Liner Notes (September 28th, 2018)

After having done these roundups for almost three months now, I’ve finally decided to make them a little more official. What started as me just putting together some bullet points each week about new music being released has turned into a much lengthier and more thought out endeavor. I use them to talk about things I found interesting throughout the week, music I listened to, movies and TV shows I watched, a playlist of songs I enjoyed, and other observations. They’ve become a fun way to recap the week and hit my personal goal of trying to write more this year.

With that, I’ve decided to give them their own name and tag. We did a brainstorming session in the supporter Q&A thread, and after a bunch of suggestions, I landed on “Liner Notes.” So, for now, that’s what I’m going with. I’ve updated the past entries with this tag as well.

Usually these roundups are exclusive to supporters; however, I’ve decided to make this week’s free for everyone to give an example of what these end up looking like. This week ranks Jimmy Eat World albums, looks at the new macOS’s “Dark Mode,” and has my usual media diet roundup for the past week. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • A little while back I realized that Jimmy Eat World are my favorite band. Their catalog, their consistency, and the history I have with the band for almost two decades is practically unrivaled. This week led me on yet another deep dive of the band’s catalog … and my rankings have changed yet again. As of right now, here’s how I think they shape out:
    • Futures: It’s still in the top spot, and it’s still one of my favorite albums ever. It walks that line between rock and pop perfectly and it captures so many different emotions in its 11 songs. Between “Kill” and the underrated “Night Drive” and the fantastic “23” it really does capture everything that I love about music. I’d be hard pressed to think of an album I’ve loved more since 2004. That I can still play it today and it feels as fresh and vibrant as ever, is truly telling. “I hope fore better, in November …”
    • Bleed American: I’ve moved this into the number two spot. As time has gone on I’ve become more attached to this album. I still get emotional listening to “My Sundown.”
    • Integrity Blues: Enough time has passed that I’m putting this in the number three spot now. This may change with time, as these things often do, but I really love this album. It’s incredible that all these years later this band is still releasing great music that I can connect to. As we start moving into the colder weather this album is absolutely perfect.
    • Clarity: It’s a classic and even moving it this far down my list feels … weird. But, alas, this is where it falls and I’m not even certain I shouldn’t drop it down one more spot based on which albums I actually reach for when I’m in a Jimmy Eat World mood.
    • Chase This Light: I still can’t believe the band were able to follow up Futures. This album has become a summer staple and “Dizzy” is my favorite song by the band. There’s something about those lyrics that will forever hit me. I still don’t love “Electable” or “Firefight,” but the rest of this album is incredible.
    • Stay on My Side Tonight: I’m not going to rank all the singles, EPs, and live stuff, but this EP deserves a special shoutout.
    • Invented: Remember when “My Best Theory” came out and the AP.net comments section said they wanted to sound like Fall Out Boy? I don’t miss those arguments at all. This album hit me at a rough time in my life and I still associate some of the songs with those days. It may be the album I return to the least in the band’s catalog, but every time I look at the track listing I’m pulled back to a very specific moment in time. I’ll die on my “Heart is Hard to Find” and “Higher Devotion” are great songs hill.
    • Damage: This album took the longest of all the Jimmy Eat World albums to grow on me. But it has. I let my expectations for what I wanted the album to sound like influence my first impressions. (I wanted it to sound like Integrity Blues, which is probably why that album has shot up my list so fast … it’s exactly what I want from the band.) Now, this album has become a perfect late night listening record. It’s so perfectly sad and raw. It’s only at the bottom here because something has to be. Even my “least” favorite of the main Jimmy Eat World albums is an album I have grown to love. Pretty much the definition of a “favorite band” at this point.
    • Static Prevails and the self-titled debut I basically don’t listen to. So, they get to be down here.
    • Conclusion: This band’s catalog is ridiculous. Top to bottom ridiculous. And on top of the these great albums there’s live albums, b-sides (“Open Bar Reception” is top tier), singles, and more that just push this band into the next level for me.
  • Earlier this week I tweeted a question asking who you could make an argument has one, and only one, great album. This question came to me when I was thinking about Finch. They’re the band that comes to mind when I think of a band that has a classic album, and I have never actually been able to get through the others. The replies to that tweet were interesting. Some of them, I knew immediately what album was being referenced … others … I had no idea.
  • Mary reviewed the new album from Marissa Nadler. I haven’t listened to this one yet, but it’s now on my list of must hears.
  • The newest version of macOS, dubbed “Mojave,” was released this week. The headlining feature is a new “Dark Mode.” Now, I love dark modes. That’s why I built one here on this site for supporters, and I think the full operating system version looks great. Personally, I don’t like running the dark mode all the time though. I like to run the light mode during the day and then at night move over to the dark version when the sun goes down. There’s a handy little app that will automatically switch to the dark theme when the sun goes down. This is great and non-technical. And, while there’s already some apps that detect what mode you’re in and switch to their own dark mode automatically (Things and Ulysses both do this and it’s marvelous), there’s other apps that have dark themes but you have to manually switch them over. Along with that, this website doesn’t know what mode you’re currently in. So, I decided it would be fun to figure out a way to automatically switch everything I wanted over to their respective dark themes once the sun went down. Using Automator and AppleScript, I put together a little script that:
    • Turns the computer to Dark Mode. (Using this script.)
    • Turns Alfred, TaskPaper, Tweetbot, and ReadKit all to their respective dark modes. I put the AppleScript for Tweetbot and ReadKit on GitHub if anyone is interested.
    • Turns the Chorus forums and the Chorus homepage to their respective dark modes. This took some custom coding on the backend to make work, but now that it’s done I’ll be using that code here on the website to create one button for supporters to be able to activate Dark Mode on the entire website at once. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
  • Now at around 6:30 PM each day, my computer will alert me that the sun is about to set and ask if would I like to turn on Dark Mode. I click yes, and I get Dark Mode everywhere. I even made a “dark” version of my custom start page. Then, at around 6 in the morning, I have it set to reverse itself and go back to light mode automatically. I like automation, I like dark modes, and this was a fun little project to tackle for a day. I dunno, maybe someone else will find it interesting.

