Liner Notes (April 30th, 2022)


This week’s newsletter has some musings on the state of advertising online, some thoughts on new music out this week (Let’s Eat Grandma, Tomberlin), some thoughts on old favorites (Ace Enders, Green Day), and the usual random commentary. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • I am already tired of even thinking about Twitter and Elon Musk, but this is a good thread looking at communities and the inherent issues of trying to moderate them. I have some experience with moderating a medium (to large) community, and a whole lot of this resonated and tracks with my experience.
  • This article looking at the “troubles” of Netflix makes some compelling arguments for what the issue has been, and it matches my experience: there’s a whole lot of content on the platform, but most of it sucks. The great, great shows are few and far between. It’s getting hard to justify the expense each month and a lot of it, in my opinion, comes down to relative quality compared to the other streaming services.
  • Two different events led me to thinking about the ads on the website over the past few weeks. First, I saw someone mention how bad the ads are on the website, and two, I clicked a link to the website from Instagram, and the app browser had me logged out, so I got to see a nice full-sized take-over ad for McDonald’s nuggets or something. And, honestly, I agree that the experience is absolute dog-shit. This has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. The reality is I don’t know what the best answer is. We use an ad network, and almost all the ad networks use the same underlying philosophy and ad partners, and display the same type of ads that are bid on and sold through, primarily, places like Google. They’re very low quality, but we do enough traffic that they do contribute to a significant part of the website’s revenue. Ads account for about 45%, affiliate links 2%, and supporting members the rest. If I could get rid of them, or if there was a better solution, I’d adopt it immediately. I’ve tried selling ads on my own, but labels just don’t want to spend money on a niche site, even if it does good traffic!, when they can put their budget into Facebook or Instagram. So, I don’t know what the answer is here. I’ve reached out to a few other networks, trying to see if there’s a better option (or better quality ads), without much luck so far. If anyone has ideas, thoughts, or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. And long term, what is the solution for websites hoping to be able to survive? Giant websites like the New York Times can go behind a paywall; I don’t think medium sites run by one person can. Thankfully, the supporting members make the website viable, and that’s definitely why so many websites and podcasts have moved in this direction over the past five or so years. Still, the devaluation of ads has had a dramatic impact on independent publishers. Anyway, just something that has been on my mind lately, and I am curious if anyone out there has thoughts or ideas.


With the Punches have released their new song “Stoneham Blues” and will be releasing their new EP, Discontent, on May 27 via Mutant League Records. The song is now available on all streaming services and a video was recently released.

Of the new track, vocalist Jesse Vadala says:

In the time when we were touring independently and writing our own way around the country, I often felt invincible even if just for a while. Inevitably, the rubber band would snap and bad news would arrive. I would be reminded swiftly of the severity of time and certainty of death. Always mildly obsessed with thoughts of my own. This song is loosely written about a few close friends who passed away. I struggled like many do in processing death, especially those lost to addiction. We always wish for ways to protect the ones we love. When they leave abruptly, it can shatter so many lives. Some days we feel lost. Other days we shine a bit brighter from the light of our memories. There were several sharp moments like this in the last few years. Now when I give it time, I feel so proud and thankful for all of the beautiful memories, they tend to outweigh the bad.

With The Punches is regarded as a staple within the emo/pop punk community. Formed in 2008, the band has released three EP’s and one full-length album in that time. Their new EP Discontent will be the band’s first release in over nine years. Recorded and produced by Brendan Williams at Gain Stage Studios, the upcoming EP includes 5 of their most distinguished tracks to date.

