This week’s newsletter has some first impressions of the new AirPods, some results after experimenting with iOS 16 lock screens, and the usual commentary on music and entertainment I enjoyed last week. As always, there’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
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A Few Things
- My new AirPods Pro 2 arrived on Friday. I’ve written about my love for the first generation many times before. Each version of the AirPods have quickly become my favorite headphones I’ve ever owned. The first because of their incredible convenience, the second for their improved sound quality and noise canceling, and I could see this trend continuing with these. They take everything I loved already and now sound even better. The sound quality is fuller, more clarity in the low end. I’ve listened to four different albums, in different genres, and have come away extremely impressed. It’s also clear that the noise canceling is better, I don’t know if it’s really 2x as good, or whatever the marketing says, but it’s definitely better. If you haven’t moved to the Pro line yet, I’d highly recommend them. If you still have a good working pair of the first gen of the Pros, you are probably ok without upgrading, but if, like me, your battery is getting weak or you were having any issues (crackling), these are a worthy upgrade. I’m not sure if I like the new larger font on the engraving; it’s more noticeable. The speaker is clever and makes a nice little sound when you put it on a charger. I’m sure it’ll be helpful the first time I misplace these somewhere in the condo. I don’t see myself having any need for the lanyard. They fit identically to the previous, as far as I can tell.
- an entire week with the iPhone 14 Pro, and I’m pretty much in love with the phone. I love the flat sides, love the camera, and I’m even starting to find some value in the always-on screen. I’ve also finally had more time to play around with iOS 16 and get it a little more customized to my liking. My main home screen is still pretty much the same as it’s been since iOS 14. The main difference is I use Marvis now instead of Soor, and my second page has a custom widget for showing my most-played albums from Last.fm. My main lock screen is very basic with Fantastical and Carrot widgets. Living in Oregon, being able to glance to see the weather and the chance of rain is a must. Then I have a “Day’s Over” focus mode that kicks in at 8:30 each night, about when Hannah and I call it a day and usually sit down to watch something. That mode simplifies my home screen to put Trakt and Letterboxd at the forefront for tracking what we watch and removes everything else. That is now also paired with a new lock screen. I change Carrot to show the moon phase, and sunset/sunrise, since I’m not going anywhere. And then I’m using LinkHub to create a custom launch widget for Trakt and a Drafts widget for quickly creating a note. Most of what I use my phone for at night is jotting down things to remember or looking things up, so having quick access to Drafts is a fun new tweak. (Opening Drafts, typing something, then using a Quick Search action to search the web with xSearch shortcuts enabled, is quite powerful.) And for fun, I’m trying out a new time font that works well with the background change. And lastly, I also have a new Sleep Mode lock screen that shows the current status of HomeKit, my next set alarm, and the battery status. It also uses a dark background. All in all, I think these new lock screens being able to be customized and linked to a Focus Mode, is my favorite part of iOS 16. Not only does it allow for some cool customizations, but being able to have the phone automatically, um, focus shift with me to different states is fantastic.
- Watching the videos of Yellowcard’s return brought a massive smile to my face. Seeing the band play again, seeing the smiles on their faces, and seeing the crowd’s reaction brought such warmth to my heart. They’re definitely hinting at more to come.
Rest Easy (featuring members of Daggermouth) have released the new song “Hey Maxine.” This is the latest single off the band’s upcoming album titled Hope You’re Okay, set for release on October 28th via Mutant League Records.
In Case You Missed It
- Review: Alex G – God Save the Animals
- Jimmy Eat World’s Fender Sessions
- The 1975 – “All I Need to Hear”
- Yellowcard Reunite at Riot Fest
- Kyle Maite Passes Away
- Midtown/Academy Is… Reunion Show Videos
- No Devotion – No Oblivion
- Paramore Announce New York Show
- Thrice – “Open Your Eyes and Dream”
- Albums in Stores – Sep. 23rd, 2022
- A lot of my week (life?) was spent listening to Jimmy Eat World. I went on dive through a bunch of the deluxe versions of their albums, listening to all the extra bonus tracks, demos, and alternate versions. After listening to the huge version of Futures, I still think it’s my favorite album of all time. It’s perfect for any mood, any season, and I am still blown away and finding something new to appreciate after all these years. It’s the GOAT.
