Nostalgic November: The Scene Phase

Looking back at your middle school years, it is no surprise how awkward and cringe worthy your music taste was, how you dressed, and the way you carried yourself. The dreaded “scene phase” is a natural thing and there is no shame in admitting it. From the teased hair to Myspace profiles and layered bracelets, you have to admit the emo lifestyle made you feel cool. This culture created a community of outcasts that shared a common bond of music, clothes, and some of the wackiest trends. It is only appropriate to reminisce about the good ol’ days when our only problem was whether we should dye our hair neon green or pink.

  1. The Hair

To achieve the ultimate “scene” look, the hair was one of the most essential elements. Like any other scene kid, cutting your hair into choppy layers and teasing it was the way to go. The layers, cut short in the back, framed your face while the ever so important fringe added that finishing touch. For those who wanted to stand out, dying your hair was a must, especially the bright, sickly neon colors. I even remember some kids clipping in faux extensions or feathers into their hair. However, many parents were totally against this but that’s what made it cool! The edgier, the better.

2. The Outfit

If you never owned a studded belt were you even a scene kid? The perfect outfit had to go with the perfect hair. Neon skinny jeans in every color were a must. It did not matter if it was a hundred degrees that day, skinny jeans was an essential. Shirts with cheesy graphics were another must-haves. They could have been band shirts, Invader Zim or Hello Kitty merchandise, or superhero logos you wanted them all.The accessories added a finishing touch to the perfect scene outfit. These accessories include the variety of colorful bracelets (i.e. “I Heart Boobies” bracelets), silly bands, and piercings (real or fake). Triple combo points if you wore and layered them.

In addition to the many bracelets or piercings, belts were part of the scene look. From the OG metal studded metal belts to the crazy colored checkered ones, belts made your outfit pop and you were even cooler if you layered them.

3. The Music

The music and the message it sent to these outcast kids is what the scene culture is all about. Bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, All Time Low, and Panic! at the Disco were the leaders of this culture, inspiring kids to embrace themselves contrary to mainstream society. The long song titles and emotional lyrics were just a small part of the emo lifestyle. Songs like My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” bring back memories to jamming out in your bedroom not caring about the world. On the other hand, Panic’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” is an anthem to the rebellious child just because the lyrics have a bad word.

Therefore, the scene phase is an era of self expression. Many people still ridicule it for the weird outfits and cringy mannerisms but it allowed people to be a part of a community that respected each other. I do not take part in the scene life, but to those who are, do ya thang! I’m here for it.

Neighborhood Jams: Copeland

You know those days when you wake up and the sense of autumn is rising just as that early sun is? So you put on your fluffy socks, sip on a warm holiday-themed coffee, and walk outside to feel the crisp morning air* – all of these early morning activities are perfectly matched with this week’s Neighborhood Jam band.

Copeland was formed in 2001 in Lakeland, Florida.  The band currently consists of Aaron Marsh, Bryan Lawrenson, and Stephen Laurenson.  If you had to label their music it would be a combination of Death Cab for Cutie and Young the Giant. Copeland’s songs are slow and powerful accompanied with beautiful string melodies and easygoing guitar riffs. My personal favorite song is I Can Make You Feel Young Again from their latest album Ixora Twin.  I love the solo bass in the beginning, and Marsh’s vocals are deep and soothing.  I also really enjoy the music video that is post below.  The visuals are beautiful from the early morning sunrise, to the underwater scenes with the mermaid. Yes, the mermaid – but trust me, it’s not corny. It actually leaves you with a combination of feelings at the end.

Copeland was recently in San Diego on Wednesday, November 16th, and they played a show at the Irenic with special guest Rae Cassidy for an intimate show with a nearly sold out crowd.  The tour is called “Now | Then” and it is in celebration of playing music for over 13 years. In order to celebrate properly they invited a live string section to join their performance of their songs to the fullest potential.  The band also celebrated by playing songs from all of their albums ranging from their first album Beneath Medicine Tree (2003), to my personal favorite album Eat, Sleep, Repeat (2006), to their latest album from last year Ixora Twin.  This tour is one for the long-time fans, and Copeland is absolutely killin’ it right now.  Fans love hearing singles from all of their favorite albums.

Be sure to give them a listen and definitely check out the music video above.  And give them a like on their Facebook page so you can stay in the know with their current tour.


*Yes, I know we live in San Diego, and there is a new heatwave every week. Instead of socks we wear flip flops; instead of hot coffee it’s always iced.  But let’s pretend it’s actually the middle of November and the leaves are changing colors.




