Liner Notes (May 3rd, 2019)

It was a nostalgic pop-punk heavy kind of week.

In this week’s newsletter, I share what new features I’ve been working on for the website and talk about my dive back into The Starting Line’s catalog. I also share thoughts on some of the new music released this week and go through my usual media diet. Plus, there’s a playlist of ten songs I loved.

The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • If all goes according to plan (and I get all of the blurbs from contributors), we’ll be rolling out our annual “In the Spotlight” feature next week. This is always one of my favorite features on the website, going back to the Absolute 100 days. We’ll have 50 artists this year, so I plan to do like usual and roll out 25 on Monday, 25 on Tuesday, and then a playlist of all the artists on Wednesday. Trying to make the whole week about these bands and artists and hoping people check it all out.

  • I’ve spent the week playing around with a new “bookmark posts” feature for supporters in the forum. It started as proof of concept and now it’s pretty close to done. My goal is to finish it all up next week and do a lot of testing to make sure it works right and can scale. I still need to add a search option and decide if I want to keep everything on one page for now or paginate it. The basics all work though, and it’s pretty cool. When you’re browsing the forum, on any post you want to bookmark, you can click a new “Bookmark” link in the same spot the Edit/Delete/Report links are, and you’ll get a modal that pops up asking to confirm and add an optional note. The notes make it so you can write things like “check out this band” or “this show looked good” or whatever to trigger your memory when you view the bookmark list page later. Then on the bookmark list page, you’ll see all your bookmarks listed in order with the username of the poster, the date, the thread title and a link directly to that post, and your notes. I think this will be a great new addition for members to keep track of things they see and want to come back to later. Be it recommendations, funny posts, or things to remember. Hopefully I’ll be able to roll this out next week.

  • I want to plug the Shop again! Get your merch.

  • I think I’ve plugged this product here before, but if you do a lot of cooking on the stove, the Frywall is a fantastic product to prevent splatter. I have one for both pans I use frequently and love it.

  • My old Macbeth slip-ons finally died and I needed to buy a new pair of weekend/everyday casual shoes. I wanted something different than a running shoe that sometimes makes me feel too much like a dad, and I can’t pull off all the cool shoes the cool kids wear, so I went with the classic all black Vans Authentic. Along with this purchase, an Instagram ad finally worked on me. I’d seen these ads for elastic shoelaces that make shoes more like slip-ons and it convinced me to try them. I’ve only had them for two days so far so we’ll see how it goes this weekend and I’ll report back.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Sum 41’s Chuck is a great record. I always forget just how good it is until I put it back on.

  • We’re in that “spring almost summer” part of the year where it’s starting to get warmer, the sun is out almost every day, and after last week’s exploration of Blink–182, I wanted to keep that whole pop-punk feeling going. It just feels like that time of year, and I’m feeling extra nostalgic lately. It worked out that The Starting Line announced some new shows this week and that led to me doing a massive The Starting Line listen throughout the week. I broke out the entire discography. From the early We the People Sessions, to the EP, to SILYMI, to the acoustic EP, they nailed that summer pop-punk vibe. Those records are like injecting sunshine and bleached blonde hair right into your heart. They were one of the first bands I remember taking what New Found Glory did and adding even more of that youthful spirit into the music. Then you have BOATS, and it’s a little more of an alternative rock sound filled with more creativity than I remembered. And Direction remains my favorite from these guys. It walks perfectly between the fun summer jams and more ‘mature’ rock songs. “Island” is an all-timer that should have been a massive hit.

  • I’ve now moved to New Found Glory to keep surfing my pop-punk nostalgia wave. Almost as much as Blink–182, this band defined my high-school and college career. From how they dressed to the sound … this was my band. I felt like I was in on them before anyone and, for whatever reason, that mattered to me. This week they released their new cover album, From the Screen to Your Stereo 3, and I think it might be my favorite one yet. I love their take on “This is Me,” “The Power of Love,” and “Let it Go,” but the entire thing is great. And a special shoutout to Will Pugh for producing it, it sounds terrific. This band can still put me in a good mood.

  • The new EP from No Rome came out today and I’m totally in on it after one listen.

  • The Midnight do what they do very well; their new single continues that trend.

  • The Angels and Airwaves single is alright. The music’s pretty good, but the lyrics are rough. I don’t know how often I’ll come back to it, but we’ll see.

