Liner Notes (November 15th, 2019)

All You Need is Love

What a week. This week’s newsletter has me looking at music and entertainment released over the past two weeks. I finally get to dive into some of the Apple TV+ and Disney+ shows, plus give some updates on living the first week of married life. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Three Things

  • I am writing to you while trying to get used to typing with a wedding band on my finger. It feels weird but in that perfect kind of way. For those not following the newsletter for long, last Saturday, I got married. And it was perfect. From a wonderful rehearsal dinner the night before full of laughs and great speeches, to an extremely fun morning hanging out with my grooms-people, to the wedding itself: it was magical. There were very few hiccups throughout the process, and the ones we did face barely registered as issues. For me, the highlight was the wedding ceremony itself. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. The decorations in the library were exquisite. Candles, flowers, books, everything lit to perfection. The music was incredible, kicked off by a string quartet and dual opera singers, mixing renditions of “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” between classic Brahms. I was, predictably, a wreck trying to get through my vows, but even there, I found the ability to make it through. (Pro Tip: Try not to look over at the bridesmaids all crying if you want to avoid getting even more choked up in the middle.) From the florist to the officiant, to our family and friends, to the food, to the music, all my expectations for what the day could be were exceeded and surpassed. The entire day flew by, and I can’t way to relive the memories in photographs and videos in the future, but it was everything I could have hoped for and more. And now, I’m just excited to get to spend the rest of my life with Hannah.

  • We had a videographer, so I’ll have good recordings of the music from the ceremony at some point. I plan to share clips from that as well, so you’ll get to hear the full rendition of “All the Small Things” bringing down the house when the ceremony concluded.

  • We won’t have photos back for probably a couple months, and I obviously plan to share some of those on social media when we do. I’m reasonably certain the wait for photos is going to actually kill me. I have a few selfies and candid shots from friends from the day, but I want to see the professional photos very badly.

In Case You Missed It

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Music Thoughts

  • I used the app MusicHarbor this morning to check for new releases for things I’d be interested in based on my Apple Music collection, and it appears to have worked very well. It caught multiple things (especially singles) that I would have missed. This is going to find a way into my weekly workflow.

  • I was more than surprised by how much I liked All Time Low’s new re-working of Nothing Personal. The new versions of the songs don’t stray too far from the originals, but sound fresh under Alex’s improved vocals and minor tweaks. There are a few parts that don’t quite work for me (like the shouted “Lost in Stereo” portion), but as a whole, this is quite good and has been my most listened to album over the past couple of weeks.

  • The new Neon Trees single “Used to Like” is right in my wheelhouse. I’d love to see another full-length and see where they’d take their sound.

  • I only listened to Madeon’s new album, Good Faith, once so far, but it’s got that electronic dance vibe I enjoy coding annoying problems to, so I think I’ll be returning to this again shortly.

  • Origami Angel dropped their new full-length today called Somewhere City. This has been a band I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, and I’m very impressed upon first listen. They seem to have taken a nice creative jump here, and they make this interesting emo-rock sound in a way that feels fresh.

  • “Bob Dylan” off of Fall Out Boy’s new greatest hits album is the weaker of the two new tracks, but still a good modern Fall Out Boy song. I listened to this morning and still think it’s a really solid collection of Fall Out Boy songs. I’m of the (minority?) belief that the band has gotten better as time has gone on, and listening back through things like “Alone Together” and “The Last of the Real Ones,” only convinces me more that I’m on the right side of history here.

  • This new Allie X single, “Regulars,” is very good. I’d love to see an entire album in this vibe.

  • The new Modest Mouse song feels like it would fit nicely into the middle of an album. As a standalone single, at over six minutes, it feels long and a tad plodding. It’s something I think I’d enjoy more in the context of an entire album.

  • I’m still very into the new Anti-Flag and Great Grandpa albums. Two different genres, both quite good.

  • I’m looking forward to this new Lauv album. The new track “Mean It” with LANY grabbed me immediately.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Since I last wrote about entertainment we’ve seen the release of Disney+ and Apple TV+ and a whole plethora of new shows have dropped, and I’ve consumed quite a bit over the past two weeks. We’ve watched up through episode four of The Morning Show, and while I don’t think this show is great, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as reviews originally portrayed it. I am not quite sure what the politics or point of view the show is taking quite yet, but I am interested in where it’s going. I want to like some of these characters, but at the same time, I can’t get over an underlying hate for just about all of them. The show seems interested in asking questions about a conversation without wanting to dive into what those questions mean or what the ramifications actually are. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic to the Steve Carell character? Am I supposed to root for Jennifer Aniston? Am I supposed to want to punch Billy Crudup every time he is on the screen? I’m not sure what the show is leading me toward. That said, it’s not a bad launch show for Apple TV+. It’s not must-watch, but it’s more than passible, and it has my interest piqued.

  • We also watched the entire first season of Dickinson. This show was fascinating. It doesn’t even pretend to be a faithful biography but instead leans into its choices by going all in. Modern music, modern slang, and clear parallels between this time period and our own. The episodes are the perfect length for this kind of show, Hailee Steinfeld is great, and this has been the clear standout of the first run of Apple TV+ shows we’ve watched. We were in almost immediately. I found myself looking forward to the parts in each episode where they’d work in Emily’s poems. I had forgotten just how incredible they were, and it’s got me itching to re-read them.

  • On the Disney+ side, the first episode of The Mandalorian was awesome. First, it has the highest production value of anything I think I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s jaw-dropping at times. The first episode maybe suffered from a few pacing issues, but it set up a world, had me asking immediate questions, and I am all in to see where this goes. I sat there with a huge smile on my face through almost the entire episode; I can’t wait to watch the second one later tonight.

