Friday Thoughts (August 24th, 2018)

Another Friday is here. I hope everyone has a good week as we move toward the end of summer. I’m not ready for it to end. I’m ready for it to be less hot though. The temperature finally dropped here the past week. That coordinated nicely with the smoke coming in from all the fires. Been pretty gross air-quality-wise lately. I’ll take a few days in the 70s for a while. I’m looking forward to fall. Fall’s my favorite season. I love the weather, the crisp feeling in the air, and I like wearing fall clothes. I feel too hot all the time in summer. I like being able to put on long sleeves, and jeans, and wear shoes. Bring on the sweaters I say.

I’m going to try something a little different today and attempt to organize this round-up a little more.

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Where’s the Hype?

A conversation in the Thrice album thread got me thinking this morning. Does hype around an album even matter anymore? In the past, the idea of a hyped release meant that a lot of people would be anticipating, talking about, and building “buzz” for the release. The thinking went that the more hype around a release, the better it’d sell, then there’d be more people out on tours, you’d get bigger and better tours, and then you’re on your way. The time between announcing an album and releasing it into the world seemed to, in theory, be built around coordinating and focusing this hype as you built toward release week and getting those first week sales. But here, in 2018, does this hype really mean anything and can we measure its success?

Over the past few months I can’t think of many rock bands that had more buzz, or “hype,” than the most recent Foxing release. All the right publications were talking about it. All the right “taste makers” liked it. Premieres on all the right websites. Features were written. Cool, unique, campaigns. Awesome podcasts. And it was all backed by, in my opinion, one of the best albums so far released this year. It came, it was released into the world, and it sold just fine in the first week. (Around 3,500 copies.) So, by quite a few of the metrics we’ve always used to define what a good album rollout looks like, this one had it all. It had the buzz. It had the “hype.” It had our forums anticipating the album from announcement all the way up to the day it was released into the world. The question I started asking myself this morning was centered on if this was actually effectively better than the Thrice album rollout — which seems to have die-hard fans upset because there isn’t enough to keep them interested. And, furthermore, how do we adequately measure “hype” and if it matters in the rock or alternative music world today?

First Impression: Thrice – Palms

Thrice - Palms

This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on July 19th, 2018. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.

This new album from Thrice is a tricky one to pin down. I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out the best way to put into words what I think about it and, specifically, what it sounds like. I think going broadly I would describe the album has having a nice groove to it. A groove that reminds me most of Beggars, and one that doesn’t wholly eschew the rock sound they had on their last album, but instead leans into many aspects of that sound in new ways.

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Friday Thoughts (August 10th, 2018)

I hope everyone had a good week. I spent most of my week working on this stupid posting bug where the posting box goes behind the keyboard, but everything I’ve done to fix it ends up causing a headache in a different and new way. It’s driving me fucking insane. So, I’ve decided to pause that until next Monday and do some other maintenance things today. Take a step back for a bit and see if that helps.

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Friday Thoughts (August 3rd, 2018)

This post is made weekly in the supporter only Q&A thread on our forums. I share thoughts about new music out and various other things going on in my life.

This week went by insanely fast. I feel like I was just getting into a groove, and now it’s already Friday. Damn. Bring on the weekend.

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Mike Herrera of MxPx (Encore Episode 158)

MxPx

As some of you may know, I started AbsolutePunk.net over 15 years ago as an MxPx and Blink-182 fan-page. Those were the first two bands I truly loved. They shaped my entire music taste and starting that website changed my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for those bands and those albums. Listening to “Doing Time” as a teenager gave me hope. Discovering pop-punk music and the community around it made me feel like I belonged to something special. Small, right outside of the mainstream, but undeniably special. The music was unlike anything I was listening to at the time and hit me right when I needed it most.

Last week MxPx released their new, self-titled, album. It’s their first album since 2012. Today, I’m excited to debut a new episode of Encore featuring lead singer Mike Herrera. This episode is a joint episode with Mike’s podcast, “The Mike Herrera Podcast,” which I also recommend subscribing to and checking out. In this episode we go deep on the new album. We talk about the recording process, the inspiration behind the songs, and then I walk through each song with Mike and get his thoughts on different aspects. I share some thoughts too, but mostly I was trying to get at what made this album feel so fresh, and yet so wholly MxPx, here in 2018.

We also recorded the FaceTime conversation we had doing this podcast and the video is available on the MxPx YouTube channel. I look ridiculous and my cat walks into the office to have lunch a few minutes in, but we thought being able to see each other and read and react to facial expressions would bring a fun vibe to this episode. I think it worked. This is one of my favorite episodes of the podcast I’ve ever done.

Show notes are below, the band’s new album is available on all streaming platforms, and physical copies are available at MxPx.com right now.

Friday Thoughts (July 27th, 2018)

This post is made weekly in the supporter only Q&A thread on our forums. I share thoughts about new music out and various other things going on in my life.

Oh Friday! I am so glad you’re here. Been a long week, but a good week all-in-all.

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July 22nd, 2003

This weekend marked the 15th anniversary of one of my favorite album release dates in my lifetime. On July 22nd, 2003 both Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue and Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance were released. I was home between my sophomore and junior year of college and both albums imprinted on me like few ever have. Driving around my hometown, seeing old friends, reigniting old flames, these two albums became a part of my summer. AbsolutePunk.net was just becoming something I thought I wanted to do with my life and much of what that website would become was created with these two albums as the soundtrack. I was still very much trying to figure out who I was as a person, and these albums felt like a foothold of hope on the future. Watching Yellowcard’s meteoric rise, a bunch of kids that felt almost like peers, gave me a boost of confidence during a time I needed to think things could get better. The world was changing, my world was changing.

