Liner Notes (October 9th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter looks at some new music out this week (Noah, Poorstacy, Oh Wonder) and dives into some other music I checked out this week (Five Iron Frenzy, Allday, Wiki) while also looking at everything else I listened to, watched, read, and played throughout the week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Well, I’m sitting in the office this morning, and there’s definitely a chill in the air. The weather has made the turn, and I can also feel my musical tastes starting to shift. More somber, more melodic, softer music is beginning to work its way into my daily playlists.
  • I hinted a little last week about a new Raspberry Pi project I’ve been playing around with, and I’ve basically finished it. All the code works, I’ve written some iOS Shortcuts to control it, and I’ve had it running all week next to my computer. (Very helpful lion pose from cat.) I’m waiting for the case I’ve ordered to complete it, and then I’ll write everything up about it. I’ve had a lot of fun diving back into something that itches this part of my brain and having a little mini-computer that displays what I’m currently listening to brings me joy. I mean, it’s no garage door notification light. (There’s going to be a total of like five people, tops, that get this reference.)

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • The new Noah Gundersen album came out yesterday, and I’ve written about it a few times so far, but no one says it better than Craig in his review on the website. He nailed it. It’s an exceptional album that captures everything I love about Noah’s songwriting. It’s the album I’ve always wanted him to write, the perfect combination of his magnetic lyricism mixed with just enough pop-flourish. There’s an effortlessness to the brilliance, and I think Craig perfectly captured the nostalgia and stories of youth and love that Noah’s going for here.
  • One of the more surprising discoveries for me this week was the latest album from Five Iron Frenzy. I was looking for something new to listen to, and since I’ve had this weird ska itch for a while now, I tossed on Until This Shakes Apart. I was immediately hooked. The album is much more political than I expected, with some well-landed barbs about the state of the world.
  • I’ve also been enjoying the last two albums from the Australian artist Allday. Starry Night Over the Phone fits perfectly into my early fall listening; there’s a breeziness to the alt-pop sound. It’s been a go-to late-night album over the past week. Drinking with My Smoking Friends leans far more into the pure-pop world, and I think it works more than it doesn’t. I like these forays through the pop spectrum more than the earlier hip-hop releases.
  • I am fascinated by the new Poorstacy album. I am not sure if I can say I like it, but I am downright fascinated by it. It walks between screamo, pop-punk, hip-hop, theatric horror-punk, and I have a hard time putting a label on it. I think some of the songs blend together a little too much, and a few too many songs just yell one word over and over for a chorus, but I am drawn to it in a way I can’t describe. Maybe it’s because it’s October, and we’re watching horror movies and thinking about Halloween, and these songs feel perfectly poised to soundtrack a haunted house, but I keep having this pull to throw this album on … and then find myself tapping my toes.
  • Went on a few artist catalog dives this week, including a run of AFI. Sing the Sorrow is so good it almost hurts. Can we get a re-press of this, please? Seriously. After this latest spin through their discography, I’ve realized I like all of their albums, even if some work way more than others. I still think Crash and the Blood album are my least favorites, but there are some things to enjoy there. I had similar thoughts after a run through all of Rise Against’s albums. The highs are very, very high, and that gives them what I would describe as an elevated baseline. Their songs rarely tilt into the “bad” category, but their relative sameness does lead me, when you’re like five albums deep, to crave a little more diversity. But then, you’re like, “hmm, still good though.” I also did a 1975 catalog dive and got deep into the feels by listening to every Dashboard Confessional album except Crooked Shadows.
  • I’ve continued to listen to the new Shad release and can also highly recommend the latest album from Wiki. These are two of my favorite hip-hop releases of the year.
  • Oh Wonder surprise-released a new album on Friday, and they continue to make delightful pop. The title track is as catchy of a single as I’ve heard in a while, and this album feels like they tried to mix it up a little more. It’s still very much an Oh Wonder album, but I appreciate the few curveballs thrown. If you’re looking for something in that synth-pop world, check this out.
  • I wrote about learning to appreciate the new Nothing, Nowhere. album last week, and because I can manifest new music simply by writing about it, he dropped a new single this week. That was all my doing; I am taking full credit. The new single’s good. I think his songs work best when he leans into the pop-punk sound; it brings out the more melodic tendencies of his words, and I think his voice is better suited within this space.
  • Ryan Key’s dropping a new EP later this year, and I’ll write more about it after the release date’s been officially announced. He played it on his Twitch stream earlier this week, and I like that he’s leaning into the more electronic sounds on this one. It’s a mixture of something like Tycho meets Lift a Sail.
  • The new Dangerous Summer single would fit perfectly on their last EP. It’s a piano ballad with a soaring chorus, and it continues the band’s hot streak they’ve been on. I’m very ready for a new full-length while they continue to expand their sound and are, clearly, in a great creative space.
  • I enjoyed most of the new James Blake but found myself a little distracted during it; I felt like it was blending together too much. We’ll see how subsequent plays shake out and if the songs differentiate themselves more.
  • I haven’t listened to the new TWIABP album yet, but that’s what I am going to hit play on as soon as I finish this newsletter.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 54 different artists and 720 different tracks. My most listened-to artist ended up being Rise Against after a discography deep dive, while my most played album was, shockingly, the new album from Five Iron Frenzy. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • You know those “classic” movies that somehow you just miss and never see? I have a few of those in my life, and one was The Thing. It came out the year before I was born, but it is the exact kind of movie my friends and I would have been all about. I’m shocked we never had this on at a sleepover or during a late-night poker game. The make-up effects are so well done, and, yeah, it’s pretty fucked up. Good start to the Halloween season, and I’m glad to have finally seen it.
  • Season two of Ted Lasso was fantastic. Now that the entire season has been released and the story can be seen as a whole, it all fits together so perfectly. It maintains the optimism of the first season while also allowing itself to travel into the realities of life. But it does so in a way that never feels cynical. There’s motivation for all the characters, and they continue to feel real. Tuning in each week has been one of the best parts of my week, and I can’t wait for the third season.
  • Midnight Mass on Netflix is so much more than just a scary story. In many ways, I feel like it’s a play: relatively few set pieces and a lot of monologues. The religion/horror themes work shockingly well together.
  • I bought the new Metroid: Dread last night and played for about an hour. So far, it’s a whole lot of fun. I’m also very much out of “video game shape” and have been getting my ass kicked by everything. But, I’m excited to dive into this massive world and get lost and frustrated and explore. If, like me, you haven’t played these games for a while and want to get caught up on the story, this article’s great.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much here this week; I hope everyone has a good 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. Noah Gundersen – The Coast
  2. Oh Wonder – 22 Break
  3. Nothing, Nowhere. – Pieces of You
  4. Allday – Restless
  5. Cub Sport – Break Me Down
  6. Hatchie – Crush
  7. Wiki – Drug Supplier
  8. Five Iron Frenzy – In Through the Out Door
  9. James Blake – Coming Back
  10. Noah Gundersen – Atlantis

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 “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

Still funny.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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