A very recent nice development has been members of bands from the 80’s getting back together and/or starting new bands. Three of them from Philly all have members from of one of my favorites Electric Love Muffin. Another fan of ELM has been releasing records by these new/old bands on Sister Raygun Records. According to him the label’s main goal is to promote local Philly bands (though we have non-Philly bands too). Plus it is “purely a labor of love for me — just trying to help put out some good under-the-radar music….” The great part is these bands aren’t rehashing the sound of any of their old bands they are expanding on those sounds in many new directions. For some videos Check out the Sister Raygun YouTube channel
Now, getting back to the three bands:
Poppy was first formed in the early 1990s with members of 2 of 80s Philly punk scenes favorites Electric Love Muffin (Brian Campbell) and Scram! (Craig Heim) with Kate Campbell’s powerful vocals and loud guitar. They returned a few years ago and have been playing all over Philly. First time I saw the reformed Poppy was at the Tusk (I think) and they were heavier than I had remembered and it was just a good time seeing them again. In November of last year (2019) they released a new album Snakes of New Jersey. There are a variety of styles on the album from Noisy Blues with powerful vocals to straight ahead pop rock to one song Marga, which in some ways reminds me of (I’m not sure what it’s been labeled) but bands like Seam/ Dustdevils/ Breaking Circus/ Polvo.
FoxyContin formed in 2003, the band features members of 2 Philly punk legendary bands The Electric Love Muffin and Krhissy. Rich Kaufmann (ELM singer) wanted to start a band that channeled the first wave of punk rock after the end of his country rock, the Rolling Hayseeds. He was working with Ravine Veneer at Silk City who played guitar and got Michael Barndt (Krhissy) on drums and Mike Stifel on bass. I missed recent Foxycotin shows since they have been back, but once we can return to seeing bands, I plan on going, Their long awaited debut album This Time You’re On Your Own (see below) comes out on August 7th on Sister Raygun. There is something for everyone on this album. A song for the sad state of politics in America (The Whole World Knows I’ll Never Get Over It Now), A reworked Rolling Hayseeds song (It’s Starting to Show), and a couple of songs have organ music by Sam Steinig (Mondo Topless and GTVs) that reminds me of the organ parts of early Elvis Costello songs, plus lots of cool covers from all over the musical spectrum.
Mt Vengeance is Rich Fravel – singer/guitarist (Uptown Bones, Latimer, Ashtabula, Blue & Realtor extraordinaire who helped me buy my house), Brian Campbell – bass (Electric Love Muffin & Poppy) and Nicky Santore – drums (Valsalva, Glory Hole). I have seen them live a few times and for me it was a strange (in a good way) mix of nostalgia for the 90s but with enough freshness to it to make it sound new. Their first album Covered in Dust from 2018 was one of my favorites of that year and the new album Machines is even better (see below). There are a lot of different styles on this album. A few songs have a pop sensibility but with a harder edge. Others like Nil By Mouth has distorted noisy guitar with a grove. Then it all wraps up with the song Machines which has a metalish Hawkwind sort of sound.
Here is a video I shot before the Photon Band / American Trappist / Mt. Vengeance show at JB’s. Brian (ELM, Poppy, Mt. Vengeance), Rich (Uptown Bones, Mt. Vengeance), Art (Uptown Bones, Photon Band) & Noel (Uptown Bones) played two Uptown Bones songs and an ELM song.
Other Sister Raygun bands include Philly’s own Beretta 76
Good Power Pop Italian band Mad Rollers
I have to use the bandcamp description for Pre-Cog in the Bunker – a sci-fi post-punk duo blending punk noise, classic melodies, and literary lyrics.
And The Professor Fuzz 63 is a cool, lo-fi, rocking’ trio from Dallas,
Pictures & Flyers
(some pics from the label and a couple I took)