Tag Archives: Pop-Punk

Joey DiCamillo and Kevin Sardy of Batten Down The Hatches Speak Up.

Now this is a pretty long intense interview with NJ locals Batten Down the Hatches, so I’m not going to bother with an intro, just read up and enjoy. If you wanna go give them a listen yourself, links for their Facebook and assorted what not’s are down at the bottom. Enjoy.

Sam Acevedo: So first off, you guys just played a show with I Call Fives and Major League, how does did it feel sharing a stage with bands that big?

Kevin Sardy: Honestly, it feels amazing to even get the chance to share a stage with those guys. Not only because they’re great musicians and artists, but also because they are such cool guys and such big inspirations to myself, as well as all the other guys I’m sure.

Joey DiCamillo: There’s a bit of a story behind that show.  East Coast Killer Productions was getting a show together for We Still Dream and Challenges at our local VFW, and I Call fives wanted to hop on. We were invited to play that show (it being our hometown and all) however about the same time, Nick from major league hit me up about getting them a freehold date on the same day. Needless to explain I hit up the booking company and we combined both lineups into one big ridiculous event.  We couldn’t have been more stoked! it was such an awesome night, Actually playing on the same bill as I Call Fives was a first for us, and every time we play with Major League its ALWAYS a good time.  To round off everything our good friends in Giants at Large were on the bill too, and we got to hang with those characters again. Everyone in all the bigger touring bands were SO down to earth and cool to us. Mike from IC5 even took the time to show me stuff about his gear after the show!

Sam Acevedo: Batten Down The Hatches has started generating a real fanbase and following in Jersey, what does it mean to you guys to actually have fans?

Kevin Sardy: To me it’s not as if we have fans, it’s like we have friends that are joining us and pushing us to be better at what we do and come out with bigger and better things.

Joey DiCamillo: Honestly, Kevin said this best. It’s like we have a ton of friends that come out to support us in doing what we love, and continually give us motivation to do so. having anyone go out of their way for us is such an awesome, indescribable feeling. I’m never going to get used to anyone telling me they know my band or downloaded our music. We couldn’t be more grateful for everyone that helped us get to where we are today.

Sam Acevedo: Which has been the band’s favorite show so far? Best show story?

Kevin Sardy: Personally I couldn’t pick just one. Our release show for See This Through was incredible, our first trip out to Connecticut to play with our good friends in Casting Call was incredible, Philly with all our friends out there has been incredible too. There’s just too many to pick from, all were fun!

Joey DiCamillo: Dude … There’s a bunch I’d like to share about everything involving last minute lineup miracles, to having it feel like hurricane harbor on your body because the basement we were playing in was easily over 100 degrees, Fahrenheit that is. I definitely have one story that I’m never going to forget though.Over the summer, days before our E.P. release, our friends in Giants at Large needed a show in Freehold. We were planning on throwing a backyard show at my friend Alyssa’s house. As it would happen though, the day before the show was supposed to happen the weather called for a definite chance of rain. So LITERALLY the night before, I called up our good friend Katherine and asked if we can use her really nice, large, and particularly well furnished living room to host 5 bands and about 40 kids. Hysterically she said yes, and we all came over early that morning to move EVERYTHING out of the way. It was beyond a great time, house shows like that are ALWAYS a blast we played with no pants on, and this was probably the first show that kids new the words to our song too and went hard. Crowd surfing in a living room is something you don’t forget. Our boy Drew even filmed the whole thing from ABOVE us on a little balcony, here’s a link to the video!

Sam Acevedo: I can see on your Facebook that you have some out of state shows coming up, can you tell us more about those?

Kevin Sardy: I cannot wait to get out of Jersey and extend our fan-base. I haven’t traveled much before the band. I only went to NY and Philly and Rhode Island before the band came into my life so it’s pretty much obvious I’m stoked as hell to go make some friends in North Carolina, Virginia, West Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and upstate N.Y.

