Liner Notes (July 5th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter is brought to you by fireworks and scared pets.

In this week’s newsletter, I write about the new music sharing pages I created, talk a little about the Taylor Swift/masters thing, share some thoughts on new music out this week, and go through my usual media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Four Things

  • Today we launched our “Best of 2019 (So Far)” feature on the website. We compiled our favorite albums of the year up to this point, wrote a little bit about them, and there’s also all of the individual contributor lists as well. Lots of great music on here. I contributed the blurbs for Copeland and Sigrid. These lists are always a lot of fun to do and then look back on later in the year to see what’s continued to hold up, what’s gone up the list with more plays, and what may have faded. Here’s my top twenty, so far, this year:
    1. Sigrid – Sucker Punch
    2. The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature
    3. The Japanese House – Good at Falling
    4. Copeland – Blushing
    5. The Maine – You Are OK
    6. Charly Bliss – Young Enough
    7. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
    8. Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    9. Dave Hause – Kick
    10. La Bouquet – Sad People Dancing
    11. Fidlar – Almost Free
    12. Set It Off – Midnight
    13. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
    14. Alex Lahey – The Best of Luck Club
    15. Pronoun – I’ll Show You Stronger
    16. Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks
    17. Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
    18. Cub Sport – Cub Sport
    19. Simple Creatures – Strange Love
    20. The Damned Things – High Crimes
  • All of those links in my list above will take you to a webpage that has streaming links for a whole bunch of different platforms. That is the result of a project I launched earlier this week to bring a “Simple Music Sharing Page” to the website. My main goal was to create a way to easily send people music recommendations with links to all the major streaming platforms so that they could quickly hear the music. There are some other services like this out there, but I wanted one that I knew I could make load extremely fast, and that I knew as long as I was alive, the URLs and links would stay active. Plus, I have control to make any tweaks or changes as needed. The impetus for building this was this very newsletter. I link a lot of things in here and I, specifically, wanted to be able to link to music I write about so if someone wants to hear something I’m talking about, they can do that quickly and easily. So far, I’m delighted with it. It does exactly what I want it to, no more, no less. Along with this new feature, I created an iOS Shortcut that will create these share pages for whatever album (or song) you are currently listening to in Apple Music. I’ve already used this quite a few times, and it’s surprisingly cool. (If you use Alfred on the Mac, I created some workflows as well, they’re on github.)

    This project didn’t take that long to create, but it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while. As I wrote about in my post about it, the music streaming age is one of the most profound leaps in tech and the music industry I’ve seen in my lifetime. If you would have told the version of me that rode his bike to the store to buy CDs that one day someone could access not just the entire store, but virtually the entire history of music, from a device in their pocket, I think my mind would have exploded. Being able to harness that incredible power in a way that now when I recommend music to someone via a link, I know they’ll be able to hear the music almost immediately and be able to find it via their streaming platform of choice.

