Liner Notes (April 3rd, 2020)

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This week I fill out my Early 2000s Emo/Pop-Punk Bands bracket and go through all the matchups and my picks. I discuss the upsets, the never had a chances, and why I went with a slightly different champion than you might expect based upon the bands involved. I also share some articles I enjoyed this week, go through music and entertainment I consumed, and share a playlist of ten songs I liked. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Early 2000’s Emo/Pop-Punk Bracket

Earlier this week, I came across an early 2000’s emo/pop-punk band bracket on Reddit. (h/t @film_girl) Now, if there’s anything that seems exactly in my wheelhouse, it’s something like this. So, for this week’s newsletter, I decided to fill it out and break down some of my thoughts. You do what you gotta do to pass the time during these COVID-19 times, and thinking way too hard about early 2000’s pop-punk is my kink.

Jason Pop-Punk Bracket

Right off the bat, I have some issues with the selection and seeding committee. Putting Something Corporate up against Thursday in the first round is a crime against humanity. Making me choose between Cartel or Acceptance right away? I feel personally attacked. And there were a few glaring omissions, like Thrice, FenixTX, The Format, Days Away, GOB, Anberlin, The Matches, Further Seems Forever, and quite a few others, all felt like they should be on here in place of some of the clear bubble bands. I’m looking at you, Cute is What We Aim For. If there was ever a token “guess you won your shitty conference and got an automatic bid” band, it’s them.

For my picks, I set myself up with some arbitrary rules. Things like: I had to think about how I felt about the band during the early 2000s, and that played a significant role. Then I would give some credit for longevity, and some credit for getting way better later in their career, but it couldn’t outrank a band that was huge, and I loved in the 2000s. That rule pretty much single-handedly sunk The Maine in the first round. I went with my gut right off the bat for the band I felt deserved the win, and then with tough calls went with who I liked more and the group that had the most success in the 2000s, and if I still couldn’t decide, went with current success. The first round had some of the harder picks I had to make, by the second round it felt like I knew which bands were going to beat the others. Paramore had a pretty easy path into the final four, and that was boosted by the Relient K upset of Green Day in the second round. I’m sorry, they got cocky thinking they were a number one seed, and that little mid-major came up and said: “yeah, we heard your last album, though.” Wasn’t even a buzzer-beater victory.

The bottom right was a difficult region to figure out. But, it seemed destined to go chalk. The upper left was full of powerhouses, and I don’t understand how Panic! fell all the way to a four seed. But there were a whole lot of blue bloods in this part of the bracket, and a whole bunch of my favorite bands. It felt destined that Yellowcard and Blink would end up facing off, and that set up a brutal decision between Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. Paramore versus Fall Out Boy could easily have been the championship game in other years, but this year I just had to give the nod to Fall Out Boy for their dominance of the early 2000s. They were that era of music. More than any other band, they helped define the entire scene, from the style of clothes to the way people sang and wrote songs. And at the end, when I had to make the choice of who got to sing “One Shining Moment,” I knew it had to be them. There’s no other band that I can think of that better embodies early 2000’s pop-punk than Fall Out Boy. They’re, in my opinion, the iconic band from that era and one that we will forever remember.

Some picks that were sneaky difficult to make: The Ataris vs. The Movielife. Taking Back Sunday vs. Armor for Sleep. I almost went with the Armor for Sleep upset pick there, but Tell All Your Friends was just too important. Say Anything vs. Motion City Soundtrack was just mean. But anyone having to face Fall Out Boy in round two was fucked anyway.

I felt terrible having to pick against Hellogoodbye right away, and I hated having to say goodbye to The Starting Line in the sweet sixteen. They were a plucky Cinderella team that rained threes, but they just weren’t falling against Jimmy Eat World. Live by the three, die by a major label fight that demands a pop-punk album, and then fails at promoting the album once it’s finally out. You could say this was, clears throat, Based on a True Story.

