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,
The Muffin live from the CEC in West Philly – A rock against hunger show with Constraint (From Leigh Valley) and Government Issue. This is the last video I have of them – As usual they put on a great show. Some time I will try to get the Constraint and GI video from this show up as well. I’m not sure I have anything else to say about Electric love Muffin since this is my third post on them. I did get asked if I had any video or audio of their cover of Highway Star and I think they started doing that after all the videos I have so if anyone has any more video or live audio please let me know. Again there are a couple of songs I remember but I couldn’t figure out the titles. So, if anyone knows please let me know in the comments. Thanks
Video from an Electric Love Muffin show at the Elk’s Lodge in Atlantic City. The show was on July 26, 1985 and they were opening for Die Kreuzen and Articles of Faith. I was never at any of the Atlantic City shows but from what I’ve heard (and now watched) it looked like a good venue. Lenny and Crunch Productions always put on good shows. This video is from a bunch of videos I borrowed and converted from Betamax tapes from Pete at Sounds of Tomorrow So keep in mind this video was captured from a 25 year old Beta tape. I’m not sure if it the tape or the camera at the time put Rich gets kind of washed out when he is in the spotlight. Hopefully I got the song titles right besides their normal cover of Norwegian Wood – during a string break on Butch’s guitar they do Bad Moon Rising and the Who’s I don’t Mind. I’m not sure what the last song is it sounds familiar but I can’t figure it out. Also, here is an old zine article about touring with the Muffin from Free TNT zine
Besides Scram I don’t think there is another band that I have seen as many times (or ever will) as Electric Love Muffin. For the first two years I lived in Philly I saw them (and usually Scram) it seems like at least once a week. I think my memory might be right this time. The very first show I saw in Philly they played with NOTA – the show got broken up by the cops but then Scram was playing at another party in West Philly later so, the trend of seeing both bands started on my first night of shows in Philly. I’m not sure why but the venue that sticks out for me was seeing them at Tops which was the space above McGlinchey’s. Probably because their rules on carding where somewhat lax at the time (although I might have been straight-edge at the time so who knows.). Electric Love Muffin were always fun to see and they would throw in some great covers like Highway Star (often with guest singers), Venus and Norwegian Wood. I always thought their sound seemed influenced by Minneapolis bands like Huskers and Soul Asylum (Pre-MTV days). As far as I can tell from searching the web none of their records are currently available to buy so I’m putting them up here. There isn’t much on the web about them but they do have a My Space page at www.myspace.com/betterstartrunning
Brian is in two current bands Poppy with Kate Campbell (Guitar & Vocals) & Craig Heim from Scram (Drums) & Brian Campbell (Bass & some vocals) Check out their new album at bandcamp. & Mt Vengeance which is Rich Fravel (Uptown Bones, Ashtabula, Latimer) – guitars and vocals & Brian Campbell – bass & Nick Santore – drums
Foxy Contin is Rich Kaufmann- Guitar plus Vox & Michael Stifel- Bass plus Vox & Ravine Vaneer- Guitar plus Vox & Michael Barndt- Drums minus Vox
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