A Message From Jason; Because He Has No Other Title Ideas

Years from now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to adequately explain to someone that didn’t live through 2020 precisely what it was like. It’s been a year unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. Things I never thought I’d see are happening on such a regular basis that I feel myself fluctuating between numb anxiety and flashing white-hot anger. When the pandemic began in March, I reacted by tackling some projects I had on my list for a long time. I redesigned and rebuilt the entire main website and launched that in May; I then brought back hundreds of pieces of old AbsolutePunk content and got that part of the scene history back in our database. Over the past eighteen or so weeks, I’ve also been writing weekly articles that first re-ranked all of the “best of” lists from 2005 through 2015, and then deconstructed my entire musical journey starting in 1998 and tried to tell the story of how I fell in love with music and the history of beginning AbsolutePunk. These have been welcome distractions in these weird-ass times.

Usually, in August, I do some kind of “supporter pitch” on the website. I’ve done it the past three or four years to remind people about our membership program and talk about how it’s because of the supporting members that this website can exist. I try not to be too annoying about this because I’m not great at self-promotion, but if I don’t do it, I always feel like I’m not trying as hard as I could be. This year, with all of the racial injustice, pandemic, and so much more going on, I never could find the time that felt right to do it. After finishing my article project last week, I spent some time brainstorming what other kinds of articles I could write that I think would be fun to tackle, and I also did my annual deep dive on the state of the website and how I’m feeling about everything. The bottom line is the pandemic really fucked with my plans.

From the end of March through this month, on average, the website’s ad revenue was basically cut in half. We saw more traffic than usual, and virtually half the income from the ads. That’s not great. I don’t know if, or when, the ad revenue will return to something resembling what it looked like at the beginning of the year. So I realized before I can start thinking about my next article series, I have to write up some pitch about our membership program. So here I am.

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My iOS 14 Home Screen

Jason's iPhone 11

I like keeping screenshots and documenting my iOS home screens over the years so I can look back on how I had everything set up and remembering what it was like. The release of iOS 14 brings even more customizable options with the new widgets and stacks. I decided to describe my current layout, my custom iOS 14 icons, and add a little commentary about the apps.

UPDATE ? Oct 23, 2020

I’ve made some changes, notably changing up how all my custom icons look. All the screen shots have been updated.

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Liner Notes (October 2nd, 2020)

Leaves

This week’s newsletter has my first extensive thoughts on Machine Gun Kelly’s pop-punk album, thoughts on more music and entertainment I enjoyed this week, and a playlist of ten songs worth your time. 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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This article is available exclusively to supporting members of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of other great perks (like removing all ads and unlocking a dark mode theme). Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.
(Current members can log in here.)

My Nostalgia – 2004

My Nostalgia

How does our music scene follow-up a year like 2003? With many of the bands that had released breakout albums the previous couple of years coming back for seconds. We’re at a spot where this music scene is riding a wave. Blink-182 helped bring pop-punk into the mainstream, and bands like New Found Glory, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, and Yellowcard are spearheading the next wave. 2004 is where New Found Glory drop Catalyst, Sum 41 return with Chuck, Jimmy Eat World tears us open with Futures, and Green Day takes back the crown with the massive American Idiot. And it’s the year where a bunch of new artists appear in our lives. We’ll see Straylight Run, Name Taken, The Spill Canvas, and Northstar all release albums that captivate the community. We’ll get Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety and an extremely polarizing Taking Back Sunday record.1

2004 marks the spot where I wrap up this My Nostalgia series. I started in 1998, and the Back To series began in 2005. So, 2004 is the crossroads. It’s everything that led into that next crest of bands that so many of you reading grew up with. It’s where AbsolutePunk undeniably took off to new levels and my life shifts from this website being a project I was doing for fun, into something I will dedicate the next 15 years of my life to.

