Saturday, August 4, 2018

Scream NMC17 (No More Censorship)

NMC17 (No More Censorship)
Southern Lord
Release date: Friday, April 27th 2018

I was there in the beginning for Scream.
A wild child in love with Scream's first album, "Still Screaming". 
Released in 1983 on Dischord, that album still ranks as one record I would recommend everyone have in their hardcore collection. Nothing sounded like it then and nothing sounds like it now.

The next four albums by Scream... I ignored. "This Side Up", "Banging the Drum", "No More Censorship" and "Fumble".

Why did I ignore? Not sure. 

My friends still were buying everything Scream released. 

Maybe I was just focusing too much on Finnish thrash and speed/death metal from 1985-1988. 

Maybe I loved the first Scream album so much, that I didn't want to give Scream the chance to tarnish what I viewed as a true classic album. And yes I know people throw that word "classic" around with great ease. But seriously, that first Scream album is a classic in my opinion. 

I was even getting promotional records from RAS records back then for my zine FOE. I was in to what that predominantly reggae record label was doing back then. Did some feature articles on their reggae releases. But I do not remember this LP. Maybe I reviewed it. Maybe I had one of the other FOE writers handle it. 

So I end up with a digital promotional copy of "No More Censorship" in early 2018. I think I ignored it then too. Obviously ignored as it is August.

So I put on my headphones, head outside and give it a listen. 

I made a mistake. 

I can't stop listening to this album. 

I was lucky enough to search out and find a Record Store Day edition of this LP on yellow vinyl, regular price as well. Southern Lord is only selling the silver vinyl edition. So, I believe this is a thirty year destiny sort of thing.

Dave Grohl plays drums on this. 

Straight from the press release: "The reissue is dedicated to the influential photographer Naomi Petersen (photo above) who was instrumental in ensuring that the original No More Censorship master tapes survived. As a long-time friend of the band, Naomi has captured many memorable images of an era, including countless SST bands and SCREAM. Years after their first encounter, Naomi found the original tapes gathering dust, and passed them onto Pete Stahl before they perished. SCREAM saw this as a second chance to put the record out. The way they always wanted. Subsequently, Southern Lord had the tapes baked and prepped for a remix at Dave Grohl's 606 Studio."

In 2018, I find Scream's "NMC17" exciting. A band that evolved from that first classic hardcore band, to a band that sounds pro, has energy, speaks from the heart and put together a diverse, solid album. There is an empowering "feel" and an "energy" to these songs.

Southern Lord always does a fantastic job with their reissues. The vinyl, the booklet the sound. 

Give it a listen and get the vinyl!

Frank FOE

Friday, August 3, 2018

7 Habits and 10 things I need to remember

7 Habits and 10 Things
I Need To Remember

I was going through something. 
Stressful. Agitating. Tense.
It covered a few months time.
I couldn't get out of it, but I could have approached it differently.
It took a bit of an awakening to force me to realize that my approach was starting from a place of stress and anxiety rather than beginning from a place of calm. 

These two items put me back on track.

The first is a list of 10 things. Billy Cox's facebook page posts a ton of "self help" styled motivational images. This meme (is that what the kids call these things) appeared in my feed on a day I needed it.

Each of those items I needed to hear. 

Those ten things reminded me of the Serenity prayer...
  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

  1. the ability to do something that frightens one.

  1. the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

If I don't come from a place of serenity at the beginning, I am greatly reducing my chances of anything positive.

The second item is from a blog that I go back to, but probably not enough.

The 7 Habits of Calmness


I have come to believe that high stress, constant anxiety over tasks and work and life, social anxiety … is all a part of the modern way of life.
Most people just don’t feel a sense of peace, of calm, of serenity, throughout their day.
I have to admit that I’m the same way some of the time, but I have learned a few things that have helped me create a feeling of calmness much more of the time than ever before.
It’s a series of habits that have developed over the last few years. I’m not perfect at them, but I do practice them, and they are always helpful.
These are habits, not a one-time change in my surroundings or work pattern. Changing your environment is great, but you can’t control the things that happen to you much of the time, and you certainly can’t control how other people act. The only thing you can control is your response — and this response matters. You can respond to the same event with anxiety or anger, or you can respond with peace and calmness.
Let’s figure out how.