- There were a few new releases this week that caught my eye. Hot Mulligan’s new acoustic EP is pretty awesome. Their cover of Taking Back Sunday’s “MakeDamnSure” is fun, but the new song “Drink Milk and Run” is a highlight.
- The new 5 Seconds of Summer album is a tad over-stuffed. A few tracks blend and have a drum-driven predictability to them. But there are also some pretty goddamn good pop songs on there; “Easy for You to Say” is a smash. This band has aged pretty well out of their sorta-pop-punk phase, and each album usually has at least a couple of songs that can get my feet tapping. This one is no exception.
- I’m digging the new Thrice single. I mean, duh.
- The new album from Excide is a fun little punk record. The kind that I start turning to as the weather gets colder.
- I liked but never entirely fell in love with the last Future Teens album. This new one seems poised to be the one that fully grabs me. It’s a relatable quirky emo-pop with some real, “oh, that’s a great line” moments.
- I haven’t had time to dive into the new Alex G album, but that’s next on my list.
- I’ve written quite a bit about the new The Wonder Years’ album already (it’s their best since TGG), so I want to give a quick shoutout to make sure everyone remembers to check it out.
- Are we ready for the worst-kept secret in the music industry to finally get an official announcement? I can’t even count how many people I’ve heard from with one variation or another of what I wrote about in August. The last I heard from some little birdies was that Tom was at a festival talking about new music backstage and openly lobbying Turnstile to tour with them.
The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 29 different artists, 42 different albums, and 376 different tracks (441 scrobbles). My most played artist was Jimmy Eat World (went on a nice little binge), and my most played album was the new one from The Devil Wears Prada, Color Decay. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.
- I continue to be in awe of [Rings of Power](). That musical cue at the end of the last episode? Jaw-dropping-awesome.
- The next show we’ve started is Black Bird. We have two more to go, but it’s terrific entertainment. Well acted, creepy, and I don’t know anything about the true story it’s based on, so I’m completely in.
Random and Personal Stuff
- Ever have one of those days where you sit back and go, “well, that was the kind of day I never thought I’d have when I was a teenager?” Woke up, got a latte, did some busy work around the house, and then ran some errands that included: going to Trader Joe’s (home of the world’s worst parking lot) and then going to the optometrist to try on a bunch of new frames, before grabbing lunch and heading to the grocery store to pick up the rest of our groceries. Back home for a little reading on the couch before falling asleep for a mid-day nap. Why, yes, I am in my late 30s; how did you know? I did find a new pair of frames I think I’m going to be happy with at least. I’ve had this same pair for almost ten years now and with a new prescription change, it’s time to try something new.
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.
- The Wonder Years – Songs About Death
- Future Teens – Doorknob Confessional
- 5 Seconds of Summer – Easy for You To Say
- Thrice – Open Your Eyes and Dream
- Excide – 12 Steps
- The Devil Wears Prada – Fire
- Jimmy Eat World – Recommit
- Hot Mulligan – Drink Milk and Run
- Death Cab for Cutie – I Don’t Know How I Survive
- Mogwai – To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth
The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:
- Riot Fest 2023
- NFL Gameday Week 3
- FINALS: Radiohead – OK Computer vs. (7) Jimmy Eat World – Futures
- Smashing Pumpkins- ATUM (November 15, 2022; January 31, 2023; April 21, 2023)
- THIRD-PLACE: (27) Weezer – Weezer (Blue) vs. (37) Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
- Tour Prediction and Speculation Thread
- Men’s Soccer (Football) Thread
- Video Games : Game Harder JFG Edition
- Hip-Hop Thread
The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by SuddenUrgeJoey in the “Taylor Swift – Midnights (October 21, 2022)” thread.
Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.