Let’s head back. It’s 2004. This is the period of my junior year of college and a little bit of my senior year. I’m growing frustrated with classes. I’ve changed my major to business, and yet the classes run from seemingly obvious (marketing) to things I definitely don’t want to ever do (accounting), and what I want to be doing (working on AbsolutePunk) is squeezed in between all of the regular college things. Except, this year, there’s one little tweak. A bunch of my close college friends, including my roommate from the previous two years, will study abroad for a semester. Most of them are going to Salzburg. For a brief moment, I think I’m going too; I even get a passport. But then I find out that the house we’d all be staying at gets very weak, at best, internet. While the website is beginning to blow up, I’d have to, in many ways, put a pause on it for a semester to get the full experience of studying abroad. I decide I can’t do it.2 So now I’m back at school, and most of the people I spent the previous two years with aren’t there. I’m living off-campus in an apartment with some people I only knew tangentially from the earlier years. I spend most of the time at my girlfriend’s apartment with her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend. But it doesn’t feel the same. I’m wandering. I’m feeling restless. I’m feeling trapped in a rut. Everyone around me is stressed about trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, and I feel like I have the answer but not the time to commit to it. I start thinking about just dropping out of college to work on the website full time. It’s making some money; I could get a part-time job, maybe even keep living somewhere around the campus and hang out with my friends? When my girlfriend at the time decides she’s going to go abroad the next semester, I see an opening. I propose to my parents that I take the next semester off.

They flip their shit.

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  1. Lasers anyone?

  2. I sometimes ask myself if I regret this decision, and I don’t think I do, even if I wish I had those memories with my friends. I still see their pictures and think about what might have been.

Liner Notes (September 25th, 2020)

Road

This week’s newsletter looks a little more at iOS 14 and moving widgets around, has my first impression of the new album from Nightly, and offers some other thoughts on music and entertainment that I consumed this week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked, 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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This article is available exclusively to supporting members of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of other great perks (like removing all ads and unlocking a dark mode theme). Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.
(Current members can log in here.)

My Nostalgia – 2003

My Nostalgia

Heading back to reflect on 2003 is going to be a difficult one.

It’s arguably one of the most critical years in my musical journey, but that comes with some scars. This week we continue the trek by exploring the end of my sophomore year of college, that summer, and into the start of my junior year. AbsolutePunk has shed its fan-page skin and become a website for all the music I want to talk about, and it’s starting to see traffic on levels I never expected. I’m running it from my dorm room; I’m getting so much mail I get banned from the college post office, in class I’m sketching new ideas for what I want to do next with the website, between classes I’m updating it from the computer lab with news.

Things are getting a little wild.

And then, in the span of these next couple of years, the scene explodes like a thunderclap.

It’s difficult to properly put this year in context because the albums coming out feel like rapid fire on reflection. There’s so many. And so many of them that had a massive influence on the music scene, and me personally, that it’s virtually impossible to talk about all of them. Albums like Thursday’s War All The Time and Further Seems Forever’s How to Start a Fire could be deconstructed in entire articles. I could tell stories about how I was convinced Matchbook Romance was about to blow up and late-night AIM chats with the band about signing to Epitaph and coming up with their new band name. This is the year of AFI’s Sing the Sorrow and The Ataris’ one dance in the spotlight with So Long, Astoria. It’s the year of Rufio’s inexplicably recorded vocals and MCMLXXV. And it’s the year of Ben Gibbard flexing with Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism and The Postal Service’s Give Up. I mean, get the fuck out of here with that Ben!

I could write treatises about all of those albums and more. They all had an outsized impact on my life, who I became, and the kind of music I enjoy. But to really deconstruct my musical taste and the music scene’s trajectory as a whole, I need to focus on a specific five.

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Liner Notes (September 18th, 2020)

Rain

I never thought I’d be excited that it’s raining.

This week’s newsletter has some thoughts on music and entertainment I enjoyed this week, some thoughts on iOS 14, and 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.

Read More “Liner Notes (September 18th, 2020)”

This article is available exclusively to supporting members of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of other great perks (like removing all ads and unlocking a dark mode theme). Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.
(Current members can log in here.)

Broken Glowsticks – “Dancing On My Own” (Video Premiere)

Broken Glowsticks

Today we’re excited to be premiering the new video from Broken Glowsticks for their song “Dancing on My Own.” Broken Glowsticks is the new side project from AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer. The song is available on all streaming platforms and up at Molly Water Music for purchase.