  • I don’t understand why no one told me Doom Patrol was so wonderfully weird? I have watched the first nine episodes and, uh, I kinda love it. It’s bizarre as fuck; I almost can’t believe it exists. It may have a few filler episodes, but even those I’ve enjoyed. This take on Cyborg is so far and above what they did in the movie version that it’s almost criminal. I’m intrigued, weirded out, and find myself laughing multiple times through almost every episode. Every DC Universe TV show I’ve now watched, I’ve at least enjoyed. Swamp Thingwasn’t my favorite, but it was still pretty good, and this is up there with Titans for me already.

  • We’ve watched the first five episodes of the new season of Jack Ryan. Here’s the caveat with this show: I’ve read almost every Tom Clancy novel and know they are pretty ridiculous military propaganda that glamorizes some shit I do not like. They are fictional political worlds that involve a whole lot of bad politics. I also have always found them entertaining as fictional stories about big political conspiracies and characters having to try to figure out big puzzles and politics. The show gives me the same kind of thing even when I know, at my core, so much of it is nonsense. As entertainment, it works for me, as a lens into the world of politics or the military complex, it falls flat.

  • We are up to episode four of Looking for Alaska, and it’s about to get dark. It’s been a good watch so far that has met my expectations for what I assumed this kind of show would be. It does that well, and as anyone reading this newsletter for any amount of time knows, I like these kinds of “looks into teenage life” shows and movies.

  • I finished the entire series of Red Oaks and am ready to declare it vastly underrated and under-watched by the general public. It was a terrific show that I found heartwarming, funny, and I cared for the characters by the end. It’s a nicely packaged three seasons with an arc and growth. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • I’m not sure I look the hard turn into the supernatural that Nancy Drew seems to be going. The smarts of the original book series came from it not actually being supernatural at the core; I hope they figure out a way to square this in a way that I find satisfactory, but I’m officially worried.

  • Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans was a relatively fun animated movie, but not nearly as good as Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. I like these cartoons for the distraction they are, and I know I would have eaten them up as a child.

  • I am behind a little on Watchmen and Titans, but we’ll be back to our regular schedule next week, and I should have time to catch up.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This entire week has been one of recovery and relaxation. We spent the week unpacking and opening gifts, reorganizing the entire kitchen, closets, and preparing to start our new life together. We plan to take a honeymoon next year during summer break, but having a week to ourselves, to not plan anything, see anyone, or need to do anything, has been incredible. We’ve just spent the time eating good food, spending time together, and refreshing basically everything. I love all our new kitchen stuff. The complete refresh of dishes and utensils has been incredible. And I am immediately obsessed with our new water carbonator. We have an actual jungle of Amazon boxes we will need to deal with, and I see the “Thank You Card” task staring at me through the weeds, but it’s been a great, great week.

  • I’ve been feeling behind on things all week, my RSS feeds are filled with unread articles, I have all sorts of reviews and podcasts to get to about the new MacBook Pro, and I should probably just abandon my political and sports podcasts for the week because by the time I listen to them everything will be outdated. I won’t lie though, I have enjoyed the privilege of ignoring (ok, trying very hard to) the news for the past week.

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. All Time Low - Damned if I Do Ya

  2. Fall Out Boy - Bob Dylan

  3. Madeon - All My Friends

  4. Neon Trees - Used to Like

  5. Lauv - Mean It

  6. Great Grandpa - Bloom

  7. Origami Angel - 24 Hr Drive-Thru

  8. Allie X - Regulars

  9. Ralph - Headphone Season

  10. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - Muller Time

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.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back to a much more “full-time” posting and work scheduled around the website starting on Monday.

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 (November 8th, 2019)

Love Me Tender

I’m getting married tomorrow, so this week’s newsletter is going to be different than usual and wedding-themed. (Since I am thinking about the wedding, final wedding plans, and really nothing else.) I wanted to write something, but I don’t have the time to breakdown all the music and media I’ve consumed over the past week. Instead, I’ve been putting this together in small stages over the past few days. I’ll be back next week with a longer piece that has a deeper dive into the entertainment and musical stuff I’ve been enjoying lately. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

A Certain Number of Things

  • Thank you to everyone for all the wedding wishes over the past few weeks, and for the encouragement over the past year as I wrote about the entire planning of it in this very newsletter. You’ve all been along for the ride as this unfolded; I can’t believe it’s finally here.

  • I wrote up my first impressions of the new AirPods Pro. Short version: I like them a lot, and Transparency Mode is a game-changer.

  • Our wedding photographer posted up some of our engagement photos on her blog. Fun tidbit: the very first photo is the exact spot Hannah and I met. She was sitting with a friend, and I asked if she knew how long the people playing pool had been using the table. We started talking, and now seven years later we’re getting married.

  • Curious what songs will be played during the reception? Here’s the DJ playlist. It’s full of stuff Hannah and I enjoy, and think people can sort of dance to, and then scattered with the popular songs I can tolerate enough to get people out on the dance floor.

  • A string quartet will be playing at our ceremony, and Hannah’s arranged all the music herself. I get to walk out to her arrangement of the “Throne Room” music from the end of Star Wars. I’m very excited about it. And she’s put together a string quartet arrangement of Blink–182’s “All the Small Things” to be played after the ceremony ends as we walk back down the aisle as a couple for the first time. Curious what it sounds like? Here’s a recording of the practice from last night running through the arrangement for the first time.

