It’s with a heavy heart that I write this week’s newsletter. The news out of New Zealand is absolutely heartbreaking, and I can’t stop thinking about the direction our world is going in. So much hate and anger cheered on by the worst people. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.
My birthday is on Monday (gah, I’m getting older) so I’ve decided to make this edition free for everyone to read this week. A little celebratory gift, from me to you. If you like it, please think about becoming a supporting member of the website, the support from readers makes up the lion’s share of my income, and it’s how I get to keep running this website, and writing things like this, each week.
This week’s newsletter contains first impressions on upcoming albums from The Maine and Charly Bliss, as well as thoughts on other music I listened to this week. It has my usual media diet rundown from the past week, ten songs I loved, and a list of music I sent my sister when she asked about stuff to check out after not paying attention to new music for a few years. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.
- Earlier this week my sister asked me to recommend her some music to listen to. She doesn’t keep up with new music all that often and doesn’t keep up with the stuff I’m writing about every week (even though I keep telling her and all my friends they should). I figured I’d share what I sent her because maybe there’s something in here that you missed and would fall in love with:
- Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps: Very emotional. Prepare to get into your feels. Recommended: “Motion Sickness,” “Funeral”
- The Night Game – The Night Game: Fronted by Martin formerly of Boys Like Girls, it’s an 80’s throwback sound with super nostalgic lyrics. Recommended: “The Photograph,” “Die a Little,” “Coffee and Cigarettes”
- Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart: Great album of catchy pop-rock songs. Kind of reminds me of Butch Walker a little. Recommended: “Mine,” “Used to Be”
- Now, Now – Saved: Indie-pop rock. Some very catchy, my favorite album of last year. Recommended: “SGL,” “Yours”
- LANY: They have two albums, ‘Malibu Nights’ and a self-titled album. The self-titled is like early 1975, very pop-rock and synth, the latest one is his “break up album” and is more subdued, and very much “I got dumped, and I’m in my sads” but still good. Recommended: “The Breakup,” “Thru These Tears”
- Paramore – After Laughter: Not sure if you checked this one out when it came out, it’s catchy with “in your feels” lyrics. Came out after she went through a divorce. Recommended: “Rose Colored Boy,” “Forgiveness,” “Pool”
- The Maine – Lovely Little Lonely: Excellent pop-rock album. Catchy and creative. Recommended: “Don’t Come Down,” “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu”
- Andrew McMahon has two albums you may not have heard yet. ‘Zombies on Broadway’ and ‘Upside Down Flowers.’ Recommended: “House in the Trees,” “Paper Rain”
- Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else: Super catchy pop-rock. Recommended: “Heartbroken,” “Rotation”
- Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You For Today: Their best album in a long time IMO.
- Sigrid – Sucker Punch: Extremely catchy, turn it up and dance around the apartment, pop-rock. Recommended: “Strangers,” “Don’t Feel Like Crying”
- Jimmy Eat World’s last album ‘Integrity Blues’ is quite good too! All Jimmy Eat World is good though.
- Here’s all the stuff that came out last year that I loved if you still want even more recommendations after that.
- I interviewed/podcasted with Pat and Garrett from The Maine this week. We talked for about an hour and discussed everything from the early days of the music scene/AbsolutePunk, to their growth and progression as a band, to the band’s upcoming album and the process behind quite a few songs. I thought it was a great conversation and had a blast. I believe the plan is to have that out on March 26th, right before their new album comes out.
- I thought Craig Manning’s review of the latest Maren Morris album captured a similar feeling I had with it. It’s really well written.