You can pre-save the EP here, and pre-orders are up.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • This week was pretty dominated by Ace Enders and Ace Enders-related projects. I went through his solo albums, his I Can Make a Mess albums, and his The Early November albums, and it’s virtually all good. The original Ace Enders & A Million Different People album was one I hadn’t spent time with in quite a while, but damn is that a good listen. #HIRAETH connected with me as well, and In Currents and Imbue are my two favorite Early November albums with Fifteen Years making a sneaky play for just being emotional fire. It’s crazy how many different styles he pulls off and pulls off well; a real songwriting savant.
  • It was also another Green Day week. They’ve firmly moved into my rotation for when I’m not quite sure what I want to listen to or am not feeling something new and just want an old classic. This week I decided to once again try the trilogy, and it being so damn long is why it ended up being my most played album of the week. I do this every few years, thinking maybe something will click with me … and it never does. Still hate it. It is what it is. This week had me going back to Nimrod (probably my favorite), Warning: (some days my favorite), and Revolution Radio (middle of the pack but still good).
  • New albums I checked out this week include the very weirdly named Let’s Eat Grandma, which walks between dreamy pop with some nice little synth flourishes. Excellent for a lazy spring evening.
  • The new St. Lucia EP is full of jazzercise ready 80’s tunes. A nice little return to form after I wasn’t as keen on the last release.
  • I’d read a whole lot of hype for the new Tomberlin album, and it mostly delivers. I’d call it more accessible than her previous, but still in that somber and reflective state. I’m not as enamored with it as Drew, but it’s good. (I still think this was one of the worst music takes in a while, though.)
  • I haven’t given the new Bloc Party a listen yet, but I probably will, even though the last few albums never connected for me.
  • This Holly Homberstone single is damn good. That’s an artist I’ll be keeping an eye on. And the new Beddy Rays single “Sort it Out” has a nice little rock sound to it.
  • I ended my week on a pop kick, coming back to the new MUNA and Sigrid albums – both of which I highly recommend you have on your radar for summer listening. Two sparkling pop gems.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 32 different artists, 54 different albums, and 506 different tracks (631 scrobbles). My most listened-to artist was The Early November, and my most played album was Green Day’s trilogy. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I’ll watch just about everything Soderbergh directs, but Kimi was only alright. The length worked in its favor. The tech was ridiculously stupid and took me out of it. Hard to have strong feelings one way or the other on something like this. Just finished feeling … meh.
  • I know I shit on Netflix at the top of this newsletter, but last weekend Hannah came home late from a concert, and we didn’t want to start a new show that late, so we tossed on the Abercrombie and Fitch documentary on Netflix. I thought it was pretty fascinating. I grew up in that era, and those clothes, and the style, and it was ridiculously popular in my high school. I even wore it before going through my Blink-182-core phase of Hurley, Rip Curl, and Billabong. I enjoyed learning about history of the brand, the discrimination, and the rise and fall of the company. (The “oh, we’re good now” portion right at the end was a little eye-rolly.)
  • Four episodes into Severence, two thoughts: 1) this is very much my shit, 2) this is so very good.
  • We’re doing a re-watch of Derry Girls to get ready to watch the new season, and this show is still a damn joy.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This week, I shared some photos and thoughts on I Can Make a Mess, and A Wilhelm Scream, on Instagram. Less posting over the past few weeks since I was working on an album review, but I haven’t slowed down on adding to the collection.
  • The big news in our family this week is that Hannah accepted a new job! When the pandemic hit, it messed with her violin playing career. When the orchestras all shut down, she ended up working with a smaller orchestra here in Portland behind the scenes, doing stuff on the admin side and helping them stay afloat. It turns out she had a real knack for it, and when a great position opened up at the largest orchestra in the state, she applied and got an offer on Friday. It’s a really great opportunity, a great chance to help shape classical music in Oregon, and I’m exceptionally proud of her. And with this change, I’m hoping that as we move into the summer, for the first time in a few years, things will start to feel relatively normal and steady again. Knock on wood.

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. Cold Years – Say Goodbye
  2. Ace Enders – Burning Your Eyes in the Sun
  3. Holly Humberstone – Sleep Tight
  4. Beddy Rays – Sort it Out
  5. Tomberlin – Sunstruck
  6. The Dangerous Summer – Coming Home
  7. Sigrid – Bad Habits
  8. Charlie Simpson – All the Best
  9. Spanish Love Songs – Self-Destruction
  10. Ace Enders – When I Hit the Ground

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 Jason Tate in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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