  • I was the guest on the latest episode of the Wasting Time podcast. This was a whole lot of fun to do. We talked about the early years of, the website growing, what it’s like to become casual friends with bands you grew up loving, and what it’s like to run Chorus these days. (Overcast link.)
  • This is the last call to order some pride merch if you would like it. I’ll be taking the store offline after this weekend, so if you want to grab something, do it now.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Not a whole lot of new music-related stuff to write about this week. Holiday weeks always seem to be slow. The biggest story of the week was the Taylor Swift stuff concerning her masters being purchased by someone that’s been a dick to her in the past. My position on this hasn’t changed over the years; I think all artists should own their masters. I believe that how record labels hold them over people is gross, and it sucks when it’s a small band that can’t release an album because a label shelves it, and it sucks when something like this happens to one of the most prominent artists in the world. A lot of the commentary I read this week centered around “well this is how the industry works,” and I felt like all of that was silly. I know this is how the industry works; my argument is that it shouldn’t be. Capitalism guts the humanity from most industries, but what it does to the arts always feels even more exploitative to me. Between the people that don’t like Taylor, and the people wanting to explain “this is the music industry,” I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at a lot of the discourse around this.
  • Blink-182 released their new song “Happy Days” this week. High-level thoughts are that it’s a good, straight forward, Blink-182 song. I’m into the verses, it gives me a little bit of an “Adam’s Song” vibe, and the chorus is good but not spectacular. I’m now even more at a loss for what this upcoming album is going to sound like. This feels a little more California than the previous two, but I’m still not able to put the finger on what the album as a whole is going to be. It doesn’t feel, so far, to be “experimental” in the way they described it at one point, but I’ve enjoyed all three songs so far, so they’re doing something right.
  • I’m not quite sure how I feel about the new Frank Turner song, and album announcement, at the moment. The song, to me, just sort of feels like a Wikipedia entry to music. However, I think the podcast idea, where each week he’ll release a podcast episode about a song on the album, is a cool one. I think I’m going to wait to hear the album as a whole. This kind of project, and concept, feels like it should be experienced that way.
  • I dig the MxPx cover of NOFX’s “Franco Un-American.” The updated lyrics are a nice touch.
  • I am still getting a lot of mileage out of Holy Ghost’s latest. It’s perfect for the sunny summer days.
  • I have the new Punk Goes Acoustic here to listen to, but it’s a stream only, and I’ve been lazy and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I plan to do that soon.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I didn’t really enjoy Pet Sematary all that much. It had some creepy scenes and was disturbing at parts, but it never really got going for me. In the end, it felt like a watered-down horror movie.
  • I blame every single person in the Blink-182 thread in our forums that tried to tell me Murder Mystery was “actually pretty good” and “top tier Adam Sandler” or “funny.” It was none of those things, and you all know who you are. This was barely one of those “ok, this isn’t good, but we can watch it for the evening because we have nothing better to do” movies. I can’t say I’d recommend it. You’d be much better served with something like Game Night.
  • I was very impressed with HBO’s Momentum Generation documentary. It’s about the rise to prominence of a variety of world-class surfers, and you don’t even need to be a fan of surfing to find something to love here. It’s well done and quite moving.
  • When Teen Spirit started, Hannah turned to me and said, “this looks like it’s going to be extremely your shit.” When the movie ended with a big musical climax to one of my favorite songs of the year, I turned to her and said, “yep, that was definitely my shit.” It’s an indie movie that feels almost like a music video at times. It’s not a complex story or script, and at times it feels like it’s rushing a little too fast through the beats, but I enjoyed it just the same. I thought Elle Fanning did a great job, the music works well, and I’m a sucker for “follow your dreams” stories and musical montages.
  • We’ve now watched two episodes of this Holey Moley mini-golf show, and it’s ridiculous. I saw the trailers for it during the NBA finals because Stephen Curry has a cameo role in it and decided to give it a shot one night when we needed a decompressor after Handmaid’s Tale. Maybe it’s the dumbest show of all time, and perhaps it’s the absolute greatest. I really can’t tell you.
  • We’re up to episode eight of season two of Handmaid’s Tale and we seem to be at the spot where things feel like they’re mimicking parts of actual life in the United States right now, and that’s a different kind of unsettling.
  • Honestly, I’ve been enjoying Swamp Thing. It’s the show I’ve been watching each week when Hannah has a late-night rehearsal or concert, and it’s … kinda shockingly … good? I’m actively interested in the characters and the mystery, and I’m pretty annoyed it got prematurely canceled. I didn’t expect to be looking forward to new episodes each week, but I have been.
  • The series finale of Life in Pieces aired, and while I didn’t think this season was nearly as strong as the past few, I liked it well enough. I’ve always been surprised by how little publicity this show got. I thought it was well done, funny, and I liked the characters. I’ll see just about anything Zoe Lister-Jones is involved in, but this felt like the kind of show more people should have known about. It felt primed to be a mainstream hit, but just never really took off.
  • I am extremely excited to start season three of Stranger Things this weekend. I’ve seen some people have already flown through the entire show in our forums, and we haven’t even had time to start it yet. The plan is to not burn through it too fast, but we’re starting it tonight. I can’t wait; I love this show.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • We had some friends over for a little BBQ for the Fourth of July last night. I went with hot dogs because they feel more like the fourth to me, and they’re way easier to cook to everyone’s enjoyment instead of burgers. Some grilled veggies, lots of junk food chips and crackers, and quite a bit of wine and beer turned into a fun evening. The cats both enjoyed being the center of attention and making sure everyone saw them, pet them, and watched how cute they could be. I swear the little one, Zee, hams it up around people and feeds off of it. She was mewing and rolling around on her back searching out belly rubs all night.
  • This weekend we’re going to my college roommate’s son’s second birthday party. I feel very old. We got him a toy truck, a book where Elmo teaches him to be kind, and Bedtime for Batman. The best part about feeling old about my friends having kids is that I can introduce them to superheroes and comic books.

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. Blink-182 – Happy Days
  2. MxPx – Franco Un-American
  3. Sigrid – Right Now (Acoustic)
  4. Stranger Things – Starcourt
  5. Much the Same – You used to Have a Garden
  6. Taylor Swift – All Too Well
  7. Small Talks – Oceans
  8. Young the Giant – Heat of the Summer
  9. Holy Ghost – My Happy House
  10. Joey Cape – Let Me Know When You Give Up

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 personalmaps in the “Taylor Swift – Lover (August 23, 2019)” thread.

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and have a great weekend. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scenes, from one of my favorite movies, the fireworks scene in The Sandlot. There’s something about this scene, and thinking back to running around the neighborhood with my friends, shooting off fireworks, playing baseball, getting into trouble, that still brings a smile to my face.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.