Liner Notes (July 3rd, 2020)

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

Four Things

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

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

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

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

Sponsor

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

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

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entertainment Thoughts

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

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

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

Random and Personal Stuff

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

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

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Protest the Hero - Little Snakes

  2. The Dangerous Summer - Virginia

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

  4. Gordi - Volcanic

  5. Jessie Ware - Save a Kiss

  6. LANY - If This is The Last Time

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

  8. MxPx - Doing Time (LIQ Version)

  9. Zander Hawley - New Burn

  10. Sufjan Stevens - America

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by ajperdomo in the “The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature (June 14, 2019)” thread.

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

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 26th, 2020)

I get it, the weeks are blending, and you were just reading a newsletter from me last Friday, but it’s here again. Round and round we go. This week’s newsletter has thoughts on music, entertainment, and other stuff on my mind. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • This week’s article was about heading back to 2008 and not only revisiting the music we were all listening to, but also getting a sense of place and remembering the feeling of hope and change I was feeling that year. It was a historic year for the country but also one for me personally. It’s also the year of The Gaslight Anthem’s 59 Sound, an album that’s come to mean so very much to me in the subsequent twelve years. This was a fun one to write and reflect on.

  • Scott Sellers of Rufio covered Slick Shoes’ “For Better or For Worse” and I ripped that from Facebook if anyone wants it for their collection. That guitar riff is so damn good and brings me back.

  • I watched Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday, and by and large, I think there’s a lot of cool stuff here. If it works right, I’m most excited about automatic switching for AirPods. It’s a small thing, but it’ll probably make the most real-world change in my listening to various things across various devices, especially while Hannah is also still working from home. I think the new widgets on the home screen look attractive, and I’m curious how that will all work and if I’ll find some new ways to tweak my current setup. I’m not sold on the new look for macOS quite yet. That may be a wait and see for me. Of all the coverage of the event, and analysis afterward, I thought the ATP podcast was great, this video interview from John Gruber was informative, and I thought thesetwo overview write-ups from MacStories were great.

  • This article is worth a bookmark. It lists out, as of right now, 759 atrocities committed by Donald Trump. Seeing them all laid out like this is overwhelming, but a good reminder of how absurd everything has been. The flooding-the-zone strategy he uses makes it difficult to comprehend just how patently disgusting this dude has been over the past four-plus years.

  • My project for next week is bringing ApplePay to the website’s membership program. I’m not sure how much work this will be, but I already have it set up for our website/newsletter sponsorship page, so I think I have most of the code already written; I just need to put it together. I’d like to make it even easier for people to sign up, and while I already think the flow is pretty simple, adding ApplePay into the mix will make it even better.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • It was another Phoebe Bridgers heavy listening week for me.

  • HAIM’s new album (finally) came out today. It’s not that far removed from what they’ve done in the past, but it feels a little more breezy, a little more experimental, and a good listen. It didn’t really grab me though in a way that made me think: “Oh, I’m going to be listening to this all summer.” I was hoping for a little more wow factor from my first impression.

  • What am I missing about Mansions? The new album is getting lots of buzz in our community, but I guess I don’t think I get it? I kept waiting for the songs to pick up or have some energy to them and ended up kind of skipping around trying to find something that grabbed me. I’ll have to try again later.

  • PVRIS’s new album got pushed back, again. At this point, I’m officially worried about this band and album. Signing to a major label and then having a delay after delay is never a good sign. I still haven’t heard it, but I want this band to break out, and I thought this would be the time and album to do it. I know there’s a lot of shit going on in the world right now, but I worry this album is going get swallowed up and forgotten. Bums me out.

  • Ruston Kelly released another new song from his upcoming album, I’m going to keep singing his praises because I’m still really into this release.

  • Tigers Jaw announced a new album, and a new song that won’t be on said album.

  • LAUV released a new EP of songs he’s been working on during quarantine. “Dishes” is probably the standout here, a nice little mellow pop-track about missing an ex. Nothing grabbed me in the same way as his recent full-length, but not a bad addition to his catalog.