This was a whole lot of fun to think about for a day, and I enjoyed putting it together and thinking through the matchups. If you’d like to fill out your own bracket, you can grab a blank one here, and definitely tag me if you share it. There’s a whole bunch of discussion about it in the Supporter Q&A thread as well.


Vancouver pop-punk five-piece Chief State just released their new EP Tough Love via Mutant League Records. The album is up for stream on Apple Music, Spotify, and available for purchase on Amazon.

The band also released a video for the lead single “Reprise,” which is a great way to get a taste of the album.

Five Things

  • This week was an odd one for me. It started off feeling productive, but by Thursday, I could tell everything was starting to weigh on me. I was just in a cranky mood and couldn’t shake it. I think it’s the feeling of being trapped and unable to do basic things, underlying the just every day anxiety that hangs out all the time now. That was coupled with the news that the restaurant we’ve ordered something from every single Sunday for over a year, Laughing Planet, was closing down for the foreseeable future. I used to look forward to the weekends, being able to do some errands, go out, check out new restaurants, new bars, grab a drink with friends, and all of that going away has been tough. It’s the reason I love living in the city. And realizing how much of that has gone away, and how much longer it may be this way, started to get to me. I’m feeling better today, and writing this newsletter and planning to do something more “fun” for dinner tonight (like an oven pizza) has me at least looking on the bright side of things. Mo, one of our cats, is determined to win “dick of the quarantine” period however. His new job is sitting next to my chair and whacking the wheel with his head, just enough that I can feel it, over, and over, and over again. I move him away, and he comes back, sneakily, and then tap, tap, tap. It’s like a mini-torture devised to drive me absolutely insane. I close the office door, and he meows at it and pushes it back open. I prop something against it to keep it from opening, and he wails so loudly all of Hannah’s students can hear him on the Zoom call. So, that’s how things are at the Tate household this week. How are things with all of you?
  • The best things I read around the internet this week include this piece about now panicking about delivery or grocery shopping, this article about different scenarios of how things could return to “normal,” this essay from a New Yorker, and then I recommend downloading and bookmarking this design for how to make a custom mask. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on masks, and I think we’re all going to be wearing them sooner rather than later.
  • This week marked the four year anniversary of Chorus. I compiled some yearly stats and I can’t believe it’s been four years since I started this whole project. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone that reads anything I write, and especially to all the supporting members. It means the world to me.
  • This week was a significant milestone in my redesign project. I officially hit the spot where I started to code the Dark Mode. This means virtually all the other design elements for the new website are done now that I am working on theme styling. I still have a lot of optimizations to do, and things on the backend, but the heavy lifting of designing and coding the redesign are pretty much complete. Now it’s a lot of testing, tweaking, going over edge cases, and then going through all the current content on the website and making sure it looks good and everything works as intended. I’m excited about this. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever made.
  • I ripped Phoebe Bridgers’s Conor Oberst cover, and Jimmy Eat World’s acoustic set from YouTube, if anyone wants those for their collection. With all the live sets and living room shows lately, if you’ve never learned the power of YouTube-DL, now’s a great time to learn! Or if you are scared of the command line (Don’t be! It’s a great skill to learn!), something like Downie works wonders.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Today sees the release of the new All Time Low album. I’ve written about it a whole bunch over the past few months, and it’s been one of the staples getting me through all of these crazy times. I think it’s fantastic and up there with their best. Might even be their best. Fantastic blend of pop, rock, and pop-punk, and just a great collection of songs that make me happy to listen to.
