Liner Notes (July 19th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter contains first impressions on the new Noah Gundersen album, lengthier thoughts on the new album from Sum 41, some brief views on the new album from Oso Oso, and random commentary about a bunch more music. There’s also my weekly media diet rundown, a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, and news and forum recaps. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • I need to pause for a moment here at the top. This week in politics was wretched. Just wretched. And to write about music seems so silly and almost trivial when there is so much hate and ugliness in the air. I read a great piece by Adam Serwer in The Atlantic last night, and I think it’s worth adding to your reading list. I know it can be hard and rough out there these days. I hope the music and entertainment can be a needed distraction for you.

  • The newsletter continues to grow and I want to thank everyone that’s signed up or told someone about it and helped spread the word. Please, continue to forward it along or tell people about it! I’ve had multiple people tell me they signed up and they’d never read anything I’ve written before, but a friend told them they might like it. That’s incredible.

  • We passed 3,000,000 posts in our forums last week. That’s a big number. My next few weeks are the part of the year I dislike the most, but it’s the time where I dive into the economics of the website, and its economic health. So, if you like this newsletter, and the website and community, and you want me to be less stressed next week, please consider becoming a supporting member of the website. Last time I checked, we were like 100 people away from my goal and financial security. That’s like 10% of the people that will read this newsletter this week. I’m sure I’ll have more updates on this topic next week.

  • My recommendation for the week is a household item I don’t think many people keep on hand: gaffer tape. Gaffer tape is incredibly useful to have around the house because it is easy to tear, holds well, and doesn’t leave gross tape residue around once you remove it. It’s great for hiding cables or for places where something like duct tape would be overkill and masking tape is worthless.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Sum 41 released their new album, Order in Decline, today and it’s been my most played album for the past week. I think it’s a step up from 13 Voices making it my favorite release from the band in almost fifteen years. I like the pacing, the aggressiveness, the mixture of guitar riffs and pop melodies, and a feeling of timeliness in the songs that reflect a dissatisfaction with the world. A few of the songs have melodies that remind me of Green Day (“Heads Will Roll,” “Catching Fire”), and the only song I’m not quite into yet is “Eat You Alive,” but the album as a whole feels like Sum 41 operating at the peak of their powers.

    This album feels, collectively, like a confident band making an album full of songs that they felt compelled to write. Some of their more recent work felt a little aimless to my ears. Like a band searching for what or who they should be in the years after their massive popularity. This feels like a self-assured answer that question. A record with something to say while retaining a personal touch and a whole lot of energy. I don’t see this leaving my daily playlist anytime soon. Well done, Sums.

  • I’ll preface my first impressions of Noah Gundersen’s new album, Lover, by saying that this album (with the bonus tracks) is 57 minutes long. I would also call it a very dense record. So that means I’ll need multiple uninterrupted listens before I can really put together my thoughts on the album a whole and how it works cohesively together. But my early, top-line, impressions are that this album has won me back over in a big way. For some background, I think Ledges is one of my favorite albums, and one of my favorite lyrical outputs, of the decade. The follow-up, Carry The Ghost, didn’t hit me the same way emotionally, but I thought it was exceptional and showcased Noah as one of the best singer-songwriters alive. And then, while I appreciated the artistic and sonic exploration on White Noise, it was my least listened to Noah album by a large margin, and most of the songs never grew on me. I was disappointed in myself for not liking it more than I did, but the sequencing combined with a few tracks that I couldn’t get through really bummed me out. What this new album does is take everything I liked about his songwriting talents and then reigns in some of the more eclectic ideas he experimented on this last album to blend into a new entity that feels like the perfect mix. Maybe he had to go as far in one direction as he did on the last album to find the restraint to bring it back in for this. But then it’s the ability to add the right extra flavors of experimentation that raise this album.

    I think the mentioned influences of Bon Iver and The 1975 are apt. It’s playing with electronic elements, allowing your Phil Collins to spread its wings, and using these techniques in service to the songs when it works best. There are a few places where it may feel a little overindulgent, but those moments are mitigated by the simpleness of songs like “Watermelon.” My early favorites include “Lose You,” “Older,” “Kamikaze,” and “Crystal Creek.” My least favorite is probably “Out of Time.”

    There’s a whole lot to take in here. Yet, I feel confident in saying that I think this is a perfect marriage of the heartfelt, end up crying while-listening-singer-songwriter of Noah’s early career, with the more modern experimentational side of the artist. The results are moving, beautiful, songs that often challenge you and just as often leave you breathless.

    I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this record as I spend more time with it, but I’m immediately impressed. I re-found exactly what it was I loved about this man’s music in the first place. About halfway through “Crystal Creek” I realized I had stopped everything I was doing and was entranced as he sang, “now you’re running on empty, now you’re running out of time, you used to be so hungry, how’d you get so tired?” and as the music and vocals fuzz with a 22, A Million like nod, I realized he’d done it. He’d found a way to evolve and grow while keeping the emotive aspects I first fell in love with. I’ll need more time before I can say if this is an achievement record, but I can say that the degree of difficulty was sky-high, and the achievement of pulling it off was met.

  • The new album from Good Riddance is called Thoughts and Prayers and it’s out today. If you are looking for a damn good melodic punk record, you should check this out. This will be in my rotation all summer.

  • I’m not sure I get what The All-American Rejects were going for on their three song EP. The title track is alright, and the best of the bunch, but “DGAF” is truly awful, and the third track is so forgettable I don’t even remember what it’s called. I unapologetically think their last album was one of their best and this feels like a massive regression. I don’t see much chance I ever return to these songs.

  • The Menzingers dropped their new song “Anna” early this week. God damn do I love this band. This is a pretty standard Menzinger’s track that doesn’t quite get me as excited as “Lookers” did, but it’s close. I’ve always been more drawn to Greg’s songs and the way he can paint a nostalgic picture of longing with his lyrics. I was asked in the Q&A thread if I had any thoughts about the vocal effect on the song, and my response was: “I continue to think Will Yip holds the band back from ever reaching outside of our little world. They have songs that could cross over into other groups of fans, even like going toward the Jason Isbell crowd, but they’re held back by sounding too thin and muddled. It’s a stylistic effect that doesn’t bother me (or I just get over), ’cause I like the band, and I like their songs, but I don’t think I could share this song with a friend without them asking why the vocals sound like they’re recorded in a bathroom or ask if it’s a demo.” I think that’s really my only criticism, but it’s not actually a criticism, because I like the song, I like the effect, and I like the way it sounds; however, I also think those choices limit the potential reach or growth of the band to new heights. I think there’s an expectation that music should sound, sonically, a certain way in 2019, and when it’s off even just a little more mainstream listeners notice. My hunch is that I would not have the same success recommending this band, and these songs, to my less musically invested group of friends that I got into The Gaslight Anthem.

  • Typing the words “there’s a new Mest song” in 2019 just feels weird. The song’s a generic pop-punk song about generic pop-punk things with a generic chorus. The second verse with trading off vocals is the best part, but there’s only so many songs with “when the night is over/will you remember my name, when we wake up sober/will you remember my face” lyrics I can handle in one lifetime. I’ve reached my limit.

