Liner Notes (August 2nd, 2019)

This week’s newsletter has first impressions on the new Strung Out album, thoughts about new music out this week, and my weekly media roundup of movies and TV I enjoyed last week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Two Things

  • This week I added magnets to our merch shop. There are both Chorus.fm and AbsolutePunk.net magnets available in various sizes. The merch store continues to be a fun little project that I’m glad we have. I’ve wanted to have something like this going all the way back to early AP.net days, and it’s exciting that something like Threadless exists to make it possible; plus, I’ve been extremely pleased with the quality. Get some magnets, and then you can be like Joyce Byers when shady shit starts going down in your town.

  • Thank you to everyone that signed up to be a supporter last week! I heard from five or six people that all said they’d been reading my website and stuff I’ve written for years, and they finally had the push to become a member after last week’s newsletter. I’ll check back in the middle of August with an update with how I’m progressing toward my goal of adding 105 new supporters, and what it means I can start working on next for the website when I hit it.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I’ve had the chance to hear the new Strung Out album, Songs of Armor and Devotion, and my initial impressions are positive without being blown away. The album reminds me a little more of their earlier work, with more mid-tempo versus the blistering guitar solos of some of their past few albums. This lets the songs breathe a little more, and therefore feels more in-line with Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted By Design. The first “oh shit!” moment on the album was “Hammer Down,” which has an almost Pennywise feel to the chanting verses. I need more time with it to see how I think it works as a whole, but my early first impressions are that it felt a little off in sequencing and the mix felt like it could use a little more punch to it. Songs like “White Girls” are classic Strung Out; they do such a great job of mixing fast punk beats with catchy melodies and cool guitar riffs. The only song I wasn’t feeling was “Strange Notes,” and I got big Bad Religion vibes on “Diamonds and Gold.” Also, if you’ve never listened to An American Paradox before, it’s one of my favorite punk albums ever and a great starting spot. The band has a phenomenal catalog that ranges from sort of skate-punk through a more alternative/metal like phase to fast guitar-driven rock of the past few years. This feels right in line; it just didn’t quite punch me in the teeth the way I was expecting. I plan to take it to the gym later today for another listen.

  • Clairo’s Immunity is extremely my shit. The kind of album I listen to once and immediately know is going to be inserted into regular rotation all next week. It has this almost daydream like atmosphere filled with unrestrained emotion. This is really good, now comes the part where I see if it reaches great territory. Songs like “Bags” and “White Flag” and “I Wouldn’t Ask You” all immediately stand out. Extremely impressive debut release from a rising star.

  • I spent a lot of this week listening to Strange Ranger’s new album Remembering the Rockets. It reminds me of music made in the ’90s, with a little modern indie-rock spin. The choruses and melodies all remind me of something I can’t quite put my finger on, and I don’t feel like this would have been out of place on a mixtape with Third Eye Blind leading the way in 1997. I think a lot of people would enjoy this record.

  • I think people should keep an eye on this new album from Western Settings, titled Another Year, that’s due out in September. They released the new single “Break” this week, but the album is even better. It’s got this rough rock ’n roll meets punk vibe that I find quite appealing. If you’re jonesing for more music in that Menzingers/Hot Water Music kind of style — give this a look.

  • The new Little Boots EP, Jump, is quite catchy. She’s been cranking out a solid catalog of songs for years now, and this is a nice addition.

  • After reading this great profile in Billboard, I need to make sure I listen to Meg & Dia’s new album, Happysad, more next week.

  • I’m not quite sure how I feel about the new Refused track at the moment. It’s not bad, but it also didn’t really knock me on my ass or anything. The chorus feels like it lacks something.

  • I gave The Rocket Summer’s new album, Sweet Shivers, one listen this morning, and I like that he’s shaking things up a little bit. There’s more creativity and diversity here, and that’s nice; yet, I’m not sure it’s something I’ll be coming back to all that often.

  • Have Mercy’s new album, The Love Life, is an album I think I would have loved in a past life. A past version of Jason would have needed and ate up these songs. Current Jason believes they do the genre well, but it’s not the kind of music I gravitate toward these days.