  • I plan to write much more about the new album from Butch Walker in the future. I need some more time with it to really figure out how I feel about it. It’s good. There’s a handful of great songs on it (“Gridlock” and “Out in the Open” really stand out), but it’s also a bizarre album to listen to. It’s a “rock opera,” and so there are songs in character, and some of those characters are right-wing-MAGA-dorks. And those songs are hard to listen to, or sing along with, and if they ever came on on shuffle I think Hannah would have no idea what I’m listening to. I’m not sure how to wrap my head around those and the album as a whole quite yet. I’ll share more thoughts as I continue to tackle this one and the whole concept and how it all works together in future newsletters.
  • Dua Lipa continues to dominate my playlist. It gets at least two plays every single day.
  • I listened to the new Half Waif album early this week, but it wasn’t doing it for me on first listen. I just don’t think I’m in the right mood or headspace for this kind of music right now. I’ll come back to it later in the year.
  • The 5 Seconds of Summer album is growing on me, but it’s still now wowing me in the way I hoped it did.
  • Hayley Williams and The 1975 each got one spin. I refuse to overplay these songs until I get the full albums to listen to, so one listen is where I’m gonna keep it for now. The Hayley song may be her best yet. God damn. The 1975 is so clearly my shit. Phoebe and Matty together? Of course, I’m going to like it. And the studio version is way better than the live version I heard a while ago. I need both of these albums yesterday.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Rise of Skywalker is the first Star Wars movie I liked less after seeing it again. It took two nights to get through, and I saw even more flaws this time and did not enjoy it. I was hoping some time and a new perspective would help. But, instead we just kept pausing to rant about stupid decisions and choices in the film.
  • The star of this week’s movie watching was Banana Split. This was a real gem of a coming of age film that I found funny and heartwarming in the right places. While not as outrageous and laugh out loud funny as something like Booksmart, this is still the kind of film that will definitely become a re-watch. I want more movies like this. It’s precisely the kind of genre I want to turn to when I just want pure comfort food.
  • Dark Waters was a movie that ended and all I could think about was “how the fuck is this company still around?” In a just world DuPont no longer exists. But no, they’re still a multi-billion dollar a year company with executives making more money in a month than most people will see in their lifetimes. Depressing.
  • The Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter Life Crisis comedy special on Netflix was a needed boost of funny in the middle of the week. We paired this up with some I Think You Should Leave and there are way worse ways to spend an evening of quarantine.
  • We finished up the first season of Picard last night. I thought, as a whole, the show was good. I enjoyed it and was really into the storyline by the last three episodes. It’s a little bit of a slow-burn to start, and I have some nitpick issues, but I am glad I watched it. I’m not sure what we’re going to tackle next, but I’ve been eyeing that Devs show for a while now. We also need to get caught up on The Bold Type, so we’ll see what we feeling later tonight.
  • Our favorite nightly show is absolutely the Harley Quinn cartoon. It’s incredible, and I never want it to end. So far, my biggest memories of this whole gestures wildly around everything will be this show and playing the every-living-hell out of that Dua Lipa and Lauv albums.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We did our weekly grocery run this morning and got stuff for the next week. I still get this uncomfortable feeling being at the store, but we got the entire run down to like 15 minutes, and we seemed to have figured out exactly how to do this in the fastest and, hopefully, safest way possible. We got some sanitizing wipes today, and seeing those on the shelf felt like finding a rare baseball card. I was texting my sister immediately, “Oh shit, they’ve got wipes, get down here if you want a pack,” like I was twelve and just saw a rare beanie baby. Life is really fucking weird right now.
  • I’m on cooking duty next week, so I’m making one of my favorite soups. Catherine’s Spicy Chicken Soup is delicious and makes a massive amount of food. Highly recommended for all times, but it seems especially perfect for right now.

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. All Time Low – Safe
  2. Hayley Williams – Over Yet
  3. Troye Sivan – Take Yourself Home
  4. Dua Lipa – Love Again
  5. The 1975 – Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America
  6. Stand Atlantic – Drink to Drown
  7. Fall Out Boy – Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
  8. Waxahatchee – Can’t Do Much
  9. Helios – Dreams
  10. Tycho – Outer Sunset

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 Anthony_ in the “General Politics Discussion VII” thread.

I hope everyone is doing well out there. Stay safe!

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.