Liner Notes (June 12th, 2020)

Zen

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.

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

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Back to 2006 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to ...

Last week I started the process of re-looking through the AbsolutePunk.net, and my personal, best-of lists from the early years. I began with one of my favorite years in my musical memory, 2005. It’s a year filled with nostalgia, pop-punk royalty, and stacked top to bottom with albums virtually anyone that grew up in this music scene consider classics. But here’s the thing about nostalgia, not all of it’s soaked in sunshine. Part of looking back means doing it with the clearer eyes of today; what you know now has to impact what you see. And that means it won’t always be fun because the light of the present can see into the shadows of the past.

What I remember most about AbsolutePunk in 2006 was that it felt like a shift in the music scene was underway, and it happened quickly. From the pop-punk goodness of 2005, the music that paints our 2006 list has a darker tinge to it. Blink-182 are no more, and +44 carries with its pop-rock an undercurrent of bitterness. New Found Glory shed their pop-punk identity in Coming Home for a sound that immediately divides the fan base, and one they’ve never returned to. Bands begin to experiment a little more with their sound and stretch outward. The Format shift with Dog Problems, My Chemical Romance goes all out in The Black Parade, The Early November aim for glory with a triple-disc concept album, and we see various expansions from Underoath, AFI, and Moneen. And, on top of all of that, we have debut full-lengths from Saosin and Manchester Orchestra. Two bands that will feature in our lives for years to come.

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The Oral History of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Mad Max

The New York Times:

Even Oscar-winning auteurs have been awed by George Miller’s operatically staged spectacle. “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho said last year that the scale of the movie brought him to tears, while Steven Soderbergh put it more bluntly: “I don’t understand how they’re not still shooting that film,” he said in a 2017 interview, “and I don’t understand how hundreds of people aren’t dead.”

So how did Miller and his cast pull it off and survive to tell the tale?

Five years after “Fury Road” was released, I asked 20 of its key players what making it was like. Though its post-apocalyptic plot is deceptively simple — road warrior Max (Tom Hardy) and the fierce driver Furiosa (Charlize Theron) must race across the desert to escape the vengeful Immortan Joe and his fleet of kamikaze War Boys — filming the movie was anything but easy.

I had never read this before, but it’s fascinating.

The Science and Politics of Masks in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Science

Robert Wachter, writing on Medium:

Why is masking so difficult to maintain among the public? In Asia, face masks are now seen as a normal accessory. In the U.S., they’re still seen as awkward and stigmatizing. Historically, they have been a sign of illness or danger. This aversion, plus the fact that the benefit of masks mostly accrues to others, is why we need to make mask-wearing mandatory as long as SARS-CoV-2 is active in our communities, at least in closed spaces (as San Francisco has done).

One of the most common questions is whether it is necessary to wear a mask when walking or exercising outside. Empiric and simulation studies have shown that there is practically zero risk of viral spread when one is outdoors and keeping a distance of greater than six feet from others. I personally don’t wear a mask when walking the dog (but I do keep one with me just in case I encounter someone at close range). But I always wear a mask inside, or if an encounter within six feet is likely.

Liner Notes (June 5th, 2020)

street

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.

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Back to 2005 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to 2005

Last week I was able to recreate and re-add all of the AbsolutePunk.net end of the year lists into our database from 2005 onward. This hit of nostalgia was paired with me shaking my head at not only the outcome of the staff lists but trying to figure out just what I was thinking on my lists as well. For the next few weeks, I’d like to deconstruct some of these lists and add some of the context and memories I have from this era of the music scene. And this week, I’m starting with what could arguably be one of the most significant years in our little emo-pop-punk world: 2005. 2005 was absolutely stacked with albums that have gone on to be regarded as scene classics. Albums that I still listen to and albums that helped define the music scene for years to come.

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Pride Merch Available for a Limited Time

Chorus.fm Pride Merch

Like last year, in celebration of Pride Month, I have put the “pride” version of the Chorus.fm merch into our store for the month of June. This year sees the addition of stickers, buttons, and magnets featuring the logo as well. I will be donating all of the proceeds from all merchandise sold in June to various charities at the end of the month.

If you’re curious about materials and sizing: this is a good starter on shirts, and this is good for fit.

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What You See Are People Pushed to the Edge

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, writing at the LA Times:

Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.

The Militarization of the Police

The Atlantic

Nick Baumann on the militarization of the American police:

“You create this world where you’re not just militarizing the police — you equip the police like soldiers, you train the police like soldiers. Why are you surprised when they act like soldiers?” Rizer, a former police officer and soldier, said. “The mission of the police is to protect and serve. But the premise of the soldier is to engage the enemy in close combat and destroy them. When you blur those lines together with statements like that … It’s an absolute breakdown of civil society.”

American police officers generally believe that carrying military equipment and wearing military gear makes them feel like they can do more, and that it makes them scarier, Rizer’s research has found. Officers even acknowledge that acting and dressing like soldiers could change how the public feels about them. But “they don’t care,” he said.

Research on How to Stop Police Violence

Math

From Samuel Sinyangwe, a thread about solutions to stop police violence:

More restrictive state and local policies governing police use of force are associated with significantly lower rates of police shootings/killings by police. This is backed by 30+ years of research.

Demilitarization. Police depts that get more military weapons from the federal govt kill more people. You can stop that from happening through local and state policy. Montana (Red state) has gone the furthest on this.

Police Union Contracts. Every 4-6 years your police dept’s accountability system is re-negotiated. Purging misconduct records, reinstating fired officers, dept funding- it’s in the contract. Cities with worse contracts have higher police violence rates.

Liner Notes (May 29th, 2020)

Sky

This week’s newsletter has my early first impressions of Phoebe Bridgers’s new album, Punisher. You’ll also find more thoughts on all of the best of lists that hit the website this week and my plans for their future, and my usual commentary on music and entertainment I enjoyed this week. And, of course, there’s a playlist of ten songs I liked as well. 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.

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This article is available exclusively to supporting members of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of other great perks (like removing all ads and unlocking a dark mode theme). Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.
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