In Case You Missed It
- Review: Maren Morris – GIRL
- Review: Bellows – The Rose Gardener
- Review: Holy Pinto – Adult
- Review: Petrov – Sleep Year
- Downhaul – “Notched” (Song Premiere)
- The Lawrence Arms Offer Album Update
- The Maine Cover Halsey
- Better Oblivion Community Center Perform on Corden
- Carly Rae Jepsen – “Now That I Found You” Video
- Underoath – “Bloodlust” Video
- Simple Creatures Announce New Tour
- Sum 41 Announce New Tour
- Shura – “BKLYNLDN”
- New ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Trailer
- La Dispute Share New Album via Game
- Steve Aoki – “Why Are We So Broken” Video
- The Front Bottoms Cover Kevin Devine
- Albums in Stores – Mar. 15th, 2019
- This week I turned my enjoyment of that new Sigrid album all the way up to full-blown obsession. The best way for me to describe it right now is that this album has ruined all other choruses for me. It’s just so damn catchy and fun to listen to. I find myself waking up in the morning with different parts of different songs stuck in my head. I played Hannah a couple of songs one night, and she came home the next day and said, “yeah, you’re right, I don’t usually like pop music like this, but I downloaded that album and played it all day in the car.” I consider it high praise when I can convince her to get into something. I expect this to be in my ears all summer long.
- I was lucky enough to get an advance of the upcoming Charly Bliss album, Young Enough, this week, and I feel like this is one of those albums everyone should be keeping an eye out for. If you like her vocals, you’re going to love this album. It’s catchy but with a little bratty edge to it. It’s full of extremely relatable lyrics and little moments that make you smile. The extra layers of synth or parts where the drums kick it up a notch are fantastic. Early favorites are “Camera,” “Hurt Me,” and “Hard to Believe,” but this is an album that begs to be played front to back. I enjoyed their last release, but this one took that feeling to a new level for me. I could see this ending up on a lot of people’s ‘best of’ lists by the end of the year; it’s got that kind of thing that I think will resonate with a whole lot of people.
- Ok, let’s talk about The Maine’s new album and my first impressions of it. At this point, I’ve listened to the album probably seven to eight times front to back and think I’m starting to form my opinion on it. Now, as many of you know, I came around on this band with their last album, Lovely Little Lonely, and that album completely blew me away. I didn’t know they had something like that in them. Since then I’ve gone back and found I enjoy American Candy as well, but their earlier work still didn’t do it for me. I can’t think of any other band that came along that late into their career and completely wowed me like that. It was completely unexpected. I think there’s something to be said about an album that surprises you when you have no expectations, and an album you’re highly anticipating. It takes a little longer to flesh out how you feel as you’re almost searching for that same blown-away-unexpected-feeling that is impossible to duplicate. I’d describe the new album as walking between what the band did on their last two. It takes some of the catchy pop-rock of American Candy, mixes in a little of the clever atmospheric and “mood” of Lovely Little Lonely, and does it in a way that creates an album that feels built for singing along with friends. It has the “you could put this on, and almost anyone would find something to enjoy” feeling with it. At times nostalgic in sound for those early 00’s pop-punk bands like Panic!, The Academy Is…, and even a little MCR, and at times more grounded in the modern pop-rock space. Early highlights are the opener, “Slip the Noose,” which has a theatrical tone to it and moves between a somber and uplifting message in an undeniably catchy way. My personal favorite has been “Heaven, We’re Already Here” with its fantastic chorus that reminds me of laying in the sun in college with my Discman. There’s the acoustic “Forevermore” that breaks up the album nicely, and The Killers-esque “One Sunset” that I can only imagine will be a fan favorite live. And the closer, an epic 9-minute “Goodbye Sky Harbor”-like song that combines multiple sounds, and tempos, finishes the album on a massive high note. I’m almost ready to call it a career achievement. I think my first impressions shifted between, “this is definitely good” to re-calibrating my expectations and looking at it without expecting the exact same feeling LLL gave me, and with a change in thinking I’m allowing myself to fall in love with what this version of the band and sound is. I like that. I like being challenged in that way and see how my feelings change with subsequent listens. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about this album in the future as I continue to explore it.
- Next up on my list to check out this week is the new Blaqk Audio album.
- I enjoy the new The Bouncing Souls EP. The band feels refreshed and energetic in these songs.
- It may be time to binge Jimmy Eat World again. I know the moment I hit play on “Bleed American” I’m just done for the next week though.
