Liner Notes (February 11th, 2024)


This week’s newsletter has thoughts on new music, a few books I’ve been enjoying, and some good (and badly good) movies. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • I had a weird feeling this week. I was listening to an MxPx album and enjoying a deep dive into one of my favorite band’s catalogs. And I started thinking about how these past few years have allowed me to reconnect with music in a way I thought was lost. I have written how it kicked off when I became obsessed with the last Turnstile album before, but it goes back to finally feeling free to love and listen to music unencumbered again. The shedding of AbsolutePunk allowed me to listen to music again without pressure without pretense. I had spent the last few years feeling like the stress of the website, the pain of the industry as a whole, and how much running that website felt like an unfun job had zapped the joy of just listening to music from me. I unconsciously rebelled against that. And putting that behind me has allowed the passion, the fun, the love for music to come back naturally. I can put on an old album without feeling the pressure that I should be listening to or trying to find the next new thing. I can spend a week just diving into an old favorite and feel free to spend as much time with that band as I want. It’s felt like I’ve found myself again, found my fandom for music again.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • The big new release for the week was Yellowcard’s collaboration album with Hammock. It’s a reimagining of some of the band’s classics and some deep cuts, and I’ve been enthralled with it for over a month now and am excited for everyone to be able to hear it. It’s gorgeous. There’s a haunting melancholy running throughout, perfectly transforming the songs. There have been many evenings where this has been what I turn to as the night is winding down. The familiarity of the songs mixed with the new arrangements to paint a perfect soundtrack to a late winter night. Coming back with that fantastic EP and now this? It feels like a great time to be a Yellowcard fan.
  • Dustin Kensrue announced a new solo album. The entire album is very much in the vein of this song. It’s leaning into the alt-country meets folksy sound, closer to Please Come Home than Carry the Fire. I could probably listen to Dustin sing the phonebook (do those still exist?), and I’d be happy, so this will grab quite a few plays from me over the next few months. It’s also got me itching for the next Thrice album.
  • Cold Years also announced the new album and the first single. I’ve only listened to the single once so far because I want to wait to hear it in the context of the full album. It sounds very Cold Years, and the album is right there at the very top of my most anticipated for the year. Easily one of the best bands doing it right now, and with every new release, if there were any justice in the music industry, these guys would catch on and blow up. As of now, they’re one of the best-kept music secrets out there.
  • The rest of my week was spent revisiting some old friends. There was a lot of MxPx and quite a bit of Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay rounding it out. Both are well suited for cold, gray mornings with just a hint of rain on the ground. I’ve come to appreciate Coldplay’s Ghost Stories even more over the years. I don’t usually think of it when I think of the best Coldplay albums, but then, every time I listen to it again, I think it may slide into my top three.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 14 different artists, 42 different albums, and 442 different tracks (522 scrobbles). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Our current nightly TV show is Drops of God and it’s awesome. Wine, competition, mystery, family drama, give me it all. It reminds me a little of how I felt watching Queens Gambit, where after every episode, I wanted more and was having a blast watching. We have three left, but this is definitely a winner so far for me.
  • Anyone But You reminded me a lot of The Proposal. It’s an entirely stupid romantic comedy with two exceptionally attractive humans doing dumb things around forced drama because they can’t communicate. Yeah, whatever; I will definitely watch it again at some point.
  • Past Lives is everything I love in film. It is a touching look at life, roads not taken, and the simplicity of complex love—one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.
  • I am currently reading an oral history about the TV show, The Office. If you ever liked this show, this is highly recommended. It contains many things I never knew, and it is funny to see people behind the scenes know how and the show started to dip in quality. Those first five seasons were something special, and by all accounts Steve Carell is a genuinely great person.
  • I also read Drowning last week, and it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while. A simple page-turner that feels like The Martian meets Apollo 13 but underwater. I could absolutely see this becoming a movie someday, and if it is done right, I’ll be right there. (Probably not a good one to read before a flight, though.)

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This weekend seemed to fly by. Last night, we had a little party to celebrate my mom’s retirement. Seeing her be able to finally retire, after all these years working, and after raising me and my sister, is an amazing feeling. She deserves it. The rest of the weekend was spent running some errands, cleaning up around the house, and preparing for next week. Blink, and it’s all of a sudden 5 pm on Sunday.
  • WordPress broke something with their stats API, so there are some bugs currently on the website around any feature that pulls “popular” articles. I need to figure out what happened there, but I apologize for the bugs until I can find a spare moment to explore.

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. Yellowcard + Hammock – You and Me and One Spotlight
  2. The Beaches – Blame Brett
  3. Death Cab for Cutie – Little Wanderer
  4. Coldplay – Midnight
  5. Cold Years – Roll With It
  6. POP ETC – Vice
  7. Anthony Green – Love Reimagined
  8. The 1975 – Now is the Hour
  9. 5 Seconds of Summer – Easy for You to Say
  10. Yellowcard + Hammock – Transmission Home

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 Craig Manning in the “Taylor Swift – The Tortured Poets Department (April 19, 2024)” thread.

He’s not wrong.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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