Sunday, July 27, 2014

Detroit Punks Episode 1: John Brannon

John Brannon is someone I admire. I wasn't sure what word to use there. John Brannon is my hero? Idol? John Brannon is the man? I finally settled in on admire. 

ad·mire  [ad-mahyuhr]  
1. to regard with wonder, pleasure, or approval.

I truly admire John and all of his music. I draw tremendous inspiration from the music, attitude and experience. Respect.

Negative Approach is a band that helped transform me into who I am today. I always say I was lucky to be 16 in 1982. All roads led to hardcore for me. Sure, I liked new wave and punk before I stumbled upon hardcore, but damn I wore out those Negative Approach records in the early 80s. Something in my brain. 

The Laughing Hyenas were gods. As you can read in the Laughing Hyenas interview in FOE (link below), I never missed them in Philly. I once drove John to a record store in Philly before a gig... 

Easy Action should have been huge. 

John graciously gave UTNG the best radio ID (which he provided after an Easy Action gig).  

All of this is evidence that John, while creating some of the craziest music ever, is one of the coolest, most honest, nicest guys around. 

Check out this fantastic documentary from Detroit Punks. It is the coolest.

Interview from FOE in pdf format at this link.
Pdf is easier to read than the jpg below.

Detroit Punks on FB:

Frank FOE

Friday, July 11, 2014



Chris Reject graciously opened up his LVAC (Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations) warehouse in Allentown for an art/music show. Two bands, two artists. One amazing time.

Photo Jamie Heim

Jamie Heim is a Lehigh Valley staple and he takes amazing photos. His photos were on display and prints were up for purchase. Take a look at his website and be amazed at the work he is doing with his camera. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jamie for a bunch of years and enjoy watching him progress as a photographer. 

 Photo Jamie Heim 

Dylan is also from from the Lehigh Valley and works in photography and other art forms. From Dylan's website:
Dylan Garrett Smith is an artist/printmaker whose work is a product of his views regarding humanity’s relationships with - and the continually growing distance from - the natural world.  Combining concepts of occultism, ecology, and memento mori, Smith stresses the importance of the cycle of birth-bloom-decay and the necessity of solitude in nature.  Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton rag paper serve as the media to make his images, while reinforcing the natural process of life, death, and rebirth.

 Photo Dylan Garrett Smith

Dylan Garrett Smith

The first musical guest of the evening was Moonstruck. Felicia Vee assaults the drums as if she is committed to driving them through the floor. Awesome. Thank you Felicia. Very cathartic. Kelsi Page completes this two piece from Bethlehem PA. Kelsi belts it out with her vocals and guitar, giving it everything she has. Rudimentary, dark and gutsy, Moonstruck is an inspiring, DIY band. Just do it.   

 Photo Frank FOE
 Photo Frank FOE

 Felicia from behind the screen printing gear, Photo Frank FOE


UltraMantisBlack has just released their debut LP/CD/Digital EP on Relapse Records. The nine song EP with an etched b-side was released on July 9, 2014 and is a mandatory purchase.  Ultramantis Black is a wrestler as well as the frontman for this hardcore, Spazz meets Siege meets Deadguy, meets today's death grind mayhem.

 Photo Frank FOE

Unbeknownst to me, Matt and Brad from Nazareth (the location not the band) and Pissed Jeans (the band not the exhibition of loss of bladder control) and Ultimate Warriors (the band not the pro wrestler) are in ULTRAMANTIS BLACK. 

 Photo Frank FOE

Ultramantis Black's EP is as charged and ferocious as their live set. Nine songs that paint a portrait of doom and gloom we stupid humans continue to create for ourselves rather than correct for ourselves.

 Photo Frank FOE

While I am no Jamie Heim behind the camera, the chaos this six piece band puts together makes for a cooperative subject matter.

 Photo Frank FOE
Just point and click and even I can capture something!

 Photo Frank FOE
The sonic noise Ultramantis Black creates with 4 stringed instruments with this much distortion is a devious kind of fun.
 Photo Frank FOE
 Photo Frank FOE
 Photo Frank FOE
 Photo Frank FOE
 Photo Frank FOE

 Photo Frank FOE


This was a great event. Two great bands, two great artists, one great show. Inspirational, chaotic, revitalizing.

Frank FOE

Moonstruck bandcamp:
Ultramantis Black bandcamp:
Jamie Heim web:
Jamie Heim fb:
Dylan Garret Smith fb: 
Dylan Garret Smith web:
LVAC fb:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Final Conflict "Ashes to Ashes" LP Tankcrimes

Final Conflict
"Ashes to Ashes"
Released: April 15, 2014

Very glad that Tankcrimes has taken it upon themselves to reissue the Final Conflict LP "Ashes to Ashes" and the 2xcd version that also includes Final conflict's 1985 demo (which was released on vinyl on 540 Records).

"Ashes to Ashes" was released in 1987 on Pusmort Records.

When this record came out I truly remember how freaking crazy and excited I was. They were crazy and exciting times. I almost wore out the vinyl with continual repeated plays until I finally recorded "Ashes to Ashes" to cassette. "Ashes to Ashes" was right up my alley. Final Conflict was like Discharge, Accused, Dr. Know, Crucifix and Attitude Adjustment all rolled up into one. Heaven in my mind, reflecting the hell I was seeing. 

California with their fantastic shows all the time. 
Crucifix (1984), Final Conflict and Dr Know in 2014. Damn.

Final Conflict would have fit right in along with Zyklome A, Crude SS, Akutt Innleggelse, COC, Civil Dissident and Siege on the freaking mandatory 1985 Pusmort compilation "Cleanse the Bacteria". So, no wonder "Ashes to Ashes" originally came out on Pusmort (later Relapse and now Tankcrimes) and no wonder the Final Conflict demo was recorded in 1985.

