Liner Notes (May 1st, 2021)

Beer

Lots of fun things to write about this week. Lots of music, including my thoughts on Manchester Orchestra, Origami Angel, While She Sleeps, and a new find that dominated my music listening all week. Plus, a few articles and thoughts about other random stuff. As always, there’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Bartender, one of my favorite app for the Mac, got a big update this week. I highly recommend it to all Mac users that would like to get their menubar under control. Menu apps can be super helpful, but too many of them running simultaneously can make the screen cluttered. Enter: Bartender. I love the new feature where the apps are hidden until you hover the mouse over the menubar. This is one of the first apps I’d install on any new Mac.
  • I loved this essay about Ted Lasso. With the passing of time, the more I think about this show, the more I adore everything that it is. A big hug of optimism, and this essay captures the magic. It may just about be time for a re-watch as we gear up for the second season.
  • This article on how capitalism has really fucked with our economy was excellent. I especially thought this passage stood out: “Stick with me here, but what if people weren’t lazy — and instead, for the first time in a long time, were able to say no to exploitative working conditions and poverty-level wages? And what if business owners are scandalized, dismayed, frustrated, or bewildered by this scenario because their pre-pandemic business models were predicated on a steady stream of non-unionized labor with no other options? It’s not the labor force that’s breaking. It’s the economic model.”
  • Maybe I am the only person that will find this extreme deep dive into the “granny knot” interesting.
  • I was having a conversation with someone this week where the question came up: What’s the worst television show that you once called a fave? I think I have to go with How I Met Your Mother. A show that has not only aged well, not only has one of the absolute worst endings of any tv show ever, but also one that I just have zero fond memories of even watching at this point. And at one point, I considered it something I would watch each week and at one point owned the DVDs as well. Yeesh.

Sponsor

MxPx’s new single, “Can’t Keep Waiting,” is now available on all streaming platforms. “Can’t Keep Waiting” was first played live on the “Between This World and the Next” livestream series, where fans got to see the song change and take shape every stream until it became what it is today.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • No more embargo! I can finally share thoughts about the Manchester Orchestra album that came out yesterday. At its core, I think this album works well as a continuation of what they started on A Black Mile to the Surface; it takes many of the themes and stylistic leanings of that album and pushes them slightly forward. The result is an album with a specific and dynamic groove to it—musical moments highlighted by bass and percussion, more often than crashing guitar. There are times where I long for the band to get there and let the song explode, but deep down, I think this restraint better serves the songs. I think it’s a newfound confidence in songwriting that allows the band to chase their inspiration instead of fitting into fan expectations. And they are better served because of it. Lyrically, the album works alongside their previous. Some “my word that’s well-phrased” mixed in with “did you just rhyme the same two words together?, what?, wait what was that?” moments. I end up seeing these last two albums as two of a part. It’s a band exploring a melodic side of themselves that I don’t think many bands that started where they did are ever allowed to go. Most of the bands around and coming up with Manchester Orchestra have long since parted ways and broken up. So we never got to see where they took their music as they got older and how they aged and changed as songwriters. We’re lucky enough to get to see just that with Manchester Orchestra. We get to see the ebbs and flows, the new creative directions, and I find all of it fascinating. I saw some semi-viral tweet going around music Twitter a few years ago that was mocking Manchester Orchestra for being a band that never made it after having record labels try and shove them down music writers throats. I saw the tweet because someone tagged me in it being like, “yeah, and Jason Tate fell for it”… or something like that. It was a while ago, but I still think about it now and again. Because this band has been able to craft a stellar career with a growing and dedicated fanbase, and they are here in 2021 putting out arguably their best work yet. Maybe, just maybe, I was right about these guys all along?
  • Origami Angel released a 20-song pop-punk album that pulls all the right things from the genre. It’s catchy. It’s full of little perfectly quotable moments that capture a specific feeling of adolescence. It has a wildly hanging out on Warped Tour in 2003 vibe, but while some modern spin. This will be in rotation for quite a while now.
  • Pretty good week for pop-punk, since Action Adventure also released an EP full of pop-punk gems. Just give “Club 27” a listen and think of all the hyperbole I would have been throwing onto the internet in 2002. Like, is there any doubt that they would have been invited to walk on a particular record label owner’s back?
  • The Band Camino’s new single “Sorry Mom” is better than I was expecting. This band has been more miss than hit for me, but this is shockingly effective.
  • I find this Girl in Red album interesting. It has all the fixings of a modern-day pop record coupled with a cut me open lyrical style that I am drawn toward. It’s oddly quirky. I am not sure how much I am going to come back to this, but from a “this is where music is today” standpoint, I find it intriguing.
  • I saw Deryck from Sum 41 post about guesting on the new While She Sleeps album, and so I decided to give that a spin for funsies. I haven’t been into this style of metalcore(?) or whatever you want to call it in a very long time. But, uh, I found this shockingly fun. Just enough of a throwback feel to remind me of college, with just enough newness and edge to it. It’s been my go-to, well, this is a massive cliché, um, workout album all week. It just like gets me so pumped bro.
  • My most played album this week, by far, was Joy Oladokun’s release from last year that I somehow missed completely. Holy shit is there some great, knock you on your ass, songwriting here. Goosebump inducing; highly recommended.
  • Nightly’s new single “Lover/Lonely” can be described by all the comic book fight words. That there’s a nice little tune.
  • The Maine’s cover of Fall Out Boy’s “THNKS FR TH MMRS” is ridiculously good. Like, I can’t believe they pulled it off this well good. I’ve had it stuck in my head all week and kept humming that little melody.
  • I’ve only had time to listen to the new Amy Shark album once, so far, but it didn’t grab me with the same immediacy as her previous. I’ll have to give it a few more listens to really see how I feel.
  • In my world, Sasha Sloan’s “When Was It Over” would be dominating adult contemporary radio right now.
  • Next up, I have the new Dropkick Murphys and Royal Blood albums on my list to check out.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I have a hard time enjoying a movie with a plot that could literally be solved with a decent knot or a karabiner. Sorry Stowaway, I wanted to like you; I really did.
  • Season two of The Bureau is even better than season one. I think it benefits from you already knowing the characters and being able to build out the story. Captivating television.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • After a random snowstorm ruined our Valentine’s Day plans, we are finally having our nice steak, takeout, Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. I’m ready to go eat myself into a coma and then watch that Amazon Michael B Jordan action movie that I am assuming is quite bad.

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. The Maine – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
  2. Origami Angel – Kno U
  3. Manchester Orchestra – Dinosaur
  4. Nightly – Lover/Loner
  5. Action/Adventure – Club 27
  6. While She Sleeps – No Defeat for the Brave
  7. Sasha Sloan – When Was It Over?
  8. The Band Camino – Sorry Mom
  9. Lights – Beside Myself
  10. Joy Oladokun – Who Do I Turn To?

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 slowheart in the “Manchester Orchestra – The Million Masks of God (April 30, 2021)” thread.

Welp, that’s exactly what I thought would be the most liked post of last week.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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