Joey DiCamillo: We’re always trying to play out state as much as possible, and hit the road hard on some weekenders. Our good friends in first Things First hit us up in Janurary about doing a weekender or two, and now somehow we have pretty much all of March booked up! Besides the first weekend that we’re going out with our dudes in Galleries, every date will be with First Things First, and Random Holiday will even be joining us for the last weekend! We’re  so excited to be out on the road with good friends, and can’t wait to play/hang/rage everywhere. We’re thinking about calling it “March Madness” and will have a poster up soon with all the info and a somewhat clever graphic! We hope to make a bunch of awesome new friends, and crash on your floors and stuff.

Sam Acevedo: “I Build Igloos Not Relationships” has over 4k plays on Facebook, what’s that song about?

Kevin Sardy: That’s for Johnny to say, I can’t wirte lyrics for the life of me. I don’t know how he does it.

Joey DiCamillo: It’s about building fortified structures out of packed ice and snow instead of forming nuturing bonds with other individuals. Most notably ones that screw you over. And that take your lunch money.

Sam Acevedo: A lot of bands aspire to be where BDTH is now, playing out of state shows, sharing the stage with bands like I Call Fives, do you have an advice for bands just starting up?

Kevin Sardy: Don’t do it to be “big.” Do it to have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong field yanno? Do something because you love it and believe in it.

Joey DiCamillo: Dude, we’re all just kids playing and doing what we love to do. Me and Bryan have been in bands since like freshman year of highschool and playing out since sophmore year. We’ve always looked up to everyone that we were so fortunate to share a music scene with, and back then and even now, more than ever I’m taking the time to talk and listen to other bands about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Some of the most important and most constant advice we always heard was “keep playing” I’m always passing that lesson down to everyone and anyone we meet that’s a little younger or less experienced. The only thing I’ve ever been completely honest and sure about in my life is the love and desire to play music. I just followed what I loved and wanted to do it to every extent that I could. All of us actually used to be in bands that we felt nobody truly cared about, and that were just in the scene with a bunch of other more experienced dudes. But all of us “kept playing” and here we are answering all these questions because you truly care about all the things our bands been doing!  I never thought we’d be here, however I do believe that that transition for us holds a greater metaphorical lesson within itself about getting to where you want to be.

Sam Acevedo: Now you guys played a backyard show not too long ago in Perth Amboy, now that you’re playing bigger shows would you ever consider doing it again?

Kevin Sardy: Hell yeah! Perth Amboy kids treated us like family and plan on playing there again soon. You also can’t forget about the house shows in Freehold, Asbury, and Hamilton. House shows are sometimes better than venued shows, as long as everyone is respectful of where they are.

Joey DiCamillo: HELL YES! Dude, we always love playing backyard shows, and espicialy Buddha’s backyard! Kevin was totally right where he said everyone there treated us like family and it was such an awesome time. We’re totally looking forward to the next one, we’ll always be down to play and hang with the Perth Amboy crew!

Sam Acevedo: Finally, do you have any big upcoming plans, shows, album releases, merch or anything like that you wanna let us know about?

Kevin Sardy: Well I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but we recently put up a bigcartel. We’re also releasing a 3 song EP very soon. At the moment it’s called “Beginnings.” We plan on putting out a sweet live shot shirt designed by Brianonymous Merch Design. This summer we’re going to be putting together a Blink-182 tribute show, and this is on the down-low, but we’re planning on playing lots of out of state shows over the summer on something called a tour.

Joey DiCamillo: Oh man do we ever! Okay so first off we got a new E.P. dropping in about 2 weeks or so (we ALWAYS say that, but this time for real). We had a lot of silly delays and stuff, mostly cause Adam didn’t take his laxatives prior to recording. It’s called “Beginings” its got three new songs, and some freaking killer artwork done by our boy Kevin Gomez. We’re thinking about throwing in some extra surprises and stuff but you’ll see when it drops! We also just launched our bigcartel site to now sell all of our merch online! We will personaly send it out in the mail and spray Kevin’s perfume on it, so don’t sleep on ordering! And finaly definitely keep an eye out for all of “March Madness” dates, as well as the second round of the break contest on march 11th! If everyone makes it out then we can add Bamboozle to the next list of upcoming plans!

Sam Acevedo: Any final words or shout outs?