  • I like the new Ra Ra Riot album, Superbloom, more than I’ve liked one of their albums in years. However, it still has a vanilla quality to it that doesn’t particularly have me craving further listens.

  • I only had time to give the new album from The Hold Steady one listen, and that’s probably all I will be doing for a while. The advance was 128 KBS mp3s and when the band already has a pretty raw sound that ends up sounding pretty rough. I liked the songs, and it sounds like a Hold Steady record, but I feel like the songs are missing something at this bitrate, and I want to hear better quality before judging.

  • The new Tiger Army single “Eyes of the Night” seems like something that will appeal to a lot of their older fans. (The social media response I saw seemed to be filled with a lot of “return to form” comments.) However, it’s not the direction I was hoping they would go with this record. I loved their previous album, and was hoping for a more refined or updated take on that sound. Maybe there will be more songs like that on the album, but this one felt repetitive and did nothing for me while only clocking in at one minute. Maybe it’s an intro? Whatever it is, I’m a little worried about my fit with this album now.

  • I am getting huge Saves the Day vibes from the new Oso Oso album. This is one of those albums that has a sound I don’t listen to often anymore, but it’s done so well that it draws me completely in. While some of the melodies remind me of those early 2000s bands we all loved, the songwriting elevates the album to the top of the emo rock genre. I’m always curious to see where a band like this, today, finds a place in the music landscape. What ends up being their audience? It feels like it could have been one of the biggest things in our scene if it came out when bands like Armor For Sleep were getting airplay. Cult classic status? Small group of die-hard fans? We’ll see I guess, but it’s definitely worth your time when it drops.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Long Shot was a pretty fun political romantic comedy that was better than I expected. It’s not particularly deep, but it did have quite a few laughs and ended up being pretty enjoyable. It is, however, way too long. It should have been at least 30 to 45 minutes shorter. I feel like that length may have hurt it at the box office.

  • I finally sat down to watch Vice. Hannah didn’t have any desire to see it, so I was waiting until I had a night to myself and a desire to get angry at the world. It, predictably, it did exactly that. All these people should be in jail. As a movie, it wasn’t as good as The Big Short, but it was well-acted, had enough levity to keep the story moving, and Christian Bale played a soulless ghoul about as well as one can.

  • We’ve been continuing our re-watch of the Stranger Things and are now up through episode six of season two. I’m pleasantly surprised with how well this season has held up for me. I remember liking it, but not as much as the first, when it aired. Now that I’m seeing it again, it’s better than I remember and I had forgotten quite a bit of it.

  • I expect we’ll be binge-watching the new season of Queer Eye over the next few days. At some point, this show may end up feeling old or trite, but so far, almost every episode makes me feel something, and I chase those little shots of hope and happiness.

  • We’re getting very close to the release of the new season of Veronica Mars. I’m not sure how fast we’ll go through it, but I’m sure I’ll have thoughts. The original is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and top three in my “comfort watch” shows. The kind of thing I can put on when I’m feeling down, or need to lay on the couch and veg for a while, or, years ago, the show I’d throw on every single night before bed. (Note: As I finished writing this newsletter I saw that the show was surprise-released early on Hulu. So, fuck yes!)

  • The Cats trailer looks horrifying, the Top Gun: Maverick trailer has me singing danger zone at random intervals throughout the day.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I ordered a new external drive to attach to my Plex server. This led to me reorganizing the little closet enclave where the server lives to account for extra heat. I have some things I still need to troubleshoot, but the additional disk space is going to be quite nice. Once I’m done with this newsletter the rest of my day will be spent working on that and trying to figure out this home network issue I’ve been having where the network slows way down at night, or disconnects entirely, for no discernible reason.

  • We tasted wedding cakes last weekend and decided on a three-tier cake with some flavors I’ve already forgotten. I know one is poppyseed with raspberry filling, one is lemon with lemon creme, and I don’t remember the other one exactly. I got a massive sugar high from tasting cakes and fillings and frostings, and now we have to finalize how we want this glucose tower to look.

  • Next week is tasting and finalizing the food for the wedding. I’m definitely looking forward to this. We’ve got a good idea what we want the menu to look like, but anytime I can stuff my face with crab-stuffed salmon is a good day in my book.

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. The Menzingers - Anna

  2. Good Riddance - Edmund Pettus Bridge

  3. Oso Oso - Impossible Game

  4. Sum 41 - Catching Fire

  5. The Hush Sound - We Intertwined

  6. Tycho - Into the Woods

  7. Ra Ra Riot - War and Famine

  8. Malia Civetz - Little Victories

  9. Hatchie - Kiss the Stars

  10. Frank Ocean - Moon River

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 BlueEyesBrewing in the “Post Your Picture Thread” thread.

Please pardon the typos. This ended up being longer than expected and I’m sure I missed something in my proof reading. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (July 15th, 2019)

Well, this one ended up being quite long.

In this week’s newsletter, I share some thoughts on new music from Frank Turner, Shura, Good Riddance, Sum 41, and quite a bit more. I share a love letter to Stranger Things and go through the rest of my media diet from the past week. There’s a playlist of ten songs I loved, some thoughts about Lil Wayne and Blink–182 and the drama of last night, and some random thoughts about what I worked on (and failed at) on the website this week. Plus, I share a couple of iPhone wallpapers I like. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • This week I attempted a new feature addition where I would re-order forum threads by the most “likes” in each thread. Unfortunately, after two days of work, I had to abandon the idea. I got it to work; however, the strain it put on the servers when a thread had more than 10k posts, was massive. It worked great for smaller threads, but so many of the threads on our site end up getting upwards of 35k posts before we retire them. And, at that level, I couldn’t optimize the code enough to not slow the website down to a crawl with the feature implemented. It was a real bummer to have to cancel this project, and it felt like I lost two really good days of work, but I think it’s also important to know when something is going to work and when it won’t. And right now, this path isn’t the right one. I may try a different way in the future, but it’d have to be a pretty different feature. So, for now, this goes back into the “ideas pile.” I don’t often write about the things I’ve tried that don’t work; usually, I get to announce a cool new feature for the website, but I think it’s often helpful to think about the ideas that fail or the projects that don’t quite turn out the way you hoped.

  • Hannah and I got our engagement photos back this week. I usually don’t like posting photos of myself because I get self-conscious and weird about my private life, but I truly loved so many of the photos that I posted a few on Instagram and in the Q&A thread. I think the photographer did a phenomenal job capturing the joy we have hanging out together, but I’m especially drawn to the photos of us with the Portland skyline behind us. I moved into the city almost seven years ago, right about when Hannah and I started dating, and it was a massive life change for me. I grew up in the suburbs and had spent most of my life living in similar spaces. The city was new and felt like a fresh start. Seeing the skyline that’s defined so much of our relationship together, wrapped around us, really does make my heart feel full. Plus, we got to return to the place we met and take a few photos there as well. There’s one with us enjoying a beer right at the table Hannah was sitting at when I first saw her. Photos are ridiculously expensive, but after getting these back, I think it’s been worth every penny to capture these moments and memories before the rest of our life together really begins.