  • New Lawrence Arms single rules, cause the new Lawrence Arms album rules. That’s pretty easy math.

  • The surprise release of a new HUM album took me by .. uh .. surprise this week. It’s now on streaming services as well, and it’s really good.

  • Next up on my list to check out is the new album from Gordi.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • This week we started Little Fires Everywhere and that has been most of our TV watching. I don’t think I can recommend the show, though. It’s trying ever so hard to be prestige TV, but I’m often bored and don’t find the drama or many of the characters all that compelling. I can see the bones of a really good story, and I bet the book’s great because the idea of tackling motherhood from all these different angles is really interesting; the show … just hasn’t pulled it off for me. We have two left. I’m very ready to move on.

  • The third season of Search Party is now out and I cannot wait to watch it. The moment we’re done with Little Fires, this is my pick for the next binge as we wait for Dark’s return. And, in the category of shows I watch by myself: Doom Patrol is also back! I’d argue this isn’t just the best “superhero” TV show on right now, but it might be one of the best TV shows and best renditions of a comic book out there. I loved the first season and can’t wait to see what they do next. I’ll probably wait until all the episodes air and then watch the crap out of this.

  • We watched the first episode of Love, Victor last night and I enjoyed it enough. Some of the dialogue is roooooough, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

  • I finished reading Run Away and thought it was effortless to read and digest thriller. It kept me guessing enough to be a fun read. After that, I read The Last House Guest; which I enjoyed. This would be the epitome of a beach/summer thriller read. The perfect “sit by the pool” kind of book. Now, I don’t have a pool, nor would I be caught dead near a pool right now, but as a sit on the balcony in the sun while I remain socially distant from my fellow citizens kind of book, it was great. Easy to read, compelling thriller, shifts in time by going back and forward one summer worked well. Would recommend. I’m now about halfway through with Miracle Creek, and I’m quite into this as well. It’s a courtroom drama, and I haven’t read one of those in a while. The mystery is working well and being revealed at a nice pace; I’m still not quite sure what the hell actually happened either, so that’s good. It’s also well written, especially for a debut.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I was pleasantly surprised with how many pro-pineapple on pizza folks came out of the woodwork last week. Hell yeah! I’m not sure what tonight’s pie is going to be; Hannah is back home, so my jalapeño run must come to an end.

  • I woke up to my Twitter feed being full of anti-mask rallies amidst spikes in the virus across various states that have “opened up,” and I just can’t get over how fucking stupid this all is. Anti-mask rallies, huh? I can’t believe this shit got politicized. 🤦‍♂️

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. Andy Hull - Born of You

  2. Neon Trees - New Best Friend

  3. HUM - Waves

  4. HAIM - Don’t Wanna

  5. City and Colour - Murderer

  6. Lauv - Dishes

  7. Phoebe Bridgers - Halloween

  8. David Bowie - Modern Love

  9. Gordi - Unready

  10. The Midnight - Prom Night

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 aliens exist in the “Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher (June 19, 2020)” 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 (June 19th, 2020)

In this week’s newsletter, I look at the music, movies, tv shows, and books I enjoyed this week while also sharing some articles and other things I found interesting. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked and a shocking admission about tonight’s pizza toppings. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Six Things

  • Today is Juneteenth, and I thought this piece in The New Yorker, and this one in The Atlantic were very good and worth your time.

  • This week’s article was all about heading back to 2007 and taking a look at the albums out that year and re-ranking my favorites. 2007 was an interesting year because it kind of feels like my transition away from pop-punk music. That Yellowcard album and The Starting Line, to me, signal a passing of the guard. And while there would be great pop-punk albums to come, the genre as a whole and the next group of bands never quite did it for me in the same way.

  • On the website this week I fixed up some ad issues in the forums, and I once again can’t stress enough how much better the experience is on the website without ads when you become a supporting member. It feels like a night and day change. Speaking of supporting member perks, I also added a new one in the forum where members can choose new post per page options. Now, if you’d like to see 55 or 65 posts per page, you can. I like having a lot of posts per page when I’m viewing the forum because then you’re not hitting “next” as often, but I like having the ability to keep it smaller if I’m on a lousy cell network and don’t want to load a page full of tweets or images as well. I’m currently going with the 55 posts per page on my own devices.

