Liner Notes (January 4th, 2019)


Well, here we have the first newsletter of 2019.

In this week’s roundup, I rank Thursday albums, share website plans for the coming week, talk about a few fonts and automation tools I like, and do my usual weekly media diet rundown. There are also links to ten songs I loved this week, and the supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • I went on a big Thursday kick this week, so I figured now would be the best time to give their ‘ol discography a ranking:
    • Full Collapse: I have to put this at the top. I almost moved it to number two, but there’s just something so incredible about this record, and how well it holds up all these years later, that I have to keep it in the top spot. I still remember sitting in my room with the liner notes pulled out and my mouth agape at some of the lyrics.
    • No Devolución: I love this album. It captures so much of what inspires me about the band and explores new territory. I do hope we get a new Thursday album someday, but if we don’t, this will always be an incredible album to go out on.
    • A City By the Light Divided: As time has passed, this has shot up my list. From songs like “Sugar in the Sacrament” to “We Will Overcome” to “The Lovesong Writer” — it’s just full of great Thursday songs. I remember when it first came out I (and many others) were turned off by the more raw sounding production. It doesn’t bother me at all now. I love the rawness to it, especially when everything else out there now sounds almost too polished.
    • War All the Time: This album takes me back to a very specific time in college, it’s also probably the Thursday album I’ve returned to the least. It’s still a great album, full of potent songs, but I find myself drawn to their other work more often.
    • Common Existence: This album has some of my favorite Thursday songs on it, but as a whole, I think I like the other ones a little better. Great artwork, great b-sides.
    • Waiting: I remember finding this after hearing Full Collapse, and being impressed with a young band finding their sound. These days, I hardly ever reach to put this one on. I hadn’t heard it, in full, in quite a few years. It sounds so very early 2000s, and so very New Jersey to me.
    • Conclusion: From 2001 through 2011 Thursday pushed out incredible songs that made me re-think the definitely of lyrical quality and emotive singing. The band has always felt a little like an acquired taste, you have to sink into what you’re getting, but once you buy in, these albums are full of nuggets to chew on and digest. When I think about “favorite” bands, these guys never quite make it to my upper tier, but then I’ll spend a week listening to their albums, end with No Devolución, and think to myself: maybe they should.
  • This little Keyboard Maestro macro from John Gruber is really useful. I have quite a few automation services I’ve written (I’ll have to share some of them sometime), and being able to quickly access them if I forget the hotkey is convenient. I really can’t recommend Keyboard Maestro enough for power users on the Mac. There’s just so many little things I’ve customized that I think I’d be lost without it. One example: I have a keyboard shortcut set so that when I get a text message and see the little notification banner come in, I can hit ⌘+ESC on the keyboard to have the “reply” button on the notification clicked for me. That way I can quickly respond to a text message, if I want, without having to open up Messages or take my hands off the keyboard. It’s incredibly convenient.
  • I’m not sure if anyone else likes typography as much as I do, but iA Writer has three great fonts that I love. I use them specifically in my note’s app, Ulysses. I use Duospace in Ulysses on the iPad and Quattro on Ulysses on the Mac. They’re charming and very readable. On the Mac, I still write almost everything that becomes long-form in plain text using Inconsolata LGC.
  • The “thread ignore” feature is done, and I’ll be rolling that out tonight or early next week, depending on how much time I have when I finish writing this newsletter. Our “best of 2018” feature will be going up on the website on Monday, and Craig Manning and I recorded a podcast all about our favorites in 2018 as well. That will also go up Monday and be pushed out to all podcast players; however, if you want to listen to it early, I posted up the stream of it in the supporter forum.