  • Once a year I update my recommendation posts around the website to add new things to them:

    • Favorite TV Shows

      Also, I tossed out an ask on Twitter for recommendations of blogs or websites (about any topic) that people recommend reading. I like to ask this every once in a while to refresh what I have in my feeds, so if you have any recommendations of websites I should be checking out and reading, please let me know.

  • I made an iPhone X sized wallpaper using Blink–182’s “Happy Days” artwork if anyone would like it. I wasn’t sure what to do with the cord, but I think it looks pretty cool. (I am currently using this Stranger Things wallpaper I cropped for my lock screen.)

  • One of the blogs recommended to me this week was GoodBeerHunting, which I’ve added to my RSS feed reader and been reading throughout the week. I found this article, “Rising to the Top — How Nitro Transformed Beer and Coffee” fascinating. If you like beer and/or coffee, add this to your things to read. It’s great. This is why I often ask for recommendations of new things to check out or read, because I can refresh what my daily media intake is and find awesome new stuff. I’m keeping this blog in my feeds.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • The breaking news last night was that Lil Wayne cut his set short after only playing a few songs and mentioned that he might be dropping off the tour with Blink–182. As of writing this newsletter he has posted on Twitter that he is not leaving the tour but offered no other explanation for what happened last night. With the giant caveat that all of this could change within the next few hours, and that I have no idea what’s going on, I do have a random collection of thoughts on everything. I found the ensuing dialog online last night utterly absurd. People were gloating about the tour being “a disaster,” there were people thinking All Time Low could just take over instead, and there was a whole lot of fucked up racism on social networks as well. First, by all accounts (lots of photos and the numbers I’ve seen), this tour is actually doing pretty well. As the ticket prices have come down to sane levels, they’ve sold well, and reviews from fans and publications have been quite positive. Last night apparently had a weather issue which caused a lower turnout (still saw estimates of over 8k at the show), but I’m not even certain that’s the explanation for Lil Wayne cutting the set short. I think there’s a case of a priori reasoning with some people that didn’t like this tour announcement from the start and want it to be a massive failure where no one is showing up so they can prove themselves right. It doesn’t, at least so far, seem to be playing out that way. Also, I think a lot of people in the pop-punk world don’t understand the relative size of their favorite bands. I’m sorry, I like All Time Low, but they are not a fill-in for Lil Wayne on a tour of this size for the entire thing. They’re not nearly big enough. You would need at least one more band of their size, at least, to make up the difference. I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes or if this tour is going to end up having even more drama by the end of it, but I think people need to realize how many jobs, and lives, go into putting on a tour like this. The stuff I saw from Tom DeLonge fans making memes about how Tom “wins” if Lil Wayne leaves the tour and Blink is “doomed” seem so cold-hearted to me.

  • Frank Turner’s new album, No Man’s Land, is an interesting one to pin down. I listened once, and I think I need more time with it. It’s not that the songs aren’t good for what they are: stories. But they also bled together for me in a wash of facts and I felt disconnected from the music. I like storytelling music, but it’s not my favorite. Usually, I am looking for more of an emotional connection with the performer and songwriter, and searching for the reason behind the music. This album, to me, is a history lesson of people’s tales I didn’t know before but now am looking up and reading more about, so in that realm it has absolutely succeeded in its mission; however, it’s not something I really see myself wanting to come back to much in the future. It’s not an album that I think I’ll ever be sitting around and in a Frank Turner mood and think “let’s put on No Man’s Land” to scratch that itch. Give me another week with this, and I’ll have more thoughts.

  • Good Riddance will release their new album Thoughts and Prayers next week, and if you like punk music, this is a must-listen. It’s a little more melodic than I was expecting, with a few songs even slipping into the mid-tempo and breathing more than their previous work, but it’s still got a whole lot of toe-tapping fast tunes with a relevant political lyrical bite as well. My fandom has always leaned more toward their My Republic sound, and this feels like an album that will be played quite often in the gym over the next few months. Between this and Bad Religion, it’s been a pretty good year for punk so far. Now, my sights are on the new Strung Out.

  • I the Mighty released a live, acoustic, album called Unplugged in LA today. This is a band that I’ve always thought would have a bigger following on our website than they do. They do that alternative rock sound well and have a songwriting style that I feel would resonate with a lot of listeners. These songs translate well in this setting, and while the recording is a little rough in a few spots, it made me want to go back and listen to their last album again. They’re good at writing these kinds of songs.

  • On DeRRek’s recommendation I checked out Woes’ album, Awful Truth, and it feels like the kind of album that would have been popular with a group of AbsolutePunk.net readers like eight years ago or so. I didn’t listen to the entire thing yet, but they do this sound well. It’s got a little bit of an edge on the pop-punk sugar cube, and if a mood for that style strikes, I’d rather listen to something like this than anything from that Waterparks dork. I find myself more attracted to a more theatrical pop-punk, or more straight forward rock, these days. Stuff in the vein of that last Set it Off album or The Dangerous Summer’s latest. This is in that space of music I haven’t found myself going recently, but I think it’s something I’ll listen to again and see how my feelings coalesce.

  • PVRIS signed with a major label and released their new single “Death of Me.” PVRIS are a band to me that write great songs and, now, have two fantastic full-lengths under their belt. However, I still haven’t heard “the hit” from them. That one song that makes me go, “holy shit, this is going to be everywhere.” This is close though. This direction is hinting at a potential breakout album, and I’d love to see it. They feel poised for a next-level leap; I hope they deliver.

  • Shura’s new album, Forevher, doesn’t come out until August, but I got an advance early this week and have had time to listen to it twice. The record has a little more of an organic feel to it than her previous, but I think it works pretty well. The songs didn’t instantly grab me with the same catchy intensity of the last album, but there’s a lot here that keeps pulling me back.

  • First listen of Tycho’s new album, Weather, was positive. I’m not sure how I feel about the songs with vocals quite yet though. I’ve long listened to Tycho while doing intensive coding work because it helps me focus, and this doesn’t feel like it’ll have the same impact. I can understand the creative choice to move the music forward by including vocals and lyrics, but it throws me off a little on the first pass. I’m curious to see how and where I end up working this into my playlists.

  • I’ve decided not to listen to the new Bon Iver songs yet because I want to hear the entire album as a whole. Bon Iver’s one of the few artists that I trust implicitly at this point, and I think he creates albums that work best a whole piece, so I’m waiting. I’ve read positive comments, but I won’t have thoughts until I can digest the entire album. Hopefully, with a good drink and an uninterrupted listening session.

  • The new Banks’ album, III, is out today and it’s been in my rotation for a few weeks now. I think she did it again. Great combination of catchy, emotive, and creative. Definitely worth your time.

  • Matt Nathanson released a cover of Chance the Rapper’s “Same Drugs” featuring Patrick Stump. Those that have been reading this newsletter for a while know I was a big, big fan of the last album from Matt, so seeing this combination was a pleasant surprise this week. I think it’s a really solid cover with a very Matt spin on it, Patrick’s little back-up vocals sound good, and this project will be one I’ll keep an eye on.

