Welcome, friends, to the first installment of the new look Notepad, a shadowed corner of the world wide web that has long served as our personal treasure trove for glorious new music. But, as with all else, we must adapt. So, gone is the sluggish filter-based AJAX grid of Bandcamp players, and in its place is a scrapbook of ideas, extended thoughts and humble recommendations from regular staff and contributors. We think you’ll like it just the same.

Meaning can only lie squarely with the creator if their work is never shown to anyone, for it’s not the job of the listener to research or to know of artwork’s purpose prior to engaging with it. There’s nothing personal about imbibing something through the eyes of its creator, not much cause for connection. And when something is so literal that it can only really be read in a certain way, it threatens invalidating itself. If it can’t be interacted with, what’s it worth?

The output jack on my guitar is loose and I am struggling to keep the cable in. At one point it falls out halfway during a song. I continue ‘playing,’ because I’ve learned there’s nothing worse than stopping a song midway through for a technical glitch, but the panic has fully set in at this point. I struggle to sing the lyrics I know by heart and not just repeat “I’m a fraud. You know I’m a fraud. I’m a fraud.” That’s what’s running through my brain on ticker tape.

About 10 months ago I moved from Upstate New York to Ireland, frustrated by my lack of job prospects and a sense of personal stagnation, and left unstable after a series of tragedies among family and friends. I needed something new; I needed to get out. I needed, at bottom, some time away from my self.

As you may have noticed before, Americans tend to be a bit obsessed with their country. Not in a political or patriotic sense, necessarily, but rather a mythological one: our culture and our history, truncated as they are, loom outsize in our minds, as if the whole human story from creation to perdition might reside somewhere within them. To a foreigner, this must be mystifying, and indeed the lack of American Nobel Prizes in the last several decades is generally attributed to this insularity, how American writers name-check others in the same small canon in a game that must seem horribly stultifying to those eminent Swedes.

There is a lot to Cracked Actor’s Iconoclast that might raise a few inquisitive brows, what with it being a deeply sensual and original piece of work that eggs you on as you take a stroll into your own conscience. To see if we could ascertain more about its source, we asked the band’s own Sebastian Field to tell us about five tracks that paved his way.

The lines between objectivity and subjectivity seem to be at their blurriest when discussing music, and the death knell of “well, you’re entitled to your opinion” has reared its ugly head far too often. Using the lauded film Whiplash as a pivot point, Isaac Powell attempts to run the terms through a sieve and create some distinction.