Keep Rockin’, Pop-Punks

Well, guys…looks like this is the end of my show. Will I come back for my encore someday? It’s very possibly. But for now, I need to focus on my other passions.

I started this blog for my online journalism class in hopes to reach many other outcast pop-punks and rockers like me. While I wish I had the time and resources (and guts, for that matter) to have created better quality content, I’m happy with this blog and the posts I’ve written/made. I learned a lot in this course, from recording and editing video interviews to building up enough courage to ask someone for an interview. It’s not easy being a reporter on a deadline, but I must say that I love the job and the people I’ve met along the way.

I hope to create more content from time to time when I’m not too busy with work (just graduated and am starting full-time as a business journalist in New York soon — ah!!) But for now, I may take awhile adjusting. I’d like to cover some summer concerts, like the Blinkin Park one that I am DYING TO GO TO! So please — stay tuned…

…and keep rockin’.

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 manner.

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!

Spotlight: Ivy Inn in Princeton, N.J.

I’ve been on the hunt for a laid back bar with live music for awhile now. Of course, I’m sure there are many to choose from in the area; but I wanted to spotlight a place that’s adored by its crowd, one whose atmosphere is as kick-ass as the bands who perform there.

Ivy Inn sits right on Nassau Street in Princeton, essentially in the downtown area. When I visited this Sunday to snap some shots of the stage, it was relatively empty — but I could still get a sense of atmosphere from the night before. The bar was quiet, a few people chatting with the bartender like old friends. I got a sense that the pub sees familiar faces each week, which adds to the magic of it.

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Ivy Inn has its own parking lot in downtown Princeton where music-lovers and beer-drinkers gather for live music and DJs. Though relatively small, it’s an inviting pub with friendly faces welcoming you as soon as you walk in.
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When you first step inside, you’ll see a pool table to the right for some drunken games with old friends.
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A corner bar with a few stools, this spot has a perfect view of the stage.
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The main bar is lined with chairs, and there’s a booth in the corner that could fit a whole group. “The rich history of Princeton, along with some wood paneling from a basement in 1975, makes each show at the Ivy unforgettable,” said the Seth Tieger Band, a New Jersey based band that performs here regularly, covering songs by bands from Bon Jovi to Paramore.
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On Fridays and Saturdays, live bands perform after 10p.m. “Even though the stage is the size of a postage stamp, the energy that can be projected from that little corner is incredible,” said the Seth Tieger Band. When the band starts playing, the people start crowding around, dancing and singing ’til closing time.
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You can sit with some bar food and a couple of beers with entertainment all around you. The local bands play.

From the words of the the Seth Tieger Band: “We love the Ivy because there is always a built-in crowd that is ready to rock…”

Sunny Day Playlist

It’s been nice and warm here in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, with temperatures far above average. I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts feeling like spring after a long, dreadful winter, my music choices shift drastically. I no longer dwell in self pity by listening to the slow and heartbreaking songs of this genre. Instead, I blast the upbeat, yet still somehow still raw and emotional (those deep lyrics, man…) tunes that make you wanna drive for hours with the windows down.

Just me? Maybe. But at least give this sunny day playlist a shot:

These songs, from In Too Deep by Sum 41 to Must Have Done Something Right by Relient K, will be sure to feed your sense of adventure and kick start the months to come. Whenever I listen to this playlist, I can just picture myself in a music video running along the ocean, laughing like I don’t have three papers due this week…(oops.)

Whether the temps are just approaching 50 degrees or well over 70, take advantage of the Vitamin D, get outdoors, and dance your ass off!

(Image from Pexels.com)

Why Everyone Should Listen to Rock and Pop-Punk Music

It’s evident that not everyone is as passionate about this genre (or technically, two genres — rock and pop-punk) as I am, and that’s okay. But I’d like to point out the many reasons why this style of music is so important to me — and should be to you, too.

The band members play instruments.

In a world of EDM and pop, which are both great in their own ways, it’s refreshing to hear a group of musicians writing and playing their own songs, with each member getting credit for their talent rather than just the singer. To me, music is the entire package — the vocals, the drums, the base, the guitar, etc. I’m a sucker for that basement band sound, the raw talent and emotion behind each hit.

I may not strike you as the kinda girl who blasts angry Blink songs (like Shut Up) while getting ready for a nice dinner date, but I totally am; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The music gets me pumped and excited for just about anything.

The musicians in this genre have no shame.

Seriously, they don’t give a shit (and they shouldn’t!) They focus on their music and their fans — that’s all. The bands run out on stage wearing T-shirts and jeans, or whatever the hell they want; and the crowd follows suit. Personally, I could care less if you’re a pretty boy in your twenties with perfect teeth or a fifty-year-old with a dad-bod and scruffy face — if you make good music, I’m gonna listen to and support you.

When their voice cracks, it adds to the emotion of the song. When they wanna scream or dance with no sense of rhythm, they don’t think twice. They are real performers, and they don’t try to be like anyone else.

The lyrics will break your heart, and then be there to pick up the pieces.

