Liner Notes (March 29th, 2019)


I can’t believe it’s the end of March already.

In this week’s newsletter, I share some early thoughts on the new Bad Religion album and go through some of the albums and songs out this week that I enjoyed. I also go through my usual media diet and share a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Three Things

  • I released an episode of Encore this week. It’s an interview with Pat and Garrett of The Maine, and we talk all about the band’s new album, growing up in the music scene, and all sorts of good stuff.
  • Baseball’s opening day was yesterday and one of the forum regulars asked me about my new found love of the game after I started watching a lot more of it last year. There’s probably a lot of typos, but you can read that answer here.
  • I spent a good portion of the week working on and testing out an “auto expand links” feature. I’ve gotten it to work pretty well (example), but it’s still not quite right and needs a lot of work. I’m still maybe 50/50 on if this is something I’ll end up releasing or not.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I really like the new record from Ben Platt. It’s a ballad-heavy, piano-driven, emotional rollercoaster. It’s the kind of album that makes me want to put on my headphones, turn all the lights off, and experience.
  • Billie Eilish is the kind of record that I immediately understand why it’s getting a lot of buzz but also have a hard time entirely pinning down how I feel about it on one listen. It feels like the kind of sound that we’re going to be hearing a lot more of in the next year.
  • I like what Mark and Alex did with Simple Creatures. This sound wouldn’t work with their respective bands, but as a new entity, it’s a lot of fun. It almost feels like what Plus 44 would have ended up sounding like if they’d been around for the last decade. As an introduction to the band and first release, I’m totally on board with this and am looking forward to what they do next.
  • I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the upcoming album from Bad Religion three or four times now. It is everything I wanted it to be. I think on first pass it reminds me a little of The Dissent of Man. Right now songs like “Big Black Dog,” “Candidate,” and “End of History” are early standouts. I like it when they get a little more melodic and mix it up a bit. I still have the “Lose Your Head” chorus stuck in my head. The album touches on the current state of affairs in this country in quite a few songs, and I think having a musical outlet for so much of the shit going on in the world right now and things circling my brain is absolutely needed. Bad Religion have been releasing great albums since before I was born. They have a sound, they have a style, and they’re fucking good at it. This album is no exception. It’s the kind of album that makes me wish I still skated. Or lived by a beach and could go surfing. It’s that mix of melody and punk sensibility that I’ve always loved. I think fans will be happy.
  • I gave that new album from Wallows a few spins this week. It reminds me of the early 2000’s teen soundtrack music. Early Phantom Planet, Rooney, The Subways, stuff like that. It’s at its best when it sticks to the breezy, catchy stuff and the few times they try and get too experimental I think messes with the album’s flow. And that part where they intentionally make your speakers sound blown out is just annoying.
  • The Maine’s new album is out today. My vinyl record came yesterday, and the packaging is fantastic. They went all out, and all the little extra attention to detail is noticeable. It’s been fun to read all the reactions from people, and it looks like an early hit with almost everyone.
  • I’m still very much enjoying the new Josh Ritter album.
  • The new Modest Mouse single … sounds like Modest Mouse. Heh. I’m in.
  • I The Mighty’s new single sounds pretty good. I enjoyed their last album, and so I’m looking forward to whatever they do next.
  • The new Free Throw album is pretty good but this sound isn’t something I find myself listening to much these days.
  • Next up on my list to listen to is the new one from Laura Stevenson.
  • Ellie Fanning has a new movie coming out called Teen Spirit that looks so very much in my wheelhouse. The song released today from the album was written by Carly Rae Jepsen and Jack Antonoff, and now my excitement has increased tenfold.
  • PUP’s new album is coming out next week, and I’ve been listening to it for so long now (humblebrag) I keep forgetting it’s not out yet. I need to make sure to spin it this week a bunch and get back into the hype.
  • The nice weather has me thinking it may be a Less Than Jake kind of week.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I’m not sure how I feel about Marry Poppins Returns. There’s a considerable amount of nostalgia to the movie that brings me back to being a kid and watching it probably once a week, but at the same time it’s way too long, the songs aren’t great, and even for a movie that’s clearly meant for kids … it felt … not very fun? I’m not sure. I didn’t hate it, but it’s hard to say I liked it either. I think the Paddington movies have made my expectations for movies like this too high.
  • With baseball starting back up I decided to do a re-watch of The Natural on a night where Hannah was out with her parents. There are some weird plot points in this movie that I had completely forgotten about, but overall … still a damn good baseball movie. There’s also an excellent podcast about the film on The Rewatchables that serves as a good companion piece.
  • While in the mood for something lighter this week we watched Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. It felt like those old made-for-tv Disney movies that used to be on when I was younger. Like, don’t get me wrong, this is a silly, predictable, PG, Nancy Drew movie, but I would have loved it as a kid. I would have made my parents tape it, and I would have watched it all the time. It also made me think they could do a Riverdale/Sabrina like version of Nancy Drew that’s a whole lot darker. Wait, that’s basically kind of just Veronica Mars, which I fucking love.
  • We tried to watch Triple Frontier and couldn’t do it. It’s like a bad dad bod version of a crappy Ocean’s 11.
  • I’ve been enjoying March Madness quite a bit. Some fun games, some boring games, and one of my brackets is doing alright so far. I woke up with a weird feeling that Duke is going to lose tonight, so my expectations are now at least set adequately since my brain decided to just think this and be upset about it for no known reason.
  • I am so damn happy baseball is back.
  • We’ve made it to episode nine of You’re the Worst, and this show is still utterly brilliant and devastating and funny all at once. I’m going to miss having these characters in my life when it’s over.
  • After finishing Below Deck, we are on the search for another stupid reality TV show to pass the time at night when we don’t know what else to watch. We’ve watched a few episodes of Vanderpump Rules on Bravo, and I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t understand anything about anything. It’s like watching a parody of a drama-filled nightmare where every single person is still stuck in the absolute worst parts of middle school pettiness and meanness; as if no one grew up and instead now has abs and boobs and an unchecked desire for only fame. It’s madness.
  • After reading Insignia by S.J. Kincaid last week, and being lukewarm on it, I decided to check out the sequel, Vortex, from the library this week. I couldn’t make a decision on what I wanted to read next, and this was available right away, so I just went with it. I’m enjoying it more than the first book so far, but I still have a lot of the same issues I had with that one. When technology stuff in a book or movie doesn’t make sense or is too silly, it takes me out of it. On a slight sidetrack: I sometimes still can’t believe that libraries are a real thing. If they were ‘invented’ today, I feel like they would be laughed at by everyone. The fact that I can check out e-book copies of books from my library via a web browser and send them to my Kindle seems like it’s cheating. It’s awesome, but it feels like something that politicians and copyright holders would lose their minds about if it wasn’t something we already had. Growing up going to the library on an almost weekly basis is something I’ll always thank my mother for doing for me.
  • I’m out on A.P. Bio. I want to like it; I just don’t.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much in the personal news/thoughts this week.

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. Bad Religion – Do The Paranoid Style
  2. Simple Creatures – How to Live
  3. The Maine – Heaven, We’re Already Here
  4. Wallows – Scrawny
  5. Modest Mouse – Poison the Well
  6. Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
  7. Elle Fanning – Wildflowers
  8. Free Throw – The Corner’s Dilemma
  9. Ben Platt – Grow as We Go
  10. MxPx – Hear That Sound (feat. Five Iron Frenzy)

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll be watching some basketball, hoping my premonitions about Duke losing are wrong, and then watching some baseball and trying to relax a little. And for some reason, I’m craving a hamburger, so I’ll be getting one of those as well.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.