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Liner Notes (May 10th, 2019)

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    New Blink-182 music week means I’ve got a lot to say.

    I’ve decided to try something a little different, and I’m going to start sending out this newsletter to anyone that would like it via email. If you’d like to have it delivered to your inbox each week, you can sign up here. On the website itself, it will remain a supporter only feature, but I put a lot of time into it each week and want it also to reach more people. And I’ve heard from some supporters that they wish they could share it with a few friends, so I’m going to try this and see if it may be a happy medium. I hope that if you sign-up to read it, and like it, you’ll end up becoming a supporting member so that I can keep writing it. To give you an idea of what you’ll get each week, I’ve made this issue free for all.

    In this week’s roundup, I write a lot about Blink-182’s new single and everything surrounding its release. I also share some thoughts on new music I heard this week and the albums coming out that I think are worth your time. Then I go through my usual weekly media diet, share a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, and share some of the new things I rolled out around the website.

    This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

    Reminder: If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, you can sign up here.

    Four Things

    • This week we launched one of my favorite annual features, the “In the Spotlight” list of 50 artists we think you should check out. On Monday we posted part one, on Tuesday we posted part two, and on Wednesday we posted a playlist of all the recommended songs from the feature. I wrote about Scott Sellers, Parachute day, Martha, Sad Cops, Sigrid, Emerson, Origami Angel, Formerly Bodies, Better Love, and La Bouquet, and there’s so much great stuff, in so many different genres and styles, throughout the entire feature. If you’re looking for some great new music that’s flown under the radar or may be on the cusp of breaking out, this is a great place to start.
    • I also launched the new post bookmarking feature for supporters of the website this week. Now, if you’re a supporting member, you can bookmark any post on the website to come back to later. Maybe it’s a recommendation you want to remember, or a funny anecdote, or a prediction you need to make sure to return to. I’ve been using the feature a lot this week, and some of the posts I’ll end up linking to in this newsletter will come from bookmarks I made over the week. I hope everyone enjoys the new feature; it’s been one of the more requested ideas over the past few years.
    • Our new merch shop has been doing pretty well, and every time someone tags me or shares a photo of them in a t-shirt I get this little feeling of pride that’s hard to explain. As of right now, the “Chorus Full Color Logo Centered” shirt is the best seller with about 26% of sales. The “Chorus Full Color Logo Breast” shirt comes in second (14.7%), and the “ Logo Breast” shirt comes in third (14%). There’s a part of me that’s also really happy that the Chorus logo shirts are selling well because I was worried that maybe only the shirts and merch would sell and it would reinforce that fear I sometimes have of my best “work” being behind me. That everyone only wanted what used to be and I’d forever be known as the guy. This has been a nice validation that not only do people like what I did in the past, and have fond memories of that website and time, but actually, a lot of people like what I’m doing right now too. Thank you to everyone that’s picked up some merch, and if you haven’t yet, there are all kinds of shirts and hoodies and more in a variety of different styles, colors, and fabrics.
    • Here’s an MP3 of the Blink-189/Lil Wayne mashup if anyone wants it for their collection. It’s.. not great … but having a collection means having not great songs in it too.
    In Case You Missed It

