Liner Notes (June 18th, 2023)


This week’s newsletter has first impressions of new music from Yellowcard, Anberlin, and PVRIS. Plus, thoughts on new releases from a great week in the pop-punk EP world (Origami Angel, Millington) and a bunch of other music and entertainment I’ve been checking out. As always, there’s 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 again; nice to see you’re still here. The last few weekends were jam-packed with various family commitments, errands, and other things I had to get done, which didn’t give me any extra time to sit down and commit to a newsletter. So, hopefully, this one will make up for my relative absence with some goodies. I’ve had a lot I’ve wanted to sit down and write about, and it feels good to finally have some time blocked out. I’m writing this week from my new MacBook Air. I’ve wanted to pick one up for a while, and after the recent Apple Event, now is the best time to pull the trigger. I thought I could get away with a desktop and iPad lifestyle, but I simply couldn’t get everything I wanted to done on the iPad. Too many places where the operating system was fighting me. I’m more at home and productive on a Mac. The iPad is a great device to do fast things on, watch TV, or read articles and browse the web, but sitting here now; I’m so happy to have the full power of the Mac at my fingertips. I’ve realized that all my scripts, automations, and various tweaks define how I use a computer. The way I move windows with shortcut keys, how I launch apps, hell, having a clipboard manager, is integral to even something as simple as writing and preparing a blog post. Now I know. And after six years, it was time. The fun part was setting this machine up from scratch, with no baggage of needing to transfer all my files, just being able to put what I wanted on it, and trying to keep all the legacy cruft out. It also let me experiment with a few new apps. First, no Dropbox. Instead, I’m using Maestral as the client, and it’s the right way to go on a secondary machine like this. Faster, cleaner, and precisely what I want Dropbox to be. A folder that syncs. Just do that. And I finally moved off Spark as my email client of choice on macOS. I tried their new version, and it just wasn’t for me. They have a “new vision” of email, and it’s not how I want to do email. I don’t want to check off emails; I don’t need to schedule email time; I don’t need to re-think my inbox; I want to get through my mail quickly, with access to all my old emails via a great search. This led me to try the highly recommended Mimestream. Yep, that’s what I’m looking for—a straightforward, top-of-the-class, incredibly speedy email client. I have a decade’s worth of email in my AbsolutePunk Gmail account, and this is the first client I’ve used that finds what I’m looking for first try in seconds. And I can also recommend this cool Etsy shop that cuts custom desk mats. I wanted something that fit the new laptop exactly so I could put it on my desk shelf without the metal-on-metal feel. I sent in the dimensions, and it was here and perfect within the week. Perfect fit.
  • I thought this article on Reddit (and online communities) paired well with this article on SEO spam to put to words what I’ve noticed about the downfall and current state of the internet. It depresses me. I guess there’s a reason I’m nostalgic for, and still run, a blog about stuff I want to write about. But I’d be lying if I don’t feel like a dying breed. A dinosaur watching the asteroid from my bedroom window.


Our Extended Universe, the new novel from Dane Johns, author of The Futile, is out now.