Music Thoughts

  • This week I spun that new Brockhampton album quite a bit. Solid album.
  • The new album from The Paper Kites, On the Corner Where You Live, got quite a few night plays this week. It’s a somber listen with a really nice mood to it.
  • The Living End’s new album is out today, I continue to think it’s a really good bounce back album for the band. I wish it came out earlier in the year, but alas.
  • The new Hippo Campus album is now out digitally. I’ve been talking about this release in these notes for a while now, and I highly recommend this album. It’s very good. It’s good enough to sneak into my top 5 of the year.
  • I like the new Restorations album, but I’ve already overplayed it. I feel like advances to this were sent out forever ago.
  • Anti-Flag’s acoustic album is great and very needed this week. I listened to the Bayside acoustic album and thought it was fine for what it is, but I’m not a huge Bayside fan, so it doesn’t do that much for me.
  • Justin Pierre’s album has grown on me quite a bit over the past few weeks. It still doesn’t feel that fundamentally different than a Motion City Soundtrack album, but it sounds like a good MCS album, and that’s always a good thing. I need to make more time for this next week and try and write some more.
  • I haven’t come back to Young the Giant’s new album as much as I thought I would. It’s good, I like it when I listen to it, but it hasn’t been calling to me yet. Maybe in the next few months that will change.
  • Craig’s write up on Jack’s Mannequin has me thinking I need to do a Andrew catalog deep dive next week. I haven’t gone through the entire discography in a while.
  • I absolutely love the new Japanese House single. This album has shot to the top of my “most anticipated” list. Advances for the full-length should be going out soon, so hopefully I’ll have more thoughts on that sooner rather than later.
  • I am waiting to hear the entire Saves the Day album before listening to another song from it, but damn, the comments sure make it sound polarizing. That should be here within a week or two.
  • Hmm, the new mewithoutYou album showed up literally as I’m writing this. Going to toss that on while I type this up and come back at the end to edit in some thoughts. Update: Holy shit. Yeah, this is very good. Intense. I immediately liked it more than the EP. I am going to need a lot more time with this to put together my thoughts, that’s a lot to take in. I’ll post more in the supporter thread in the next few days.
  • I truly can’t give a fuck about Kanye West releasing another album. The people he publicly supports, still wearing a MAGA hat, it’s a bridge to far for me. I thought the last album he released sucked so it makes me even more likely to just ignore this one.
  • More people should listen to Brandtson. I still think Send us a Signal is one of the better, and now criminally underrated, releases from the early 2000s.
  • I spun Shredders’ Dangerous Jumps multiple times this week in the gym. Very motivating and helpful in a week where I felt aggression building in my chest every single day. The news is a fucking nightmare.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I know it’s getting toward the end of the year when Hannah says she wants to watch Harry Potter again. Those movies just fit into the October-December months so well. I expect we will watch most, if not all, of these in the near future … it’ll be fun to re-watch and evaluate the films again. It’s been a while.
  • We’ve continued to watch season 8 of Doctor Who over the past week. Really starting to get into the meat of it now. As I wrote about before, it’s really a show that’s defined our relationship over the past six years, so this has been a lot of fun and a great escape at the end of the day. We keep looking at each other and saying, “why did we stop watching this?” and “yeah, I remember why we love this show.”
  • This week’s episode of Always Sunny made me laugh harder than I have in a long time.
