Liner Notes (October 12th, 2018)

Bring on the weekend! We’re moving into “pumpkin-spice-everything” territory, and I’m getting excited to start watching some of my favorite Halloween movies, breaking out the festive beers, and making all kinds of warm foods in the ‘ol Crock Pot.

This week I rank albums from Andrew McMahon, give the first impression on the new Laura Jane Grace album, share a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, share what I’ve been working on behind-the-scenes, and go through my weekly media diet. Some outstanding albums out this week you shouldn’t sleep on. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • The 2018 mid-term elections are coming up quickly. Please, please, please make sure you’re registered to vote. Please vote. It fucking matters and this election is one of the most important in our entire lifetimes.
  • Andrew McMahon is one of my favorite songwriters alive. This week, I decided to do the impossible and try and rank all of his albums. This ended up being far more difficult than I expected.
    • Everything in Transit: It remains in my top ten to fifteen of all time and is a downright classic. It is a quintessential summer album for me at this point.
    • Leaving Through the Window: I have so many memories attached to this album and 2002. It holds up surprisingly well. (I still skip “If You C Jordan,” I just never liked that song.) I still get brought back to a particular plane flight home from college and spinning “Globes and Maps” on repeat and “I Want To Save You” is a phenomenal opener.
    • People and Things: When I did a deep dive on his catalog last week, I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed this album. I didn’t think it would end up at the number three spot, but here it is.
    • North: “Ruthless” is one of my favorite songs Andrew’s ever written, and this album’s full of great songs. It also follows his trend of having fantastic open and closing songs.
    • The Glass Passenger: This album is still hard to listen to for me. It’s a dense album that doesn’t completely work as a whole, but when it’s on … man is it on.
    • Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness: I like this one more than Zombies, but it still doesn’t quite get up to the level of his other work for me.
    • Zombies on Broadway: If this didn’t start with “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” it would probably be higher. I still skip that song. And anytime I have to skip two tracks to start an album, that’s not great. A couple of others don’t work for me either, but there’s still enough great music on here to make it a pleasurable listen. This one has fallen down my personal ranking with time.
    • Ready…Break: I remember an reader in California sending me this CD the first time. It’s raw, but there’s some undeniable talent here. “Cavanaugh Park” was a staple in my early college years. Plus, “Konstantine.”
    • Audioboxer: The first time I heard “Walking By” I was blown away. I was in my bedroom with my high-school girlfriend, and I remember thinking “fucking Drive-Thru Records did it again.”
    • The Pop Underground: This has never really done it for me. I like a couple of the songs, but something always felt off to me about them. I think it was the experimentation with electronic elements and a different style of songwriting. He reigned that in on the self-titled album to much better results.
    • Conclusion: This was an impossible task. I still look at this list and wonder if North should be higher, or maybe I’m underrating that first Wilderness album. But, I have to pick a ranking and this is where I’ve landed for right now. I am unbelievably excited for the upcoming album. Andrew and Butch Walker? Yes, please, give me all of that.
  • Twice a year, around October and April, I do a clothing evaluation to get rid of shit I don’t wear, figure out what I need to buy, and try and clean out my closet a little bit. I’ve found it keeps me from having a bunch of stuff I never wear taking up precious closet space. It also gives me a time to get rid of things that don’t fit or are gross and have holes in them or whatever. Just throwing out all the old socks and underwear, and stuff like that, and getting new, matching, pairs … is awesome. Highly recommended. (I’ve got my two new pairs of sweatpants coming later today, and I’m more excited about that then I should be.)
  • On a similar clothing note: Since I’ve lost some weight recently, my belt stopped fitting. It’s pretty funny when the belt you’ve been wearing for almost ten years just … no longer fits. I was awkwardly between holes. (Hmm, there’s got to be a better way to phrase that.) I decided to give one of those “ratchet” belts a try. My verdict is overwhelmingly positive. They fit exceptionally well and are far more flexible to changes in your waistline throughout the day. There’s a bunch of different brands out there, but I like a wider belt and wanted a simple buckle, so I customized one from Anson. So far, no complaints.
  • I am unbelievably excited for basketball to get started again. You’ll find me in the NBA thread most nights for the next few months. Even with the season predetermined (Warriors are winning again), I love everything about the NBA these days. So many cool storylines to follow. I guess I’ll even have to watch some Laker games to see LeBron play. I refuse to actively cheer for the fucking Lakers though, my hatred for that franchise is just too deep. Plus, we should have a fun college basketball season ahead as well. I love this time of year.