Listening to "Ashes to Ashes" and "Nineteen Eighty-five" again I am transported to my mid 80s hardcore mindset. This is as amazing today as it was then. Ferocious energy and great songs. 

Jeff Harp - Final Conflict

It is a great joy that I own the Pusmort vinyl version of "Ashes to Ashes" and the 540 "Nineteen Eighty-five" LP. The record collector in me wants to purchase  the reissue vinyl, especially when the mail-order version look so cool. I guess I'll just treasure my copies and let you know, that if you don't own these records, here is your opportunity.  I had mine in 1987 and I've been listening ever since.

Whether it is d-beat, oxnard HC, crossover, punk, hardcore, metal or just angry music you love, you need to go back and check this out. 

Final Conflict Listen or download here:

Frank FOE

Give Final Conflict "Ashes to Ashes" a listen (click below)!

The Roxy Suicide "Sex Bomb Babies/Joan Your Jett"

The Roxy Suicide
"Sex Bomb Babies/Joan Your Jett"

The Roxy Suicide have been playing their signature brand of Sweet/Slade/Vibrators/Ramones/Rezillos/New York Dolls glam punk since 2011. 

Dave Mansfield (bass/vox of the Mansfields - get their lp on Gearhead), Olieshox (guitarist/vox). Ziggy Starbux (drums) and Roxy Roller (synth) have just released their latest single of pure adrenaline fun. 


Listening to these tracks takes the listener back to the late 70s and early 80s.  The Roxy Suicide sound like they should be playing alongside their influences. The sound in 2014 is so true to the roots it is hard to comprehend that this is new. Classic sound of power pop, punk and glam.

The Roxy Suicide web:

Frank FOE

Ex - Cult "Midnight Passenger" Goner Records

Ex - Cult
"Midnight Passenger"
Goner Records
Released: April 29, 2014

Ex - Cult have nothing to do with Ian Astbury's Cult. I don't think they are recent escapees from a religious cult. They are however from Memphis Tennessee. 

Being on Goner records and having ties to Ty Segall, those with a toe in the underground water, know this should be great raw punk, with a lo - fi, psychedelia influence. 

I saw a review that hinted that they heard a Circus Lupus influence in Ex - Cult's sound. 

Yup. I hear a lot of influences and I agree with the Circus Lupus (love this band).

I would also agree with Ty Segall, Sonic Youth, early Los Angeles punk, just about anything in any genre on Estrus records, Crime, Redd Kross or any of the early 80s hardcore bands that stretched the boundaries. Ex - Cult channels all of those influences into their own. 

I would also agree that Ex - Cult are not trying to sound like anyone. This is from the gut, originality, from people who are either from the gutter or fascinated with the gutter.. "Midnight Passenger" is a very dark punk record. One of the darkest, punkest albums I've heard lately. Full of passion and high octane energy.

"Midnight Passenger" is Ex - Cult's second album, board this caustic ride.

"Midnight Passenger" track listing:
1. "Shattered Circle"
2. "Ties You Up"
3. "Midnight Passenger"
4. "Confusion Hill"
5. "Catholic Entries"
6. "Flickering Eyes"
7. "Venice Illusion"
8. "Sid Visions"
9. "Not a Threat"
10. "Lights Out Club"

Frank FOE 

White Reaper "s/t" EP Polyvinyl

White Reaper
"s/t" EP
Polyvinyl Records
Released: June 24, 2014

White Reaper is from Louisville, Kentucky, (Tony Esposito - vocals/guitar and twin brothers Nick - drums and Sam Wilkerson - bass).

White Reaper contains elements of Jay Reatard, Thee Oh Sees, Ramones and Jesus and Mary Chain that make me very happy. In other words, they channel pure pop rock and filter it through:

  • lo fi (Reatard)
  • psychedelia (Sees)
  • buzzsaw guitars (Ramones) that change basic 60s bubblegum and pop into punk
  • and add layers in a failed attempt to disguise their love of pop (Jesus and Mary Chain).

The self titled, six song EP flies by in seventeen minutes. Just enough to introduce White Reaper to the short attention spans of 2014 and leave them wanting more.

The hooks are great. The songs are instant classics.

"Cool" is a Ramones-like trip into loving some girl from afar. Complete with concise lyrics, wicked groove, rudimentary lo fi recording, perfect vocal harmonies and strategic guitar lead. 

She's so cool, she can't even sleep at night
High top shoes, I know that she's all alone

Watch the equally cool video:

"Funn" is a driving, hyper energy, hectic song that absolutely delivers more fun than should be allowed. The music is perfect for the lyrics. 

Fun in my head
Am I live or am I dead?
I can't breathe and I can't see
Is this too much fun for me?

We should settle down
Should we settle down?
No way, no how
No No No No

Fun in my head
Is this real or a dream instead?
This is where I wanna be,
'Cause it's just way too fun to leave

Lex Drexelius adds keys to "Half Bad" that furthers the nod to past decades. 

"She Wants To" is a pounding Jay Reatard meets Jack White at a punk dive bar cramming a pop punk decade into a minute 21 seconds.

"Conspirator" is punk rock. Over-driven guitars, hooks, and a chorus that should make everyone in the crowd want to grab the microphone and prove they can croon "Conspirator".

"Ohh (Yeah)" wraps things up with more keyboards that combines with a bass line that calls back to some badass early 70s inner city cop movie, that breaks into a punk fueled ruckus. Ty Segal and Thee Oh Sees fans will love.

The band comes across as keeping it simple and the results feel so good and natural.

The vinyl is also a wonderful shade of pink and comes with a digital download. 

Looking forward to more from White Reaper.

Thank you Tony, Nick, Sam and Polyvinyl.

Frank FOE