  • Right as I started writing this newsletter the new Sum 41 album showed up in my inbox. Reviews are embargoed until next week, which kind of sucks. However, I’ve only had time to listen to about half of it so far anyway, so I don’t have a whole lot of thoughts worked out yet as it is. I will post some early thoughts on it first thing next week when the embargo lifts in the Q&A thread, but my top-line first impression is this is probably their best album since Chuck. I’m 100% in.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We watched all of season three of Stranger Things this week, and I absolutely loved it. I’m not sure if there’s a show out right now that feels more tailor-made for me and my tastes. It’s got everything I want in entertainment, and it delivers in spades. I think what the show captures is a combination of drama, a little thriller, the obvious nostalgia, and an undercurrent of fun and levity. It’s that levity, and that genuine fond feeling you have for multiple characters, that drives the show. I want to watch these people do more things in this world; I cheer for them; I enjoy spending time with them. Sure, there are some action scenes, there’s the “scary” moments, but they work such a great mixture of humor, and honest character moments, into the fabric of the show, that it does what the best entertainment does: delights. We loved this so much that after it ended, we decided to start the series over and watch season one again. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the first season and forgot just how damn good it is. We’ve got one episode left on that, but I think I can say the first season is still my favorite. And then season three. Two felt a little too scattered for me, but we’ll see how I feel when we inevitably watch that again also. Sidenote: I’m a little surprised there haven’t been other attempts at ripping off what this show does so well. It’s clearly a big hit, why aren’t there other similar shows coming out on other networks? I feel like there are plenty of different versions of this that someone could make and I’d eat up. Maybe they’re coming.

  • The first two seasons of the Scream TV show were not very good. However, they were this campy teenage slasher thing that I enjoyed for the dumb pure pulp fun of it anyway. They canceled it before finishing it, which is annoying because I’d like to know the end of the mystery and re-booted a new season on VH1. I figured I’d give it a shot. It was fucking horrible. I made it less than halfway through the first episode and was bored out of my mind. I was hoping for, at least, some stupid silly show with some dude in a mask and knife, but it’s unwatchable dreck.

  • Since I was in the mood for something like Scream, and was utterly disappointed, I decided to give Slasher on Netflix a try. I probably should have watched one of the countless other shows I’ve got on my list that I want to watch and know are good. Instead, I watched the first two episodes of this. It’s … basically exactly the same stupid shit I liked about the first couple seasons of Scream. It’s dumb, and it’s got some jump scares. I wouldn’t call it good, but given my mood for something like this, it ticked that dumb and gory box.

  • I wanted to like Alita: Battle Angel more than I did. It’s stunning to look at, but it didn’t have much else. Some cool action scenes, some cool effects, but it felt like it was rushing through a thin story just to set up a sequel that it doesn’t look like will ever get made. I never understood the why behind the characters, and that ended up leaving me feeling like I was missing big pieces of the plot. The world never got built for me, which in a movie like this, ends up being a fatal flaw.

  • The NBA has been absolutely insane the past few weeks. All of the new signings, the trades, have played out like a soap opera stuck on fast forward. I’m excited for the next season to start and to see what ends up shaking out. I think some of these teams are going to be better than expected, and a few are going to struggle, the rub is I’m not sure which way it’s going to go for almost any of them. For example, I wouldn’t be shocked if the LA teams are incredible or can’t figure out how to make it work.

  • It was the all-star break for baseball this week. I missed it dearly.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We’re going to do some cake tasting this weekend. Wanna know a secret? I don’t like cake. I’m not big on frosting and prefer other desserts. So, I’m not sure how helpful I’m going to be in this process.

  • This week was a disaster with calorie goals. I felt hungrier than usual this week and needed a few extra snacks. Up a little bit from my desired weight, but still close enough within range to be ok with it for now. Will have to redouble my efforts next week.

  • My Plex server storage space is getting close to full, so I think it’s time to splurge and buy a new 10 TB external drive. I’ll probably work on getting that set up this weekend and will have updates next week on how it goes.

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. PVRIS - Death of Me

  2. La Bouquet - You Only Need Me When You’re Blue

  3. Tycho - Easy

  4. Woes - Suburbs

  5. I the Mighty - Pet Names (Unplugged in LA)

  6. Ralph - Gravity

  7. Hellogoodbye - Finding Something to Do

  8. Matt Nathanson - Same Drugs

  9. Tyler Hilton - How Long ’Til I Lose You

  10. Benjamin Gibbard - Keep Yourself Warm

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

Hey! That’s the first time I’m the most liked post for the week. Mini-wave in celebration of me! (It’s my post of some engagement photos in the supporter forum.) I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and I hope you liked this week’s newsletter. It was a long one, so please feel free to share it or forward it along to someone that may not know about it. My goal is for it to be a way for people to catch up on music news and stuff without having to check the website every day during the week. Maybe you have a friend that used to be into this kind of music but never knows how to stay up to date or what to check out these days?

(Please pardon any typos this week, this ended up being way longer than I expected and I’m sure I messed up somewhere.)

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (July 5th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter is brought to you by fireworks and scared pets.

In this week’s newsletter, I write about the new music sharing pages I created, talk a little about the Taylor Swift/masters thing, share some thoughts on new music out this week, and go through my usual media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • Today we launched our “Best of 2019 (So Far)” feature on the website. We compiled our favorite albums of the year up to this point, wrote a little bit about them, and there’s also all of the individual contributor lists as well. Lots of great music on here. I contributed the blurbs for Copeland and Sigrid. These lists are always a lot of fun to do and then look back on later in the year to see what’s continued to hold up, what’s gone up the list with more plays, and what may have faded. Here’s my top twenty, so far, this year:

    1. Sigrid - Sucker Punch

    2. The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature

    3. The Japanese House - Good at Falling

    4. Copeland - Blushing

    5. The Maine - You Are OK

    6. Charly Bliss - Young Enough

    7. Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center

    8. Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated

    9. Dave Hause - Kick

    10. La Bouquet - Sad People Dancing

    11. Fidlar - Almost Free

    12. Set It Off - Midnight

    13. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You

    14. Alex Lahey - The Best of Luck Club

    15. Pronoun - I’ll Show You Stronger

    16. Josh Ritter - Fever Breaks

    17. Bad Religion - Age of Unreason

    18. Cub Sport - Cub Sport

    19. Simple Creatures - Strange Love

    20. The Damned Things - High Crimes

  • All of those links in my list above will take you to a webpage that has streaming links for a whole bunch of different platforms. That is the result of a project I launched earlier this week to bring a “Simple Music Sharing Page” to the website. My main goal was to create a way to easily send people music recommendations with links to all the major streaming platforms so that they could quickly hear the music. There are some other services like this out there, but I wanted one that I knew I could make load extremely fast, and that I knew as long as I was alive, the URLs and links would stay active. Plus, I have control to make any tweaks or changes as needed. The impetus for building this was this very newsletter. I link a lot of things in here and I, specifically, wanted to be able to link to music I write about so if someone wants to hear something I’m talking about, they can do that quickly and easily. So far, I’m delighted with it. It does exactly what I want it to, no more, no less. Along with this new feature, I created an iOS Shortcut that will create these share pages for whatever album (or song) you are currently listening to in Apple Music. I’ve already used this quite a few times, and it’s surprisingly cool. (If you use Alfred on the Mac, I created some workflows as well, they’re on github.)

