0 Shouts - 67,842 Scrobbles
1) Franklin--vocalist/guitarist Ralph Darden, guitarist Brian Sokel, bassist Roy Binnion (later replaced by Josh Mills) and drummer Greg Giuliano--released a slew of quality music from 1993 to 1999. These four men from Philadelphia, PA brought their own unique style of multi-genre rock to the kids of the world. Take the spirited and soulful sound and then dub and mix it with the angst of punk rock. Blend in the intelligence and vague political overtones of the contemporary Washington D.C. scene, and you get this fine tuned slab of rock.Read More...
The band's sound started off more in the Fugazi-esque D.C. post-hardcore vein, which you can hear on 1996's Go Kid Go, released on defunct Canadian label Workshop Records. The album featured nine new songs as well as all of the band's early 7-inch and compilation appearances, making it a primer for any fans coming on-board in the mid-'90s.
But while the band were already showing promise, it was 1997's Building In A And E where the band really developed their own sound. Released by Chicago's File 13 Records, the seven-song EP (the first to feature Mills on bass) was produced by Hopeton "Scientist" Brown, the man who practically invented dub music. What the band came up with on that release was groundbreaking for the time, turning Franklin into sort of a post-hardcore version of Bad Brains - a band who could both be aggressive one minute and then lose themselves in the rhythm the next.
As the band's buzz was building, they signed to Tree Records, then a white-hot Chicago label which had released early work from Pinback, Urban Legends (pre-the Thermals) and others, and was responsible for the absolutely genius Post Marked Stamps 7-inch series, which featured Braid, the Get Up Kids, Rainer Maria, Tim Kinsella and many more. Franklin's first release on the label was the Major Taylor 7-inch, the A-side of which was the title track and also landed its way on a Tree/Southern/Polyvinyl Records sampler in early 1998.
But all of that was a precursor to the group's swan song, 1999's self-titled effort. The band had moved on from post-hardcore and fully embraced dub, but alternated between bass-heavy jams and energetic, lo-fi indie rock. The record opens with a wailing siren before "They Attack" slams itself into gear with thumping drums and oozing bass; a few minutes later, the band deliver "Inventor Of Loud," a positively brilliant piece of brainy indie rock that still sounds better than virtually anyone slogging it up on Pitchfork Music Festival's side stages.
After the band broke up in the early 2000s, Darden went onto found Jai-Alai Savant, who released an EP and LP before slipping into hibernation. He also DJs in Chicago frequently, going under the moniker Major Taylor. His other claim to fame? Atom And His Package wrote a song about him, called "Happy Birthday Ralph." (Sample lyric: "Happy birthday, Ralph/I love you/Even though you are fucking disgusting.") Sokel started up experimental indie-pop duo AM/FM in the wake of Franklin's dissolution; they are now defunct, as well.
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