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.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.