Band Practice with Hello Japan

Hey, pop-punks! Last week I got to sit down and talk to an upcoming band, Hello Japan. The members, Jim Pizappi, Ryan Aubrey, and Kenny Kotala, all go to Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Though they’re just starting out, they already have their journey mapped out, with aspirations set high and dedication to rise up.

Check out their interview to get a glimpse of who they are — you won’t want to forget their names.

Photo credit: Adam Badalamenti

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Song Review: “Parking Lot” And “Misery” From Blink 182’s “California” Deluxe Edition

I was driving around with my older brother this weekend when he mentioned that Blink 182 released two new songs off their upcoming deluxe edition of their recent album, “California.” My jaw hanging open and eyes wide, I told him to put them on immediately, nearly squirming out of my seat. Blink 182 was my childhood — the start of my pop-punk obsession.

I loved both songs instantly. I have to say, I really enjoy Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba’s singing. Of course, Mark’s always impressed me; but I find Matt to be the perfect new band member (though no one will ever replace Tom DeLonge…you broke us, man.)

These two songs are much like “California,” but I find them to be a bit heavier and more like modernized pop-punk. Sure, I totally miss their old content, like that of “Dude Ranch” and “Enema of the State,” but their progression is respected and admired. They are, in fact, nearly 25 years old.

Maybe my soft spot for Blink is much thanks to Travis Barker, whose drumming can make any song sound epic. Regardless, this band will always have my heart. Here’s what I thought about “Parking Lot” and “Misery” — which you need to listen to ASAP!

“Parking Lot”

This song had me hooked from the first second, with its heavy guitar line and modern pop-punk sound. I love the fast-paced melody; sitting in the car, I pictured myself jumping ’90s style at their concert on the outskirts of a mosh pit.

The lyrics are also relevant and reminiscent, which I think is an important characteristic of any song in this genre. My favorite verse is:

I can’t wait ’til I’m off of work
I’ll meet my friends at the Target curb
I rolled my ankle, Matt just broke his wrist
I climbed through your window at 3am
We listened to The Smiths and The Violent Femmes
Yeah, we both sang, “Why can’t I get one kiss?”

Okay, anyone else instantly think HIGH SCHOOL, because I totally did. There’s an innocence in this passage, a reflective voice that begs society to stop stripping today’s youth of a childhood, to quit tearing down and urbanizing places that were once a child’s sanctuary for creating memories. I actually thought they based their chorus of the song “Big Yellow Taxi.” I think Blink is attempting to relay the same message — only in a more satirical┬ámanner.

Also, they brought back their infamous “na-na’s,” like in “All The Small Things.” Major props, guys. No criticism from me on that one.

“Misery”

Okay. I’m a writer. You already knew that. So you probably won’t be surprised to hear me say that these lyrics are everything. I’d choose a favorite line, but I’m afraid I’d be quoting the entire song. There’s some raw emotion in the words of “Misery,” which I’m concluding is about a breakup of two people really only make each other miserable.

I’m a sucker for sad songs, and this one covers that need for me while still hyping me up with a quicker chorus. This piece is definitely my favorite of the two. The verses are personal, the chorus is full of passion and pain, and the bridge just downright breaks my heart:

Fifteen times a night, when the sun’s gone down
In the dark awake, and you’re not around
And the closest thought is the edge of oblivion
Fifteen times a day when you check your phone
And I won’t be there and you’re all alone
‘Cause we always lived on the edge of oblivion
Left to find our way through a Hitchcock film
In an empty bed with an hour to kill
‘Cause it’s only fun on the edge of oblivion (oblivion)

Dammit, Mark. Your voice made that even more excruciating — in the best way, of course.

I’m not the only one who’s captivated by these lines. Nicolette Wescott of Medford, 21-year-old Rowan student and fellow pop-punk, gushed about her love for this song. “It’s kind of different…I really like the guitar and the lyrics!” she said.

Well there you have it — mere opinions of these two pieces. It’s up to you to decide now; what do YOU think about them?

“California” deluxe edition will be released on May 19! Mark your calendar!

(Photo from Pexels.)

Spotlight: Simple Plan Concert in Philadelphia

On Tuesday, March 28, beloved pop-punk band Simple Plan came to Philadelphia to perform at The Fillmore. On this 15-year anniversary tour, Simple Plan played their entire first album, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.

I was lucky enough to attend this legendary concert and meet some pretty great people there. Pop-punk concerts are unlike any other, and I wanted to give you guys a feel of the atmosphere and passion in the venue. I was able to interview a few people who were in the audience — Angela Kotala, Garret Kennel, and Kevin Momat (in that order.) Kevin specifically opened up about the intimacy of the show and some characteristics of this type of audience.

Listen to what they had to say below!