  • We’re getting married in a library, and I can’t think of anything more perfect for the two of us. The goal of the wedding was to make it very much us; I think we succeeded.

  • My tux was chosen based on James Bond’s Skyfall look. Same navy shawl collar, white shirt, white pocket square, black bow-tie, and mother of pearl cufflinks. As a gift, Hannah’s parents bought me the same suspenders that Bond wears in the movie as well. It’s just my opinion, but if you have to wear a tux, you might as well try and look like James Bond.

  • We got engaged on 8/18/18, and we’re getting married on 11/9/19.

  • Each of the tables at the reception has quotes on them from some of our favorite things, if you’re curious what we picked, here’s a screenshot from the spreadsheet.

  • We wrote our own vows and there’s zero chance I make it through without crying.

  • My sister is my “best-person” and I am so grateful that she’ll be standing up there with me on this day. My other two groomsmen are lifelong friends, and our officiant is my best friend’s wife that we’ve known for a very long time.

  • Dinner is a choice of St. Helen’s Filet Mignon with red wine bordelaise; mashed potatoes with garlic and parmesan, and roasted seasonal vegetables; or Wild Alaskan Salmon stuffed with brie cheese, dill, dungeness crab and Oregon bay shrimp, with citrus cream sauce; garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables; or Vegetable Napoleon, stacked roasted zucchini, onion, eggplant and tomato with feta, mint, oregano, and roasted yellow pepper coulis. The three-tier cake has one layer of white lovelight sponge with strawberry preserves and cream cheese frosting, the second is lemon delight sponge with lemon jelly and lemon swiss buttercream, and the third is poppyseed sponge with raspberry preserves and vanilla swiss buttercream. I really hope I remember to eat.

  • Next week will probably be a relatively slow week around the website for me. We’re not going on a honeymoon right away, but we’re going to take some time to ourselves and try and relax and enjoy not having to do any wedding planning. I’m sure I’ll be around the site and will post some news, but the plan is for it to be a light week of work. Then I’ll be back and focusing on putting together the “Best of the Decade” feature and preparing for the end of 2019 and all the features we usually run around that. After that, as we start 2020, I’ll be deciding if I want to go through with the redesign of the main content side of the website that I’ve been playing around with.

  • I think that’s all I’ve got for this week’s wedding edition of the newsletter. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I promise to be back next week with a return to our regular scheduled newsletter outline and format. I’ve been listening to and watching some cool stuff, and I’m excited to write about it.

In Case You Missed It

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 TUG in the “My Chemical Romance” thread.

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 (November 1st, 2019)

The Light Behind Your Eyes

This week’s newsletter has the definitive ranking of My Chemical Romance albums, some first impressions of the new Anti-Flag album, thoughts on some other music I spent time with this week, and my weekly media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, a few articles I enjoyed, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • My Chemical Romance announced their return yesterday to the excitement of, what felt like, most of the internet. I’d heard rumblings about these rumors for a while, but it wasn’t until early September that I had confirmation that something was going to be announced before the end of the year. Based on what I’ve heard, there are holds on various venues for a tour next year, so if you can’t make it out to their announced show, I think you’re still going to have a chance to see the band in action. I haven’t been able to nail down if new music is for sure happening, but at least once source made it sound like it was highly probable. In celebration, I figured I’d do a ranking of the band’s discography since it was in heavy rotation over the past few days.

    • The Black Parade: It’s a classic and rightfully so. I’d argue it’s one of the better rock albums in my lifetime and is full of audacious hit after hit. Listening to it now and it still has all the energy and timelessness that makes me feel as though it would have an impact even if it were released today.

    • Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge: I still remember the first time I heard this album and knowing immediately it was going to be a hit. If memory serves, we worked with the band and label to secretly release one of the first songs from this album on AbsolutePunk by hiding a download in one of the news posts about the band. It’s hard for me to pull back from so much of the nostalgia I have wrapped around these songs.

    • Danger Days: This album was ahead of its time. I wasn’t sold on the initial single, and it took a little while for me to come around on the album as a whole. However, these days, this usually ends up being one of the first albums I reach for when in the mood to listen to the band. I love the mix of swagger, pop, and energy in the songs. If I didn’t have such a personal connection to Three Cheers, there’s a good chance I’d have this in second place.

    • Conventional Weapons: I listen to these EPs like an album. It doesn’t flow perfectly together like an album, but there are enough good songs here that it makes up for it. I’ve always loved “Tomorrow’s Money,” “Boy Division,” and “Make Room!!!,” while “Gun.” is my least favorite of the collection.

    • I Brought You My Bullets…: This is easily my least favorite release from the band and one I rarely return to. It reminds me of that era of music quite a bit, and I remember first getting a copy from Geoff of Thursday back in the day. I don’t actively dislike the album, but it is one that feels more of a time and the band feeling out who and what they want to be. You can see the blueprints for what they would become, and that’s a lot of fun.

    • Conclusion: My Chemical Romance are a fascinating band that combines music and aesthetic to build a world around, and with, their music. It’s this combination, executed with such precision, that I think has led to their enormous fanbase and continued relevance even after their break-up. They know how to use their music to tell a story and bring the listener into their entire universe. As a long time fan of virtually everything they do, I’m extremely excited to see what’s next for them. And, the bonus of this “return” announcement is that it led to a discography deep dive this week and a reminder that I need to break these albums out more frequently in the future.

