This week’s newsletter looks at my two favorite albums this week: Ruston Kelly and PVRIS, and shares some early thoughts on the new Slick Shoes album. There’s also commentary on other music I like this week and the entertainment I consumed. Plus, as always, a playlist of ten songs I liked and all that jazz. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
This week’s featured article about heading back to 1999 and seeing where I was at musically when Blink–182 released Enema of the State. I talk about my history with the album, why I think it resonated with so many, and share my first concert experience (MxPx!). There’s also a playlist of music I enjoyed in 1999 and a couple of screenshots of the earliest versions of AbsolutePunk I could find. I was 16 and “blogging,” and it was bad. I’ve enjoyed hearing from so many people who had similar experiences with music and growing up and how many people have been liking these articles. It’s been very motivational to continue writing them. The next few are going to be interesting.
I’ve continued my project of bringing back many old AbsolutePunk reviews into our database. We’ve got piles of them back now. I have a few more reviews, and then a few more interviews, and then I’m going to bring back a few more news articles that I think are important for the scene history. After this, I’ll be working on a few more coding and website enhancement projects.
The new version of Albums has been released in the iOS App Store. Albums is an app built for those who like to listen to their music as albums, as a whole, and comes with a variety of great new features. The app’s been redesigned and now pulls in more production credits, lets you sort your collection based on record label, producer, and various other categories. It also has a new Insights feature to highlight album anniversaries or remind you of albums you loved in high school. And, there’s a new Stats feature that gives you more information about your listening habits. Albums also supports Last.fm scrobbling.
In Case You Missed It
Some great releases out today. First, I highly recommend the new Ruston Kelly album. I’ve described it as a country artist inspired by emo music in the past, and I think that still sits pretty well. Check out Craig’s review if you need more convincing. I think this is going to be the kind of thing that connects with a lot of people.
Second highly recommended album of the day is the new one from PVRIS. I love this album. Based on the number of plays alone, it’s going to feature very high on my end of the year list. A perfect combination of catchy and weighty, unique and accessible. It’s an absolute home run of an album.
I still haven’t heard the full new Acceptance album, but the new song “Wildfires” was released today and I’m into it.
I have, however, heard the new Slick Shoes album. I’ve only had time to spin it once so far (well, I’m listening to it right now for the second time as I write this), and it pairs so well with these throwback articles I’ve been writing. It reminds me of being in high school and walking between classes with my headphones on. My red Slick Shoes t-shirt drawing questions from friends, “like the Goonies?” and my fingers air drumming like a fool. It’s fast, riff-heavy, and fits perfectly in the band’s discography. I’m really drawn to the instruments on first listen, the drumming and guitars stand out as instant highlights (even in 160kbps). I even get a little Strung Out vibes a few times. Every time I think I’m done with pop-punk, they pull me back in.
Not sure how much I am supposed to say about the new The Sonder Bombs album yet. Hmm, so, I’ll say … if you haven’t listened to their last one yet you should check that out so you can be on the bandwagon with me when I start talking about how much I adore their upcoming one. More news on this, I think, is coming shortly, so I’m holding out until I know what I’m allowed to talk about.
I’ve still been spinning the new Stand Atlantic and Yours Truly albums every couple of days. I never thought I’d spend another summer with pop-punk taking up such a large part of my stereo, but here we are—37 and bouncing like a pogo stick.
I’m going to give the new Dua Lipa remix album a listen next. I’ve never been a big “remix album” kinda guy, but I’ll give it a shot.
Let’s talk about The Batman trailer. Mystery/detective vibes? Check. Good shots of Robert Pattinson in the costume? Check. Does the costume look good? Hell yes. Does he sound good? Hell yes. Does it look awesome? Yes, yes it does. I was already a thousand percent in on Patman, but this tossed it into one of my most anticipated of next year by a long shot. No clue if you’ll ever get me back in a movie theatre, but hot-Bruce-Wayne-damn if I’m not overly excited about this one. (Sidebar: Tim in the forums is an asshole and pointed out this is the first Batman younger than me. Robert was born in ’86. I was born in ’83. Thanks. I hate it.)
We’ve got one more episode left in Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters and I already know I’m going to miss the hell out of this show. I like the relationship between the twins, and it’s an escape show that I find to be a real joy to watch. It gives me the same kind of vibes as stuff like Veronica Mars, fun, witty, but with heart.
We’ve been pairing an episode of TBH with an episode of Doctor Who each night. Yap, we’re back on that train after having fallen off for a little while. We’re just about done with season nine. While still not my favorite Doctor or companion, this show always brings me a warm comforting happiness. This season was pretty hit or miss, but I’m enjoying it. It’s bringing me back to memories of when Hannah and I first got together, and we would binge the early David Tenant and Matt Smith episodes down in Arizona while eating Thai food and getting day drunk.
Netflix’s film, Work It, is precisely what you expect it to be. The algorithm said, “make a movie like Bring it On and Pitch Perfect” and the suits complied. It was fun and the kind of movie that worked perfectly to watch with my sister when she came over for a dinner and movie night—no complaints from anyone involved, just a fun way to spend an hour or so.
