October, 1 2015 | by Bryne Yancey

The tale of Flag of Democracy, an innovative but otherwise almost completely unheralded hardcore punk band formed in Ambler, PA in 1982, is an odd one.

The story of F.O.D. was recounted in great detail last summer by Joel Tannenbaum right here on this very website; it’s worth a read if you missed it then, but the gist is that, more or less, the kind of breakneck hardcore punk that would come to eventually be close to ubiquitous in our scene was not only perfected by F.O.D., but they fucking invented it. Yet they seem to get no credit for their invention, wield mostly unnamed influence over those who came after them and, even stranger, are still together 33 years later, writing and recording new music to a small audience.

Flag of Democracy’s latest comes in the form of three new songs as part of a split with Ex Friends (fronted by Tannenbaum) for SRA Records, who’ve spent the past few years meticulously reissuing the band’s 1980s and 1990s back catalogue (this split is part of a series the band are doing for the label with other, like-minded bands). F.O.D. are in classic form here, sounding as energetic and youthful and fast as they ever have, with Jim McMonagle doing vocal gymnastics over loud, gritty guitars and a frenetic, but locked in rhythm section of bassist Dave Rochon and drummer Bob Walker. Just listening to him makes my throat hurt a little.

For their part, Ex Friends, well, their band name came to fruition nearly a year ago now (this is a bad joke and I am sorry). The band’s final two songs here take on a certain accidental tonal shift toward melancholy, but they’re a pretty great swansong nonetheless for yet another of Tannenbaum’s projects that likely won’t get their just desserts until it’s far too late for anyone to profit off of them. Audrey Crash’s bass playing in particular on these two songs is very, very fun to listen to. The whole thing is great. Listen to it below and pre-order it here. F.O.D. have other splits coming up with Dead Milkmen and Merda for the series, and will be playing live Nov. 7 at LAVA Space here in Philadelphia with Mischief Brew and Wonk Unit.

 

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