The Reaction’s East End Rockers: Newfoundland Punk Pioneers are Back on Vinyl
As the year draws to a close, one release is drumming up more hype than the holidays. On December 13th, Supreme Echo will be releasing a deluxe 7” EP of the Newfoundland punk group The Reaction titled East End Rockers. Comprised of recordings from 1979-1981, East End Rockers is a four-song compilation of one of Newfoundland’s most groundbreaking bands.
The Reaction is one the most important bands when it comes to the development of Newfoundland’s music scene. During the late ’70s, the punk movement made its way to Canada. While Newfoundland may have been a little late to the party due to geographical isolation, in 1979 The Reaction dropped the first Newfoundland punk release, their 7″ single “The Kid’s Arrived/On The Beach.”
Being the first also meant it opened the floodgates for what would become Newfoundland’s punk and underground scene. Along with Da Slyme’s self-titled double LP, which was released a few months later in 1980, these releases paved the road for a slew of musical talent from this province wanting to play their own style and do something different. This helped in other great music from this province to be possible, like the Vikki Beat label which released The Reaction’s sole full-length album Underexposure in 1983. If it wasn’t for this early punk single, we might not have had as much exceptional music coming out of Newfoundland’s independent scene.
The songs on this compilation cover two distinct times in the band’s life, with two tracks featuring original drummer Terry Carter, and two with the second drummer, Dan Ralph. “The Kids Have Arrived” and “Get The Rods Out” are classic examples of early punk with strong pop sensibilities, giving a new wave vibe at times. “Waiting In Line” is described by Supreme Echo as “a powerful melodic rocker with journeys into psychedelia,” and “Trials In Error” is a darker song expressing the group’s world view at the time.
Supreme Echo is likely the best label to take on this release. Operating since the early 2000s, the label has specialized in reissuing hidden gems from the Canadian punk scene. They’ve created classics like their compilation of The Dishrags’ Three, and more recent releases like Mexican Power Authority’s 2014 album Cold Natural Facts.
With care and quality put into each release, such as the “generous booklet” that will come with East End Rockers, this EP is sure to be a must-have. Supreme Echo is more than just a label, they’re one of a handful of record labels devoted to bringing attention to mainly Canadian acts that didn’t get the recognition they deserved in their day.
With its place in history, great music, and the promise of quality, it’s hard not to be excited for The Reaction’s East End Rockers. With only 500 records pressed, “Get The Rods Out”, and get a copy while you can!
There will be a release party at Fred’s Records in St. John’s (198 Duckworth Street) on Thursday, December 13 with a meet and greet with The Reaction’s bassist/vocalist Mike Fisher. Further details can be found on the Facebook event page.