Kevin Sardy: I would like to make a few shout outs to some good friends of mine, starting with NJ-TownProductions. He’s a phenomanol photographer and videographer and does some amazing work. He’s been with us from the start capturing almost every moment along the way. He’s worth hiring and will not disappoint. Secondly I would like to shout out to all our friends who are no longer with us. Boardwalks and Sky Harbor. Our best friends. We will forever miss you guys. Lastly, I’d like to shout out to all the bands that are helping us out, Giants At Large, Casting Call, Major League, Coming Clean, Galleries, This Time Around, Touchdown Boy, and Natives. All of these bands are definitely worth listening to and everyone and anyone should check them out. Other than that, thanks for picking us to be interviewed! It was fun and I would gladly do it again!

Joey DiCamillo: Well considering that I’ve already shouted out and listed almost all of our friends bands in another interview, I’m going to have to shout out our boy’s who were in Sky Harbor and supposed to be filling the second half our E.P., we’re brothers for life and everyone should check up on what they’re currently doing music wise, and we definitely have to shout out our boys who comprise our immediate crew who help us with EVERYTHING whether its moving gear, running the merch stand our filming and taking photos of every step along the way. You guys know who you are. And most importantly we need shout Dunkin’ Donuts Mint Hot Chocolate, and our amazing hometown crew for some of the best fucking times ever and helping us get where we are today. We hope anybody reading this makes their way out to show and gets to experience what we’re talking about!

There you have it, Batten Down the Hatches don’t seem to be slowing down at all, make sure you check them out this March as they tour around the east coast. Later.

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Defend Atlantic City Live Review.

So I went to go see Neighborhoods, True Things, Handguns, and Man Overboard in Atlantic City yesterday. I didn’t expect too much out of Neighborhoods and True Things, I had already seen Handguns before so I knew what to expect, and with all the hype around MO I was really excited to see what they’d be like live. So this is how it went.

Neighborhoods, honestly I can’t do a fair review of their performance because half way into their first or second song some guy got knocked out, and I helped carry him outside and look after him until paramedics arrived. They weren’t exceptionally heavy enough to merit that kind of thing happening, some kids just like to hate mosh and crowd kill. From what I did see though, they were great, awkwardly tall, but great. No big slip ups, and a great frontman, I didn’t get to see their whole set though, so that’s all I can really say.

Surprisingly enough Handguns took the stage before True Things, and just like the last time I saw them, it was awesome. The thing about a Handguns show, is that Taylor is the shit, greatest frontman I’ve ever personally seen live. The amount of energy he can draw out of a crowd is ridiculous and he’s just so personal with everyone, taking peoples hats and smiling the entire time he’s on stage.

True Things went on next and I was completely caught off guard. I had no idea what to expect, but the reaction they got from the crowd, the energy and movement on the stage, it was all there. I did hear a slip up here and there from bassist/vocalist James Corbi, but considering how much he was moving around while singing, it’s completely passable.

Headliner time, the big dudes, Man Overboard. So these guys hop on stage and after taking a bit to set up and get things rolling, they get to it. Now I had never seen them live and my only impression of them or their fans was from their music, so I didn’t expect the 20,000 kids that flew over me as soon as Zac started singing. The crowd was absolutely insane, but MO themselves, I gotta say, I wasn’t impressed. A lot of musicians have this problem with being an energetic frontman and playing an instrument at the same time, but both Nick (MO) and James (True Things) had no problem hyping up the crowd and playing while Zac really fell short. The other problem I had with them was that their replacement guitarist didn’t really do anything, it was like a Zac and Nick show and it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall it was a great show though, tons of fun, I’d recommend anyone go see Handguns or True Things anyday, Man Overboard not so much, and I really need to check out Neighborhoods again because from what I saw they were putting on a good show, but I just couldn’t see enough, later.

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An Interview With Alex Vazquez of Weigh The Wind

Alex Vazquez former drummer for Sky Harbor, Shout Out the Crowd, Jack the King, The Worst is Yet to Come, and who knows what else, recently let me in on some details about his reunion with Weigh the Wind and fallout with Shout Out the Crowd. Check it out.

Sam Acevedo: So why exactly did you and SOTC split?

Alex Vazquez: (After a quick laugh) Well shit between me and John’s mom… she was bad mouthing me behind my back… you can just say the band and i “had our differences.”