  • I got a lot of feedback about the podcast mention in last week’s newsletter and am giving all of this a lot of thought. The “Daily Update” podcast from Stratechery was mentioned by many as something they liked, and that’s something I’m thinking about as well. Wheels are turning, even if I’m not certain what I’ll be doing quite yet.

  • While it appears my stupid country has basically given up on trying to protect people from dying from COVID–19, I just want to, once again, say: please stay safe out there, wear a mask!, and just because our government is full of idiots doesn’t mean the virus just went away. This is all so unnecessary, virtually every other country did better, and will have long term consequences we can’t even fathom yet.

  • I’ve been loving these images for wallpapers lately. I’ve been using them on all my devices.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Today sees the release of the new Phoebe Bridgers album, Punisher, and I can’t recommend it enough. Finally having it in high quality (I was listening to a 128kbps stream all these weeks) has made me appreciate it even more than my lofty comments in thefirst impressions. I think it’s a songwriting tour de force from a generational talent. She’s so damn good at what she does, and I haven’t been hit by lyrics like this since Noah Gundersen’s Ledges. I think about this part in “I Know the End” all the time: 

Windows down, heater on
Big bolts of lightning hanging low
Over the coast, everyone’s convinced
It’s a government drone or an alien spaceship
Either way, we’re not alone
I’ll find a new place to be from
A haunted house with a picket fence
To float around and ghost my friends
No, I’m not afraid to disappear
The billboard said ‘The End Is Near’
I turned around, there was nothing there
Yeah, I guess the end is here. 

  • Today also sees the release of the new album from New Found Glory but I haven’t spent much time with this one since it leaked a few months ago. I try to look past the lyrics, but I struggle each time. It seems quite a few people are having a lot of fun with it, so that’s good. I’m still hung-up on my two favorite albums from this band in years, Coming Home and Makes Me Sick, basically getting retconned right after their release.

  • I spent some time listening to The Aces’ new album this week. It’s not due out until July, and I’m suffering through another low-quality advance stream. I liked their first album quite a bit, but I think this is a pretty substantial step up from that. It has a more confident feel to it and leans less on sounding too much like HAIM. It’s a little long, but it’s good and is going to get quite a few summer spins.

  • I’m working on putting together my “mid-year” list (we will run this the second week of July on the website), and so this week I revisited that Hayley Williams album while I wait for my boxset to arrive (still really great) and once again gave LAUV and Dua Lipa a listen as well (also both great). I’m trying to figure out placement for everything, and I think I know what my top 5 looks like right now, with a good feeling it’s going to shift before the end of the year. I’m going to give a little more weight to what I’ve spun most of the year so far and try and avoid too much recency bias.

  • Protest the Hero also dropped a new album today and I was pretty shocked how much I was digging this. Not usually my kind of thing, but it’s working for me.

  • Acceptance returned with the new single “Cold Air” and I’m so glad we still have this band in our lives. They’re just really fucking good. That bridge, chefs kiss.

  • I’m going to go give the new Phantom Planet a spin after I finish up this newsletter, and then check out the new Bob Dylan.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • With Hannah still gone this past week, I was on the lookout for a new TV show I could watch that I wouldn’t have to immediately re-watch when she came back because it was just too good (see: Dark and Normal People). This is the justification I am using for now bingeing most of the first season of ELITE. It’s basically Spanish Gossip Girl with a murder mystery and more sex. It’s also impossibly addicting, and the subtitles keep me off my phone and glued to every second of this ridiculous show. The OC, but with somehow more drama and nudity?! I have these other shows queued up I want to watch (Love, Victor and Love Life), and with Hannah coming home on Sunday — and Dark’s return on the horizon — it looks like I’ll just have to watch three more episodes of ELITE tonight.

  • I enjoyed The Half of It on Netflix. One of the better Netflix original movies. Heartwarming and well done.

  • I wanted to like Troop Zero more than I did. It was alright, but I kept thinking it could be or would be more.