  • I added a new feature to the forum for supporters: automatic theme detection. If you turn this setting on and are using an Apple device, the forum will automatically use the same theme as your system theme. So, you can set your iPhone to turn to Dark Mode at night, and the forums will change with you.

  • I thought this article in Vanity Fair by Nell Scovell, talking about David Letterman, is very much worth a read. It didn’t go where I thought it was going to go, and it’s worth your time.

  • I also found this article in The Ringer about Jim Carrey and comedy in the ’90s to hit that nostalgic spot in my brain. There was a time where the only thing I wanted to watch was Ace Ventura. I’m well aware of just how badly that movie holds up today, but I was obsessed with Jim Carrey and everything he did. This is a really good look at when he dominated the box office and comedy.

  • Every Friday I open up the Music app, go to the For You section, scroll all the way down to the bottom and look at the “New Releases” section. This section looks at your library and shows you new albums from the artists you have in your collection. It’s a quick way to see if I’ve missed anything big that I need to post about or want to listen to, as I prepare for this newsletter. There are a few things about this section that drive me nuts: it’s very hidden and hard to get to, it’s laid out weirdly and often misses artists I have in my collection, and it doesn’t have any way to show me singles from artists I like that were released or songs that are on upcoming albums from artists I like that were released over the past week. This entire section could be designed so much better and be so informative. They have all of the information needed to put together an incredibly useful page of new music that I’ve already signaled I’d like to know about, but don’t. The weekly New Music Playlists are nice, and often do include some things I want to know about, but they also are usually full of stuff I’ve already heard and have played multiple times. This missing feature is the single most frustrating part of Apple Music for me.

In Case You Missed It

Sponsor

SupMikecheck has just released his new album You Never Really Cared to all streaming services. The album has collaborations and features with AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer, Mat Devine of Kill Hannah, Andy Thornton of Flight 409, and Lil Lotus. It also features a track produced by Jay Vee who has worked with Nothing, Nowhere., Shinigami, Guccihighwaters, and more.

Mike has been a long-time reader of AbsolutePunk.net and Chorus.fm and has been working on his goal of making music and getting in front of as many people as possible for years now. He poured everything he had into this album and would love it if you’d give it a listen and share it with a friend if you like it. You can check out the album on SpotifyApple Music, and YouTube.

Music Thoughts

  • Anti-Flag have been on a tear lately. I adore their previous two albums, American Spring and American Fall, and think they’re one of the best and most consistent punk bands around today. Their genius comes from combining an undeniable knack for melody and hooks with an underlying energy and real belief in activism. Listening to their new album, 20/20 Vision, reminds me why I fell in love with punk music in the first place. This album has more of a raw feel and sound to it. The production layers are stripped back, and the palpable anger and frustration comes across in every song. The album takes a much more direct approach at our current President, putting his face on the album cover, and using his words to open the first track. My early favorites include the extremely catchy “It Went off Like a Bomb,” the country-tinged “Un-American,” and the fist-pumping anthem “The Disease.” I think when some people think about punk music they often think that it’s just a lot of loud yelling about the government and playing loud, fast music. What I love about Anti-Flag, in particular, is that, yes, there’s political activism in their songs (and the liner notes include essays, links, and information with each song about where you can become directly involved), but they also are masters of melody. They write extremely catchy music on the same level as plenty of very popular “pop-punk” bands. The kind of songs that get implanted in your brain and refuse to leave. I still find myself humming “The Press Corpse” from time-to-time, and that song came out 13 years ago. I’ve only had the time to listen to this new album once in full, and then a few of the songs multiple times. (Turns out there was a big news story yesterday that took up a little bit of my day.) At a high level, I think they are adding another excellent album into their catalog, and one that looks directly at our current state of the world and shines a light on it. It’s directly calling out our government and politicians for their hate, inaction, and corruption. And while those themes are hard to write around without feeling preachy or cliche, I think they pull it off with very few missteps. It’s not as polished as their previous two albums, but the rawness helps tracks like “A Nation Sleeps” and “You Make Me Sick” pack more of a punch. They even throw in some horns on “Resistance Frequencies.” During the past few years, I’ve often turned to punk music as a way to help me deal with the constant string of bullshit I’ve seen in the news on a daily basis. The loud, aggressive music has become an outlet for my brain when it’s searching for ways to deal with the world. I’ve always turned to music when I don’t know how to process things around me properly. Sometimes in life, it’s been heartbreak, sometimes it’s been the loss of a friend, and I’ve turned to music when I’ve lost loved ones and was searching for solace and comfort. Punk music is where I go when I feel helpless and lost in a world that feels like it’s about to eat itself. From Propagandhi, to Sick of it All, to Pennywise, to countless others, I’ve found a way to channel those moments when I feel like I don’t quite know what to do, or how to handle, the fires around us. Anti-Flag continues to be one of the ways I cope with a world I often don’t understand. If you’ve never really given punk music a chance before or weren’t sure if it was for you, I highly recommend their discography. I first got into them with For Blood and Empire, and have always thought that’s a good place to dive in. But their previous two albums are also outstanding and worth a look. And, to bring it full circle, this album doesn’t disappoint. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the next few weeks, but that’s where I’m at right now: it’s good, I like it, and I want to spend more time cranking the volume upward.

  • The WhoHurtYou EP is pretty straight forward but executed extremely well. If you’re looking for crystal clean, catchy, pop-music about a break-up, this is going to be right in your wheelhouse. I think “Not the One” and “Lesson in Letting Go” are standouts.

  • I’ve been keeping the few Nightly songs that exist in my weekly rotation. I love “This Time Next Year” and am dying for a full-length from these guys.