Sam Acevedo: Wow the last thing I was expecting was someone’s mom being involved. After the breakup what put the idea of a reunion with WtW in your head?

Alex Vazquez: Well it wasn’t just me. It was Joel and Jenna as well. Jenna and I were gonna start a side project punk group, but Joel wanted to start jamming again. We then came up with the idea to start up again. Also with a fourth member (Jorge) on lead guitar.

Sam Acevedo: So you guys finally got that second guitar you wanted, has it changed your sound at all?

Alex Vazquez: Absolutely. He definitely gives us that fuller sound we’ve been looking for. Jorge is honestly the most talented guitarist I’ve ever jammed with. Not only has he come up with excellent leads in our new material, but he came up with leads for our old EP as well.

Sam Acevedo: Speaking of new music, what kind of stuff can we expect out of WtW and when do you think you’ll have it up on Facebook?

Alex Vazquez: Well we’ve definitely matured in our sound. We haven’t necessarily changed it, we’ve just become more well-rounded as a group. Expect the same catchy choruses in the new material, but also expect the music to be much more intense. We’re planning on releasing a full length, but we’re not sure when at the moment. We’re still writing and prepping for shows.

Sam Acevedo: Going back to BrokenSound for that? (BrokenSound recording)

Alex Vazquez: Actually, we’re not sure yet. We’re thinking of going to Vince Ratti, who recorded The Wonder Years’ concept album “The Upsides”. He’s a really chill dude, and I’ve worked with him before so we’re hoping he’s available when we’re ready to record.

Sam Acevedo: Wow, that’s pretty intense, sounds like a decent bit of cash too. last question, do you guys have a set date for the reunion show or any ideas of where you want it to be?

Alex Vazquez: Honestly, Vince isn’t that expensive. He’s very fair with his pricing/payments as well. In terms of a reunion show, we’d like to get something huge set up, but we don’t know when and where. Hopefully before April since we’re dying to show the world our new material.

Well there you go, you can follow Weigh the Wind here, and stay posted for follow ups and more interviews with local bands headed your way. Later.

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“Our fans define us.” – Chad Gilbert

I recently read an old article on AltPress where Chad Gilbert talks about Pop-Punk not being dead and what it means. Over all it was a great essay, but one line struck out to me more than anything. “Our fans define us.”

As soon as I read it the little voice in my head turned into Patrick Stump singing “Make us poster boys in the scene, but we are not making an acceptance speech.” Then it turned into Handguns and told me that they aren’t a Pop-Punk band, despite what their 16,000+ fans on Last.FM say. Then it was Gerard Way calling emo “fucking garbage.”

I guess it’s a difficult concept to submit to, after all New Found Glory has been around for over 14 years and it took Chad this long to realize it; but I think it’s something that every band should come to grips with. Without fans, bands are just 5 dudes hitting shit, trying to impress a wall or deafen themselves or something. I get where Gerard Way and the members of Handguns are coming from though, I used to think I was in a Pop-Punk band and if anyone said we were CrunkCore I probably would have been at least a little offended, so their defense of themselves is completely understandable. But in the end Chad is right, if you have 17 million fans and they all say you’re a Christian Folk Metal band, then I guess that’s what you are, genres are just names after all, and without those 17 million fans you wouldn’t be able to live your dream, so you owe it to them to call you whatever they want.

At the end of the day, being in a band is about playing the music you love, call it whatever you want but I play what I want, and I like to think that’s how most musicians out there work. So if you’re in a band, don’t complain about what someone calls you, the only reason they’re calling you anything is because they’re listening, and that’s exactly what you wanted.

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Man Overboard, Handguns, Neighborhoods, True Things: Defend Atlantic City

Just got my tickets to Defend Atlantic City. SO stoked, see you guys there, expect a review of the show the day after.

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Defend Pop …. Punk???