AJ had this to say about the new project:

This is the new track from my side project Broken Glowsticks, this will be an outlet I use quite frequently in parallel?to The Dangerous Summer in order to exercise my songwriting muscles. I spend a lot of hours working on songs that I worry may never see the light of day unless I create a new outlet for them. I want to have fun in this space; I think the second single will shock people a lot more, but this is my nice?introduction?into the world I am creating. Produced by Will Beasley, drums by Aaron Gillespie, and music video by Nick Marfing of Altamira Films. Leaving Hopeless and starting Molly Water Music really opened up my creative side, and maybe I am crazy, but I want a place for me and my friends to release whatever we feel. I think the quicker I can get my words into the listeners’ ears; we will be that much closer to something that is real.

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My Nostalgia – 2002

My Nostalgia

Last week’s article in this series felt like a turning point. 2001 was the year I left home, went off to college, experienced 9/11, and turned AbsolutePunk into a website about more than just two bands. And now, looking at 2002, the years start to blend into a period that’s less defined by where I was in school. Previously, each year correlated well with each grade of school, but now in college, things are more mixed. 2002 is roughly sophomore year of college, but there are parts of it anchored to the surrounding grades as well. This leads to my memory being slightly blurred when trying to pull what exactly happened when together; however, one thing is crystal clear. 2002 is a year when pop-punk and our scene absolutely exploded1 in popularity.

It’s 2002. I’m 19. I’m now in my second year in sunny southern California, and I am playing a part in all its stereotypes. Bleached blonde tips, puka shells, hoop earrings, Atticus, Rip Curl, and Macbeth clothing pouring off me like surfer wannabe syrup. I’ve been indoctrinated into the slang. I now know it’s “soda” and not “pop.” The previous summer back home was one of the most interesting in my life. Everyone coming back from their first year of college and meeting up, almost itching to show off the changes. The shy kids who are now the life of the party. The previously unpopular groups are bursting with confidence after a year away from the chains of high school labels. The roles and friendships rekindled. And everyone wants to share their drinking/smoking weed stories. Everyone has become a mini-mixologist in their first year away and is dying to tell you about it. It’s glorious; it’s hilarious; it’s summer.

And now, as I start the new school year, I feel like I’m settling into college life. My college roommate and I install an air conditioning unit in our dorm room that is so old it looks like it’s part of the building. While everyone else gets in trouble for their new, modern units, we go unnoticed and spend the year with the only air-conditioned room in the entire hall. I also discover that the cable TV that runs through the dorm (that we’re supposed to pay for) is simply a box in the ceiling that you can just plug right in if you have the right cables and adapters. So we do. And we now have free cable. It’s a year of immaturity, hijinks, and tales that we re-tell time and time again while laughing at the absurdity of our youth. I honestly can’t believe some of the stuff we got away with. And around us, there’s a pop-punk utopia blossoming. Not that far away, Drive-Thru Records is pumping out the height of their catalog (teamed with MCA Records). [deep breath] The Starting Line release their debut album, Midtown release Living Well is the Best Revenge, New Found Glory release Sticks & Stones, Home Grown release Kings of Pop, Allister releases Last Stop, Suburbia, Something Corporate drops Leaving Through the Window, Finch releases What it is to Burn, and The Early November release their EPs. [exhale]

Holy. Shit.

And that’s just the stuff related to that label.

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  1. dot net

GoodReads Sucks

amazon

Sarah Manavis, writing at?New Statesman:

With the vast amount of books and user data that Goodreads holds, it has the potential to create an algorithm so exact that it would be unstoppable, and it is hard to imagine anyone objecting to their data being used for such a purpose. Instead, it has stagnated: Amazon holds on to an effective monopoly on the discussion of new books – Goodreads is almost 40?times the size of the next biggest community, LibraryThing, which is also 40 per cent owned by Amazon – and it appears to be doing very little with it.

GoodReads is a really bad website and an even worse app. It could be awesome. It should be awesome. The difference between using it, and say Letterboxd for movies, is night and day. It just makes me sad.

Liner Notes (September 11th, 2020)

San Francisco

I’ve been writing this newsletter every week, missing none, since at least July of 2018. Today when I sat down to write, I found myself staring at a blinking cursor and trying to find the motivation to make my fingers make words on the black screen. I did my best. 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.

Read More “Liner Notes (September 11th, 2020)”

This article is available exclusively to supporting members of our website. Join now for as little as $3 per month and get access to exclusive content and a variety of other great perks (like removing all ads and unlocking a dark mode theme). Plus, you'll be helping an independent publisher. Learn more here.
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