  • Sigrid released the new song “Home to You” from the The Aeronauts soundtrack and it’s a nice little ballad. I still play her full-length regularly. It’s got a really good shot at being my favorite album of the year.

  • This new Great Grandpa album, Four of Arrows, is getting a lot of buzz in our community lately. I spun it yesterday on all the recommendations I’d been seeing and enjoyed it. It’s got a big indie-rock vibe, but the lyrics and songwriting are awe-inspiring. On first listen songs like “Bloom” and “Human Condition” stood out to me; I’m excited to dive into this a whole lot more this weekend. I think most people reading this newsletter would be well served to give this a look.

  • Charly Bliss surprise released a new EP this week. It’s five songs, and I can see why they were left off their most recent album. It’s not that they’re not good, but they don’t have the same growth or punch.

  • I love the new POP ETC single “Same Mistake.”

  • Patrick Stump score for Spell was released today, and I plan to give that a listen a little later.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I enjoyed Good Boys for what it was. It was a fun movie about sixth graders that swear a lot. I remember being that age. It didn’t hit me on the same level of movies like Eighth Grade or Booksmart, but it was an enjoyable watch.

  • Slaughterhouse Rulez sucked. It was boring, slow, and not good.

  • The new Halloween was pretty good. What worked so well about the original was how small it was. The parts that build the horror are because it’s basically on one street, in a few houses, and it feels like you’re trapped with the killer the entire time. This movie felt too big, too expansive, and it suffered because of that. But, even with that, it’s still worth seeing and was a good movie to watch over Halloween this year. That soundtrack is still just flat out incredible.

  • Low Tide is very much my kind of movie. Coming of age, moody, and well crafted. Now, if only someone would have just told the boys about a safety deposit box.

  • With baseball coming to an end, I’ve had time to catch up on a bunch of things I’d been wanting to read, watch, and check out during my evenings when Hannah is working late. This week I decided to check out Red Oaks on Amazon. I wasn’t immediately sold on the first episode, but it grew on me within three. It’s a very charming coming of age in the 80s show that has a lot of heart, and I quickly shot through the first two seasons. It’s a perfect show to put on while playing around on the iPad catching up on email or Twitter. It doesn’t demand your full attention, but the characters find a way into your heart. Recommended.

  • The second episode of HBO’s Watchmen was just as good as the incredible pilot. This has immediately shot up my “need to see each week” list. It’s everything I wanted it to be and then some.

  • The first season of What We Do in the Shadows was perfect. Watching it was the best decision we made this October. I loved every episode.

  • Last week’s Titans was very good, Nancy Drew continues to have its hooks in me, and we gave the first episode of Looking for Alaska a try. It looks like something we’d like, so we’re going to give it a few more episodes to see how we feel.

  • I do plan to check out a few of the new Apple TV+ shows, but I’m not quite sure when. We have a few other things we want to catch up on first, but there’s quite a few there on launch day that look interesting to me.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Well, we’re eight days away from the wedding. This time next week I’ll be getting ready for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I’ve been having fun doing a little countdown on my Instagram stories for the past few days, but it’s also really put into perspective just how soon everything is happening. It’s here. All the planning, all the life changes and decisions from the past year, are all leading up to this moment. It’s exciting. I’m not sure what I’ll do for a newsletter next week. I’ve been toying around with the idea of it being very wedding-themed, and I’ll share a bunch of stuff we’re doing for the wedding and the playlists, but there’s also a chance I skip it entirely if I feel too busy leading up to Friday. We’ll see how I end up feeling, and I’m just going to go off of my gut.

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. My Chemical Romance - Boy Division

  2. Anti-Flag - The Press Corpse

  3. WhoHurtYou - Lesson in Letting Go

  4. Sigrid - Home to You

  5. POP ETC - Same Mistake

  6. Allie X - Rings a Bell

  7. Great Grandpa - Mono no Aware

  8. Charly Bliss - Supermoon

  9. Roxy Music - More Than This

  10. My Chemical Romance - Famous Last Words

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 “My Chemical Romance” thread.

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween and has a wonderful weekend.

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 (October 25th, 2019)

Miseria Cantare

This week’s newsletter looks at some of the music out this week, answers a reader question about my favorite Halloween movies, and then goes through my weekly media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week and a bunch of other random thoughts. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Three Things

  • I thought I would have more thoughts, or a better take, on the entire Yellowcard lawsuit story. But I don’t have much of an opinion on this. I come down on the idea that patents and copyrights are usually a net negative and that music is better when there’s mixing, copying ideas, and the entire world of music feeding off new and old ideas to create new art ends up being better because of it. At the same time, I do see the melody similarities, and the lawyer involved has made a name for himself in these kinds of cases. (He’s the one that got the famous “Blurred Lines” verdict.) I guess I don’t care that much to get worked up about this either way. I saw some horrendous takes online to the absolute extreme, and maybe all the other news coming out daily has just made me numb, but I’m more in the camp that thinks we’re way too litigious of a country.

  • Threadless messed something up, so they sent me a $20 credit. I used it to buy some of my own merch to check the quality and because I kinda wanted a couple of the magnets. They turned out great and look pretty good on my filing cabinet. I also ordered myself a mug to see how those look, but it’s not here yet.