Our Extended Universe is the story of two teenagers dealing with anxiety and failure who find themselves on an unlikely summer adventure after inexplicably matching as siblings through a DNA site. Much like The Futile, Our Extended Universe is full of nods to the punk/indie community with references to Phoebe Bridgers, My Chemical Romance, The Weakerthans, and many more. Our Extended Universe is available now everywhere books are sold online. Special orders through the author’s Bandcamp will receive a deluxe bundle including a signed copy, bookmarks, stickers, and a handmade limited edition OEU zine signed and numbered.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Cracks Knuckles We have a lot to get through. Let’s start with this week’s releases. First up: Origami Angel! This band continues to impress, and their latest feels like all sorts of a level-up. Perfect summer pop-punk just begging to be played at every backyard BBQ, every beach party, or just dominating your headphones during a long sunny walk. Full of superb melodies, gooey sticky choruses, and everything that revs my little pop-punk-loving engine. I get vibes from Motion City Soundtrack to Relient K and love every second of this one.
  • Next up is the new pop-punk with horns EP from Millington. It’s called Welcome Home and reminds me of everything from early New Found Glory to Less Than Jake to painting this incredible throw-back feeling of an era you don’t see captured like this much anymore. Nostalgic yet fresh. The first time I heard “Hollywood,” I found myself grinning from ear to ear the moment the pre-chorus kicked in. This could have led a Drive-Through Records ecard campaign for the label’s next big signing. Love it.
  • Whoever had the idea to put the handclaps into the new The Maine single, “Blame,” deserves a goddamn raise. Holy shit! This album immediately shoots up my most anticipated list; these two songs are exactly the sound I want from them—This gif on repeat.
  • This week also sees the release of the new Heavenward album. This is the alternative rock project from former AbsolutePunk writer Kamtin Mohager, and as a big fan of his recent work in Chain Gang of 1974, all I can say is he’s been on an absolute heater lately. This thing rules: incredible, dynamic, special … all the adjectives, throw them up there.
  • Calmgrove also released a fun pop-rock album EP this week. This one leads a little more into the rock sound and reminds me a little of Don’t Look Down, Halifax, or bands of that flavor.
  • Every song on the new Yellowcard EP (due out at the end of July) makes me emotional. I never thought I’d hear new music from this band again. It makes me think back to the first time someone told me to check out Yellowcard. They sent me One for the Kids and I burned it to a CD and took it out for a drive around my hometown. Windows down, music loud, the perfect introduction to a band that would stay with me for the next two decades. I’d play the Underdog EP on my way to my first summer job (Borders bookstore). The soundtrack to Summers and first loves. And basically, everyone knows my history and love for Ocean Avenue. Hanging out in Portland with the band, dropping them off at a local bar (I wasn’t 21 yet), racing home to see them debut on Pepsi Smash, and knowing right then and there they were about to explode. Seeing their rise, seeing them release album after album that just hit me perfectly right when I needed it, and having so many moments of my life soundtracked with their music has made them one of the defining artists of my lifetime. They’re an extremely special band to me. Their music has helped me in times when I needed someone to say what I couldn’t or to pick me up when I was down — a comforting constant. And they knocked this EP right out of the park. “Three Minutes More” gives me massive Paper Walls energy, “Hiding in the Light” has one of those “oh god damn” choruses, and “The Places We’ll Go” is like having a drink with an old friend and falling back into all your old routines. I found myself listening, smiling, and by the end, thinking, “Yep, that’s why you guys are the best.” Other bands play this style of music. I write about most of them. But out of all the bands playing in this space, Yellowcard brings something out of me that’s almost indescribable. They make me happy. They lift my spirit. They are the antidote to any bad day I may have—an electric bolt to my nervous system. The EP’s incredible. Five for five. A guaranteed summer staple. I’m sitting here listening to it now, and Ryan’s belting out the chorus to “Honest from the Jump,” re-using a refrain from his solo album, and I have goddamn chills. According to, this is play number twelve of the album. Twelfth time hearing this song, and the hair on my arm is standing on end. Yeah, let’s go.
  • When I list out my favorite bands, I often forget about Anberlin even though they’re one of the most played and consistent artists in my collection. Cities is an all-timer for me, but their entire discography is solid and incredibly replayable. I was a big fan of their previous EP, and the foray into a nice big sound that even played around in the 80s synth space I find so appealing. Their new EP continues to work similarly. It’s big, it has some of their fastest/hardest songs in a minute, and it once again reminds me how much I like listening to this band’s music. “Animals” is one of the standouts, but the whole thing is good. The only thing I’m curious about is if these could work well with the first EP to put together a full-length album. They don’t feel like two parts of a whole. Both are undeniably Anberlin, but they sound like the band experimenting with different sides of themselves more than being a diced-up LP.
  • Point North’s new album Prepare for Despair comes out on August 18th. They really lean into the pop and the screaming on this one. It’s got hooks for days and some of their most aggressive moments. I’ve only spun it a few times so far, but I could see this slotting into my summer rotation nicely.
  • PVRIS’s new album continues down the path of the previous but doesn’t quite have the same highs. Use Me is one of my most-played albums of the past few years, and yet I haven’t found myself craving this one on the same level I did when that was released. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of excellent stuff here, but there’s a part of me when the bar is set so spectacularly high that I can’t help but be slightly disappointed when the follow-up is 90% as good.
  • The new Foo Fighters came out a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t written my thoughts down in a newsletter yet. It’s good. I’m pretty close to a Foo Fighter apologist, there’s something I love about virtually all their albums, but this one feels particularly special. It incorporates the best of their soft and loud dynamics while carrying an emotional weight with gracious deftness.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 47 different artists, 68 different albums, and 537 different tracks (636 scrobbles). Origami Angel’s new album was my most played with a John Mayer discography dive giving him the most played artist spot. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The third season of Ted Lasso was a little like the band that only a small group of people had heard of starting to get popular. And then they blow up with their sophomore album. And then they release a really solid third album but it gets overly picked apart because now they’re popular, now they’ve been in the spotlight a little too long, and it’s a little less cool to like them. Hmm, Ted Lasso is Fall Out Boy. The third season of the show is Infinity on High. It’s good! It may even be great! And ho boy, did I get tired of seeing all the “it sucks now” takes. I thought it wrapped up everything about as well as it could, and I’ll enjoy re-watching the entire thing in a few years.
  • We’re about halfway through the new season of Blindspotting, and I still think this is by far the best show out there that I see virtually no one talking about. It’s incredible, and one of the most poignant takes on the carceral state I’ve seen in media.
  • I’m a sucker for movies like Blackberry. The best version is something like Social Network, one of my favorite films of all time, but this format almost always works for me. Not as good as Air or Tetris, but I still had a fun time with it. The entire film, you’re just waiting for the Jaws music to start playing because you know what’s coming.
  • Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret was a delightful little coming of age film.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • The two-day newsletter writing ended up working for me this week. It was my little sister’s birthday last night, so we went and had some nice dinner and cake, and I pushed finalizing this newsletter to Sunday. Sitting on the couch, watching a little baseball (it’s going badly), and finishing writing is not a bad way to spend the end of the weekend.

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. Origami Angel – Thank You, New Jersey
  2. Millington – Hollywood
  3. Heavenward – Heavenward
  4. Calmgrove – True Color
  5. Broken Glowsticks – In My Head
  6. The Maine – Blame
  7. Anberlin – Lacerate
  8. Foo Fighters – Under You
  9. Jimmy Eat World – Telepath
  10. Manchester Orchestra – Table for Glasses

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 talltomaz in the “blink-182” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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