    Music Thoughts

    • So, Blink-182 released a new single. Maybe you’ve heard of them? I have a lot of thoughts about everything surrounding the song, but the more I think about it, I have minimal extra to say about the song itself. I like the song. It’s a fun, catchy, well crafted pop-rock song that contains two voices I like, one drummer I like, and it was worked on with two people (Tim Pagnotta and Sam Hollander) that I’ve known for a long time and have been singing their praises for years. To me, the song works as almost a 2019 counterpart to “Feeling This,” where it uses the verse pacing to set up the chorus, and you end up humming along to the melody even before you’ve learned the lyrics. It feels like the introduction to what the band’s been working on since their last album, and it makes me very excited to see what the album holds. I liked California, but then felt like the deluxe version of the album was a little too much of the same, and was a tad worried they’d keep playing within that sound and do that again. I love that they didn’t. I’ve been musing for something along these lines for years from the band, and this first step has me eagerly anticipating the full album. What I’m asking for in a lead single is if it gets me guessing about what the new album is going to sound like and if it makes me excited to hear more. This does both. Now, the rest of the shit surrounding the release of the song bummed me out. I saw a lot of negativity on social media; I saw a lot of it directed right at the band members and Mark, to the point where Mark even responded to some of it. First, as I said on Twitter, I feel like I’m in some “Happy Death Day” cycle with Blink-182. For something like 20 years of my life now I’ve seen a new single gets released, the backlash, the band getting called sellouts, then the band gaining new fans/people come around on song; rinse, repeat. I’ve seen it so often I even had some fun in the Blink-182 thread by pulling out quotes that seemed like it would be about this song, only to reveal at the end they were all about the untitled album in 2003. I don’t know if I can say it better than I did here: 90% of the people complaining discovered the band young, while other older “fans” were calling them sellouts for changing their sound and blah blah blah. You’d hope for a little self-awareness about that cycle, and instead of being pretty awful about it, you’d celebrate what that means for a new group of people that get to experience what you did: falling in love with music, falling in love with a band that moves you, discovering something that’s “yours” so uniquely. If they mean anything to you, you’d think you’d want to embrace sharing that with new fans and/or a new generation. Bands aren’t toys you put on a shelf. They’re not put in plaster and cast for eternity simply because you found them when you were a teenager. They’re people. They grow; they change; they are more than you. All I want is for people to think about why the band means something to you, think about why and how it’s impacted you, and put those positive feelings out into the world and hope that someone else can feel it too. Maybe right now a 14-year old that’s never heard of Blink-182 is listening to “Blame It on My Youth” through headphones in some school where they don’t quite fit in, on a sunny day where they’re not feeling very sunny on the inside. And I hope those three minutes introduce them to a world of music they didn’t know before. Maybe they’ll meet friends online and bond over some crappy pop-punk. (Maybe they’ll start an Instagram community about it and put me out of business.)
    • Finally got around to listening to The Struts’ new album in more depth this week. (I check out almost anything Butch Walker works on.) The album has a Foxy Shazam/The Darkness feel to it without feeling overly cheesy. Still cheesy, but the right amount of cheesy. It’s a fun stadium rock album that I think I’m going to enjoy playing during a few of these warmer months.
    • If you like music like The 1975 or LANY, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on Victors. They just released a new song called “Big City,” and I think they’re starting to find the version of this sound that works best for them.
    • I’ve now heard one of my most anticipated albums of the year, the new Carly Rae Jepsen album, but I can’t share thoughts about it yet. (Reviews are embargoed until the release day.) So, no thoughts, but instead I’ll just mention “Want You In My Room” is the song she did with Jack Antonoff and here’s a random gif that is absolutely not a review of any kind.
    • I finally spun the new Rob Thomas album yesterday. It’s good, but nothing jumped out to me. I had a better first impression than I did of his previous album, but I think I’ll need a few more listens before deciding if it’ll stay in the rotation or not.
    • I’ve been singing the praises of the new Charly Bliss album for the past couple of months, and it’s finally out today, so, do yourself a favor and check that out. I still think it’s the kind of album that could see a groundswell of support from fans like our community; it’s terrific!
    • The new album from Ten Foot Pole is a nice little throwback to my skate-punk years. I remember spinning stuff like this and Millencolin while (badly) attempting to ollie. I saw someone mention in one of the threads a band called Thousand Oaks, so I checked their new album out this week, and it’s definitely in that vein as well. And we’ve got a new Much the Same album coming later this year.
    • I’m really into the new The Get Up Kids record. It combines all the elements of the band I’ve always liked into just a solid Get Up Kids album.
    • I plan to check out the new Aly & AJ EP, the new Ciara album, and this band called Thrillchaser once I’m done here.
    • New Found Glory’s “Puzzles” demo sounds like something pulled from my dorm room speakers in 2003. Every so often a damn good pop-punk song still finds a way to make me happy.
    Entertainment Thoughts

    • We watched The Last Summer on Netflix and it was meh. All of the actors are insanely attractive, but the movie itself felt like the worst Instagram filter come to life.
    • I’ve never been a professional wrestling fan, but I adored Fighting With My Family. It was shockingly heartwarming, funny, and one of the better movies I’ve seen in quite a while. A rare gem that I didn’t see coming at all.
    • Last week I finally got to start season two of The OA. I watched the first season by myself when Hannah would have to work late and enjoyed it. Hannah came home in the middle of one of the second season episodes and was like “Woah, what is this?” and then proceeded to binge watch the first season over the weekend. Since I’m a good partner I decided to pause my watching and wait for her and then re-watched the first four episodes of season two with her so that we could be caught up and watch together going forward. This show is insane. It’s the first show since maybe The Leftovers that often leaves my jaw hanging open with some of the weird shit they decide to do. I hope they keep letting them make something this wonderfully weird and creative because I love walking into it without having any idea where it might go next, or what might happen, and it’s fascinating. There are scenes that your body involuntarily laughs at before the mood and perfect execution pulls you in until you’re completely invested. It’s weird, but damn, I’m enjoying the hell out of the second season so far.
    • I’ve been preparing for the new Veronica Mars season by watching some of the old episodes during the evening. Usually, while Hannah is doing some grading after dinner and there’s not a basketball game on, I’ll toss a few of these on while browsing the internet. It remains one of my favorite tv shows of all time, and I’m incredibly excited for the new season.
    • I’m about 75% of the way through the novel Thrawn and still enjoying it. It’s probably weird how much I like living within the Star Wars universe. It brings me back to reading Star Wars novels late at night in my bedroom as a kid.
    Random and Personal Stuff

    • My sister and mother are running a 5K tomorrow so we’re going wake up way earlier than I’d like to on the weekend and go cheer them along.
    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. Blink-182 – Blame It on My Youth
    2. Charly Bliss – Camera
    3. The Struts – Primadonna Like Me
    4. Victors – Big City
    5. Carly Rae Jepsen – Too Much
    6. Thousand Oaks – Battle Lost
    7. The Get Up Kids – Fairweather Friends
    8. Panic Division – Mother, Father
    9. Angels & Airwaves – Rebel Girl
    10. Dashboard Confessional – Hands Down (MTV Unplugged)

    The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend.

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    Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.