee Steinfeld – Back to Life (80’s Remix)
  3. Bad Suns – A Miracle, a Mile Away
  4. Blaqk Audio – Muscle and Matter
  5. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
  6. The Chain Gang of 1974 – Heaven
  7. The Bouncing Souls – Here’s to Us
  8. The Damned Things – Something Good
  9. Josh Ritter – I Still Love You (Now and Then)
  10. The Maine – Broken Parts

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Now I plan to grab some lunch with my college roommate and watch a few basketball games while he slacks off from work. I love March. I hope everyone has a great weekend and that the weather starts warming up and we can get some nice spring sunshine in our lives. And, with that, I leave you with one of my favorite Instagram follows, Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet:

View this post on Instagram

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Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.