Nostalgic November: Remembering Leonard Cohen

Amidst the political disgruntle and protests sparked by America’s passionate youth, the world lost an icon, musician Leonard Cohen, on November 7, 2016. Leonard was what many described him as an “unlikely musical icon”. He was not the best singer nor an over the top performer. In other words, Cohen was the complete opposite of David Bowie. However, what he lacked in stage presence, he made up for with beautiful lyrics, enchanting melodies, and songs that will last a lifetime. “Hallelujah” is one of those songs that will remain a timeless masterpiece.

Born on September 21, 1934, Leonard Cohen lived in Montreal, Canada with his Jewish family. It was here that Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Canada also awarded him the highest form of civilian honor, admission into the Companion of the Order of Canada.

In  1967, Cohen released his first LP called Songs of Leonard Cohen which features one of my favorite songs called “Winter Lady”. The simplistic yet deep lyricism and composition are Cohen trademarks that, nonetheless, deem him as one of the greats. He released his most recent album You Want It Darker three weeks before his death on October 21. However, Cohen’s most popular album is still his 1988 release of I’m Your Man. Taking a more modernistic approach, this LP incorporates synthesizers and an upbeat 80s sound.

Besides writing songs, Cohen was also a writer, receiving the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award in literature. He also published Book of Longing in 2006 which features 167 unpublished works and drawings. Cohen wrote these works during his stay at a Zen monastery from 1994 to 1999 and his trips to India. Spirituality greatly influenced his life and transcended to his music.

Nevertheless, Cohen remained true to his Jewish heritage and on November 10 was laid to rest with a Jewish rite. His two children and two grandchildren continue his legacy in poetry and music, captivating audiences worldwide. His themes of sexuality, politics, religion, and social justice inspire artists to this day and act as a reminder of the true testament music holds.


How to Get Through the Week: A 3 Step Guide

It’s no surprise to anyone that this past week has been nothing short of stressful and emotional, for everyone. Whether it be because of the recent political news, to ongoing civil rights movements, to something as simple and common as midterms, it’s been quite the ride for everyone.

So, with that said, here’s a three step guide to how I’ve gotten through the week, in hopes that it’ll lift your spirits and help you get through yours:

Make a playlist (Or five):

I have a tendency to make playlists based on what I’m feeling. Going out for a run or a good workout? Definitely have a playlist lined up to get me pumped, ranging from Fall Out Boy to Eminem. A little mellow on a rainy day? Nothing but jazzy tunes with Michael Buble and some good old Frank Sinatra. Lately, I’ve been needing a bit more of a positive boost of motivation and patriotism due to how our politics have been, and the Hamilton soundtrack never fails to get my day started.

(Disclaimer: I definitely try and rap along with the song, but it’s not exactly easy following in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s shoes.)

Bingewatch your favorite show:

Thank god for Netflix, right? You can’t go wrong with any form of a Netflix original series, from the recent hit, Stranger Things, to documentary series like Making a Murderer. Personally, I’ve been experimenting with series that have been around for awhile, like Mad Men and Scandal. But easy go to’s are always the Marvel Netflix series. (Here’s a hint: if you want to watch the “properly” the order is how the shows were released. Daredevil’s season one and two, then Jessica Jones, and finally Luke Cage. Definitely try to catch up before Iron Fist and The Defenders premieres sometime within the next couple of years.)


(Source: Netflix via

And lastly, pick up something new.

Whether it be a new hobby/show/music choice or food, picking up something new is always a refreshing way to mix things up in your life. Because I work at a bookstore, treating myself to a new book is always a mood booster. Despite the continuously growing stacks of books in my room that I haven’t touched yet. Here’s the latest book I’ve added to my collection and currently reading through. Sam Maggs novel, “The Fangirl’s ‘Guide to the Galaxy” is not only 100% appropriate to have and own in my personal library, but it’s relatively accurate in the writing and just cute and empowering overall.



And with that, I hope these little tips and tricks help you get through the week. Whether it be because of midterms or something much greater, let’s all just do our best to help each other grow and succeed in life as much as possible.

Also, if you found this topic interesting, or at the very least appreciate my subtle nerdy references and puns, I host an evening talk show on Saturdays at 7 PM PST! The show is called “Bingeworthy”, and I cohost the show with my friend Kentaro Kawasaki. Come tune in Saturday nights and follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Soundcloud at @KCRBingeworthy.

(Header image source: Nickelodeon via Spongebob Squarepants)