So everyone’s heard those three words that make my skin crawl “Defend Pop-Punk,” now before I get bombarded by xxSuperPop-Punkerxx for slamming her favorite band, this has nothing to with Man Overboard, I like them. This has everything to do with one simple question that I get asked whenever I bring up Pop-Punk, and that’s, “What IS Pop-Punk?” So it sounds stupid, I know, but think about it, everyone from Green Day to Transit to Four Year Strong are considered Pop-Punk, and I’m not sure about you, but to me, that makes no sense at all. Now again I’m not slamming anyone, I love each of those bands equally, except for Transit, I haven’t given them a shot yet much to the dismay of my significant other. All that I’m saying is that there’s got to be a line somewhere, and why the hell hasn’t it been drawn yet.

I’m personally a 90’s kid, Nirvana all way, I have an RHCP tattoo on my wrist and I still think Bass refers to an actual instrument rather than something that should at some point “drop.” The thing about 90’s music was that it was relatively well defined, you had your grunge and you knew it was grunge, you had your punk and you knew it was punk, every now and again you’d get a band that bitch-slapped those defining lines and that’s cool, that’s what music needs, what music doesn’t need is a band hoarding mindset that I’ve experienced in Pop-Punk. When I first joined a Pop-Punk band and got deeper into the scene I started to realize that EVERYTHING was Pop-Punk, from Cartel to Bayside, I even had a dude tell me that Attack! Attack! was a Pop-Punk band once. I’m not opposed to this for the sake of being opposed to it, or writing about it because it pisses me off, I’m writing about because it feels like without a defining line of separation between genres, a lot of kids are going to feel nervous when exploring other genres … AND because it pisses me off.

I was 15 and into Slipknot, big time, little by little I somehow got into Trapt, for those of you who don’t know that’s like loving The Devil Wears Prada and then listening to New Found Glory. Naturally I was afraid to tell my friends about it because, well because I was a metal head. So imagine if Slipknot and Trapt were both considered “Super-Gigaflux-Hypermetal,” for the sake of argument, now it might seem like that might be cool, like maybe now I won’t get picked on for listening to Trapt AND Slipknot. Well, yes and no, yes because yea, I won’t get picked on, but no because if Trapt and Slipknot are both the same genre than what the hell isn’t “Super-Gigaflux-Hypermetal” and when I start listening and experimenting with that, then I’m REALLY tempting the Gods of childhood bullying. See what I’m trying to say?

If genre surfing is a normal occurrence then, I assume, more often than not, less people will be frightened of doing it openly and more people will be exposed to more music.

I’m not one to identify a problem and then do nothing about it, so I devised a solution. From now on, in this blog, I will refer to Pop-Punk like most people refer to Ska, in three generations (see, there’s a method to my madness). The list is as follows::

Generation 1: 90’s-esq Pop-Punk, I.E. blink 182, Green Day, New Found Glory.

Generation 2: “Commercial” Pop-Punk, I.E. The Wonder Years, Major League, Handguns, The Story So Far

Generation 3: Indie inspired Pop-Punk, I.E. Transit, Man Overboard

…….. Four Year Strong is Easycore, get over it.

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Track by Track Review: Patronize Me: Darkest Shade of Blue EP

January 2012 and Perth Amboy locals Patronize Me release their maiden effort Darkest Shade of Blue EP.

Patronize Me @ The Basement in Perth Amboy, NJ

Everyone is tired of Pop-Punk, there I said it, and if you agree with me, even a tiny bit, you should really check out Patronize Me. These guys ARE the new wave, they’re Pop-Punk influenced, NOT inspired, and can go a long way in opening eyes to another side of music that I haven’t heard anything from in a while.

The opening track of Darkest Shade is “Give Up” which, given it’s softer disposition, is a surprisingly catchy song and really highlights vocalist/guitarists Patrick Minogue’s vocal versatility and indie inspired guitar playing. Initially hard to detect is Arcadio Rivera’s subtle but precise keyboard work that, along with Patrick’s Muse inspired vocals, carry the song and guided, rather than forced me, as a listener, to really feel what the song is about. It isn’t without blemishes though; the awkward interlude before the final chorus seems a bit sloppy at times before fixing itself and overall providing a taste of the other side of Patronize Me that we hear more of in their title track “The Darkest Shade of Blue” and the closing track of the EP “The Last Bridge.”