    This project didn’t take that long to create, but it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while. As I wrote about in my post about it, the music streaming age is one of the most profound leaps in tech and the music industry I’ve seen in my lifetime. If you would have told the version of me that rode his bike to the store to buy CDs that one day someone could access not just the entire store, but virtually the entire history of music, from a device in their pocket, I think my mind would have exploded. Being able to harness that incredible power in a way that now when I recommend music to someone via a link, I know they’ll be able to hear the music almost immediately and be able to find it via their streaming platform of choice. 

  • I was the guest on the latest episode of the Wasting Time podcast. This was a whole lot of fun to do. We talked about the early years of AbsolutePunk.net, the website growing, what it’s like to become casual friends with bands you grew up loving, and what it’s like to run Chorus these days. (Overcast link.) 

  • This is the last call to order some chorus.fm pride merch if you would like it. I’ll be taking the store offline after this weekend, so if you want to grab something, do it now.

In Case You Missed It

Sponsor

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Isaiah Dominguez and the release of his new album, Holy Ghost. Dominguez’s blend of nostalgic 80’s rock and contemporary alternative marry perfectly with his independent, solo-songwriter style. The record starts strong with a fist-pumping pop-rock staple and doesn’t let up until the last note rings. If you’re looking for an album that is equal parts “windows down, road trip” and “nostalgia-inducing introspection,” Holy Ghost is an absolute gem to add to your playlist.

Check it out at Apple MusicSpotifyGoogle Play, or other streaming platforms.

Music Thoughts

  • Not a whole lot of new music-related stuff to write about this week. Holiday weeks always seem to be slow. The biggest story of the week was the Taylor Swift stuff concerning her masters being purchased by someone that’s been a dick to her in the past. My position on this hasn’t changed over the years; I think all artists should own their masters. I believe that how record labels hold them over people is gross, and it sucks when it’s a small band that can’t release an album because a label shelves it, and it sucks when something like this happens to one of the most prominent artists in the world. A lot of the commentary I read this week centered around “well this is how the industry works,” and I felt like all of that was silly. I know this is how the industry works; my argument is that it shouldn’t be. Capitalism guts the humanity from most industries, but what it does to the arts always feels even more exploitative to me. Between the people that don’t like Taylor, and the people wanting to explain “this is the music industry,” I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at a lot of the discourse around this.

  • Blink–182 released their new song “Happy Days” this week. High-level thoughts are that it’s a good, straight forward, Blink–182 song. I’m into the verses, it gives me a little bit of an “Adam’s Song” vibe, and the chorus is good but not spectacular. I’m now even more at a loss for what this upcoming album is going to sound like. This feels a little more California than the previous two, but I’m still not able to put the finger on what the album as a whole is going to be. It doesn’t feel, so far, to be “experimental” in the way they described it at one point, but I’ve enjoyed all three songs so far, so they’re doing something right.

  • I’m not quite sure how I feel about the new Frank Turner song, and album announcement, at the moment. The song, to me, just sort of feels like a Wikipedia entry to music. However, I think the podcast idea, where each week he’ll release a podcast episode about a song on the album, is a cool one. I think I’m going to wait to hear the album as a whole. This kind of project, and concept, feels like it should be experienced that way.

  • I dig the MxPx cover of NOFX’s “Franco Un-American.” The updated lyrics are a nice touch.

  • I am still getting a lot of mileage out of Holy Ghost’s latest. It’s perfect for the sunny summer days.

  • I have the new Punk Goes Acoustic here to listen to, but it’s a stream only, and I’ve been lazy and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I plan to do that soon.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I didn’t really enjoy Pet Sematary all that much. It had some creepy scenes and was disturbing at parts, but it never really got going for me. In the end, it felt like a watered-down horror movie.

  • I blame every single person in the Blink–182 thread in our forums that tried to tell me Murder Mystery was “actually pretty good” and “top tier Adam Sandler” or “funny.” It was none of those things, and you all know who you are. This was barely one of those “ok, this isn’t good, but we can watch it for the evening because we have nothing better to do” movies. I can’t say I’d recommend it. You’d be much better served with something like Game Night.

  • I was very impressed with HBO’s Momentum Generation documentary. It’s about the rise to prominence of a variety of world-class surfers, and you don’t even need to be a fan of surfing to find something to love here. It’s well done and quite moving.

  • When Teen Spirit started, Hannah turned to me and said, “this looks like it’s going to be extremely your shit.” When the movie ended with a big musical climax to one of my favorite songs of the year, I turned to her and said, “yep, that was definitely my shit.” It’s an indie movie that feels almost like a music video at times. It’s not a complex story or script, and at times it feels like it’s rushing a little too fast through the beats, but I enjoyed it just the same. I thought Elle Fanning did a great job, the music works well, and I’m a sucker for “follow your dreams” stories and musical montages.

  • We’ve now watched two episodes of this Holey Moley mini-golf show, and it’s ridiculous. I saw the trailers for it during the NBA finals because Stephen Curry has a cameo role in it and decided to give it a shot one night when we needed a decompressor after Handmaid’s Tale. Maybe it’s the dumbest show of all time, and perhaps it’s the absolute greatest. I really can’t tell you.

  • We’re up to episode eight of season two of Handmaid’s Tale and we seem to be at the spot where things feel like they’re mimicking parts of actual life in the United States right now, and that’s a different kind of unsettling.

  • Honestly, I’ve been enjoying Swamp Thing. It’s the show I’ve been watching each week when Hannah has a late-night rehearsal or concert, and it’s … kinda shockingly … good? I’m actively interested in the characters and the mystery, and I’m pretty annoyed it got prematurely canceled. I didn’t expect to be looking forward to new episodes each week, but I have been.

  • The series finale of Life in Pieces aired, and while I didn’t think this season was nearly as strong as the past few, I liked it well enough. I’ve always been surprised by how little publicity this show got. I thought it was well done, funny, and I liked the characters. I’ll see just about anything Zoe Lister-Jones is involved in, but this felt like the kind of show more people should have known about. It felt primed to be a mainstream hit, but just never really took off.

  • I am extremely excited to start season three of Stranger Things this weekend. I’ve seen some people have already flown through the entire show in our forums, and we haven’t even had time to start it yet. The plan is to not burn through it too fast, but we’re starting it tonight. I can’t wait; I love this show.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We had some friends over for a little BBQ for the Fourth of July last night. I went with hot dogs because they feel more like the fourth to me, and they’re way easier to cook to everyone’s enjoyment instead of burgers. Some grilled veggies, lots of junk food chips and crackers, and quite a bit of wine and beer turned into a fun evening. The cats both enjoyed being the center of attention and making sure everyone saw them, pet them, and watched how cute they could be. I swear the little one, Zee, hams it up around people and feeds off of it. She was mewing and rolling around on her back searching out belly rubs all night.

  • This weekend we’re going to my college roommate’s son’s second birthday party. I feel very old. We got him a toy truck, a book where Elmo teaches him to be kind, and Bedtime for Batman. The best part about feeling old about my friends having kids is that I can introduce them to superheroes and comic books.