  • Next up on my list to check out is the Tyler Childers album, Country Squire. I’ve seen it recommended by quite a few people I trust today, so that’s probably my next listen. After that, I’ve got the new album from Shredders here that I’m excited to hear.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We re-watched the original Ghostbusters last weekend because Hannah had never seen it. It holds up pretty well for a movie that’s basically as old as I am. It does run a little slow, compared to modern-day films, but we enjoyed it. Plus, now she understands my random one-liners from the movie I’ve been dropping into conversations for the past seven years.

  • I have not kept up with what’s going on in the Dragon Ball universe at all; however, I decided to give Dragon Ball Super: Broly a watch one evening while Hannah was playing a late concert. I ended up liking this more than I expected. There’s not much plot, and I had to Wikipedia a few things to get caught up on some of the lore, but there sure are lots of things punching each other in pretty colors. I don’t have the time to dive back into the show, but if they make more movies like this, I think I’d watch them.

  • I enjoyed Avengers: Endgame for its place in how it brought together years of movies into a satisfying conclusion and bookending this collection of films. As a movie? I’m a little more wishy-washy on it. I never think time travel as a plot device works that well, it felt cramped and rushed all at the same time, the final battle was a logistical nightmare, and I felt like I was left wanting more answers and depth of character from almost everyone as we sped through the movie. I enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely watch it again, and it’s probably up there as one of the better Marvel movies without reaching the upper echelon. I could probably nitpick it more, but in the end, I was entertained, and that’s a good place to be with these movies.

  • Your Name is one of my favorite films of the past five years, so I’ve meant to catch more from the director, Makoto Shinkai. We started with 5 Centimeters Per Second, and while not as good as Your Name, it was a very beautiful, very touching, coming of age film. I think the skylines in these two movies are some of the better-animated skies I’ve ever seen. Damn, just thinking about it makes me want to watch Your Name again.

  • We’ve got one more episode of Queer Eye left to go. I’m proud of us for spacing out these episodes throughout the past few weeks and not just going through them all in a weekend. As a whole, this season’s been good, but not every episode has knocked me out like past seasons. Still, a great heartwarming escape at the end of the night and I think the “makeovers” end up helping motivate me to want to try harder with my style.

  • I finished episode eight of Star Trek: Discovery last night, and we’ve finally got the introduction of Spock. Ohhhhh boy. I’m really in on this right now. It’s a good combination of classic Star Trekiness with some modern flair and an underlying storyline that’s keeping me interested. I like the actor’s portrayal of Spock so far as well, and these past two episodes turned this season from one where I was not as deeply invested into one where I’m already excited to watch a new episode later tonight.

  • I think next up on my to check out list will be Amazon’s The Boys. The reviews I’ve seen seem to be quite positive, and it looks like it has the potential to be right in my wheelhouse.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We’ve ordered postage for our wedding invites, so those should be going out in the next week or so. I think next on our to-do list is finalizing the cake design and figuring out what we’re going to do about flowers. I spent a little time this week looking at floral prices, and I feel like this part of the wedding industry may be committing highway robbery.

  • This new burger place opened up a few blocks from me a few weeks ago that make In N Out style burgers. Simple, nothing fancy, but they are quite tasty when you’re in the mood for that kind of cheeseburger. These are going to tempt me every single time I’m a little hungry and not sure what to eat. Living in the city is the best, and the worst, and these damn cheeseburgers within a two-minute walk are going to be hell on my diet plans leading up to the wedding. Pray for me.

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 - When the Wall Falls

  2. HUNNY - Change Your Mind

  3. Clairo - Bags

  4. Matt Nathanson - Hum Hallelujah

  5. Strung Out - Kill Your Scene

  6. Little Boots - Secret

  7. Strange Ranger - Leona

  8. Western Settings - Break

  9. Holy Ghost! - Soon

  10. Lana Del Rey - 13 Beaches

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 Kiana in the “Accountability in Music” thread.

I hope everyone had a good week and have something fun planned for the weekend. We’ve got some wedding planning stuff to do, but overall I hope the weekend can be one of little stress and a little relaxing. I feel like my brain needs a day to decompress and not thinking about anything important.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.