Liner Notes (July 3rd, 2020)

I hope everyone had a decent week this week. Hard to say “great” with everything that is going on in the world right now, so I’m setting the bar at “decent.” This week’s newsletter looks at the music and entertainment I enjoyed last week and includes a playlist of ten songs I think are worth your time. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • For this week’s main article, I went back to 2009 to look at all the music that came out that year and re-evaluate my favorites. 2009 ended up being a sneaky good year for music, and I was surprised by all the little details in the scene I had forgotten about, like how 2009 was the Blink–182 reunion and when the Panic! at the Exodus took place. It seems like these articles are being well received; I’ve had a lot of positive feedback. I’m still playing with various ways of bringing them to audio form, and I may try doing the 2005 article next week as a test.

  • I enjoyed this episode of Reply All. It talks about racism and white guilt and how people are handling it during these tumultuous times.

  • Next week (we’re aiming for Monday) will see the release of our “Best of 2020 (So Far)” feature. We got all the lists in this week, and it’s the first big project I get to use our new algorithm on. It was pretty straight forward to get everything into the system and let it do its thing. We’re putting together blurbs for the top albums now, and the whole feature will run next week. I plan to share even more of the behind the scenes data and stuff in next week’s newsletter, but one tease: the top four albums are all by women, and six of the top ten are by women. I am pretty sure this is the first ‘best of’ list from AbsolutePunk to Chorus where women created the majority of albums in the top ten. Pretty cool.

  • Some great YouTube performances this week that I ripped for my collection, these include Scott Sellers of Rufio covering Blink–182’s “A New Hope,” Phoebe Bridgers covering John Prine, and a great collaboration with Ryan Key of Yellowcard and This Wild Life covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”


My Fake Band is a new 4–8 player card game that is built for “music fans and shit talkers,” and they’ve just launched a Kickstarter

Have you ever wondered how your favorite band came up with their name? Have you ever heard a song title that flat out made you laugh, or scratch your head in confusion? My Fake Band is a party game that celebrates the Music Industry while shining a light on the absurdity that surrounds band names and song titles. I mean let’s be real, both “Hoobastank” and “Butthole Surfers” had hit singles that peaked on Billboard’s top 10 (no joke, look it up). My Fake Band is a hilarious game that allows you to be the creator of some epically ridiculous bands, putting out equally cringeworthy hit singles. Find out more at their Kickstarter.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • In a shockingly cool move, AJ from The Dangerous Summer dropped the band’s new single in our forums last night. This brought me way back to the days when this sort of thing happened with more regularity on the AbsolutePunk forums and was a damn lovely surprise. Also, I’m really feeling the song. It’s got a nice summer vibe to it with those “oh yeah, I feel that” lyrical nods. I like the vocal pacing in this track, and the bass drives it just enough while letting it breathe. I am extremely excited for their upcoming EP. After writing about Reach For the Sun in this week’s 2009 article, I’ve been on a big TDS kick this week, and this is coming at just the right time. I listened to Mother Naturethis morning and, damn, that album’s just great.

  • This was a relatively slow week for new releases, but a whole bunch of artists released stuff on Bandcamp today to take advantage of the website waiving their revenue share. I’m not sure what I’m going to pick up yet, but there are lots of choices.

  • One cool thing that did come out today was MxPx releasing all their acoustic YouTube performances as a Life in Quarantine album. Thirty songs that make you want to sing along like you’re sitting around a campfire with Mike. It was a great idea to put these out like this.

  • The new LANY track is a tearjerker. I’m very curious about where this entire album is going to go, but this is good. Slow for a second song preview, but good.

  • The other album I listened to a lot this week was the new one from Gordi. It was rightfully praised by Mary Varvaris in a review and is definitely worth your time.

  • I plan to spend the rest of the day going through all the albums I haven’t heard that are on our “best of 2020 (so far)” list that comes out next week. I listen to a lot of music, and there’s so much here I haven’t heard to yet!

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We’ve been watching one episode of Dark each night. We decided that since this is the third and final season, we wanted to savor each episode and not binge and get through it too fast. It’s incredible. This is the best TV show I’ve seen in quite a long time and am loving every second of it. It’s the perfect combination of so many things directly in my wheelhouse, and I highly recommend it. It’s in German, but I found you get used to the subtitles pretty quickly once the story gets going. Netflix launched a new website for the third season that is clever, it lets you put in what season/episode you’ve seen up to. Then it’ll show you a giant family tree and character bios and photos without spoiling anything that’s coming. As the story progresses, you can return and see new characters/connections that were hidden before, but still be able to check if you’re like, “Wait, who is that this time? And how are they related?” — which I find myself doing at least a couple times per episode. This show is an achievement, and I cannot wait to finish it this weekend.

  • We’ve been keeping our subtitle game strong with Elite — a ridiculous Spanish teenage drama show that is also hopelessly addicting. Each night has been an hour in German, and hour in Spanish, and then thirty minutes of Harley Quinn or a random New Girl episode before bed.

  • I finished Miracle Creek and enjoyed it. I was pretty confident I knew where the story was going, but it was well told and structured. One of the better novels I’ve read so far this year. Then I cranked through The Guest List, which was an Agatha Christie-like mystery that I’d describe as a summer thriller. Good story, fun writing, incredibly easy to read in a couple of sittings. After that, I read The Silent Patient and wasn’t a fan. The writing was bland and thin, the “twist” was obvious and silly, and I couldn’t get into it. Meh.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Many readers wrote in with a pizza suggestion for Hannah and me: pepperoni and pineapple, half olives, half jalapenos. It’s exactly what we did last week. The only downside is it means I can’t sneak extra slices in the middle of the night after finishing my half of the pie. My body is thankful; my brain is hangry.

  • My lower back has been acting up this week. I think not being able to go to a gym and focus on those muscles, or the core as often is catching up with me. That needs to take focus over the next couple of weeks.

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. Protest the Hero - Little Snakes

  2. The Dangerous Summer - Virginia

  3. Boys Like Girls - The Shot Heard ’Round the World

  4. Gordi - Volcanic

  5. Jessie Ware - Save a Kiss

  6. LANY - If This is The Last Time

  7. Armor for Sleep - Basement Ghost Singing (Re-Imagined)

  8. MxPx - Doing Time (LIQ Version)

  9. Zander Hawley - New Burn

  10. Sufjan Stevens - America

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 ajperdomo in the “The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature (June 14, 2019)” thread.

I hope everyone has a great fourth of July weekend. Stay safe out there and thanks for reading.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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