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. Blink–182 - Happy Days

  2. MxPx - Franco Un-American

  3. Sigrid - Right Now (Acoustic)

  4. Stranger Things - Starcourt

  5. Much the Same - You used to Have a Garden

  6. Taylor Swift - All Too Well

  7. Small Talks - Oceans

  8. Young the Giant - Heat of the Summer

  9. Holy Ghost - My Happy House

  10. Joey Cape - Let Me Know When You Give Up

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 personalmaps in the “Taylor Swift - Lover (August 23, 2019)” thread.

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and have a great weekend. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scenes, from one of my favorite movies, the fireworks scene in The Sandlot. There’s something about this scene, and thinking back to running around the neighborhood with my friends, shooting off fireworks, playing baseball, getting into trouble, that still brings a smile to my face.

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (June 28th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter is brought to you with a massive craving for pizza.

In this week’s newsletter, I share a new fun productivity tip I started using this week, talk a little about the current project I’m working on, and share thoughts on music, movies, and TV shows I enjoyed this week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved and a rant about political debates. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • If you like listening to me talk about things I like, I was the guest on the Welcome to Geekdom podcast this week, and we talked all about one of my favorite movies of all time: Jaws.

  • This article is filled with a whole bunch of Mac productivity tips from various people. It was the catalyst for me finally setting up a trick on my Mac that I’d read about before called the “hyperkey.” The basic idea is that most of us don’t use our caps lock key very often, so what if we could make it more useable by remapping it to the combination of command+option+control+shift. Then you can use that to pair up with something like Keyboard Maestro to have fast shortcut keys to practically anything you’d like. I already have keyboard shortcuts that I use daily for things like responding to iMessages, moving windows around the screen to where I want them, and other things have become muscle memory. But after a while you run out of key combinations. Enter the hyperkey. At this point, I’ve only set it up to activate/switch to various applications. I use, and love, Alfred as an app launcher. However, to launch Safari with the keyboard, I need to type command+space, type “sa,” and hit enter. Now, I’ve mapped it so caps lock + S will launch Safari for me. It’s a little thing, but so far it’s proven to be incredibly useful. I have caps lock + T set to open up Textmate, my text editor of choice, and it makes getting a blank sheet to write on almost instantaneous. Caps lock + M opens up Messages for quickly responding to someone, and caps lock + H opens the app that runs my entire life: Things. I’ll keep playing around with this for the next few weeks, but I don’t want to overload it too much, instead I just want to have quick access to a few apps that I use all the time and often need to bring up during my daily workflow, and if I can do it even just a little faster than before, that’s worth it to me. Plus, that caps lock key was sitting there unused. Anyway, yeah, cool article, good tips.

  • One of the things I’ve struggled with in this newsletter is how to link to music I write about. If I’m writing about a TV show or movie, it’s easy to link to IMDB or Netflix. However, when it comes to a song, or album, everyone has a different preferred platform for listening to their music, and if I link to Apple Music, all the Spotify people will miss out on quick access to the tunes. I like those services that a lot of bands and press people use that aggregate all of the streaming platform links into one easy to share page. Basically, what I want is something like those but where I can plug-in any song or album and automatically populate it with the correct links. A Twitter user pointed me to song.link, and it pretty much does exactly what I’m looking for. Even better, they have an API that I can use to create a version with the tweaks I’d like. Using a combination of the Apple Music API from Apple (getting my money’s worth out of my developer account), and this Song.Link API, I’ve been spending this week building my own “share” page for music. So far, it looks like this. I’m actually really excited about this project, even though it’s just built for this newsletter at the moment. That entire page is created simply by giving my script “blink–182 generational divide” as an input. I like having control over these share links myself so that I know they won’t ever die and no longer work if a service shuts down. I can simply tweak what I need to, and they should keep working for as long as I want. I hope to finish everything up and have this working by the time I send out next week’s newsletter, and then I’ll be able to add the relevant links into my music thoughts section.

  • Next week we will be rolling out our “best of 2019 … so far” mid-year lists, and there’s a thread in our forums if you’d like to share your list. I’ve seen our contributor compiled list and think it’s pretty damn awesome. Some great albums have come out in the first half of this year. I’ll expand on my list in next week’s newsletter. Oh, and one last reminder that if you want a Chorus.fm Pride shirt or other merch, order now! You only have a week or so left.

  • The news about Jony Ive leaving Apple seems to be all the tech world is talking about today. I’m sure the podcast-sphere will be all about it over the next couple weeks with speculation and discussion as well. I thought John Gruber’s take was well articulated, and I liked Ben Thompson’s as well. I’ve been an admirer of Jony’s work for decades at this point, but I’m not that worried that his departure will significantly hurt the company. I think he’s built a great team full of world-class designers and his influence will be felt for years to come.

In Case You Missed It

Sponsor

With Holy GhostIsaiah Dominguez has taken personal experiences and packaged them in a way that seem strangely familiar. There is a familiar comfort in his choruses and a vague recollection of memories that align with his lyrics. Dominguez has markedly set himself apart from his past with this collection of songs and created a sound uniquely his own. His blend of nostalgic 80’s rock and contemporary alternative marry perfectly with his independent, solo-songwriter style. The record starts strong with a fist-pumping pop-rock staple and doesn’t let up until the last note rings. If you’re looking for an album that is equal parts “windows down, road trip” and “nostalgia-inducing introspection,” Holy Ghost is an absolute gem to add to your playlist.

Check it out at Apple MusicSpotify, and Google Play.

Music Thoughts

  • My +44 vinyl finally arrived. I forgot I ordered this all the way back in January, but it was worth the wait. It’s god-damn-gorgeous. Of course, I had to get the pink. I gave the album a spin over the weekend, and it does hold up, and at this point, I maintain it’s almost criminally underrated. It has this almost modern feel to it, and all the songs still feel lively and fresh. I can’t believe it came out almost 13 years ago.

  • I listened to, and enjoyed, the new Stranger Things inspired album from Ingrid Michaelson this morning while posting news. It’s a solid album without ever quite getting to the “holy shit this is amazing” category for me. (I can’t wait for next season of the show.)

  • I saw Craig Manning recommend the new Runaway June album, so I gave that a spin, and it’s an enjoyable pop-country album. Some good songs, some forgettable songs, and something I’ll probably listen to again.

  • My most played album of the last week was Hatchie’s Keepsake. Still great.

  • This new release from The Black Keys feels like … The Black Keys.

  • With the final rips from Bleachers newest Terrible Things 7" being shared this week, and Jack releasing two new songs with this Red Hearse project, I feel like next week is going to be a heavy Bleachers/Steel Train discography dive. If the weather cooperates, it’ll be a damn good time.

  • Lucy Dacus’s new single “Forever Half Mast” is fantastic.

  • I saw a whole lot of praise for the new Prince Daddy & The Hyena album, but it didn’t do much for me on my first listen. I think it’s the vocals, but I couldn’t get into it at the moment. I’ll try again later. It seems like they’d be a blast to see live though.

  • All the praise for the new Mannequin Pussy album was deserved, it’s awesome. This was easily my second most played album for the week, and it’s such a perfect combination of angst and melody.

