I’m not up-to-date on the correct terminology so I’m not sure if I geek out on audio stuff or nerd out on audio stuff. Regardless, the Lossless and Dolby Atmos tracks on Apple Music started rolling out late Monday night and I’ve spent more time than I’d care to admit listening to different tracks, comparing them with different headphones, comparing them against FLAC files on my computer or streams on Tidal… all kinds of fun stuff. Ultimately my conclusion is that they all sound “really good”. As someone who previously had a huge selection of CDs and recently started trying to collect FLAC files for all of my favourite albums, the idea that the entire Apple Music catalogue is going to be available in at least CD quality really makes a lot of that effort collecting them seem like sitting in a rocking chair (Van Wilder reference!). It’s like being able to walk through an HMV and grab as many CDs as you want, whenever you want, and however often you want.
Now having said that, the rollout is happening over the course of the next few months but for you Apple Music subscribers there are few tracks and albums from this week’s note available in Lossless AND Hi-Res Lossless (if you’ve got the gear) AND in Dolby Atmos (but mostly available in regular 'ol totally fine AAC quality). In the future I’ll be sure to highlight any of the tracks that use Dolby Atmos because if you’ve got almost any Apple or Beats wireless headphones - or, if you have wired headphones and want to dig through settings to enable it - the Dolby Atmos mix is pretty wild on some of the music.
👀 Goings On About Music
Let us take a look at some new(ish) albums and singles…
This last weekend was, at least in my part of the world, one of those sticky humid weekends where you feel enveloped by the embrace of a really gross blanket the second you step outside. Weekends like this always reminds me of the outdoor scenes in Dazed and Confused. It reminds me of those scenes so much that I actually watch the movie (again) on Sunday night. It also made this new album from The Sheepdogs the perfect accompaniment for the weekend. Guitar-driven riffs, harmonizing riffs, steady shuffling drums. Everything you would expect from a 70s rock band… and The Sheepdogs.
Earlier this year I included the song Be Sweet in my note I love that song as much now as I did back in March. Now I also have the benefit of another nine tracks to enjoy alongside it. Not every song has the same synthy upbeat charm as Be Sweet - some tracks explore a more lo-fi sound, some are straight pop, and some have a more dark and triby electronic vibe. Either way, an enjoyable listen start-to-finish.
CHVRCHES (feat Robert Smith) - How Not To Drown
If I was ever going to build some kind of automation or AI to write these notes for me, I would 100% have a rule that any new CHVRCHES music will be added and written about positively - I’m that confident in the band at this point. Just last week I revisited my all-time favourite Robert Smith collaboration with Crystal Castles (it is worth noting that I am only aware of two Robert Smith collaborations) so it was neat to see this track pop-up. The CHVRCHES album isn’t due for another two months so I will try my best to not include every single they release along the way. It’ll be a challenge.
David Myles - Bird Song
If I told you I had a laid-back instrumental track from a Nova Scotian I bet you could picture what that might sound like. If I then told you it was a David Myles track you’d probably have to circle back and increase the amount of funk and jazz in your imagined version of what this song would sound like. I didn’t know this was an instrumental track going into it and was waiting for vocals at first but as the organ and slide guitar came into the song at different points it no longer mattered that I wasn’t hearing vocals.
Shad (feat Skratch Bastid)- Work
I was hosting a radio show in university when my buddy gave me an early demo of what would become Shad’s first album. As an advanced beginner, relatively, in the rap and hip-hop world, the mix of clever laid-back lyrics and wordplay with what sounded like a live band providing the backing music stood out and made me an instant fan. I’d love to know how many times I’ve listened to I Get Down or Rock To It since 2004. I don’t even think you can get When This Is Over on the streaming services anymore. I’m confident declaring Shad my favourite Canadian rapper. I’m pretty sure he’s my favourite rapper, no qualifier, as well but I’d have to really think about that to be certain. I was worried that he’d moved on to other things after the few-and-far-between number of releases since his 2013 album but am now optimistic given that this is the second single in the last 12 months. Maybe he’ll never reach the highs of The Old Prince or TSOL but if you’re going to be a fan then you’re going to be a fan - even if this specific single isn’t his best. For you, dear reader, let’s use it as an excuse to go check out his catalogue.
🎧 In My Queue
Speaking of songs for the summer, it’s been a while since I came across music from Dragonette but I was happy to hear the easy-to-nod-along-to dance pop that first attracted me is still alive and well in the sound of their Summer Thing single… Another track from bulow, another opportunity for me to enjoy the whispery unassuming but totally in-your-face voice set to catchy music that gets stuck in my head for days… maybe it’s just me trying to manifest it into existence, but there seems to be a ground swell of pop punk style music coming back into focus. It’s all squarely in the mainstream bucket so don’t expect anything groundbreaking but between tracks like virtual realityrenforshort and Olivia Rodrigo’s good for u, I’d be on-board for a revisiting of the early Paramore days… I didn’t start in on the Wolf Alice album until Monday but really enjoyed it. I think if I had more time it definitely would have made the albums list… and, as usual, songs from the singles and albums noted above.
The Sheepdogs - Rock and Roll (Ain’t No Simple Thing)
Wolf Alice - The Beach
renforshort - virtual reality
bülow - Revolver
Japanese Breakfast - Kokomo, IN
Shad - Work (feat. Skratch Bastid)
David Myles - Bird Song
CHVRCHES & Robert Smith - How Not To Drown
Dragonette, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano & Cat Dealers - Summer Thing