Liner Notes (July 2nd, 2023)

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This week’s newsletter has thoughts on the Emo book, thoughts on music out this week, and random musings from a long weekend in the sun. There’s also a playlist of ten songs worth your time, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Hello from a holiday weekend. With the Fourth of July on Tuesday, Hannah and I took off Monday from real work to squeeze out a little longer vacation time. We spent yesterday and last night at a fun, quirky hotel/lodge just out of town. It was a birthday gift, and we had fun drinking beer, playing pool, and wandering around through the gardens. It was nice to get out of the city for a little. The plan for the next three days is to have no plan. I need to put together the “best of 2023 (so far)” lists for the website, so I’ll probably tackle that tomorrow. Beyond that, I feel like decompressing and turning off my brain for a few days. Maybe eat some hot dogs?
  • The Where Are Your Boys Tonight?: The Oral History of Emo’s Mainstream Explosion 1999-2008 book has been getting a lot of good press and reviews from our little corner of the internet over the past few weeks. I finally had a few free nights to sit down and give it a full read. If you are interested in this music scene and time period, I highly recommend it. It does a great job of capturing the history of the bands that have meant so much to me over those years. And it does this in a way that is fun to read, informative, and does its best to tell the stories with the words of those that were living in it. I have zero complaints. There are a few bands I wish got covered a little more (Yellowcard’s ascension is missing, and there’s not much coverage of the bands that broke into the mainstream right before this era — Blink-182, Green Day, Offspring, MxPx), and somehow all the parts where I’m not swearing were cut. I did get Paramore crashing my servers into official history and got to take some fun swings at Tony Brummell. So, I’ll call that a win. Re-living this time even brought out a few stories I hadn’t heard before, and there were quite a few bands mentioned I hadn’t thought about in years. That led to a fun week of pulling out some of those albums to listen to again. And because of that, Knockout ended up on my most played-of-the-week list — an underrated fun summer pop-punk album. If you’ve been following this newsletter for any amount of time or remember AbsolutePunk, I’m pretty confident in recommending this book. Chris did a fantastic job with it, and being involved was a pleasure.
  • I enjoyed this article in The Verge looking at how AI is impacting the internet (and how the future doesn’t look great).

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • One of my favorite pop-punk albums of the year was released on Friday. The band is FRND CRCL, and they have a sound that reminds me of early Blink-182, Sum 41, and Home Grown. Maybe a little early Set Your Goals. They do put a little bit of a modern spin on a few songs (like standout “Orange Tang”), but the album’s core feels like a throwback to an era of this genre not often explored. Big hooks, fast drumming, and a must for anyone wanting something to pair perfectly with a sunny day.
  • Anberlin’s new EP also came out on Friday. Honestly, I don’t think this band has missed. They explore a more dynamic and aggressive sound here, but the hooks, melodies, and power are as prevalent as ever. With time, Vital and Cities have cemented themselves at the top of my Anberlin ranking, and I’m just happy this band is still making music.
  • I’ve written about it before, but it’s now out for everyone to hear: The new Japanese House album rules.
  • Underoath’s new single is … solid. They won’t have a new album out until 2024 (and from what I’ve been told, the two singles will be on it), and while this latest one feels maybe a little safe, I’m always interested to see what direction the band goes in. I still listen to and love, Vouyerist.
  • The new Neon Trees single continues this band’s hot streak as well. Their last album was solid pop-rock, and this stays right in that vein. I love those verses
  • Maybe it’s because I just finished the Emo book, but getting a new Taking Back Sunday song this week felt serendipitous. I like what they’ve done here. The song has space to breathe and almost feels a little U2 meets The Killers in a few places. John’s parts are a real standout, and this has me officially excited to hear where the band may go with their upcoming album. I wasn’t a big fan of Tidal Wave, but this direction has piqued my interest.
  • The new Olivia Rodrigo single is a monster. The big theatrics, the coulda been an away message lyrics, the perfectly annunciated “fame fucker.” Certifiable monster of a single.
  • Stay tuned for MxPx news.
  • Honey Revenge’s new album came out two weeks ago. Recommended for fans of Hot Milk, Stand Atlantic, and Pale Waves.
  • The Young Hearts put out a new two-song single that had me revisit their 2021 album this weekend. Their sound walks right between Gaslight Anthem/Menzingers and the more pop-rock of a band like The Maine.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 59 different artists, 90 different albums and 642 different tracks (727 scrobbles). My most played artist was Motion City Soundtrack, while the most played album was the new one from FRND CRCL. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • After finishing Where Are Your Boys Tonight?, I was in the mood to just keep reading. So I read Upgrade by Blake Crouch. This was probably my least favorite of his last three novels, but it’s still a solid techno-thriller. Whereas Dark Matter knocked me on my ass, this felt a little safe and had a predetermined third act and message it was trying to reach.
  • We’re six episodes through the second season of The Bear and it’s still firing on all cylinders. What an excellent TV show.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend; I’m going to watch some more Star Trek on the couch and turn off my brain for a few more days.

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. FRND CRCL – Orange Tang
  2. The Japanese House – Touching Yourself
  3. The Young Hearts – A Charmed Society
  4. Neon Trees – Favorite Daze
  5. Anberlin – Animals
  6. Taking Back Sunday – The One
  7. Underoath – Lifelife (Drowning)
  8. This Wild Life – Silver and Gold
  9. Honey Revenge – Seeing Negative (Disappointment)
  10. Fall Out Boy – We Didn’t Start the Fire

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 zhargfoul in the “Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust (March 24,2023)” thread.

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