  • I have used up every single spot on my holds list at the library and am waiting for so many books; this includes classics I’ve never read from Joseph Heller and Virginia Wolff to more junk food for the mind novels as well. I preface with that because all the ones that keep coming up first for checkout are all murder mystery/hidden past/people go missing novels. I feel like I can solve any cold case and tell you the secret lives of every character in any one of these novels just by reading the first chapter now. This week I read Two Can Keep a Secret which felt like a great CW teenage miniseries in book form and then All The Missing Girls, which had an interesting gimmick of jumping forward two weeks in the story and then telling it backward day by day. I liked the book while hating the lead character, which is rare. Usually, if I don’t like the main character, especially in a novel told in the first person, I’m out on it as a whole. But I did enjoy this one, even if it wasn’t quite as thriller-y as I expected. Next up is Run Away.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I haven’t made enough people angry with me this week, so here it goes: I’m putting pineapple on my pizza tonight. Yep, along with some pepperoni and jalapenos. It’s Pizza Friday, and there’s no one here to stop me.

  • I’ve only tangentially been watching the latest dust-up with Apple and Developers and that whole “Hey” thing over the past few days. With everything else going on in the world right now, this is just not something I have the mental energy for. All I’ll say is that I’ve noticed which tech bloggers and podcasters have Tweeted or Re-Tweeted way more angry posts about this than they did Black Lives Matter and police brutality.

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. Phoebe Bridgers - Chinese Satellite

  2. Acceptance - Cold Air

  3. PVRIS - Gimme a Minute

  4. The Naked and Famous - Bury Us

  5. Bad Cop / Bad Cop - Community

  6. Protest the Hero - The Migrant Mother

  7. Hayley Williams - Sugar on the Rim

  8. Phantom Planet - BALISONG

  9. New Found Glory - Slipping Away

  10. Phoebe Bridgers - I Know the End

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 MysteryKnight in the “General Politics Discussion VII” thread.

I hope everyone has a great 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 (June 12th, 2020)

In this week’s newsletter, I share very early thoughts on the new albums from The Lawrence Arms and Ruston Kelly, talk a little about current and future website projects, and go through my regular media diet rundown from the past week. And, as always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week as well. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four Things

  • On Wednesday of this week, I continued my march through re-ranking albums from my past. This week was a re-look at 2006 and touched on how not all nostalgia is fun and enjoyable to look back on. I tried to reevaluate the musical shift that was happening at the time and all the big swings bands were taking, but I also had to talk about the elephant in the room: Brand New’s The Devil and God… I struggled over what to say all week, and I did the best I could. I’ve been struggling with how to put to words how I feel about everything related to that band for almost three years now and fail every time. I’ve enjoyed this weekly mental exercise, and I think it’s a fun way to revisit some of the core years of AbsolutePunk, but I’ve heard from a few people that have discovered bands from it as well. They weren’t old enough at the time to be getting into music, so they’re finding some of these lesser-known bands that they had never heard of. I find that fascinating and a real joy. I’ve also enjoyed sitting down each Wednesday, like I do on Friday, and knowing I’m going to be writing today. After months of being in the weeds of coding while I redesigned the website, it’s nice to be able to stretch these muscles again. I missed it.

  • I had someone ask if I had thought about turning the weekly articles, or even this newsletter, into podcast episodes. It’s not something I had thought of; I figured if someone wanted the information in the articles/newsletter, they would read it, but with the back and forth, I kind of understood the point: not everyone is reading things these days, let alone anything long-form. Does this make sense? Would anyone want that? Publish an article Wednesday, narrate it, push out a podcast of basically the same content, and then to something similar on Friday? I guess I could expand and ad-lib more with the “In Case You Missed It” portion and talk about the bigger news stories of the week. I don’t know how all that would work or if it would even work at all. It’s something I’m thinking about, though; I may record a test episode or something to see how I feel about it. In a world where not everyone reads or even visits websites anymore, being able to share some of the stuff I write in audio form may be worth exploring.

