Features

Chorus.fm’s Top 25 Albums of 2019

It’s easy for end-of-decade years to become an afterthought in terms of the music they produce. Most music publications dropped their “best albums of the decade” features in early October. At Chorus.fm, we held off until December 9th. Still, when you spend months of the year reflecting on past years, and on the albums you loved from throughout a whole decade, the music from the year you’re currently living in can get overlooked, forgotten, or short-changed on listening time.

I suppose we were guilty of that sin ourselves, as our “albums of the decade” list ultimately lacked a single entry from 2019. Call it anti-recency bias, or maybe just an occupational hazard of having to start planning and compiling these lists months before any readers actually lay eyes on them. But therein lies the beauty of still being able to revert to old routines: to end the year with a proper tribute to everything it had to offer on its own.

And 2019 certainly had plenty of riches to offer, from old favorite bands delivering some of their sturdiest albums in years, to one of the strongest slates of debut talent I can remember getting in a single 365-day timeframe. Taking in the scope of a decade and all the music it gave us is a fulfilling experience; it’s certainly something I invested a lot of time in this year. But there’s also something wonderful about being past that now, and about being able to take things day by day again: week by week, release day by release day, album by album. Making lists is fun, but listening and discovering will always be the greatest parts of being a music fan. Here’s to the 25 albums that we discovered, listened to, and loved most in 2019. [CM]

Liner Notes (January 3rd, 2020)

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2020. In this week’s newsletter, I share my start of the year routines and resolutions, share some fun party games we played on New Year’s Eve, talk about what music I’m anticipating this year, and go through my usual music and media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (December 27th, 2019)

The last few weeks of the year are always a little strange in the music industry and online, everyone is basically in hibernation. This week’s newsletter is a recap of my holiday week so far and has some recommendations, a few brief music thoughts, and my weekly media diet rundown. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Interview: Michael Barrios

Michael Barrios

Michael Barrios is in his San Diego bedroom, sitting by the window. His long-time partner, Daisy is beside him. Above her head are polaroid pictures tracing their four-year-long relationship. All of Barrios’ musical equipment is scattered across the floor, including his newest synth pad. There’s a disco ball above the bed. He’s a softly spoken, passionate man, and it’s been two years since his last interview.

It’s been three and a half years since the release of Barrios’ debut album under the No Hope Kids moniker, Our Time Apart. Next year will see the unconventional young artist make his return. With this upcoming release, he’s changing the name – although, he hasn’t gained much hope. Planning this currently unnamed new project (there are some cool album titles in play), returning to being in a long-distance relationship, and juggling full-time jobs with it all hasn’t been easy. But you can count on those experiences popping up throughout the album.

Liner Notes (December 20th, 2019)

In this week’s newsletter I share my first impressions on The Rise of Skywalker; I guess this is a Star Wars newsletter now. I also share a few things around the internet I found interesting this week and go through my usual weekly media diet rundown. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Since we have the holidays coming up, I’m making this post free for all here on the website. If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

The Podcast Worm: Binge Mode

If you’re a podcast listener who is also a fan of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or Star Wars, maybe you’ve already heard of Binge Mode. And trust me, The Ringer doesn’t particularly need any help in the podcast promotion department. However, there’s just something about Binge Mode that compelled me to write about it. With The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian bringing fans plenty of things to discuss in the land of Star Wars, it felt like a good time to bring up the podcast.

Liner Notes (December 13th, 2019)

In this week’s newsletter, I look at some of the holiday songs released this week, offer first thoughts on the new Brian Fallon song and Harry Styles album, and dive into my weekly media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, 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.

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide

For the past few years, I’ve put together a little gift guide in December full of things that I think make great gifts and are a lot of fun to give or receive for the holidays. Everything on the list is something I’ve used and enjoyed and recommend. I have recommendations posts for movies, tv shows, books, software, podcasts, headphones, and miscellaneous stuff around the house, so the things on this list will be more focused on stuff not included in those posts and geared toward things I’ve come across in the past year or so and think would make good gifts.

I used my Amazon affiliate link when the product showed up there, which gives our website a slight percentage back if you make a purchase and therefore helps fund our continued existence.

If you’d like to get me a gift, becoming a supporting member or gifting another user a supporting membership for a year would mean the world to me. And, if you’re looking for something in just about any price range with a Chorus.fm or AbsolutePunk.net logo on it, check our merch shop.

Chorus.fm’s Top 50 Albums of the 2010s

new-best of the decade

2020? Are you sure?

It seems like just yesterday that I was combing through the AbsolutePunk.net boards, reading the 2009 end-of-the-year lists that crowned records like Manchester Orchestra’s Mean Everything to Nothing and Thrice’s Beggars among the finest releases of the year. A lot has changed since then—in music, in our lives, and with the state of the world—but here we are again 10 years later, taking stock of another ending.