Now before you even go out and illegally download this CD, I’ve got to warn you all, “The Darkest Shade of Blue,” is probably going to be one of the most interesting tracks you’ve heard in a long time, perfectly mixing Pop-Punk with an Alt-Rock sound that’ll make your jaw drop and curse yourself for not thinking of it first, or maybe it’s just me. Starting with a quick drum solo and then lending itself to a guitar complete with Pop-Punk-esq triplets and start-stops that seem to melt into a mid-90s blues track, right of the bat you know this is something special. Filled with great bass work and the same triplets and start-stops throughout this is just an overall amazing composition. Even the guitar and bass solos seem to fit perfectly together, and from a musicians standpoint, that’s a hard thing to do, it’s obvious that these guys have a lot of musical chemistry and know each other pretty well as musicians. The only honest downside to the track are the keys that feel a little out of place in the forefront of the song whenever they show up, during the production process it might have been a better idea for them to have been more in the background of the song like they are in “Give Up,” as opposed to being the loudest things in the musical field, it just sounds a bit off, not bad, just misguided.

“Just wait … and You’ll See:” initially I was very turned off and disappointed in this song solely because the vocals seem to be in the same key as in the opening track, and in a bands first five song EP ever produced, you almost expect each song to be as different as they can be while maintaining that sound that sets it apart apart from the rest. But then I got over it. In  the 90s with Cobain’s monotone vocals and today with A Day To Remember’s every-song-on-the-album-in-the-same-key style of writing, songs sounding slightly the same isn’t too much a problem, but rather a pitfall to try and avoid whenever possible. Vocal key aside, the song itself really gives the band a personality, after listening to the entire track I knew who these guys were and what they stood for. The bouncy guitar break about midway through the song seemed a bit random, but that’s in no way a bad thing, unlike Patrick’s repetition of the word “sick” shortly after that,which WAS random in a bad way, and a bit awkward to listen to.

I’ve got a little story for you, writer sits down in a smokey, hemp filled room with his friends to listen to and review a CD for his blog, writer blasts music and everyone shuts up and starts grooving, that’s exactly what happened to me when I turned on Patronize Me’s next track off of Darkest Shade, “The Best of Solitude.” Immediately I was bombarded with “Who are these guys?” and “This is the kinda s**t I’m talkin’ about.” It seemed like everyone had something good to say about this song and it’s all because of groove dropped by bassist Alberto Roa and complemented flawlessly by drummer Tony Bonilla and Patrick’s guitar. While writing this review I had to restart this track about 20 times, half because of friendly requests by people in the room, and half because I was enjoying myself way too much. This track, 10/10, no question, by this point in the EP Patrick’s vocals are so unique and dominating that I’m anticipating seeing these guys live just to find out if he sounds the same in person. Everything in this song blends together just the way it should, from the keys to the drums and guitar and bass and especially the vocals. All in all, this track just cannot get enough praise from me, top shelf boys, top shelf.

We’ve arrived at the final song on the album fittingly titled “The Last Bridge”. So I play this guy and I hear some very nicely written piano, and some pseudo-experimental drums and then BAM, distortion, muffled vocals, grooving bass, a blast of power that this EP was missing to give it everything an Alt-Rock aficionado needs to validate Patronize Me as a force to be reckoned with. Just as fast as it starts the distortion and power ends and Patrick’s unique voice forces it’s way in with a note that may be a bit too high for him at the moment, but still sounds pleasing overall. Just as in “Give Up” Arcadio manages to play perfectly in the pocket and deserves an honorable mention for the intro and outro of the song.

CD over, I find myself in awe. I started this review with the intention of trying to pick out the great from the good, and I ended up having to force myself into finding what was wrong with most of the tracks. In the span of five short songs I went from thinking this was an EP made by just another band, into respecting every member of Patronize Me so much more than I already did. Every slight hiccup the EP has ends up as just a forgettable little flaw in an otherwise great effort by a band truly doing their own thing and seeming to not care about what anyone else thinks. If you want to listen to some Patronize Me or give them a thank-you-for-being-awesome post just stop by their Facebook page (opens in new tab) and show them some love, until next time, peace.

Artist: Patronize Me

Go Listen To: The Best of Solitude

Final Word: Alt-Rock gods beware.

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