  • The Good Place is back! If you’re not watching this show I highly recommend it. One of my favorites on TV.
  • Sicario: Day of the Solado was … fine. It was watchable but not anywhere close to as good as the first.
  • Mandy was fucking insane. I am still not sure what the hell that was, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Very bloody, great music, and a movie that I can’t quite shake. Some of the shots are still in my head. It’s good, but damn … what a trip.
  • After listening to a podcast about Rounders, I re-watched it. Holds up as my favorite poker movie ever.
  • I loved, I mean truly loved, Eighth Grade. It’s the kinda movie I know I’ll end up watching multiple times over the next few years. A coming of age film that captures a part of childhood I distinctly remember. I didn’t grow up in the phone/social-media-everywhere/YouTube era of childhood that our main character does; however, it’s the alienation, faking it, and that feeling of trying to discover who you are inside, that is universal. I can’t say enough good things about this one.
  • I’m about halfway through 11/22/63 now. It’s getting really good.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I’m officially down 24.8 lbs now. Oh so close to the magic 25 number. It’s been 108 days and the system continues to get my ass to the gym. I was looking at photos from earlier this year and I kind of can’t believe the changes. When it happens slowly you miss that there’s been an actual transformation, so I find it motivating to look back and really focus on the tangible, real, changes made. I can’t be certain, but I do think these physical changes have had a positive impact on my mental health as well.
  • Wedding planning continues! I think we’ve decided on a fall wedding and we’re now making lists of venues to check out. I am having nightly “holy fucking shit this is expensive” moments. We’re finalizing our picks for groomspeople/bridemaids, so that’s at least fun. It means I get to take people out for beers!

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. Jimmy Eat World – Night Drive
  2. POP ETC – Broken Record
  3. Brandtson – Escapist
  4. Hippo Campus – Anxious
  5. Shredders – Cult 45
  6. The Living End – Death of the American Dream
  7. Anti-Flag – American Attraction (Acoustic)
  8. The Paper Kites – Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain
  9. Half Waif – Lavender Burning
  10. Tash Sultana – Seven

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

This week’s news has been a living nightmare, so I hope everyone is doing alright out there. Stay safe, take some time to yourself, and feel ok with unplugging from the internet for a while. I could feel this rage in my chest all week and when my back and shoulders start to ache I know the stress is getting to me. This feeling of being able to do nothing while the country burns itself is extremely taxing. I saw this tweet going around this morning that said, “One thing I did not anticipate coming into this political moment was how exhausting it would be to be lied to so often, verifiably, and shamelessly” that sums it up so well. But, the weekend’s here, so let’s take some deep breaths, calm the mind as best we can, and get ready to fight again on Monday.

And, with that, I leave you with a quote from Seneca:

Being unexpected adds to the weight of a disaster, and being a surprise has never failed to increase a person’s pain. For that reason, nothing should ever be unexpected by us. Our minds should be sent out in advance to all things and we shouldn’t just consider the normal course of things, but what could actually happen. For is there anything in life that Fortune won’t knock off its high horse if it pleases her? (Moral Letters, 91.3a-4)

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.

Jason Tate
Jason Tate Jason Tate is the founder and editor-in-chief of chorus.fm. He can also be found at @jason_tate on Twitter and on Facebook.