  • This new Shredders track (P.O.S., Sims, Paper Tiger, Lazerbeak) was a nice surprise this morning. I need to listen to their last album again. I remember enjoying it but always forget to toss it into any regular rotation.

  • Next up to listen to is the new Thom York.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I have no complaints with Shazam!. The chemistry with the leads was perfect, and the movie was pretty much exactly what I wanted and expected. It’s not a great movie, but it was a fun movie, and I’ll watch these characters in another film. CGI work was a little off to me at times, and the villain was pretty cookie cutter, but it was easy to overlook with all the charm coming from the rest of the film.

  • I was impressed with how engrossing Rust Creek ended up being. I like survival type movies, and this had enough of a new spin on it that I was in on the premise. It was well shot and maybe felt a little bit like a Netflix movie, but I also came away pretty impressed with Hermione Corfield’s performance. She’s good.

  • A Vigilante was a tough watch. It’s meant to be, and Olivia Wilde gives her everything to the role. The third act didn’t quite work for me.

  • Hannah was convinced we’d seen The Five-Year Engagement together, and it seems like the kind of movie we’d have watched, but I swear I don’t remember ever watching it before. I thought it was funny if maybe a little too long. Maybe this is the second time I’ve seen it, and I just forgot about it, but it felt like a new movie when we watched it, so who knows. It was funny to see so many babyfaced actors that have gone on to massive fame since this movie came out.

  • We’re up to episode seven of season two of Handmaid’s Tale, and I’m struggling with it. It’s undeniably good, and it undeniably has a negative impact on my mental state. Some of the episodes hit so close to home and what we’re seeing in our country right now that I can feel my blood start to boil. We’re powering through this season though; we’ll make it. I hope.

  • I’ve convinced Hannah she needs to see Fleabag, which has been one of the best things I’ve watched all year, so I’m re-watching it as she watches it the first time. We just started season two. It’s so damn good.

  • I watched the Democratic debates, and I honestly think “debates” like this are a farce. They don’t educate voters, they don’t help people understand issues, and they’re played off like entertainment and not a serious discussion of the issues at hand. The lack of climate discussion was gross negligence, and most of these people need to drop out. And, on top of that, I can’t shake the feeling that Joe Biden is John Kerry 2.0, the person everyone thinks can beat an incompetent sitting President, only to blow it. I want strong progressive policy and he ain’t it. To say the political world and bullshit going on in our country right now bothers me would be a massive understatement.

  • Hannah showed me the TwoSet Violin YouTube channel years ago and whenever we can’t come up with something to watch or don’t want to go to bed quite yet, we throw on one of their random videos. They’re shocking entertaining even to someone without a classical music background. A few nights ago we attempted the “tempo test” after having a few drinks and, even though I lost, I think I did better than anyone in this house expected.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • All our wedding invites came this week and I’m damn proud of how they turned out. Next up I think there is cake tasting and figuring out what we want the ceremony to look like.

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. FIDLAR - Almost Free

  2. +44 - 155

  3. Ingrid Michaelson - Young and In Love

  4. Mannequin Pussy - Cream

  5. Walk the Moon - Tightrope

  6. Shredders - Ayeyayaya

  7. Runaway June - I Know The Way

  8. My Chemical Romance - The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You

  9. Lucy Dacus - Forever Half Mast

  10. Hatchie - Stay With Me

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 DandonTRJ in the “Absurdist Twitter” thread.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll leave you with my new favorite Instagram follow, Juniper the Fox.

Thank you for subscribing to the Liner Notes email newsletter. If you’re not a supporting member, please consider becoming one. For just $3 a month or $25 a year, you can help keep this newsletter, website, and community running. It’s only because of the support of members like you that we can continue to exist. If you like the newsletter, please feel free to tell others about it, share portions on social media, or forward it along.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Liner Notes (June 21st, 2019)

This week’s newsletter is brought to you by the immortal phrase, “I wish it were longer.”

A whole lot of music stuff to write about this week, including thoughts on the new Blink–182 single, the three-album drop from Dashboard Confessional, a bunch of new music, and my first impression of the new Banks album. Plus, I go through my regular media diet rundown, share a playlist of ten songs I loved last week, and write about some other stuff. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • Last week we surpassed 500 email subscribers to this newsletter, and I’m pretty damn proud of that. About twice that number end up reading the newsletter via Substack without subscribing (come on, subscribe!), and then a good percentage of supporters on the website end up reading it either via the homepage or in the supporter thread. So, I think this new way of doing this has been a success in the first trial month. I like that it’s reaching more people after the amount of time that goes into it, and I hope that everyone reading it continues to find value in it each week. Hopefully, that can continue to expand, and one day we’ll have 10,000 subscribers, and maybe even some will become supporting members. We’re off to a good start.

  • If you have cats that eat wet food, these spoons are great. I know I’m a weirdo, but I found it odd to scoop out cat food with the same spoons we used to eat human food. These work way better at getting into the corner of the can and now my brain doesn’t think it smells cat food whenever I’m using a clean spoon that I know was once used for cat chow.

  • Here’s Andrew McMahon’s cover of Kacey Musgraves “Slow Burn” if anyone wants it for their collection.

  • I shared five 5k desktop wallpapers I found, enjoy, and tossed into my wallpaper rotation, in the supporter forum if anyone is interested.

  • Our Chorus.fm pride merch will only be on sale for about two more weeks, so if you’d like to grab a shirt or anything with the cool rainbow logo on it, now’s the time.

In Case You Missed It

Sponsor

In an era where so many bands are creating their 1975 sound-alike records, Isaiah Dominguez has found a way to marry an ambient, 80’s inspired ballad, with a modern alternative twist. His new single, “When I’m Gone,” gives listeners a ballad rife with lush chorus driven guitars while still staying true to himself. Describing the process, Isaiah said, “It was really important for me to sound like myself, no matter how much this track wanted to deviate to the ‘Spotify sound.’” The single was mixed by Rian Dawson (All Time Low/Track Happy Studios), and released on Evergreen Noise Records today. The song comes from the full-length album due out next week. The single’s pulsing bass line and ethereal instrumentals makes it an ideal late-night, mood-setting tune.

Stream the song on Apple MusicSpotify, or Google Play.

Music Thoughts

  • There’s a whole lot of music to cover this week but we might as well start with Blink–182. Blink released their new song “Generational Divide” today and it clocks in at a whopping 49 seconds. I’m convinced they did this so everyone will post online that they “wish it were longer” while they giggle to themselves. All in all, it’s a fast song meant to mimic and call to memory short punk rock songs of the past. (Even the artwork hits you in the face with this message.) While I’m sure a portion of the fanbase is excited for this kind of sound after their complaints about “Blame it On My Youth,” it’s not bowling me over. I like this kind of song (check out the latest albums from Not on Tour or Sick of It All for more short, fast, punk tunes), but it almost feels too safe for me. Almost too reactionary. Like someone said, “fine, you didn’t like our pop song; we can do this too.” I’m trying to figure out how they’re going to mesh these two songs into an album. The sequencing and song selection is going to be extremely important (I volunteer to help out, I’ve been training my whole life for this). I’m looking forward to seeing how they pull it off, but I’m hoping for more sonic experimentation and fewer songs that sound like they could have been on any number of their past albums. The song’s good for what it is, but it’s left me with more questions than answers about this new album.