15 years later that summer remains one of the best of my life. The friendships made, the hearts broken, the speakers blown out, it all feels like a moment frozen in time. An idealized summer that probably wasn’t nearly what I’ve made up in my mind all these years later. But I hold it dear nonetheless. And when I put on Ocean Avenue, and hear “Back Home,” I’m transported back 15 years ago when that song meant everything to me. A rallying call for what my life was and a romanticized version for what I wanted it to be. And that feeling of home intersplices with the intensity of Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance, an album I used as an outlet for my anger at the world, at the war, at myself and all the chaos that felt just beyond the borders of my hometown. Two sides of me dueling it out through two albums released on the same day, during the same summer.

So, here’s to you July 22nd, 2003. I’ll always remember you fondly.

Friday Thoughts (July 20th, 2018)

This post is made weekly in the supporter only Q&A thread on our forums. I share thoughts about new music out and various other things going on in my life.

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The Republic of Wolves – “Colored Out” (Video Premiere)

The Republic of Wolves recently filmed a video for an acoustic/alternate version of “Colored Out.” Today, we’re happy to bring it to you. The song comes from the band’s recent album, Shrine, which recently made it onto our top albums of 2018 (so far) list.

The band has been working on some new acoustic/alternative versions of other songs from the album that may see a release in the future, and, if you haven’t checked out their new album yet — you should.

Friday Thoughts (July 13th, 2018)

This post is made weekly in the supporter only Q&A thread on our forums. I share thoughts about new music out and various other things going on in my life.

This article is available exclusively to supporters of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of perks. Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.

Underrated 2000’s Pop-Punk Playlist

For many of us in our mid-to-early 30’s, the 2000’s were the heyday of pop-punk music. It felt like new and exciting bands were coming out all the time and the internet was just starting to become the place to discover and talk about this genre. The other day I tossed out a question on Twitter to see what bands people considered the most underrated from those early years.

The responses were great.

I pulled out the ones I saw the most often and created a playlist containing, roughly in order of how often I saw the band mentioned, songs from most of the artists.1 You can find that on Apple Music and Spotify.

If you’ve never heard some of these bands before or just want to drive down nostalgia boulevard, there’s a whole lot of early 2000’s pop-punk goodness here. I’m surprised how much of it actually holds up and I’m not surprised how many of these songs I knew every single word to. I aimed for a combination of the popular songs from the bands but defaulted to my personal favorites in a few places.


  1. Then I repeat some of the artists because I wanted to include more than one song from some of the bands, but didn’t want to double up and ruin the flow. I tried to keep everything in the 1999-2005 range, and keep it in the “underrated” category, as much as possible. Let it be on the record that Blink-182 had one vote.

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People:

  1. Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. The idea is to always expect the worst from people. If someone is late to meet you for dinner, while you wait for them, remind yourself of all the other times the person was late, and tell yourself that he or she is doing this deliberately to slight you. Make sure that by the time the person arrives, you’re either seething or so despondent that the evening is ruined. If the person asks what’s wrong, don’t say a word: let him or her suffer.

It’s KD’s Fault

Craig Fehrman, writing at Slate:

The NBA has been bad for two years, and it’s Kevin Durant’s fault.

If the Warriors beat the Cavaliers on Friday night, they’ll clinch a second straight title, compiling a playoff record of 32–6 along the way. This team has erased two seasons of potentially exciting basketball as thoroughly as Ted Williams’ military service erased several years of his prime.

The Warriors aren’t the ’96 Bulls. The Warriors were the ’96 Bulls—a 70-plus-win team with a superstar and a championship-level supporting cast. Then they added the second-best player in the league. It’s as if David Robinson decided to join Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago and coast his way to some mid-’90s titles.

I love the NBA and have hated this year’s playoffs and finals. It’s not fun to watch. This article really gets to the why and how an un-competitive league is bad for basketball.

Second Life: Rethinking Myself

Federico Viticci, writing at MacStories:

I used to be obsessed about not being “behind” and being one step ahead of everyone in terms of tweets and news and emails. Now I understand that’s a battle I can’t win and a fight I don’t want to participate in. It wasn’t healthy and it prevented me from enjoying everything else happening around me. I went on vacation multiple times over the past few years and all I could think about was work and todos piling up in my task manager. That’s absurd, and it’s not a job I enjoy. Perhaps it’s one of the common pitfalls of being self-employed and working from home. I want to work at my own pace; even during the busiest periods of the year, I won’t let the anxiety of being “productive” get in the way of spending time with my family and enjoying everyday life.

God damn can I relate to this.

The World Still Spins Around Male Genius

Megan Garber, writing for The Atlantic:

The added tragedy of all this — kicked, climbed, son, gun, months — is the fact that Karr was not, specifically, making allegations. As Jezebel’s Whitney Kimball pointed out, “The fact that [Wallace] abused [Karr] is not a revelation; this has been documented and adopted by the literary world as one of Wallace’s character traits.” D.T. Max’s 2012 biography of Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, documented those abuses: Wallace, Max alleges, once pushed Karr from a vehicle. During another fight, he threw a coffee table at her. Karr, in her tweets, was merely repeating the story she has told many times before. A story that has been treated — stop me if this sounds familiar — largely as a complication to another story. In this case, the story of the romantically unruly genius of one David Foster Wallace.