The Habits of Calmness

These are the habits to develop that will help you develop calmness (based on my experience):
  1. A calm morning ritual. Many people rush through their mornings, starting the day out in a stressful rush. I wake up a little earlier (5 a.m. these days, though that changes), and start with a little meditation, then a few yoga poses. I then start writing, before I let the noise in. Exercise is another component of my morning routine. You don’t need to do the same things, but find the quiet of the morning and make the most of it.
  2. Learn to watch your response. When something stressful happens, what is your response? Some people jump into action — though if the stressful situation is another person, sometimes action can be harmful. Others get angry, or overwhelmed. Still others start to feel sorry for themselves, and wish things were different. Why can’t other people behave better? Watch this response — it’s an important habit.
  3. Don’t take things personally. Many times the response (that you noticed in Habit 2) is to take things personally. If someone does something we don’t like, often we tend to interpret this as a personal affront. Our kids don’t clean their rooms? They are defying us! Our spouse doesn’t show affection today? He/she must not care as much as he/she should! Someone acts rudely at work? How could they treat us this way?! Some people even think the universe is personally against them. But the truth is, it’s not personal — it’s the other person’s issue that they’re dealing with. They are doing the best they can. You can learn not to interpret events as a personal affront, and instead see it as some non-personal external event (like a leaf falling, a bird flying by) that you can either respond to without a stressful mindset, or not need to respond to at all.
  4. Be grateful. Sure, lots of people talk about gratitude … but how often do we apply it to the events of our day? Things are crashing down at work, or our boss is angry, or our co-workers are rude, or our kids are misbehaving, or someone doesn’t love us as we’d like … do these cause anger/anxiety/unhappiness, or can we be grateful? Drop the complaints, and find a way to be grateful, no matter what. And then smile. This unbending habit can change your life.
  5. Create stress coping habits. Many times, when we are faced with stress, we have unhealthy responses — anger, feeling overwhelmed and withdrawing, eating junk food, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, shopping or otherwise buying stuff, going to time-wasting sites, procrastinating, and so on. Instead, we need healthy ways to cope with stress, which will come inevitably. When you notice stress, watch how you cope with it, and then replace any unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones. Healthy stress coping habits include: drinking tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, massaging your own neck & shoulders, taking a walk, drinking some water, talking with someone you care about.
  6. Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.
  7. Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise — visual clutter, notifications, social media, news, all the things we need to read. And truthfully, none of it is necessary. Reduce all these things and more, and create some space, some quiet, in your life.

Frank FOE

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Blind Justice - No Matter the Cost review

Blind Justice
"No Matter The Cost"
Flatspot Records & Edgewood Records 
Release date: Friday, June 29th 2018

Jersey shore based Blind Justice has been around since 2013 and "No Matter the Cost" is their second album.

I have listened to the twenty minute, ten song album repeatedly for the last month. Thankfully I got an advance listen before the release date.

"No Matter the Cost" is fundamental, straightforward, modern day hardcore that even an OG HC can appreciate. 

The test for me with current "hardcore" is whether the music brings to mind karate, kick-boxer, punch throwing, leg kicking attackers or old school, creepy crawling, circle pit skanking, pile on singing, fun images.

The breakdown in "Never Enough" has enough power to wreck a building via circle pit kinetic energy. Blind Justice has plenty of old school NYHC and Jersey HC influence meshed with the current variances. Love it. No blind punch throwing goons envisioned.

Thankfully the music brings to mind the old school. I suppose there will be kick-boxers at their shows, but for me, Blind Justice has enough links to the original hardcore sound to not be ruined by images of youngsters throwing punches at random people and trying to kick the legs out of people enjoying watching the band rather than watching the crowd for potential random assaults. 

Sampling a few of the lyrics, Blind Justice know how to make their hardcore point.

"My Will", inspires with "never give in, always fight back, to your fears or doubt..."

"Think I Care" sets the stage for watching who you associate with, "I don't need to live by your rules, I don't give a fuck about the things you do, separate myself from you, I want nothing to do with you..." 

Blind Justice is playing in Scranton PA on July 22, 2018.

Matt Guyre - drums
AJ Hoenings - bass
Ryan Hoenings - guitar
Asa Scibetta - guitar
Mike Botti - vocals

Frank FOE

Saturday, June 23, 2018

MONSTER SQUAD "Depression" review

Pirates Press Records
Released: May 25, 2018

Monster Squad, from Vacaville California, capture the chaotic, hyper, hardcore street punk energy that sticks in my mind and soul like the viscous, tacky feel that stuck to everything in the "venues" from the warehouse and squat scene.  