I am all about lyrics. If I didn’t have severe stage fright and a timid voice, I’d be the lead singer and lyricist of my own rock band. Instead, I’m just a journalist writing reviews on music I wish I could be a bigger part of — but I’ll take what I can get.

Many songs in this genre have lyrics that are poetic and even comforting in a sense. I’ve made it through my darkest times in life, dealing with my OCD, breakups, losses and other hardships, by listening to this type of music. I live for songs like The Devil in My Bloodstream by The Wonder Years, Navy Blue by The Story So Far, Late Nights In My Car by Real Friends, Untitled by Knuckle Puck and Shipboard Cook by Third Eye Blind. Okay, I can go on for hours…but I’ll let you start there.

The performances are ones you will never forget.

…unless some mosher decides to accidentally whack you in the face and you black out. Kidding (kinda.) I’ve only been to a handful so far, seeing as I just recently started listening to this style of music (outside of Blink, who I grew up with of course), but I’ve already seen Blink, Panic!, Safety Suit, The Wonder Years, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Third Eye Blind and a couple of others. I am so hooked that I just bought tickets to Simple Plan, Mayday Parade, Real Friends and Knuckle Puck (way more to come, obviously!)

Let me tell you, I was blown away at how emotional each concert was. Now it’s not hard to bring me to tears, but I had chills for days after each, captivated by the music and the energy in general. Music to me is about channeling your pain and experiences through art in order to share them with others, helping them through similar issues. The entire community, despite the stereotype of being angry f*ck-ups, is kind and accepting. When I’m at a show, I feel at home, singing along to lyrics that have essentially saved me in so many ways.

This quote by Dan Campbell (or “Soupy”) from The Wonder Years summarizes my exact thoughts and feelings on this topic:

“There’s a reason we all listen to punk rock instead of top 40. There’s a reason I’d rather be stage diving than at a bar. I think that most everyone I know involved in punk or hardcore is intrinsically fucked up on some level. There is something wrong with us. Maybe not ‘wrong,’ but certainly different. Because of this, I think we all share a similar outlook and because of that, we share similar experiences. I’m just writing songs about my life, but as it turns out, my life is pretty similar to a lot of other people’s lives and honestly, it feels good to know we’re going through this shit together.”

If that doesn’t inspire you to give this genre a shot, I don’t know what will…*drops mic*

(Image from Pexels.com)

5 Rock Bands You May Not Know Are From The South Jersey/Philadelphia Area

It’s always exciting to hear about awesome success stories of people who started off in your town, or a twenty-minute drive away from where you grew up. Philadelphia, as well as South Jersey, has bred some talented musicians of various genres across the board.

Here are five rock/pop punk groups from the area:

  1. Modern Baseball

    This rock group started out in 2012 at Drexel University in Philadelphia. It’s crazy to me that a band this popular attended the same college my friend does, one that I can easily commute to. Too bad I didn’t visit when they were there; maybe I could’ve bumped into them at a frat and somehow become their lyricist? Wishful thinking.

    Their music is a bit indie at times, which I find interesting and enthralling for a predominantly pop punk band. They’ve had much success already in their career, performing with other well known bands like Knuckle Puck.

  2. Man Overboard

    I am especially excited about this band, seeing as they’re from Mt. Laurel and Williamstown in South Jersey, which is right near my college, Rowan University. They’ve been around since 2008 and live by their motto, “Defend Pop Punk.” Definitely support them on that.

    I find their music to be more pop than some of the other bands in their genre, but they totally pull it off. Whenever I listen to them, I’m instantly in a better mood.

  3. Circa Survive

    Circa Survive had an interesting takeoff in Philly suburb Doylestown, where two old friends Anthony Green and Colin Frangicetto called it quits on some prior commitments to start the band in 2004. It’s as though they were meant to make music together, after leaving other groups and forming this one. I think it’s touching, personally.

    Perhaps it’s the writer in me speaking, but I think one of the main reasons I love this band is their lyrics, which are raw and poetic. Check out there 10 Year Anniversary video!

  4. Cayetana

    It’s not often you hear of an all-female rock band, so props to this trio for doing what I always dreamed of (but was way too timid to even consider trying.) Their inspiring journey is just part of why I adore them, along with their edgy Indie style and power to make a lasting impression.

    When I first read about them, I was wary, having never learned of them before; but as soon as I shuffled their Spotify, I became undeniably fascinated and hooked.

  5. The Wonder Years

    Okay, so they’re from Lansdale, PA…but they’re still a Philadelphia-based pop punk band, and they happen to be one of my absolute favorites! The Wonder Years had an impact on my decision to start listening to this genre of music, when I first heard their song “Came Out Swinging” last year (I was very late to the scene, I know.) I then did my typical “let’s play this song on repeat for the next ten days” act that drove my roommate crazy before finally branching out to their other songs (which are just as incredible, by the way.)

    When I saw them at Sherman Theater last year, I was shocked at how great they sounded despite being live. Almost got moshed in the face, but it was totally worth it. To me, they are the definition of pop-punk.

(Image from Pexels.com)