Music Thoughts

  • The new album from Laura Jane Grace is pretty awesome. There’s a great collection of 10 to 11 songs on here. Unfortunately, it’s 14. It could use a little editing to tighten it up, but overall I’m extremely happy with this release. The last Against Me! album did end up growing on me, but this was much more immediate. It’s unique, catchy, in your face, and very personal at times. Plus, the times where it feels like a grunge/punk album make me smile. I love her take on that kind of music, always have. “China Beach” and “Reality Bites” are early favorites.
  • I listened to the new Matt Nathanson album more than just about anything else last week. I really like it. Just something about the feeling those songs capture that’s hitting me just right.
  • The new album from John Nolan is surprising. I wasn’t expecting it to go where it goes, but I like it. It’s an album that caught me by such surprise on my first listen that I haven’t actually gone back to it yet. Now that I know what to expect I plan to give that another spin later today and see how I feel. It’s heavier, darker, and more filled out. I thought it would be another John and his guitar kind of album, but this has a much more grandiose feel to it. (Sidebar: I miss Straylight Run. Still one of the best band names too.)
  • I still can’t get into the new Twenty One Pilots album. I end up making my “wtf did he just say” face far too often.
  • The Midnight’s Kids has stayed in my rotation and remains great.
  • My thoughts haven’t changed on LANY’s latest. It got lots of mid-day spins this week.
  • I’ve brought Half Waif’s album back into my “sun went down put something on” spot. I still think it’s one of the better albums released this year.
  • Still, nothing’s topped Now, Now’s album for me. It’s my number one by a large margin. However, we all know that The 1975 are going to be a strong contender. Maybe the last contender for that top spot.
  • Basement’s new album was a real surprise. It has real Jimmy Eat World vibes in places. Some of the choruses aren’t as strong as I would like, but man, it’s just a good album.
  • If you’re in a hip-hop mood, don’t sleep on that Four Fists album, it’s good.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Hannah was gone most of the last week, so I’ve been on my own with TV shows and movies. I decided to watch The OA on Netflix because I wanted something to watch each night that I thought I could finish before Hannah came back home. I ended up enjoying this show. It started slow, and it’s a little out there, but I was invested and want to see where the story goes from here. I’d give it my recommendation.
  • Last week I talked about wanting something light, fun, and just easy to watch at night given the shitshow in the news every day … someone recommended I check out Superstore, and that’s just what I was looking for. It’s … The Office in a giant store like Target. Very low stakes, a few laugh out loud moments, but just an innocent and light comedy that is perfect for winding down and needing to zone out a little before bed. I’ve watched the entire first season and just started the second.
  • Riverdale is back! I haven’t watched the new episode yet, but I’m ready for it. This show is so annoyingly in my wheelhouse.
  • I plan to give the first episode of Titans a watch over the weekend. I’ll report back on that next week. It’s sitting here in Plex along with a bunch of Halloween themed movies, so that’s pretty much my next month of entertainment.
  • Three Identical Strangers was incredible. If you get a chance to watch this, you should. It’s also heartbreaking. What an incredible story.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Down 27.8 lbs. Now I like the idea of aiming for the round 30 lbs lost mark. Really though, at this point, I’m mostly focused on BMI and finding a proper maintenance calorie/macro goal for each day. It’s about body shaping more than it is any specific weight. I’d love to put on a few pounds of muscle. The big challenge will be moving from summer foods to fall/winter foods. More soups, more slow cooker things, and that means having to figure out the calorie counts for staple meals again. We’ve gotten so good at knowing exactly what’s in what we eat most weeks, so this will be a test if we can do a little reset on the system and keep it going through the gauntlet of holidays.
  • So many fall beers to try and not enough time. I don’t know when it came out, but I had the “Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA” by New Belgium last night, and I enjoyed it. Good beer. 225 calories per 12oz though. Yeesh. I’ve started using Untappd again to track the beers I try and enjoy. I don’t love this app (checking into a beer should not pop-up fucking cards, I’d gladly give them money to remove that shit), but it’s basically the only one/best one for keeping track of the beers I drink without just using a spreadsheet. And, I like having a searchable database to go back and see if I’ve tried something/liked it before buying it.
  • I’ve officially started my git branch for what will be the 3.0 version of Chorus. Mostly minor changes to clean up a bunch of the bugs that have been driving me nuts (if you knew all the places where my spacing was not consistent on certain pages, you’d hate me). Closer integration with the forum is a big priority as well. I want someone to log in on the forum and to keep their settings on the main website as well … so if you use Dark Mode one place, you’ll have it both places automatically. If you log in and you’re a supporter on the forums, I’ll set a cookie to make sure ads don’t get loaded on the main website without you needing to do anything at all. Things like that. It’s coming along.
  • Ever get a really good haircut and then wish you could create a robot that could duplicate that exactly every few weeks? That’s me right now. I wish I could remove the unpredictability of haircuts, even from the same hairstylist they sometimes turn out a little different. And then I spend the next few weeks wondering if I described it the wrong way. I’m riding this wave while it’s here though.

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. Matt Nathanson – Mine
  2. Basement – Disconnect
  3. John Nolan – Do You Remember?
  4. Something Corporate – Ruthless
  5. Laura Jane Grace – The Airplane Song
  6. Florrie – Real Love
  7. Run the Jewels – Talk to Me
  8. FIDLAR – Can’t You See
  9. Luna Wave – Chasing the Light
  10. Dagny – Used to You

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Well, with that, I’ve got to get back to work on my website changes. That means “focus mode” for a few hours with no email, Twitter, or forums. It’s funny how often I click the “forum” bookmark unconsciously while I’m working and get completely distracted. I won’t even realize I did it until the page doesn’t load and reminds me I’m supposed to be working. Doing a fun sibling night tonight with my sister — we’re going to get burritos and drinks and watch some kind of Halloween movie. She hasn’t seen Happy Death Day, so I’m going to push for that.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Make sure you take some time to yourself this weekend. You deserve it. I leave you with … the God of Cake:


If you’ve never read that blog post, you should.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.