Liner Notes (January 22nd, 2022)

Green House

Buckle-in, we have a lot to talk about this week.

This week I have opinions about the When We Were Young festival and how odd it is to see the music of my life become the talk of the internet. I also share some thoughts on the break-up of Every Time I Die. Then I explore new music I checked out this week (Anxious, PUP, Hatchie, Iann Dior) as well as some nostalgic dives (The Academy Is, Unsung Zeros) and a punk one (Pennywise, Millencolin). And finally, there’s some commentary on entertainment and a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week.

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.

A Few Things

  • Well, well, well … I think we have some topics for this week. The When We Were Young festival announcement was the talk of, um, the internet?, all well long. I have opinions. First, I find it almost hilarious to see, to some degree, my entire life’s work, this music scene, all of a sudden culturally relevant in this way. After being made fun of for years for loving this genre, to see this kind of reaction to these bands, to see it being discussed everywhere is a little mind-blowing. Obviously, it makes me happy, but I can’t help but laugh a little at just how much it blew up. Both days have already sold out. My napkin math says this thing may gross 20-30 million? Just … just … wow. And I’m a little mad no one called me to see if AbsolutePunk wanted to be involved. Heh. The other side of this was seeing conspiracy theories and some ridiculous takes start showing up all over social media. I guess that’s just what we have to live with now? That no matter what happens in this world, there’s going to be a sect that needs to hop on anything contrary because it’ll go viral, get the likes, and it doesn’t matter how divorced from reality it may be? This week showed me that not many people follow festivals or apparently go to shows at all. The basic things every event does were being “exposed” on TikTok. Simple realities of festival booking had people “just asking questions.” I was talking to some friends that work at LiveNation, and they were extremely unprepared for that side of everything. They expected this to be popular; they did not expect people to be making up theories that the entire thing was fake. Is this just the world we live in now in regard to anything? Woof, that’s… that’s kind of rough to think about. In the end: I’m delighted to see our little music scene getting this kind of exposure; I’m extremely happy that these bands are loved by so many people. It’s the music of my life; it’s the music I’ve been drawn to for over 20 years, and to see it respected and have this moment has been cool to see. And, if you want to grab some AbsolutePunk (or Chorus) merch to wear if you’re going … please do!
  • In much, much less fun news: Every Time I Die announced their break up. Anyone that’s been following the band over the past six months kind of saw this coming, but damn, it really sucks. The band just released, in my opinion, the best record of their remarkably storied career. They’ve been a band I’ve followed and written about for over a decade. Honestly, I think they’re one of the very best to ever do it, and this news hit me much harder than I was expecting. It just really fucking sucks. I hate seeing it; I hate seeing all the public drama around it; I hate seeing people sad, angry, hurt. I hate it all. I hope all of the members get what they need to be happy in their lives and keep moving forward. Selfishly, I hope they get back together one day and make more music together because I love their music. Still, more than anything, I want them all to have peace in their life, and if something like the band is adding extra pressure, stress, and lousy energy … health should come first, and I get that.
  • Some articles I enjoyed this week include this one about a classical musician coming to terms with needing to end his music career. I think it pairs well with one Craig Manning wrote last month about his experience in college and facing rejection. It’s quite good and worth the read. And lastly, this piece from Dan Ozzi about Pitchfork’s “Pop-Punk Problem” obviously resonated with me. It’s nothing I haven’t been saying for years, but it’s delivered with Dan’s usual wit. At least there’s one place online where that part of musical history was well documented.


Bad Beginnings released their debut EP, Hoping For The Best, yesterday!

Bad Beginnings are an Atlanta, Georgia-based pop-punk alt-rock band/duo formed in 2021. Their fast-paced and melodic sound was born from their experiences growing up with 90’s alt-rock (like Gin Blossoms and The Offspring) while learning to play along with early 2000’s pop-punk (like Blink-182 and Avril Lavigne).