There have been a lot of endings over the past decade. Bands we loved have called it quits. Staff members who gave countless hours of their time writing for this website have moved on to other things. AbsolutePunk had its own sunset in 2016, relaunching as Chorus.fm that spring. And yet, a lot of things have lived on, too. Our love for music, certainly, is alive and well. The vibrancy of this community as a place to talk about bands and share things you love with like-minded souls has persisted, too. And some of us have been here for a very long time, watching the state of the music scene and the world at large shift from behind our keyboards, the headphones in our ears playing us the latest thing that might get our hearts racing like our old favorite records always have.

I don’t have a neat little bow to tie around the 2010s to commemorate their impending conclusion. It’s been a chaotic decade in a lot of ways. It’s certainly been the most chaotic music era on record. The way we listen to music has changed. Entire formats have shifted. Trends have sprung up and others have died. Artists have reshaped the way that music is written, recorded, packaged, released, shared, and marketed. And perhaps most importantly, there’s just been more: more music making its way into the world on a weekly basis; more ways to hear it all; more ways to discover; more ways to think about what art can do, both in our personal day-to-day lives and to the world that we live in.

Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that our list of favorite records from the 2010s is a bit chaotic in its own right. It’s a smorgasbord of genres; a kaleidoscope of emotions; a place where massive pop superstars can coexist with the bands that really feel like they are ours, the ones that have been so foundational to this community and its unique musical identity. The list is also a testament to how much opinions on music can change over time. Some of our former Album of the Year winners are missing entirely; other albums have grown in our estimation, swimming to the forefront as, we think, the foremost artistic achievements of the past decade. Ask us again in two months and we might see things differently. For now, it’s time to put our pencils down and close the book on this chapter.

To everyone who is reading, or to anyone who has played a part in the AbsolutePunk/Chorus.fm story over the past decade, we say thank you. What a long, strange trip it’s been. Here’s to another 10 years of music mending broken hearts. [CM]

Interview: Jade of Oso Oso

Oso Oso

This past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jade of Oso Oso, before he played a supporting set at the Fillmore Silver Spring near Washington, DC. In this interview, I asked Jade about how much he follows what others say about his music, the recording process he went through during the Basking in the Glow sessions, and how he continues to find inspiration as an artist. Throughout our chat, I got a glimpse into what makes Jade such a talented songwriter, and found our conversation to be a hell of a lot of fun too.

Liner Notes (December 6th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter looks at my plans for the website over the next twelve months, dives into some new music and news stories from this week (including my frustration with Blink-182), and goes through my usual media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, 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.

This article is available exclusively to supporters of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of perks. Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.

Liner Notes (November 29th, 2019)

It’s the “still full from yesterday’s dinner” version of the newsletter. It’s a slow part of the year, so this week doesn’t have a whole lot of music to go through, but there is a bunch of movies and TV shows to make up for it. Also, since it’s Black Friday, I share a few of the sales around the internet that I recommend. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 22nd, 2019)

This week’s newsletter looks predominately at some new singles released this week, goes through my weekly media diet, and then there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. 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.

This article is available exclusively to supporters of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of perks. Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.

Interview: Mat Santos of Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot

When Ra Ra Riot announced a headlining tour with several major cities and markets on their itinerary, I knew I had to reach out to set up an interview during their local stop to my market, in Washington, DC. I had always enjoyed the stylistics changes that the band had done from album to album, and the growth in lead singer Wes Miles could be heard easily when comparing their original sound, to what came out on their latest record Superbloom. The band graciously granted me an interview with bassist, Mat Santos, to discuss what went into the recording of the latest album as well as some insight on: the band’s formation, Wes’s vocal regimen, and the band’s plans for the future. The interview was conducted in the “green room” backstage at the 9:30 Club in DC, and I truly enjoyed the conversation that Mat and I had that evening.

Liner Notes (November 15th, 2019)

What a week. This week’s newsletter has me looking at music and entertainment released over the past two weeks. I finally get to dive into some of the Apple TV+ and Disney+ shows, plus give some updates on living the first week of married life. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 8th, 2019)

I’m getting married tomorrow, so this week’s newsletter is going to be different than usual and wedding-themed. (Since I am thinking about the wedding, final wedding plans, and really nothing else.) I wanted to write something, but I don’t have the time to breakdown all the music and media I’ve consumed over the past week. Instead, I’ve been putting this together in small stages over the past few days. I’ll be back next week with a longer piece that has a deeper dive into the entertainment and musical stuff I’ve been enjoying lately. The 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.

Holy Pinto – “Malady” (Song Premiere)

Holy Pinto

Today I’m happy to share the latest single from Holy Pinto, called “Malady.” This track comes from the latest trio of singles under the Holy Trinity record, and this track in particular reminds me of Interpol-inspired rock. The last song, called Acquaintances, Friends, Love Ends” was released in October, but the current single can be streamed below and it’s their best yet.

If you like what you hear, be sure to buy the Holy Trinity Singles Club.

Liner Notes (November 1st, 2019)

This week’s newsletter has the definitive ranking of My Chemical Romance albums, some first impressions of the new Anti-Flag album, thoughts on some other music I spent time with this week, and my weekly media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, a few articles 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.

This article is available exclusively to supporters of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of perks. Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.