  • All the website contributors are working on putting together a best of the decade list. This means I have to compile a list of my favorite 50 albums from 2010–2019. This has been ridiculously hard. I think I have a list of about 75 albums now, whittled down from over a hundred, that I want to include. And I have no damn idea what order they should go in. Incredible albums are going to be left off, that I just have to accept, but trying to figure out how to rank these is near impossible.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Today sees the release of the new EP from PVRIS, and I like their expansion of sound here. This feels like a bridge from their previous work into a new era, something a little bigger, more grandiose. The EP works a great combination of big stadium-ready tracks with some very personal and heartbreaking lyrics. I’m very interested in seeing what the full-length album looks like that’s coming out next year.

  • The new Anti-Flag song “Hate Conquers All” is everything you could want in a new Anti-Flag song. A catchy bombastic anthem that I can’t wait to overplay. These guys keep churning out great music. This one almost reminds me of a little of the latest Sum 41 album with its riff and melodic combination, and it definitely gets my blood pumping.

  • I don’t listen to much music like Norma Jean these days, but I did give the new album a spin this morning while posting news. It’s pretty much exactly what I expected, but they do this sound quite well. I don’t know if I’ll be coming back to it, but I may throw it on at the gym and be completely cliche.

  • The two new Coldplay songs are good. “Orphans” may be a little too cutesy with the lyrics, but the production is so big and lush sounding that I can forgive it. I’m looking forward to this album even if their more recent work has been pretty hit or miss for me. They’ve become a band where I always know I’ll get a couple of songs I enjoy on their albums even when the full work doesn’t do it for me.

  • Are you shocked to read that I like the new The 1975 single? I’m at the place where I am refusing to let myself overplay their new music, so I’m waiting until I can hear the full album to do multiple repeat listens of the songs. I love the vibe this song has. Familiar melody, interesting use of musical layers, and a completely different feel than “People.” There’s just not any other band that gets me going like these guys do these days. Their choices and process enthrall me. February can’t come soon enough.

  • I’ve long thought people have been sleeping on Greyhaven; they’re a great hardcore band that still appeals to my sense of melody and a catchy hook. Their new song “A Match Were Great Fire Should Be” keeps that trend going. (And if you haven’t checked out their previous album, Empty Black, it’ll make you think you can run through a wall.)

  • My late-night album of choice this week was Onward to Zion, and it fits in nicely with all the leaves falling off of the trees.

  • I’ve liked these three singles from WhoHurtYou more than I was expecting. The latest “Not the One” is a soaring pop-ballad that embraces every part of that role. Good chorus, great vocals, and this album is shaping up to be the pop break-up album that was promised.

  • I’m quite sad that mewithoutYou are calling it a day, but I think doing it on your terms is absolutely the best way to go.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • In response to last week’s newsletter, subscriber Zack Robinson asked: “You mention favorite Halloween movies in this - what are some of your other favorites/year go-to’s?” I tend to enjoy the movies that have a little more comedy to them. So Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland are both in my shortlist. Over the past few years the Happy Death Day movies, and The Final Girls have been fall favorites. I also like to re-watch the original HalloweenWhat We Do in the ShadowsIt Follows, and The Shining. And then there’s a variety of movies that are more like thrillers that I will gravitate toward at this time of the year, stuff like AlienPsycho, and The Thing. Recent films like HereditaryThe WitchUnsane, and Don’t Breathe, were also very good.

  • We watched Scary Stories You Tell in the Dark and found it to be a “your first horror movie” kind of film. It wasn’t terrifying, but it had a few good scares, and it worked well as something scary enough to feel in the mood of the season, without being over the top.

  • Hannah and I plowed through the entire season of Modern Love this week. I’m at the spot where I’ll see anything John Carney is involved with, and these short stories were all very well done. Most of them felt like a heartwarming jolt to the system that is often needed during tough weeks. I loved the first three. Found the fourth to be a little slow, enjoyed but didn’t have much memory of the fifth, and hated the sixth. It made me feel uncomfortable and not in a good way. The seventh and eighth were great. The last episode, in particular, was incredibly touching. I’d recommend this series to basically anyone. They’re half-an-hour and worth your time.

  • Hannah was working late a lot this week, and since I no longer have baseball to pass my time, I watched the first season of The Boys. It’s not something she would have wanted to watch with me. Overall, I liked it and got pulled into the world. However, I felt it could have been trimmed by at least an episode, and often walked into the “we’re a mature show, so we have to do over the top sex/violence” trope a little too much. I’m also not sure who I am supposed to be cheering for in the show; I couldn’t tell if I was cheering for Hughie because I like Jack Quaid, the actor, or if I was supposed to be on his character’s side in some of these decisions. The ending, while not that much of a surprise (they telegraphed it), seems to be setting up a very interesting situation for the next season, and I’m curious to see where it’ll go. I’ll watch it for sure.

  • I can’t praise the TV version of What We Do in the Shadows enough. It’s hilarious and something I know I’m going to want to watch every October from now until forever. We only have one more episode left, and I’m already craving a second season. If you like awkward but smart comedies, this is good.

  • The first episode of Watchmen was one of the best pilots I’ve seen in a long time. I am immediately in on this show. The original comic was a very influential piece of art for me growing up, and still one of my favorites. Plus, I was a huge fan of Lindelof’s extremely underrated Leftovers. However, I was a little worried about what a new version in this universe could look like (and not because of the ridiculous political backlash); based on the first episode and the trailer for the rest of the season, I shouldn’t have been worried at all. This was great.

  • I very much enjoyed a second episode of Nancy Drew, so I guess this is a show we watch now. And although I still am not sold on the actor playing Bruce Wayne, Titans remains the show I’m most excited to watch after it airs.

