Liner Notes (July 10th, 2020)

Ferris Wheel

This week’s newsletter looks at music and entertainment I enjoyed this week. This was a good week for singles, and I’m all about that new PVRIS album. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Mary Varvaris’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

2020 has been shit. Not good shit, not the shit; but a royal shit show. In Australia, the number of people suffering from COVID-19 have been low in comparison to the horrific amount of deaths overseas. For that, we are resoundingly lucky. That doesn’t mean we’re immune to the conspiracy theories (“the 5G towers are causing COVID-19!”), or apathy. Individualism over collectivism in western society has proven itself to be a curse. If only we all cared about the most vulnerable people in our communities some more. If we did, perhaps we wouldn’t still be in this shit.

All of that said, 2020 has had a saving grace: Music. As always, music remains my lifeline, my inspiration, and brings some excitement to everyday life. The Aussies have been on fire, with legends like Gordi, The McClymonts and Hayley Mary (of The Jezabels) proving they’re here to stay for good. Newcomers Nat Vazer and Miiesha make me miss intimate gigs so much. This year, we have also witnessed some of the most stunning comeback albums ever. There’s Fiona Apple returning after eight long years with Fetch the Bolt Cutters, an album that’s a complete outlier within her discography but still uniquely her. Hum also returned after 22 years (!) with Inlet, an epic album that delivers on the riffs and soundtracks the apocalypse.

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Craig Manning’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

I don’t need to tell anyone reading these words that 2020 has been a tough year. The last few months have, in many ways, been like living through a nightmare and slowly realizing you don’t get to wake up from it. Thank God, then, for the music. A few major artists delayed their new albums because of COVID-19, but the ones that stayed the course and released their art into this uncertain world have had an unusual opportunity to make a mark as much more than background music. In the depths of quarantine, I certainly used music as something of a life raft, looking to Fridays and new album releases as rare bright spots in weeks packed with bad news, or building huge emotional connections with the records on this list. I frankly can’t remember a year that had a stronger first half in terms of music releases. I guess someone out there knew we fucking needed something good to break the deluge of bad.

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Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

2020 has been a rough year to get through given all of the outside factors going on in the world around us. Luckily, the music that has come shining through the speakers has been nothing short of fantastic at the mid-way point on the year. Much like the full contributor mid-year list, my personal list was dominated by female artists. From the deeply personal Petals for Armor by Hayley Williams, the pure-pop bliss of Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, to the aptly titled Manic by Halsey, there are some incredible works of art all over the spectrum here. These are the 30 albums I have loved listening to the most at the halfway point of 2020.

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Brett Bodner’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

While it feels like seven years have passed since New Year’s Day 2020, we’re actually only halfway through the year somehow. As the world around us feels like it has never been more chaotic, we’ve been lucky enough to have been blessed with some great music to help all of us get through the days. We’ve had incredible and epic albums from artists like Spanish Love Songs, Phoebe Bridgers, Hayley Williams and Jeff Rosenstock. Their music has got me through many days in quarantine and they’ve filled me with hope instead of feeling down about what’s going on outside. 

Hopefully the second half of the year is filled with the albums that have been pushed back or have yet to have announced release dates (Looking at you, A Day To Remember, Foo Fighters and Weezer). Even if they aren’t, the first half of the year has given us all plenty of fuel to power through the next five months. 

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Trevor Graham’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

I mean, where do I even start with this year? I don’t. I don’t! I simply refuse. We’re all painfully aware of what kind of year this has been. Let’s just go ahead and skip the context that would typically be required for me to say something like, oh I dunno, thank fucking God-or-whoever for music this year. Seriously. In any year, this would have been an absolutely bananas six months of new tunes, but this year it has been especially appreciated. Whether it’s a newcomer or a triumphant return, defining solo career or dream collaboration — it’s 2020 and musicians are really out here Shooting. Their. Shots. So what have I been listening to and loving the most? I assume you clicked this to find out, so I’ll cut the impromptu ramble (but thanks for hanging in there). Here are my top 30 albums of the year so far.

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Liner Notes (July 3rd, 2020)

fireworks

I hope everyone had a decent week this week. Hard to say “great” with everything that is going on in the world right now, so I’m setting the bar at “decent.” This week’s newsletter looks at the music and entertainment I enjoyed last week and includes a playlist of ten songs I think are worth your time. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (June 26th, 2020)

Cheers

I get it, the weeks are blending, and you were just reading a newsletter from me last Friday, but it’s here again. Round and round we go. This week’s newsletter has thoughts on music, entertainment, and other stuff on my mind. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (June 19th, 2020)

Spidey-Protest

In this week’s newsletter, I look at the music, movies, tv shows, and books I enjoyed this week while also sharing some articles and other things I found interesting. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked and a shocking admission about tonight’s pizza toppings. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (June 12th, 2020)

Zen

In this week’s newsletter, I share very early thoughts on the new albums from The Lawrence Arms and Ruston Kelly, talk a little about current and future website projects, and go through my regular media diet rundown from the past week. And, as always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week as well. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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The Oral History of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Mad Max

The New York Times:

Even Oscar-winning auteurs have been awed by George Miller’s operatically staged spectacle. “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho said last year that the scale of the movie brought him to tears, while Steven Soderbergh put it more bluntly: “I don’t understand how they’re not still shooting that film,” he said in a 2017 interview, “and I don’t understand how hundreds of people aren’t dead.”

So how did Miller and his cast pull it off and survive to tell the tale?

Five years after “Fury Road” was released, I asked 20 of its key players what making it was like. Though its post-apocalyptic plot is deceptively simple — road warrior Max (Tom Hardy) and the fierce driver Furiosa (Charlize Theron) must race across the desert to escape the vengeful Immortan Joe and his fleet of kamikaze War Boys — filming the movie was anything but easy.

I had never read this before, but it’s fascinating.

The Science and Politics of Masks in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Science

Robert Wachter, writing on Medium:

Why is masking so difficult to maintain among the public? In Asia, face masks are now seen as a normal accessory. In the U.S., they’re still seen as awkward and stigmatizing. Historically, they have been a sign of illness or danger. This aversion, plus the fact that the benefit of masks mostly accrues to others, is why we need to make mask-wearing mandatory as long as SARS-CoV-2 is active in our communities, at least in closed spaces (as San Francisco has done).

One of the most common questions is whether it is necessary to wear a mask when walking or exercising outside. Empiric and simulation studies have shown that there is practically zero risk of viral spread when one is outdoors and keeping a distance of greater than six feet from others. I personally don’t wear a mask when walking the dog (but I do keep one with me just in case I encounter someone at close range). But I always wear a mask inside, or if an encounter within six feet is likely.

Liner Notes (June 5th, 2020)

street

Some weeks feel like years. This was one of them. In this week’s newsletter, I look at music and entertainment I enjoyed last week, share a playlist of ten songs I liked, and all the other usual stuff. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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