Liner Notes (February 18th, 2024)


This week’s newsletter looks at some music released, some TV shows and movies I enjoyed, and a plug for an excellent emo coffee table book. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • I had some time to fix a couple of bugs on the main website yesterday, and I’m now gearing up to tackle the much larger project on my list of bringing newsletter capabilities to the website. Quite a few maintenance updates will be needed along the way, so it will be nice to start working on those slowly.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • A couple of fun new releases out this week caught my eye. The first is Middle Kids’ new album, which continues their trend of making solid indie rock. And I wrote about it a few weeks back, but Laura Jane Grace’s new album is also definitely worth your time.
  • My week was spent with a whole lot of Butch Walker and Goldfinger. I listened to Butch talk about “Freak of the Week” on the Chris Demakes a Podcast, and that was more than enough to drop me into another catalog dive for one of my all-time favorite musicians. And with Goldfinger, I’ve been trying to make a point to go back to some of the under-listened albums from my teenage years. Lagwagon, Goldfinger, Limp, and a handful of other bands that I listened to a lot but then didn’t return to much in my twenties. Also, that last Goldfinger album is ridiculously fun.
  • While She Sleeps’ new album comes out at the end of March; it’s similar to their previous but leans a little more into the full rock sound they were playing with. Like, almost Linkin Park or Enter Shikari at parts. I ended up playing the hell out of their last album at the gym, and I could see this quickly taking a similar spot in my rotation.
  • There were some great singles released this week, including Lost Stars’ “Vertigo” (for the love of all please release an album), Mike Herrera and his daughter covering “Linoleum” (adorable and too much talent in this family, save some for the rest of us), and Sasha Alex Sloan delivering another good one with “Highlights.”
  • Other things that caught my eye this week included a bunch of time with American Hi-Fi (and their acoustic album), which I maintain is one of the underrated pop-rock acts of the 2000s. Maisie Peters and her fantastic The Good Witch also got multiple plays. And then my early pre-coffee mornings were spent with City and Colour’s live album Guide Me Back Home—a perfect voice for easing into the day and whatever fresh horror is sitting in my inbox. And I enjoyed Nothing, Nowhere’s new mixtape Dark Magic much more than his last album. The foray into metal/hardcore/nu-metal didn’t work for me; he’s better when he mixes rap and pop influences, and this is a nice return to what he does best.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 31 different artists, 57 different albums, and 605 different tracks (652 scrobbles). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I read a few things this week, but my favorite thing was one of my Valentine’s Day gifts from Hannah. She got me the awesome coffee table book called Negatives: A Photographic Archive of Emo (1996-2006) that is full of photos and stories from a period in the music scene that obviously means a whole lot to me. I’ve known Amy, the author, for years, and I’m overjoyed at how this turned out. (And The Name Taken blurb that mentions AbsolutePunk cracked me up.) Not only is it a fantastic addition for any fan, but the quality and heft of the book itself make it a wonderful addition to any living room coffee table. I know it’ll be sitting on mine for a long time.
  • I’m now reading Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency, and it’s pretty damn good so far (about 43% complete). I passed my reading goal for the year (12 books) already and am happy to have brought this back into my life in a natural way. It definitely feels better to read something each night instead of dicking around on Instagram.
  • We finished Drops of God, and it gets my highest recommendation for a TV show. Loved it. It makes me want to learn more about (and drink more) wine—one of the best shows I’ve watched in a minute.
  • Taylor Tomlinson’s new Netflix special was fun. Some good laughs.
  • I also really enjoyed American Fiction. It takes a pretty big swing and, for the most part, delivers. Absolutely a director/writer I’ll be keeping tabs on for the future.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • All my friends (and wife) have tomorrow off work and most of them are currently sending me photos of wine tasting. This feels cruel.

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. Sasha Alex Sloan – Highlights
  2. Lost Stars – Vertigo
  3. Great Good Fine Ok – Make This Moment Last
  4. Butch Walker – Spark: Lost
  5. Say Lou Lou – Wong Kar-Wai
  6. Mike Herrera – Linoleum
  7. Maisie Peters – Body Better
  8. Girlfriends – Shut Up and Kiss Me
  9. Dua Lipa – Training Season
  10. Nothing Nowhere – Dark Magic

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 dylan in the “General Politics Discussion (XI)” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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