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Liner Notes (August 21st, 2021)

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    This week’s newsletter has thoughts on the new albums from Lorde and Deafheaven, as well as some commentary on other music, movies, TV shows, and much more I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

    If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

    A Few Things

    • Another week in the bag, huh? This week had an interesting wrinkle for me as I was summoned for jury duty on Friday. And it was for Grand Jury duty, which would have carried with it a month-long service. I honestly do not know how anyone can actually do that. Spend a month having to go to the court and hear cases from 9-5? Like, what? Thankfully, I was not selected. The whole experience was pretty weird, though. Sitting in a room with about 50 other people watching videos that look like they were made for 4th graders? Reminded me of school. And not in a good way. I firmly believe in a trial by jury, but watching this play out, gave me even less faith in our systems and institutions than I had before. Just a weird-ass day. But, after it was over, I had the rest of the day off, and I watched TV and baseball and took a mid-day nap. That was pretty damn nice.
    • I cannot believe it’s almost September. My rented suit for my cousin’s wedding came today, and the wedding is in only two weeks now. It felt like that wedding was so far away just a little bit ago, and now it’s here. The weather’s cooling (thankfully) just a bit, and we’re moving toward fall. Weird year. It feels like every year for the past half-decade has had some caveat like that thrown into it.
    • John Oliver’s latest show about ransomware got me thinking about my setup and ensuring I have things locked down and set up in a way that I’d be best protected if my computer was ever compromised. It’s a good episode and worth watching, plus now’s always a good time to do a little security audit for yourself and your family.

    In Case You Missed It

    Music Thoughts

    • Angel Olsen EP of 80’s cover songs? Yeah, of course, that’s in my wheelhouse.
    • Lorde released her third album yesterday, and I spent some time listening to it and then spent some time reading the “discourse” around it. And, you know, I think I just feel like I’ve seen every single conversation so many times now that I … just don’t care. The Jack Antonoff debate. The how much influence does a producer have debate. The should have worked with another producer debate. It’s usually not a good sign when that’s the conversation more than the music itself. But, the music itself doesn’t feel like it has a lot of meat on the bone. The album doesn’t do anything for me to elevate itself out of background music territory. The low-key vibe is breezy fine, but has never hooked me, grabbed me, excited me, or interested me in a way that makes me feel like I’d be dying to return to it. Something to have on in the background, sure, fine, I suppose. But if anything, it feels like the solo album from a band’s frontperson, missing a few ingredients but solid enough.
    • Deafheaven took a hard left turn on their new album. Moving from their patented sound to clean vocals and a much more, I suppose I would call it an atmospheric album. My early impression is that they knocked it way out of the park. Tape measure home run. It’s an engaging and a pristine listening experience. I thought Ian Cohen’s piece on The Ringer captured just about all you can about the album, from the shift in the band’s style, to where it came from, to how successful it was. I’ll need more time with this, but this hits the coveted “shortlisted for the AOTY list” spot for me, and I am excited to spend even more time with it.
    • New Andrew Belle is a solid Andrew Belle album, in my opinion. I consider this more of an early fall kind of album, so I’m holding it a little on call for a few more months, and I expect I’ll be reaching for it again come October. It’s grabbing me much more than the last one, and those lush harmonies are effortless to sink into.
    • I’ve still been all about that new M.A.G.S album. Adam reviewed it this week and captured it pretty perfectly. It’s just about everything I want in music these days and comes highly recommended.

    Entertainment Thoughts

    • We didn’t know what to watch last weekend, so we re-watched Superbad … and it’s still pretty much a perfect film.
    • The Green Knight is one of those films where I cannot deny the art. I cannot deny the moments of genius. I cannot deny the audacity of scope. And yet, I don’t think I liked the film. I felt my mind drifting. I felt myself wanting to just read up on the myth/story/poem on Wikipedia to learn about the story I didn’t know well enough. An undeniably well-crafted film, but one where I think you need to know more about the story before seeing it. Hmm, I just don’t know about this one.
    • I was delighted with the first season of [Superman and Lois](* I think it’s one of my favorite takes on the Superman character in a very long time. There’s humanity here that’s well captured, and I looked forward to every episode. It’s not a perfect first season, but it is an enjoyable one. And it’s the most I’ve liked a Berlanti-verse show in quite some time.
    • We finished the first season of Euphoria and the two specials. Very, very good. Also, very dark and very difficult to watch at times. But a vision-first, very well-written show. I am not sure what we’re going to watch next, but I feel like I need a palette cleanser to brighten up the ‘ol brain.

    Random and Personal Stuff

    • Some friends are having a wine tasting party in their backyard this afternoon, so we’re going to bring some wine and go hang out there for a little bit. I’m going to bring the All Time Low rosé, because why wouldn’t I? It’s good. Besides that, nothing much else on the plate this 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. Deafheaven – In Blur
    2. Angel Olsen – Forever Young
    3. Andrew Belle – Spectrum
    4. Kississippi – Twin Flame
    5. MAGS – Choked Out
    6. The Killers – In the Car Outside
    7. The Offspring – Guerre Sous Covertures
    8. Verite – He’s Not You
    9. Boyband – Please Don’t Waste My Time
    10. Ben Platt – Dark Times

    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 Drew Beringer in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.

    I hope everyone has nice rest of their weekend.

    Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.


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