  • I have no complaints with the newStar Wars trailer. I already bought tickets for opening night, doing so made me realize that this is the only franchise I still care about seeing at the very first opportunity. It’s not even that I’m worried about spoilers, or missing out on “the conversation,” it’s that I still get excited to see these films. I’ve loved the previous two; I’m sure I’ll enjoy the hell out of this one.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Well, we are 15 days away from the wedding. Just about two weeks to go now. We had the final walkthrough at the venue on Wednesday to finalize all the setup, logistics, decorations, flowers, and just about everything. We’ve done all the planning we can, we’ve got pretty much everything ready to go, now it’ll just be about pulling it off. I’m at the spot where I realize we’ve done everything we can to make the day as perfect as possible, and I’m just going to accept if any little things go wrong. If something gets missed or messed up, it’ll be fine, and I’m not going to stress about every minute being as planned. But, I feel pretty good about everything. I have a good idea about how everything will go, and I think all that planning helps remove any stress. Now, it’s really about all the fun parts: actually getting married.

  • I am not huge into the whole pumpkin-in-everything craze, but I do enjoy the Night Owl beer from Elysian. It’s perfect for the last week of October and pairs well with a good zombie movie.

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. Anti-Flag - Hate Conquers All

  2. Greyhaven - A Match Were Great Fire Should Be

  3. The 1975 - Frail State of Mind

  4. Ruston Kelly - Teenage Dirtbag

  5. PVRIS - Old Wounds

  6. Cary Brothers - Say

  7. Third Eye Blind - Who Am I

  8. WhoHurtYou - Not the One

  9. Vampire Weekend - Hold You Now

  10. Hollywood Burns - Scherzo No. 5 in Death Minor

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 SmithBerryCrunch in the “Post Your Picture Thread” thread.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

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 (October 18th, 2019)

Your New Aesthetic

Welcome to Jimmy Eat World release week. Let us all rejoice. Today’s newsletter has my thoughts on music, some of the entertainment I’ve consumed over the past week, other random tidbits, and a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • Growing up, one memory I have vividly is coming home from school, making a snack, and reading parts of the daily newspaper. Specifically the sports and comic section. I can’t even fathom how many Hot Pockets were consumed while pouring over Calvin and Hobbes or The Far Side. I recently went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole finding out whatever happened to a bunch of the comics I used to read, only to find that most of them ended years ago. I also realized I kinda missed reading comics each day. Thankfully, I found this cool website called ComicRSS that has RSS feeds for a whole bunch of different strips. I added Calvin and Hobbes, FoxTrot, and Get Fuzzy to my feed reader to start. Now, each day, when I’m catching up on the news, I can also read one new comic from each series and add a little levity into my daily routine. I’ve been doing it all week, and it’s brought a smile to my face each morning.

  • I thought this essay by James Blake on mental health was an interesting read and worth the time.

  • I ripped Taylor Swift’s Tiny Desk performance if anyone would like it for their collection.

  • A friend that recently got married said the one piece of advice he had for me was to make sure I had a handkerchief on hand for the big day. He said he wished he had something to wipe his eyes and face with during a few moments, and using the back of one’s sleeve is a little strange. I came across this shop called Fox Hanx, which sells (admittedly a little expensive) very well made limited edition handkerchiefs. I bought a black and red striped one to slide into my inner jacket pocket for the day of the wedding. I’m sure I’ll be even happier with the purchase when I can’t make it through my vows and have water running down my cheeks. These seem like they’d make lovely gifts as well.

In Case You Missed It

Sponsor

The new hardcore band, Chromarama, recently released their new EP Not Dead Yet on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms. They’ve also released a studio/lyric video for the new song “Roam.” The band can also be found on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Music Thoughts

  • Today sees the release of Jimmy Eat World’s Surviving and it’s already shot up my list of most listened to albums of the year. Craig Manning reviewed the album this week, and I think he does a great job capturing the feel and mood of this release. This gets my full recommendation. Reading through the forum comments, and it seems like everyone is pretty happy with it as well; I’ve seen very few adverse reactions. There’s just something about a Jimmy Eat World release that feels so comforting to me. Experiencing the new music with other fans, reading comments, going over favorite lines or parts; it’s precisely the kind of thing I build our community for.

  • Manchester Orchestra teamed up with Amazon and producer T Bone Burnett for the new song “Xela.” I am not a huge fan of songs being released via exclusive platforms, even if you can buy it for $1.29, but I do enjoy the song. It’s a slower, brooding track, and it got me in the mood to break back out A Black Mile… this weekend. I may need to do a discography run again soon; it’s been too long.

  • Today also sees the release of the new Refused album. This is one that’s grown on me every time I’ve put it on. I love the palpable anger and energy. It’s become a staple in the gym, and I think it’s a worthy addition to their catalog.

  • The best way I can describe White Reaper’s new album, You Deserve Love, is as a really fun rock ’n roll record. It’s a catchy, fun, guitar-driven rock album. There’s not much pomp, not much circumstance, but absolutely worth a look if you’re into something like that.

  • The Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers song, “Walking on a String,” doesn’t disappoint. A great combination of two fantastic voices, my only concern is that I don’t know when or where I’ll work this into any kind of regular listening rotation. That’s the problem with one-off singles (and sometimes even EPs), even the ones I love I never build into a playlist because I spend so much time listening to full albums instead.

  • On that same path, Julien Baker’s two-song single “Tokyo” was released to digital outlets last Friday. I hadn’t heard either of these songs before, but listening to them over the weekend with a great glass of red wine hit the spit.

  • I tossed on the Ruston Kelly EP during the first night’s dinner at my bachelor party last week, and it was an immediate hit. Everyone pulled out their phones to make a note or add it to their library.