  • Valencia released two new songs this week, and I am all about “California.” That song has all the elements I like in songs like this. Some great lyrical moments and this awesome, breezy melody. “RX” is a little closer to some of the stuff on their previous albums, and it’s good, but “California” is the one for me.

  • I’ve been anticipating a new album from Holy Ghost for a while now, and Work doesn’t disappoint. It’s dancy-catchy-discoy music that feels destined for sun-filled summer days. This is the kind of album that I love to listen to while working because it gets my toe tapping without needing too much of my attention.

  • I thought perchance Two Door Cinema Club would release a similar feeling album, but my first listen to this one didn’t grab me in the same way. That’s the problem with hearing two albums back to back that kind of play within the same sound; you end up comparing them. Maybe if I would have listened to them in reverse order, I’d have the opposite reaction. I’ll come back to this one later today.

  • If you’re looking for an excellent punk album check out the new one from Russian Girlfriends. My early favorite is “Pride Parade,” but there are quite a few rippers on here.

  • I was pretty enamored with my first listen of the new Hatchie album, Keepsake. This feels like one of those albums that will find a consistent place in my music rotation for the next few months and may just mess around and end up being one of my most played albums of the year. It’s got that thing where I go, “yeeeaaaah, I’m really into this” right off the first listen. Really nice dream-pop feel.

  • When I first saw that Dashboard Confessional had re-recorded and released three of his albums in new acoustic recordings I was almost shell-shocked. My first cynical reaction was, “is he doing this to get more of the royalties/streaming profits from these songs?” What is happening!? Then I read his post about never quite being happy with the label influence over some of those albums and that he wanted them to sound this way for a while. Some of them work better than others. I greatly prefer the original A Mark, A Mission…, and I’m so used to the acoustic version of Alter the Ending that I already have that this new version didn’t offer much for me, but the acoustic version of Dusk and Summer is the one I’ll definitely be returning to. I saw some complaints online about his voice on these renditions, and I guess I can see that to some degree if you’re expecting it to be crystalline, but there’s still a lot to like here. I know I’d prefer a version of Crooked Shadows done like this since I virtually forgot that album came out, but it’s pretty cool to hear these songs in a different light. It’s funny hearing different lyrics where you’re just about to sing along to and then have to catch yourself. I had no idea this was coming, and it took me completely by surprise. I need more time to get through all of the songs, but I’ve been picking and choosing a few select ones to listen to this morning, and I’d say there are more hits than misses for me so far. I never loved Dusk and Summer the way Craig does, but I’m thinking these new versions of that album may be what I need to see that album with new eyes.

  • Jack Barakat of All Time Low debuted his new side project, Who Hurt You, with the song “Wish We Never Met.” The lyrics are pretty standard mad break-up song lyrics, but the song is way catchier than I expected. After reading the lyrics, I wasn’t certain how the chorus was going to work, but that damn thing got stuck in my head pretty quickly. Musically there’s not a whole lot to this one, but I do really like the vocals and came away enjoying the song more than I was expecting after seeing the lyrics. I’ll keep an eye on this project and will be checking out the upcoming EP.

  • I think the new song from Noah Gundersen is my favorite from him in quite a while. I love the lyrics, love the sound, love the mood. This is pretty much peak Noah for me, and his new album is now rocketing to the top of my most anticipated list. I would never have guessed that he, and Taylor Swift, would have albums called Lover due out on August 23rd, but I’m here for it. Might as well dance and cry on the same day.

  • I’ve only had time to spin the new album from Banks, III, once so far, but it’s extremely my shit. It walks between dark moody sounds and some tracks that move you in your seat. Some cool electronic elements and I’m sure I’ll have more on this one as I dive into it over the next week.

  • I’ve still got Hot Chip, Telethon, and Mannequin Pussy to check out, but didn’t have the time before I needed to write up this newsletter.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I am an absolute sucker for rom-coms and enjoyed the hell out of Plus One. It combined the kind of witty-banter-humor I eat up with a new spin on the genre that felt updated and fresh. I wish more movies like this were made because this is exactly the kind of thing I want to put on when I want to be entertained for a night. (And if you’ve seen Pen15 you’ll get an even bigger laugh at quite a few scenes.) Next time my sister comes over to hang out for a night, and we don’t know what to watch, this will be my first recommendation.

  • Shadow was absolutely gorgeous. The kind of film where each frame feels like it could be printed and hung on your wall. I loved the aesthetic, and the movie itself was engaging as well.

  • We finished season three of The Bold Type and I miss it already. Damn you cliffhanger episodes. It will probably be a while until we come back to this show because I’m assuming we’ll let most of season four air before we start it back up, but it was a whole lot of fun the past month or so watching this each night. This kind of levity was sorely needed in my entertainment diet.

  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ve decided we should finish season two of Handmaid’s Tale. We only made it three episodes in before stopping last time, and I had to put a “one episode at night at most” limit on our watch this time. This show to me is incredibly well made. But it’s not entertainment. It’s brutal to watch. It puts me in a bad mental space and makes it very hard for me to detach from the bullshit that is going on around us in the real world each day. To some degree, that’s obviously the point of the show, but I’ve found that too much of it fucks with my head, especially after a hard day of news. The one episode a night thing is working so far, but damn, it’s still a tough watch for me.

  • On a recommendation from our wedding photographer (and a member of our forums), we started the first season of Younger. The episodes are only 20-ish minutes, and we’re only three episodes in, but it’s been pretty good so far. Not on The Bold Type’s level, but good. I’ve liked the actress that plays the main character ever since the criminally underrated Bunheads. We’ve been finishing the night with an episode of this or Parks and Recreation after the weight of Handmaid’s Tale.

  • I’m on episode 5 of Good Girls and still enjoying it, and I liked the third episode of Swamp Thing enough that I’m still watching. It’s a weird show that feels a little too slow for what it should be, but the creature design is pretty cool, and I feel invested enough in the story to keep going. I’m just looking forward to Titans coming back, however, and from the few spoiler-y things I’ve come across already my anticipation is rising.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We took some family photos with Hannah’s parents on Monday. It was fun to go out to the Rose Gardens during a gorgeous day and take some pictures with her mother and grandma. It’s always a little bit of a hassle to plan things like this, but once it’s done, and we see the photos, we’re always glad we did. Having something like these for posterity is worth the time and cost.

  • Last year around this time was when we found out my mom had cancer. After a year of treatment, she had some tests this week, and they all came back as normal with no worrying signs of cancer appearing.

  • It took about a week but I’m right back down to within a pound of my goal weight. I really love this system.

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. Blink–182 - Generational Divide

  2. Hatchie - Not that Kind

  3. WhoHurtYou - Wish We Never Met

  4. Russian Girlfriends - Pride Parade

  5. Holy Ghost! - Do This

  6. Dashboard Confessional - The Secret’s in the Telling

  7. Noah Gundersen - Robin Williams

  8. Valencia - California

  9. City and Colour - Strangers

  10. Motion City Soundtrack - The Conversation

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 Kyle Max in the “Blink–182” thread.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and with that, I’ll leave you with an xkcd comic:

image

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