I wanted Sputnik to be a little creepier but in the end was impressed that there are still sci-fi movies that feel original and unique. I often wonder if I’ve seen or read virtually every rendition of this genre, but this film showed that not to be the case.
I mixed up my reading genres a bit this week. I started with Bob Iger’s autobiography. Reading about his history and work with ABC through Disney was pretty fascinating. It felt honest if a bit reserved at times. I enjoyed the anecdotes about his time and friendship with Steve Jobs the most. The stories of buying Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm were all worth the time. All of the talk about innovating and trying to stay a step ahead of technology mixed with a commentary on the media industry was also pretty interesting. Years ago, I thought I wanted to be a high-powered CEO. I thought I had ambitions for that kind of job, that kind of clout, that kind of power. Now I laugh at stupid younger Jason. It’s not that I don’t have ambitions and goals for success, but the idea of being in that kind of business world, with those kinds of people, having to make nice with people like Robert Murdoch? Blech.
I followed up the non-fiction with Red, White and Royal Blue and enjoyed a brief period of reading about a fictional political world that didn’t make me want to rip my hair out. I have nothing but nice things to say about this book. It’s charming, fun, and like reading a romantic comedy full of people I’d like to hang out with. Basic premise: Son of the first woman President falls in love with the Prince of England. It’s a real joy of a novel full of love, romance, sex, and laughter. Perfect summer read.
Tangent: Whoever is running Goodreads, the app and website, really needs to be taking a page from what Letterboxd is doing. Goodreads could be, should be, so much better and yet looks like it was made in 2009 and hasn’t been updated since. Psst, anyone know anyone at Amazon? Can I come help fix it?
Random and Personal Stuff
It was a wholly depressing week in the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, more police violence, more people trying to justify police violence for any reason they can come up with, 17-year old white racists shooting people, people trying to justify white racists shooting people, the President pretending a pandemic hasn’t killed almost 200,000 people in this country, the President acting like everything going on right now is a vision of “Joe Biden’s America” and that we can’t tell it’s literally happening right now. Over the past week, more people died from COVID–19 than died on 9/11. A competent government could have stopped this. Most of them around the world did. How do we mourn for something on this scale? How do we even wrap our heads around it? I don’t think people do. I think once the numbers become this large, it just becomes “that COVID thing,” and it gets compartmentalized away and blocked out. Like war or famine, it becomes a lived with experience instead of the shocking reality at the front of our brains and shaping every decision we make. I can’t handle another four years of this maniac in office. He’s terrible for the economy, he’s terrible for the country, he has no clue what he’s doing, and his narcissism is responsible for more division and divisiveness and pure hate than anyone in my lifetime. I don’t think this fascist-paste goes back in the tube. Sigh. Joe Biden was not my first pick. He wasn’t my tenth pick. I’ve written thousands of words about that in the past (and daily in the political thread). But we’ve got two months to do what we can to get him elected. The work doesn’t end then, but it would be a step to quell the swell.
I want to call it a day right now, order up a pizza, and watch the injury-cursed Yankees play two baseball games back to back that will probably upset me. I’m not in the mood to do much else today. Ready for the weekend, needing a break from the internet for a little while.
It’s nice to know that I have the tools to turn my health meter back up when I want to. As I’ve written about in the past few months, quarantine got me into some bad habits—especially the first month or so. I’m back in the right direction and feeling good about it. Hannah and I both pushing each other to keep the good habits is also one of those little things that goes such a long way in wanting to stick to the goals and markers you’ve set for yourself. (MyNetDiary and Fitbod continue to be the apps I use and recommend for tracking calories and creating workouts no matter the equipment you have available to you.)
Treating myself to a new water bottle after I tracked water intake for over a year also let me “upgrade” from 16 to 32 ounces. I wondered if it would mean I’d drink more water because I’d have to fill it up less often throughout the day and be getting double the amount, or if I’d drink less because I knew I only needed to drink two full bottles before I hit my “goal” for the day. So far, I’ve consumed a whole lot more. I still fill it up when it’s empty and therefore end up drinking more water just because it’s bigger. Interesting.
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.
Ruston Kelly - Mid-Morning Lament
PVRIS - Wish You Well
The Inevitables - Ft Lauderdale
Acceptance - Wildfires
Slick Shoes - Visitors
Josh Ritter - Haunt
Augustana - Okay
The Killers - Fire in Bone
PVRIS - January Rain
Ruston Kelly - Under the Sun
This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.
The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:
The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by williamryankey in the “Ben Harper, Former Yellowcard Guitarist, on New Podcast” thread.
Oh, hey Ryan. For what it’s worth, I remember getting a phone call from Ben the day he was kicked out of Yellowcard. I was just getting out of a college class and sat in the parking lot talking to him. My recollection of that conversation is very similar to what Ryan describes in his post.
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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.