Liner Notes (March 12th, 2022)

This week’s newsletter has thoughts on new music out this week (Set It Off, Drug Church) as well as some thoughts and behind-the-scenes tidbits about the Midtown reunion. There’s also commentary on some of the other music I consumed this week, the recent Apple event, and more. Plus, as always, a playlist of ten songs I loved the past week and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Well, that was a pretty fun week. On Wednesday, Midtown announced that they were reuniting for some shows with My Chemical Romance and I posted up an interview with the band talking about their motivation for getting back together, reminiscing on old times, and talking about the band’s future plans. I don’t do many interviews this day, but I couldn’t turn this one down. It was nice to talk with some old friends, and in so many ways, it made me think about the early AbsolutePunk days, from the tone to the (IMO) pretty good content. It was pretty awesome to see so many old fans come out on social media to support the band as well. Oh, and this was not the reunion tour I teased like a month or so ago in this newsletter. This all came up pretty quickly, and I only found out about it a couple of weeks ago. So, that just means you have another big reunion to get excited about.
  • Merlin Mann posted up a “wisdom document” that’s full of little tidbits of wisdom he’s collected over the years. There’s some clever stuff in there.


Nashville-based alt-pop trailblazer Caroline Romano presents her debut album, Oddities and Prodigies, out now. From misty-eyed ballads to fiery anthems, Oddities and Prodigies is a vivid snapshot of Caroline’s personal and musical journey — “this album is everything I know in 16 songs,” she says. From tackling what it’s like to struggle with depression and anxiety to examining first loves and first heartbreaks, Oddities and Prodigies is an all-encompassing look at Caroline’s personal growth and resilience. Alongside the album launch, Caroline has released a music video for her single “Oddities and Prodigies.”

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • With the reunion announcement, I just had to break back out those three Midtown albums again. It’d been a little while since I’d played all three in regular rotation, but they hold up remarkably well. There’s a reason for a brief moment when I called the band my absolute favorite. Living Well is the Best Revenge is such an incredible staple of rock-leaning pop-punk, and Forget What You Know pushes the band’s sound in some fun directions. I went back and read my original reviews of both those albums and found that 1) I still agree with quite a few of the overarching points I made, 2) the reviews I wrote back in the early thousands are so weird for me to read. It’s like taking a peek and some old diary entries that just happen to be on the internet for everyone to read. Maybe not quite to that personal level, but in many ways, it’s just as much a piece of me sitting, embarrassingly, there.
  • As for new music out this week, first up is the new one from Set it Off. They continue their theatrical pop trend in the vein of Mariana’s Trench, Panic! at the Disco, or maybe Neon Trees with varying degrees of success. It’s very poppy, and there are some great choruses here. And some fun and interesting melodies. But it’s also 16 tracks, and there’s some filler. Some of the lyrics are a bit hit or miss, but it’s also just so damn catchy that it may give you a toothache. And with the weather starting to warm up, I could see this being a fun little record to throw on during the summer months.
  • The new album from Drug Church also came out yesterday. It’s more in the vein of a hardcore punk album, but there are some fantastic rock elements, and I’m a big fan of some of the creative decisions they made. Little things like vocal patterns or lyrical flourishes. Worth checking out if you’re into this genre.
  • Sigrid dropped another new single and announced her upcoming album. I am ridiculously excited for this one since her last was one of my favorite pop albums of the past few years, and all the singles so far have been great.
  • 84 Tigers is 2/3 Small Brown Bike and 1/3 The Swellers. They released a new single that sounds about like you’d expect, and if they’re able to capture that into a full-length, they’ll definitely be a band to keep an eye on.
  • I wrote about Glacier Veins last week, and their new album came out yesterday, so this is just a reminder to check it out.
  • Meet Me @ the Altar dropped an acoustic EP. I’m very curious who they are going to record their new album with. I have probably outsized expectations, but I’m hoping for a smash.
  • I filled out my week with stuff like a Cartel discography run (getting ready for that Cycles re-press), and a couple of trips to the The Living End well at the gym. And I ended my week replaying the hell out of that first Valencia record. I do think it’s one of the most underrated pop-punk albums of all time. It has such great raw energy to it, and it holds up, in my opinion, with all of the classics of the genre. To this day, I wish more albums sounded like this. It’s an album I could throw on at almost anytime and immediately be in a better mood. “There’s something strange going on in my head…”

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 32 different artists and 423 different tracks (580 scrobbles). My most played artist for the week was Midtown, duh, with the most played album being Living Well is the Best Revenge. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Not a whole lot of entertainment this week because the main thing we watched was The Wheel of Time on Amazon. We finished up the first season, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s very fantasy, and you need to like that genre to be into it, but I thought it was quite well done, and the story had me engaged and hooked throughout. I’m looking forward to another season, and one day I’ll probably get around to checking out the books.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Today’s newsletter is a little late because this morning we went and had some brunch with some friends downtown, then we had to run some errands and take a mid-day nap due to the Bloody Mary consumed with brunch. You know, like one does. They lifted the mask mandate here in Portland this weekend, and after one trip into a coffee shop and one-stop into the grocery store, I’d say it’s about 50/50 on mask-wearing. Honestly, I don’t want to be in a closed space with people without a mask on for the time being. First, because people are gross. Second, I’ve enjoyed just not getting sick for two years. And three, I just don’t want to get COVID. Maybe that makes me weird, but it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, and a pretty minor thing during my minimal exposure to large groups of people seems like a small price I’m willing to pay.
  • The Apple event this week has me needing to make some choices. My main computer, a 2014 5K iMac, is ready to be replaced. It’s getting long in the tooth, and I can feel it in everyday use. The new Mac Studio is exceptionally enticing. It’s exactly the kind of machine I usually will go for, ridiculously overpowered for what I need, but therefore a promise of years of use. But the price tag for what I’d want to spec this up to is … daunting. It’s almost three grand more than what I paid for my last machine. But, I did get eight years out of the last one and could maybe get ten out of the next. But then I also would need to buy the new display. And, if I’m getting the display, I can then explore other computer options. A new Mac Mini would probably be more than enough machine for me, or maybe even trying the laptop route. The laptop would allow me to work in other locations if I wanted, and the screen would allow modularity with other machines, like plugging in a work laptop. But at my core, I prefer having an awesome desktop computer, lots of RAM, lots of storage, and then using an iPad as my portable machine. I’ve never been a huge laptop fan. I just don’t know. I think I will wait until after April to get a better idea of what my needs may be and what my budget is willing to accept. Or maybe I’ll finish listening to the ATP episode on Sunday, and they’ll have convinced me to pull the trigger.
  • Over the past few weeks I’ve shared thoughts and memories of Name Taken’s Hold On, MxPx’s Life in General, The Starting Line’s Based on a True Story, Now, Now’s Threads, and Valencia’s This Could be a Possbility on Instagram from my record collection.

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. Midtown – Give it Up
  2. Drug Church – Million Miles of Fun
  3. Sigrid – It Gets Dark
  4. 84 Tigers – Kingdom of One
  5. Midtown – One Last Time
  6. Valencia – The Space Between
  7. Set it Off – Cordial
  8. Meet Me @ The Altar – Never Gonna Change (Acoustic)
  9. Jukebox the Ghost – Wasted
  10. Midtown – No Place Feels Like Home

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 Dinkleberg in the “2022 NFL Season” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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