Liner Notes (October 23rd, 2021)


This week’s newsletter has thoughts on the latest Apple event and thoughts on internet drama, and the serenity of realizing you don’t need to have an opinion about everything. Then I go over stuff I revisited this week (Cartel, Finch, The Format) as well as share thoughts on new music out this week (ETID, Super American) and other albums I listened to (No Rome, Mom Jeans). And then I gush about how good the new Dune movie is. As always, there’s a playlist of ten songs, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • The trailer for The Batman! Um, holy shit, does this look good. I have zero desire to go back into the theater anytime soon, but this … well, this will entice me. I love the look, love the feel; it looks like everything I could possibly want in a Batman film. I’m so here for Pattinson killing it.
  • I had a weird thought last weekend when I saw the tweet from Laura Jane Grace saying Travis Barker is a mercenary and plays drums like an asshole. Well, I had two thoughts that are sort of entwined. The first was just how different I think about everything these days. Ten years ago, I would have been thinking, “must post about this now” and “this will easily get 100 comments and drive traffic for days.” Just broken brain shit all about “engagement” or whatever. The drama, the chase to be first, all of it ended up being so shallow and soul-crushing. Anyway, the second thing that came to mind was one of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius, “You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” It’s something I think about a lot these days, especially in a world driven by a take-economy. It’s fine to have no opinion, and we don’t always need to weigh in on everything. I spent so many restless years thinking I had to have an opinion about everything, every band, every dramatic scene moment. And that I needed to share it. It was a ridiculous way to live.
  • The Apple Event on Monday was both spectacular and disappointing. Spectacular because the MacBook Pros they announced may just be the best computer so far released in my lifetime. These look like incredible machines in every way. And disappointing because I can’t buy one. I work 98% of my day from my office and absolutely need all the screen real estate of a monitor. And Apple does not offer a first-party monitor except for their $5,000 Pro Display XDR. And I’m not spending five grand on a monitor. I’ve seen the LG Ultrafine and was very unimpressed with the build quality. I have had this 5K iMac since 2014 and am absolutely in the market for a new computer. This one is getting a little long in the tooth and has some image retention issues, but I can’t give up a retina screen of this size. So, I’m still waiting to see what their pro iMac story is going to be. Sigh. I am very jealous of everyone getting these laptops.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • This week saw the release of the new Every Time I Die album. I’ve written quite a bit about it already but will once again praise this masterwork from the band. I highly recommend reading the interview with Keith on the website and then throwing back a couple of beers, putting on this album, and running through a wall.
  • I revisited a few other bands/albums this week to see how my feelings may have shifted over the years. First up, Finch’s debut remains one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard. That album, from the music to the artwork, is just incredible and fully formed. I have grown to enjoy the band’s other albums over the years, but I’m still on the side that thinks they were at their best when they let their pop side shine. That debut has some great moments of heaviness, and Trombino’s influence is all over it, but it’s the melody and little pop moments that elevate it. After getting Cartel’s Ransom EP on vinyl, I also revisited that band’s catalog. This also led to me reanalyzing the band’s self-titled album. I still think the “bubble” thing was a horrible miscalculation, and while I’ve come around on a lot of these songs, I still think it was the wrong album for the moment. I thought the band was poised for superstardom and think Chroma is one of the few perfect pop-punk albums ever written. And I think the self-titled album is just missing a sense of fun and joy. 2007 was the year of The Starting Line’s Direction, Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying, Yellowcard’s Paper Walls, and Fall Out Boy’s Infinity on High and in hindsight, this record didn’t fit the moment. I also always forget how much I enjoy Collider and Cycles until I re-listen. An excellent set of records that still always leaves me with a feeling of “what if.” I also went through all The Format and Fun. albums. I love all of them something fierce, but I still think Interventions & Lullabies and Some Nights have a “this would be a hit no matter when it was released” quality. And, finally, every single Acceptance album is perfect for fall.
  • Coldplay’s new album continues to grow on me. It’s a very Coldplay album, but it’s such a pleasant listen that I keep finding myself throwing it on because of how easy it is to let it just fade into the background.
  • Super American’s new album, Sup, reminds me in a weird way of the kind of album we’d maybe get if we could transport teenage Blink-182 into 2021. Or perhaps a little Set Your Goals but without the easycore stuff. It’s quirky and a lot of fun.
  • No Rome’s new album comes out in December. I’ve listened to it twice now and expect to listen to it many more times over the next few months. I think I’d describe it as a fuzzy electronic aesthetic. I think the lead single is pretty indicative of the overall sound; if you like that, you’ll like this.
  • Since we’ve got another week before Halloween, I figured I’d shout out the M00dring album that not many know about. It’s an instrumental/electronic album from the duo behind Now, Now. Works very well in the background.
  • I think the new Lana Del Rey may be the most I’ve liked one of her records in a couple of years. This morning I was drinking coffee and reading on my iPad at the kitchen table; this was on while it poured rain outside, and it was serene.
  • I’ve only listened to Olafur Arnalds’ new EP once so far but enjoyed it.
  • And for some quick hits: New Dave Hause is good, the songs about his family (first and last track especially) really hit. The new Black Marble album is a nice post-punk/synth release, the new PVRIS single kicks all sorts of ass, and Elton John’s Lockdown Sessions has some gems on it, but I don’t know if it works as a whole album. Elton’s vocals are still one of a kind, though. And, finally, the new Mom Jeans album leans in on the melody. The bio for the album talks about wanting to make their version of the early Blink and Weezer albums, and they get about halfway there. I don’t think they have a classic like those albums here, but I expect this to be well received.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 42 different artists and 634 different tracks (723 scrobbles). My most listened to artist was Fall Out Boy. (I went on a discography dive and listened to basically everything I had in my collection, including demos and acoustic songs.) My most played album (not surprising) was Every Time I Die’s Radical. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I simply, utterly, and completely cannot believe they pulled off Dune. I sat there with a stupid smile on my face for over two hours … just in awe. I loved this. I think it may be the most fun I’ve had watching something since Fury Road. The cinematography was gorgeous. The music perfect. The casting brilliant. I have nothing but gushing praise and complete amazement at how well they translated this to screen. We need part two, and we need it now.
  • Seance reminded me of early Wes Craven. Some good jump scares and some good creepy moments, all mixed in with the teenage political drama—fun spooky Halloween film.
  • Romantic comedy series where half is in the present, half is in the past with kids in middle school discovering the internet for the first time? Generation 56K is so entirely in my wheelhouse. And in the first five episodes, this has completely delivered. It’s delightful.
  • We finished Squid Game, and it was good. Brutal. Heartbreaking at points, but still good.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I’ve written the first draft of my Raspberry Pi article; I need to do some editing and get everything ready for publication. When I finish, that will depend on when I’m able to sneak out some free time. We’ve got plans to see my sister and her boyfriend tonight to bake (me: drink pumpkin beer), play games, and eat food, so hopefully, I’ll have some time to work on this tomorrow. I want to get it up within the next week.

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. Every Time I Die – Thing With Feathers
  2. Super American – Together
  3. PVRIS – My Way
  4. Elton John – Cold Heart
  5. Black Marble – Bodies
  6. No Rome – When She Comes Around
  7. Aaron Sprinkle – Walking Back
  8. Every Time I Die – Hostile Architecture
  9. Lana Del Rey – Blue Banisters
  10. Dave Hause – Little Wings

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 St. Nate in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Nate really deserves a joke, but I can’t think of anything good, so I’ll just say congrats.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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