Check out the new EP on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I’ll be 39 in about two months, but there’s still no greater rush I get in life than when I put on a new album from a band I haven’t heard before, and it absolutely knocks me on my ass. This week it was Anxious’ new album Little Green House. Hot damn, is this good! It’s in the pop-punk realm, with a little bit of that nostalgic sound mixed with some twinkly guitars and a nice helping of aggression and melody. Maybe a little Title Fight-ish? It’s one of those albums that piqued my interest with the first song, and by the third, I’d already slid the volume up multiple notches. And I’ve already listened to it five times and ordered a copy of the vinyl. This will be in rotation for a long time and comes highly recommended.
  • I also found some time to check out some other new releases this week, and I enjoyed my first two listens of the new Iann Dior album. I think this is a good combination of his last two, and it feels like he’s finally found his footing and sound here. I guess this kinda sits in the emo-rap genre, and I, unsurprisingly, like the collabs with Travis Barker. “Obvious” is an early highlight.
  • Hatchie announced a new album later this year; it’s called Giving the World Away, and I think it moves a little more into the traditional pop sound than her last. It’s an excellent lush sound worth putting on your radar (and checking out her previous album).
  • Billy Talent is a band I’ve followed for years, and I know they’re really popular (especially in Canada) and have a nice fanbase of diehards. They’ve never really been a band for me, though. I think there’s something about the vocals that never quite connected with me, and they usually just ended up making me want to listen to The Living End instead. That said, their new album, Crisis of Faith, is the most I’ve liked one of their releases on first listen. There are some great guitar riffs and some nice hooks, and I appreciate where they tried to mix it up a little.
  • Years and Years’ new one is full of huge pop songs: huge choruses, silky vocals, lots of bouncy synths. Pretty much what I expected and well-executed. This is one of those pop artists that I’m always a little surprised more people I know in real life have never heard of. I had some of their songs on our wedding DJ playlist, and multiple people asked me who it was each time one came on. The kind of mainstream sound that hasn’t quite permeated to my group of family and friends quite yet.
  • PUP also announced their new album, and it’s radical and wild. It’s very much a PUP album but at the same time has this messy (in a good way) quality to it. It feels raw and a band pushing at the edges of who they are. I need some more time with it to shake out my thoughts, and PUP is a band that I need to be in a specific mood and headspace to consume. More soon.
  • Had to prepare for the new Alexisonfire album by doing a discog dive. I still think Old Crows / Young Cardinals is my favorite.
  • Koyo’s EP from last year is one to check out if you’re looking for a new punk band with a little bit of that early 2000’s Long Island sound. That’ll be a full-length I’m eagerly watching for.
  • Sownbones’ Helpless is a great mood album. It’s all about setting a vibe, a new aesthetic, but it does it so well and becomes something you can sink into.
  • My nostalgia dive this week included: The Academy Is…, where I am reminded that their last album was unfairly received and all three of those albums hold up in their own way as being a special part of the scene—Will’s vocals aged like a fine wine, super warm with effortless range. And then I got myself in a big Pennywise mood. They’re arguably one of the best gym bands of all time, but what I love most about them is how many of their songs just make me feel better about myself. There’s a theme of self-reliance, of making it through hard times, of shedding ex lives and pushing forward; a positivity backed by punk music. And that then also led to going back through some of Millencolin’s albums. Their albums make me want to go hurt myself trying to skateboard. It’s fun, fast, and conjures memories of being an idiot running around the suburbs with long-forgotten friends on my last night in town after a Thanksgiving break.
  • I also tried out a few bands I hadn’t checked in on in probably at least a decade. One was Unsung Zeros. I found out they released an EP a few years back, and it’s on my list to listen to this weekend. I did go back to their full length, though. Remember when everyone tried to sound like Jordan from NFG? They had a few songs that made me think of Napster and downloading mp3s. The days of away messages and whiny pop-punk, those wild low teen years. This then led me to Showoff, where I found out they released an album called Midwest Side Story, and while it’s not what I would call unique, it’s a catchy and well-done pop-punk album that feels very of a time and place. Unsure when I’ll return to it, but it did make me think of life in my freshman year dorm for some reason.
  • OK, now I’m going to go listen to that new Pedro the Lion album while I finish up the rest of this newsletter. (Coming back after this album’s been playing for the last thirty minutes while I was writing: Oh shit, this is good! Some super relatable autobiographical music, great lyrics, great storytelling, and kind of perfect for this late Friday night by the fire as I write.)

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 51 different artists and 745 different tracks (917 scrobbles). My top artist of the week was Pennywise, and my most played album was Anxious’ Little Green House, which I played six times on Friday (and already once today). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We’re watching the new season of Queer Eye and making sure to really get into our feels. This show is chicken noodle soup for the heart. Crafted to make you feel warm and fuzzy, it delivers regularly.
  • We are five episodes into Yellowjackets. I am enjoying the show, but it frustrates me. First, I think the older version of the character’s storyline really, really hurts the show. It takes me out of it. I find myself a little bored whenever they’re on screen. And sometimes, they’ll get something like 70% of an episode. The kid portion is where it shines, but even then … some of the decision-making is almost unbelievably idiotic. I’m trying to give it the benefit of the doubt because it’s been highly rated, and that first episode was great, but the last couple have left me more frustrated than entertained. I’m hoping now that we’ve passed the midway, it can start focusing on pushing the story forward a little more. I have high hopes. (I really tried hard to work From Parts Unknown into this paragraph but just couldn’t squeeze it in.)

Random and Personal Stuff

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. Anxious – Growing Up Song
  2. Koyo – Moriches
  3. PUP – Robot Writes a Love Song
  4. Augustana – Remedy
  5. Pedro the Lion – Don’t Wanna Move
  6. Iann Dior – Obvious
  7. Billy Talent – Reckless Paradise
  8. Hatchie – Quicksand
  9. Pennywise – Something to Change
  10. Anxious – Call from You

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 “Every Time I Die – Radical (October 22, 2021)” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Sign up for a free weekly newsletter full of thoughts on music, entertainment, technology, and other cool stuff. Your email address stays completely private.