Coarse, raspy, shouted vocals over abrasive, magical hardcore punk rock, that has occasional leaks of melodic, brilliant hooks that lead to actual great grooves! Think somewhere between Rudimentary Peni and Casualties.

Lyrically, these songs hit that scene and punk in general with a heartfelt and honest approach to the trappings of depression, addiction and dealing with life's obstacles and troubling situations. 

As a sober man of 27 years, I love the bold and sincere lyrics of "Desolation" and the outpouring in vocalist Phil's account of overdosing from mixing alcohol and opiates on the LP insert. Check them in the images below. To include communication in this manner is honorable, moving and inspirational. 

They even got Winston Smith to do some artwork for them! Monster Squad also enlisted some artistic assistance from Bryan Lothian (A Global Threat) and Mike “Rufio” Kadomiya (Life Is Posers).

Monster Squad's "Depression" LP is a punk, rocking prize. Check the high octane power of "Never Learn", the positive agitation of "Desolation", the hardcore punk classic "Withheld Forgiveness", the musically adventurous "Endless War" and the relentless resolution that is "Internal War".

Frank FOE


Released: June 15, 2018 on LP/CD/DOWNLOAD

As a punk music fan, who happens to also have been a record collector for 47 years (started at age 5), there are records I just love having in my collection.  I am honored to add this record to the collection in 2018.

Pirates Press Records always comes up with stunning, eye grabbing vinyl.  They have done The Filaments, from Chelmsford, Essex, in the East of England true justice with this pressing.

Ecstatic to have the clear with red, black & mustard splatter vinyl (Pirates Press mail order version) spinning on the turntable right now!

So, the readers digest version of The Filaments history: They released two LPs before "Look to the Skies". Two albums, I regretfully do not own. Yes, this is my introduction to this band. "Skull & Trombones" was released in 2001 and "Whats Next?" was released in 2004. There was a bit of a break between 2005 and 2009, but then they reformed. And here we are...

I simply love The Filaments "Look to the Skies". The execution of their blend of influences is spot on. Whether they are pulling out all the stops with a burning punk energy ("Killing Machine"), or reeling it back in with an emotional anthem style ("Living in the Crosshairs"), or blowing the roof off with robust ska punk ("Rip Off World"),  The Filaments are solid professionals, exceedingly competent in all facets of the styles they perform. 

Blend the sound of Rancid, Stiff Little Fingers, Casualties, Interrupters, Specials and you have The Filaments. 

The song "Ask No Favours" is a true classic anthem, possessing an early 80s new wave, ska, punk blend with a trumpet/trombone/sax/key line that is perfect. Transitioning from smooth to a power punch with the chorus, "Justice, thunders..." Purely emotional, moving and as far as song construction goes, The Filaments surely know what they are doing! Damn I want to see this band live in concert so bad! This song would have been a top ten hit in 1985. Demands to be a hit in 2018. 

Jon - Guitar/Vocals
Mike - Guitar/Vocals
Pascal - Drums
Herve - Bass
Pook - Trombone
Eddie - Sax
Iain - Trumpet

with guest musicians: Fran (bass), Ed (keys & guitar), Jay (vocals), Rob (trumpet/vocals)

Vinyl Pressing Info:
  • Blood red vinyl band version 200 copies
  • Clear with red, black & mustard splatter vinyl Pirates Press mail order version 300 copies
  • Mustard vinyl 500 copies retail version 
One of these days I need to check off Rebellion Fest off my bucket list. The Filaments will be there this August.

Final word: This is an uplifting classic.

Frank FOE

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Secret Cutter "Quantum Eraser" review

Secret Cutter
"Quantum Eraser"
Distribution through Deathwish Inc. in North America
Distribution through Holy Roar Records for Europe.
Release date: Friday, July 6th 2018

An endless, continuous rain of tractor trailers from the sky. The earth opening up to grind and swallow the now useless vehicles with giant metal gears, crashing and rotating, breaking down the mass of metal into oblivion. Car shredder noise times a thousand. The chaos, the volume, the ridiculousness of it all is how I visually describe Secret Cutter's second LP.


