Liner Notes (November 27th, 2021)


This week’s newsletter looks at the upcoming holiday season and some of the music I find myself throwing on during this time of year. This week, it was a relatively slow music week, but that led me to return to some music I haven’t spun in a while (Mutemath, Academy Is…, Butch Walker). Also, if anyone has some favorite holiday tunes/albums they’d like to recommend, please toss those my way. As always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

A Few Things

  • I’m sitting on the couch feeling very full at the moment. Full of food, for sure, but also full of happiness. Thursday was Thanksgiving, and we spent it over at my mom’s with my sister and her boyfriend. And then yesterday, we spent the day setting up the Christmas tree, decorating the condo, and wrapping presents. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Going from our wedding anniversary to Thanksgiving to Christmas is just a stretch that always makes me happy. We don’t usually decorate this early, but since the tree arrived (finally) and we had all the stuff already out and even a bunch of presents ordered, we felt like having everything set up for the entire month of December would be fun. I might make that a tradition because it is nice to see the holiday decorations up and around the house, and everything feels very festive. It was also the first year where plugging back in the WeMo plug to the tree lights kept everything exactly as I set it up last year. All the automations and HomeKit integrations were saved, and I didn’t have to do the “reset” dance to make things work again. Felt a little like seeing a unicorn.
  • I’m currently very behind in all my podcasts because of the holiday. It meant I didn’t get to the gym as often as usual, and the gym is prime podcast listening time. But, I did binge the hell out of the first few episodes of the Always Sunny Podcast and found myself laughing almost as hard as I do at the show. If you like Always Sunny at all, it’s worth a listen. The premise is they watch an episode and talk about what they remember from it, but, predictably, it almost always quickly goes off-topic.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • There wasn’t a whole lot of new music out this week, so I spent most of my time going back through a few favorites. The most played artist ended up being Mutemath. I went back through their entire catalog, specifically the first two albums, and man, those really are great albums. Armistice is one of those albums that feels as fresh today as the day I first heard it. I also really liked what Paul was doing on the latest EP; I hope he keeps making music.
  • The MxPx Christmas song tradition is one I’ve looked forward to every year. And this year’s entry, “Hold Your Tongue and Say Apple,” is a nice addition to the collection. I add the song each year to the Punk Rawk Christmas album and was listening to the entire thing through the week. It got me in the mood for some more festive music (pairs well with the Bad Religion holiday album), and I still love “Christmas Day” and think it holds up there as one of the songs that just makes me feel like December is here.
  • I usually throw on one of my holiday playlists when looking for holiday music; however, sometimes I think it’s better to listen to a whole album from someone to keep the same vibe instead of jumping around or possibly repeating songs, just by different artists. I enjoyed the Rob Thomas’ holiday album, which led me to revisit his last solo album. I remember liking it, but it not really grabbing me when it first came out. This week, it did a lot more for me. Some very solid tunes, and you can hear the Butch Walker influence in quite a few of these songs.
  • In a similar vein, the Matt Nathanson holiday album is also quite lovely. A little more traditional but still a worthwhile addition to your playlists. While I enjoy all my pop and punk holiday tunes, I’ve found it’s nice to have a few of the “this will appeal to anyone” albums in my pocket as well. This is a nice one to put on and then as the day transitions into night, and then move into the Brian Fallon and Manchester Orchestra holiday albums.
  • I also returned to Japanese House this week, and that full-length really might be one of my absolute favorite releases of the past few years. Just brilliant stuff. I also dived back through the Academy Is… catalog, which was a nice little nostalgia hit. And then I started cherry-picking a few Butch Walker albums to return to, which is always just a nice comfort listen for me. Any time, any season, it’s an easy go-to.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 59 different artists and 433 different tracks (485 scrobbles). Mutemath was the clear number one, with Armistice and the self-titled each getting multiple listens. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • It has been a reoccurring theme of this newsletter to talk about how I think the Venom movie is ridiculous and silly in the best way. The first film was one of the most fun times I’ve had watching a movie and Hannah and I continue to make jokes from that movie to each other. It’s absurd and campy in the best way. I was anticipating Let There Be Carnage and hoping for a similar feeling. We poured a couple of glasses of wine, sat down, and then spent 90 minutes with a ridiculous smile on our faces. It’s Tom Hardy in a buddy cop movie with himself, and it was delightful. I had a blast. Yes, it’s stupid. No, it’s not “good.” But it’s fun as hell, and Tom Hardy is a treasure.
  • 8-Bit Christmas was a fun little holiday movie. It’s not great, but it’s not bad, and it’s relatively heartwarming and a nice way to spend an evening. I bet the book, which I had been meaning to read, would have really been in my wheelhouse.
  • Shang Chi is a Marvel movie. It’s one of the better ones, but it’s also hard to divorce that from the overarching sameness that these movies have. Similar beats, similar aesthetic, but almost always competently made. Did I enjoy it? Yep. But did I find joy in it? Not really.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much in this category this week; I wrote about all the personal/holiday stuff at the top. I’m just enjoying the long weekend and having very little responsibility at the moment. Sitting by the fire, writing on the couch is a pretty great way to spend a lazy Saturday morning.

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. Jimmy Eat World – 555
  2. MxPx – Hold Your Tongue and Say Apple
  3. Mutemath – Control
  4. Rob Thomas – One Less Day (Dying Young)
  5. The Academy Is … – Coppertone
  6. Butch Walker – Ludlow Expectations
  7. The Japanese House – We Talk All the Time
  8. Matt Nathanson – Snow
  9. Mutemath – No Response
  10. Fickle Friends – Yeah Yeah Yeah

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 Garrett in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.

I hope everyone has a great rest of their weekend.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Sign up for a free weekly newsletter full of thoughts on music, entertainment, technology, and other cool stuff. Your email address stays completely private.