Music Thoughts

  • This was another relatively slow music week for me. I listened to a few things I hadn’t spun in a while to prepare for our EOTY podcast, and I’ve started adding the stuff from the contributor lists I haven’t heard yet to my collection, but I haven’t begun listening to them yet. I also re-listened to the latest Brian Fallon and Matt Nathanson albums, since those are two of the “blurbs” I am writing for our EOTY feature.
  • I spent a lot of time listening to Tonight Alive’s Underworld yesterday. When I pulled out the numbers to see what albums I listened to the most and compared it to what my EOTY list looked like, this was the one album that was very high on my spin count, but it only made my honorable mentions list. I’m not quite sure why that is, but it’s a really solid album with quite a few great songs on it.
  • This morning has been spent listening to the two EPs from the movie Blindspotting. They’re quite good, but I would recommend you see the movie before listening to them.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Since we’ve been playing a whole bunch of Smash Bros. on the Nintendo Switch, and I’ve really loved playing with Cloud, I had to show Hannah Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children so she would understand while I’d randomly chant “Sephiroth” during battles. The graphics hold up well mostly with things like landscapes and textures, and the film is still a fun watch. The final action sequence is badass. (The video game has been incredible, however, and I can’t recommend that enough. We finally unlocked all the characters, and I’m slowly starting to take on more difficult computer opponents. I still basically suck, but the game is a blast to play.)
  • I thoroughly enjoyed Support the Girls. There’s not really much more you can ask for in a film. Smart, well acted, funny in the right places, and heartwarming.
  • Burning was, ahem, a slow burn of a movie that paid off in spades. Impeccable direction and cinematography around three very good performances from the main actors. This is one of those movies I’ll be thinking about a whole lot in the weeks to come. That ending is going to stay with me.
  • Blindspotting was incredible. If I had seen it last year, it would have been on my favorites list, and it’s one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. I loved everything about it, and it comes highly recommended; one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. It ended, and I just sat there for a moment in silence, thinking, “holy shit.”
  • Since Hannah had to work on New Year’s Eve, I decided to try You on Netflix. I don’t love the show, but it’s got enough of the hooks into me that I feel like I should finish it. I’ve watched the first four, and if I can find the time, I am interested in seeing what happens. I’m not enamored, but I am curious.
  • I saw Below Deck being mentioned on quite a few end of the year lists. It’s a reality TV show based around the crew of a giant yacht, and the guests that charter it each week. After watching a few episodes of You, I decided to give this a shot as well. It’s insanely addicting. Hannah came home, and she was all in within 15 minutes of one episode. We’ve finished the entire first season and are eight episodes into the second season already. Not only is it nice to end our evening with a “no-stakes” kind of show (trying to sleep after watching an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale was never fun), but there’s a lot at play in this show. There’s personality conflicts, psychology, and management lessons if you want to look deeper, and I’m usually not a big fan of reality TV. However, this does get my recommendation, and it’s become something I look forward to watching every single night. The only flaw is how fast we’re flying through these.
  • I’ve decided to re-watch season two of Young Justice to prepare for the upcoming third season. I’m only on the first episode, but I still really enjoy this show. Sure, it’s a cartoon at its core, but they do a great job of making you care about the characters by the end. I’m looking forward to the new season.
  • We’re almost done with season one of Friends on our re-watch. I still have trouble putting into words how happy this show makes me. It’s my happy place and I think it always will be.
  • I didn’t have any time for any pleasure reading this week. Lots of blogs and articles, and I caught up on a few podcasts, so I hope I have some time to do that this weekend.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I’ve returned to my goal weight after a slight 2-3 lbs increase over the holiday. I’m feeling good about my ability to slightly tweak calorie intake to maintain right where I want to be, even if I end up gaining some weight during a stretch. I think I’ve got a good idea now of the right amount of calories for me to set my goal at, building in a little cushion for days/nights where I may eat a bit more or we eat dinner with friends and I’m just flat out guessing on calories. So, that feels good.
  • I like this Backwoods River Pig Lager. Very tasty and drinkable. I’ve been more into the drinkability, and refreshing side, of beers lately. Fewer IPAs or things with a strong taste.

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. Thursday – Jet Black New Year
  2. Tonight Alive – Disappear
  3. Blindspotting EP – Not a Game
  4. The Midnight – The Comeback Kid (Instrumental)
  5. Shura – Nothing’s Real
  6. Strung Out – Matchbook
  7. MUNA – Crying On the Bathroom Floor (Acoustic)
  8. Staircase Spirits – California Winter
  9. A Wilhelm Scream – Wild Turkey
  10. Thursday – Empty Glass

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

The first week of 2019 is now behind us. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.