  • The next website project I need to tackle is obnoxiously unfun. I need to look at fixing some issues with the ads in the forums and have them better display on all devices. I figured out a few better ways to do ads when I redesigned the main website, so I’m going to be taking what I learned there and applying it to the forum. Anything dealing with ads, banners, anything like that, is just so not exciting to work on. It’s my least favorite part of this business, but unfortunately, it still ends up being about 45% of my income each year, so it’s still very needed. I’m hoping to highlight better the benefits of becoming a supporting member (should I rename this?) and bringing the weekly website sponsor to the community as well in hopes of making that spot even more valuable. All business-y and hard to get motivated to do work, but that’s what I have on the docket for next week.

  • I’m still not really sure what to do with the Chorus Instagram account. I’ve been using it to highlight album anniversaries and the big stories/articles from the website each day. I’m realizing very quickly that social media is not my bag. I find all the “brand” stuff on Twitter exceptionally off-putting, and my little spit out headlines every 15 minutes thing is clearly awful for the algorithm and “engagement.” I do like reminiscing about older albums, though, so that’s been fun to post about now and again on Instagram. If anyone has better ideas for our social platforms, please, email me, I’m all ears.

Sponsor

Babygotbacktalk are a violin-powered, coed, multiracial D-I-Why?-because-we-gotta punk quartet from New York City. You might dig them if you’re into bands like Meet Me @ The Altar and Free Throw. The band’s latest single and music video is “Back to Before,” a timely, fist-pumping anthem about seizing the opportunity for a cultural reboot.

Check out the single on all streaming services and look for the band’s upcoming full-length album, Genre Reveal Party, will be released to streaming platforms on July 17th.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • This week is an odd one for music. The album I was most looking forward to hearing from The Aces got pushed back until next month, so I haven’t checked anything else out yet from today’s releases. That dovetailed nicely with getting two advance albums this week that I’ve been highly anticipating. The first is the new record from The Lawrence Arms. In my opinion, The Lawrence Arms are the best pop-punk band that no one talks about. Mainly because when we talk about pop-punk, we’re usually talking about pop, then punk, and this is punk, then pop. And that little distinction makes a big difference. It’s an album, much like their previous Metropole, that is filled with hooks, melodies, and at times a little Americana vibe all tossed together with just enough piss and vinegar. 14-songs, coming in just over 35 minutes, and an album that shifts well between various energy levels. On first listen standouts include “Ghostwriter,” “Dead Man’s Coat,” “Lose Control,” and “Pigeons and Spies.” I’ve been working on my “best of 2020 (so far)” list (which will run early next month), and this is going to make a late play for a high spot.

  • The other notable advance from this week is the new one from Ruston Kelly. Ruston’s first album, Dying Star, was a look at an exceptionally talented and honest songwriter that tackled addiction and the road to sobriety. His cover EP, where he gave stripped-back takes on Blink–182, Saves the Day, Taylor Swift, and more, put him more squarely onto the playlists of many that read our website. I fell in love with this one immediately. Maybe it’s the hopelessness I’ve been feeling at the world. Because not a day goes by where I don’t see at least one push notification that teeters me right on edge, but these songs feel like a tightrope walk of anxiety and hope. Once again showcasing a songwriting tour de force, this album sits at the perfect spot between country and emo. Not quite country, not quite Dashboard Confessional. It’s out at the end of August and one to keep on your radar. I’ll put “Brave” in this week’s playlist as an introduction.

  • Next week is Phoebe Bridgers week and I’m very excited to see reactions and comments about that once it’s out. It’s remained in constant rotation over here and is in pole position for my favorite album at the mid-way point of the year.

  • Next week is also new New Found Glory week and I’m very curious how that’s going to be received once it’s officially out.

  • I listened to a lot of Glacier Veins and Momma this week, and I am very much in on the new Midnight single. Oh, and that Mansions song was pretty good as well.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We finished season two of Dark this week, and I’m trying not to be overly hyperbolic when I say it’s probably my favorite season of television I’ve seen in quite a while. I am still thinking about it and can’t believe they pulled it off in a way that worked. The third, and final, season starts up in a few weeks, and I am beyond excited. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this show, I immediately wanted more or, hell, anything similar. But there’s nothing that gets quite to this level.

