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

Berthold CIty "Moment of Truth" review

Berthold City
"Moment Of Truth"
War Records
Released: Friday, March 30th 2018

"I started the band because I was frustrated about the current state of hardcore and I felt like I could make a positive impact and lead by example,” says Andrew Kline.

photo by Tyler Ross

Kline, guitarist for straight edge hardcore legends Strife, handles the vocals for Berthold City. 

I remember hearing Minor Threat for the first time. 

I remember hearing Youth of Today for the first time. 

I remember hearing Berthold City for the first time.

Each had a different, major impact on me. 

Minor Threat was like an explosion for me as a teenager. Still being a youngster, getting in to hardcore, my mind was blown by this band that was completely different from the Dead Kennedys, DRI, Circle Jerks and Black Flag. Oh I was so in love with hardcore.

The twenty year old, hearing Youth of Today for the first time was completely blown away and my attention was caught by this true force. I probably overplayed Youth of Today on my radio shows, but hell, I loved that band.

The fifty something year old me, hearing Berthold City, has me agreeing with Kline's words at the beginning of this review, the current state of hardcore is frustrating and I love that he is leading by example.

photo by Tyler Ross

I have listened to these 11 minutes (six songs) over and over and over. 

This is ripping hardcore. Stands up to Youth of Today as far as being on point, blistering, aggressive hardcore. I hear this and I am transported back in time to Wallys Place in Bethlehem or Oliver J's in Allentown Pennsylvania back in that day.

photo by Dan Rawe

This is a joy to my ears. Motivational, emotional and poignant hardcore, the likes of that I haven't heard in years.  Perfectly written and executed hardcore. 

These six tracks have been added to the soundtrack of my life. 

Thank you Berthold City!

Andrew Kline – vocals
John Eightclip – bass
Adam Galindo – drums
Dennis McDonald – guitars
Devin Vale – guitars

Frank FOE

photo by Dan Patrick

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Booze & Glory "London Skinhead Crew" 12" and "Reggae Sessions vol 1" reviews

"London Skinhead Crew" 12"
Pirates Press Records 
Released: April 21, 2018

The 2012 video for Booze & Glory's "London Skinhead Crew" is approaching 12 million views at the time of this writing. I know I have clicked on it at least a half dozen times since it's release and I am sure many of you have as well.

You may not be a skinhead, may not know what a "Crombie coat" is or what "Monkey Boots" are and you may not know the significance of the song "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". What is undeniable is how catchy the punk rock song is and the coolness of the record.

I have been collecting records for a very long time. I've seen a lot of shapes, sizes and colors... But this 12" with the words "London Skinhead Crew" actually cut out of the vinyl and then with the record playing from the inside out... is just the best. This is mandatory for any record collector.

The A-side is a new, ska version of the song. The B-side is the original. The ska version has them teamed up with Vespa & The Londonians and it is spot on with the vintage ska style. Love the musicianship and the arrangement. I can see I am going to have to drop the needle on some Trojan and Studio One records. Perfect as summer is upon us.

This record is an instant classic.

500pcs. - 12" Red Vinyl w/ Diecut (REV / RSD Version)
300pcs. - 12" Black Vinyl w/ Diecut (PPR Mailorder Version)
200pcs. - 12" Gold Vinyl w/ Diecut (Band Version)

Second Pressing:
1000pcs. - 12" Claret & Blue AsideBside w/ Diecut

Years go passing by but we are still about
Against society and all that crap
This is not a fashion its a way of life
Getting older but we won't give up

Coz we got nothing else to do
London Skinhead Crew
Scars, tattoos, crombie coats, full of trouble
We grew up on dead end streets
Lack of teeth - full of dreams
Drinking beer and forever blowing bubbles

Football on Saturday, Camden Sunday night
And were skint again but we don't care
Smell of 2 stroke every year at Isle of Wight
Skinhead Reggae beat and short cropped hair

Coz we got nothing else to do
London Skinhead Crew
Scars, tattoos, crombie coats, full of trouble
We grew up on dead end streets
Lack of teeth - full of dreams
Drinking beer and forever blowing bubbles

We are the lost generation with not much left to lose
Wearing shiny brogues and tonic suits
All we want is a bit of thrill, fags and booze
And crazy skinhead girls in monkey boots

Coz we got nothing else to do
London Skinhead Crew
Scars, tattoos, crombie coats, full of trouble
We grew up on dead end streets
Lack of teeth - full of dreams
Drinking beer and forever blowing bubbles (x2)

And while we are at it...

Vespa & The Londonians
"The Reggae Sessions Volume 1" 12"
Pirates Press Records 
Released March 2, 2018

We have established that the "London Skinhead Crew" ska version is top shelf. That song and two others are included in the "Reggae Sessions Vol. 1".

The story leading up to the development of this project is that Liam and Mark from Booze & Glory had the idea of turning some Booze & Glory songs into Ska or Reggae tunes. I have always loved alternate versions of songs I already love. Hence the ridiculous amount of 12" singles in my possession of extended versions and remixes, not to mention my love of cover versions of songs.

So Liam and Mark teamed up with The Londonians (UK) and VESPA, from Poland to create "The Reggae Sessions Vol. 1".

The results are hypnotic and undoubtedly measure up to the vintage ska music I love so much.

A. London Skinhead Crew (Stereo)
B. London Skinhead Crew (Mono)

A. Only Fools Get Caught (Stereo)
B. Only Fools Get Caught (Mono)

A. Leave The Kids Alone (Stereo)
B. Leave The Kids Alone (Mono)

Frank FOE

Booze & Glory
Booze & Glory FB
Pirates Press Records FB
Pirates Press Records Booze & Glory London Skinhead Crew
Pirates Press Records Booze & Glory 7"s

Friday, June 1, 2018

Crim “Sense Excuses” 7” review

“Sense Excuses”
Pirates Press Records
Released: April 21, 2018

Tarragona is a port city in the Northeast of Spain. Crim is from there. They sing in Catalan.

I’m learning all kinds of new things today as I had not heard of Tarragona nor Catalan.

I enjoyed Crim’s last album, “Blau Sang, Vermell Cel” (Blue Blood, Red Sky), but I guess I didn’t feel like doing the required research at the time.

Give “Blue Blood, Red Sky” a listen to here:

The b-side of this current 7” explains why I dig this band so much. They turn out splendid covers of Turbonegro and Cock Sparrer, two of my all-time favorite bands! 
“Sense Excuses” (translates to “No Excuses”) combines driving punk energy, gruff vocals, melodic chorus background vocals and cool guitar riffs. “Mai Vam Ser Especials” (translates to “We Have Never Been Special”) brings to mind a classic Samiam (another of my favorite bands) influence.

“Check the video for the title track “Sense Excuses” to get a sense of this excellent 4 track 7” for yourself:

Frank FOE

Marilyn Monroe June 1 1926

Marilyn Monroe is one of the loves of my life... records too...
Here are some images of both of them together.
Remembering Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, today, June 1st.

Frank FOE