I have no idea what the hell Ekim is screaming about. No freaking clue. Doesn't matter because the impact of the sound of the vocals meshes along with drums (Jared) and guitar (Evan) to form an aural interpretation of industrial machinery pummeling everything within reach.

To my ears, this is as much Unsane type noise rock as it is industrial music, which I was first introduced to via the "Dry Lungs" compilations so many years ago. A noise/industrial fusion if you will. In my opinion, the mechanical brutality differentiates Secret Cutter from the onslaught of metal noise rock bands existing today. These eleven tracks seek to beat you into submission, within 30 minutes, with a sound that captures the bleak, violent, desolate, hopelessness of the cartoon imagery that was a part of Pink Floyd's "The Wall". 

Hailing from Bethlehem PA, Secret Cutter's sound can be likened to the giant remnants of the steel industry that have become part of the landscape ("re-purposed") of their hometown. Giant machines longing, aching to utilize the potential force.

Now to get my hands on this on the preferred vinyl format. 
300 pressed on white, 450 clear, ships around July 5, 2018.

Frank FOE

Friday, June 15, 2018

Cleveland Steamers "Best Record Ever" review

"Best Record Ever"
Smog Veil
Released: May 4, 2018

Sometimes it is weird coming in on a band at record number three. Especially when you dig record number three. Then you ask yourself, why didn't someone tell me about albums one and two? Hell they are from Cleveland. One of the punkest places on the planet. Someone should have clued me in. So I am cluing you in on this one...

When I think of Cleveland, i think of the Pagans. Punk legends, pure and simple. I also think about the only time I've been in Cleveland. I went to see Guns and Roses on May 5, 1988 at the Cleveland Music Hall.  Zodiac Mindwarp & the Love Reaction & UDO opened the gig. Fanfreakintastic. I also remember thinking, what the hell, people live here? We didn't stay to take in the sites. Just saw Guns and Roses and Zodiac rule, and got out of town fast. I was confused by UDO at the time and well, I guess I am still kind of confused by UDO.

I missed out on Cleveland Steamers albums "Terminal" and "Who's Next?" (but those two and the new album are available as a specially priced 3 pack here: By the way, this Cleveland Steamers is not the creators of the album "Treasure Chest", that is a rap album.

First things first. I googled "Cleveland Steamer" because I vaguely remember that phrase having something to do with something really nasty. Probably came up in conversation on Howard Stern when Ronnie was giving his sex tips...

Definition of "Cleveland Steamer" per wikifetish: (slang) A sexual act involving defecating on someone's chest, then sitting in it and rolling back and forth like a steamroller. 

Wtf. No thanks. Not happening. 

OK, so now that I have that out of the way, the band the Cleveland Steamers was founded by Cheese Borger, the bassist for Cleveland's Les Black's Amazing Pink Holes. Listen/watch this video:

So Cheese Borger says, "My Grandpa was employed at the Collinwood railyard as a steam engine mechanic back in the late 1940s. Along with some co-workers he was part of a legendary bowling team that dominated leagues in the area for a good six years. They were called The Cleveland Steamers."

"Best Record Ever" sounds like a sweaty, drunken night in a dive bar. 

Immediately after starting to listen to "Best Record Ever" I'm thinking, this band could have played the 4-G's (bar in Bethlehem PA, back in the day), where the bands were loud, the club was as small as it was dark, the punks and freaks always a few beers beyond drunk, the crowd rowdy and receptive, the bartender friendly, the cops leaving us to our own fate, the possibility of violence high, the possibility of drunken romance greater...

You get the picture. Well, if not you missed out. 

L to R: Nick Summa, Ryan Foltz, 
Meredith Rutledge-Borger, Cheese Borger. 
Photo by Carl Fowler/Design Photography, Cleveland OH.

"Dream of Me" has a classic, creepy feel. With Cheese Borger's wife, Meredith Rutledge-Borger, delivering a haunting vocal track that stands out as an undeniably strong song, no matter your particular musical genre affiliation. 

And that is the kicker here, the band bounces from influence to influence, in a mature manner, that never loses the unifying feel of the Cleveland Steamers. 

"Something Bad" could have been an early Divinyls (remembering when I got to see them open for the Psychedelic Furs) track. Powerful and engaging, with excellent song structure and creativity.

"Last Love" is a power pop blast.  

Strong, diverse album.