  • Next up on my list to listen to are the albums from Fury and Vampire Weekend.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • One of the biggest surprises over the past few years for me was Happy Death Day. That movie was shockingly good and exceptionally re-watchable. So, of course, I was excited for the sequel, Happy Death Day 2U. And, while not as good as the first one, I gotta say this franchise and universe is surprisingly fun and interesting. The twist/plot conceit to this one was well executed and right in my Back to the Future 2 wheelhouse. It’s clever, funny, and has a fantastic montage set to Paramore’s “Hard Times.” I’ll watch this again.

  • We watched Netflix’s Someone Great and while the soundtrack was pretty good, I kind of hated the movie. I couldn’t get over how much the characters were drinking and doing drugs and then would shift between being totally fine, and then blitzed, and then totally fine, from scene to scene. That and all the storylines/traveling that happened in the span of … six hours?! How? And you’re moving to LA to work for Rolling Stone? That magazine is barely functioning these days, was sold two years ago to new owners, and is a shell of what it once was. Start a blog if you want to write about music, don’t go work for Rolling Stone it’s not 1990.

  • I watched all of season two of Cobra Kai and liked it. I had an idea what they were building to through the season, and the ending was pretty bonkers. I’m curious to see how they handle and respond to the violence in the final episode and am looking forward to the next season already. Damn you cliffhangers. I’m shocked how well they took what made the first movie work and re-engineered the world to work in 2019, while paying respect to who the characters were, but showing you who they became as well. It walks the line between cheesy with just the right amount of nostalgia, 80’s callbacks, and moral nuance. It’s a good show.

  • After my Cobra Kai watch I convinced Hannah to watch The Karate Kid with me again. It holds up and is still one of my favorite movies. The last like thirty minutes of the movie is just perfect.

  • I’m almost exactly half-way through reading Thrawn and am still really enjoying it; didn’t have as much time to read this week as I wanted.

  • Next up on my “to watch when Hannah is working late” list is season two of The OA. I really enjoyed season one for its weirdness and mystery, and I’m three episodes into the new season and am already hooked. It’s one of the rare shows where I have no real idea where they’re going with it, and I love that. I have theories, but so far it’s been creative enough to keep me guessing.

  • We watched another episode of The Twilight Zone, this time “The Comedian,” and I kinda feel the same way about this show as I do Black Mirror. It’s… half-way to what I think it should be. Both episodes we’ve watched feel like a dumbed down version of science fiction and like a cliff notes version. It’s not bad, and I want to watch a few more, but I also don’t love it – especially for the length.

  • We finished season two of Mr. Mercedes and … wow. Very dark. From what I can piece together it’s different than the books, so I’m interested to see what they do with the next season. I think as a whole I likes season one better, but it was still very addicting. I’m not sure what the next show Hannah and I are going to watch together will be. We’ve wanted to finish season two of Handmaid’s Tale. (We stopped when it was getting super dark and depressing to watch, always intending to pick it back up, maybe now that we just went through another dark stretch of shows it’s time to try it again.)

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This week was great for weight management. Early in the week I hit my lowest weight in years, so I tweaked my calories again a little to bring everything right back to my goal weight. Feeling good about it and with engagement photos coming up in a few weeks I’m feeling as good in my skin as I have … maybe ever?

  • Speaking of that, I had a dentist appointment this week to fix a chip in my tooth that I’ve had for years. With all the photos coming up this year for the wedding I figured it was finally time to bite the bullet and eat the cost and get it fixed. It wasn’t super noticeable, but I knew it was there and would always see it/the shadow in photos. The process went well, and they did a great job. I’m super happy even though the dentist is very expensive torture. First time in like 20 years I feel more confident in my smile.

  • There’s a new sandwich shop that opened up a few blocks from me that we tried out last weekend and loved. It’s called Break Bread, and both of the sandwiches we tried were fantastic. I am looking forward to adding this into our rotation and could see going here being part of our weekend routine after picking up groceries.

Ten Songs

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

  1. The Starting Line - This Ride

  2. No Rome - Stoned in the Valley

  3. Bad Religion - Big Black Dog

  4. New Found Glory - This is Me

  5. Sum 41 - The Bitter End

  6. Mainland - Outcast

  7. La Bouquet - 1990

  8. The Starting Line - Island

  9. Better Love - Sunday’s Best

  10. The Midnight - America Online

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.