  • Hannah is gone this week (and next) taking care of her grandmother, so I needed something to watch by myself. I couldn’t decide on a new show after Dark because nothing could live up to it, so I am back on a Riverdale binge. I’m in the middle of season three now, and it’s ridiculous, over the top, and yet still oddly bad-good.

  • Hannah’s birthday was last weekend, and she wanted to re-watch Birds of Prey, which held up as a shockingly fun film on second viewing.

  • I listened to the Reply All: The Crime Machine podcast episodes this week, and they are highly recommended. It’s two episodes that tell the story of how the police system has become designed to lead to harmful, racist behavior. Definitely worth your time if you’ve never heard them before.

  • I finished reading The Cactus League, which was only alright. It made me miss baseball, but the way it was written made it hard for me to sink into the characters. After that, I read The Sun Down Motel, which I really enjoyed. It’s a ghost-mystery that has two timelines playing at the same time, one in the past, one in the present, and I thought it worked. It was sufficiently creepy, and I could see it being a movie or mini-series someday.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • With Hannah away this week, I’ve been trying to stay busy. The hardest thing for me lately has been the motivation for health-related things. I’m still working out each day, that’s been a habit that’s just there now (I sure am getting tired of resistance band workouts though), but I have absolutely no internal motivation to eat remotely healthy. Last night at like 8pm I was like, you know what, I want a hot dog. Like, why? I think it’s a combination of being couped up inside and not seeing anyone, lots of overcast and rainy days, a rats nest of catastrophe going on with my hair, and well, everything and more happening every single day all the time with no end in sight, that I’ve felt very much in an “oh who fucking cares” mode. I’ve gotta re-find the guardrails on this one.

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. Ruston Kelly - Brave

  2. The Lawrence Arms - PTA

  3. Happy. - Sick is the New Sane

  4. The Republic Tigers - Mind Over Matter

  5. Tijuana Panthers - Pull the Chute

  6. Mansions - PPV

  7. Glacier Veins - Everything Glows

  8. The Midnight - Dance with Somebody

  9. Willa J - Like it or Not

  10. Peter Gabriel - My Body is a Cage

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 Wharf Rat in the “General Politics Discussion VII” 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 (June 5th, 2020)

Some weeks feel like years. This was one of them. In this week’s newsletter, I look at music and entertainment I enjoyed last week, share a playlist of ten songs I liked, and all the other usual stuff. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

Four Things

  • This was an extremely tough week. Not only are we still in the middle of a global pandemic, but once again, the stain of white supremacy and police violence is on full display. On Tuesday, I shared a post on the website full of various resources and reading material I’ve found helpful over the years. I think this post about non-optical allyship, and this thread about police violence, are straightforward to digest and understand. There are links to places to donate, articles, and more in the original post, some of it’s a good starting place, some of it’s for beginning a deeper dive. I am begging everyone to spend some time learning and listening right now. Other things I’ve come across this week that I found helpful include:

  • This month is Pride Month, and so I have put all of the rainbow Chorus logo merchandise back into our store for all of June. This year we have stickers, magnets, and pins available as well. All proceeds from anything ordered in the store over the next month will be donated to charity, so if you’re looking to pick something up, now’s a great time to do it.

  • For my weekly article, I decided to go back to 2005 and take a look at the best of lists from that year. I start by looking at the staff list and trying to give some context about what was on it (and what wasn’t) before diving into my list from 2005 and doing a full re-ranking of where I would put everything today. I think 2005 is one of the cornerstone years for our little music scene and one of the best for pop-punk/emo music in my lifetime. It’s just classic after classic being pumped out in those 12 months. I also included a playlist of some of my favorite songs from 2005 as well, so if you want a massive nostalgia hit, give that a listen as well. While doing this for 2005 was a lot of fun, I realize if I continue with this project, not every year will be as enjoyable to look back on. The music scene has a lot in its history that is going to be painful to re-examine.

