Liner Notes (November 6th, 2022)

This week’s newsletter has thoughts on music out this week (and last), some early first impressions of the new Anti-Flag album, and commentary on other media I’ve consumed recently. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Hello again. I know it’s been a couple of weeks now since we last talked. My goal has always been to write once a week, but some weeks random things come up that make it harder to block out the time it takes to sit down and write, and some weeks I’m not feeling quite in the mood to write. Last week was a mixture of both, being extremely busy with some family-related things and just not feeling the usual pull to sit down for a few hours. I’ve always told myself that the first thing is making sure I’m enjoying all of this, so if I’m not feeling motivated, giving myself permission to not force it. Forcing it leads to resentment leads to me not having the same passion behind my words. And the whole damn point is to write about stuff that moves me and makes me feel compelled to get it off my chest. So, after a mini-mental-break, we’re back with many a topic to discuss.
  • First, a very rough cut of an unreleased Blink-182 documentary from 2004 found its way online by way of a random Twitch streamer. I thought this was a fascinating little time capsule, and while I know it’s not sanctioned by the band, I enjoyed the hell out of it. There’s an interesting dynamic you can see in the band during this era, specifically the toll that touring is taking on them.
  • The forum officially passed five million posts in the past few weeks. It’s just a number, but it is cool to see that there’s still a place online for some of us weirdos. I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the past week while reading all about the shit show over at Twitter. I don’t want to talk about it much because, honestly, the less I think about Elon Musk, the better my day is. Still, while that place is burning like a tire fire, I appreciate the small online space where I feel capable of discussing things with a small community. As someone that once ran a relatively large community for a long time, and even at its peak, it was never close to Twitter’s size, I’m more convinced than ever that social media as a whole ends up being a net negative. I find a lot of value in small communities, even medium communities. Things like website Discords, niche platforms, or us message boards lost to time, I think, are a lot of fun, and being able to experience life or cultural events with a group of people can be extremely rewarding. But the massive social networks, the places where context collapses in the span of two bad faith RTs, and the incentives are all backwards? I’m too old and have spent too much time online for that shit these days. I don’t find any actual value in participating in them. It has been extra hilarious to watch Musk discover, in real-time, all the moderating pitfalls that us idiots running message boards in the late ’90s have known about for decades. He’s making all the classic blunders. These bros are the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
  • In fun recommendations, I’ve become obsessed with Chef Reactions on Instagram/TikTok and spent an entire evening watching these last week after a stressful day. And finally, the new podcast If Books Could Kill is very much in my wheelhouse. The first episode looks at the book Freakonomics and picks it apart piece by piece.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Over the last two weeks, my music listening has slowly been shifting to more moody music, especially in the morning. When it’s cold, dark, and often rainy, the mornings have seen a lot more soft and atmospheric tunes being played—lots of American Football, Owen, Bright Eyes, and stuff like that. I’ve still been playing the new Taylor Swift album quite a bit as well while working in Folklore/Evermore into the rotation as well.
  • In my opinion, Anti-Flag have been on an absolute heater these past few years. Starting with American Spring they’ve been cranking out some of the best songs in punk, with each album mixing the best parts of melody and aggression into an anti-authoritarian swirl of awesomeness. The new album, due out next year, might just be their best yet. A front-to-back collection of fist-pumping anthems that are just as likely to make you want to run through a wall as they are to make you want to organize some workers. I think all of the guest spots work well and don’t feel tacked on or superfluous. And with the mid-term elections coming up next week (please vote), this is sure to be in heavy rotation for the next 12 months, at least.
  • I loved seeing a bunch of people write in to tell me thanks for the Pinkshift recommendation. Their new album kicks so much ass and seeing people connect with it is awesome.
  • This week had a few new albums I checked out. The first came from seeing a bunch of people mention it in the forum: Dayseeker’s new release, Dark Sun. The cool-looking album cover pulled me in, but the songs themselves ended up winning me over. It gives me a little bit of an Anberlin vibe. In the sense that the songs are pretty much straight-up rock songs, with some nice flourishes, really elevated by some damn nice vocals. Lyrics and themes may be a little generic, but the execution is top-shelf. I ended up checking out and enjoying their previous releases as well—good stuff here; worth a look.
  • The new Phoenix album probably would have played better for me in the summer, with the warmer weather, but it’s extremely solid. I have no real complaints at all and have enjoyed all three of my listens. They remain the kind of band I feel confident in putting on in almost any situation, with any audience, and the majority will enjoy. Steady and consistent.
  • I get that many people think Turnover has never matched their debut in quality. The band’s sound has evolved and changed in various ways over the years, and I totally get where it may have morphed to be something outside of what original fans want or expect. I came to the band later but even I get that to some degree. The new album is good, but it’s good in a flavor or genre that may not appeal to everyone. Taken as that, I enjoyed my first listen but have yet to feel compelled to spin it again.
  • Arm’s Length’s new album came out last week and is worth a look if you’re searching for a new band kind if in that Wonder Years lane.

The Stats: Over the past two weeks, I listened to 62 different artists, 115 different albums, and 1,068 different tracks (1,522 scrobbles). Taylor Swift was my most played artist, with her new album Midnights being the most played album. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Emily the Criminal was a solid little crime film, and Aubrey Plaza was great in it. Nothing mind-blowing, but good.
  • Bullet Train felt like the kind of movie I would probably have loved in college. Early Guy Ritchie vibes. Not great, not horrible, a completely fine way to spend an evening.
  • I’ve never read the book or watched the original movie, so I have no idea how either plays out, but The Time Traveler’s Wife TV show is kinda creeping me out. The leads are compelling enough, have decent chemistry, and I’m a sucker for a rom-com. But … the premise … feels very, uh, creepy?
  • Andor remains fucking awesome.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Last Sunday evening Hannah and I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with Drew and his wife. A meeting 20-something years in the making. We’ve probably spent countless hours talking online over the last two decades, but had never been in the same place at the same time. Finally, the stars aligned. We reminisced, we talked about music, it was a grand ‘ol time.

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. Dayseeker – Without Me
  2. Phoenix – After Midnight
  3. Turnover – Tears of Change
  4. The Menzingers – Good Things
  5. Anxious – Where You Been
  6. Thrice – Summer Set Fire to the Rain (Acoustic)
  7. Arm’s Length – Object Permanence
  8. Anti-Flag – Imperialism
  9. Biffy Clyro – A Hunger in Your Haunt
  10. Bright Eyes – Old Soul Song (For the New World Order)

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

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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