Frank FOE

Smog Veil Records

Smog Veil FB

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Fistula / Hemdale split 7" review

Fistula / Hemdale 
Fistula / Hemdale Split 7"
Patac Records
Release date: Friday, June 8th 2018

When you first pick up a guitar, first hit the snare drum with your stick, or yell into a microphone, your youthful, naive goals might be to be adored for making fantastically original music, loved by all. To hear the Cheap Trick crowd from "Live at Budokan"  as you play the music from your soul. The goals usually are not to be considered "miserable". 

Fistula, have released this split 7", to (and I quote) "cerebrate 20 years of their miserable existence. To commemorate the occasion, FISTULA is releasing a split 7” with the legendary Ohio Death/Grind institution HEMDALE. Down-tuned assaults of volume and mental illness."

Of course I don't know if they meant to type "cerebrate" or "celebrate" so I looked up "cerebrate", which is defined as:

So I have visions of Fistula as young kids... "Santa, can I have a guitar for Christmas? I want to one day cerebrate my miserable existence in a band named after (fistula) an abnormal or surgically made passage between a hollow or tubular organ and the body surface, or between two hollow or tubular organs..."

Fistula contribute "Whore Cancer". The appropriately brutal sludgecore song is about a record label exec who planned on releasing a Fistula record and then, well I'll let Fistula tell you what happened next... "Then all was quiet until a hilarious, 40-minute emasculated rant appeared on YouTube. In this video, he starts a bonfire to burn all of his label’s releases and slandered just about anyone you can think of from his roster. The insane ramblings contained in that YouTube rant were then regurgitated into the lyrics of ‘Whore Cancer.'"

Someone please send me a link to this video on YouTube.

And the young Hemdale kids... "Mom, I wanna learn how to play guitar. I want to make music that is described with the words "assault" and "mental illness".

Hemdale contribute the death, grindcore, insanity, bludgeoning song "Miley" to the 7". A fitting tribute to the love of Miley Cyrus, and the fascination with her career path, the "Phoenix rising from the ash of the Hannah Montana show with talent and grace that can't be stopped".

Well, these young children from Fistula and Hemdale have succeeded as wildly successful merchants of misery and chaos. Their ear assaulting hybrid of metal, hardcore, sludge, death, grind is entrancing, and simultaneously ugly and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your lunacy. 

First pressing:
100x Clear vinyl
400x Pink vinyl with White splatter
15x Pink vinyl

I'm so glad this record has been released. 

I hope your childhood dreams came true too. Just like the Fistula and Hemdale kids. 

Frank FOE

Patac Records FB
Hemdale FB
Patac Records

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Christ on Parade "A Mind is a Terrible Thing" reissue

Christ On Parade
A Mind Is A Terrible Thing
Release date: Friday, May 25th 2018

I get a kick out of reissues. Especially if I have the originals (photo evidence above). And even better if I actually bought the original when it came out. No wait, that just makes me old.

1985 I bought the first Christ on Parade LP, "Sounds of Nature" which came out on Pusmort. That record label was killing it at that time. "Cleanse the Bacteria" is one of the greatest compilations ever released.

1987 I bought the second Christ on Parade LP, "A Mind is a Terrible Thing", released on Mind Matter records. The record we are discussing here as being reissued on Neurot Recordings. 

I loved Christ on Parade. They were a chaotic, hardcore, thrash band. I love hardcore thrash bands. Freaking letting it all out lyrically and musically. The musical formula is not that of the precision mosh or even verse chorus. It is just free-form, creative chaos. 

Listening to this reissue, I am reminded of the international bands that BCT (Bad Compilation Tape) introduced me to, because Christ on Parade had a global hardcore influence. You can hear European thrash. There is a Subhuman (UK) political punx sound and an early Concrete Sox sound on some songs. Of course Concrete Sox and Subhumans were technically peers, so they were all exploring in the 80s. 

Let Billie Joe tell ya if you don't believe me:

"CHRIST ON PARADE are the gnarly truth to all this pollution. A bunch of kids just calling it as they see it. Or smell it? It’s sounds like the old Oakland Bay Bridge. Ugly and beautiful. disturbing and familiar. It’s almost weird to call it punk because it bares so much soul. Thank god for CHRIST ON PARADE."
Billie Joe Armstrong

Give this a listen and be grateful Neurot Recordings has reissued this piece of hardcore history.

Frank FOE