  • I gave the new Arizona album a listen, but it’s not for me – just felt like a version of this sound that never really went anywhere. The guy can sing, but the songs lacked dynamics to my ears.

  • I saw people saying the new Fickle Friends single, “Amateurs,” was horrible … but I like it. It’s a little bit of a swerve for them, but still quite catchy and enjoyable. I don’t get the extreme hate.

  • Danny Black (of Good Old War) released a new instrumental guitar album today. I gave it a listen while posting news this morning, and it’s got a lot more energy to it than his last. I think this will be a nice coding/writing album to toss on in the future.

  • I’ve only had time to spin the new Audio Karate album once, but I liked almost every song on here. It’s an interesting throwback to the early 2000s for me. Almost like No Motiv, where I feel this sense of nostalgia and remembrance.

  • The new album Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Onward to Zion, feels like it’s going to be a great fall/winter album. It’s a slow burn, but with a lot of exciting soundscapes and textures. It gives me a little Bon Iver-vibes, but it feels a bit more straight forward. It’s good and worth a look if you want to sink into your couch and get lost in the season.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We couldn’t make it through Stuber and turned it off. Way too long, not very funny, zero respect for the audience, and basically dumb.

  • I really enjoyed Little Monsters. It’s a zombie movie more in line with the Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead ‘s of the world, where there’s a strong amount of humor in the film, and when done right these are up there with my favorite kinds of “Halloween” movies. The movie takes off when Lupita Nyong’ o shows up, and this feels like something I’d watch again when we’re looking for a good, not really scary but trying to set the October mood, kind of movie.

  • I enjoyed the pilot episode of Nancy Drew more than I was expecting. I’m always on the lookout for new silly teenage dramas, and this had just enough of a hook to draw me in. I’ll be watching a few more of these to see where it goes.

  • The pilot of Stumptown was not doing it for me. I’ll give it one more episode, but only because I want to see more shots of Portland. I hope it gets better, I want to like it, but the first episode felt extremely network-TV-formulaic, and I didn’t feel a rooting interest in the characters.

  • I watched the first two episodes of Batwoman, and it feels exactly like I’d expect a CW/Arrowverse show to feel. It’s using the same cliches, same setups, and I guess if you have a model that works, don’t break it? I have not kept up to date on Arrow, Flash, or Supergirl, but I do watch them every once in a while when I can’t come up with anything else to put on. I wanted to give this one a shot because, well, I love anything Batman related. I may give this a few more episodes to see how it all shakes out, and I really wanna see the full Batwoman suit, but when the bar of Titans has been so high, it’s hard to take a step down in super-hero TV quality. I thought the casting was well done so far, and the little nods to Batman-mythos worked for me. The action and suit (so far) are ok but could be better.

  • I continue to be enamored with Titans. The latest episode introducing Superboy and Krypto was another one of those things I never thought I’d see on screen in live-action. I thought they nailed the actor who played Connor, and his demeanor and action scenes were great. Some of the visual graphic work with Krypto was a little silly, but still, I got to see Krypto in action, and I was smiling ear-to-ear.

  • By the end of this weekend, my favorite baseball team may be out of the playoffs. This was the second year in a row where I watched, or at least followed, virtually every single game of the season. It became an escape for me, a way to block out the news or horribleness and just get lost in the game, the routines, the consistency, and the sounds almost every day. Rediscovering my love for baseball has been one of the better things I’ve done for my mental health over the past two years. I’m sad when my team inevitably loses, but I still have loved every moment watching the games and goofing around with other fans in the MLB thread. I’m also thrilled and excited for Nationals’ fans. They deserve this World Series moment, and I’m happy for all of them; Juan Soto is an absolute star. Now basketball is just around the corner!

Random and Personal Stuff

  • The bachelor party last weekend was a whole lot of fun. We went to a town with a bunch of breweries and rented out an Airbnb. The house was pretty incredible, and all the beer we drank and tasted was top notch. I think my favorite brewery of the bunch may have ended up being Crux. They had fantastic beer, and the taco truck out front was great. It was an incredible time with a great group of friends. It was fun, but relaxing at the same time. Everyone did a transcendent job of planning something very me. And I feel very grateful and blessed that I have friends that would take time away from their families, significant others, and kids to spend a weekend with me. We made it out with no injuries, only a few hangovers, but a whole lot of laughs and good times. They even got me to begrudgingly wear the “Bachelor Boy” hat from Parks and Recreation for a few minutes.

  • There’s an issue with my little share album/song feature’s search at the moment that I need to fix. I can still directly link to albums and songs, but for some reason, the Apple Music API is returning an error on my servers even though it resolves and works completely fine here on my local machine. I haven’t been able to track down the bug, but I plan to give it a look next week.

  • The President of the United States continues to do crimes and needs to be impeached.

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. Jimmy Eat World - 555

  2. Refused - I Wanna Watch the World Burn

  3. White Reaper - Saturday

  4. Panther City Riots - Desire

  5. Fickle Friends - Amateurs

  6. Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers - Walking on a String

  7. Danny Black - Porch Pickin’

  8. Julien Baker - Tokyo

  9. Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Bad Dream

  10. Jimmy Eat World - Diamond

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 “Jimmy Eat World - Surviving (October 18, 2019)” thread.

And with that, we’re through another week. I hope everyone has an incredible weekend. We’re finishing up the last parts of wedding planning now, and it’s all about the details and minor logistics. So, wish me luck as we move into the final three-week stretch.

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.

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