- This was a week of trying to find things that made us happy and laugh. We watched The Sitter with Jonah Hill, and I am pretty sure I’ve seen it before, but I ended up laughing like it was the first time. Surprisingly funny movie for a stupid “I just want to relax” kind of movie.
- That was followed up with a re-watch of No Strings Attached. I used to get this movie confused with Friends With Benefits (which contains my favorite ‘look I’m designing a website’ scene ever with Justin Timberlake), but it was pretty enjoyable for the evening. It’s not great, but I needed a rom-com, and it hit the spot.
- I didn’t realize Reign of the Supermen was on Amazon Prime but discovering that led to me watching it one evening when Hannah was out. This animated film is a follow up to The Death of Superman, which I enjoyed and wanted to see how they did this part of the story. I liked it. I think the entire two-film arc was worth my time. There’s some expected cheese in these movies, and the five o’clock shadow/long hair on resurrected Superman is never not funny.
- I finished the Ken Burns Baseball documentary and loved it. Highly recommended for anyone that likes documentaries, or baseball, and wants to learn about the history of the game. It’s long but fantastic. I’m going to need to find a new Ken Burns documentary to watch next.
- We continue to watch Below Deck: Mediterranean and I continue to want to throw most of the staff off the side of the boat. I can’t believe the amount of drama and behind the back, create drama out of thin air, that so few people on one boat can make
- Hopefully we’ll have some time this weekend to catch up on more You’re the Worst, and I want to watch some more Star Trek: Discovery, with all the basketball lately I haven’t had many available nights for that.
- I finally finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I got distracted and didn’t have time to read the last 100 pages for almost a month. I kinda had an idea about how it was going to end anyway, and I was half avoiding being sad as well. It was a really good book, however, and I’m glad I read it. It’s creative, well written, and I loved living in that world. Next up I want to read something a little lighter and faster, I’m thinking something in the young adult world, probably something sci-fi, and not needing anything heavy. I’m not ready to move back to non-fiction yet.
- The next few weeks are all about college basketball for me. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I love the NCAA tournament, especially the first few days, and all the chaos. I’m delighted Zion Williamson is back for Duke, and I look forward to seeing how they do this year in the tournament. It’s funny, I want them to win it all, obviously, but because of how March Madness is structured, I never go in expecting it. There’s just too much randomness involved. Some random night some player gets hot on some random team, and there’s early foul trouble for Duke and the season’s over. No matter what, watching Zion every game this year has been the most fun I’ve had watching basketball in a while. That dude is on another level. He’s so much fun to watch, he cares so much about the game, about winning, and about his teammates. He’s very special. Regardless of the outcome in the tournament, I’ll remember this season for a long, long time.
Random and Personal Stuff
- This was a funny health week. I woke up on Monday not feeling super great, sore all over and some chills, and that lasted until Wednesday and fluctuated between being too hot or too cold. Nothing else besides the soreness and temperature changes, but it made me way less motivated to workout and a night of eating some saltine crackers made my Wednesday weigh in very side-eye-worthy. I recovered Wednesday through today, and I’m still right in the range I want to be while maybe flirting with the higher side of that range. It’s my birthday weekend though, so I’m not going to be too strict on myself. I want to enjoy some good food.
- Our wedding photographer is all picked out and we’ve got an engagement photo session planned for later in the summer. This wasn’t something we originally were going to do, but it was included with the photographer package. Now I’m stressing about the right outfits and locations. After “Jason in a t-shirt” I don’t know what else to wear.
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.
- Sigrid – Never Mine
- The Bouncing Souls – 1989
- The Maine – Without Me
- Charly Bliss – Capacity
- Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
- Betty Who – Whisper
- NoMBe – Wait
- FIDLAR – Can’t You See
- Tonight Alive – Book of Love
- Lea Michele – Love is Alive
I hope everyone has a great weekend. I know with such chaos in the news it’s easy to get trapped into all of that, but sometimes that’s also when self-care and taking some time to yourself is most needed. Allow yourself to check-in, and feel, what’s inside and do what you need to over the next few days. Much love from me, to you, and thank you for reading.
Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.