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Liner Notes (February 27th, 2021)

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  1. Melody Bot

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    Hello weekend readers.

    This week’s newsletter has early thoughts on Julien Baker’s new album, thoughts on various articles I read last week and enjoyed, and other random musings about music, entertainment, and life that have been running around in my head the past week. As always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed, 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.

    Two Things

    • I needed this morning to decompress. It was a stressful week. It was a week where I felt a little behind each day and just needed the morning to feel like I had no responsibilities, no pressures. I slept in, did my morning review, and then spent the next few hours on the couch getting caught up with various articles I had saved to read later. It was a very needed “reset.” Of the articles I went through this morning, I really enjoyed this one about Millennials vs. the upcoming generation and talking about the cycles between generations and their mentality about various things. I find it very weird to be of the “adult” persuasion in culture, but I don’t mind admitting that I like things and do have an earnest part to my personality I don’t think younger Jason would have recognized. I also thought this article about bringing Urdu to computers and phones and being able to type in the language fascinating. And, this article from Tavi Gevinson was a difficult but incredibly thoughtful piece that I would highly recommend spending some time with. It’s thought-provoking and wise.
    • I think this project called Bookfeed is very cool. The idea is simple: You tell it the authors you like; it’ll tell you when their next book is coming out via RSS. Simple. No extra recommendations. No algorithm. It’s a great idea.

    In Case You Missed It

    Music Thoughts

    • I watched Jimmy Eat World’s Surviving concert stream last weekend. It did solidify that I would kill for the entire band’s discography in this format, specifically Damage. Damage is an album that’s grown on me with time but still has some production choices that are not my favorite. I think the songs have all the makings of something that I would adore in this format, however. Sign me all the way up for that. Oh, and Surviving was a joy to watch as well.
    • The Daft Punk breakup caught me completely unaware. What a career. A band I always respected and listened to a whole lot over the years, but they never really reached the upper tier in my “favorites” list. I think I was just right outside the age to get extremely into them.
    • Julien Baker is one of the most talented songwriters, not just of her generation, but of any generation. Her way with words, and precisely her way of wringing her heart onto the page, is a thing of envy. She can capture a moment, a feeling, and a mood in sharpness and devastating beauty. Turning the darkest of thoughts into poetry with pinprick precision. It also means I have to be in just the right mindset to spend time with the songs. It’s never an easy listen, rarely a passive listen, and something that demands I sink my entire being into so as to experience, well, the experience. That means I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with her new album. I know where and how I need to be to give it the time it deserves, and I just haven’t had the right night with the space to let it overtake me. My first impressions are positive, but I’m not entirely sold on some of the production choices that surpass her vocals with the almost fuzzy instrumentals. I think it’s also most apparent to me on the first three songs, and subsequently, the album takes off from track four on for me. The extra instrumentation will take some time to get used to, but the core of Julien’s music still stands strong. I’m looking forward to a late night with the house to myself where I can spend some time with this one. It deserves the right mood, the right time. (Aside: I can only imagine how many of these lines would have been in my AIM away messages in high-school. Hmm, you know what? I miss away messages. Maybe I’ll sign-up for Super Follows and only post away messages.)
    • The latest from Jetty Bones was released on Friday, and I think that’s definitely worth your time.
    • I listened to the new NOFX once, and it was pretty hit or miss for me: some good stuff and some songs I couldn’t make it through.
    • I’d like a new Foxing song for my birthday. Preferably, a long one.
    • The two new AFI songs sound good. This is such a massively long time before the album is coming out that I worry it’ll be one where the entire album is released before it’s out, and I’m going to have to avoid listening to all the singles. Being a devoted “full album” listener is getting more and more difficult these days.
    • This Luna Shadows album is interesting. It was produced by Brad of Now, Now and Thom of The Naked and the Famous, and the influence stands out. There are some very strong songs here, but also a few that don’t do much for me and feel a tad repetitive.
    • If Scrubs were still around, Wild Pink would definitely be soundtracking some scenes. I get massive Zach Braffcore vibes from this band.
    • I feel about all recent Green Day stuff the way, I think, quite a few people feel about all recent Blink-182 stuff. I just … don’t like it. At all.

    Entertainment Thoughts

    • So, yeah, Minari was fantastic. One of those movies that I’ve been thinking about all morning after watching it last night. The kind of movie that just kind of sits with you and hangs out at the back of your mind. Highly recommended.
    • We’ve been on a foreign movie/tv show binge the past few months, and that continued with me making Hannah watch The Brotherhood of the Wolf, a movie I remembered liking in the early 2000s and wanted to see if it stood up. It’s way too long. Loves itself some slow motion. And the CG is pretty bad. But it was pretty much also exactly as I remembered and better than it should be for what it is.
    • I like when we’re on a “good movie” kick, and The Painter and the Thief continued that trend. It was the kind of movie that I didn’t really know what to expect or even know much about, but I was enamored by the real-life characters and the heart at the core of the story. Totally worth checking out if you like documentaries.
    • Basically, my nerd side will check out virtually anything superhero-related from now until the end of time. I have such an affinity for certain characters that I’ll just always be drawn to see them in films, or tv shows, or comic books. Hell, I even watched the first few episodes of Gotham and Batwoman to see what they were about (neither stuck). Cue Superman & Lois. And, I’m a little surprised to say: I enjoyed the hell out of the pilot. I think there’s something to the idea that in this version, Clark and Lois are older and have two teenage sons; that actually works for me because of my current age. The premise of raising the kids and wanting to move home to Smallville to do it had the right mix of charm and Superman action to keep my attention. I am unsure how it’ll hold up over multiple episodes and if the sons will be annoying or work, but I think this version of Superman is very in line with my personal favorite take on the character. So, yeah, I’m in on a few more episodes to see how it all shakes out.
    • Almost done with the first season of The Bureau, and it’s gotten better with each passing episode. The first few episodes’ slow burn is starting to pay off, and we’re both enjoying it.
    • Dune rules. I’m about 60% of the way through the book now.

    Random and Personal Stuff

    • I am unreasonably excited because there will be a spring training baseball on my TV tomorrow. Baseball season is coming!
    • A new smaller grocery store (locally owned, I think there are like five of them in Oregon) opened up near us, and we had the time after getting groceries this morning to stop in. (It’s basically a small New Seasons.) It was the first time in about 11 months that I have “casually” browsed any store. We walked through for about ten minutes, grabbed a six-pack of Breakside beer, and beside the whole “mask” and a slight undercurrent of anxiety about being inside and around anyone, it felt almost half “normal.” It’s been an extraordinary year, and reflecting on this being the first time I’ve gone anywhere without a rigorous and stated purpose … was weird. Along with my grandmother, now Hannah’s grandmother, and mother, and herself have all received the first dose of a vaccine. My dad has gotten both doses. My mom is finally soon to be coming up on the list. I’m still probably quite a ways away, but things at least feel like they’re progressing in the right direction. I’m almost letting myself feel a tinge of optimism with an eye on the future. Maybe late summer things could actually feel normalish? Is that possible?

    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. Manchester Orchestra – Bed Head
    2. Julien Baker – Relative Fiction
    3. Jetty Bones – Taking Up Space
    4. Florrie – Hours
    5. AFI – Looking Tragic
    6. Luna Shadows – Lowercase
    7. Wild Pink – Oversharers Anonymouse
    8. Layne – Dumb Girl
    9. Tired Lion – Lie to Me
    10. Sydney Sprague – Qutter

    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 Jake Gyllenhaal in the “General Politics Discussion VIII” thread.

    Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.


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