The Internet search plight of Franklin is simple. The band known as Franklin, a post-hardcore act from Philadelphia, existed way before Google, forming in the mid ’90s and calling it quits before the dawn of the new millennium. The sound they crafted burned its way into the hearts of some that still might wanna listen, but if you Google the words “Franklin” and “Philadelphia,” or “Franklin” and “Music,” it’s next to impossible to find any links to the band. You’ll find plenty of links to the more well known Franklin named Ben in the Philadelphia area along with the more well know Franklin named Aretha, but nothing about the mid ’90s post-hardcore band that produced a handful of singles and two full-length albums. And that’s why I’m writing this.
Franklin’s 1999 self-titled album, on the now-defunct Tree Records, was at least ten years ahead of its time, combining experimental elements of dub and reggae into its brand of DC post-hardcore. It was rhythmic, technical, loud and daring at a time when every other band in the world wanted to cry about ex-girlfriends and lost childhoods. And when the label died, the album went out of print. So I’m doing something I don’t normally do. I’m sharing it online. Not in the hopes of ripping off a defunct label or a defunct band, but to share an album that I believe is truly groundbreaking. That is if you can somehow find your way to this entry in a Google search.
As a live band, I don’t remember much about Franklin. I saw them a few times in basements, but was probably too worried about what other people thought about me to truly enjoy the music. I think some of the members of the band (which consisted of members Ralph Darden, Brian Sokel, Greg Giuliano and Joshua Mills) also helped out Atom and His Package from time to time. And I know that members of Franklin later went on to play in Chicago via Philly band The Jai-Alai-Savant, and that Darden also DJ’s under the moniker DJ Major Taylor (a nod to the song of the same name from Franklin I assume…) But for a brief time in Philadelphia in the mid to late ’90s, the band known as Franklin produced a groundbreaking body of work. Something that sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did ten years ago.
So what did we learn today? If you plan to form a band that’s going to release some obscure genre-breaking music in your short career, make sure to name your band something that’s easy to find on the Internet. Even the Ralph Darden Experience would’ve been easier to find in today’s big world of the Internet. I can’t blame Franklin though. They were around before Google, and if there’s any justice in the world, their music will be around to see its end.
Download the S/T album here.