  • I ripped Phoebe Bridgers’s cover of Bright Eyes if anyone wants this rendition for their collection.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I’m a big fan of the new album from Momma that came out today called Two of Me. It’s been on constant rotation this week and gives me a little Now, Now Threads-era vibe or maybe Daughter. I was drawn to the lyrical wordplay. It’s definitely worth your time.

  • The new Run the Jewels album out today (well, technically earlier this week) is the big release of the week and it lives up to expectations. I love the energy here and how propulsive the songs are. Pissed off and aggressive RTJ reminds me a lot of P.O.S.’s Never Better, which is still one of my favorite albums of the past decade. Wait, that came out in 2009. Oh my god, why do things keep making me feel ancient and old?

  • I’ve only had time to listen to it once so far, but I liked this new release from Katie Malco that’s out today. I saw someone mention it in the Phoebe Bridgers thread, and I can see that comp at times, but it has a little more of a rock vibe to it at times, not quite Alex Lahey, but a mixture.

  • That Lady Gaga album got a few more spins this week and my biggest complaint with it right now is that it drags. It starts feeling a little too generic, and I think it would have benefited from a tighter sequence. I think that’s what I love so much about that Dua Lipa album from earlier this year (which now feels like it might as well have been a decade ago), that album feels perfectly tight and concise.

  • Big thanks to everyone recommending the NNAMDÏ album this week. It’s exceptional, creative, and the kind of record that demands your attention while listening to it. The type of art that benefits from active engagement.

  • This Airborne Toxic Event album has surprised me. I didn’t expect it to grab me as much as it has, but I keep finding myself wanting to reach for it.

  • I saw a playlist shared this week that is full of punk bands with POC members. You can find it on Spotify and Apple Music, and there’s a lot of excellent stuff in here. I also found myself getting back into Straight Line Stitch and Meet Me @ the Altar this week and I’m going to keep pushing Meet Me @ the Altar on everyone until you’re sick of me.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I adored the anime, Your Name, so I was highly anticipating his next film,Weathering With You. It didn’t reach the heights of the previous film by a long shot, but it was still pretty good. Some of the animation is gorgeous. I liked the soundtrack, but I was never pulled into the story in the same way. Not bad, I just had higher expectations.

  • I got Hannah hooked on Dark this week, and we binged the entire first season. I watched it a few weeks ago, so this was my second time through. It’s incredible TV and holds up even better on the second viewing. We started season two last night, and I expect we’ll be watching a whole lot of it on Saturday.

  • Harley Quinn is still my happy place.

  • We watched all three of the Middleditch and Schwartz improv specials on Netflix. I think the second one was my favorite, but they’re all good. I think I’m so impressed by improv because it feels like something I would be horribleat, just downright embarrassingly bad, so I am enamored with the brains of the people that can do this well, and be funny at it as well.

  • I finished the second and third book in the Shades of London series and enjoyed them for what they are. I didn’t know I would have to wait for a fourth book or I might have spaced these out differently, I thought I could finish the series and move on, but alas, I now am stuck in cliff-hanger-hell. Fun little distracting teen-sci-fi-ghost series. After that, I plowed through Blake Crouch’s Recursion, and to the surprise of no one, loved it. He’s got this Christopher Nolan storytelling weirdness with the ease of Michael Crichton’s writing style thing going on, and it’s very much in my wheelhouse. It was a new and unique take on time travel (I guess we can call it that) that I hadn’t seen explored before. Would recommend. I’m now a few chapters into The Cactus League, and it’s making me miss baseball.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not a whole lot to share in this department this 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. Meet Me @ The Altar - Garden Song

  2. Momma - Biohazard

  3. Straight Line Stitch - Out of Body

  4. NOW.HERE - My Wonderland

  5. A Place in Time - Cakewalk

  6. POS - Purexed

  7. Run the Jewels - Goonies vs. E.T

  8. Big Joanie - Fall Asleep

  9. Katie Malco - Fractures

  10. NNAMDÏ - Price Went 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 Wharf Rat in the “General Politics Discussion VII” thread.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. I know things are really rough right now, but I just keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

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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